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Newspaper of the Year

PDP leaders push for president’s re-election at Minna rally

2015: Let’s avoid bloodshed, Sultan tells Jonathan

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INEC: Early campaign is illegal

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.08, No. 2782




MARCH 9, 2014


A distraught relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which disappeared off the coast of Vietnam making frantic calls at the Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday. Photo: REUTERS Story Page 73

One killed as armed men attack Enugu Govt House 50-man mob involved in assault Police arrest three attackers –Page 4

Saraki blasts Jonathan over Sports Minister’s sack –Page 4

20 killed in fresh Aviation professionals Tiv/Fulani clash petition FG over mystery aircraft in Benue –Page 6

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Special prayers for journalists


CLERIC, Pastor Chukwumeyere Ikejiaku of the City of Love Christian Centre, Ikeja, on yesterday called for special prayers for journalists in the country. He made the call at a prayer session organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State Council. He said, “Journalists need prayers. Their efforts at informing the public always should be commended. They are the one exposing corrupt leaders and other social vices in the society. It is obvious that they are prone to attacks and that is why they need our prayers,'' he said. The clergyman, however, cautioned journalists against publishing falsehood and urged them to do more of investigative journalism.


F President Goodluck Jonathan is never tired of provoking us with his preoccupation with minutiae, we must never be tired of responding to him, even if we appear repetitive. To fail to respond when he remains unflagging in his misplaced zeal is to succumb to misrule and tyranny. The president has long been recognized as an eager anti-federalist, an instinctive monarchist, and a terribly divisive figure, ethnically and religiously. Now, he adds the unflattering reputation of being fixated with what people say of him, particularly abuse. No slight escapes him, and anyone who questions or criticizes him is regarded by the president as rude and deserving of being denounced and punished with federal might. Nothing exemplifies this disturbing trend as Presidential Jonathan's startling remarks when he recently played host to a delegation from Anambra State which came to appreciate him for lending a strong helping hand to their outgoing governor, Peter Obi. The visit was probably instigated by Mr Obi himself, a man so adept at picking thanks in the facile manner of a suckling that nature itself found it inescapable to endow him with the permanent facility of a child's voice. After a few ingratiating remarks by the Anambra delegation, the president launched into a frenzy of embarrassing denunciations against governors whom he described stiffly as loving to abuse the president, and whom he concluded could not gain anything thereby. In the words of the presi-

A phenomenal selfie One of the main talking points of this year's Oscars wasn't the triumph of newcomers like Kenya-born LupitaN'yongo but a selfie stage-managed by the event's host and talk superstar, Ellen Degeneres. The picture, taken by actor Bradley Cooper and featuring a scrum of celebrities including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey, was forwarded on Twitter more than 2million times by the time the ceremony was done.That makes it the most retweeted selfie ever beating the one featuring US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Danish Prime Minister HelleThorning-Schmidt taken during Nelson Mandela's funeral.


Atiku's flight of fancy

If Jonathan cannot overlook insults, then God help us all dent: “Peter Obi worked very hard as a governor, very friendly to the government. He is a member of our Economic Management Team and an honorary adviser to the President on Finance and Commerce and he worked very hard, attended all the meetings and made very meaningful contributions. Even the day we announced that he might be leaving, the suggestion was that we should still keep him even if he is no longer the governor of Anambra State. That is the relationship we had. I have to thank Governor Peter Obi for that good relationship.” He continues: “A number of politicians feel that the best thing to do is to be abusing Mr. President, abusing the federal government and so on. You are elected to

develop your state, I think the best thing is to have good relationship with the centre, whether you have a pin or you don't have, but one day it will come. Wearing boxing gloves, jumping into the boxing ring to face Mr. President does not help the development of any state.” President Jonathan did not say whom he had in mind. But Barometer can hazard a guess that he probably thought of a few All Progressives Congress (APC) politicians, chiefly governors and legislators, and in particular, perhaps, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State. The president's undignified observations elicit two disturbing questions. First, just when has it become an issue worth the president losing sleep that individuals and

politicians abuse him; and second, where on earth did the president find the sense and logic to tie justice to partisan 'good behavior?' Such appalling fixation with the mundane, not to talk of his absurd attachment to small things, do grave injustice to the concept of leadership and to the person of Jonathan himself. If anyone seeks explanation for the Jonathan presidency's seeming inability to get its priorities right and why it misjudges issues, the reason can be located squarely in what President Jonathan told the Anambra delegation last week. Indeed, the president's statement accurately reflects both his worldview and persona, indicating how these two things have being corrupted and


weakened by the undue attention he pays to trivia, and showing how that trivia all but constricts any possibility of his doing good even by mistake. In effect, President Jonathan's statement summarises the hopelessness of his presidency and how quite impossible it is for his government to be inspired and inspiring.

ORMER Vice Presid e n t A t i k u Abubakar has suggested that in fighting Boko Haram, the Nigerian military should “actively engage the civilian JTF, train and support them to be its eyes and ears in the battle against (terrorism). “No doubt, the military is operating in very unfamiliar terrain and needs all the local support it can get,” he adds. “There's a lot that both parties the military and the civilian JTF can gain from collaborating.” Alhaji Atiku omits a small but important point: What happens after the war against terror is won and lost? Would the civilian combatants simply disarm and go home?

Yuguda and his dangerous panacea


S proof that most Nigerian leaders are really not what they are cracked up to be, the new chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Governor Isa Yuguda, told bemused newsmen in Ghana where he went to receive an award that those who advocate the partitioning of Nigeria in the national conference should be murdered. Well, he didn't quite put it as graphically as that, but what he suggested amounted to murder anyway. “They should be stoned if they advocate seces-

sion,” he said with a carefreeness that belittles his office. Here is how he put it airily and indecently: “What I have always said is that any person who goes there to talk about partitioning Nigeria should be stoned out of the conference because I believe in the unity of this country. Our parents could not have shed blood to unite this country only for our own generation to decimate the country or partition the land and say we cannot live together. Nobody in Nigeria is greater than the Almighty

God, who carved out a country called Nigeria. It is also the Almighty God who put the resources we are enjoying today and nobody should use religion or tribe to break our country. The conference should rather focus on issues that will unite us and not divide us.” Mallam Yuguda's views are not only undemocratic and denigrating; they negate the very essentials of free speech, distort the fundamentals of constitution-making and promote self-

help. Mallam Yuguda also unthinkingly embraces President Jonathan's deterministic theology, now roundly discredited. The president had recently argued that Nigeria, like all other countries, was put together by God, but did not explain why other countries put together by God had fractured over the centuries, nor explain the mysterious fact that God retains the sovereignty to put together and to dismember, using people as instrument.






One killed as armed men attack Enugu Govt House


ECURITY men yesterday foiled an alleged daring attempt by machette–wielding hoodlums to overrun the Government House, Enugu. The invaders said to number 50, according to Mr. Chukwudi Achife, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sullivan Chime, struck at about 4.30am. They were armed with

From Chris Oji, Enugu

machetes and cutlasses and pushed to force their way into the Lion Building, the abode of successive heads of government of the old Eastern Region, later East Central State, old Anambra State and now Enugu State. Security operatives guarding the complex repelled the hoodlums,

Achife said. One of the invaders was shot dead and three others arrested. A security man was also injured. An eye witness said it would have been bloodier if the hoodlums had carried guns. A Government House source said the invasion might not be unconnected with the refusal of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state to deny some

Saraki blasts Jonathan over sack of Sports Minister


HE immediate past Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday faulted President Goodluck Jonathan for sacking Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi as sports minister. He was sad that the presidency could sacrifice competence for sheer politics. Abdullahi was dropped last Wednesday for what the presidency sources described as his refusal to openly identify with President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 elections, and for his closeness to Senator Saraki. He had reportedly told the chairman of the PDP Caretaker Committee in the state that he” is not a politician.” He was, at the time of his sack, outside the country on official assignment. Notwithstanding, a grand reception awaits the ex-minister in Ilorin, his home town with no fewer than 10 state governors and eminent Kwarans expected to attend.

•10 governors, other stakeholders to attend grand reception to celebrate Abdullahi From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

The date and scope of the reception were being worked out at press time. But Saraki, who broke his silence on Abdulahi’s sack in response to an enquiry from our correspondent, said the ex-minister had always been a professional right from his time as a commissioner under his administration between 2003 and 2011. He said: “It is shameful that Bolaji Abdullahi was relieved of his duty as minister mainly because of politics and certainly not for non performance. “It is disappointing that in the interest of politics we have c o m p r o m i s e d competence, and invariably denied our nation the progress it deserves. “I do wish Mallam Abdullahi the best of luck

in his future endeavours and I am sure wherever he finds himself he will put in his very best as always with the interest of the nation at heart.” Speaking on Abdulahi’s character, Saraki said: “I can testify that he has always been professional since he was commissioner under my tenure as Governor in Kwara State. Monumental achievements made under him are still being built upon today. “As a fellow Kwaran, I am proud of him for showing Nigerians and the world at large what Kwarans are made of.” He said in spite of the sack, it was difficult to write off the incredible performance of Abdullahi. He said: “Abdullahi is a great son of Kwara with several milestones at state and national levels. His laudable achievements as Minister of Sports, which

politicians who had left for another party to return to the party. Achife added that the arrested persons along with some of the weapons recovered (machetes) have since been handed over to the Enugu Police Command for further investigations. Police spokesman in Enugu, Ebere Amaraizu said the matter was being investigated. include Nigeria’s victory at the last Africa Nations Cup, performance at the Olympics, FIFA World Cup has endeared him to sport lovers and Nigerians in all works of life.” Meanwhile, about 10 serving governors have indicated interest in the proposed grand reception for Abdullahi in Ilorin to celebrate his meritorious service to the nation. A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said most stakeholders in the state have also signified interest in the rally. “We are working out a grand reception/ rally for Abdullahi to only mark his excellent performance in office and to send a message that we should not sacrifice merit for partisan politics,” the source said. “About 10 governors have indicated interest in the rally. If the PDP can organise unity rally, we also have the right to host merit rally. “Contrary to the permutations of the presidency, the sack of Abdullahi will backfire for the president in 2015 in the state. Already, public opinion nationwide does not support the action of the president.”

2015: We must avoid bloodshed, Sultan tells Jonathan


HE Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, is worried by the bloodshed in parts of the north, especially with the 2015 elections approaching. He wants President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently take steps to stop the killings. “Let’s not make 2015 a year of taking innocent lives away,” he cautioned yesterday in his palace, while receiving the president who was on a private visit, his second in as many weeks. “This is one of the things bothering Nigerians. There should a be level play filed and politicians should ensure that there is no waste of blood for the quest for power.” The Sultan cited the intermittent clashes in Benue State between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers and asked the president to

From: Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

meet with the governors of the affected areas with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem. “You have to do everything possible to bring politicians, all ethnic nationalities and religious interest groups together for talks on the way out against the trend of insurgency and clashes especially in the North east,” he said. “Human life is important and sacred and we should not play politics with security. You should endeavour to take objective suggestions from people to bring the madness to an end. “We are full of sadness with heavy hearts about what is happening. We are worried by the number of lives of our young children lost recently in Yobe.”

He acknowledged that though the task of overcoming the insurgency is huge, Nigerians owe it a duty to be committed to the course. The Sultan also reiterated the need for the leadership to be transparent and God fearing in governance. “Although, we have heard Mr. President’s words of commitment on that, and we want other politicians to do the same, we will do our best to ensure peace and unity prevail in the country,” he stated. He presented the president with a publication on the principles leadership. President Jonathan said he was in Sokoto to pay his respect. He hailed the Sultan’s efforts at fostering unity and peace in the country. “We are committed to the peace and unity of Nigeria,” he maintained.

Also speaking, Governor Aliyu Wamakko decried the killings in the Northeast, saying, “these acts must be tackled and stopped. “Government must do something urgently to stop the loss of lives particularly in the north east,” he urged. Wamakko told the president that Sokoto was founded on the path of honesty, good governance, rule of law and respect for human value. Meanwhile, the governor at a brief meeting shortly after the departure of the president reiterated his support and resilience of the All Progressives Change (APC) to win the 2015 elections in the state. He said:” We are committed in spirit and soul to ensure victory of the APC. We are for change and stand for the course. No retreat, no surrender for what our people desire.”




Georgia on my map


(An evening with the Green Eagles)

TLANTA!!! What a beautiful name , and a beautiful city to match! You must give it to the Americans, whatever other misgivings. They have a knack for coming up with cities of breathtaking beauty, with names infused with brilliant and magical symbolism. Atlanta, Memphis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New Orleans—which presupposes an old Orleans, and many more. It takes some breathless confidence in one’s manifest destiny as God’s anointed nation to take these old world names and infuse them with new world possibilities. The Americans thought they were founding the world anew; a new nation with shinning possibilities which will serve as a beacon for others; a great new human citadel on the hills which would be impossible to ignore and unwise to trifle with. It did not occur to them that the foundation of this new world was laid on the brutal expropriation and summary annihilation of some older civilisations. The native Indians themselves had probably pillaged some earlier and older civilisations. This is a classic example of creative destruction which the world will learn to forgive and forget in order to move on. So, when the cultural hubris of founding a new world works for America, it works spectacularly well, creating beauty out of the ugliness of man’s inhumanity to man and glittering monuments out of the back-breaking labour of the formally and informally enslaved. In the western world, you do not need to be formally enslaved to be a slave, as the white underclass are finding out. All that is required is to be on the wrong side of the economic orrery, which is the case for ninety nine percent of the populace. When cultural hubris becomes political hubris, it leads to the apocalypse of Vietnam and the Dante’s inferno of contemporary Iraq. It did not occur to America that the Vietnamese are a proud, doughty and hardy race who would not brook being politically dictated to by a young brash country. They had been doing their own thing for almost a millennium before America came to be. The lessons were never learnt. It was noted by George Santayana, the fabled Spanish philosopher, that those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat the past. When America was invading Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, the old chicken rustler from Tikrit, they were told that it was not easy to change the mindset of a people formed over a thousand years overnight. Democracy cannot be externally imposed. It can only be internally induced through a slow transformation of mindset, attitude and institutional impedimenta. Trillions of dollar after, the result is the apocalyptic mess and roiling carnage of contemporary Iraq and the liquidation of American fiscal liquidity. Almost two thousand years earlier, the captured and enslaved Israeli tribe had captured the tragic dilemma for humanity and posterity in a moving elegy and on the same confluence of Tigris and Euphrates rivers: By the rivers of Babylon Where we sat down And then we wailed When we remember Zion For the wicked carried us away in captivity And required from us a song



nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu


How can we sing King Alpha’s song in a strange land? But tonight, Wednesday, 5th of March, in the year of our lord, 2014, an arctic freeze had overtaken normally warm and cosy Atlanta. Everybody was dressed like a Siberian wayfarer, and this in early March. Incredible. A glum and icy reserve had taken over the normally jaunty populace. This was not the Atlanta one was used to. A denizen of its more familiar haunts and of the old and imperious state of Georgia itself, Snooper was returning after a ten year leave of absence. Ray Charles, the old crooner of the magical metropolis, would have stirred in his grave, bewildered by the frosty formality. The great and good thing about America is that it is a land of ceaseless self-invention. You leave a city for one year and upon your return, you are lost in the maze of new developments and glittering new suburbs. Within a decade, Atlanta had undergone an amazing transformation. Tonight, one was beginning to feel like good old Rip van Winkle who had come back from the dead. Could this magical emporium be the new Atlantis? And then panic began to give way to certainty and certitude as the mind locked into the central highway with the sign to Macon and Birmingham in Alabama. You now had a measure of the old geography. To the South East of Atlanta and about three hours journey by road or an hour by air lay the beautiful historic city of Savannah in all its Gothic gorgeousness. Like a beautiful treasure, Savannah is frozen in time, a classic example of a living city as one vast alluring museum. It was said that General William Tecumseh Sherman was so enthralled by the surreal charms of the city that he refrained from putting it to sword. He had offered it instead as an 1864 Christmas present to Abe Lincoln. It is not just the weather and urbana that are changing in America. Everything else appears to be changing as well. The Capone Capitalism by which America was able to impose its will and might on the rest of the world appears to have run its course. Some other Capone nations are appearing on the hazy horizons. Good old Babylon and the

old Western nemesis of Afghanistan have upended the American apple cart. There is time for everything. Consequently and even more dangerously, democracy itself appears to be losing its shine and gloss. While China with its state capitalism, its audacious and cheerfully authoritarian system, routinely lifts more people out of poverty and the debt trap into a rapidly expanding middle class, the Obama reform has virtually collapsed under the weight of an institutional gridlock and democratic deadlock. Developing nations are not unlikely to notice the dangerous developments from America. The Chinese, like some of their fabled generals of literary lore, appear content with watching America slowly dissolve under the weight of its own historic contradictions without firing a single shot. The Russians are not so sanguine or strategically savvy. Under Tsar Vladmir Putin, it is unlikely that the west has heard the last from Russia. The old Russian bear is not dead after all. It has only recovered from its catatonic stupor. While America is wringing its hand about what to do in Ukraine, its response oscillating between studied equivocation and downright confusion, Putin is relentlessly raising the stakes. Russian hyper-nationalism is proving far more dangerous than communist radicalism. Lest we forget why we were actually in Atlanta, it was to watch the Green Eagles play their Mexican counterparts. Soccer is unarguably the single most unifying factor for Nigeria and Nigerians. As it ever so happens with the nation itself, most Nigerians who follow the Green Eagles are gluttons for punishment often enduring disastrous defeats or dismal self-destruction on the field of play. Four years earlier after watching the Green Eagles in Durban plunge to the very nadir of their fortunes in a remarkably inept display which saw to their ouster from the World Cup, yours sincerely had vowed never to have anything to do with the national team again. But hope springs eternally from the Nigerian heart. Besides,

there is no killing the eagles. They have ratcheted up some fine and impressive performances under the able generalship of Stephen Keshi. They have emerged from the depths of despair and destruction to give some outstanding displays. For Snooper, what did it was the moment Mba’s winning goal crashed through the Ivorian defence on the team’s way to winning the last African championship. It was a marvelous outing. The eagles of yore were back. By a remarkable coincidence, Atlanta was also the scene of the Eagles greatest triumph till date when they won the soccer gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Snooper had been watching the classic game against Brazil with his son in faraway in England. It was past midnight when Brazil suddenly went three goals up to Nigeria’s lone goal. With an angry scowl, the boy headed for bed claiming that he was tired of further punishment. In one of the most remarkable upsets and incredible come-back in footballing history, the eagles went on to beat Brazil and to outclass Argentina in the final . Eighteen years later, and at the same venue of the Eagles greatest triumph, one was hoping for another outstanding performance against another notable Latin American footballing nation. The atmosphere was electrifying. Strangely enough, the massive din from a million Mexican vuvuzela reminds one of the end of the Aztec empire when a handful of Spanish adventurers put the ancient civilisation to sword. It could have been part of the military strategy of the Aztec warriors, but many believed that the din could only have come from the offended Gods of the Aztec people. This evening, it is the Aztec hordes that seemed to have invaded America. It was as if Mexico itself has emptied into the massive Georgia dome in Atlanta and spilled over to adjoining areas. It was an endless column of men, women, the young and the old, all draped in green. The Green Eagles refused to be fazed by the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Mexican supporters. Even at the nadir of their fortunes, something could always be said for the superb confidence and militant self-belief of these boys. It is a self-belief that often tips into overconfidence and sheer irresponsibility. But they seemed to have reined this in for now. After some opening cautious probes from both sides, it was obvious that the match was evenly poised in terms of physique and flair. The Mexicans have had some outstanding successes with their junior teams, and some of these boys are now beginning to come through and into their own. Ranked nineteenth in the world soccer pecking order as against Nigeria’s forty seventh, the Mexican whizz kids could be forgiven for initially thinking that this was going to be a routine work out against inferior opponents. In the event, it was the Eagles that first took the battle to their opponents, but the Mexicans immediately responded. This culminated in a series of misses on both sides. Judging by the dramatic manner in which the vuvuzela went quiet, it was clear the Mexican crowd were not expecting the kind of robust re-

sponse and daring incursions from an African team. But towards the end of the first half, the Mexican team increased pressure on the Eagles and the goalkeeper was forced to make a series of brilliant saves. For most of the second half, the match stalemated into a technical affair with some good chances fluffed by both teams. The Mexicans in particular did not appear to have much appetite for adventurous forays, preferring to catch the Eagles on the offensive rebound. At the end of 90 minutes, there was nothing to separate the two teams. Although the match ended in a goalless draw, it was by no means dreary and unexciting. Yes, Stephen Keshi seems to have the nucleus of a very good team. This was not the dismal eagles one watched in Durban, South Africa almost four years ago. Some of the new eagles, particularly Leon Balogun, held their own. But a lot of work still needs to be done. Legendary failings persist. The strikers still seem to lack the killer instincts of all predators. Rather than calm marksmanship in front of goals, there were too many blind and wild shootings. Mikel Obi had a good game, but he is too much of a defensive ballholding midfielder to function as a creative playmaker. The Eagles still need that visionary libero and game-changer who can impose his will on the midfield even as he determines the tempo and pace of the match with perfectly weighted passes. Let the eagles’ officials watch this match again. The forward often had to drop deep to collect the ball while making their way forward. It points to the absence of the master midfielder. It is our prayer that Keshi finds this supremely gifted Nigerian before June. On and off the pitch, what cannot be taken away from Nigerians is a natural flair for the dramatic. You cannot beat Nigeria when it comes to what is known as chutzpah. The classic instance of chutzpah is the case of the young fellow who killed his parents but then went on to ask the court to be lenient with him on the grounds that he was an orphan. On Wednesday morning in Atlanta, Snooper made discreet inquiries about the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, an old pen-pusher on the back page of This Day. The Nigerian official chuckled and then grunted: “Sir, he has just been fired!!!.” Your mind immediately raced to WAWA, the colonial acronym of frustration about the impossible ways of Africans. WAWA means West Africa Wins Again. You cannot win Nigeria, as they will say in pidgin English. But this sudden political execution notwithstanding, Nigerian officialdom was at its most impressive and productive in Atlanta thanks to the likes of Demola Olajire, Ayodeji Tinubu, Chris Green, Musa Ahmadu the Secretary of NFF and Honorable Godfrey Gaiya, the Chairman of the House Committee on Sports. With his understated old world charms and civility, Aminu Maigari, the Chairman of NFF, stands a very good chance of leading the Nigerian Football Federation to greater glory. It has been a beautiful night in Atlanta. Georgia will be on the mind for a long time to come.



20 Tiv farmers killed From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi


WENTY more Tiv farmers were killed yesterday by suspected Fulani herdsmen in f r esh att a ck s o n Ayilamo, Tombo ward, Gaambe Tiev, home town of Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State. All the settlements are in Logo Local Government Area of the state. Ayilamo, a settlement of over 400 people on the Abinsi/Wukari Highway was razed by the invaders. The hoodlums had, earlier on Thursday attacked Tombo ward, setting ablaze Tse Dzungwe. The attack spread to Tse Akpam, Adzege, Uzer and Tse Gbeleve settlements o n F r ida y and yesterday. The governor was attending the PDP zonal rally in Minna when the herdsmen struck. Residents of Ayilamo apparently tipped off of the impending attack had fled such that when the herdsmen came, resistance was not there. The houses of Joseph Tsavsar, special adviser to the governor on Special Du t i e s , M o s e s A u d u , PDP organising secretary, Shiaondo Alaaga permanent secretary in the office of the Head of Service and, Uja Emmanuel of The Nation at Ayilamo were burnt. The police in Ayilamo had also fled four days before the town was overrun yesterday by the invaders. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Daniel Ezeala, a DSP, confirmed the incident and said the police are on top of the situation.


PDP chieftains launch re-election campaign for Jonathan •National chair mounts pressure on Amaechi, Kwankwaso, others to return


HIEFTAINS of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday in Minna expressed support for President Goodluck Jonathan in his re-election bid ,in what appeared to be a flagrant violation of the ban on campaign by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Speakers after speakers at the North Central Solidarity and Unity rally of the PDP led by the Senate President David Mark and the party’s national vice chairman, Yusuf Ayetogun, assured the President, of maximum support in the 2015 election. The national Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, made a fresh appeal to Governors Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), who dumped the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to return to the ruling party.

Jide Orintunsin, Minna

“We are willing to welcome them back home and I can assure them that they will be treated equally. Please come back home,” the PDP chairman said. He saddled the Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum and Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu with the responsibility of bringing back the ex-PDP governors. He said: “if the Niger State governor, as the leader of the G7 and Jigawa State governor, can remain in the party, I call on Gov. Aliyu to ensure the return of the other five PDP governors who went to APC. “Gov. Aliyu saw the light at the end of the tunnel and stayed. Your job has not finished: go back and make sure your people (G5) see the light and get them to come back home to PDP.” But President Goodluck Jonathan saw the defectors as retrogressive politicians.

He described the PDP as the only stable and democratic political party in Africa. He said: “PDP is the only party that has not changed its name, logos, slogan or colour. Some parties change colours at will, they are chameleons and cannot be trusted. PDP can be trusted, we have vision and mission. If you have a vision, you will not be changing slogans, logos and colour everyday. PDP is still the dominant party in Nigeria. “We still remain PDP, not like some parties that today, they are red party, tomorrow, they are green party, next time, they are blue party, they are chameleons and they cannot be trusted. PDP has its vision and mission, if you have a vision, you will not be changing name, slogan, logo and colour everyday.” He said that those who defected from the PDP were a problem when they were in the party. “Some people were founding members of PDP; they were in PDP for 14 years. They had

been Ministers, Commissioners, Speakers, Governors and held various positions under the party, now they say they are decamping (sic) to another party because they say they need progress, that PDP is not good enough. “This means that when they were in PDP, they were retrogressive elements, it means they were a problem to us in the party. Now that they have left, we will progress more, now, PDP will move faster and bigger. It is a party that will take Nigeria to development.” Though the president said he was not in Minna to campaign, he predicted that come 2015, “PDP will regain, recover and reconstruct the states it had lost in 2011. For us in PDP, there is no shaking, in the North Central, there is no shaking; we will recover Kwara and Nasarawa States. We will regain, recover and reconstruct these states that we have lost in 2015.”

• Nigeria Labour Congress, Lagos State women wing protesting against killing of children to mark International Women’s Day on Lagos Abeokuta Express way by Cement Bus Stop. PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

Aviation professionals petition Jonathan over mystery aircraft


VIATION experts under the aegis of the Concerned Aviation Professionals (CAP) have sent a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan over what they described as the worrisome spate of plundering the nation’s resources by an unnamed Minister. They accused the minister of spending not less than N10 billion of public fund on maintaining a private aircraft in the past two years. The aviation professionals in a recent letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, titled “Re:Mindless waste of Nigeria’s resources: Who owns this Challenger 850 Aircraft marked OE-ILA?” signed by Chairman, Abdul Malik Masaya, and Secretary , John Obande Anihinru, asked the presidency to immediately institute a probe into the ownership, maintenance and usage of the aircraft marked OE-ILA, domiciled at one of the private hangers in a Nigerian airport in the last two years.

•Accuse unnamed minister of blowing N10bn maintaining plane By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor The group, which said it is worried that the “Super Minister, who is one of the celebrated members of the Federal Executive Council, parades fluke, erroneous and complete misrepresentation of the reality in the concerned ministry as successes of the past years.” They accused the said minister of committing 500,000 Euros, about N130 million, monthly to maintaining the aircraft since it surfaced under mysterious circumstances at the airport in 2012. They prayed: “Sir, we have details and impeccable records which confirm that the “Super Minister” has been frittering away the scarce resources of Nigeria in maintaining the Challenger 850 aircraft in the last two years. The incontrovertible evi-

dence we have is that the Minister has been committing 500,000 Euros (N130 million) monthly to maintain the aircraft in the last two years. Thus, in two years, the Minister has committed the sum of N3.120 billion to keep the jet which is used for personal use and that of the Minister’s family alone.” The aviation professionals added, “We make bold to say that the amount above is just a tip on the iceberg. Several other billions have been wasted flying the jet around the world obviously for leisure by the Minister and solely members of the immediate family. Our records showed that the amount already wasted by this Minister and members of the family on trips that are in no way beneficial to Nigeria runs into not less than N10 billion. The worst of all Sir, is the fact that an agency of government is paying all the billions used to maintain this jet.” The group revealed that a subtle crisis is currently brew-

ing in a notable government agency following the recent discovery of the several billions allegedly spent on the mystery jet by some directors of the parastatal. The professionals urged the federal government to establish the real owner of the mystery aircraft and demand explanation on why government fund is spent on maintaining it. They observed, “We are aware of a war that is now brewing in the lucrative government agency when some directors got wind of the huge funds being channeled into maintaining the Minister’s private jet. We want you to investigate sir, who entered into the contract for maintaining the Challenger Jet on behalf of Nigeria. Is it a formal or informal contract? Why is Nigeria paying for the jet? “We cannot comprehend the sense in keeping a plane solely for the use of a Minister, especially when the plane is not part of the Presidential fleet. We

also know that Mr. President will promptly and readily oblige the Minister the use of any of the Presidential jets if it becomes imperative for the minister to embark on official trips on behalf of the government. Details at our possession include the series of flights the Minister had engaged in with the said plane in the last two years. The details include the different locations, time and date of the flights as well as the dates the plane returned to Nigeria at each instance. In fact we can confirm to you that the plane has been in use since July 2012.” The aviation professionals are asking whether the unnamed minister was above the law and asked that “a thorough probe of this allegation should start from the FAAN, NCAA and NAMA. The agencies have records of all the trips the Challenger 850 jet made on the payroll of one of the nation’s top revenue earning agencies.”

PDP rally: INEC faults early campaign By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor


HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said yesterday that campaign by any political party or group of politicians ahead of the lifting of the ban oN campaigns is a violation of the rules governing elections in the country. Reacting to complaints trailing the several rallies across the country by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the latest being the North Central zonal rally held yesterday in Minna, the electoral commission maintained that it was illegal for anyone to begin campaign outside INEC guidelines. Speaking in a telephone interview, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said the Commission views all forms of early campaign by political parties as contraventions of the Electoral Act. The INEC spokesperson said the position of the constitution on when campaigns should start is very clear. He said:”INEC will not respond to allegations against individual political parties but our position on early campaigns like this remain the same. For us, it is a contravention of Section 99, sub section 1 of the Electoral Act which stipulates that campaign can only start 90 days to the election and end 24 hours to the election. Any political party or group that does anything aside this is going against the Constitution. “We have said that before. We issued a press release on this recently. Our position remains the same irrespective of which political party you are talking about. If we respond to your question about party A, another person will be quick to point out things done by party B which appears to him or her as some form of campaign. That is why we will not respond to allegations against individuals. “And let me tell you that it is not for INEC to take an action against such contraventions because there are institutional structures meant to address all forms of constitutional breaches. This is not an exemption. INEC is not a security agency. We can only call on the relevant security agencies to do the needful in this situation.” Idowu warned that early campaigns would only heat up the polity. “There is no doubt that the tendency by political parties towards pre-emptive electioneering is of concern to us at INEC. Like i said, it is a violation of statutory provisions and this will only heat up the polity,” he warned. Before yesterday’s rally in Minna, President Jonathan had addressed rallies in Sokoto, Owerri and Ilorin.




ORMER military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, yesterday asked President Goodluck Jonathan to put an immediate end to the killing of innocent Nigerians by terrorists. Gowon, speaking at the National Youth Peace Concert in Abuja, also challenged the terrorists to come out to defend their actions. He urged Nigerians to come to the aid of the government by providing useful information about the terrorists. The concert was organized by the Office of the First Lady and office of the Special Adviser to the President on Youth and Students Matters. He said: “I call on the Federal Government, using the various security agencies to vigorously work at ending the orgy of mindless killings and mayhem across the country. But the people can also help by making sure that they give intelligence of information of where these people are coming from.” “Are they Nigerians that are doing these? If they are Nigerians, I challenge them to come out and defend their acts against their motherland.” General Gowon also asked other African leaders to “exercise the critical responsibility of leadership and rise up

Boko Haram: Gowon tasks Jonathan on ending killings

•Challenges terrorists to come out to defend their actions •First Lady warns youths against election thuggery religion we have, we •Begs terrorists to stop killing students the pray to one God. Allah is the From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

to the challenge of providing solution to these problems through education, employment, youth development and empowerment.” These actions, he stressed, “will help to stem the tendency towards violent conflicts in some parts of the country.” Gowon, who was the special guest of honour at the event, expressed sympathy to the families of the dead and wounded students in the recent terrorists attacks in the school in Yobe State as he condemned other similar attacks. “You must reject acts of violence of any sort. But you must embrace and build trust

Boko Haram: Military pound 17 insurgents’ camps


BOUT 17 camps of Boko Haram spread across Adamawa and Borno States have come under sustained pounding by troops deployed to the Northeast to flush out terrorists in the area. Over 80 insurgents arrested during the raids are currently being grilled at Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri. Fresh intelligence discovery by the military also confirmed that Boko Haram members have changed tactics as they now seem to prefer unprimed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The Nation gathered yesterday that troops have subjected more than 17 Boko Haram’s camps in the two states to pounding in the last 24 hours. “We have had sustained air raids on more than 17 locations of the insurgents in the last 24 hours,” one source said. “The encounters were mostly in mountains, forests and borders between Adamawa and Borno States. We have been targeting these areas in order not to give them a breathing space and to ensure there is no violation of the borders. “The reality is that we are going to sustain the air strikes for as long as possible; we will not relent at all.” Responding to a question, the source said over 80 insurgents had been arrested and were undergoing interrogation at Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri. The source, who said some of the Boko Haram fighters were in bad shape, however, claimed that the Defence Headquarters had directed that the wounded be offered full medical service. The DHQ gave the directive in line with its rules of engagement and international practices on armed conflict. The source added: “We are currently interrogating more than 80 insurgents; we are also sorting them out based on empirical evidence of what we found on them.

and confidence among one another for the eternal good of your respective countries and your continent,” he told the youths at the occasion. The First Lady and President of African First Ladies Peace Mission, Dame Patience Jonathan, advised Nigerian youths to shun thuggery among other crimes as the 2015 general elections approach. Urging Nigerians to forgive one another and work together, she charged them to be peace ambassadors in their homes, community, states and Nigeria and the continent as a whole. She said: “I want you to go out there to preach peace for me. Why are our brothers killing one another? Let us not al-

low outsiders to come and cause confusion for us. We need everyone to be alive to build a strong nation. “I am really pained; I don’t know how to say enough is enough. I have prayed in my bedroom. I want God to hear and answer me. We are killing one another. Let God, Allah touch our hearts. Let us stop killing one another.” “I am deeply pained and I wish you can help me today. The youths, you are my hope. I have called on my fellow women and yet help is still not coming, the men have tried and yet no help. So, I am calling on you the youth. I want you to be alive for me. I want Nigeria to be as it was before.” She went on: “No matter

same as God. Everything we do, God is seeing us. Let them cease from torching schools and killing students. I want you to be my ambassadors as you leave here. Carry my message along with you. From today, don’t call me First Lady Dame Patience, call me ‘Mama Peace’.” On the 2015 election, she said: “I am crying and begging you, don’t be used. Election is coming, they will come to you. Why are they not using their children? Their children are in schools abroad. They don’t have money to feed you, but they have money to buy grenades for you. Please don’t take it again. I want you to stay alive for me.” After releasing100 white doves as symbols of peace in


Nigeria and the continent at the occasion, she was presented with two awards for her role in promoting peace in the continent. The First Lady of South Africa, Mrs. N. Zuma, who spoke on behalf of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, maintained that no meaningful development can be achieved in any society except peace is first achieved. She urged the youths in the continent to continue to stand for love and peace in order to end the crises across the continent. Among the dignitaries at the occasion were the First Lady of Sudan and other Regional Vice Presidents of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, the Wife of the Senate President, Helen Mark, First Ladies from various states of the Federation. Various Christian and Muslim leaders in the country also spoke at the occasion preaching love and peace in the country. TuFace Idibia, Onyeka Onwenu, and artiste from Cote’d Ivoire, Katara were among the artists that performed at the occasion. The concert was attended by thousands of youths that stormed the city from various states of the Federation.

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

“Most of the insurgents were badly wounded; some of them look fragile; and a few others were bleeding. “The Defence Headquarters has however directed that we should give them full medical service in line with our rules of engagement and international best practices. “We are already taking care of them in different medical facilities although some have little chance of survival.” On why soldiers were reportedly running away from Boko Haram targeted areas, the military source said: “The troops are neither withdrawing from battle fronts or afraid of encounters with the insurgents. “What happens is that whenever they locate or sight Boko Haram camps, they will call for air raids and they have a responsibility to get out of the place before air strikes or else they will be killed along with the insurgents. “So a Senator that is saying that troops are running is not familiar with military tactics. Our air strikes on the insurgents are usually devastative and if troops remain during such raids, they will be killed too. “What the troops do is to keep a safe distance and lay ambush for the insurgents running away from air strikes.” But the source said the military had just discovered Boko Haram’s new tactics for unprimed IEDs. He said: “They now have preference for unprimed IEDs which can go through security checks undetected. In the past, they were using primed IEDs which would be planted at strategic locations. “On Friday, we found out that they have chosen to be smuggling unprimed IEDs into targeted areas and whenever they are ready to attack, they will unleash the explosives.

•From left: First Lady of South Africa, Mantuli Zuma; Director General, National Orientation Agency, Mr Mike Omeri; First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan and First Lady of Sudan, Wadad Omer, acknowledging cheers from the crowd, at The National Youth Peace Concert in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Obi leaves N75 b in coffers


OVERNOR Peter Obi of Anambra State yesterday presented his end of tenure report to the people of Anambra State, saying his administration has N75 billion in savings for the state. He said one year was an impeachment year and therefore not part of his accountability year. Speaking at the Women Development Centre, Awka, venue of the event attended by members of the Federal Government economic team led by the richest African billionaire Aliko Dangote , Chief Emeka Anyaoku, among others, Obi said the money included N25 billion investment for the state. Obi broke down the savings by informing that expected bank balances as at March 14 would be N11.5 billion; federal government approved refund is N10 billion; foreign currency investment of (US$155m) N26 billion.

•Iweala, Dangote, Achebe, others eulogise him From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

He gave account of the investment the state made in some projects being executed, some of which are N3.5 billion in INTAFACT, N9b in Nigeria independent Power Project; N4 billion in Orient Petroleum Resources PLC, N1b in Onitsha Hotel ; N1b in Agulu Lake Hotel; N0.9billion in Awka Shopping Mall, N350m in Quoted investment portfolio, among others. The Governor explained further that his administration received about N620 billion and N20 billion from Federal Allocation and interventions from donor agencies and development partners. He noted that in spite the state’s low revenue profile, his government completed over 801 Kms of roads that gave

access to all parts of the State and opened up rural areas. He noted that collaboration with the Church transformed and repositioned the education and Health sector to meet the needs of the people. The Governor elect, Chief Willie Obiano in his speech assured that his administration would build on the foundation laid by Obi and sustain his interventions in schools and hospitals as well as attract people in Diaspora and other investors to set up businesses in the State. Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyoku said the occasion was a celebration of success in governance that brought recognizable transformation in all sectors through indisputable prudent and judicious use of public resources. The coordinating Minister

of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala said she was proud of the governor and his achievements. She recalled that unlike other politicians, Obi completed projects initiated by his predecessors, attracted viable foreign direct investments, encouraged and empowered indigenous investors and industrialists to grow and expand. Also Dangote said Governor Obi had earned the respect and admiration of Nigerians and noted that no state had saved so much money and made such investments in addition to mass infrastructural development achieved by Governor Obi. Other notable Anambra people like Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe and Dr. Dozie Ikedife said that Obi had indeed rescued the State




Lagos Assembly raises the alarm over FERMA taskforce By Oziegbe Okoeki


HE Lagos State House of Assembly has expressed concern over the presence and activities of some black uniformed individuals at the Lagos-Ibadan toll gate who identify themselves as Federal Task force under the Federal Road Management Agency (FERMA). The issue was raised at plenary under matter of urgent public importance by the Deputy Whip, Hon. Rotimi Abiru, who alleged that the operatives go to garages extorting money from motorists and also mounting roadblocks. Abiru said the intention of these men is suspicious more especially when both the Minister of Works and the Managing Director of FERMA have publicly disowned them. The lawmaker maintained that the activity of the group is a threat to law and order in the state as their activities pose a serious challenge to security. He therefore urged his colleagues to call on the state commissioner of Police to investigate the group. It would be recalled that the issue of this group and its training came up when the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, was invited to the House recently over security issues in the state. Although the Commissioner promised to investigate the matter and report back to the House, he has not done so until the latest development. In his contribution, the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Lola Akande said the activities of the group must be checked quickly to avoid the emergence of another Boko Haram because according to her, the activities of the Islamist fundamentalist sect started in a similar fashion.

AIG assures of peaceful elections in Ondo, Ekiti From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 11, Mr. David Omojola, has restated the readiness of the Police towards ensuring the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States. The AIG gave this assurance during his familiarisation tour of the Ondo State command. According to him, the Police would leave no stone unturned in partnering with other stakeholders to conduct acceptable elections devoid of rancour. Omojola charged the officers and men of the command to be up and doing and also identify the likely flash points in the state to ensure that no violence is recorded before, during and after the elections. In another development, Omojola also assured that the mortgage facility recently introduced by the Police High Command would be for all officers and men irrespective of their ranks. He said, “Very soon, you would start enjoying the mortgage loans irrespective of your ranks and I want you to get ready for it. The arrangement has been concluded from the headquarters in Abuja.”

set Alleged rape: Obesere is being Adeseun to empower blackmailed-Victim’s friend constituents I A new twist has been added to the alleged rape case involving fuji music artiste, Alhaji Abass Akande (aka Obesere). Mrs. Bola Okoro, the woman who is alleged to have introduced the victim, Ms. Olanike Olaiya to the musician has described the allegation has a blatant lie. Olaiya, aged 29, had accused Obesere of raping her when she slept in his house located at Okota area of Lagos. But refuting Olaiya’s claim at The Nation’s office in Ibadan on Saturday, Okoro claimed that she has been responsible for the upkeep of Olaiya and

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

her daughter, Folawe, in her home for over five years, adding that Olaiya had earlier revealed her plan to blackmail Obesere in order to collect N10million from him. She said, “I warned her not to try such a thing and I thought she would take my advice. Obesere is my business partner and I introduced Olanike to him in order for him to help her with her business without knowing she had an evil intent. “She was with Obesere on Tuesday and she called me that she was coming to

Ibadan to check her child the following day, but I told her to wait that I am also coming to Lagos for a meeting and she came to meet me in the meeting and there was nothing wrong with her till we got to Ibadan. But Obesere later called me that Olanike said she was bleeding and that I should take her to the hospital.” Continuing her narration, Okoro added, “When I asked her what happened, she told me that she needed money and that I should support her plan to collect N10million from Obesere. But I refused. She later pro-

ceeded to Lagos to report at the Okota police station that she was raped.” Alleging that her friend’s real name is not Olanike, Okoro claimed that Olanike’s real name is Morenike Kikelomo. Vouching for Obesere’s innocence, Okoro added, “I have known Alhaji Obesere for over 12 years and I can say he is a responsible and kind hearted individual who can-not hurt a fly. I wonder why he would stoop so low to rape or use a girl for ritual when so many girls are out there who want to have him.”

N fulfillment of his electioneering promises, the senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Chief Ayo Adeseun, has concluded plans to empower members of his constituency. In a statement by the lawmaker’s media office, it enumerated his achievements, which include the provision of functional solar powered boreholes, solar powered street lights, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads in all the 11 local government areas making up the district. The statement also added that the latest empowerment programme will have about one thousand students spread across all the tertiary institutions of Nigeria being given bursary awards, while 25 people selected from 14 local councils will undergo training and skill acquisition in soap and pomade making, poultry and fish farming, to mention but a few. In addition, vehicles, motor cycles, generators, deep freezers, sewing and grinding machines, GSM package, farm implements will be distributed freely to thousands of the constituents.

Ogun College of Technology holds convocation

T •L-R: Commissioner for Women Affairs, Social Development and Gender Empowerment, Mrs. Fola Richie-Adewusi; wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; her husband, Dr Kayode Fayemi and a cross section of women during the International Women’s Day celebration in Ado-Ekiti... yesterday.

Fayemi’s wife urges women to mobilise for husband’s re-election


HE wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has sued for peace as the June 21 governorship election in the state approaches. She spoke yesterday at the commemoration of the 2014 International Women’s Day at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital on Saturday. Fayemi maintained that peace was primary to the attainment of free, fair and credible election, while call-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

ing on women to be in the vanguard for the attainment of peace in the state. She equally urged women in the state to mount their own separate campaigns and mobilise for the electoral victory of her husband, Governor Kayode Fayemi. According to her, the governor has done a lot for women especially in the area

of ‘empowerment and gender equality’, given the number of women occupying elective and appointive posts in the state currently. The governor’s wife said, “Governor Kayode Fayemi on March 8, 2007 promised to ensure adequate women empowerment if elected. Today, he has not only done that, but he has exceeded what he promised. “Apart from that, women hold strategic positions in the present government in Ekiti.

Women are now the pride of Ekiti and a set of people who cannot be despised in any facet of governance. If there is any State where women have been empowered for positive change in Nigeria, it is Ekiti.” She equally urged women to participate in the ongoing collection of permanent voter cards from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), noting that voting started with the collection of the cards In attendance at the Stadium were market women across the 16 local government areas and 131 towns and villages in the state.

College of Education teachers protest against Wike


EMBERS of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, on Friday trooped out to protest what they called the ‘maladministration’ of the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike. Taking a swipe at the minister for his performance in office so far, the union’s former National President, Comrade Remi Makinde, said it would have been logical if Wike holds the office of “Special Adviser to the President on Governor Rotimi

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

Amaechi’s affairs” rather than be in an office that decides the future of all Nigerian students. During the protest, the lecturers expressed their anger over the ongoing strike which is now in its fourth month. The lecturers during the protest which was led by the chapter’s chairman, Dr. Samuel Akintunde, carried placards with different inscriptions such as “IPPIS is repugnant; Jonathan should respond to the cries of the masses; FG should safe education from drowning.”

The protest was initially disrupted by men of the Nigerian Police led by Mr. Emmanuel Okoi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, who prevented the teachers from obstructing the free flow of vehicles along the Akure-OndoOre-Lagos road. Explaining the rationale behind their agitation, Akintunde said the objective is to improve the academic standard of the students. The COEASU chairman noted that the Federal Government has been recalcitrant in addressing their grievances, stressing that the government has

only met with the lecturers twice, adding that on these two occasions, it was different groups who represented the government on the dialogue table. He declared, “Our fight is about bringing up quality education in Nigeria. The Federal Government prefers dialoguing with university lecturers but neglect other stakeholders in the education sector. “We are saying that it is high time all these things changed. Secondary schools workshops and laboratories are better than those ones in Nigeria’s Colleges of Education,” he lamented.

HE Ogun State College of Health Technology, Ilese-Ijebu, is to hold its maiden convocation on Thursday, March 13. A statement by the Chairman, Academic Ceremonies Committee, Dr. Olusegun Ogunyanwo, said activities marking the three-day ceremony will begin on March 11 with a novelty football match. The convocation lecture is to be delivered by Professor Akin Osibogun, Chief Medical Director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba in Lagos at the college auditorium on March 12. The highpoint of the ceremony is the grand finale on March 13 at the college convocation ground, which will feature the graduation of students of the institution from 2007 when the college was upgraded to a polytechnic status. The state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun who is also the visitor to the college, is expected to chair the occasion.

Ondo bye-election: APC picks exOSOPADEC boss From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State at the weekend declared the former Chairman, Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Chief Adewale Omojuwa, as its candidate for the April 5 bye-election for the vacant seat of Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency. A statement by the Secretary, Interim Committee of the party in the State, Prince Olu Adegboro, said Omojuwa polled 83votes to beat six other aspirants, who included Mr. Bambo Odoro, Soji Ehinlanwo, N.Tawose, A.0 Jolomi, Iwajomo Desmond and Akin Okadigbo. In his acceptance speech, Omojuwa commended the party members for reposing confidence in him, promising to work with the other aspirants to ensure victory for APC in the election.


Angry residents protest CCECC’s neglect over rock blasts •Soldiers disperse protesters From Bukola Amusan, Abuja


NGRY residents of Garam community, a suburb of Bwari council of FCT located in Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State, yesterday, stopped workers of Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) handling the Abuja- Kaduna railway project from working. The angry mob numbering about 50 mobilised themselves as early as 6:30 am to the construction site, alleging the firm has been insensitive in handling the compensation due to them. They blocked all the entry and exit points to different sites of the company in the locality with rocks, forcing workers comprising Nigerians and Chinese to abandon work for the day. Some of the company’s trucks that had arrived at the sites very early were also prevented from going in or out. The aggrieved residents are those whose properties were damaged by a twin-rock blast engineered by the company in February while constructing the railway line. It was gathered the company’s Public Relations Manager, Aminu Mohammed, appealed to the affected residents that CCECC would take responsibility for the blasts and compensate all the victims adequately. Residents took to the streets after claiming to have waited endlessly for the firm to fulfill its promises. They said the commencement of rainfall has made living in those damaged houses very uncomfortable. While the protest lasted, the company’s Personnel Manager, Davids Oladokun, apologised for the damages and discomfort the blasts have caused them. He assured that the company had already started taking stock of damages with a view to giving adequate compensation to the victims.



DSS arrests Plateau-bound gunrunner with 15 rifles A O

Ahmaddiya: Boko Haram killings barbaric, unreligious From Grace Obike, Abuja

PERATIVES of the Department of State Security (DSS) have arrested a 32-year-old gunrunner, Mallam Bello Dakogol, in Bauchi with a 15 AK 47 rifles. The rifles were cleverly concealed in Dakogol’s Navy blue Toyota Solara car with registration Lagos 605 EKY. Dakogol hails from Kwalla village in Quan-Pang Local government area of Plateau state and specialises in arm trafficking. Investigations revealed that thesuspectpickedupthegunsfrom his contact man in Gamboru Ngala local government area of Borno State. Parading the suspects before reporters in Bauchi, the DSS spokesman, Kabiru Abdulsanda, saidthearrestwasbasedonsupport from the Army and Police in the State. Abdulsanda disclosed that the suspects were able to supply 41

By Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi

AK47 riffles between July 2013 and January 2014 to members of his criminal syndicate. The suspect confessed that he used to supply the arms to criminal groups in Jos. Dakogol further informed that he has successfully carried out five runs but was nabbed during his sixth attempt to transport the fire arms from Borno to Plateau State. He also disclosed that he got N100, 000 on each successful run besides having N30, 000. When asked how he was able to beat security checks, he replied:” I used to load the fire arms under the boot. So when I get to security check points, they only check the surface of the boot while some will pass me without conducting any check because of the beauty of the car.’’

Students’ massacre: Parents condemn closure of unity schools


HE Parents and Teachers Association [PTA] of the Federal Government Colleges, otherwise known as Unity Schools in the Northeast have condemned the closure of the five federal colleges in the geopolitical zone. They asked the federal government to reverse the decision. The colleges are located at Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. Leaders of the PTA made their views known at a special meeting at the Federal Government Girls’ College Bauchi at the weekend. Alhaji Danladi Alola, who chaired the meeting, said:’’ Parents are not happy with the action of the federal government over the closure of the Schools.’’ Alola said they expected the Federal Government to provide better and adequate security to the children instead of closing the schools. He expressed concerns that some parents may not be able to transport their children to and bear the responsibilities of

By Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi

their stay in schools in Bauchi, Taraba or Gombe states considering dwindling economic resources.

•Dakogol with the car and guns... on parade

•From Left: Senate President David Mark; Vice President Namadi Sambo; President Goodluck Jonathan; PDP Natioanl Chairman, Sen. Adamu Muazu and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, at the North Central PDP zonal rally in Minna... yesterday PHOTO: NAN

HMADIYYA Muslim Jama’at Nigeria has condemned the killings by Boko Haram insurgents as barbaric and uncivilised. The Islamic group said the terrorist organisation’s killings have nothing to do with religion. It added that Islam requires its followers to be kind to all God’s creation without discrimination, insisting that the Boko Haram insurgents have no right to impose their beliefs on others since everyone is accountable to God alone. President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria, Dr. Mashhud Fashola, stated these in Abuja at the weekend during the 3 rd Northern Region Jalsa Tarbiyah with the theme: Islamic model for national reconciliation and re-birth. According to him: “The hearts of all human beings should bleed at these killings because it is barbaric; it has nothing to do with religion and it has nothing to do with civilisation. “If I recognise that I have the right to choose any religion or sect that I want, then I also need to recognise that the next person also has the right to also choose any religion or sect and I should not fight anybody on that basis. “I only have right on my own decision to choose a religion or none at all. We have no right to compel anyone but to dialogue.” Fashola added: “We should educate all religious people that there is freedom of worship, freedom of belief because there are people who are fanatics or extremists who are killing people, thinking they have the right to impose their beliefs on others. We have no such rights; we are accountable to God alone. “Islam teaches us to address poverty. If everybody is taken care of, there will be less insecurity.”

Confab: Itsekiri, Ijaw youths protest delegates list


EADERS of Itsekiri ethnic nationality in the South/south have expressed anger over their exclusion from the list of delegates to the national conference released by the Federal government last Thursday. The Iwere Development Association (IDA), in a statement yesterday, gave the federal government 48 hours to include prominent Itsekiri leaders as delegates or face severe backlash from the ethnic group. The group initiated a conference in Koko Warri North Local Government Area of stakeholders, pressure groups, socio-cultural and political associations of Itsekiri extraction to discuss the way forward over the “monumental injustice.” It warned: “Should the government and political leaders in the South-south geopolitical zone fail to address these abnormalities within the said period, we shall be constrained

•Itsekiri give FG 48hours to include kinsmen •Uduaghan: We are sorting out anomaly

From Shola O’Neil, South/ south Regional Editor

to convene our own ethnic national conference where we shall be bold to take our own destiny in our own hands.” Comrades Omolubi Newuwumi and Agbateyinuro Weyinmi, who signed the communique at the end of an emergency meeting, also queried the yardsticks used by the federal government for selection of delegates that excluded their kinsmen from the confab, which kicks off on March 17. They lamented that a particular ethnic group in the region, ostensibly President Goodluck Jonathan’s Ijaw, got over 22 delegates while they got none. The group said their

Itsekiri kinsmen have rejected the list in its entirety because the outcome of the conference would not be favourable to the ethnic nation. They wondered why no Itsekiri leader made the list even though they have reputed academics, a very high ranking monarch, the Olu of Warri Ogiame Atuwatse II and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. Besides, the IDA noted that the allocation of the oil resources produced from their land would form a key part of the discussion and wondered why they should be excluded from such important conference. Also, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) kicked against the ex-

clusion of its members from delegates. Comrade Eric Omare, spokesperson of IYC worldwide, said the neglect of Ijaw youths was tantamount to the neglect of Niger Delta youths from the conference. He said: “The IYC views the exclusion as a deliberate attempt to deny Ijaw youths and by extension Niger Delta youths from presenting their age long struggle for resource control and self-determination at the conference.” The IYC mouthpiece revealed its plan to hold a conference “similar to a conference that gave birth to the historic Kaiama Declaration” where a common position would be taken by the IYC on the national conference.

In its reaction, Delta State admitted the non-inclusion of Itsekiri among delegates to the National Conference is an anomaly but stated it is being addressed. It said the name of a prominent Itsekiri, Chief Isaac Jemide, was duly submitted to the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government and acknowledged just as a follow up contact confirmed the inclusion of the name. A press statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay said: “Following the request from the Federal Government to various Stakeholders to submit names for the conference, the Delta State Governor, a strong ad-

vocate and supporter of a National Conference, even before it was announced, reached out to various leaders of ethnic Nationalities and other professional bodies and unions where there were Deltans. “Chief Isaac Jemide’s name (a prominent Itsekiri son) emerged from this consultation and was duly submitted amongst others to the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government and receipt acknowledged. Even a follow up contact confirmed Chief Jemide’s name. “Unfortunately, the name was not published alongside others that were released two days ago. On realising this, His Excellency, immediately made contacts and was given the assurance that the anomaly will be corrected and an Itsekiri person will be at the Conference.” It appealed for calm among all Itsekiri sons and daughters, urging politicians not to use the situation to cause chaos.




UPPORTERS of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ikirun, headquarters of Ifelodun Local Government Area of Osun State, clashed last Friday during the verification of voters’ registration. No fewer than three persons have been arrested in connection with the clash. It was gathered that the clash between the two parties started at Eweta Ward 07 Ikirun over collection of permanent voter’s cards. The Akirun of Ikirun, Oba Rauf Olayiwola, was implicated in the crisis by the PDP but the monarch denied any involvement in the fracas. Speaking with The Nation, the monarch said he only responded to the call of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area over the crisis. He said: “The tension was

Suspected cult members arrested in Ondo poly

Osun PDP, APC clash over verification of voter registration T

FG, JICA collaborate on national water resources master plan From Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

•NCP accuses police, PDP of frustrating agents

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

high when I got there. People dared the police and said they were ready to be killed but I kept appealing to them because I did not want a crisis in my domain. “Even some of these people said they would burn down the police station over the arrests the police made. My intervention had saved the situation from escalating”. The monarch dissociated himself from political activities in the town, saying he

was a father to all politicians regardless of political parties. But the PDP members are blaming the APC and Oba Olayiwola for the clash. The Osun PDP chairman, Alhaji Gani Ola-Oluwa, told reporters that a stalwart of the party in the area, Mr. Seyi Oyelade, was injured during the clash while three other members of the PDP, Salaudeen Lukman, Abolarinwa Moruf and Yusuf Wasiu are currently in police custody. The National Conscience

Party (NCP) also accused the police and PDP of frustrating its agents out of some polling units in Osun State in collection of permanent voter’s cards. According to a statement by the Deputy National Chairman of the NCP in the SouthWest, Alhaji Waheed Lawal, the party’s agents were not allowed to monitor the distribution of the card in some polling units in Ila, Boluwaduro, Ife East, Ife Central and some other local governments in the state. Lawal said the NCP agents

were accused of forming alliance with the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the PDP, lamenting that the police had “ignorantly bought the accusation.” The party called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address the issue as a matter of urgency. The party refuted the allegation that the NCP has formed alliance with the APC on the monitoring of the permanent voters card collection or any other political issue in the state.

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure


OME students of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo (RUGIPO) in Ondo State suspected to be members of a confraternity group were on Friday arrested by men of the State Anti-Robbery Squad. This followed an attack on the institution and its environs by the hoodlums. The suspects, who numbered eight, were apprehended at their hide outs following intelligence reports by security operatives. Eyewitnesses said the confraternity members, armed with different kinds of sophisticated weapons, attempted to enter the main campus of the polytechnic opposite Ikare-OwoAkure expressway but were prevented by the institution’s security officials. They reportedly took over the express road and started shooting sporadically into the main campus. The incident, it was gathered, created panic among students and residents. One of the polytechnic students’ leaders, who preferred anonymity, said the cultists invaded the institution in search of one student who belonged to another confraternity. He said the bandits had earlier invaded one of the off campus hotels of the polytechnic called “Igbo lodu” where majority of the students are living before moving to institution’s gate. The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wole Ogodo, confirmed the arrests, adding that investigations continue.

•L-R: The former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, his wife Onari and CEO Commint Buka, Surulere, Lagos. Mr. Jeff Enitan Fayomi at the commissioning of Commint Buka in Surulere, Lagos

Senate committee applauds FG on water adding that the three tiers of HE Senate Committee projects government have shared reon Water Resources yes-


terday applauded the Federal Government’s effort in the construction of Kashimbila multipurpose dam and other projects. The chairman of the committee, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, made the commendation during budget defense by the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, in Abuja. He commended the minister for 2013 budget implementation, adding that construction of dams with hydropower component as

Agric Ministry trains youths on snail, grasscutter farming


HE Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has commenced a training programme for youths in snail and grasscutter farming. The three day training at the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Moor Plantation Ibadan, Oyo State is expected to create wealth for youths by addressing unemployment. The permanent secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, who was represented by the deputy director, Women and Gender Mrs. Karima Babangida, urged all participants to show a high level of commitment, in-

From Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

volvement and seriousness in the training. Mrs. Odusote said the goal of the training was to equip the youths with the skills to start up agribusiness in snail and grasscutter farming. The trainees were given starter packs for snail farming, comprising of snail feedstock, cage, feeds, drugs and disinfectants while those in grasscutter farming got a cage for housing colony of cats and rats (one male and four female and feed) that will promote technology adoption and economic engagement in the enterprises of snail and grasscutter farming.

From Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

well as provision of potable drinking water were projects that require huge amount of money. Lokpobiri noted that finance was a major challenge in the completion of projects in the sector. Ochekpe said that the present administration was committed to provision of water to Nigerians. She said provision of potable water was on the concurrent list of the constitution,


sponsibly. “While the federal government provides bulk water, it is the responsibility of the states to ensure that such water is reticulated, treated, and distributed to the end users,” she said. She explained that if the 2014 appropriation is approved most of the ongoing dam projects across the country would be completed. The minister solicited for support of the committee to ensure timely completion of all ongoing projects.

Plateau ethnic groups kick over delegate list

N umbrella body of all ethnic groups indigenous to Plateau State known as Plateau Initiative for Development and Advancement of the Natives (PIDAN) has condemned composition of the delegate lists to the forthcoming National Conference. The group said the Federal Government did not implement the selection modalities it released through the office of Secretary to the Federation. In the communique at the end of the emergency meeting of PIDAN in Jos yesterday, the group said it is saddened by the composition of the list after analysing it.

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

The communique signed by President of PIDAN, Dr. Aboi Madaki and Stephen Sariki, said: “The meeting noted with sadness that the only two nominees made by the over 52 ethnic community based development associations in the state under PIDAN were regrettably turned down. “Consequent upon this, the meeting noted with deep concern the total disconnect created between the principle of the conference and the non-representation of the collective will and interest of the entire people of Plateau in this Exercise.”

HE Federal Government has officially received the revised edition of Integrated National Water Resources Master Plan document from Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA). The document was developed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in partnership with the JICA. The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, who received the National Water Resources Master Plan, has also inaugurated Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) team, a committee that would monitor the implementation of the master plan document. The first edition of the document was formulated by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and supported by the JICA (JICA) in 1995. The minister said that JICA commenced the review of the master plan document in August 2011 with progress reports one and two presented to the steering committee and other stakeholders during discussion and workshops. Ochekpe said that the final report of the document was a guide to all activities in the water sector not only at the federal level but also to states and local government areas, including all the private stakeholders in the water sector. Inaugurating the monitoring committee for implementation of the master plan, Ochekpe appealed to the members to take the assignment very seriously. The committee has 15 members with the director, Planning Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Laraba Bagaiya as chairman.





Ropo Sekoni


Page 14

Femi Orebe Page 16


Olu Aboderin: 30 years after 08054503906 (sms only)

The man who saw what was invisible to others


HERE are three things a man could bequeath to his children: ofo (nothingness), ogun (warfare) and ogun (inheritance). Of the three, the worst is an inheritance of warfare. This is what a man who bequeathed eight ‘face-me-Iface-you’ rooms on a plot of land to 12 children has done; ‘war’ is inevitable. The war becomes particularly intense if the children are from different mothers. What will be the sharing formula? If care is not taken, it would not be long before some of those children start joining their ancestors because they will fight to the finish on the property, and become regular features on Gboro mi ro and such other programmes, where they will wash their family’s dirty linen in public. The only exception is if the father had trained the children well while he was alive, which is usually rare in the circumstance. But, if a man left nothing for his children; the import is that the children should work smarter in order to make good for themselves. But the third man is the one that left behind a good inheritance for his children. Chief James Olu Aboderin might have been a jolly good fellow who loved life; still, he met this biblical criterion of a good man who left an inheritance, not just to his children, but to his children’s children. Sweet is the memory of such men. So, the children and relations of the late founding Chairman and Publisher of The Punch Group of Newspapers, Chief Olu Aboderin, had good reasons to remember this illustrious Nigerian who passed on on February 28, 1984, aged 49. The occasion was expectedly grand. But, as I was driving to the Intercontinental Hotel at Kofo Abayomi Street on Victoria Island, Lagos, venue of the Black Tie Legacy Ball to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Olu Aboderin’s death on March 1, the long queues at filling stations all over Lagos and other parts of the country immediately reminded me of this great man who saw far into the future when, over 40 years ago The Punch was established. One other feature that showed Olu Aboderin as a man with foresight was the general blackout that pervaded many parts of the country that day. If my memory is not failing me, The Punch had as many as six to seven generators of various capacities - 500KVA, 250KVA, etc., even as recently as the 1980s. At least two of them were on the right side as one entered the company’s (former) premises at Onipetesi in Ikeja then, and they were said to be capable of serving big ships on the high seas. Without doubt, those generators that more than served the organisation in those years can no longer serve the new Punch Place, an edifice that is sitting majestically on a wide expanse of land in Ogun State; there is no doubt however that Olu Aboderin could have kept on replacing them as time and need dictate, if he is still alive. That much we could see in his handling of the generator issue and

•Olu Aboderin

the fuel dump on the company’s premises at Onipetesi. It takes a genius to see the kind of things that Olu Aboderin saw then and to do what he did. As at the 1970s, electricity supply was relatively stable and reliable, compared with what we have in the country today. In the same vein, ‘fuel scarcity’ was not a popular jargon in our homes then. But Aboderin, in line with what Pakistani politician Muhammad Ali Jinnah said, must have expected the best, yet prepared for the worst, given the extent that he went to deal with the potential twin challenges of fuel scarcity and blackout which were relatively few and far between then. Talking about expecting the best and yet preparing for the worst, Ali Jinnah was born on Christmas day in 1876, and died on September 11, 1948, exactly 53 years to the September 11 attack in the United States! Nigerians who were of age in the ‘70s and ‘80s would readily remember that any vice that we complained of then as a national problem was a child’s play compared with what is happening in the country today. In the ‘80s, for instance, hell was let loose when we learnt that N2.8billion oil money had been stolen. These days, it is not naira that is stolen, it is billions of dollars that are missing, yet, we continue business as usual. One needed to have more than two eyes to forecast such geometric decline in governance and other indices of development. It was unthinkable the depth we have sunk and our founding fathers must be wondering about the country’s fate. But Olu Aboderin saw all these coming. He saw decades ago that a day would come when Nigeria would be in the hands of a Sani Abacha; when Nigeria would become a victim of an Ibrahim

“ He saw decades ago that a day would come when Nigeria would be in the hands of a Sani Abacha; when Nigeria would become a victim of an Ibrahim Babangida’s misrule, when a Chief Olusegun Obasanjo would lead the country astray; Olu Aboderin envisaged the time that the country would be in the hands of Goodluck Jonathan ...”

Babangida’s misrule, when a Chief Olusegun Obasanjo would lead the country astray; Olu Aboderin envisaged the time that the country would be in the hands of Goodluck Jonathan, and when corruption would be a bride to be wooed by government officials, with the government itself so helpless as not to be able to lift a finger to fight the scourge. To this extent, Aboderin was a great man; mere mortals could not have seen all these coming, given the prosperity that was Nigeria’s lot at the time Aboderin established The Punch. I was not privileged to know Chief Aboderin. I joined The Punch in September, 1985 as a sub-editor; some 18 clear months after his death. But, like many others, I met his legacy. By his legacy, I mean The Punch. Of course, Punch was not the only business that he established; he had other businesses but it was obvious Punch was his beloved. That was why, even as he was dying, he was said to have muttered, “Punch should be kept alive at all cost”. Indeed, if there is any reason the man is being celebrated today, it is because of Punch. The Punch has remained his legacy that is speaking decades after his death. That is how it should be. But that legacy itself is a legacy with nine lives. Otherwise, it would have long been history. I remember those periods when production was threatened by power failure in the 1990s and we would wait with bated breath as technicians battled to bring the generator back to life. I remember how we leapt for joy when they eventually succeeded and the generator hummed again, because that meant the paper would be on the streets the next day. I remember how the military tried to kill the dream but each time only succeeded in energising it. Olu Aboderin must have foreseen all these, years before, hence his admonition: The Punch must not die. Many of its contemporaries are gone; some older ones are struggling for survival. Of course, Punch also witnessed several other threatening vicissitudes. But thank God, Providence always came to the rescue when it seemed the situation was hopeless. But, in spite of everything, the company has had only three hardworking and dedicated chairmen (including the incumbent) after Olu Aboderin’s death; all of them tried in their own ways to keep the dream alive. The incumbent is also keeping the flag flying. But the most talked-about remains Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, the actuary who ‘squeezed bread out of stone’, given the way he turned around the fortunes of the once popular tabloid that went comatose, and making it the institution that it is today. Punch, a study in resilience would have been a great loss to the journalism profession in Nigeria if it had been allowed to die because many journalists of note had passed through it. Hopefully, we shall talk more about this man whose foray into The Punch has, according to him, altered even the course of his own life. In due season.

Pastors from hell


IME was when Church titles like Pastor, Reverend, Bishop, and others were reserved for reverend gentlemen who are real God’s servants. In every way, they lived up to their titles and were hardly found engaged in anything that could question their integrity. The process of being ordained for spiritual leadership positions was very thorough then unlike now, when virtually anyone who fancies the titles can claim it, recruit his or her congregation, and start preaching any message that suits him or her. If this is not the case, how do we explain the present situation where the media is awash with reports of various heinous crimes committed by some supposed Church leaders in the country? It is either they are involved in one fraudulent case or the other, or they are charged for sexual assaults against their members. Instead of ministering to the needs of members who come seeking solution to one challenge or the other, some ‘Pastors’ take advantage of them. They twist the scriptures to exploit their members with all kinds of false theology. They sleep with women under the disguise of deliverance and helping them to get pregnant. They pronounce false prophesies to draw attention to themselves. The situation has gotten so bad that these days, it is sometimes difficult to identify fake Pastors who have perfected their act and taken advantage of the freedom for anyone to establish worship places. Those who claim that Church has become one of the fastest-growing ‘business’ are right to an extent. There are many people who claim to be Pastors today who have no reason to be but for lack of other things to do. Their spiritual antecedences are questionable and they have no moral basis to lead any group of persons. These are the set of Pastors who engage in all kinds of survival strategies until they are exposed for what they really are. Unfortunately, before they get caught, they would have done so much damage and cast doubts in the mind of the people about spiritual matters. To be sure, the rot is a global challenge that is not limited to our country. Last week, I watched a documentary titled ‘Seed of sin’ by a Kenyan television station about the menace of fake pastors in Kenya, based on the case of a female preacher who was jailed after being found guilty of false claim of healing members of HIV and AIDS. And when I first read about a South African Pastor asking his members to eat grass to cure them of whatever disease they had, I thought it was one of those social media make-believe stories. It turned out to be real when I watched the video later as the Pastor bragged about taking his members to a new level of revelation. I have no doubt that there are many genuine men of God in Nigeria and in other countries who have been a blessing to their members in diverse ways. But there is an urgent need to check the activities of the fake ones by whatever means. They have done enough damage and should not be allowed to continue to have a field day at the expense of the unsuspecting members of the public. Allegations against them should be thoroughly investigated and guilty ones should be treated like the criminals which they are to serve as a deterrent to others. Church members should also be more discerning and like the Bible warned, check all spirits and be sure it is really of the Lord.




Making Nigeria thrive after its first centenary (2) Putting education under the control of states will enable states to create new curriculum that can re-establish and improve mother-tongue instruction in primary school


N this series devoted to raising ordinary citizens’ concerns about what ideas delegates chosen for their states should take to the forthcoming national conference, we focused last week on taxation. We argued that the practice inherited from military rule that privileges ‘fiscal equalisation’ or even development over fairness in generation and allocation of revenue should be jettisoned. Giving states spending responsibility without commensurate revenue-raising authority only leads to inefficiency or non-performance of state governments in provision of public goods and services. We called for a new taxation system that will give the power to tax to states which will give nationally-agreed upon percentage of tax revenue to the central government to cover cost of attending to its functions and that such functions should not be as wide as they are in the 1999 Constitution. We concluded that changing the taxation powers will prepare the country for an era in which nonrenewable energy may no longer be profitable, even when it is still available and that it will also empower citizens and improve their efficacy in relation to participation in democratic governance. The focus today will be on how to restructure education. Since 1975, Nigeria has been suffering from too much federal presence in education provision. Regional universities were taken over by the federal government; colleges of technology were established by the federal government; and special secondary schools known as Unity Schools were also created and managed by the federal government. This dominant federal presence in education led to ancillary policies that affected the provision of education and left traces of decline in the quality of education. School calendar became a federal matter. It was no longer possible for states to determine when

schools would be in session. In the south, schools were made to go on long vacation during the coolest months in the year, as distinct from the three short vacations that defined the school calendar until the advent of military rule. In addition, a raft of education bureaucracies was established by the federal government: JAMB, NECO to rival WAEC, National Orientation Commission, NUC, etc. The federal government also changed school curriculum and used its national language policy to impose second Nigerian language learning on students. The traditional practice of giving first six years of education in children’s first language or mother tongue was replaced with the use of English as the language of instruction for all levels of primary education. All these policies grew out of the military rulers’ belief that forging a sense of unity among the diverse cultures in the country would not happen until all traces of cultural diversity are erased. Even with centralisation of education provision and creation of education bureaucracies, the federal government had been unable for decades to spend up to 30% of what UNESCO recommends as the minimum required for countries to turn the corner into modernity. On the whole, the outcome has not justified the changes wrought by military rulers and sustained by their civilian successors till date. The quality of education in evidence in the pre-1975 era has disappeared, as public education has been ruined to the point that Nigeria has more hardly regulated private schools and universities per square kilometre than any other country in the world. More children carry credentials than before but not any skill set in the use of standard English and communication in mother tongue had yielded prime of place to pidgin across the nationalities. The innovativeness that educating children to grow up to be informed, engaged, and critical citizens induced in other countries of the world and that was part of the culture of education in the pre-military era has given way to mindless imitativeness. The result is that

both foreign investors and Nigerian companies look for foreign-trained graduates, after a onetime federal minister announced that Nigerian graduates are not employable. Delegates to the conference need to pay attention to education, as no substantial progress can come to the country if this sector remains as confused and comatose as it has been for decades. Many philosophers of education, from John Dewey to James Bruner and Babs Fafunwa, have demonstrated that there is an umbilical connection between culture and education. In a multinational society, there can be no federal culture. The cultures in such societies must be distinct cultures practiced by the nationalities. Such cultures must have influence on beliefs about education, the value of education, and participation styles. It is not unfathomable that specific cultural beliefs must have induced the philosophy of Education is a Sin being propagated by adherents of Boko Haram. There is no doubt that culture must have impact on the belief that women can marry at 12 or 13 years of age, instead of remaining to complete secondary school education. Without cultural differences, there would have been no basis for such specialised schools as Nomadic and Almajiri schools. All these point to the fact that a functional federal system, especially in a multiethnic context, does not have to aspire to have a homogenised and pasteurised education system such as the country has experienced for decades. This may be an appropriate time for delegates to look at the German constitutional model. All levels of education in Germany are under the control of the lander (the states or provinces). The federal government has responsibility for research and monitoring of educational standards. Germany is not politically any less united because of the devolution of education to the states. On the contrary, this allows the federal government in Germany to attend to other important aspects of post-war development of the republic. Similarly, leaving educa-

tion to the lander does not diminish technological, cultural, and industrial development in Germany. On the contrary, it has made Germany the most efficient and richest country in Europe and one of the eight most successful countries in the world. Devolution of more revenue-raising powers (discussed last week) to the states or regions must also be accompanied by devolution of more responsibilities that include total control over education. This will allow the federal government to focus more on foreign affairs, national defence, and building effective regulatory frameworks to ensure that each state delivers public goods that improve life chances, such as education and health care. Operating a system that creates competition between halfstarved states and over-funded federal government in the areas of education and health care has not produced any efficiency in the two sectors. The federal government does not have citizens that can hold it accountable for what it does or does not do. State executives are under undue pressure for the little public goods and services they are able or choose to provide from the donations they receive from the federation account. Putting education under the control of states will enable states to create new curriculum that can re-establish and improve mother-tongue instruction in primary school. The current system of making students learn a second Nigerian language when no system ensures that they master their mother tongues is creating avoidable confusion in a society that needs to emphasise mother tongue communicative competence and mastery of a language to participate in the global civilisation that Nigeria is now a marginal part of. More importantly, states will be in a position to find a point of intersection between culture and education in their curriculum, pedagogy, and research, the two Siamese twins of development. The education that has been made possible by the 1999 Constitution is so unanchored to any value system. An education system that is effective cannot diminish the country’s unity; it can only enrich it. To be continued




Good choice

The confab could not have a better chairman than Justice Kutigi


OR an alleged National Conference whose intentions have been mired in doubt even before it is inaugurated, the Federal Government’s announcement that it has appointed a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, as chairman, is a most welcome development. Even in a pantheon of eminent jurists distinguished by their scholarship, commitment and integrity, Justice Kutigi stands out. His tenure as CJN between January 2007 and December 30, 2009 was built on a 15-year stint as a Justice of the Supreme Court, and was devoid of controversy or scandal. His personal life, within and outside public office, has been characterised by the modesty and decorum that is so sadly lacking in much of the Nigerian elite. President Goodluck Jonathan is to be commended for the choice of Justice Kutigi. If there is one individual whose very presence can bring a much-needed credibility to bear upon the forthcoming conference, he is that person. The selection of such an indisputably honest personality as chairman of the National Conference is critical to countering the dubious intentions and bad faith in which it is steeped. Justice Kutigi has the onerous task of coordinating an unwieldy mass of nearly 500 delegates who will be participating with a variety of objectives and purposes, some of which are not as altruistic as they may seem. A significant proportion of the delegates are politicians of the old school who have forgotten nothing and learnt nothing. To make matters even more difficult, the conference is taking place against the background of an increasingly horrific militant insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria which has polarised the country’s ethnic, political and religious groupings like never before. In addition, there is also the poisonous atmosphere generated by the highlycharged politics of the run-up to the 2015 gen-


VEN a child in the primary school should not be told about who the Supervising Minister for Education, Nyesom Wike, is. The Nigerian populace knows him better as the arrow head of the crises that have been rocking Rivers State, than as the Minister for Education he was supposed to be. Supposedly, he is better known as a rabblerouser than a diplomat. His incessant showcasing of affront in the politics of Rivers offends every sensibility. His recent remarks that Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State would go to jail in the event that President Goodluck Jonathan wins in the 2015 presidential elections put Wike’s reputation in question. Conversely, this statement shows that Wike has exhausted all the avenues he knew to remove Amaechi from office. Wike had leaned on the cases that Amaechi had with some opposition members concerning the 2007 and 2011 gubernatorial elections in the state to make his boast of removing Amaechi, but when he has seen that that did not work, he prolonged his boast to 2015; a tactic he has been using to hoodwink his unsuspecting marooned followership in some local government areas of the state.

eral elections. The National Conference chairman would do well to learn from the experiences of his predecessors like Justice Nikki Tobi, who was Chairman of the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005. Like the National Conference, it was beset by widespread doubts over its legitimacy and its effectiveness, not to mention the less-than-honourable objectives of those who established it. The NPRC was characterised by quarrelling instead of debate; it featured rhetoric rather than reason; compromise was overtaken by manipulation. In the end, it was no surprise that the whole contraption was rejected by everyone, including those who had ostensibly promoted it. If the National Conference is to avoid this fate, Justice Kutigi will have to lead by his own distinguished example of intellection and sobriety. Many of the delegates are seasoned politicians, veterans of the dark arts of horsetrading, double-speak and bombast. They will do their best to make the conference serve their own narrow ends; it is crucial that they are denied the opportunity to achieve this ignoble aim. One way to do this is to establish comprehensive procedures governing general comportment and behaviour, and prescribing the sanctions that will be imposed for any infraction. Justice Kutigi must ensure that the various


•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

committees which will be set up to look at various topics are made to focus squarely on their tasks and on the terms of reference guiding the conference itself. He must not allow the conference to be derailed by particular issues, no matter how controversial they may seem. In this regard, he must be especially careful about perennial hot-button issues like resource control, rotational presidency and tenure. If the delegates use such subjects to turn the National Conference into a shouting-match, very little will be achieved. As chairman, Justice Kutigi will have to display a finely-tuned combination of rigidity and flexibility. He must be the former when confronted with those who may wish to manipulate the conference to serve selfish desires or primordial yearnings, and he must be the latter when compromise appears to be the best option. The next three months will be crucial to the life of this nation. For the duration of that period, Justice Kutigi is likely to become Nigeria’s most important person. It will certainly not be easy for him. Every word he utters will be scrutinised; every gesture he makes will be studied. He will be taken to task for the things he said, and criticised for those he did not. He will be blamed for the excesses of delegates, but will face criticism when he tries to rein in those excesses. However, such is his towering stature as a jurist of unimpeachable integrity that there is widespread confidence in his ability to ride the coming storm and ensure that the country is presented with an outcome that will contribute significantly to its never-ending search for justice, equity and development. We have our reservations on the conference, but we can only hope that something good will come out of Nazareth this time around, with a distinguished jurist in control.


Wike’s lasting burden It is left for those who still take Wike seriously to continue to follow him. But the in-thing is that if there is anybody who may be heading to the gulag before or after 2015 for impropriation of office, that person is invariably not Amaechi, but Wike. No matter what Wike thinks, the government of Amaechi has been in the full swing of administration since its inception. But just a fraction of the Nigerian institutions, such as the Ministry for Education that Wike


HE present government of President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to celebrate the one hundred years of amalgamation of both southern and northern parts of this country has been received by many a Nigerian with mixed feelings, hence the fragile foundation the country is now facing. Although the life of any nation to attain such period of years of existence called for celebration by any government and its people, the committee set up to organise the said centenary celebration has done a lot

was appointed to man, has been in total ramshackle and the minister was busy chasing after grasshopper round Amaechi’s building, hoping to hear when Amaechi would say stop. Wike’s swagger that the Port Harcourt International Airport and all the land and sea boarders in Rivers State would be shut down immediately the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announces the victory of President Jonathan in 2015

to prevent Governor Amaechi from escaping, is a vacant show-off. Nevertheless, the statement shows that the second term of Mr. President would have more to vendetta than work to alleviate the plight of the hundreds of millions of Nigerians the unenthusiastic brag such as Wike’s, has jeopardised their future. The issue is that Wike, instead of accepting with courage that he is afraid of the political sagacity and dexterity of Amaechi, is making state-

From Bala Nayashi Lokoja, Kogi State

mittee in ensuring the town played a greater role in the celebration. The people of Lokoja were not aware of any centenary celebration taking place, what we saw is just the beautification of some historical monuments by the state government. The stateowned radio station dished out some jingles to enlighten the populace, but how many people do listen to the radio station to have firsthand knowledge of what is happening?

ments to the contrary. Wike continues to expose himself to public ridicule by saying that Rivers State is PDP, instead of accepting the fact that the party he belongs to has been slammed into being an opposition. Against all odds, Wike least expected that he would be in the opposition political party in Rivers State, therefore he is making every unprintable comment against Amaechi, so that his ill-fated followership will continue to be misled. What Wike does not realise before sending Amaechi to his prison in 2015

Celebrating centenary without Lokoja

towards giving the country a befitting celebration, that would be remembered for a very long time to come in the anal of this country’s history. But the committee has failed to bring in some areas that played a significant role in the amalgamation of this country. The case of in point is Lokoja the headquarters of Kogi State which was neglected by the centenary celebration com-

Lokoja town being the first state capital of Nigeria, where Lord Lugard settled and administered the country, it’s the same Lokoja, the confluence town, that led to the idea of unification of this country. Lokoja was opportune to play greater role of witnessing the lowering of Royal Niger Company and the hoisting of the Union Jack flag. Bala Nayashi Lokoja, Kogi State.

is that the state apparatuses are not complaining; they are of the statement that Amaechi has been accounting for every bit of his stewardship, consequently he has no reason to be afraid of any probe. It is understandable that Wike has no account to render on his own education stewardship other than how he has been fighting hard in making sure that Amaechi was removed and sent direct to prison without any forms of trial by a court of competent jurisdiction. Education in Nigeria has really suffered under Wike’s watch the same way he wants Rivers State to suffer because he wants to be controlling the power in the state from Abuja. Results today are that Wike does not make coherent statements, except those of war, kill and bury. Aside being the LGA chairman, Wike fervently became noticed when he was appointed as the Chief of Staff to the governor and subsequently minister; the latter being the position he has turned to his guerrilla base, from where he takes off to bomb Amaechi with unedited words and hopeless political strategies aimed at ousting Amaechi. Odimegwu Onwumere, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.





Jega’s make or mar elections If Jega succeeds in saying no, this time around, his name will be written boldly on the right side of history


VERY time, you use external power to ride roughshod over the will of the people in this country, the trigger for the demise of that fledgling democracy was always in the West. If you think the vehicle to smuggling yourself into office is via manipulation and ‘Anambracadabra’, Ekiti is not Anambra. The Mama Ayoka story is still fresh. What I resent is the kind of contemptuous noise coming from the PDP about the plan to take over the state, to capture the South-west and Ekiti and Osun states being the entry point, the gateway in that ‘operation capture the south-west’. You may succeed in capturing and you may also succeed in sounding the death knell of this democracy. It is not a threat really; it is more of an advice to anyone who might be confusing the President.’ Gov. Kayode Fayemi In an earlier article – Southwest 2014 elections: will President Jonathan allow history be his guide, Jan 5, 2014– I wrote as follows quoting a co-columnist: ‘we in this part of the country are now much more determined to uphold and show our rejection of electoral fraud – that heinous disease that has periodically brought disaster upon Nigeria since 1964. We are too culturally attached to free and fair elections to tolerate electoral fraud.’ Much more than the much hyped 2015 Presidential election, the Ekiti/ Osun elections offer Prof Attahiru Jega, Chairman, INEC, a distinct

opportunity to write his name in gold or infamy. More than any of his predecessors – Eyo Esua (1960-1966), Michael Ani (1976-1979), Victor OvieWhiskey (1983), Eme Awa (19871989), Humphrey Nwosu (19891993), Prof. Okon Uya (1993-1994), Sumner Dagogo-Jack (1994-1998), Ephraim Akpata (1998-1999), Abel Guobadia (2000-2005), as well as his irredeemable immediate predecessor , Maurice Iwu (2005-2010), Jega came into office brandishing the sterling qualities of a decent academic – a University Vice-Chancellor to boot. I took the trouble of naming his predecessors to help him gauge what bile Nigerians have for some of them today. If on appointment Jega had thought he was settling down into a sinecure, the PDP, past masters at election rigging, soon taught him otherwise. The new Chairman soon began his electoral odyssey when he was suborned to cancel the 2011 opening day election after it had almost ended in several parts of the country. Those who should know have since told us it was all a PDP ploy designed to know where in the North Gen. Buhari was very strong electorally to enable the PDP and INEC deploy appropriate rigging strategies. It will be recalled that days before the presidential election, it was reported in some newspapers that persons with millions of ballot papers were arrested in Abuja. But before you could say jack, the PDP Police, aka Nigeria Police, had shut down the

trail and Nigerians no longer heard a word about it. This was the real reason Justice Salami had to be yanked off the Presidential Election Tribunal where he had already granted Buhari access to electoral materials for purposes of a forensic examination but, reversing which, was at the very first sitting of the reconstituted tribunal. If that cancellation was Professor Jega’s intro into PDP’s maelstrom of electoral perfidy, he should make the Anambra magic his last for the sake of posterity. We pray he does not burn his fingers in either the Ekiti or Osun elections because, truth be told, none of these two states is Anambra. And we are not bragging here. Rather, we are saying that if these habitual election riggers succeed in tampering with elections in any of Ekiti or Osun where the incumbent governors have so impacted peoples’ uprising several measurable and meaningful developmental strides, they will be asking for a peoples’ insurrection of seismic proportions, complete with international consequences that will have the capacity to ground Nigeria. I urge those of them to whom this may mean nothing, being basically self-centred politicians, to reflect on the following recent comments in the New York Times concerning Boko Haram, which is currently gnawing at the country’s entails: “Boko Haram undermines the Nigerian government, leaving it floundering in ineffectual expressions of sympathy for the victims, vowing to redouble its engagement, with declarations of eventual victory that now have little credibility. Although the group’s aims

appear limited or mysterious, it is clearly succeeding in one essential goal: critically undermining Nigeria’s federal government. The boarding school attack seemed designed to bring maximum humiliation to President Goodluck Jonathan, occurring as it did two days before centennial celebrations in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, attended by the French president, François Hollande, and some African leaders. The centennial celebrations went on last week and it seemed as though every rogue, scoundrel and genuine hero, living or dead, from Nigerian history was entitled to an award.” These riggers should understand that the world is watching the chicanery going on here; so bad that groups of women societies had to match through the streets of several cities this past week. Unfortunately, the PDP is grossly beyond shame or embarrassment. In case this means nothing even to the highest ranks of the PDP, it is our fervent hope that Professor Jega, a scholar, should understand the full implication of this international putdown, and so would elect to stand firm, in refusing to make INEC a PDP rigging partner this time around. Given President Jonathan’s paranoia with 2015 it is obvious he will buy any tales from his Southwest PDP members; people he had literally forgotten for the better part of his five years in office in matters of quality appointments which had gone in their numbers to other parts of the country. Incurable optimists that they are in turn, even when they know their party is thoroughly despised in Yoruba land, they are going about with a

swagger, promising billions from discredited sources and awaiting rigging orders from above. Happily, the Yoruba know their leaders as well as which party is working for the development of Yoruba land and the overall happiness of the greater majority of our people. Each of Governors Fashola, Amosun, Ajimobi, Aregbesola and Fayemi has demonstrated such unequalled passion and panache in service to Yoruba land that it has become so obvious the PDP stands no chance of ever winning an election fairly in these parts ever again. Rather than the president permitting himself to be deceived, he should visit any of the Southwest states incognito, even if at night. I advise Professor Jega not to put his place in history on the line by joining this multitude to do evil. There had been no election since 1999 in which the PDP did not manipulate INEC, using it shamelessly to rig elections even in places the opposition ended up winning. So bad was it in 2003, 2007 that those elections were adjudged by international observers as the worst anywhere under the sun. But because the PDP is simply beyond shame, it has never mattered to its members what international opprobrium they attracted to the country. If Jega succeeds in saying no, this time around, his name will be written boldly on the right side of history. Otherwise, it will be infamy and eternal damnation. The choice is his to make. Under intense pressure to do wrong, he should simply resign and eclipse this government.

You want to inspire women for change? Give them their own bank! Ah, ah!!

True, there are women everywhere who seem to live life without a sufficient amount of motivation even to take the day’s bath; but you will also get a good number who have the motivation, strength and zeal to seize the world if given half a chance


HIS time two years ago, this column called on this nation to seriously consider starting a bank exclusively dedicated to serving women, both rural and urban. The government pretended not to have listened. But I am used to harping on a topic. This year’s theme for the international women’s day marked on March 8, which is Inspiring Change, has just given me the opportunity to sound like a broken record again. This is why I want to repeat my prayer that the Nigerian government should please, as a matter of urgency, consider starting a bank exclusively devoted to serving rural women engaged in agricultural activities and city women engaged in entrepreneurial activities. I know women need this bank, the same way I know for a fact that cocks do not crow at midnight unless scared awake by a sudden noise, say from a prowling fox. Who does not fear death? I also know that parrots cannot be trusted with secrets; they have a penchant for speaking out of turns; and I know that you can always trust a dog to point out to you the place of its birth, which is more than I can say for myself. See, I know things. So listen to me as I tell you this: women need their own bank! There are countless reasons a women’s bank, put in the right economically sound hands and completely devoid of politics, can alleviate the sufferings of women, particularly in the rural areas. Let me how-

ever tell you one story. It is about a woman in a city who wanted to do something to enable her feed her family. There she was, with many mouths yawning at her and threatening to swallow her up of many mornings, and she not having a farthing to help them with. She looked left and right and there was none to help her – no husband, no relative, just those yawning mouths. But she did look around her and noticed that her children’s penchant for gulping bread was contagious. All the children in her neighbourhood liked to gulp bread. So, she decided to target their taste and approached a neighbour, who happened to head a community bank, for a loan. He it was who pitied her and gave her a loan of five thousand Naira. Now, why on earth are you laughing? Anyway, before long, she had sold the lot of bread she bought for five thousand naira and returned the principal for another loan. Gingered, her creditor extended the loan again and even increased it to a higher amount. Till today, dear reader, that woman regularly takes and returns loans as high as ten thousand Naira each week. Yes sir, her market enterprise is still bread. And, yes sir, her children are no longer yawning uselessly. You might think that story would defeat my own argument. No way; that woman was very lucky that she had someone close by that she could call on. Now think of the millions of women in the rural areas who

do not have this kind of luck. Do you want every woman to have to wait to be lucky? If there was a more women-friendly, women-dedicated and women-focused bank that any woman can walk into and take that kind of soft loan, many lives would be made better, particularly those of children who yawn endlessly. More importantly, they even do not have to know anyone in order to get help. That is what we call a good society. Women do things now in order to solve many of the problems that surround them. Most women now contribute to feeding someone or the other. For some reason or the other, many women are sole breadwinners in their domains, even without the capital. The society knows this and the government also knows this but would not lift a hand to help many of these women who cannot help themselves. The story is told of a limbless woman – no hands, no legs – who had to paint with her teeth just to feed her family. One in a million, yes, but just go to the rural areas and see; come to the cities and see more of such needs. True, you will get many women everywhere who seem to live life without a sufficient amount of motivation even to take the day’s bath; but you will also get a good number who have the motivation, strength and zeal to seize the world if given half a chance. That chance must be given. More importantly, women are much more serious with govern-

ment’s money and so are not likely to take loans and promptly go and marry more husbands with them. For one thing, the society will not let them. For quite another, their children will not hear of it. Have you seen how children are more ferociously protective of their mothers? Phew! So, new husbands are definitely out. The government can be sure that such soft loans will be used by the women for the women and their children. Believe it or not, there are some children who resume school in their tertiary institutions with two thousand Naira for the semester, while some government functionaries’ children resume in the same school with two hundred Thousand Naira as monthly allowance. (You will notice I have capitalised that t out of respect). There is a saying that the strength of a place is really no more than the strength of its weakest member. By analogy, the strength of a country is really no more than the strength of its women. Most of the time, women take care of the children and the disabled. As it is now, women have themselves been disabled by the society. Indeed, women are so disabled they are said to be victims of many preventable deaths: maternal, mal-nutritional, domestic, etc. A woman got very badly burnt once from escaped gas while trying to reheat her husband’s food in the night when he returned from his drinking binge and demanded to be fed. It is so bad now that greeting a woman has become a

dangerous thing; you never know if she will keel over while answering you. In spite of any amount of malnutrition or fragility, God help the woman who goes on strike against any more child birth. Heaven and hell would witness all the efforts to bring her back in line. A more economically active woman would not only be stronger physically but would be more psychologically prepped to withstand social and health-related challenges. Seriously, leaving women behind in the pursuit of social development is doing only a half-job. The plight of most Nigerian women, in both the rural and urban areas, must be put squarely in the picture. As a matter of fact, there is no development index worth considering that does not begin with the status of women. Since they are said to constitute the higher per centage of the population and the lower per centage of the labour force in the formal and informal sectors in Nigeria, then the government is doing itself a disservice by not channelling their strengths and advantages towards higher productivity. So, if the government wants to get serious with development, it should not limit the use of women to giving welcome dances to political guests; or filling of rented halls for political programmes. It should open a bank for them. That will not only inspire women for positive changes, it will take care of a good deal of society’s concerns. A happy mother makes for happy children.




(55) The mode of surplus extraction changed and corruption became the glue that holds things together: notes for young compatriots (3) So distribution should undo excess/ And each man have enough. William Shakespeare, King Lear N bringing this series to a conclusion, let me openly and readily acknowledge that so far, I have hardly written about the better known and more widely discussed acts and expressions of corruption in Nigeria of which there are uncountable and spectacular cases. In place of such cases, I have focused on actions and policies most of which are perfectly legal; indeed, most of them possess tremendous institutional authority. The two examples with which I ended last week’s piece in the series come to mind here. These are state creation and the rapid creation of federal and state universities by the dozens within the space of slightly over two decades. I do not doubt that to some of my readers, my using these as examples of corruption as atrocious means of wealth redistribution among our elites might very well constitute a great provocation. To such readers, I have a simple observation or proposition to make: the day that any state government in our country drastically cuts down the number and size of the cabinet and the state bureaucracy, I will eat my words; the day that any of our political parties makes it a fundamental part of its electoral platform and administrative policies that capital expenditure will be three to five times the size of recurrent expenditure, I will swallow my words. Don’t let us kid ourselves: ilabe and miliki constitute the composite ethos through which state creation and the creation of public funded universities in the last three decades were made commanding phenomena of institutionally legal but endlessly corrupt income redistribution of oil wealth among our elites. For the umpteenth time in this series, let me repeat that I address myself primarily to young compatriots, those who do not know that at one stage of our political and administrative maladjusted development in this country, with both the federal government and the regional incumbencies, capital expenditure did in fact far outstrip recurrent expenditure. Up to the time of the outbreak of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, every single government in the country spent far more on capital expenditure for growth and development than on recurrent expenditures for payment of salaries and bonuses for public officeholders and the upkeep and maintenance of elaborate bureaucracies. As I have said repeatedly in this series, I am not advocating a nostalgic return to that past, even if that were possible - which it is not. Nigerian politicians and rulers were not angels or saints then; there simply was a limit to how much they could loot and waste because the social surplus came primarily from taxes and the appropriation of the labour of farmers and workers. My main point in referencing that past is to let those of our compatriots to whom the future belongs know that things have not always been the way they are now and that things are the way they are now largely because our elites do not have to directly oppress workers and farmers for oil wealth and this has erroneously wiped their consciousness clean of the need for responsible and sustainable governance. Thus, the cen-


•Massive traffic jam in Lagos

tral challenge that we face is how to compel our elites to realize, perhaps through a baptism of fire, that even if the social surplus they are looting and wasting do not come primarily or predominantly from the labour of farmers and workers, that wealth belongs to all of us and must be used to the benefit of all Nigerians of the present, living generations and those that will come long after we are gone. If the reason why I have in this series not focused on those other better known and more widely discussed practices of corruption in Nigeria is not yet clear or apparent to the reader, let me now make it more explicit. In the first place, corruption among our political and economic elites is so pervaded by impunity that you do not have to look far to find it in brazen and spectacular forms. Where else in the world but in Nigeria would the two leading political officeholders in the land – the President and the Vice President – engage in a bitter feud before the entire nation in which they exposed their wanton and gargantuan acts of looting of public funds, as Obasanjo and Atiku did in 2006? Where else but in our dear country would the staggering sum of 2.58 trillion naira be stolen by people who do not go into hiding but are actually seen in the inner circles of the favoured of the President of the Republic himself, as happened in the so-called oil subsidy mega-scam of 2011? And among the populace, the masses of the dispossessed themselves, where else in the world but in our country do we regularly see mirror reflections of elite corruption, looting and brigandage of public funds as we find almost as a universal phenomenon in the buying and selling of goods and services that are severely adulterated, often with dire consequences for the safety and health of the people themselves? What of the very widespread incidence of exam malpractices and fraud in our schools, and of the organized trafficking in certificates that are not worth their

weight in paper? What of community leaders and prominent burghers throughout the length and breadth of the land who, on behalf of their communities, demand their share of the whopping jumbo salaries and allowances that are lawmakers pay themselves? Is that not in fact what our parliamentarians use to justify the unconscionably vast sums of money they are corruptly paid? I do not by any means wish to suggest that we should take these many practices and expressions of corruption among the elites and the masses for granted. Definitely, I wish to join my voice to the voices of our anticorruption crusaders, those who argue, compellingly, that corruption should never go unpunished in our country, that indeed, the more it goes unpunished, the more brazen and uncontrollable it gets. The main point, the central idea of this series is the proposition that corruption has become the means of redistribution of oil wealth in Nigeria in the last three decades. That is the root of the problem of corruption in our country: a poisonous, life-destroying root whose toxins have spread through the main trunks of the tree of our national collective existence to the branches and the flowering shoots in all the nooks and crannies of the land. Pushing the deployment of these botanical metaphors further, I would argue that what we need is a transplantation that cures that root of its toxins and transplants the tree of national collective existence on new soil. We must completely destroy the underlying idea behind this noxious, toxic root of corruption as the means of redistribution of wealth in our country. This idea has it that because oil wealth does not come primarily from the extraction of surplus value from the labour of farmers and workers, our elites are free to do anything they like with the oil wealth as long as some of it percolates to the rest of the society outside the circles of the elite. Wealth, oil wealth included, becomes true

wealth only when it is put to work to produce more wealth, more value. This proposition can be put in very concrete terms. For instance, it can and perhaps should become the law of the land that every Nigerian is entitled to earned income from bankable shares floated by investing fixed percentages of savings from our oil revenues in highyield local and foreign ventures. This would give that hackneyed phrase, “stakeholder” real meaning: every Nigerian actually gets dividends from stock options bought from our oil revenues. This is the classical capitalist solution to wealth that comes to nations in the form of jackpots or lotteries that seem to come from providential grace: unsuspected and unlimited deposits of mineral resources precipitately discovered; extractive industries springing up in the heart of barren deserts; offshore oilfields with reserves to last several generations. This is in fact the “solution” of some of the Gulf oil producing states: make every single citizen a beneficiary of national stocks held in trust for the whole country both in its present incarnation and its posterity. But Nigeria has a population far larger than all the Gulf oil producing states combined and that solution may be impracticable in our own case. And so my own preferred solution is that at the earliest possible date, we must do three separate, distinct but nevertheless closely connected things, if possible in a coordinated fashion. First, we must completely dismantle the huge, monstrously bloated federal and state bureaucracies; they are not only filled with redundancies, they also greatly contribute to the prevailing ethos in which work has been devalued and value itself has been massively distorted. Secondly, by law and by constitutional provisions, we must reverse the ratio of capital expenditure to recurrent expenditure; capital expenditure must be at least ten times bigger than recurrent expenditure. This seems unthinkable now only because no ruling class politician and no political

party in the country has the slightest inclination to carry out this sort of radical restructuring of our priorities. But if the Nigerian peoples can be educated and mobilized in support of it, within half a decade, we would have gotten our priorities right. Thirdly and finally, we must make the looting and squandering of our national coffers above 10 million naira a capital offence. For petty larcenies and frauds involving theft of public funds less than 10 million, long prison terms are appropriate forms of punishment; any sums above 10 million naira should fetch capital punishment. As I am philosophically against capital punishment, I find myself in the strange and terribly discomfiting situation of being an advocate for it. I confess that this is a great dilemma for me. In mitigation of my discomfiture, I state that this particular application of capital punishment would be temporary and provisional; and hopefully, within the space of one decade, it would become a rare thing. This is because if and when it is put into practice in our judicial process, it will very rapidly wipe out this terrible and unending plunder of our national coffers that is like a nightmare from which we will never wake. When I think of corruption as the glue that holds everything together in contemporary Nigeria and as the savage and atrocious means of redistribution of our oil revenues, two grotesque images come to my mind. One: an unflushed toilet bowl already filled to overflowing on top of which defecations and excrements continue to be piled unceasingly. Two: a massive traffic crawl in downtown Lagos that has come to a complete stop while a torrential rainfall of epic proportions becomes a deluge carrying the thousands of cars caught in the traffic jam and their occupants into God knows where. Let the nightmare end, especially for the sake of those that will come after us. Biodun Jeyifo




sms only: 08116759748

The audacity of the Abachas


NE of the many reasons thrown up by government for marking Nigeria’s centenary is that the coexistence of the country’s disparate ethnic groups for this period was worth celebrating. Strangely, the many millions who should have been in raptures over such an epoch were less than enthused and stayed largely detached from what ended up being another staid government event. Ironically, this expensive birthday came at time a national conference to discuss the many unresolved questions about our coexistence is about to commence. Over and again, those who have called the conference have declared that Nigeria’s breakup was not up for discussion. At the same time, there are elements insisting that dissolution this shotgun union be open for discussion. In the end the centenary was just an expensive party celebrating a marriage that is still in grave danger of crashing. It is not just the ironies that stand out, many have equally pointed to the insensitivity of throwing this lavish event at a time when Boko Haram insurgents were slaughtering school children in their beds, and laying waste to significant chunks of the North-East. Indeed, in other climes some of those who were being celebrated with gold medals draped around their necks would have been strung up the gallows for their serial crimes against the country that again, ironically, was feting them. It was this unbelievable paradox that the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, was addressing when he rejected the award bestowed on him because of the inclusion on the honours list of the late military dictator, General Sani Abacha and others who had plundered Nigeria’s treasury. In his statement titled “The Canonisation of Terror”, he spoke of how the celebration of Abacha called into question “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership”. For those with very short memory, he reminded us of the former dictator’s reign of terror during which time he seized the late Chief M. K. O. Abiola who had been duly elected Nigeria’s president on June 12, 1993 and threw him into detention. The process of usurpation eventually cost Abiola and his wife, Kudirat Abiola, their lives. It was a period of routine assassinations and arbitrary detentions. Free speech was non-existent and many who dared disagree with the man who projected an inscrutable front hiding behind dark shades day and night, fled for their lives. Death squads roamed the land. Phantom coups were the preferred means for dispatching those whose loyalty to the despot could not be guaranteed. It was a time when many national institu-


•Abacha tions – the army included – were progressively destroyed. Nigerians were introduced to Abacha’s Chief Security Officer, Major Hamza al-Mustapha, who became so powerful and feared that generals who were his superiors in rank quaked in their boots whilst in his presence. Not content with stripping the people of their rights, confidence and all that they held dear, Abacha supervised the transformation of Nigeria into a pariah nation with his handling of the execution of the writer Ken SaroWiwa and other Ogoni activists. Of course, many of the centenary honourees are not too choosy about the company they keep. They gladly received their medals and enjoyed their two minutes in the bright lights. Not so Soyinka. But he is within his rights to spurn what the Abuja event planners had to offer. I was expecting the usual critical intervention from government spokesmen berating Soyinka for turning down his country’s ‘honour.’ When the attack did come it was not from

•Soyinka the quarters you would expect, but from some Abacha children falling over themselves to defend their late father’s legacy! What a legacy! Gumsu, daughter of the strongman, declared that while she was a lover of books written by Soyinka at a younger age, she now found his comments “foolish, stupid and insignificant.” A son, Sadiq, berated the writer for criticising successive governments without offering himself for an elective position. Among other things he said: “I believe brilliance is not perfection. I have grown and watched you criticise regime after regime and at that young and naive age I was thinking why wouldn’t this man contest to be president so that Nigeria can be saved? “I would have defiantly voted for Mr. Soyinka if it would have brought an end to Nigeria’s woes. To my utter surprise, I heard about your FRSC leadership and how funds were misused and a great deal of it unaccounted for. “Oh my God! In the end he turned out to be just the same as everybody else” were my next thoughts.

Metuh and the APC roadmap

AST Thursday in Abuja the All Progressives Congress (APC) began the process of laying out a distinct vision that sets it apart from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by holding a one-day national summit. The 10-point document that emerged from the event lays out a plan that focuses on jobs, security and an anti-corruption drive. For all those who have been urging the party to outline a platform for governing, this is a welcome development. There is no question that as the elections approach APC and its leaders would be challenged, and rightfully so, to flesh out some of the ideas they have unveiled. Not surprisingly, the high profile Abuja outing was being tracked by the ruling party whose spokesman, Olisah Metuh, was not slow in rolling out a response. His take? Of course, the opposition party’s platform was all hogwash – the product of “Janjaweed ideology.”

For the uninitiated the Janjaweed are an armed tribal militia group in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The word itself is Arabic in origin and refers to ‘a man with a horse and a gun.’ So what is the relationship between the political and economic blueprint APC outlined and the Janjaweed? Was Metuh just throwing around a word he had ill-digested or is there some connection between the opposition party and the Sudanese militants he would like to educate Nigerians on? Not content with savaging the APC platform he descends on its leaders for defending suspending Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Among other things he alleges that a leader of the APC who he does not name received a fraudulent N84 billion contract, while another stalwart of the party was paid N5 billion as consultancy by the CBN under Sanusi’s watch.

It would have helped if Metuh had named names seeing as the administration has not been shy to leak anything that would damage Sanusi. Thanks to the advertising expenditure of the government, Nigerians are now fairly conversant with the alleged sins of the former CBN chief as outlined in the report of the Financial Reporting Council. It is, therefore, curious that the spokesman restrained himself. Is this a case of not have the courage of one’s convictions? We’ve been told what these nameless and faceless APC leaders got as contracts. Metuh can now present a better-rounded picture by telling us how many billions his PDP colleagues received from the benevolent CBN while the going was still good. Lastly, we should point out that it is not yet a crime for Nigerians who are not PDP members to win contracts from government agencies.

My hopes for you all ended up in great disappointment”. It is possible that the two Abacha children were too young when their father was terrorising the country to understand the trauma that Nigerians were subjected to. That can be the only explanation why people who should hang their heads in shame over the reproach brought upon their family line by their patriarch have the audacity to speak in the manner in which they have done. But then there was no need for Soyinka or his defenders to respond. Barely, two days after familial emotions got the better of the Abacha’s, the United States government announced that it had ordered the freezing of $458 million in assets stolen by their father and his accomplices and hidden in European accounts. In the past Nigeria had traced $1.3 billion which the general plundered and hid in different banks in Europe. The biggest chunk amounting to $500 million came from Switzerland in 2005. A further $1.1 billion remains trapped by litigation in France, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and the Channel Islands. Some estimates claim that stolen funds traced to the Abacha could be as much as $5 billion. Commenting on the U.S. seizure, Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General said: “This is the largest civil forfeiture action to recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption ever brought by the department. General Abacha was one of the most notorious kleptocrats in memory, who embezzled billions from the people of Nigeria while millions lived in poverty.” Abacha was not just a brutal dictator under whose watch scores of Nigerians lost their lives and were denied their rights; he was also a thief who stole billions while millions were wallowing in hunger and poverty. He was not just greedy beyond belief; this sort of greed was akin to sickness. That is Abacha’s legacy. It is not something his children should be proud of. Rather than raise their voices against Soyinka for pointing out the truth, they should be burging their heads in shame while the nation cleans up the mess left by their father.

Jonathan’s campaigns


N last few weeks President Goodluck Jonathan, PDP National Chairman, Ahmadu Muazu and a whole armada of ruling party bigwigs have been crisscrossing the country holding political rallies to welcome defectors from other parties, and lay down the marker for what is shaping to be a bruising general election in 2015. They were in Sokoto to welcome former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa. In Owerri they celebrated the return to PDP ranks of the likes of ex-Governor Achike Udenwa, Senator Chris Anyanwu and others. The train has since visited Kwara where Jonathan made pointed remarks about the Saraki dynasty. Yesterday, they rolled into Minna for another of such rallies. Interestingly, Minna is the home turf of a one-time member of the rebel G-7 governors, Babangida Aliyu. He is the same man who regaled us with tales about the existence of a one-term pact between Northern leaders and the president. Speaking a few days before the rally he not only said Jonathan would not make a 2015 declaration in Minna, but also that the president wasn’t actually campaigning. Really? Given the speed with which Aliyu repented of his G-7 ‘rebelliousness’ it is not surprising that he would say anything in defence of his new cause. During these rallies Jonathan does not discuss Keynesian economics: he talks pure, undiluted politics. We don’t need anyone to tell us that the president is bending the rules and campaigning even before the race has been flagged off. Thankfully, he has the police on his side.



2015: Nigeria’s hottest senate seat PAGES 20

‘No single zone can produce Delta governor’

Adamawa 2015: It’s a four-horse race




Namadi Sambo’s Cross Vice President Namadi Sambo is fighting a tough political battle ahead 2015, reports Tony Akowe, Kaduna


HE nomination of Mohammed Namadi Sambo, erstwhile governor of Kaduna State as Vice President, by President Goodluck Jonathan, following the vacuum created by the death of former President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, came to many as a surprise. But it marked a major change in the politics of Kaduna State as it paved the way for a Southern Kaduna man to be governor of the state for the first time. That decision also paved the way for him to run with Jonathan as presidential candidates for the 2011 elections. Unfortunately however, he was unable to win any of the elections in his polling unit, ward and local government asthe opposition, Congress for Progressive Change emerged winner in all the elections. Investigations revealed then that there may have been a gangup against him by stakeholders in the area who felt that he has not been fair to them. One report

have it that the elders in the area where Sambo lives vowed that he will never win election in his polling unit. Even though this could not be confirmed, the fact that he has lost all elections in that polling unit as well as ward, local government and state and National Assembly election there tends to prove the report right. In recent times however, there appeared to be renewed moves to edge him out of office. The Nation learnt that such moves have never really ceased since 2011 elections. For example, we gathered that the supposed endorsement of Sambo to head Jonathan’s 2015 Declaration Committee has unsettled many people in the Jonathan camp. Several names have been mentioned as likely replacement for Sambo as running mate to the President for the 2015 elections. Those whose names have been mentioned include Governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina State and Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State. Although

Shema has publicly announced that he was not interested in Sambo’s job, the other two have not made any comment on the rumour. It is widely believed that even though the other two governors were part of the splinter PDP which called itself New-PDP, their refusal to dump the party for the All Progressive Congress (APC) alongside their other colleagues may not be unconnected with the struggle to replace Sambo with one of them. Some insiders allege therefore that Lamido and Shema may pose potential political threat to Sambo in view of their performance in their states and the fact that both governors are currently serving their second term and would not be eligible to contest the governorship in 2015. Governor Aliyu of Niger State is also another potential political threat. But many believe that the working relationship between the President and Sambo is strong enough to earn him a return ticket with Jonathan. Ambassador Yusuf Mamman, former Nigerian

Ambassador to Spain and spokesman of the Northern Elders Council, told The Nation that they believe there is the need for harmony and peaceful coexistence for democracy to thrive in the country. He said: “First, I will say let us get to the bridge before we cross it. The President has not declared his stand but we in the Northern Elders Council believe there is the need for harmony, peaceful coexistence, democracy and development for Nigeria. Above all, we believe that the northern political culture has been such that when you say elders, they use moderated language and constructive engagement in the way and manner they articulate very serious national issues. We are not particularly happy with the fact that those who speak in a very ‘curse’ and belligerent posture tint the type of respectability which the northern elders and political leadership acquired over a long period of time. Don’t forget that the pluralism of the north has been a tendency that has multiplicity over time, right from the First Repub-

lic. The political leader of the north, as at today, is the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, and he enjoys a good working relationship with Mr. President. It is the belief of the council that this harmony, which our brother enjoys, should be supported and encouraged and that all men of good will from across the north should lend support to this good tag team to work in tandem and achieve greater harmony and cohesion”. However, apart from people who are opposed to Jonathan’s plans to contest the 2015 elections, a decision that may affect Sambo, there is no doubt that he has a lot of work to do on the home front to gain the confidence of his people. There is also no doubt that the PDP in the state has been weakened by the defection of several key members to the APC. Even though leaders of the PDP in the state would not •Continued on Page 24





Nigeria’s hottest senate Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, identifies some of the hottest senate seats for the 2015 elections.




HE campaign for the 2015 senatorial election has not begun officially, but in some senatorial districts, the heat is already too intense. Though most of the affected districts include areas where the second term governors are plotting to displace unwilling serving senators, there are also other districts that will be hot zones mainly because the leading political parties in the state have many powerful aspirants jostling to fly their flags for the senatorial seats, or because some particular top politicians are too desperate to claim such seats for themselves or any of their loyalists. At the last count, almost 13, out of the 19 second-term governors, are allegedly oiling their political machinery in preparation to run for senate seats in 2015. As would be expected, these moves have heightened the political tension in the senatorial zones, thus marking them out as some of the hottest senatorial seats in 2015 elections. The Nation investigation shows that while most of the supporters of the serving senators have resolved to fight the governors concerned, only very few are, as at today, willing to consider any form of settlement. Some of the well-known cases, according to insiders, are insisting on swapping positions with their governors, an option, some of the governors may not be able to guarantee. Where, as a result of existing or declared zoning arrangement, this option seems very difficult or impossible for the governor, hardline aides of the concerned senators are saying their principal should slug it out with the governors at the primaries. Some have also threatened that if they are manipulated out in the party primaries, they will defect to the most viable opposition party in the state in order to face the governor at the election proper. So, considering the clout of some of the senators, the tricky political realities that have marked the zones out and the ability of other aspirants to make a sustained fight, observers expect hot contests at such senatorial elections. Some of the outgoing governors that have publicly indicated interest to retire at the senate after completing their terms as executive governors in 2015 include Sullivan Chime of Enugu; Theodore Orji

•Nwogu of Abia; Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Martins Elechi of Ebonyi. Other outgoing governors, who may not have declared their intentions publicly, but have shown deep interests in their zone’s senate seats, include Gabriel Suswam of Benue; Liyel Imoke of Cross River; Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta and Usman Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi. As for Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano; Sule Lamido of Jigawa and Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina. Observers are still studying their complex dance steps to determine whether or not they would eventually go to the red chamber at the National Assembly. Some of the hottest seats: Except other factors come out to alter existing permutations, it seems Benue


•Ndoma-Egba North-East Senatorial seat will be one of the hottest seats in the 2015 senatorial elections. This is mainly because out-going Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State is determined to take the seat, currently occupied by former PDP National Chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade. While most of the other serving governors are still keeping their senatorial ambitions secret, Suswam is one of the first to publicly declare his interest in the Benue North-East seat. For Gemade, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees and the party’s NEC, Suswam’s plot is enough threat to dump the PDP for the APC. This threat, we learnt, is the root cause of deep political tension both in the senatorial zone and the state. This is because, notwithstanding the likely effect of the power of incumbency and claims of the ruling PDP that the party is very strong in the state, observers say the PDP is worried that if the APC fields

an influential candidate in the senatorial zone, Suswam may not be able to win the election, and if that happens, the leadership of the ruling party in the state may have been finally broken. Senate President David Mark’s Benue South Senatorial District’s seat is another seat that would be hotly contested for in 2015. Given that talks about Mark’s presidential or governorship ambitions are yet to be confirmed, there is a popular view that the fourth term senator would most likely go for a historic fifth term tenure in 2015. Given his vantage position as Senate President, Mark is politically very powerful and influential enough to contest for any elective position. But for the Benue South Senatorial seat in 2015, observers say it may not be an easy task this time. Insiders say, Mark may be challenged for the office by a long time close associate, Chief Mike Onoja.






Niger-East divided over Aliyu’s ambition

Peoples Democratic Party’s ticket for the Niger-East Senatorial District is the cause of a raging battle between Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and the occupant of the seat, Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan

•Ekweremadu Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the leadership of former governor George Akume, appears set to effectively take the zone and the state. Some of the frontline APC aspirants for the Benue South Senatorial seat, like Madaki Ameh, have made the so-called Idoma dream one of the major issues to tackle Mark with. Observers say the Senate President, if he comes out, will have to answer many questions if he hopes to retain the seat. As the National Assembly leader, Mark understandably has many political enemies that will prefer to retire him. This, however, promises to be a tough political battle, given Mark’s well oiled political machinery which has, for the fourth time he contested, been challenged unsuccessfully by strong opponents like General Lawrence Onoja (Rtd) and Alhaji Usman Abubakar, aka Young Alhaji. Our investigation shows that Sokoto North Senatorial District is also one of the interesting zones where the 2015 senatorial election is most likely to be hot. This notion is fired by the claims that Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko has concluded plans to take over the senatorial seat currently occupied by Senator Ahmed Mohamed Maccido. Senator Maccido, son of the late Sultan Muhammadu Maccido, is the only senator from the North-West state that failed to join Wamakko, when he and the others dumped the PDP for the APC. Sources say the PDP leadership is very desperate to ensure that Maccido continues to fly the party’s flag in the zone. But if the claim that Governor Wamakko wants to run for the office under the APC is true, keen observers say the PDP may meet a brick wall in its bid to retain the seat. For the Enugu-West Senatorial District’s seat, now occupied by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, the battle will also be tough if Governor Sullivan Chime makes good his threat to take the seat from Ekweremadu, without breaking the alleged zoning formula to swap positions. For over a year now, the two powerful politicians have been engaged in a power tussle, with Ekweremadu accusing the governor of sabotaging his constituency projects to make way for eventual takeover of his seat at the red chamber of the senate in 2015. If the two go for the primaries, it will be an interesting scenario but the matter remains hazy, given Sulivan’s health reports and the doubt that he may not run after all. In Cross River Central Senatorial District, the scenario is the same. There, Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke is said to be interested to take over the zone’s seat, currently occupied by the Senate Leader, Senator Victor NdomaEgba, who is in his third term in the upper chamber and is determined to return for the fourth term. Speaking to newsmen during the week, Ndoma-Egba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said, “I am not, however,

• Babangida Aliyu

• Awaisu Kuta

OLLOWING the recent release of 2015 general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the battle for the political soul of Niger -East Senatorial District intensified as intrigues over who gets the ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent the people at the upper chamber of the National Assembly rages between Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta. The duo have also been at loggerheads over alleged moves by the former to replace the latter in the Senate. The wrangling between the two political leaders and kinsmen recently became public when Kuta took a swipe at the governor by saying the senate is not a retirement place for ex-governors. The statement was interpreted to have been directed at Aliyu by political observers because of late, most political office holders and other leading figures in the senatorial district have been canvassing the emergence of the governor as the PDP senatorial candidate in Niger-East come 2015. This, The Nation learnt, is not going down well with Kuta, who is the serving Senator representing the area. Sources in the state said almost all the nine local government chairmen, their aides, commissioners, special advisers and special assistants and as well as party chairmen from the council areas that make up the senatorial district have turned foot soldiers, working round the clock to ensure the emergence of the governor as the next senator. Taking the bull by the horn recently, a pro-Aliyu group, the Alliance for Change 2015, told Senator Kuta to forget his bid for re-election as, according to the group, he has performed below expectation in his seven years sojourn in the upper chamber, describing his tenure as lack lustre. Rising from an emergency meeting in Abuja, the group, in a five-point resolution signed by Alhaji Muhammed Aminu, coordinator, and Joseph Anthony, secretary, respectively, unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on the senator. According to the group, the senator as an indigene of Niger State, has the constitutional right to contest for any position in the state, but they reaffirmed that as representatives and voice of the people of Niger-East, they have vowed that Senator Kuta will not represent them again in the hallowed chamber of the senate come 2015. The Alliance for Change gave reasons why the people of Zone B will not endorse or vote for the senator even if he decamps from the PDP to any political party. They alleged that he was not in touch with his people as he has not visited any of the constituencies in the nine local government areas that made up Zone B since he was elected to represent them in 2007, including even Kuta village, where he hails from. The group also debunked the popularly held view that Kuta was the initiator of the HYPADEC bill, adding that it was a wrong perception and that the person that fought for this bill was the late Senator Idris Ibrahim Kuti, who did all the groundwork. The group warned the senator not to claim glory for what he did not fight for. The Alliance noted that his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Federal Character is of no benefit to the people of Zone B and challenged him to publish the names of constituents from Zone B who have benefitted from his patronage. “Senator Kuta should publish the names of people from the nine local government areas that made up Zone B that he has facilitated their employments into Ministries, Departments and

Agencies (MDAs) as well as military and paramilitary outfits.” There are others who are strongly opposed to the governor’s ambition. Among these are serving national assembly members in the zone, a number of state legislators, party chieftains and traditional rulers. The opposition to the governor’s bid to go to the senate, sources said, is largely from amongst those who want him to give other people a chance to hold public positions. Such ambition by the governor has also pitched him against Kuta, who has been reported to nurse third term agenda towards the hallowed chamber of the senate. Expectedly, the relationship between the duo, which was smooth before the purported ambition of the governor, has become very strained in recent times. Kuta who is spending his sixth year in the senate, according to sources within his camp, is not willing to forgo his re-election bid in spite of what his men described as the undemocratic antics of the governor and his allies to arm twist Kuta into surrendering to their wish. “The Senator is not ready to be arm twisted by these undemocratic elements into surrendering his senatorial seat to the governor. This is why he will continue to cry out over the governor’s intimidation and harassment until sanity prevails.” Speaking to journalists recently, the senator said no political machinations by Governor Aliyu would frustrate him from seeking the mandate of his people to return to the upper house for the third time come 2015. “My people back my move to seek re-election for a third term. I will seek re-election under the PDP, even though Gov Babangida Aliyu has shown interest in the seat. “In spite of the political machinations to stop me, nothing will deter me from contesting for re-election in 2015. I cannot be intimidated by anybody after being in politics for 32 years. There is nothing that I have not seen. I have been in politics for long and for that, I cannot be intimidated by anybody not only in Niger but in this country,” he said. Contrary to claims by individuals and groups like the Alliance for Change 2015, Kuta said he is qualified to seek another term in the National Assembly because since he went to the Senate, he has achieved a lot for his constituents. He cited the provision of employments for about 125 of his constituents; the construction of school buildings, and the provision of health facilities as some of his stewardship in the last six years that he had represented the people of Niger East. The senator also accused the state chapter of the PDP of favoring the governor unfairly in their bid to truncate his ambition of returning to the senate in 2015. He however warned that no matter the level of gang-up against his person, he would contest the 2015 senatorial elections and will win, even on the banner of an opposition party as he had done in the past. But the governor’s camp has denied the allegation of intimidation adding also that such could not be the case since the governor was yet to declare his intention to run for senate against Senator Kuta. Governor Aliyu speaking through his chief press secretary, Mr. Danladi Ndayebo, said his focus at the moment is how to continue to give good governance to the people of Niger State and that decision on 2015 will be taken in the future. While the alleged political face-off between the two erstwhile allies and kinsmen continues, observers of the politics of the state are eagerly awaiting the eventual winner of the political battle.





Senate’s ‘Methuselahs’

For some senators, the upper chamber has become a second home where they have operated for not less than two terms. Sunday Oguntola considers their contributions and staying powers



OU could call them veterans. And they have really battled against all odds to win back-to-back elections. Not to a local government or state assemblies but to the powerful upper chamber of the national assembly from their different constituencies. They have studied, conquered their local constituencies and have established themselves, more or less, like institutions. They are the senate’s veterans or Methuselah, if you like. They know virtually all the nooks and crannies of the senate. They have studied senate’s procedures and can read them like the palms of their hands. These are the longest serving senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: David Mark He saw what many Nigerians did not see. That was way back in 1999. When David Mark indicated interest in contesting the senatorial seat of Benue South, many did not know he was on his way to prominence. Two presidents have come and gone since his election. But Mark has remained untouchable, winning back-toback elections to the upper chamber. He was just a committee member in his first term during which analysts said he was studying the terrains. The former soldier learnt well and became a committee chairman in his second term from 2003-2007.




When the 5th National Assembly took off, Mark had established sufficient contacts and networks to become the president unopposed. He has since held sway in the upper chamber, proving stability for the polity. It is believed Mark enjoys supports from his colleagues. Attempts by a former Principal Staff Officer to the late General Sani Abacha, General Lawrence Onoja, to dislodge Mark in 2011 failed. Many say Mark has his eyes on the presidency, but sources close to him said he is determined to remain as senate president for as long as he can. Uche Chukwumerije Vocal and visible, Chukwumerije is no push-over in the senate since he joined in 2003. The Abia North representative is one of the elders in the chamber. He is one of those with interesting rides to the senate. The former Minister of Information in the regime of Ibrahim Babangida won elections to the senate on the platform of two parties at different times. In 2006, he was forced out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for opposing the third term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He re-contested for his seat under the platform of the Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA) and won. By 2011, he was back in the PDP and won

re-election. The erudite scholar is a writer, having published titles like The African American, One Nigeria: The Birth and Evolution of an Idea, The Revolution Has No Tribe: Contemporary Poetry on African History, Culture and Society Co-written with Azuka Juachi Okonji, Strategic Love: Simple Rules That Make Love Work and many others. His aides said he is poised to vie for the seat again until he is tired to go on. His mainstay is positioning himself as champion of the Ndigbo in the senate, a development that has endeared him to the Igbo nation. Ike Ekweremadu The Deputy Senate President walked into the chamber in 2003 for the first time. By 2007, the Enugu-West representative has worked his way to the current position. His strategy is to play national politics, a position that has paid off. He is Chairman of the Constitutional Amendment Committee of the National Assembly and Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States Parliament where he has gained many mileages. But his seat is under threat as Governor Sullivan Chime has indicated interest in taking over from him. But insiders said Ekweremadu has started playing local politics to regain his seat. Victor Ndoma-Egba The Cross Rivers Central representa-

tive is a majority leader in the senate. He started in the chamber in 2003 when he was rewarded with committee membership. He has since learnt the ropes to become the Majority Leader which enables him to call the shots in many businesses of the senate. His activism as a former Nigeria Bar Association chairman in Calabar has helped his hold on power just like his willingness to do the biddings of the ruling party. He has already declared intention in seeking a fourth term in the upper chamber with many believing he might just secure the nod of his constituency. Abu Ibrahim After a four-year absence, Ibrahim returned to the Senate in 2011 under the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). He was elected senator under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003, months after he resigned as chairman of the PDP in Katsina State. Ibrahim represents Katsina South and was expelled from the ANPP in 2006. He contested for the governorship in 2007, which he lost and returned to the Senate in 2011 to continue from where he stopped his first stint. His closeness to ex-Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, is believed to be responsible for his re-election to the upper chamber. It is unclear if he would be seeking to return come 2015.

Hottest senate seats

•Continued from Page 20 desperate. If I do not go back for the fourth term, I can still go back to my lucrative law practice. “But in this case, who suffers – Cross River State, my constituency. This is because it will take time for another legislator from this state to rise to the position of Senate Leader. “If I am obliged the mandate to go back to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who knows, I can get something higher and attract more benefits to Cross River State.” We gathered that when Ndoma-Egba formally announced his intention to run for a fourth term recently, the announcement did not go down well with his state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke,

who is believed to be grooming another candidate to replace the senate leader. Given Ndoma-Egba’s clout, the intrigues in the zone are of special interest to observers. Other senatorial seats where intrigues of special interest are currently recorded include Kebbi North seat, where Governor Usman Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi State is also believed to be in the race for the Senate next year, thereby pitching him against Senator Isa Galaudu currently occupying the seat. There is also Abia Central Senatorial zone, where State Governor Theodore Orji has declared interest to replace Senator Nkechi Nwogu, currently occupying the seat. Nwogu, according to reports, is willing to give in if the governor allows her to fly

the PDP’s governorship ticket. Given the call for zoning, it seems difficult for Orji to grant such a request, so observers are interested to see how the matter would be resolved. Also, since Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State indicated his intention to run for Delta South Senatorial zone, there has been tension within the party in the zone as the current occupant of the seat, Senator James Manager, a thirdtermer in the red chamber, has allegedly sworn to fight for his seat in 2015 In Akwa Ibom State, the case of Governor Godswill Akpabio and Senator Aloysius Etok is also of special interest. Since Akpabio reportedly declared his intention to unseat Etok, the Chairman of the Senate Committee in Establishment and Public Service Matters has allegedly

voiced preparedness to fight for his seat. How he will do this remains to be seen. In Bauchi State, there are also strong indications that Senator Adamu Ibrahim Gumba, representing Bauchi South, is not taking kindly to the alleged plan of Governor Isa Yuguda to replace him. The case of Senator Paulinus Igwe and Governor Martins Elechi of Ebonyi State is also of interest. The governor has reportedly told Igwe that he will be replacing him in the senate while Igwe, as in the case of Abia, is also insisting that they swap positions. Other governors who are in their final term and may want to take a shot at the Senate seat include Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and Ibrahim Shehu Shema.




‘No single zone can produce Delta governor’

Hyacinth Enuha, a former top financier of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State, now an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, was recently elected the Chairman of the APC Anioma Leaders Forum in Delta State. In this interview with Associate Editor, Taiwo Ogundipe, Enuha spoke on Delta governorship race in 2015 and other national issues. Excerpts


HAT is the purpose of the APC Anioma Leaders Forum? The purpose of the forum is to organise our people – we all belong to APC – so that we can speak with one voice and mobilise our people towards winning election, which is very important. With the formation of the forum, the leaders can go back to the grassroots, mobilise and assist people with finance as well as encourage them to come out and vote during the forthcoming election so that we can have an APC governor in Delta State. You’ve been known to be a businessman all along, operating in politics only at the background, why are you now in active politics? I’m essentially in politics so as to know how I can contribute to the welfare of the people. All my life, I have been in business, I have been blessed; I have been successful. Now I said, what is next? What am I going to do? So I thought I have been blessed, so, why not put back into the society from what God has blessed me with? I discovered the best is to get involved in influencing government policies at the local and the state levels and through that attract more developments into my area. And that has been my focus. Some people believe the rich people should not dabble into politics like the case of M. K. O. Abiola. What do you think of this? You must have heard of this popular saying, the children of the rich cannot sleep when the children of the poor are hungry. Everybody who has the opportunity to get involved and is not getting involved is not doing service to this country. Look at what happened in Liberia. That was how it started. The rich people did not care what was going on. They were comfortable in their mansions until all of a sudden, these same people that they ignored came to their houses and drove them away and occupied the houses, and the rich people became refugees. Who says it cannot happen here? Who ever knew that we’ll have a situation like Boko Haram? We were talking about it every time. They said this is Nigeria it cannot happen. We better begin to work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen, because if it does, it is the rich ones that will suffer most. You were known to belong to PDP, why are you now in APC? I was in PDP and I got fed up with their culture of impunity and money politics. They have a do or die approach to politics; to win at all cost. I’m not running for office; I’m not looking for money. All I want is good governance. So, I felt PDP is not a party for me. I left and joined ACN, which is now APC. And I have not regretted it at all. What is the most attractive quality that you have found in APC beyond, as you claimed, being repelled by the PDP’s culture of impunity and money politics? I always tell people, seek ye first the kingdom of result, all other things will be added unto you. Take a look at the governors and the states of the APC or the (defunct) ACN which I belonged to, and see how they have performed. Look at the example of Fashola particularly. If the constitution allows him to go for third term, people will return him unopposed. It is because of the result or achievement. If you go to Edo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti and Oyo states, the reports I’m getting are the same; that these people are performing. What is it that is making them perform? It must be because of the policy that the leadership of the APC has put in place. So, I’m very positive that if APC gets into the national, we will see the same result. One of the main criticisms against APC is that the party is not sensitive to religious balancing and that it is unduly tilted toward one religion. What do you have to say on this? That is PDP propaganda. Go and look at the records of APC. Even this interim exco that we have is about 50-50 regarding both leading religions of Christianity and Islam.


In the East especially, they’ve been lying that APC is a Moslem party and will impose Islam on the region. But people are not buying it. They will soon come up with a fresh propaganda against APC. It is their stock in trade, we should just disregard them. In Delta State, there have been agitations from various ethnic groups to have the governorship seat zoned to their area. People from your group, the Aniomas are particularly vociferous. What is your take on this? We, the Aniomas, have been in the forefront of the agitation that power should rotate. And everybody agrees. It’s just a question of how do we achieve this. Technically, I’m in support of zoning. Whether we like it or not, there is zoning at the national and local levels of any party. Even when they are doing congress, they zone the slots to different areas. I will not even call it zoning, I will prefer to call it balancing. There is nothing wrong in balancing so that everybody will have a sense of belonging. We can say it’s time for Delta North to also produce and we have qualified people from Delta North. I don’t believe that it’s a question of right but that of amicable balancing so that all of us will have a sense of belonging. That’s my own stand that it is time for Delta North to produce the next governor. Why do you think that opportunity has eluded Delta North so far? The opportunity had never really come, because the last time Uduaghan was running, we all said power must shift, but we didn’t say where it should shift to. So, when Uduaghan emerged, everybody agreed that power had shifted to the South. And as a matter of fact, I made contributions to his election and he was impressed and appreciative. He was expecting me to tell him my objectives in supporting him, and I told him I would never come to him for contract, I would never ask for political appointment. All I’m asking is that there must be good governance and when you finish, power must move to Delta North. He replied that there was no problem that power must rotate, which was an admission of agreement that power must

move to Delta North. And since then, we have been friends. And he has always maintained that he is in agreement that power must move to the North. But everybody wants to play coolly. It is not a matter of noise that power must shift to a place, all of us must work together to realise that objective. Who are the aspirants that have declared their intention from your area? It is too early. 2015 is still far. We are going to be looking for the best. We won’t sacrifice that post on the altar of mediocrity. We want people to come out from the South, Central and North. At the end, when we have the best from North and Central; we will then begin to talk and discuss and try to balance. Will the numerical strength not come into play concerning the zone that will eventually succeed? The good thing about Delta is that no single zone can produce the governor. There must be support from other zones for the governor to emerge. What advice would you give to APC at the national level to be able to come up with a candidate that would be marketable? Personally, I believe that APC should present a candidate with proven leadership qualities. Do you have any hope that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan will organise a free and fair election in 2015? Well, I cannot speculate. We expect INEC should do its job. It is not a question of Jonathan, but a free and fair election. He is a contestant. So the onus is on INEC to ensure that we have free and fair election. Do you think the efforts, utterances and the body language of INEC are suggestive of giving hope for a free and fair election? I’m an optimist. Somehow I believe Jega means well. But he has to do more. Because Jega will not be on the field, and a lot of the problems come from the INEC officials at the local level. He has to ensure that the people there are held accountable and he should put in positions people who cannot be bought over. What is your view on the manner the National Assembly leadership, especially the Senate, is handling the spate of defections by congress members? Well, it is very clear. David Mark is somebody I respect. But you have to understand that he is under tremendous pressure from his party. There is nothing stopping people from moving. We should not make a mountain out of a molehill. People had been defecting before now. I remember our Senator Osakwe. He was in the Accord Party when he won the election. After some time, he defected to PDP. He was warmly received. PDP should not panic with recent defections. I believe that it is by divine intervention that APC has come to live. Now we will have two strong parties just like they have it in the west: Democrats and Republicans. There will be no monopoly. If APC comes into government, then after eight years, maybe PDP will take over. Everybody will wake up. People will be trying to outdo each other. And who would benefit: the people. So, the development should not be looked at as being bad. It should be welcome. After all, when it started, they thought it was going to be people moving from PDP to APC, but haven’t they seen it now that people are moving from APC to PDP too?

Factors and actors in the Ekiti election (1)


ARELY three months to the Ekiti State governorship election, the attention of democrats are now riveted on the political scene in that rural, but important Western State. The state has gained more importance since Dr. Kayode Fayemi mounted the saddle as governor in 2010. Prior to that game-changing event, it had always been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Murder, believed to be politically motivated, was rife. Brigandage was the name of the game. The people counted for nothing as the elite jostled for power, the scarce resources available and relevance. I have been to Ekiti and have seen the incredible performance of the incumbent administration. I have interacted with neutral Ekiti people who have no reason to colour their assessment of the government. I am fairly familiar with the state that shares boundary with my state, Osun; and cultural affinity with my people-the Ijesa. If as in every election it could be said that the incumbent decides to win or lose, on the count of work done, the Fayemi government deserves to be returned by the electorate. The major issue or factor in any election ought to be performance. If this were the sole criterion, the election would be a walk-over; an academic exercise and the governor would merely be awaiting coronation. But, it is not certain if performance is even the most important issue in Nigerian elections. Chief Bisi Akande was an achiever by any standard as governor of Osun State, but he lost. The NPN army ran riot all over the country in 2003 and snatched victory in states like Oyo and Kaduna despite the performance of the UPN and PRP administrations. In Ondo, the attempt to rig in the NPN led to protests and riots. In many states, the ethnic factor is very strong. This may not be important in Ekiti as the people are of the same stock. In its place, the artificial division into senatorial zones is being propped up. Some have contended that the Central zone has no business contending this time as it produced the first civilian governor, Chief Niyi Adebayo and his successor, Ayo Fayose. The incumbent is from the North. It is therefore contended that the office be conceded to the South. Others think this is a cheap line. They argue that the division is too artificial to count for much. Besides, leaders and supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) say, if geo-political configuration should decide the election, then the North, too, should rule for eight years before any charter could cede it to the South. A stronger factor is the party structure. Effectively, there are two political parties in the state- the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Before the electoral commission flagged off the race by releasing the timetable, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, a member of the House of Representatives, was touted a contender for the throne. He was apparently overrated and moved over to the Labour Party. It is however obvious now that the bid has failed to gain momentum. It appears even his backers in Abuja have seen the futility of investing on him. The state has thus reverted to the traditional two-party race. It is a fact of history that the PDP dethroned the Alliance for Democracy in 2003. Many would contend that the election was rigged, but, it stood. Mr. Ayo Fayose was governor for four years on the PDP platform. He still enjoys the support of some common people, but is detested by the elite. He has lost much of the popularity he appeared to have enjoyed among the people owing to the Fayemi “wonder”. The Oni years recorded little achievements perhaps because the mandate was not freely given. For more than three years, the two parties moved from one court to the other and supplementary elections had to be held. During the period, the governor perched on a tight-rope and could not stand at ease. He could not plan and had to swim against the tide. Anyone who takes time to study the demographics and political behaviour of the Ekiti would not be quick to dismiss the PDP. It remains a contender in the election. However the ruling APC has a lot going for it. Performance is one; the personality of Governor Fayemi is another. He is widely acclaimed as a gentleman and one activist who came to power with solid credentials and has been true to his calling. He is a special breed and sometimes comes across as more of an administrator like the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo than a typical Nigerian politician. Before the 2011 legislative polls, many leaders of the progressive hue in the region were afraid that the governor could fail to hold that flank, but he disappointed them by leading the ACN to a landslide victory. His party enjoys the control of the local and state levers of administration. For the purpose of the election, the councillors, local council chairmen, House of Assembly members, commissioners, National Assembly members and other appointees of the state government are automatic agents of the party. In enlightened self interest, they would work for the party’s victory. It has, however, been observed that elections here are not won fair and square. Three major factors have been identified as deciding the direction to which the pendulum swings. They are the electoral commission, the Police and money. Since the federal government controls the Police which, in previous elections had been employed as an arm of the party in control of the federal government and there are legitimate grounds to suspect the neutrality of INEC, the Ekiti election could yet be more contentious than a fair analyst may see on the field.




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‘We want responsive governance in South-East’

GROUP, South East Forum, has called for more responsive governance in the South-East zone. In a statement released on the 10th anniversary of the late Chief Sam Mbakwe, and signed by its chairman, Rev. Nnorom Austin Emeka, the group said: “The 10 years memorial of late Sam Mbakwe, the first executive governor

of old Imo State, which then comprised today’s Abia, Ebonyi and Imo states, calls for reflection on governance in the Sou t h E a st a nd cl ea rl y t hrows aspersion on today’s South East leaders and shows their inability to deliver democratic dividends to the people of South East Nigeria. “This region today suffers clear infrastructural underdevelopment and

2015: Bankole tasks politicians on peace


HE Iyalode of Gbagura Kingdom in Abeokuta, Adunni Bankole, has appealed to politicians to tread the path of peace and fairness as they campaign for elective positions come 2015. Adunni Bakole, who is the step mother of the former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, made this known at the graduation ceremony of 300 students of the free ICT Training Centre, established by a member of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Ifo Constituency 2, Adijah Adeleye in Akute, Ogun State. The programme brought together thousands of residents in the area, including lawmakers, traditional rulers, artisans, market women, youth groups and church leaders, which featured free medical care, free eye clinic, distribution of free drugs and the commissioning of a new ICT Centre in conjunction with National Information Development Agency, Olambe. According to her, there is a rising

high level of unemployment, which is evident from the exodus of youths who constitute a menace through activities like street trading in the North and South-West Nigeria and beyond. “Our survey, which shows that over 10,000 youths migrate daily to other parts of the country and overseas calls for more responsive governance. The South-East governors should as a matter of urgency commence youth and women empowerment programmes which was part of the human capital development

goals responsible for the huge success of the late Sam Mbakwe’s regime. It is so worrisome that this region today has the largest baby factories globally as a result of the governors’ outright neglect for teenage females. “As we are approaching another election year, we call on the good people of the South-East to vote in visionary leaders like the late Sam Mbakwe that had people-oriented programmes.”

By Adeola Ogunlade apprehension in the polity, which portends a great danger for our nascent democracy if not curbed in the interest of our youths. She applauded the effort of the lawmaker in providing capacity development projects for the people within her constituency, saying, “We need to embark on more sustainable policies and programmes that are aimed at building the human capacity of our youths needed in job creation and economic development.” Adeleye said, “when we started the computer programme, it was majorly for youths, but to our surprise, old men and women joined. Our 500 students from diverse background, tribe, religion and political affiliations have benefited from our development projects that are apolitical and have a human face.” Adeleye promised that the best graduating students will be employed in the new ICT centre and others will be exposed to other opportunities for employment within and outside the area.

APC national leaders (L-R)Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, General Mohammed Buhari and Chief Bisi Akande, just before the party unveiled its road map during the week

Who is afraid of Namadi Sambo? •Continued from Page 19

want to publicly admit the fact that there is a major problem within the party that needs urgent attention before the elections, the defection of majority of members of the Makarfi group within the party is a major setback that is capable of affecting the fortunes of the party in the state. But one thing that is going for the Vice President however is the number of federal projects that Kadauna State and indeed the North-West has enjoyed from the present administration. For example, nine of the new Federal Universities established by the Jonathan administration are located in the north with four of them located in the North-West geopolitical zone. The universities are located in Gusua in Zamfara, Dutse in Jigawa, Dustin-Ma in Katsina and Birnin Kebbi in Kebbi states for the North-West, while the rest are located in Lafia in Nasarawa, Lokoja in Kogi, Kashere in Gombe, Wukari inTaraba and Gashua in Yobe State. Kaduna State, which is Sambo’s home state, has also benefited tremendously from the Jonathan administration with several ongoing projects running into several billions of naira. For example, there is a multibillion fast rail track connecting Abuja to Kaduna in addition to the Galma Dam project, which is near completion aimed at providing raw water for the multipurpose Zaria water supply scheme, the Gurara Dam project, the Kudenda Power Project, among others. The completion of these projects will improve the economy of the state. Zakari Sogfa, a former Commissioner for Justice in the state and National Coor-


dinator of the Get It Right Nigeria, believes that Kaduna State has never had it so good under any government. Some believe that these projects are capable of increasing the rating of the Vice President back home. Even though the decision on whether or not to retain Sambo as Vice President lies with Jonathan, it is evident that PDP leaders are afraid that PDP may lose Kaduna State. events tends to prove otherwise as PDP stakeholders in the state have failed to admit that there is a major threat to them posed specifically by the APC. The people of Southern Kaduna are no doubt key to retaining the state by the party as they have always voted enmasse for one party during elections. Isaiah Balat, one of the founding fathers of the party

in the area and command lot of respect and has the ability to reach out to stakeholders in the area is no longer on the scene. Government is believed to be treating elders from the area with kids gloves and this has the potential of affecting the fortune of the party in the area. If this happens, it may be a major setback for Sambo. While the people may have decided to rally round Mrs. Lawrentia Mallam as Minister from the area, The Nation gathered that her nomination did not initially go down well with party faithful in the area. Unless the PDP is able to hold on to the votes coming from Southern Kaduna, they stand the risk of losing Kaduna and this will further put Sambo in tight corner. Interestingly, Sambo and his aides have chosen to remain silent on the moves to edge him out as Vice President and get Jonathan to appoint another deputy. However, those against the Vice President are said to be uncomfortable with the recent visit of a delegation from Bayelsa state to Sambo. The delegation led by the state governor, Seriake Dickson and included prominent sons of Bayelsa state was said to have commended the Vice President for his total and unwavering loyalty to their son, President Jonathan. Sambo was quoted as telling the delegation that the confidence he receives from the president encourages him to do even more, saying “I want to assure you that I will personally continue to give my full support and loyalty to Mr. President. I also assure you that we will not allow anything to detract us. The Transformation Agenda of Mr. President is well on track. We will continue to work in the interest of Nigeria; we will continue to work as patriotic Nigerians and we will ensure that we deliver dividends of democracy to Nigerians.” Before his death, Late Senator Isaiah Balat who was Sambo’s Adviser on Special Duties tends to have confirmed moves by some people to get the President replace Sambo as

his running mate. In an article published by The Nation on Sunday of February 9, 2014, Balat said “while most of these political gamblers are already in the camp of the opposition and are surreptitiously working against the interest of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), they are still posturing as members, indeed leaders, of the ruling party and they would want the world to believe that they alone can deliver Kaduna to President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. And the plot they have devised is simply to denigrate the person of the Vice President in pursuit of their ambition. So desperate have these politicians become that, almost on a daily basis now, they invent stories about how “unpopular” the VP has become in the North just as they are now screaming themselves hoarse about the ‘dwindling fortunes’ of the PDP in Kaduna State. They persist because the VP would neither be distracted by the antics of those who do not wish the PDP and the Jonathan administration well nor join issues with political time-servers who would want to drag him down with them. Yet there should be a limit to the kind of dirty politicking that is becoming a daily feast now as we move towards the 2015 general elections”. The next few months will be very crucial in the politics of Kaduna and indeed the north as politicians battle to outdo each other. The decision by the President to contest or not to contest will also be very crucial and has a lot to do with whether Sambo will remain in the corridors of power as Vice President or not. Sambo has no doubt been a loyal follower of the President and even though many believe that he is not aggressive enough, it is important to say that the President may not need any deputy for now who will rock the boat.









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Untold story of aviation mystery fund Page 58, 59

'Banks benefited more from aviation fund' •Meggison

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Nigeria's economic growth to quicken, inflation to ease this year -IMF


IGERIA is set to witness economic growth this year while inflation will continue on a downward spiral, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected over the weekend. According to IMF, Nigeria's economy is bound to grow at 7.3%, an increase from 6.4% in 2013, a figure greater than the projected 6.75% growth hitherto bandied by the minister of finance and the co-ordinating minister of the economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. IMF also disclosed that inflation is set to reduce, pegging the rate at 7% at the end of 2014, a figure lower than 7.9% at the end of 2013. This downward trend is attributed to tight monetary policy, the IMF said. "Economic growth is expected to improve further in 2014, driven by agriculture, trade, and services," the IMF said in a report following consultations with Nigerian officials. "Inflation should continue to decline, with lower food

• GDP to grow 7.3%, inflation to end 2014 at 7% -IMF By Joe Agbro Jr., with agency reports prices from higher rice and wheat production and supported by a tight monetary policy and a budget execution that maintains medium-term consolidation objectives," it said. The IMF said there were risks to its projections, including the uncertain pace of the global recovery, lower oil prices and production, slow implementation of reforms and the continuation of a bloody Islamist insurgency in the north. It also cautioned against draining fiscal buffers. Nigeria's excess crude account, where Africa's biggest oil exporter saves money from excess oil revenues not allocated for in the government's budget, contained $2.28 billion at the end of last year, down from around $9 billion a year earlier. Forex reserves have also fallen, to a 19-month low of $40 billion, and the naira, which had been stable, is under pressure from the emerging

market asset sell-off and since President Goodluck Jonathan unexpectedly suspended respected central bank governor Lamido Sanusi last month, hitting investor confidence. Reserves remain at a relatively comfortable 5.6 months of imports, the IMF noted. Nigeria will hold presidential and parliamentary elections next February and investors are concerned about a possible spike in government spending ahead of the vote and potential leakages in oil revenues, in a sector which has suffered a number of corruption scandals in recent months. "Policies should focus on rebuilding external and fiscal buffers, avoiding spending pressures from the political cycle, strengthening the transparency and governance of the oil sector," the IMF said in its report. Nigeria estimated oil output would average 2.39 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, which oil industry experts think is overly optimistic and is likely

to lead to an underfunded budget, as happened last year. Large scale oil theft, which can reach 400,000 bpd, and outages caused by ageing pipelines and other infrastructure deficiencies are keeping output well below the sector's 2.7 million bpd capacity. Despite robust growth and an attractive investment outlook, Nigeria still suffers from gaping inequality, the IMF noted. Thousands of new millionaires are created each year but most of the country's 170 million people live on less than $1 a day and unemployment is stuck at around 25 percent. "Despite significant job creation, unemployment and poverty are high and social indicators lag those of peers," the IMF said. "Continued weaknesses in labour markets, access to electricity, cost of doing business, and small and medium enterprises' access to finance have prevented a transition to a more robust and inclusive growth path," it said.

‘I’m interested in people’ •Olugbile

Use of consultants for tax collection by states, councils illegal, says expert


TAX expert, Mr Mark Abuh, at the weekend, said that the use of consultants by some state governments and local government councils in the country to collect taxes and levies was illegal. Abuh, who is the Tax Adviser to Growth and Empowerment in States (GEM3), a Department for International Development (DFID) sponsored programme, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. He said that the use of consultants in tax collection has become a trend, but described it as an "aberration", which was being done at the detriment of appropriate government officials. He added that ``Decree 21 of 1998 prohibits the use of consultants for assessing and collecting taxes and levies by any tier of government.'' Abuh also said that the use of consultants by some state and local governments was one of the factors that led to multiple taxation of citizens and organisations. According to him: “Section 1(1) states that notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979, as amended, or in any other enactment or law, no person, other than the appropriate tax authority, shall assess or collect tax or levy.” He stressed that ``nobody, other than appropriate government agency and officials, shall on behalf of government, collect tax or levy as listed in the Schedule to this decree. He quoted again: ``Sub-section 2 states that no person, including a tax authority, shall mount a road block in any part of the federation for the purpose of collecting any tax or levy.'' The tax expert pointed out that the Tax Act provides that the Board of Internal Revenue in a state could delegate some of its non-core functions to tax consultants ``but not for the assessment and actual collection.

CMD boss seeks establishment of skills development agency


•From left: Executive Director, Heritage Bank, Mr. Robert Mbonu, Group Head, Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Aligwekwe and Managing Director, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, during the company's one year anniversary held in Lagos...recently. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE

DMO to sell N90bn worth of bonds


HE Debts Management Office (DMO) at the weekend said it would sell N90 billion in three-year and 10-year Federal Government bonds. This is contained in the DMO March 2014 FGN Bond Offer Circular, posted on the company's Website.

The posting indicated that the bonds would mature in August, 2016 and March, 2024, respectively. It said that both would be auctioned on March 12 with settlement dates of March 14, this year. The DMO also said that the N90 billion worth of

bonds comprises N45 billion of three-year paper and N45 billion in the 10-year paper. It added that the 10-year bonds were re-opened but the 20-year bonds were new issues. The DMO said that the 2016 instruments attracted 13.05 per cent coupon rate, while that on the 2024

instruments were not yet known. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sale is the third monthly debt auction for 2014. NAN recalls that the DMO on Feb. 12, issued two tranches of Federal Government bonds, totaling N90 billion to investors.

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R Kabir Usman , the Director, Centre for Management Development (CMD), at the weekend called for the establishment of Sector Skills Development Agency to regulate skills development in the country. Usman made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. He said that such agency would help to regulate workers' input into the economy. Usman said the country could emulate from the UK which established the Sector Skills Development Agency to determine each discipline's enrolment needs. He stated: ``In this country, we don't have Sector Skills Development Agency that will determine the number of graduates we require and the areas we require these graduates. "We have to do a lot of work on that. ``In the United Kingdom, if you are admitted into a university, you will not be allowed to start the programme unless you go to the Sector Skill Development Agency, Quality Assurance Agency and Funding Council. ``This is because the question these agencies need to ask is: do we really need these students? ``Do we really need these levels of engineers or medical doctor? What is going to happen in the next five years or 10 years?" According to him, it is on this basis, the agencies will do all the projections and planning. ``If the need is there, the institutes will be given licence to recruit more students so that they can graduate them in these particular disciplines. ``This is very challenging for us in Nigeria, he concluded.




Untold story of avia ti What is the current state of the Aviation Intervention Fund (AIF) years after it was introduced as the solution to the ailing aviation sector by the ousted Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi? The Nation's Assistant Editor, Investigations, Joke Kujenya, sought answers.


N 2012, the Federal Government announced an initiative it tagged: 'Power and Aviation Intervention Fund (PAIF)', as a fiscal cushion to stabilise the country's aviation sector. The prime mover, the recently ousted Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Lanusi, in on September 5, 2012, said: "In a bid to catalyse financing of the real sector of the Nigerian economy, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has in accordance with Section 31 of the CBN Act 2007, approved the investment of the N500billion Debenture Stock to be issued by the Bank of Industry (BoI). The sum of N200billion has been set aside for the refinancing/ restructuring of SME/ Manufacturing portfolios while the sum of N300billion will be applied to power and airline projects." The genesis A CBN document titled: 'Guidelines on N300billion Power and Airline Intervention Fund (PAIF), Revised Guidelines 5', states: "The guidelines relate to the N300billion fund to the power and airline sector, (the fund)" ...with objectives of the PAIF being to, among others: Fast-track the development of the aviation sector of the Nigerian economy by improving the terms of credits to Airlines; serve as credit enhancement instrument to improve the financial position of the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) ... provide leverage for additional private sector investments in the power and aviation sectors... while injecting the fund into the sector, airlines can now partake from the funds and those that are indebted to banks can re-finance their loans and amortise them over a period of 10 to 15 years... The fund was meant for airlines that met the International Civil Aviation Organisation's certification, to enable them address all the issues of technical standards and aircraft airworthiness..." The CBN document stated that the BoI will be the managing agent of the PAIF and be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the fund, while the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) was to serve as Technical Agent (TA), to the fund. Plenty of ire has been directed towards the AIF in particular as questions mount from every quarter on how the fund had impacted the nation's aviation sector. Basically, said a highly placed source, "The issue of the N300 billion Power and Aviation Intervention Fund (PAIF) is to be viewed as a plus and minus. One, it was established by the

CBN and designed as part of the 'Quantitative Easing' measure to address the paucity of long-term credit and acute power shortage in the country. It is not to lift the operations of both the power and airline sectors, but to ease their debts. The money was never intended to be physical cash as many think. The first set of disbursement was made towards the end of December 2012 when the sum of N33.58 billion was released to BoI for disbursement to DMBs for 13 projects, namely: N28.24billion for 10 power projects and N5.33 billion for three airline projects. What the CBN was meant to do was something more of a timely introduction of the scheme to prevent some domestic airlines in the industry from pending collapse and ensure their numerous employees are not rendered jobless." At a recent Senate Committee hearing on the Aviation Intervention Fund (AIF), the immediate past Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, had told the Senator Hope Uzodinma-led hearing, probing the mysterious whereabouts of the AIF that she thought it was in existence and working right before she assumed office. "But since I came on board, I have been seeking a review of the aviation fund. I even went to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ask for the review." Further in her words, Oduah said: "I met the fund. I knew that it was not really helping the industry. And for me to accomplish the goals set for my office, I went to CBN to ask for a review. It was obvious the aviation sector was about to die except we do something urgently and that is a template was developed to rescue the industry. She thus called for a review of the fund because it was not achieving the intended purpose." The Nation's finding revealed that the concept of AIF actually pre-dated Sanusi Lamido's era. During the tenure of a former Aviation Minister, Femi FaniKayode, the AIF idea was instigated. And as Fani-Kayode wrote on his website during his tenure in office: "We discovered that the Paul Dike Committee Report submitted to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, by the then Air Vice Marshal Paul Dike, made certain recommendations to assist the aviation sector to ensure its improvement. As such, it was then recommended that a sum of N48billion be released to the aviation sector to take care of the infrastructures of the four international airports located in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano. Sequel to the

•Air Nigeria

•From left: Chief Executive Officer, Dana Air, Mr Jacky Hathiraman Legal Practitioner, Mr John Oshikoya, and Chairman, Dana Air, Mr Ramesh Hathiraman, at the Joint Committee on Aviation Public Hearing on PHOTO: NAN Dana Plane Crash in Abuja in 2012 recommendation, former President Obasanjo and his Federal Executive Council (FEC), then approved N19.5billion out of the requested N48billion which constituted the AIF." In stating his case, FaniKayode further affirmed: "What must be clearly understood is that not all this money was made available to me when I got there. What happened was that before I got into that office, a substantial part of that money had been sourced and had been spent by my predecessor in office Professor Babalola Borishade. Consequently a total sum of N8.5billion had been sourced and approximately N8.4billion had been spent from that sum before I came into that office. When I assumed my duties as the Minister in November 2006, the sum of

N11billion -which was the balance of the intervention fund was now released to me from the National Resource Development Account by President Obasanjo for application. "Apart from that, I should mention here that there was a further N2billion which was essentially not part of the intervention fund, but it was also jointly administered by the Ministry and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). This money was a soft loan from the Rivers State Government and it was given to FAAN directly and specifically for the rehabilitation of the Runway of Port Harcourt Airport well before I assumed duties. Out of this N2billion, approximately N350million had already been spent on other things outside the Port Harcourt

Runway before I came to the Ministry. Therefore, when I got to the Ministry, I was given the responsibility of administering N11billion (Intervention Fund) plus a further N1,633,000,000 (Soft Loan from Rivers State Government for Port Harcourt Airport Runway). The records showed that out of the N11billion (Intervention Fund) that I was asked to administer, I only released approximately N3.8billion and out of the N1,633,000,000 (Rivers State Government loan), I only released N1.5billion. The records show that consequently by the time I left the Ministry approximately N7.2billion was left in the intervention fund account and a further N133million was left out of the N1,633,000,000 that I was given for the Port Harcourt




ia tion mystery fund

Airport Runway. "I cannot be held responsible for the N8.4billion that was spent before I came in or for what happened to or what was spent out of the approximately N7.2billion that I left behind. I can only be held responsible and accountable for the approximately N3.8billion intervention fund and N1.5billion Rivers State Government Soft Loan that I administered on clearly identifiable projects and items which were highlighted as projects to be funded by the intervention fund well before I got there. I want to reiterate that for every contract that I awarded the balance of the money was left in the account of the intervention fund for those contracts to be fully paid for upon completion. I also want to repeat that every contract and every penny that we spent went through due process." "Not much can be said” however, for this current AIF in view. What I know is that there is a general misconception of the ideals the fund was meant to address," said a senior aviation source in a media discussion with The Nation. Buck-passing When The Nation reporter got assigned to this task, it was a hard battle getting a relevant government official to speak with. During the about eight weeks factfinding mission by the reporter, experiences encountered by top Nigerians made the AIF seemed more like a 'mystery fund'. Every official expected to provide authoritative information on it, balked. Some got outrightly angry and rained insults, while some simply said, "I am not the person you need to talk to.” Till this report was put together, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) rebuffed all entreaties to obtain their side of the story. The reporter, after a week-long request for an interview, was

• Jimoh Ibrahim

invited to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) office on Alfred Rewane, Ikoyi. At AMCON, Managing Director. Mr. Mustapaha Chike Obi, said: “I am not the person you should be talking to. You should speak with both the CBN Director of Development Financing in the person of Paul Erewariye and BoI's Evelyn Oputu. Those are your main people." Outside the AMCON office on the ground floor, the reporter dialled the number of the recommended official of the CBN, Development Finance Department. Promptly, the call was answered. Then the official inquired the motive for the call. He was given the clarification that an interview on the AIF was being sought so that issues on the fund can be gotten. He suddenly retorted: "Look here, you must be crazy whoever you are. How can a strange person suddenly call another person's line and be asking him or her what he or she knows nothing about? We know your type -419. You never spoke to me. I never received a call from you, a total stranger. Do you want to put my life in trouble? Who told you I ever knew a thing about the so-called intervention fund? Please, leave me alone and let me be. Never call this line again, okay!" On that, the line went dead. The next port of call was the BoI. When contacted on phone, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, Business Director, BoI, noted: "There is much about the fund that are not slated in the functions of the BoI. We are just agents of the CBN. We do not administer the funds. I can tell you that authoritatively. What

happens is that a bank or banks can write to the CBN through the BoI asking for their debts. And then, we act as intermediaries. But we don't disburse the funds," he said. Olagunju added: "The aviation intervention fund is still fully in force. At the onset, N300billion was earmarked for it. It was meant to address the financial challenges being faced by airlines in the country. And when you say financial challenges, a lot of them were indebted or are indebted to commercial banks, paying doubledigits interest over short periods. So, what the fund is to do is to free more of their revenues for maintenance and other purposes, because substantial portion of their returns were being channelled to debt service. So, under the fund as a restructuring measure, they now pay a single digit interest over a longer period of time." More mystery In the response of a retired aviation personnel who would not be named, he said: "The money was never a liquid cash, it was never intended to help the aviation sector thrive. It was specifically to help the airline operators service their debts, and of course, in the process, grease the pockets of some. How do you expect them to scoop Nigeria's treasure if they don't come up with spurious initiatives? I am going to give you a small data that was available to me when I was still in active service. A few airlines had been supported, won't say access the fund, because none of them saw money. It usually moved from the BoI to whichever banks at every

point in time. But it is just a few banks. You cannot mention my name as you know our country. We don't like anyone speaking the truth. One's life could be at stake and I want to enjoy the rest of my life without undue issues. So, pick your paper and scribble this data, of the total fund size of N300billion, the amount of money so far disbursed is N232.6billion with 21 participating banks." Asked to clarifyclaims that Jimoh Ibrahim's Air Nigeria was given N35b, the source further revealed that: "Jimoh Ibrahim's Air Nigeria did not get N35b. I can tell you that authoritatively. To put the records straight, Jimoh Ibrahim was not given N35b. Before the AIF, many of the airlines had debts with banks in acquisition of their aircrafts. So, the AIF is independent of the amounts they respectively require to float their airlines. The question of the AIF is a function of the debts they have with the banks and the amounts they bring for refinancing, is their debts. In other words, the loans in their books, which they are re-financing, are for assets acquired, like Air Nigeria for instance, the payment for their assets was in foreign currencies, and that had to be converted to naira equivalent. "Let's look at it this way, can we possibly compare Virgin Atlantic, for instance, with let's say, Nigerian Airways? Because the major factor in airline business is a matter of capacity. So, what came into play in the case of Air Nigeria was, and still is, if you are talking about airline management, you want to ask yourself, what are the antecedents of the management of Air Nigeria and indeed, the track record of most airline operators in Nigeria? Then, you will ask why were they allowed to run the business in the country? And these are some of the problems that came into play, and that because Nigerian didn't know how to tackle like many other issues, they had to come up with the PAIF idea as a whole. "Aviation business is one of the most sophisticated businesses in the world. It is an international business. There's nothing local about it. Every plane must be certified globally by ACAODA. So, it is not just anybody that can go into it. No. To buy an aircraft alone, there are some certain standards that must be kept, like for every tyre, it cannot do more than a specific number of flights per miles, so, you must change those tyres. And after the plane had flown for some certain hours, you must do Test C or whatever it is called. And this applies to wherever you are flying in the world. So, because it is an international business, not everyone or just anybody can run it. That is why till today, one of Arik's strength is that Lufthansa services their crafts. I doubt if Air Nigeria could afford such. I don't know who serviced Air Nigeria. In the heyday of Aero Contractors, they too were being serviced by a foreign firm. There is no Nigerian or local standard when it comes to

aviation business. "So, one of the problems that most Nigerian airlines had was that they were heavily indebted to commercial banks. And about 80percent of the inputs for running an aviation business acquisition, recruitment, training and all what have you -are usually done abroad. So, they needed to be liquid to run the business. But a lot of them were in huge, very bad debts. This means that without the help, more of their revenues will go into debt-servicing than maintaining the air-crafts and so on. That was what Lamido tried to use his office as CBN Governor help them get through. So, the much reported N35b was not given to Jimoh Ibrahim as cash. It happened that he was indebted to the United Bank for Africa (UBA), to the tune of N35b and the interest rate was in the two digits frame, like about 25 or 27percent. It was a short-term debt, which meant, it was payable within about fifteen years. And Air Nigeria management could not afford that. So the CBN felt that AIF would free their revenues and help them maintain their aircraft, pay workers' salaries and run their operations a little better. That was the intention. "The CBN then refinanced Air Nigeria's huge debt back to UBA. And that was after UBA had applied through the Bank of Industry as agents of the CBN for the N35b. So, UBA was paid N35b out of the entire N300b thereabout to restructure the debt. And this is a liquid transaction that is backed up by Treasury Bills (TB) so that if UBA defaults for instance, the TBs will just be presented to the CBN as proof of the transactions. And in restructuring the debt, it then meant that Air Nigeria had more revenue, it's a cash-flow management thing, to maintain the aircrafts and service the airline business. So, the money was not given to Jimoh Ibrahim as most reports had claimed. It is very important to take extra efforts in finding out the truth. The fund was to address the debt challenges the airline operators were facing; but there are many dimensions to run an airline as I had told you, and this, some of our airline operators, are not getting right. And almost all the airlines, not only Air Nigeria, have been refinanced." In his own self-defence at the Senate Committee hearing however, Jimoh Ibrahim, Chairman, Air Nigeria, said at the time he took over former Virgin Atlantic, it was in decay and that it was then the UBA begged him to take the money, which he never got in liquid cash. He said that the airline was owing $275million and had only two aircrafts. "Immediately we took over, we started paying the loan owed by Virgin Atlantic, and from two aircrafts, we increased the fleet to 12..." As things stand today, the Senate Committee on Aviation, during its sitting, directed the CBN to recover the N35.5billion extended to Air Nigeria.




Family seeks Fashola's xxxx Stakeholders hail removal intervention over revoked C of O of aviation chiefs T


TAKEHOLDERS in the aviation sector yesterday described the removal of chief executives of four aviation agencies as another step by government to strengthen institutions in the sensitive aviation industry affirming that the persons appointed to replace them have the requisite industry knowledge and experience to drive the transformation of the industry. According to the experts, including pilots, air traffic controllers, airline operators , union representatives and industry analysts, the combined experience of not less 25 years each of the persons appointed to lead the agencies is enough proof that reforming the aviation sector is beyond personalities . Speaking in separate interviews in Lagos, Comrade Olayinka Abioye, deputy general secretary of National Union of Air Transport Employees ( NUATE ), Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, former president of National Cabin Crew Association ( NACCAN), Engineer Sheri Kyari , executive director of Centre of Aviation Safety and Research ( CAS-R), Captain Dung Pam, president of Nigerian Aviation Safety Initiative ( NASI) as well as the former chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria ( AON), Dr Steve Mahonwu

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

described the appointment of new helmsmen in the agencies as part of the steps to move aviation industry forward . Speaking in an interview in Lagos, the deputy general secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Mr. Olayinka Abioye described the development as a "positive development." "Government is a continuum. We expect that those who have taken over will continue from where the former chief executives left off. We also believe that in each of the agencies, there have been some irregularities; we have had labour issues where collective agreements are being breached; we have a situation in which conditions of service which ought to have been reviewed have been neglected by the managements. So, I believe that those who have just been named as new chief executives will correct these things," said Abioye. He advised the new chief helmsmen of the agencies to start the process of reengineering in the industry saying the new appointees "are industry people, a demand we have been agitating for." Also speaking, head of strategy Zenith Travels, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo applauded the

appointments saying their years of experience of the new chief executives will have positive impact on the industry. "We applaud their appointments considering their years of experience. I will advise the new appointees who are professionals to go through their respective governing acts and advise the minister accordingly. Also, they should avail themselves with the Procurement Act and the workings of the Due Process Unit. There are banana peels in the industry," said Ohunayo. In his reaction, the founder and executive director of the Centre for Aviation Safety and Research (CAS-R), Mr. Sheri Kyari argued that all the agency chief executive positions should be tenured such that "they can groom people that will take over from them." He urged the federal government to demand from the chief executives a yearly report of their stewardship. Mahonwu on his part said the persons appointed into the agencies have the requisite experience to move the industry forward. In particular, some stakeholders said the appointment of Engineer Saleh Dunoma , as managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN), given his

vast experience in airport management would assist to drive the transformation of airport infrastructure in the country . Scores of retirees from FAAN, described Dunoma as the man that could turn around the airports given his vast experience and knowledge about airport administration. Meanwhile, the National Association of Air Traffic Engineers (NAAE), an umbrella body of the Air Traffic Engineers in the Aviation industry has commended the President Goodluck Jonathan for appointing a seasoned engineer as the managing director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency NAMA. A release signed in Lagos Engineer Ojar Opah secretary NAAE said the appointment of Engr Ibrahim Abdusalam an experienced and highly rated Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel will consolidate on the gains of the ongoing process and continue the transformation. Speaking on phone on the removal of parastatal chiefs, the President National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE),Engr Isaac Balami, said that since the Federal Government is the employer of these agency heads and other staff in the various agencies, it has the power to remove any of its workers .

HE daughter of the former Chief Architect in Lagos State, Adesoye Simeon Osinuga has appealed to the state Governor Babatunde Fashola over the revocation of right of occupancy of her late father's property in Omole Estate, Lagos. Osinuga during his life time worked with the Lagos State Government under the Mobolaji Johnson tenure as a Chief Architect in the state. In a letter dated May 30th, 2013, his daughter, Tobi Osinuga said although approval for his father's plan to build a duplex was granted by the state government, ''however he (Osinuga) was ill for several years in which he suffered from emotional trauma after losing his life savings to fraudsters." This, she further stated, resulted in her father routinely being in and out of hospital treatment for so long a period until he died in July 14, 2011. According to her, the letter notifying him of the revocation of the landed property was not received ''because he had not been to the address, located on 4, Little Road, Yaba for over 10 years before his death after which the notice of revocation was received by the family.'' Although Tobi said the revocation was done in the public interest, however, appealed to the state governor to view her father's case with compassion, having served the state meritoriously before his untimely demise. "Your Excellency, I hope you will find a place in your heart to grant our request. My father loved our country and was a pillar in the community. He received many accolades, including one from Governor Mobolaji Johnson who stated in a newspaper publication that my father was 'the best architect' of his time," she stated.

Firm profiles top 100 development professionals By Adeola Ogunlade N line with its pioneering role as the industry journal of development communication, Construction & Engineering Digest (CED) Magazine has concluded plans to unveil the top 100 development professionals and industry leaders as part of the journal's celebration of Centenary Celebration of Nigeria's nationhood on Friday, 14th, March 2014, at the Lagos Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos. In a statement issued by the journal's publisher and Chief Executive of Century 21 Systems Communication Limited, Kenneth Odusola-Stevenson, he said that the over two decades publication has consistently reported development in the construction, engineering, infrastructure and the built environment while promoting cooperation among practitioners. On the criteria for nomination, he said this include innovation in business and practice model, inspirational leadership, connectivity, confidence, competence and connections, above all practitioners and organisations that have become great leaders by honing their skills and putting their network for others to become leaders. Guests expected at the event include Ministers of Mines and Steel Development and Works, Musa Mohammed Sada and Mike Onolememen, among others.


Economy: Lagos Assembly assures Fashola of continuous support

L •Beneficiaries of Seplat's empowerment scheme

Seplat lifts indigents, pledges continuous support


EPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc, in fulfilment of its corporate social responsibility objective has assured host communities of improved standard of living. Giving this assurance at a public forum in Sapele, in Delta State, recently, was top management staff of the company. The event was at the third edition of the healthcare empowerment scheme. Speaking at the event, Managing Director, Mr.

From Akatakpo Frank, Sapele Austin Avuru, who was represented by the General Manager, Health Safety, Environment and Community Development, Bright Oghor, emphasised that as part of the company's commitment towards community development it has continued to deploy material and human resources to different worthy causes including socioeconomic empowerment of its host communities. The Seplat boss, however, urged the communities to

remain peaceful as this would have long lasting effect on the socio-economic development of the people as far as operations of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry is concerned. While noting that the company is involved in a joint venture operation with the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company Limited in the oil mineral lease licenses OML 4,38 and 41, he said, the JVO, has high prospect. Echoing similar sentiments, the General Managing Corporate Affairs

and New Business Development, Dr, (Mrs) Chioma Nwachuku in her remark, hinted of plans by the company to increase the tempo of CSR activities in several other parts of the community, especially in the area of healthcare, economic empowerment among others. Mrs. Nwachuku further noted that the company remains committed to promoting robust relationship with their host communities, as this could engender overall socioeconomic development in the region.

By Oziegbe Okoeki

AGOS State House of Assembly has pledged to continue to support Governor Babatunde Fashola in his quest to better the live of Lagosians by providing necessary infrastructure in the state. The House further pledged to assist the governor in the area of budget in every way possible to avert any untoward effect arising from the current economic situation as a result of Federal Government failure to remit the proper fund to the state. Deputy Speaker, Hon. Kolawole Taiwo who presided at yesterday's plenary gave the assurance on behalf of his colleagues after listening to four members of the state executive council who were invited to throw more light on the state of the economy as presented to the House by the Governor at plenary on recently. After listening to the governor on Monday, the House invited Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Ben Akabueze, Commissioner Finance, Ayo Gbeleyi, commissioner, Special Adviser on Taxation and Revenue, Bola Shodipo and the Accountant General of the state. The exco members took turns to explain the effect of the current situation on the performance of the budget and welfare of Lagosians. According to Nwabueze although only 25 per cent of the state government is dependent on federal transfers "it still remains a significant portion of the budget if it is threatened as it is now" stressing that it affects budget performance. He said 75 per cent of the budget is from internally generated revenue. He however pointed out that not very many states are in the same situation with Lagos as most of them practically survive on federal allocation. Shodipo explained further that the situation "affects every aspect of our living in the state, we are trying to minimize the effect but how far we can go is still a matter of concern."



ET me start on a jocular note and ask where is the aviation intervention fund? And if you know its whereabouts, how many airlines have actually been able to access it? Yes, the aviation intervention fund (AIF), or put correctly, the Power and Aviation Intervention Fund (PAIF), as we all know, was implemented or meant to be given to airline cum power sector. From what we are gathering, and for the records, it was before my time as the chairman, ISPON, because I came in November 2013, there was N300billion given out. Out of this whole sum, about eightysomething billion was given to aviation. But the truth is that the AIF was not given directly to the aviation sector. It was more of an intervention fund for banks to wade through the stormy waters during the banking crisis days, to cushion the banking debts. There were some airlines owing the banks, so the money was put out by the CBN to bolster the banks' portfolios so they wouldn't go under. So, what the CBN did was to refinance those airlines that had bad debts with some banks. In refinancing the bad debts of these banks, because the interest was then at about 25 or 28 percent, the government decided to intervene by reducing the bad loans from accelerating at 25 or 28 percent interest rates yearly, to eight percent, annually. It is not that the loan was written off, but instead of it being multiplied yearly with high interest margins, the AIF was put in place to mitigate the banks' exposure to being badly affected. Do other parts of the world have such intervention funds? Yes, they do but they have different ways of doing it. It happened in General Motors, a automobile industry in the United States of America (USA), when it collapsed, where they arbitrated with funds and later sold the shares back. It even happened in the banks also. But there, the money was given directly to the industry. But here in Nigeria, the aviation industry did not get it. It is the banks that got it. So really, the money should be more of "Banking Intervention Fund (BIF), not AIF. In the course of my enquiry, I gathered that about 21 banks actually got the money. Can you tell us the names of the airlines indebted to which banks? The fund was given by government to the Bank of Industry (BoI), as a government's own financial institution. It is the power and airline fund issued by the BoI which actually stood in for government to disburse the funds to the local banks. So, if the local banks could meet the criteria, they could access the funds to make up for the debts being owed them by the owing aviation company. So, the aviation did not have direct access to the funds, but the banks have access to the monies basically to refinance their bad debts. And it is only the airlines at that time that were in the red in the accounts of some commercial banks as of then, that had the prospects to access it. So, an airline had to be a debtor to a bank, and the bank, instead of charging you 24percent interest on the airline's bad debts, took the money on the airline's debts to the BoI, to refinance them, for themselves. This emphasis is being done so it can be clearly understood how the money was expended. So, it is all about you multiplying your debt at a higher interest rate of 26 to 28 percent and loading it down to 3 percent. It is broken down in this way, the government takes 3percent, and the local banks get 5percent. So, I will keep on saying it, it is not an aviation fund, it is a banking fund. When you go to the CBN website, you will see what qualifies anyone to access the funds clearly stated out. The number one criterion is that you have to be owing. If you are in debts, you will be asked to go and bring the record of your bad debts to show that you have an issue of debts with a bank with proof of financial records. So basically, if you are not in debt as an airline, you are not qualified, automatically. And most of those that were in debts had even fallen off the surface of aviation. I didn't qualify and so do most of the operating airlines today, do not qualify. Only Arik, I think qualified because of its debts. So for me, it is more of an AIF to please the good guys and punish the bad guys. This means that if you are doing business correctly, then, you don't access the fund. How come the Air Nigeria was able to access the fund if like you implied, it was meant for the old generation airlines who were



'Banks benefited more from aviation fund' President, Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON), Captain Nogie Meggison, also President and CEO, JEDAIR, in an interview with Assistant Editor, Investigations, Joke Kujenya gives fresh perspective on the much hyped Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) aviation intervention fund.


When you go to the CBN website, you will see what qualifies anyone to access the funds clearly stated out. The number one criterion is that you have to be owing. If you are in debts, you will be asked to go and bring the record of your bad debts to show that you have an issue of debts with a bank with proof of financial records. So basically, if you are not in debt as an airline, you are not qualified, automatically. And most of those that were in debts had even fallen off the surface of aviation. I didn't qualify and so do most of the operating airlines today, do not qualify. Only Arik, I think qualified because of its debts. •Meggison

badly indebted? Air Nigeria at that time qualified because it was their previous company, Virgin Nigeria that had taken the loan from the United Bank of Nigeria (UBA). So, it was UBA-Virgin Nigeria debt. That was why Mr Jimoh Ibrahim kept telling anyone that cared to listen that he did not take the loan and he did not see any physical cash. Really, it was before his time that UBA went to the BoI and sought transfer of the debts. And the FG then load it down to about 10 percent. And this was between the UBA and the federal authorities. So, nothing came to Air Nigeria as liquid cash. Although, I heard that there was a 10percent working capital, if you refinance, in order not to ground you, they gave the airlines, a succour of 10percent as working capital of whatever they owed in order to remain afloat. What about the aspect of the FG channelling part of the AIF to re-float the national carrier while working with AMCON? I am not too sure about that but as we all know the national carrier was a smokescreen. A lot of people didn't know how a nation, once it gets into a national carrier, without investing into the so-called national career, will say it was going be public-sector driven. It was said that the government was not going to put funds into it. So, that baffles me. I won't then be able to say how the government intends to fund it and whether it is going to be through AMCON. Now, if you talk about Aero Contractors that was a different issue. Aero Contractors as we know had bad debts, then, through Oceanic Banks. It was Oceanic Bank that owed AMCON, not Aero Contractors. And as I said, it was the banks, not airlines that accessed the so called AIF. So, Oceanic Bank took the money on behalf of Aero Contractors. So, Oceanic Bank's debts' was bought over by AMCON. And I want to

believe that Oceanic Bank's capital at the time they brought their bad debts, the family that owns the business must have gotten some percentage and government would hold on to the bad debts of the bank. So whichever way you look at it, it is still the banks that hold the fund. But I think the bank has sold its share to AMCON. In the light of calling government to help the aviation sector with more funds, can we take it that it is ethical as some state governments are already doing to boost the commercial viability of some airlines? Anywhere in the world, aviation for sure, as we say and especially in Nigeria, is private-oriented driven. And if we want to open a new route into a new place or destination, and for any development to enter into any place, one of the key in-roads to it, is an airport. Accessibility of roads, railways and aviation. And once you talk about high network people, you wouldn't expect a Bill Gates to come into Nigeria and would want to invest in Onitsha today, and you tell him that he would go by road for eight hours of drive. Of course, he would stay back in his country and tell you he is not interested. But if he's told that once he lands Lagos, he would be flown to Onitsha and in about 15minutes, he would land in Asaba and then drive down to his actual destination. That makes sense. So, if you want to access the war front, and to make it continual, you have to open an in-road for a more easier access to the polity. And for you to do that as a private individual, you don't want to expose your funds into such. So, you do a joint venture (JV), with the state government. You tell the government the business that you are willing to come and provide for his state so that more people can be able to come in with investments. So, as a aviation business person, you will provide the plane. But


you have the challenge not to expose your business to build the traffic and possibly, lose your shares. So, you decide that let this be a win-win situation. I have the aircraft, you have the land and the commercial value. And you fly in, and you say, give me my break-even point, not even my profit. Many actually fly in for the break-even point is. So, if the passengers load improves, the business owner will eat out of the profits. But if you break-even, you agree on the number of people coming in and out of your state, and to do business there. That's where tend to have this proverbial two-and-two work together to break-even. So, the involvement of the state governments is to guarantee the seats on the airlines and encouraging them to come so that their break-even can be ascertained. There is what is called the 'direct operating cost' which includes your crew, maintenance, insurance (CMI), and fuel, are those things that would be paid for, not the profit. So the states would say if an airline comes, all that is guaranteed. The arrangement is whereas will not lose money, it may not make profits. The states pay the basic CMI rates at direct operating costs, but anything outside that is not guaranteed. Let's say for an airline to break-even, it needs eighteen passengers, the state would not pay for that number of people. But if the airline had a shortfall of that number of passengers, the state is bound to pay for the three passengers' difference. And that the breakeven arrangement with the airlines no matter what happens. However, if the airline gets more number of passengers than anticipated, the state would not reimburse anything. The state only coughs up something in the event of shortfalls to supplement whatever it costs the airline to come to their airports. It's a partnership to create and in-route as a JV to develop the state.






OPE Francis I has never made any secret of his immense admiration for Cardinal Sin. While the Holy Father was in Davos, he made it abundantly clear that he did not want anything for himself. All he wanted was that due recognition should be accorded at the World Economic Forum to his longtime ally in his fight against poverty-Jaime Lachica Sin DD; PHL; OS; OL who was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila and de facto Primate of the Philippines which is currently in political logjam and economic turmoil. Cardinal Sin (Cardinal Jaime Sin) was born on August 31, 1928 and died on June 21, 2005 at the age of 76. At the Vatican, his official name was Jaime Cardinal Sin but he was not a sinner!! On the contrary, he was like the then Archbishop Jorge Bergolio (now Pope Francis I) a champion of the poor in the Philippines. Indeed, he was one of Asia's most prominent religious leaders and a central figure in the "people power" revolts that ousted two presidencies …. Ferdinand E Marcos and Joseph Estrada. Fortunately, a quick search on Google provides ready material on the Cardinal: Jaime Cardinal L Sin, also known as Jaime Sin and Jaime Lachica Sin (Chinese name: XTn Haimian; XTn Haimian), was born on 31 August 1928 in New Washington, Aklan, Philippines. He was also known as "Cardinal Sin" which should not be confused with "cardinal sin" (synonym for the seven deadly sins) He has also been the source of many jokes in the Philippines revolving around him such as "The greatest sin of all….Cardinal Sin" or "Welcome to the house of Sin" referring to his Church. He was an archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines. He led the archdiocese of Manila as its archbishop and was later made cardinal by Pope Paul VI. As Archbishop of Manila, he was widely considered Primate of the Philippines, though no formal recognition has even been attached to the archdiocese. He retired as the Archbishop of Manila on 15 September 2003, having reached the age of retirement for prelates under Canon Law, and was succeeded by Gaudencio Borbon Rosales. He was only the third native Fillipino Archbishop of Manila, following centuries of Spanish, American and Irish Archbishops. Pope Francis did not mince words while addressing the "Seventy Elders" (chartered accountants protesting against the over domination of the accountancy profession by only four firms - the "Big Four"). It was freezing in Davos but the Holy Father was undaunted: "It is intolerable that thousands of people (including chartered accountants) continue to die everyday from hunger, even though substantial quantities of food are available and often wasted.

•Deputy Comptroller General, John Atte presenting to the Public Relations Officer, Federal Operations Unit, Zone 'A' Deputy Supritendent of Customs, Uche Ejesieme with the World Customs Organisation's Certificate of Merit for rendering exceptional communication service at the International Customs' Day in Abuja...recently

Addressing cardinal sins at Davos By Bashorun J.K. Randle

Likewise, we cannot but be moved by the many refugees (including retired chartered accountants) seeking minimally dignified living conditions, who not only fail to find hospitality, but often, tragically, perish in moving from one place to another. It is the precise responsibility of the various political and economic sectors to recognize Catholic Social Teaching in promoting an inclusive approach which takes into consideration the dignity of every human person and the common good. It is this ethical responsibility which ought to shape every political and economic decision that affects the lives of the generality of the world's peoples. What is needed is a renewed, profound and broadened sense of responsibility, on the part of all. Business is -in fact- a vocation and a noble vocation, provided those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life. Such men and women are able to serve more effectively the common good and to make the goods of this world more accessible to all. Nevertheless, the growth of equality demands something more than just economic growth, even though it presupposes it. It demands first of all a transcendent vision of the person because without the perspective of eternal life, human progress in this world is denied breathing space." The Pope's pleas on behalf of the poor and downtrodden struck a

responsible chord with Klaus Schwab who founded the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 1971. He painstakingly polled the 700 members of the WEF regarding what in terms of Risk Assessment/Risk Management would pose the most formidable challenge to the global economy over the coming decade. By a wide majority, inequality took first place as the most likely risk. Corruption took second place. Perhaps that was what prompted the European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem to release her bombshell report a week ahead of the World Economic Forum. According to her, the extent of corruption in Europe is breathtaking and it costs the European Union economy at least Euro 120 billion (about) £Stg99 billion) annually. The feisty lady did not pull any punches. On BBC she said the true cost of corruption was probably much higher than Euro 120 billion. Indeed, three-quarters of Europeans surveyed for the European Commission study said that corruption was widespread, and more than half said the level had increased. Ms Malmstroem who is Swedish was provided with a ready platform by Sweden's Goeteborgs-Posten daily newspaper which gave front page coverage to the devastating revelation although Sweden is among the countries with the least problems as far as corruption is concerned…"The cost to the EU economy is equivalent to the bloc's annual budget."

For the report the Commission studied corruption in all 28 EU member states. The Commission says it is the first time it has carried out such a survey. In the United Kingdom only five people out of 1,115 less than one percent - said they had been expected to pay a bribe. It was "the best result in all Europe", the report said. But 64 percent of British respondents said they believed corruption to be widespread in the UK, while the EU average was 74 percent on that question. In some countries there was a relatively high number reporting personal experience of bribery. In Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, between six per cent and 29 percent of respondents said they had been asked for a bribe, or had been expected to pay one, in the past 12 months. There were also high levels of bribery in Poland (15 percent), Slovakia (14 percent) and Hungary (13 percent), where the most prevalent instances were in healthcare. Ms Malmstroem said corruption was eroding democracy and draining resources from the legal economy. "The political commitment to really root out corruption seems to be missing," she complained. National governments, rather than EU institutions, are chiefly responsible for fighting corruption in the EU. But Ms Malmstroem said national governments and

the European Parliament had asked the Commission to carry out the EU-wide study. The Commission drafts EU laws and enforces compliance with EU treaties. The EU has an anti-fraud agency, Olaf, which focuses on fraud and corruption affecting the EU budget, but it has limited resources. In 2011 its budget was just •23.5m. The Commission highlighted that public procurement (public bodies buying goods and services) is vulnerable to corruption, so better controls and integrity standards are needed. Corruption risks are generally greater at local and regional level while many shortcomings remain in financing of political parties - often codes of conduct are not tough enough. In concluded that often the existing rules on conflicts of interest are inadequately enforced while the quality of corruption investigations varies widely across the EU. The EU study includes two major opinion polls by Eurobarometer, the Commission's polling service. Four out of 10 of the businesses surveyed described corruption as an obstacle to doing business in Europe. Sweden "is undoubtedly one of the countries with the least problems with corruption, and other EU countries should learn from Sweden's solutions for dealing with the problem," Malmstroem said, pointing to the role of laws on transparency and openness.

As for Cardinal Sin and the "seven deadly sins" there is ample stuff provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The seven deadly sins, which are also known as capital vices or cardinal sins, is a classification of vices (part of Christian ethics) that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians about fallen humanity's tendency to sin: sloth, gluttony, pride, lust, envy, anger and greed. The Seven Deadly Sins are those transgressions that are fatal to spiritual progress. The challenge if you are bound for hell is to discover what sin will send you there!! As for Cardinal Sin (the person), he became a legend in his lifetime. According to M O Donnell, he used his enormous influence to champion the rights of poor people. He led the nearly 40 million Catholics in the Philippines for almost three decades, through political upheaval that brought martial law, repressive dictatorship and democratic rule. He was well known for his great sense of humour which included poking fun at his own name. But it was through his blistering and unwavering public criticism of the Marcos regime in the 1980's that he became an international figure. He often used his elegant wit to deliver thinly veiled jokes that devastated the Marcos' power and style. In a joke, he told about the mining industry", a wealthy and powerful woman …. not unlike Imelda R Marcos, the country's flamboyant first lady …. pointed to things and proclaimed: "That's mine!! And that's mine!!" Cardinal Sin was a popular figure at protests where he spoke forcefully throughout his career and he directed street protests that led to President Estrada's ouster in January 2001. He threw down the gauntlet in an open confrontation with power: "Mr President (Estrada), how could you have done this to us? The poor trusted you and you betrayed them; the businessmen trusted you and you lied to them. The First Lady married you and you have betrayed that vow and used many women." Cardinal Sin openly involved himself not only once but twice with politics in the Philippines with wide support from the people majority of whom were Catholics. He played a vital role in ending Martial Law days of President Ferdinand Marcos with his participation with EDSA I along with Fidel Ramos, Ponce Enrile and the widowed Corazon Aquino. He appealed to Filipinos of all religions to follow the teachings of Jesus. With People's Power, the longawaited end of martial law was finally achieved. Along with Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, Jaime Sin became known to Filipinos as the architects of the People Power Movement. •Bashorun J.K. Randle is Chairman & Chief Executive, JK Randle Professional Services Chartered Accountants, Ikoyi, Lagos.


Social media: Potentials, business mileage for SMEs Page 66


Group trains 22 young African entrepreneurs By Adeola Ogunade


•From left: Business Development Manager, FirstBank Owerri, Mr. Austin Agbahiwe presenting the brand new Toyota Corolla car to its winner, Mrs. Obiageli Uffoh with him are Ag. Head, Consumer Banking, Mrs. Adebimpe Ihekuna and Business Development Manager, FirstBank Onitsha, Mrs. Jane Ngoka at the bi-monthly draw of the FirstBank Big Splash Promo...recently

xxx unite Rice dealers to fight smuggling R

ICE dealers in Nigeria have declared that it would no longer be business as usual for those who specialize in smuggling the commodity into the country. Rising from an allimportant stakeholders meeting in Lagos, the dealers which included Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria, RiMIDAN, key rice distributors, importers and other relevant stakeholders including security agencies, made it clear that smuggling of rice into the nation's shores has brought untold hardship to all and sundry. They therefore issued a communiquĂŠ which formed their resolve to stop rice smuggling from neighbouring countries particularly Republic of Benin. The meeting equally resolved to alert government agencies and functionaries such as the Nigeria Custom Service, Special Fraud Unit of Nigeria Police, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,

• Lament loss of over N300b in revenue By Toba Agboola

EFCC, among others, on those dealing with smuggled rice so that the law would take its course. The stakeholders also resolved to ensure that in the next few days, every knotty issue about rice policy like high tariff, improved value chain, prosecuting the Federal Government's agricultural agenda especially in the areas of boosting food sufficiency and so on, would begin to take shape properly. Recently, RiMIDAN raised alarmed over the nonimplementation of the 2013 benchmark of $190 per metric ton duty on imported rice which has led to the flooding of the Nigerian markets with smuggled rice from neighbouring Benin. Justifying the need for the meeting, President of RiMIDAN, Mr. Tunji Owoeye disclosed that the Federal Government has assured that it would soon resolve every contentious issue in the rice business in order to boost economy and make those in the sector to survive. "We want zero-tolerance

on rice smuggling. The leadership of the distributors are ready to work with us, importers can now import legally while millers and rice farmers should fully be back to business," Owoeye said. He said the resolutions at the stakeholders meeting would be sent to the various bodies and relevant government agencies for action. The rice dealers agreed to continuously collaborate and work together towards sanitising the sector which they said, has been taken over by unscrupulous people due to the inaction of the federal government on the agreed duty. However, the rice dealers expressed joy that government has now started listening to them and has promised some incentives for millers as well as make the business competitive by encouraging local production of quality rice. The meeting was attended by RiMIDAN officials, Rice Market Leaders from Daleko, Isolo, Lagos, G.Cappa, Oshodi Lagos, Iddo

Rice Market Leaders, importers as well as representatives of enforcement agencies from Special Fraud Unit of Police, EFCC as well as the Customs which team was led by D.C. Chaza, Deputy Comptroller General in charge of Enforcement. Rice dealers provide employment for over 100,000 people including clearing agents, transporters and domestic staff. However, in the last one year, over 20 vessels have been trapped at high seas, due to non-take off of the agreed tariff regime. The dealers lamented that while Benin Republic raked in over N200 billion duty on rice in 2013 alone, over 3 million tons of parboiled rice was smuggled into Nigeria through Benin Republic, amounting to over N300 billion revenue loss to Nigerian government. There is therefore the urgent and crucial need to tackle smuggling, which according to Mr. Owoeye, is the government's mandate given to RiMIDAN and all those involved in the rice business.

NONGOVERNMENTAL organisation, Heal the World, has concluded plans to train and empower 22 young African entrepreneurs in developing their creative ideas for greater productivity. The President of Heal the World, Mr. Tola Olukilede made this known at the maiden edition of The Way Africa Forum held recently at the Africa Leadership Forum, Sango Ota, Ogun State. The forum drew participants from Nigeria, Liberia, Cape Verde, Ghana, Germany, Sierra Leone and Cameroon who presented business ideas on information and communications technology, agriculture, education, renewable energy, healthcare and other sector. Olukilede said that the future of any family, nation and continent lies in the potential of her youth but today the youth of Africa has been rendered weak due to so many challenges, chief among is unemployment. There is work everywhere, yet no work to do. He said that Africa has the potential to engaged her teeming youths population, but the potential remain untapped and mama Africa is sick and dying of lack of food, technological development, infrastructural decay, corruption, industrial decay bad leadership. "We need to think deep and generate creative ideas backed by wisdom, coupled with the will power devoid of political or religious manipulations to put Africa back into her path of prosperity", he said. He noted that young people have ideas, inspirations and want to participate fully in the lives of their societies and live in conditions that encourage their imaginations, ideas, talents, energy, and vision to flourish to the benefit of their societies. Olukilede highlighted the challenges facing young people which include insecure livelihoods, limited resources available to fund youth programmes and activities, gender discrimination, homelessness, climate change among others. He said "although we live in a difficult time, and until youth begin to arise to talk about issues that concern them, there might be no reasonable solution". "Young people are major force in the contemporary world. They are at the forefront of global, social, economic and political developments", he said. Olukilede charged Africa youth to take responsibility to change the dying destiny of Africa and find solution to youth unemployment and other problems gradually destroying Africa development and technological advancement

Dangote announces N200bn endowment for foundation


OREMOST industrialist, Aliko Dangote, has endowed the Dangote Foundation with N200bn, a day after Forbes magazine named him the 23rd richest man in the world and the richest in Africa. In a statement, Dangote stated that "the Dangote Foundation is now 20 years old. This initial endowment will ensure that the Dangote Foundation has secure and steady funding to carry out its mission as we significantly scale up our work. "The reconstituted board of trustees includes Aliko Dangote, Sani Dangote, Halima Aliko Dangote, Olakunle Alake, A. B. Mahmoud, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Angela Adebayo, Hajara Adeola and Yvonne Ike. And last year, we appointed Adhiambo Odaga as the managing director to grow the Dangote Foundation team. The stage is set now for the next stage of our institutional growth. "Going forward, from the second quarter of this year, we will lay greater emphasis on youth and women empowerment through large scale efforts that cultivate meaningful change in their lives." Dangote established the foundation in 1994 to extend the impact of his growing business operations. Current interventions that focus on youth and women include a national cash transfer programme designed to complement state governments' poverty alleviation programmes by providing N10,000 grants to at least 1,000 women and youths in each of the 774 Local Government Areas in the count.




OME years ago before the internet boomed, businesses battled to get recognition - either in terms of marketing, promotions, or generally just letting other people know they have a new product or service. In today's world, this struggle has not changed. But, there is now social media to ease the stress. And whether it is Nairaland, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or any of the plethora of social media networks, they have become a veritable tool for many Nigerian businesses. And this is not restricted to the big players alone. Small businesses are now joining the bandwagon. According to Omotayo Obe, a content producer/social media associate, "e-marketing is the future." And with statistics revealing that as much as 80% of 18 -44 year olds spend at last one hour every day on social media, it seems that future is here now. Also, latest reports from IDC Research which examined habits of smartphone users revealed that 79% of adult smartphone users have their phones with them for 22 hours. This romance has changed the way people view and interact with the world. It is also a goldmine for businesses with online presence. While e-marketing in Nigeria is an emerging industry, many businesses are jumping on the fray. And while it is easy to click and post messages or images, the overall reason for engaging in e-marketing involves increasing customer satisfaction. A skill that necessarily needs honing as not everyone can really understand it. "Most people wonder 'why should I pay you for emarketing,' thinking it is just to post things on social networks," she said. "But it is more than that." While rules governing social media can be blurry, for businesses, they can be very clear. A business owner should

Social media: Potentials, business mileage for SMEs

Businesses are learning that they ignore social media at their own peril. In this report, Joe Agbro Jr., writes on how small businesses are hopping on the social media train separate his or her person from the business, must identify the target audience, must use the right engagement language, and learn from other businesses. According to Titilayo Ama, co-founder of Spread Media, and author of How social is your business The social media guide for Nigerian businesses, business owners should forget about the hard sell. 'In this day and age marketing is all about relationship building,' Ama wrote. 'Social marketing is now the most effective way to connect with prospects online and build healthy business relationships. When you perfect this technique, you will get more traffic, obtain realtime customer feedback and discover new information‌ fast!'

According to Femi Morgan of Lighthouse, a firm involved in book selling, having a business on social media is definitely good. "I think is a positive way of marketing your vision and product," he said. "We are in book selling and we have sold books to customers in places like Uyo, Enugu. These are people we have not seen. And it would not have been possible without being on facebook and Twitter." Morgan says one has to dedicate time and energy towards making sure one is visible on these platforms. He however identified the lack of physical relationship as a minus. "Social media cannot take away the social interaction of one-on-one meet-ups." Advocating that businesses thriving online should arrange meet-ups, Morgan says his

firm, Lighthouse, organises a monthly programme, usually in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital where its customers and literary aficionados meet. "I have been able to meet some of our clients at that forum," Morgan said. Morgan also said that when it comes to online, content is a key factor. "We develop the content and get a graphic designer to work on it." According to him, this proves to be more effective in communicating the message in addition to using the information from analytics on the social media page. "Many people are now shifting from facebook to twitter," he said. "One must be able to know which social media works for you" That is where analytics (the results that gives insights on the

performance of web pages). One conversion of analytics is that more people get to see messages posted either first thing in the morning or at the end of the work day and on weekends. But there is no onesize-fits-all. Also, many people as well as businesses now ride on the crest of popular people or influencers to garner recommendations. It is also common practice that businesses also pay for advertisements to get them more 'likes', 'retweets', or '+1s'. The more the recommendations, the more credibility a business gets. According to Danielle Cormier, social media corporate community managers at Constant Contact, Boston, Massachusetts, there are various claims on the best times to post messages but one has to

TEN TIPS ON WORKING SOCIAL MEDIA Make your brand seen Writing blog posts, participating in conversations, and making your brand relevant on social media on a regular basis can make your business uppermost in the mind of potential customers. Become a resource While working on sharing great content is quite an effort, it pays off. People quickly recognise your business as a go-to resource for specific topics. No doubt, they'd also advocate for your business. Get paid to speak Thanks to social media, the more you are at the forefront, the more you appeal to people as a paid speaker. Build online followers By making yourself available through social media, reaching out to customers and sharing content, you can strengthen your online community and attract potential new clients. Show your offering On social media platforms, businesses can highlight their

products and services. And even promotions available. It is great to take advantage of this. Find new clients The online community abounds with people. But activities like blogging attract them, especially if they find it helpful. By so doing, your brand becomes part of the story and people notice. Don't neglect influencers Influencers are famous and successful people. They have the power to increase sales and reach for your business just by association. Make use of them. Share your story People like to conduct business with companies they know. By sharing your company's story using social media you can create an emotional connection with fans. Become a social mentor People visit social media websites to network and meet people. By being resourceful and helpful with information about industry issues, people will want to meet you and learn from you.

discover which works well for his or her business. She advises one to 'focus on understanding your business.' And this includes determining who your audience is, thinking about what their day looks like, and then applying what you know. And on, many Nigerian businesses troop there to shout out their promotions. One of such is La Mango, a posh restaurant located in GRA Ikeja, Lagos. According to Lanre Iyiola, who owns La Mango, being on the internet is all about promoting a brand. "People respond to the promotions as long as the promotions are bringing the products within their price range," said Iyiola. "Many times, people don't realise the value of what you're selling until they try it. And in order to enable them to try it, you have to bring the price down." According to him, that is what promotions do. "The Nigerian market today is one that is price-sensitive." Iyiola says La mango is also on Twitter and Facebook but the promos are largely on He however said, "the downside is when you do a promotion like that and you're offering a lot of value, you may have a lot of customers but you don't make a lot of profit. The upside is that you give people an experience to value what you're offering and then, they may come back another time." In all these, what is certain is that now is an exciting time for businesses to catch their groove online.







A poet and novelist as literary spellcasters


WO writers, Paul Liam and Theophilus Abbah were guests of the Abuja Writers’ Forum at the literary organisation’s Guest Writer Session for the month of February, 2014. The event is usually a gathering of writers and writing enthusiasts who come together to listen to authors of published books read from their work. It presents the audience with the opportunity to interact with the guest writers to get first hand insight into the story behind their books. In recent times, the event has also featured other genres of creative arts like fashion design, visual arts and filmmaking. The February edition of the Guest Writer Session was another package presented to book lovers in the usual fun, excitement and education that is an enduring tradition of the monthly event. After a rendition of the national anthem, Paul Liam mounted the front seat to read from his debut collection of poems titled Indefinite Cravings. Paul Liam is the Assistant Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Niger State chapter. He is also the Public Relations Manager of the Hilltoparts Centre also in Minna, Niger state. A prolific writer, poet, critic and essayist, Liam has written and published several works in the national dailies. He also writes and reports for the Niger state government through publications such as The Interpreter and Impact Magazine etc. While responding to questions from the audience, Liam said he got inspired to write the poems in the collection by an experience he once had when he found himself in a police cell. He said for the period he was in detention for an offence he did not commit, he wrote the poems mentally and got them onto paper as soon as he regained his freedom. Explaining


•Liam By Elvis Iyorngurum

the influence of his environment on his writing, he said he comes from the barracks where one is exposed to all manner of experiences ranging from the good to the ugly and such an environment offers one a lot to write about. Theophilus Abbah is a past winner of the Forum for African Investigative Reporters’ Editors’ Courage Award and a 2012 finalist of the Wole Soyinka Investigative Journalism Award in the print category. Among his honours is a nomination in 2013 for the ANA award for prose fiction. One of the judges in the competition described his work as ‘highly engaging and explosive.’ When Abbah took the front seat at the reading, he drew his presentation from his 500-page novel, Lost in the Wind. He was praised by respondents from the audience for his engaging narrative and his depiction of the current religious tensions that have marred the fabric

A vendor’s story

A review of Yesterdays Recalled: The schoolyears of a newspaper vendor


E was born an ‘abiku’ which in Yoruba tradition means a child that is born to die, usually very early in life. But the boy, Ola Ogundolapo, didn’t die. And he eventually captured his early life, especially as regarding his turbulent educational progression in the book, Yesterdays Recalled: The schoolyears of a newspaper vendor, published last year by John Archers Publishers. Born on Sunday, Ocober 16, 1955 in IkereEkiti to Benjamin and Phebean Ogundolapo, Ola was also christened Moses, a name he adopts throughout the book. As an abiku, Moses was treated like an egg in his household and his immediate surroundings. Ola writes about growing up under the watchful eyes of a clan. He also recalled how his maternal grandmother, Eyeleesun, an alademo, women with powers over evil spirits that attack children, crisscrossed his face with incisions believed to ward off such evil spirits. The book brings to the fore the intricacies of rural life in Ekiti environs. For instance, Ola writes on abo, the communal ways which Afao people helped themselves in farming their individual plots. And how Afao men and women took advantage of the plentiful roots, herbs, and stems to prepare agbo, local herbal concoction for various medical ailments. And for over a third of the length of the book, the author regales one of the goings and comings in his rustic setting. Moses was enrolled at St. John’s African Church primary school, Afao. By the time

By Joe Agbro Jr. Moses finished primary six, he did not take an entrance examination to secondary because his elder sister was already enrolled in African Church Grammar School, OkaAkoko and their parents couldn’t afford to have both of them in school at the same time. Two years later, Moses became a newspaper vendor in Ikere-Ekiti. This venture would stimulate the young Moses’ appetite for learning as he had access to information from far and wide. The experience made him shine when he enrolled at Anglican Grammar School, IjuItaogbolu, as a boarder. And Ola nostalgically captures life as a boarder which culminated in him being named the senior prefect. In his second year, Moses won a Western State Government Scholarship. The book concludes by detailing his educational journey which continued through HSC at Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure and at the University of Ife where he studied Dramatic Arts. While the book explores Moses’ educational exploit, it also devolves into other interesting sub-facets. For instance, Ola documents the effects of the wild wild west skirmishes after the 1964 elections in western Nigeria, some of which were felt at Ikere Ekiti and the exploits of the Elefosan age grade made up of men between ages 40 and 50 at that period. Also, the reader gets to know how the influx of Christianity reduced the worship of Eyeleti, a local god hitherto reverred in Afao community. And gets to know that a mother is referred to as Eye, Ebaafin is a greeting to High Chiefs, and Abakere, refers to young males.

of Nigeria’s unity. A female respondent described her experience as a little girl in Eastern Nigeria during the country’s civil war. She said the gory images of kwashiorkor-stricken children and the memories of men who simply disappeared and were never found lives with her forever and the pain they evoke is always fresh like the events happened just yesterday. She emphasized that more of books like Abbah’s Lost in the Wind are needed to educate our population on the horrors of war and the need for peaceful mutual co-existence. A member of the audience sought to know Abbah’s mode of publishing to which he answered that he had self-published his work but after thorough editing. On if his work could be classified as historical fiction, the award-winning journalist answered in the affirmative. Before rounding up their presentations, the two writers responded to the opportunity to read at the forum. Abbah said he had resisted

the urge to do a public launch of his book and that he was glad that the AWF had presented him with the opportunity for an event that seemed to him like a public introduction of his work. He expressed his deep appreciation for the opportunity and also the valuable input that the community of writers present offered to his work. On his part, Liam was not less grateful. He said he was particularly delighted for the opportunity to read his work to the hearing of literary enthusiasts and seasoned writers and he considered the event a stepping ground for his writing career. The event thereafter progressed into the traditional segment of a raffle draw through which members of the audience have a chance to win free book prizes. The raffle draw is the forum’s way of giving out books to promote Nigerian literature and also contribute to the revival of the country’s reading culture. The Abuja Writers’ Forum is a foremost literary society based in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja and founded with the vision of leading the way in efforts to re-awaken the book culture in Nigeria by celebrating Nigerian writers and indeed writers across the world, promoting reading and writing in the country and also giving writers and intending writers the opportunity to nurture the talent to maturity. The Guest Writer Forum holds at Nanet Suites, Ekiti House, Abuja. Meanwhile the forum meets every Sunday at Hamdala Plaza, Asokoro, Abuja for critique sessions and also has a workshop series on creative writing in the genres of poetry, prose and drama. All activities of the forum are open to the public and the opportunities of taking part in them are available for all established and prospective writers.

Acting for tomorrow

A Review of Preparing for the Future (The principle of preparation)


N a world where the upcoming generation is denied adequate mentorship, they tend to rush through life without going through the processes of growth which successful people go through. This necessitated the birth of a new book by Ayo Anifowose titled Preparing for the Future (The principle of preparation). The book helps to answer various questions that the youths often asks about life, their environment, friends, success, opportunities, dreams and more importantly the future. In reference to the beginning of every man, Anifowose strikingly establishes that before you were born, God knew you. He had a fore-knowledge of what you will become. It is never a mistake you were born into your family neither is your colour, size, weight nor height an accident. Before your parents got married or even had your pregnancy, God knew you and what will become of you. It is now left for you to discover the purpose for your conception. Come to think of it, have you ever wondered why you were not aborted or flushed out before birth? What exactly are you doing here on earth? The 65-page book with ten (10) chapters uses true life experiences to illustrate his point to the readers who can learn from the experiences of others and make the right decision about their life. Each chapter has an endnote which highlights key messages that the readers need to note which goes along with think and reflect exercise to interact with readers on what they have learnt and what are their resolution on the lesson learnt in the chapter. The author writes about the need for every youth to prepare for his/her own future knowing well that no one can create a better

By Adeola Ogunlade

future for you except you create it yourself. Preparing for the future is a gradual process that prevents the youth from walking aimlessly into the big tomorrow. A daily plan can help you develop a monthly plan, build a yearly plan and achieve all future plans. He addresses issues like ‘knowing who you are, what you want, how to get it and doing the achievable to express your inner man’. The book went ahead to highlight what purpose is all about and very important questions you need to answer to achieve once purpose in life. In every chapter of this book, the author makes it known that the God factor, a clear vision, purpose and creating passion for your potentials are some of elements needed in the process of preparing for a successful and great future. He makes the readers understand that what matters in life is the amount of positive vibration that you radiate. He further argues that you need to discover and study yourself (strength and weakness), develop a clear and detailed vision, dare to be different, develop a good character and attitude and move closer to the source of all successful vision God. Though, there were few typographical errors in the book, the book is design for every young person or young at heart, those who are ready for change and desire a glorious future, using biblical principles. There were biblical references and quote from successful people such as Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Rev Matthew Asimolowo, Sir Ken Robinson, Audrey Hepburn, John Mason, Robert Tew, Olumide Emmanuel, Michelangelo, among others.



‘God is the source of purpose’ W

HAT is purpose? Purpose is the essence of every action, the essence of every production, the essence of creativity and the essence of life. I think life is about purpose; simply the reason for a thing. The action behind a reaction, the cause that precedes an effect, that’s what purpose is. Why is purpose so crucial? Purpose is crucial because that is what defines success. That is what defines life. That is what defines eternity and is crucial. It is what makes our efforts to be meaningful and productive. So it is important. It is crucial such that what is purpose is clearly defined even when storms come up you know when there are challenges and all that but, because you know you are on purpose, then life becomes bearable and then the journey becomes easier . Why do most people miss their purpose in life? People miss it because of the parameters they use to define what success is. People are pursuing success with a wrong mindset. A lot of people today are trying to equate material accumulation of wealth as purpose, as being successful and in line with purpose. A successful person is the person who has discovered and is pursuing his purpose because it is the discovery of pursuit that brings fulfillment. What will be your advice for people to discover their purpose? The source of every prod-


The senior pastor of His Purpose Church Lagos, Pastor Tony Olukorode, spoke with the Editor, Online and Special Publications, Lekan Otufodunrin, on the importance of discovery of purpose based on divine direction. Excerpts: uct is to understand the reason why it was made. God is the source of purpose for this earth. So the first principle that man needs to embrace is to accept the fact that purpose is from God and then to be able to connect with God and God now connects us with purpose. There are people who don’t believe in God and they appear to be purposeful what do we call those people? What is success? You know success is not just limited to this world. Success must be viewed on broad spectrum on eternity. So if you just say you go to school, you get married, you just begin to have that and this and you feel you are successful, that is a misled priority. That is the problem of this nation, which is the problem of our generation. The problem that we have in this generation plus the government is that people are running off-track of purpose. If this nation should be on purpose and we clearly define our purpose and why God brought us together as a nation and we are pursuing it all, the vices coming in left and right in recent times will not be and there will be peace. Purpose is understanding the meaning of life. The meaning of life is found in purpose. The reason why people are

mad at each other and why things are going wrong is because of the worldly laid down principles of success. Nigeria needs to go back to purpose. That’s when we have fulfillment in this nation and can only be done when individuals now take responsibility of discovering their personal purpose and responsibility. What are the ingredients of the purpose training programme you are running? The focus actually is to raise an on-purpose generation of people through creative training programme. We have a mission to serve as an on-purpose personal development school with the responsibility of training men and women to fully discover divine purpose in their lives and to position leaders for greater productivity in their endeavours, thereby fulfilling God’s kingdom here on earth. We have aims such as to inspire people to operate at the centre of God’s will. Everything you are going to do is to place you at the centre of His will. And this was one of the things that God told me many years back. The course is a Basic Discovery Course under the His Purpose Discovery Academy

(HPDA) scheduled for March – April in Lagos. Week-end training starts March 1 to April 6th 2014 while the weekdays’ option is between March 24 and April 6. It offers a unique opportunity for individuals and organisations to properly understand the importance of purpose and how to take the right steps to fulfill it. Participants have shared testimonies of how what they learnt from the last edition has helped them in their daily living. There is a huge gap between most capacity building programmes around leadership but little attention is on followership to produce effective leadership. So, ours is to look at it from the other area and say how it has been. How can we attend to the root that bears the fruit? We try to see how we can help followers to follow effectively. We need to operate in the right atmosphere for effective and productive work place. We try to see people in government - how can we help them to work in leadership, how can we help them create an enabling environment such that the overall big picture concept of the nation and the organisation can be achieved?



Presbyterian Church wants total war against Boko Haram


HE Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Prof. Emele Uka, has called for an onslaught against the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, to put to an end to its relentless orgy of indiscriminate and senseless killings of innocent Ni-


gerians. The prelate condemned the latest spate of killings including the massacre of innocent school children at the Federal Government College, Bunu Yadi, Yobe State, which he described as senseless and barbaric. Uka, in a statement, said the total war should be

Jega needs God to succeed, says cleric

HE general overseer of Citadel of Mercy Igando, Apostle Paschal Goodnews, has called on Nigerians to pray for the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega. The INEC boss, according to him, has been handed a herculean task of conducting a free and fair election across the country, adding that he will need divine intervention to deliver. He stated that the forthcoming elections would be tough and heated, saying that any attempt to toy with it

By Julius Okorie

could throw the nation into a deep crisis. ‘’As we speak, tension is building up in various spheres in the country. Such tension which is both political and economic in nature is like a timebomb and requires extreme caution and proper conflictmanagement by those in authority. “Dark clouds are gathering over the nation and all Nigerians need to join hands in prayers and cry out to God for divine intervention to pull the country out of the brink of disaster,” Goodnews submitted.

fought at all fronts including the arrest and prosecution of all those who directly and indirectly support the terrorist group. He wondered why the attacks and wanton killings by the Islamic sect were on the increase despite the stateof-emergency declared by President Goodluck

Jonathan and the military onslaught against the sect. “The country is in a state of war,” the prelate declared, “and it is only a total counter war that will save the nation from this spate of mindless plunder and destruction of lives and property and the palpable state of fear and insecurity that have engulfed

the nation. “With the sophistication of the sect’s arms and strategies, the impunity with which they unleash mayhem and the seeming ubiquity in parts of the North East geographical zone, it is obvious that they enjoy a massive support. “I am surprised that till

today, no arrests of their sponsors have been made even though the government has made claims to the effect that they know those who are sponsoring the Boko Haram terrorist group. “If the government knows them, they should expose them and cause them to face the wrath of the law.”

Why insurgency persists, by Abidoye ‘We often mistake positions for leadership’


HE Spiritual Head and Chairman of Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide, Most Reverend Samuel Abidoye, has expressed concerns over the inability of government to curtail the Boko Haram insurgency in the north. Abidoye blamed the situation on the absence of quality leadership across the nation. According to him: “The continuous existence of the Boko Haram and the NigerDelta crisis, among others, is because our leaders are not doing what they are supposed to do. Our government needs

By Olatunde Odebiyi

to be more careful.” He pointed out that “many people are afraid of the coming elections especially those in the north because the elections have never been successful.” He urged Nigerians to pray for the elections to be peaceful. Abidoye lamented that many modern Christians are after money, instead of God. “Nobody is behaving like a Christian. You find pastors caught in robbery and doing lots of bad things. “Christ is coming back very soon and all Christians must be prepared.”


HE registrar of Olivet Academy Festac Town, Lagos, Deaconess Joy Nwgwakwe, has decried the declining rate of leadership in churches. The decadence, she said, has permeated the society and especially marred spiritual leadership. Nwgwakwe, who spoke with reporters, noted that the inconsistency of religious leaders led to the establishment of the Olivet Academy since 2007. The academy sprang from the family of the Olivet Bible Church, the church, which began in 2005. The bible college has been licensed to train people, empha-

By Nneka Nwaneri

sising the core values such as oneness, love, integrity, virtuous living, excellence and team work. Although the registrar did not give the exact number of persons it has trained since then, the college has churned out 24 sets of students since inception. According to her, Olivet Academy believes that leadership can be improved through trainings. Nwgwakwe is also of the opinion that it is not all those who are in authority that have leadership qualities. This, Nwgwakwe noted, is the church’s contribution to national building.





Stop running after church leaders, cleric tells Jonathan


HE minister- in- charge of the Episcopal Church of Zion, Abuja branch, Rev. Babatunde Oguntimehin, has told President Goodluck Jonathan to stop chasing shadows by running after pastors and traditional rulers in his drive to win the 2015 presidential election. Speaking at the end of the delegates’ conference of the church in Abuja penultimate weekend, Oguntimehin advised Jonathan to concentrate on the masses and God, if he is interested in re-election. He kicked against some of the church leaders the president has been running after,

saying many of them have been rejected by God. Many of them, Oguntimehin added, have compromised and are living in past glories. According to him: “There are still genuine pastors and prophets in the country. They are hardly heard because they are not political and populist in their messages. “The president should identify them and meet them to sit him down for genuine counselling. The president needs to hear from God if he wants to succeed this time.” Oguntimehin added: “God made President Jonathan’s election possible

in 2011, not the pastors and the traditional rulers he is romancing. “The masses of this country are suffering. Their cries have gone up unto God. The wrath of God is now dangling on the heads of the evil and wicked functionaries of this government.’’ He lamented that corruption had never been this worse in the country, stressing that “crude oil is being freely stolen in Niger Delta as if there is no government in place to the extent that the nation’s revenue generation has drastically reduced which has led to poor budget implementation.’’

•L-R: Conference Lay President Emeritus, Sir Remi Omotoso; Diocese of Lagos Lay President, Olusegun Sofunke; Representative of Lagos state governor, Hon. Aderinola Disu; Archbishop of Lagos Dr. Joseph Ajayi JP; Retired Bishop of Owo, Rt. Revd. Gregs Bamgbose and the Synod Secretary, Very Rev. Sola Ala at the 52nd annual synod of the Lagos Methodist Church Ikorodu Circuit… recently

Boko Haram: Archbishop suggests fasting HE President, Integand prayer knees. According to him: “The isrity and Faithful Min-


isters World Network, Archbishop Friday Nwator, has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a nationwide fasting and prayer over the incessant terrorist attacks by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, in the northeast. He said the only solution to the insecurity challenge in the north is allowing God to do the battles. Nwator, who was among

the clergymen that led the Niger Delta ex- militants to embrace the federal government’s Amnesty Programme, said the sect would be demobilised with just a 3-day nationwide fasting and prayer. Speaking in Port-Harcourt, Nwator said terrorist groups like Boko Haram need God’s mighty fire to come to their

sue of Boko Haram insurgency should not look like an unsolvable issue, every matter has a solution. “If all the peaceful and forceful avenues applied cannot work, I have the best solution to it. “That solution is simple. Let’s invite the Almighty God for three days in a nationwide fasting and prayer. We don’t need money to do it. All we need is Jonathan’s approval.”

giving at the church’s international headquarters in Ajao Estate, Lagos. Ezekiel challenged Christians to always study the Bible at this end-time as it is the best way to be close to God and ward off negative influences. He encouraged them to stand firm as God would never abandon His people, no

matter the situation. First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, appreciated the efforts of the Ezekiels in bringing souls to God. Pastor Elizabeth Ayilara, who represented Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos central), also thanked the hosts for upholding the nation in prayers.

By Daniel Adeleye

Peller declared the exercise would benefit the nation with proper arrangements. He cautioned religious leaders to be very careful of what they do and say. Peller also called on the national body of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to emulate its south east chapter by banning political rallies in the church.

From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

Be close to God, Nigerians tasked


IGERIANS, especially Christians, should be bold and righteous to avert crisis in the country, the General Overseer of Christian Pentecostal Mission International(CPM), Rev Obiora Ezekiel, has stated. He spoke at the national thanksgiving service with the theme honourable thanks-

Support Jonathan, cleric tells ex-leaders


HE general overseer of Finger of God Ministry Lagos, Bishop Abiola Peller, has appealed to former Heads of State to collaborate with President Goodluck Jonathan in the campaign against Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast. He lamented that every effort to contain the insur-

gency has been sabotaged by political gladiators. Peller spoke in his office last week. The cleric urged the retired generals to cast their minds back to their struggles during the civil war and save the northeast from violence. Lending his voice to the upcoming national conference,

Living Faith By Dr. David Oyedepo

Unveilingtheblessednessof prayer and fasting! (2)


AST week, I brought to you the first segment of this monthly teaching. I said 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. Also, I taught on profitable approach to fasting. Among others, I said before we embark on prayer and fasting, our purpose must be clearly defined. This week, in continuation of that teaching, I will be considering the benefits of prayer and fasting. •They are platforms for deliverance from all evil: ‘All evil’ here means unwanted habits, addictions and all sins that easily beset us. So, we lay aside every weight that easily besets us on the platforms of prayer and fasting (Isaiah 58: 6, 8). Please understand that we are not righteous by our confessions, but by practice. •They facilitate answers to prayers: We can only maximize the blessings of fasting by effectual prayers. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity (Isaiah 58:9). So, fasting is a platform for guaranteed answers to prayers. •They are platforms for explosive grace: That is where we are standing in

God’s agenda. We saw this grace at work in the life of Christ, when He returned from the 40 day-prayer and fasting. His level of command changed sporadically. The Bible in Luke 4:14 says: And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. •They are platforms for securing favour from God: Queen Esther bade Mordecai to engage in a fast with her and her maidens for three days. After the fast, she received divine favour (Esther 4:16-17; Esther 5:2-3). •Also, Nehemiah obtained a very strange favour from God, while in a fast (Nehemiah 1:4-11). Thereafter, he went to the king with his petition and the king had no resistance because the hand of God was upon him (Nehemiah 2:4-11). •Empowerment for fulfilment of prophecies (1 Kings 18:41-44): We pray and fast prophecies to speedy fulfilment. There are certain oppositions that will never surrender except by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word (1 Kings 17:1). Elijah spoke as he was commanded by God, yet, he did not wait idly for the prophetic word to be fulfilled. Rather, he engaged in spiritual warfare and prayers for its fulfilment. The Bible says in James 5: 17-18: Elias was a man sub-

ject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain…. So, he didn’t just speak, he engaged in prayers to see the Word fulfilled. So, prophecies may lie fallow forever, if nobody prays them into fulfilment. Therefore, we must beware of selling our birthright to our stomach like Esau did (Genesis 25:29-34). We are not waiting on the Lord by being without food; rather, we wait on the Lord by standing in His presence and praying our lives into higher realms of grace. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering (Luke 9:29). Receive grace to maximize this great prophetic season of exceeding grace that will launch you to your realms of exceeding greatness! Friend, the power to benefit from the above is available, if you are born again. You get born again by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. If you are set for this new birth experience, please say this prayer: “Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious Blood. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You Jesus! Now I know I am born again!” I will continue this message next week. Every exploit in life is a product of knowledge. For further reading, you can 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:


‘Adeogun remains head of CCC Worldwide’ T HE National Coordinator, Nigeria Diocese of the Supreme Headquarters of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), The Supreme Evangelist Maromipi Adeniyi, has challenged factions within the church to have respect for the rule of law and uphold the sanity of the CCC constitution. Speaking last week with newsmen in Lagos, Adeniyi said the leadership tussle has adversely affected the spiritual and economic wellbeing of the church. “The attendant effects of the crisis on the Celestial Church worldwide have made it rather a global problem as the crisis continues unabated on a daily basis,” he lamented. Adeniyi argued that Nigeria is one of the dioceses in the church worldwide and has no constitutional power

By Adeola Ogunlade

to appoint, elect or select any pastor. Citing Section 111 of the Church’s constitution, he stated that only the Supreme Committee of the Celestial Church at the Supreme Headquarters in Port Novo, Benin Republic, has the authority to ratify any prediction or revelation made to any person on occupation of the pastor’s office. He said that all the elders parading themselves as pastors in Nigeria did not get the approval of the committee before ascending the positions. “All power in the Celestial Church of Christ Worldwide is vested in the Supreme Headquarters in Port Novo,

Republic of Benin, formerly Dahomey, the birth place of the church,” Adeniyi added. He declared that the seat of the church’s pastor is not in Ketu, Eleko, Osoroko, Ijeshatedo, Iju, Ishaga, Imala or Ikorodu, dismissing anyone parading himself as Pastor of the CCC Worldwide as an impersonator. He stated that Bilehou Akike Adeogun remains the pastor of the church because “The Prophet Founder of the Celestial Church of Christ, Papa Joseph Oshoffa chose Rev. Bilehou David Agbaossi as his successor on May 5, 1984 in accordance with section 6 and 111 of the CCC constitution “He (Agbaossi) consequently handed over power to Bilehou Akike Adeogun after his demise on 13 th April 2010 and he remains the head of the church.”



Kenyan president and cabinet to take pay cut

Warning shots fired to turn monitors back from Crimea


ARNING shots were fired to prevent an unarmed international military observer mission from entering Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea, as new confrontations between Russian and Ukrainian troops raised tension ever higher. Russia's seizure of the Black Sea peninsula, which began about 10 days ago, has so far been bloodless, but its forces have become increasingly aggressive towards Ukrainian troops, who are trapped in bases and have offered no resistance. Tempers have grown hotter in the last two days, since the region's pro-Moscow leadership declared it part of Russia and announced a March 16 referendum to confirm it. A spokeswoman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said no one was hurt when shots were fired to turn back its mission of more than 40 unarmed observers, who have been invited by Kiev but do not have permission from Crimea's proRussian separatist regional authorities. They had been turned back twice before, but this was the first time shots were fired. Kiev's security council said it had been targeted by hackers in a "massive" denial of service attack designed to cripple its computers. The national news agency was also hit, it said.

Indian plane evacuated after rear wheel catches fire in Nepal


rear wheel of an Airbus A320 operated by an Indian budget airline caught fire after landing at Nepal's international airport in Kathmandu yesterday, officials said. All 176 passengers and six crew on board the IndiGo flight from New Delhi were evacuated through the emergency doors and are safe, Airport General Manager Rishikesh Sharma said. There were no reported injuries. Sharma said one of the rear wheels of the plane caught fire as the aircraft was heading to the parking bay after landing. A statement by IndiGo said the fire was only noticed after parking. The cause of the fire, that was quickly doused, was not immediately clear, Sharma said refusing to say how big the fire was. Authorities are investigating the incident. The Indian carrier said it had grounded the aircraft for inspection. The incident occurred only hours after a Boeing 777-200ER, operated by Malaysia Airlines and carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing over the South China Sea. The carrier is presumed to have crashed.


• Children wave Russian flags during a mass pro-Russian rally in the centre of Sevastopol, yesterday.


239 feared dead in missing Malaysian plane V

IETNAMESE authorities found a 19 kilometer long oil slick in the Gulf of Thailand yesterday , the first sign that a Malaysia Airlines plane declared missing several hours before may have crashed. Flight MG370 which disappeared en route to Beijing, had 239 passengers on board. All morning, a line of red text topped the international arrivals board at Beijing's Capital International Airport. Flight MH370, from Kuala Lumpur, STA 6:30. Delayed. Curious bystanders, journalists, and police officers, gathered below the sign, waiting for word. None came. Then, just after 13:00, the red line disappeared without a trace. Little hope remained for the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at press time. The Boeing 777200 lost contact over the South China Sea early yesterday morning en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The oil slick is the first sign that the plane was unable to make a safe landing and went down in the ocean. "I'm very, very worried now," Zhai Le, who was meeting friends off the plane before setting off on holiday, told gathered reporters. The red eye took off at 12:41 a.m., local time, scheduled to arrive at 6:30 a.m. It did not. Malaysia airlines later confirmed that contact with air traffic control was

lost at 2:40 a.m. Aboard the flight, a total of 239 passengers and crew, of 14 nationalities. There were 153 Chinese nationals, 38 Malaysians, 7 Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French, four Americans, among other passengers. A dozen crew and two infants are among the missing. The flight was a codeshare with China Southern. Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines' vice president of operations control, told CNN that the aircraft was flying at an altitude of 10,700m and no problems had been reported from the cockpit. "The fact that there was no distress signal is very disturbing," Ross Aimer, an aviation consultant, told AlJazeera. "It's almost unprecedented." Ships and helicopters from nations closest to the flight path were dispatched to scour a large expanse of ocean for signs of any wreckage. But as darkness fell on Saturday evening, search and rescue teams still had not located any crash site. "The aircraft had not been at altitude long and that strikes me as very, very odd," aviation expert Captain J.F. Joseph, who has 44 years flying of experience, said. "It's too early to say if there was a bomb or terrorist activity, but it lost contact just as it began to level off at 10,668 meters. It would give some indication that what occurred was catastrophic or somewhat in-

The bulk of the casualties are usually civilians. Lebanon is deeply split over Syria's civil war, which has be-

stantaneous." The sudden communications blackout drew parallels with the Air France disaster of in June 2009, which fell out of the sky while flying from Rio de Janiero in Brazil to Paris, claiming the lives of all 228 people on board. "Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support," Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members." The plane's pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, had been with the airline since 1981. The weather along the route was reportedly good. A statement posted on the official Vietnamese government website said the flight disappeared in "Ca Mau province airspace before it had entered contact with Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control." News media reported Vietnamese authorities saying it had crashed in the Gulf of Thailand in the waters between Malaysia's northeastern coast and Ca Mau, Vietnam's southernmost province. Malaysian officials said they had received no confirmation of what had happened to the plane. All countries in the vi-

meant to be in a place where the shrapnel of the explosion would not reach the main road," the statement said. "The Azzam

cinity of the flight path were performing a "communications and radio search," said John Andrews, deputy chief of the Philippines civil aviation agency,Associated Press reported Authorities at Beijing airport provided buses for relatives to go to a hotel about 10 miles away to await further briefings. But as the waiting continued tensions became heated, and a cameraman was reportedly punched by a distraught relative. Others complained about the lack of information. "There's no one from the company here, we can't find a single person. They've just shut us in this room and told us to wait," said one middleaged man who declined to be named, according to Reuters. Hamid Ramlan, a 56year-old policeman living in Kuala Lumpur, told AFP that his daughter and son in law were on the flight. "My wife is crying. Everyone is sad. My house has become a place of mourning," he said. "This is Allah's will. We have to accept it." Boeing told CNBC that it was monitoring the situation. More than 1,000 777 aircraft have been put into service since 1995, with the only previous fatalities reported during the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport in July. State-owned Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200 jets in its fleet of around 100 aircraft.

ENYAN President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that he and his cabinet will take a pay cut to help bring down the government's wage bill. President Kenyatta said that he and his deputy William Ruto would take a 20% cut while other ministers would have their pay reduced by 10%. Foreign trips, he said, would be kept to a minimum. Mr Kenyatta also urged Kenyan MPs, who are among the highest paid in Africa, to accept cuts. Correspondents say the issue of politicians' pay is a highly sensitive issue in Kenya. Mr Kenyatta said the government was spending close to $4.6bn (ÂŁ2.7bn) in salaries, leaving only $2.3bn for development. "We need to deal with this monster if we are to develop this nation otherwise sooner or later we will become a nation that only collects taxes to pay ourselves," President Kenyatta said. He was speaking at the end of a cabinet retreat near Mount Kenya that was reviewing progress made one year since he was elected. Mr Kenyatta announced a month after his election that he would make reducing Kenya's ballooning public sector wage bill a priority. He said it was "unsustainable" and weighed on the national budget.

Militants apologise for killing Lebanese civilians


militant group issued a rare apology yesterday for a twin suicide bombing in Beirut that killed eight people and wounded dozens, including children from a nearby orphanage. The al-Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades issued the statement on militant websites apologizing for civilian deaths. It said a "technical fault" affected the second of two Feb. 19 suicide bombings targeting an Iranian cultural centre in Beirut, but didn't specify what it was. The group insisted its suicide bombers were trained to not target civilians. "We affirm, always to our suicide bombers, to be cautious, and to abort any operation if they believe it will hit others but the targeted," it said. More than a dozen bombings have targeted Shiite-dominated areas of Lebanon in recent months. Many have been claimed by the hard-line Sunni Nusra Front in Lebanon. They have said they are seeking revenge against Lebanon's Iran-backed Shiite Hezbollah group for supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad.




I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Sikirat Adebisi Ajidagba, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Sikirat Adebisi Babalola. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.







I,formerly known and addressed as MISS. NWOLU UDODI JESSICA now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. UDODIMMA ROSELINE INYIAMA. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Yusuf, Adeleke Bamidele now wish to be known and addressed as Adedoyin, Adeleke Bamidele. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.



I,formerly known and addressed as Amuda, Dolapo Florence now wish to be known and addressed as Ajayi Ifedolapo Florence. All former documents remain valid. Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti and general public should please take note.

OYEWOLE I,formetry known and addressed as Miss Busayo Omolola Oyewole now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olanipekun Busayo Omolola. All former documents remain valid. Ijero local government and general public take note. ARIYO I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ariyo Opeyemi Feyisayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Oluwalana Opeyemi Feyisayo. All former documents remain valid.Ekiti state teaching service commission, Ado Ekiti and general public note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Jimoh, Rashidat Temitayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adedimeji Roshidat Temitayo. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I,formerly known and addressed as MISS. ENIGHE IGONI now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. ENIGHE IGBOSI. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as MISS. BECKY CHINENYE EHULE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. BECKY CHINENYE OSAZUWA. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ajibade, Olayemi Rukayat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kamil Olayemi Rukayat. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Utulu, Florence Anwulika, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ifekwunigwe Florence Anwulika. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Scott Stella Agbobhegbe, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Imadojemu Stella Agbobhegbe. All former documents remain valid. National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ademusire, Moniola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Moniola Omowole. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Okunade, Adenike, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olowookere Adenike Monica. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Oluwakemi Arinade Adekunle, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oluwakemi Arinade James. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Afusat Adebukola Onasanya, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Afusat Adebukola Alabi. All former documents remain valid. Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Olabisi Rukayat Yusuf, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olabisi Rukayat Yusuf. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Yusuf, Wumi Morenikeji, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ibitoye, Wumi Morenikeji. All former documents remain valid. State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Osogbo and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. EHISIANYA LOVE CHINYERE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OBI LOVE CHINYERE. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. UDOH, UDEME IME now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. PETERS, UDEME UNEKWU. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. MANDU ANSELEM UDOWO, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. JOY VICTOR MKPA. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. FLORENCE OWOR, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. FLORENCE IYKEALLSWELL. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Monsurat Omolola Adekunle now wish to be known as Mrs. Oyelami, Omolola Mary. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.



I,formerly known and addressed as MISS. JOHNSON AKPAN PATIENCE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OPUTEH CHIDI PRECIOUS. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as MISS. CHIEMEKA ROSEMARY UKACHI, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. IJEH ROSEMARY UKACHI. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as MISS. CHIOMA PRECIOUS CHIMA now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. CHIOMA GEORGE AKANI. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, TAMINOBELEMA SUNDAY FRESH and TAMINOBELEMA FRESH refers to one and the same person. All former documents remain valid. WAEC and general public please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, MRS. VICTORIA OLUWATOYIN DANIEL, MISS. VICTORIA OLUWATOYIN OLUGBUSI and MRS. VICTORIA OLUWATOYIN IKHINE refers to one and the same person, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. VICTORIA OLUWATOYIN DANIEL. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Anipole Bolanle Beatrice Latifat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. David Bolanle Beatrice. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


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I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Monsurat Olajumoke Banjoko, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olajumoke Otesile. All former documents remain valid. Ifo Local govt., SUBEB and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Umar Suleiman, now wish to be known and addressed as Umar Suleiman Mungadi. All former documents remain valid. Nigerian Immigration Service and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Arit Monday Peter, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Arit Ubong Ekerepe. All former documents remain valid. Nigerian Immigration Service and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Rachael Ngozi Ejianya, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Rachael Ngozi Ozigbo. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ariyo, Opeyemi Feyisayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oluwalana Opeyemi Feyisayo. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission, Ado-Ekiti and general public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Amaefule Ruth Anuli, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Rachael Ngozi Oziodo. All former documents remain valid. Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and general public should please take note.



I,formerly known and addressed as Chibuike Emmanuel Joseph now wish to be known and addressed as Kelechi Daniel Ikpinyi. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Evelyn Ogechi Makaiza, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Evelyn Ogechi Isikima. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME Formerly known and addressed as Jimoh Kazeem Oluwatosin, now wish to be known and addressed as Jimoh James Kazeem Oluwatosin. All former documents remain valid. Agege Local government Service Commission and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Olushola, Titilayo Esther, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adegbuyi, Titilayo Esther. All former documents remain valid. Redeemers International School, Ebute Metta, Lagos and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Semande Akuwa Rosemary Akran, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Semande Akuwa Akran-Olaleye. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Karamot Aderinmola Asade, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Karamot Aderinmola Agbabiaka. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Adebayo, Helen Busayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ilufoye Helen Busayo. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Folashade Adeola Adebayo now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Folashade Adeola Adeyemi. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Balogun, Abimbola Atinuke, now wish to be known as Mrs. Balogun-Lawal Abimbola Atinuke. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Felicitas Ekwutosi Onugwu, now wish to be known as Mrs. Felicitas Ekwutosi Chisom Okereke. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Akujuru, Mirain Ovuvechi, now wish to be known as Mrs. Nwanyanwu Mirain Ovuvechi. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Fidelia Osasumen Iribhogbe, now wish to be known as Mrs. Fidelia Osasumen Oraegbunam. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Omolayo Anuoluwa Solaja, now wish to be known as Omolayo Anuoluwa Babaniji. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Dawakponu Dona Margreth, now wish to be known as Mrs. Odulalu Dona Mariam. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Fakoya, Oluwakemi Serah, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olayiwola Oluwakemi Serah. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Okunmolale, Yetunde Jadesola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Omoyungbo Yetunde Jadesola. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.



I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Oluwatoyin Omoseni Oyemade, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oluwatoyin Omoseni Osoba. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


AMUSA I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Amusa Fatimo Olabisi now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Okunuga Fatimo Olabisi. All former documents remain valid. Ijede LCDA and general public should please take note.

I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Imoudu, Christianah Shome, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olaniyi, Christianah Shome. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Oladipupo, Aina Blessing, now wish to be known and addressed as Miss Anya Adaeze Blessing. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Asiru, Modupeoluwa Musrafat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Raji, Modupeoluwa Musrafat. All former documents remain valid. Ondo State Hospital Management Board, GTBank and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Ann Ngowari Chinaka, now wish to be known and addressed as Ann Matthew Etukudo. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Ilesanmi Imoleayo F., now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Agbebi, Imoleayo. All former documents remain valid. LASPOTECH, NYSC and general public should please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as James Olugbade Ogundele, now wish to be known and addressed as James Olugbade Peters. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Obiano Charity Amaka now wish to be known as Mrs. Solomon Charity Amaka. All former documents remain valid. Nigerian Ebassy and general public please take note.

ASOLO I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Asolo Oluwayemisi Adesola now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Akinlabi Oluwayemisi Adesola. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. NWORIE I formerly known and addressed as Mr. Nworie Vincent now wish to be known and addressed as Mr. Donatus Nweze. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. NWAKWU I formerly known and addressed as Mr. Nwakwu Gabriel now wish to be known and addressed as Nweke Simon. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. NWANKWO I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Nwankwo Rose Nneoma now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Iwejuo Rose Nneoma. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. BADMUS I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Christianah Folusho Yetunde Badmus, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Christianah Folusho Yetunde BadmusOlofintuyi. All former documents remain valid. Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State and general public should please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss. SUZY OSARO KUMBA OSARO now wish to be known as Mrs. SUZY OSAROKUMBA PROMISE OKPARAJI. All former documents remain valid. Intels Nig. Ltd. Onne and the general public please take note.

OLAJIDE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Olajide Omobola Roseline now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Oiwoh Omobola Roseline. All former documents remain valid.Moferere Oja Comprehensive Health Centre,Ondo and general public note. ADEWUMI I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Adewumi Adeyemi now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Adeyemi Adurosakin. All former documents remain valid. State Hospital Management Board (HMB), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwifery and general public note. IPINLAYE I,formerly known and addressed as MISS TITILAYO TOMILOLA IPINLAYE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS TITILOPE JOY DANIEL. All former documents remain valid. Department of Banking and Finance, Kano State Polytechnic, WAEC and general public should please take note. NWANKWO I, formerly known and addressed as MISS NWANKWO THERESA ADAEZE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OBIEKWE THERESA ADAEZE. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. NWONU I formerly known and addressed as MISS NWONU GLORIA CHINYERE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OKONKWO GLORIA CHIJIOKE. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. ODOEMENA I formerly known and addressed as MISS ODOEMENA NDIDI EUCHARIA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ODOEMENE NDIDI EUCHARIA. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. ADAEZE I formerly known and addressed as DR. MISS SUNDAY ADAEZE CHINYERE MAUREEN, now wish to be known and addressed as DR. MRS NWABUWA ADAEZE CHINYERE MAUREEN. All former documents remain valid. UNN, NYSC and general public take note. ENEH I formerly known and addressed as MISS ENEH AKUABATA QUEENDALINE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OBINNA AKUABATA QUEENDALINE. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. NWANKWO I formerly known and addressed as MISS NWANKWO UGOCHI CALISTA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OKONKWO UGOCHI CALISTA. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public take note. EZE I,formerly known and addressed as MISS EZE NNENNA MIRRAN, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ILOKA NNENNA MIRRAN. All former documents remain valid. Federal Polytechnic Oko, NYSC and general public take note. OSAMILUYI I formerly known and addressed as Mr. Osamiluyi Sunday, now wish to be known and addressed as Mr. Osamiluyi Sunday Oluwafemi. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. OYEWUMI I formerly known and addressed as MISS OYEWUMI OPEYEMI FIYINFOLUWA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OJO OPEYEMI DEBORAH all former documents remain valid NYSC and general public please take note. EHINOLA I formerly known and addressed as MISS EHINOLA KEHINDE HELEN now wish to be known and addresses as MRS OLUWAGBENGA–ADEDIPE HELEN KEHINDE. All former documents remain valid and general public please take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as MISS ATAGHAUMAN FLORENCE OSELUMENOSEN PROSPER, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS AYODELE FLORENCE OSELUMENOSEN PROSPER. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Police Force(NPF), Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria(ICAN), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration (NASFA) and general public should please take note.

JEGEDE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Mary Abidemi Jegede now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Mary Abidemi Ogunrinde. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. OLASEINDE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Olaseinde Deborah Toyin, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Bello Deborah Toyin. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. ELEREWE I, Elerewe Oluwatosin Grace, now wish to be known and address as Mrs. Fashina Oluwatosin Grace. All former documents remain valid. Geneal public pls take note. NWANKWO I formerly known and addressed as MISS NWANKWO THERESA ADAEZE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OBIEKWE THERESA ADAEZE. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. IPINLAYE I formerly known and addressed as MISS TITILAYO TOMILOLA IPINLAYE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS TITILOPE JOY DANIEL. All former documents remain valid. Department of Banking and Finance, Kano State Politechnic, WAEC and General public please take note. MADUKA I formerly known as, and called, Miss Maduka Joy Oluchi, now wish to be called and addressed as Mrs Josiah Joy Oluchi. All documents bearing my former name remain valid. The general public should please take note. KEHINDE I formerly known as, and called, Miss Kehinde Olubunmi Pelayo now wish to be called and addressed as Mrs Sojimi Olubunmi Pelayo. All documents bearing my former name remain valid. Ogun State Bureau of Transportation and the general public should please take note. OKEYA I, formerly known and addressed as Okeya Bosede Janet, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olorunfemi Bosede Janet. All former documents remain valid. Local Government Service Commission, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State and general public should please take note. ADEDAYO I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Oloyade Mercy Adedayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Alatise Mercy Adedayo. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public should please take note. ELECHI-AMADI I, formerly known and addressed as Mr. Nosike Elechi-Amadi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mr. Kemzi Nosike Elechi-Amadi. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. OMOTOSO I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Omotoso, Monsurat Tosin, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olohunkemi Monsurat Tosin. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. OJINNAKA I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ojinnaka Chinwenwa Victoria, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Inegbese Ojinnaka Victoria. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. ADEWOLE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adewole, Omolewa Olayemi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ademolu, Jigan Omolewa Olayemi. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. ADVERT: Simply produce your marriage certificate or sworn affidavit for a change of name publication, with just N4,500. The payment can be made through - FIRST BANK of Nigeria Plc. Account number - 2017220392 Account Name - VINTAGE PRESS LIMITED Scan the details of your advert and teller to - gbengaodejide@ or thenation.advert For enquiry please contact: Gbenga on 08052720421, 08161675390, Emailgbengaodejide or our offices nationwide. Note this! Change of name is now published every Sundays, all materials should reach us two days before publication.




Cross River’s Songhai agriculture experience



‘Demand’ as verb


OR the first time since I started writing this column in October 2011, I became a crass illiterate last week for haphazardly checking my dictionaries which listed ‘illiterate’ as both an adjective and a noun, contrary to my magisterial declaration! My apologies for this inadvertent and unprecedented schoolboy carelessness! I thank all those who brought this to my notice. Never again will such happen! THE NATION ON SUNDAY COMMENT (EDITORIAL) of March 2 goofed twice: “…said the solution to the lingering kerosene scarcity lies (lay) in switching over to….” “…time will come when more Nigerians will demand for it and the question of meeting the demand will surface.” ‘Demand’, when used as a verb, does not take ‘for’. SUNDAY Sun of March 2 takes over from the preceding medium with EDITORIAL headline gaffe and a back page blunder: “The Buni Yadi students (students’) massacre in Yobe” “…as each of their dead children’s friends marry (marries), have children.” Next is SOCCER STAR Front Page Bold Headline illiteracy of March 2: “Unstopable Chelsea” Spell-check: unstoppable DAILY SUN Banner Headline of February 25 toed my misstep: “My experience in Edo is mix (mixed) bag of the good, the bad and the very ugly—CP Adebanjo” “Ijaw youths split, accuse politicians of high jacking (sic) body” Is this loose thinking or carelessness” Get it right: hijacking. “Some of the chairmen of the existing 13 council areas were not marching (matching) the allocation they collected with equivalent developmental efforts.” “…it would be a major triumph of the rule of law and transparency campaign if the federal authorities stick to their gun (guns)—that the rules must be obeyed.” “Well that’s the story making (doing or going) the rounds.” “Governor Obi’s rare gesture has never and may never be seen in (on) this shore for a long time to come.” “To Gen Adebayo:

enough of that (those) crocodile tears.” “This man was virtually responsible for restoring back the world’s confidence in the dollar.” In readers’ interest, next time delete ‘back’ which is embodied in restoration. “President Jonathan has all these abilities, he just have (has) to make up his mind….” “Some may say that this may result into (in) inflation, no it won’t.” “It bothers (borders) on the incredulous that people don’t pay tax in this country.” “There must be some common issues that the centre will have to take care off (of).” “Chief Rochas Anayo Okorocha returned to Owerri with pomp and pageantry.” A long time ago I came across this phrasal irritant created by Nigerians (“pomp and pageantry”)! The man returned in pomp and ceremony or pomp and circumstance. And for classical writers, simply pomp “The contemptuous act of the duo, without fear of contradiction (a comma, please) had unleashed unprecedented damages (damage) to the image of Afenifere in the state.” “Money spent that could otherwise be expended into (on) production is spent on.…” “Every feasible measure should be taken to shop (shore) up the value of naira from plummeting any further.” “In order (other) words….” “Iwo female undergraduate students of Bayero University Kano died on Thursday night, following a ghastly (fatal) auto crash.” “The national conference committee has precedence (a precedent) offshore in South Africa.” “The…issues bothering (bordering) on the credentials of the leadership.” “However, with what we are now being treated to by the power players of yesteryears…” ‘Yesteryear’ is non-count, once more. “To most Nigerians, he is the architect of the fragile peace that Nigerians are currently enjoying.” Inclusion of currency here is clearly uncalled for. “Let government alleviate poverty, let the taps flow with portable water, let there be light as God commanded.” This way:

potable water. “Man arrested over wife’s death.” The man was arrested for his wife’s death. “But let him bear in mind that whatever is good for the goose is equally good for the gander…” Fixed expression: what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. “…as Nigeria humbly joins the bandwagon of the poorest countries of the world.” Not yet time for celebration: climb or jump on/aboard the bandwagon. “I also believed that dreams must preceed plans and plans must preceed building.” Spellcheck: precede “One of its main topic concerned the question.…” Just an observation: One of its main topics…. “…I saw something in Diana that was deeper than frolic and contrary to the exaggerated gossips and controversies of the tabloid and yellow press.” ‘Gossip’ is uncountable when reference is to ‘talks’, but I hate gossips (those who gossip— not gossipers!). “Cape Verde police say that a new cadre of ‘Mules’ who can carry between 300 to 500 grams of cocaine, now specialized in supplying the local market.” Either: between 3 and 5 or from 3 to5. No alloy. At Bukuru in the outskirts of Jos, they can no longer count breadwinners who have absconded on their fingertips for the number continues to swell.” This way: on the outskirts. “For the domestic fronts of multilateral imperialism—the comprador bourgeoisies.…” Get it right: the bourgeoisie (collective). “NERC explains erractic failure of power” No erratic spelling! “An hospital’s distress call” I am averse to Elizabethan English. A contemporary output: A hospital’s distress call Wrong: pay last respect to the dead. Stock expression: last respects. “And there was also…in a continent where such basics as electricity supply were still luxuries for a generality of the population.” This way: on a continent.

T is not so often that you are likely to come across a leader who is passionate about almost anything and everything that has the potential of transforming his society or community. But in Liyel Imoke, you will find a Governor whose passion for what can conduce to infrastructural and human capital development is not only palpable but infectious. Peerless in vision and creative in imagination, it has been one legacy project after another ever since he assumed office nearly seven years ago. Under the Imoke Administration, projects are considered on their potential to boost the state’s income profile and ultimately leave a telling impact on the citizenry. Always thinking outside the box, Imoke reckoned that agriculture, as one of the vital components of the economy must also occupy the pride of place in the state’s quest for sustainable development as well as attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was therefore not surprising when in March 2013, he felt that Cross River State must also key into the Songhai Integrated Farm initiative. Beyond the incentive of creating food sufficiency for Cross River State’s teeming populace, the Songhai Farm initiative has brought about a paradigm shift from mere subsistence to a full scale commercial agriculture. Given the abundant agro-allied resources nature has endowed the state, there is urgent need, according to Governor Imoke, to do away with the lethargic and dated approach to agriculture and focus on how it can create wealth in order to tackle the challenges of unemployment and poverty. While recently on an inspection of the state’s Songhai Farm Project, which is currently at 75per cent completion, Imoke who decried subsistence approach to agriculture, quipped: “The problem we have had over time is that we never understood agriculture as a business. It is because of the fact that we have engaged in a lot subsistent farming as a people for too long. We never really created the value that could be created out of agriculture and the opportunities for employment, poverty alleviation as well as the provision of food. The fact of the matter is that we have never really done it in the manner it should have been done. That was why this project was developed and conceptualised.” Designed as an incubation or training centre, on completion, the Songhai farm is expected to assist emerging farmers to improve on their farming techniques, methods and quality as well as improving their variety. Offering further insights into the project, the Governor who cannot wait its commissioning in the second quarter of this year, hinted: “First of all, we must understand the project for what it is. It is an incubation or service centre from where other local government areas will be fed. The government sent some youths for training at Songhai Farm in Benin Republic for six months. On their return, they got additional training at the Central Bank of Nigeria Entrepreneurship Development Centre

•Gov Imoke inspecting the Songhai project By Bassey Okon

preparatory to moving in here to start work. And hopefully, some of them would leave here and start something similar to this. There is also the application of inexpensive technology. There is nothing synthetic or sophisticated in what is going on at the Songhai Farm. That is the beauty of it.” How Songhai farms will be run The Farm, like most projects spread across the state, though being funded by the government, will be run privately, devoid of government’s involvement. Imoke shed more light: “A project like this is not going to be driven purely by the government. The initial funding and take off of the project is borne by the government. The farm was designed to be run by the Songhai organisation. The organisation has done this with tremendous success in many parts of Africa. It is recognised globally as one of the most outstanding success stories in agriculture in the world. That is what we are trying to achieve and it should be sustainable. Farm at an advanced stage of completion The farm which is progressing into the next phase of processing, already boasts of livestock and market gardens. There are 24 earthen ponds, which, apart from raising fingerlings, also serve as reservoir for collecting water whenever it rains. Such water is sometimes used for irrigation purposes. There is a free range method of poultry for breeding of guinea fowls, turkeys and geese. Conducting Governor Imoke round the farm, the accountant, Ekeomo Christopher, said attention would be more on livestock rather than crop production, owing to the topography of the land. “We intend to concentrate rather more on livestock than crop production and on a large scale. The only crop that can be cultivated here is rice because it is seasonal and the land is usually very swampy. At Anon (an annex of Songhai), emphasis will be more on crop production because the soil is quite suitable for that purpose.” Piggery The piggery has three designated blocks designed to accommodate about 500 piglets. The piggery is ready to welcome the pigs in. By first week of February, we had received the first batch of pigs from our sister farm in Port Harcourt. The pigs

are special specie which we will be multiplying. There is also a provision for goats and cow ranch. This will come on stream before the end of the first quarter. Abattoir: With a clinically certified abattoir under construction, there are indeed good times ahead for consumers of meat who are very particular about their source and environmental hygiene. There is also the smoking house designed for smoking fish, pork and chicken.” Also expected on the farm are crops such as pineapple, mango, oranges and palm trees orchard, where a vast portion of land has been earmarked. It is on a 5-hectared land. Two hectares of pineapple orchard has been completed. Expressing his amazement at the sight of some species of cucumbers, Imoke bellowed: “I have never seen cucumber grow in this manner!” Taking care of excess produce “When we begin producing in excess, we would create enough market for the perishables like cucumber, pineapples and pawpaw. And for those we are unable to sell, we intend to process them into juice or have them dried. Processing is also part of our project here in Songhai Integrated Farms. Pineapple juice will be processed and bottled here. Some of the end products of the pineapple processing will also be converted to syrup or honey. There will be a processing component of the farm where everything produced at the farm acquires additional value.” Hostel accommodation There is a hostel accommodation in place for two sets of workers- those who will be working permanently on the farm and those who will be trained on skills acquisition, following which they will leave to set up their own farms to be funded by the state government. So, the farm is going to serve as a processing hub or a collection centre. The hostel is ready to take off in March with the quartering of the first set of 20 trainees. There is also a library, classrooms and conference halls for trainees or students. A two-star hotel is also being planned to take care of visitors and tourists to the farm. On completion, the Songhai Integrated Farm limited is expected to be one of the governor’s several legacy projects designed to create jobs, meet the state’s food sufficiency and as a spinoff, transform the state’s fast growing economy.






OBADJE I formerly known and addressed as OBADJE MATTHEW EDIRIN IGHOBUNO now wish to be known as IGHOBUNO MATTHEW EDIRIN. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

BANKOLE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Bankole Ekundayo Omotayo now wish to be known as Mrs Zaccheous Ekundayo Omotayo. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

GBOBO I formerly known and addressed as Miss. BELIEF FUBARA GBOBO now wish to be known as Mrs. BELIEF FUBARA IRUAYENAMA. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

AKEWUSOLA I formerly known and addressed as Miss Akewusola Falilat Omosolape now wish to be known as Mrs. Kelani Falilat Omosolape. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. OLATUNJI I formerly known and addressed as Miss Olatunji Jumoke Morufat now wish to be known as Mrs. Adewusi Jumoke Modupeoluwa. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. OBAH I formerly known and addressed as Miss Obah Ifeoma now wish to be known as Miss. Obah Ifeoma Sandra. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. AJAGBE I formerly known and addressed as Sumonu Ajagbe now wish to be known as Jairu Ishola Sumonum. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. MOLADE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Molade Olaide Olajumoke Deborah now wish to be known as Mrs Oloyede Olaide Olajumoke Deborah. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

IYAWEH I formerly known and addressed as Miss Iyaweh Edna Onosetale now wish to be known as Mrs. Akhere Edna Onosetale. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. OFOJEKWU I formerly known and addressed as Miss. ANULIKA PAULETTE OFOJEKWU, now wish to be known as Mrs. ANULIKA PAULETTE OKAFOR. All former documents remain valid, general public please take note. ADISA I formerly known and addressed as Miss Adisa Oluwayemisi Adeola now wish to be known as Mrs. Ajayi Oluwayemisi Adeola. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. OLATUNDE I formerly known and addressed as Ashas Kazeem Olatunde and Ashagbe Kazeem Olatunde now wish to be known as Ashas Kazeem Olatunde Ashagbe. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. AKHAMIE I formerly known and addressed as AKHAMIE BOLANLE MAUREEN now wish to be known as ORASEME BOLANLE MAUREEN. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. OTEPOLE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Otepole Foyinsayemi Omolola now wish to be known as Mrs. Ajayi Foyinsayemi Omolola . All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

DIKE I formerly known and addressed as Miss. NGOZI LILIAN DIKE, now wish to be known as Mrs. NGOZI LILIAN DIKE-UGOALA all former documents remain valid. General public please take note. OJEABULU I formerly known and addressed as Miss. JOSEPHINE TRACEY OJEABULU, now wish to be known as Mrs. JOSEPHINE TRACEY UCHE. All former documents remain valid, (IMT) NYSC. general public please take note. JUSTUS I formerly known and addressed as Miss. OGECHI JANE JUSTUS, now wish to be known as Mrs. OGECHI JANE ANIUKWU. All former documents remain valid, general public please take note. OYEBANJO I formerly known and addressed as Miss Oyebanjo Omotayo Taiwo now wish to be known as Mrs Kayode Omotayo Taiwo. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. SODALUBI I formerly known and addressed as SODALUBI AJOKE SIMIAT now wish to be known as FABUYI AINA SIMIAT AJOKE All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


NLC warns against privatisation of refineries


HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) will resist moves by the Federal Government to forge ahead with the planned privatisation of the refineries, its President Abdulwaheed Omar, warned yesterday. Speaking in Abuja against the backdrop of reports that the current fuel scarcity in the country was artificially created to lay the ground for the implementation of the privatization of the refineries, Omar vowed that the Congress would mobilise Nigerians against the plan. “Government has to get to the root and end of this thing but it appears that the queues are piling up. They are increasing. I do hope that Nigerians will not have a cause to rise up and come out to protest this on the street. I do hope that government would be able to listen and take appropriate measures that these queues will disappear because we know that they are very artificial,” he said at the 2014 Women’s International Day in Abuja celebration with the theme : “Inspiring Change: Women Workers and Trade Unions in Nigeria.”

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja He argued that once government sells off the refineries, investors would be at liberty to sell their products unregulated adding that Nigerian petroleum marketers are greedy and always ready to take undue advantage of the freedom to exploit the consumers. According to him, “Right now if you go everywhere-our filling stations- you’ll see hundreds and hundreds of cars on the queue, waiting to buy fuel. I call it unnecessarily because I believe it is deliberate. As I was coming here, I heard over the radio that they are speculating that government is intending to privatise the downstream. “I don’t know whether Nigerians are ready for this. I don’t know whether Nigerians will accept this. Do you think that Nigerians will be ready for this? No! What privatizing it completely means is that government will just handsoff, fold its arms and watch the marketers do what they like. And you know that these our marketers are not the normal marketers we see anywhere in the world.”

He accused them of trying “to maximise profit by squeesing Nigerians to the marrow. Can we allow this to happen? No! Is it not the responsibility of government? The responsibility of any responsible government is to ensure the welfare and security of its citizens.” Participants at, the forum gave a resounding No answer to a question by Omar whether they were ready for the privatisation of the downstream sector of the oil industry. The Chairperson of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Women Commission, Comrade Lucky Offiong, asked whether the deliberate reduction in the supply of petroleum products is a punitive measure against the citizenry who raised the alarm over the missing oil funds. She asked President Goodluck Jonathan to stop the fuel scarcity. According to her, women are mostly affected by the scarcity of petroleum products, especially kerosene. Commenting on Boko Haram killings of school children, she lamented the ‘heinous crime’ of targeting innocent Nigerians

Black marketers resurface in Benin


ith no hope in sight for an end to the o n g o i n g nationwide fuel scarcity, black marketers of the product have resurfaced in Edo State, predominantly in Dawson Road, Benin City. This is in spite of yesterday’s assurance by marketers that the scarcity would stop. Investigations revealed that while black marketers were having field-day selling the product, long queues of motorists have remained

•Major marketers sell at N175 per litre From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin unabated at petrol stations, including the NNPC Mega Station on Sapele Road, which sold the product at N175 per litre. As at press time, while black marketers sold petrol for as high as N210 per litre, the few petrol stations, which had long queues of vehicles sold at between N175– N210 per litre. The multiplier effect of the fuel scarcity is that commercial motorists have increased their

fares between 100– 200 percent for inter and intra city services. Besides, many commuters have had to resort to trekking long distances as alternative to paying the increased fare. They bemoaned the situation and wondered why federal government did not proactively address the situation. Efforts to get the views of officials of petrol stations visited were rebuffed as none of them was willing to speak.

Why petroleum shortage will continue, by David-West


FORMER Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof. Tam David-West, has explained that shortage of petroleum products will continue in the country until the Federal Government takes a drastic action against deliberate sabotage of the country’s refineries. David-West, who spoke to our correspondent on telephone on Friday, said that the Federal Government deliberately allows the four refineries to be sabotaged to create room for importation of petroleum products, a venture that has become cheap method of making billions of naira money for some Nigerians. Describing the current fuel scarcity across the country as

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan ‘a great shame,’ the former minister recalled that throughout his tenure as the Petroleum Minister, Nigeria did not import petroleum products but rather exported the products. He lamented, “The current fuel shortage is a great shame that must not be tolerated again. Nigeria is a major petroleum producing country in the world. There should not be any hardship about petroleum products for our citizens. But the problem is that the management of our petroleum industry is the worst in the world; I am saying that without being immodest. I had been there before; I know what I am talking about.

“I challenge the Minister of Petroleum, her staff, even the President, to prove me wrong. When I was there, there was no petroleum shortage in the country, and we never imported a litre of fuel during the regime of General Mohammadu Buhari. In fact, we were exporting petroleum products and we had only three refineries. But now, Nigeria has four refineries but none of them is working at 30 per cent installed capacity because the refineries are being sabotaged. “I wrote about this in 1996 and it has been confirmed by the Senate. Yet, nothing has been done about it. It is a deliberate sabotage to give an excuse for importation of petroleum products into the country.

Address rot in NNPC, Alaafin urges FG


LAAFIN of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently address the rot in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC). According to the paramount traditional ruler, this step will put a stop to the frequent cases of fuel shortage in the country.

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo Speaking with reporters in his palace, Alaafin lamented that the problem of fuel shortage and its attendant crisis would not have assumed this dimension if those saddled with supervisory responsibility in the NNPC are equal to the task. Speaking on the social and economic implications of the current fuel scarcity, Oba Adeyemi said, “The most pa-

thetic aspect is that the country’s social and economic activities hinge on fuel. This is dangerous to the country’s economic growth. The managers of our petroleum resources do not deserve our pardon, because the problem is not temporal and natural. It has become somehow permanent and yet artificial without any decisive measure to tackle it effectively. It has become a recurring phenomenon.”

QUOTABLE “There is certainly more than meets the eye. Or else, how come a convoy of 30 to 60 vehicles, full of arsenal men and material travel five to 10 kilometres, conduct an operation, killing people and destroying property and return to base unchallenged.”


—Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, criticising the Federal Government over its lack-lustre fight against insurgency in the North East.


LL of a sudden, politics has become cerebral. With the unveiling on Thursday of the All Progressives Congress’ social contract with Nigeria, in which the leading opposition party spells out in detail how it would govern the country and what the fundamental underpinnings of that government would be, it is hard not to acknowledge that we have finally reached a political watershed. No matter what anybody does now, and notwithstanding the bellyaching and proclivities of the ruling party, political platforms and campaigns must henceforth acquire sophistication and depth. I confess that the APC surprised me. It was well publicised that the party would make some kind of public presentation of a Code of Ethics and what can be properly described as a manifesto, but few expected the exercise to rise above the routine and stultifying level the country had become accustomed to in the past few decades or so. Divided into many segments, the presentation showed coherence, class, style and consistency. The organisers’ sense of timing was fluidly dynamic and business-like, accompanied by the sort of discipline seldom realised in these parts, no matter how hard the effort. There were a few transgressions to be sure, like the poetic rendition the organisers, not the lady who did the presentation, didn’t manage with maturity, but on the whole, I was shocked by the modernity of the entire exercise. The segments were in fact so finely synchronised and showed depth and undisputed grasp of issues that I thought the whole thing ventured so daringly into uncharted and unsustainable territories. I half expected them to flounder at any moment, but they didn’t. The speakers were themselves quite exceptional, to a man. When the founders of the party spoke, they did so with gravitas,


APC road map: brilliant piece of politicking, but… absolutely shorn of the overbearing carriage and grammatical lunacy that sullied and undid the politics of the past. The progressives had been accused of one-man show, both in the distant and recent past. But on Thursday, the APC carried out a dress rehearsal of the egalitarianism, fraternity and equality they promised would be the credo of their party. No one dominated proceedings; and no one was an underdog. Tom Ikimi wandered a bit in his contribution, struggling for the rousing snobbery that lathered his Third Republic politics, but in general he made his point stoically. Audu Ogbeh, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Bisi Akande and Atiku Abubakar spoke firmly and precisely of the foundations of the party and their hopes for Nigeria. And the laconic Mohammadu Buhari spoke tersely of what APC hoped to accomplish. There was quite some excitement when the

16 progressive governors addressed the audience. Rochas Okorocha of Imo spiritedly set the tone. Some of the governors addressed the cortex of the audience, and others spoke to their midriff. But they never lost sight of the need to inspire and, in a quaint way, even to rouse. It is hard not to imagine what great things the lot could do if the leadership of the country fortuitously passed into their hands. I doubt whether any other party for now can surpass them intellectually and in political drama. Somehow, too, the party managed to pull off the segment on the 10point programme presentation. Not only was the content coherent and remarkable, even by international standards, the impassioned discussants, including the boisterously lovable rascal Dino Melaye and the implacable Nasir el-Rufai were classical in their performances.

No surprise Nigeria stagnated for decades

UCH more than the mileage the Jonathan presidency hoped to achieve with the emblazoning photograph of past Nigerian rulers wearing their medals and displaying their centennial award certificates late last month, the picture actually tells a far more poignant and iconic story. There were seven of them: Abdulsalami Abubakar, Muhammadu Buhari, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida and Ernest Shonekan. Smack in the middle was, of course, President Goodluck Jonathan himself. Given his predilection for sham celebrations, it is surprising he did not seize upon the same argument of the centenary to award himself a certificate of honour. In any case, Dr Jonathan was the only one in the pictures published on March 1 newspapers not brandishing a certificate. Others dutifully wore their medals and/or displayed their certificates, thereby indicating their concurrence with the queer and questionable philosophy behind the centenary as well as the disgraceful rational for picking the honourees. The photograph, though powerful and resonating, nevertheless tells the very depressing story of futile uniformity and lack of rigour. It tells the story of former rulers whose unquestioning perspective and fondness for the meretricious led them to embrace a project as wasteful as it is truly and totally mendacious. None of the seven questioned the ideological basis for the centenary, nor joined issues with the financially oblique accounting system that made the celebrations possible. None of them was politically conscious enough to appreciate the centenary’s distortionary effects on our history and identities. There was none of them with enough sagacity to disprove the base and conflicting logic that underlined the compilation of the list of honourees, thus indicating that the former rulers were insensitive to their own individual legacies and unable to disambiguate legacy as a word and concept. The group photograph of former rulers should illustrate the power and glory of Ni-

geria, of our best men and leaders, of the rich custodians of our politics, culture and essence. Instead, the group photograph illustrated something so surrealistic it is a miracle the country has not collapsed under the weight of their collective obscurantism. They had no idea what our history says, of how we were humiliated and traumatised with a lasting injury by colonialism, of how Lugard’s foundational rule and years of self-misrule combined to misshape our values and enthrone a vicious form of mental and economic slavery. It was therefore okay by them to celebrate, and to carry out that sickening exercise in company with one another, the liar with the perjurer, the tyrant with the murderer, the inept with the experimentalist. The photograph inferentially tells the numbing story of how and why the country decayed so badly for decades, and by their admission, now needs revolutionary work to salvage, if indeed, as one of them said, it can still be salvaged. If they could not question Dr Jonathan’s frivolity and rebuff it, if they did not understand the history of the country they led for decades, and if they were unable to share its pains and sorrows, how indeed could they fashion brilliant and workable plans for its development and greatness? How could they make it the pride of the black race? To participate in

Dr Jonathan’s revelry, they must have gone to extraordinary lengths to muffle their consciences, and to shut the tap of remorse which a clear mind and ample soul sometimes lead a decent man and patriot to demonstrate. The photograph of the eight men reminds us how our country was ruined. Gowon dishonoured his word and rendered it impotent; Shagari’s stolidity and indulgence clogged the national arteries until we choked; Buhari had little or no appreciation of the rights and freedoms of man, and how man is ennobled by these attributes; Babangida was the inappropriate watershed between the age of innocence and the age of vice, as he gave birth to the worst in us; and Shonekan was the bemused and amoral inheritor of a stolen legacy. Abubakar’s misguided and messianic reign produced the highly schizoid Obasanjo who had, and still has, no capacity for differentiating between truth and falsehood. And Obasanjo archetypically begat meddlesomeness in such a manner that the country’s ruin was complete under his predecessors. Yes, it was just one simple photograph published in newspapers. But, alas, it told a million sad stories, unknown to the former rulers who lined up quizzically for the photograph on February 28, and perhaps unfeeling.

I thought the keynote lecture ought to have been delivered by a politician of great standing and rhetorical flamboyance, someone with a Clintonian flourish or the mesmerising profundity of the lawyerly Obama. But the APC gave the assignment to the dour and gritty Oby Ezekwesili, who though was brilliant and courageous, did not deliver her excellent ideas with an eye on politics or the excitement of a soapbox artist. Dr Ezekwesili needed to be patient with her audience and carry them along with the sufferance of an mesmerising politician. But when she appeared to be heckled at a point during her lecture she gestured and snapped, and was even impatient and reproachful, thereby creating an anticlimactic dissonance on the APC’s great moment. What is, however, most remarkable about the APC presentation last Thursday is not even the content of the party’s 10-point road map, as innovative, comprehensive and daring as it is, or the calibre and depth of the party’s leading functionaries. What is most remarkable is the party’s overall show of political iconoclasm, its exemplification, if not embodiment, of new political dynamics anchored on clear, coherent thinking, energetic perspectives and great hopes for the future. The party’s presentation is also indicative of the new politics that is afoot, one in which a truly pan-Nigerian party not encumbered by ethnic and sectional bigotry can be formed and efficiently run. The greatest challenge they will face, however, is how such a party without a strongman as it were, a party whose strength is both its diversity and new egalitarian foundation, can deploy its new-found democratic apparatus to elect candidates capable of winning elections, especially at the presidential level. The APC must be prepared to resolve the conundrum of how to combine its remarkable manifesto and new identity with the ability to elect a winning ticket. The outcome is not always inevitable. Given the party’s new form, it is no longer possible for it to engage in candidate selections, at least not substantially, nor visibly. It has a new life, a new enthusiasm, a new conviction about politics and about democracy in particular. It is already soaring in its own fancies, determined to replicate the best attributes of Western democracies. It is therefore expected to submit itself to the rigours of the quintessential democratic processes, from ward level to the convention floor, complete with signature campaign frills and lofty speeches, far better than what it displayed last week in Abuja. But when they subject themselves to the demands and strictures of the democratic process, would they have the assurance that the process can adapt to and accommodate the shifting mores of the land, which mores have ethnic, geopolitical and religious configurations and implications? If APC leaders will be honest, and if they are as eager as some of us to see a new party in power, they must be entertaining some doubts already about the competence of the new processes they have triggered to produce such outcomes as would take the party into Aso Villa. I myself entertain some doubts, for as the Democratic and Republican parties in the United States sometimes show, not to talk of the Conservative and Labour parties in the United Kingdom, parties at times fail woefully in cobbling together the right platform for victory or producing the right candidates. No matter how brilliant the APC’s manifesto, and no matter how suave and democratic its intra-party processes, it is not guaranteed that it can elect a winning ticket; nor that its proboscises are sharp and sensitive enough to read the country’s mood correctly. One thing that emerged from Thursday’s event in Abuja, however, is that the party has deftly wrong-footed the PDP and showed it up as a political dinosaur. But I have confidence that the PDP will respond forcefully and perhaps violently, for it appears to me to be a party which, in structure and philosophy, is dedicated to strongarm tactics and is absolutely incapable of the dynamism, intellectualism and exhibitionism so positively and entertainingly displayed by the opposition party last Thursday.

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The Nation Mar 9, 2014