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10 escape death as gunmen throw grenade into Jos mosque

North spoils for showdown over PDP Govs Forum – PAGE 4

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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.07, No. 2419



MARCH 3, 2013

2015: PDP leaders move to dump Sambo Another Northern governor emerges –Page 2 Jonathan’s favourite


Kefee Lesson I learnt from my failed marriage –Page 41

Super Eagles star,

ALIVE AND KICKING Fresh from three months stay overseas on health grounds, Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, engaged in his first public outing since his returntaking the kick-off during an international friendly between Nigeria’s U-17 team and their Botswana counterparts at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, yesterday.

Ighalo Eyes modelling after soccer career –Pages 36-37

UK’s richest man battles Obasanjo’s associate over Nigeria oil blocs –Page 4




2015: PDP leaders move to dump Sambo 10 escape T

HE shape of the battle for the 2015 presidential ticket in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be manifesting by the day. Some powerful forces in the party are pushing for a replacement of Vice President Namadi Sambo as running mate to President Goodluck Jonathan on the party’s ticket. Their choice is a serving Northern governor, who, in the opinion of those pushing his case, has more clout in the region than Sambo. They regard their candidate as the ultimate joker the party needs to win the North. But a few other leaders are wary of the backlash of dropping Sambo and they are weighing the options. According to findings, a major target of the Jonathan camp is how to secure the backing of at least 11 out of the 19 states in the North. The permutations in the camp of the President is that he could win convincingly in 22 states made up of 11 in the North, five in the South-East and six states in the SouthSouth. Northern states being targeted are Plateau, Sokoto, Gombe, Benue, Kogi, Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa, Kebbi, Kwara and Jigawa. Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, Yobe, Borno, Nasarawa and Niger are considered unpredictable. A party source, who spoke in confidence, said: “A committee, comprising some trusted ministers, select loyal PDP leaders and strategists of the President have been working round the clock on how to secure the second term mandate. “After the groundwork has reached an appreciable level, the President will then make a declaration in 2014. “But a major challenge is how to win at least 11 of the 19 states in the North. The SouthEast and South-South are already taken for granted. Even where there is a bit of opposition in Rivers State, the presidency is already tackling Governor Rotimi Amaechi. “Some PDP leaders are pushing for another Northern governor as running mate to President Jonathan to secure the North, especially the politically volatile North-West and North-East. “A fair-complexioned governor in the North-West is being proposed to replace Vice-President Namadi Sambo, whose stronghold on the North is rated as weak. Since Sambo came on board, the party leaders believe he had acted more as a “technocrat” than a politician. “They are clamouring for a VP who could play a political role like ex-VP Atiku Abubakar did for former President Olusegun Obasanjo. “As part of the induction of the said North-West governor into national politics, some PDP leaders and gover-

• Another Northern governor emerges Jonathan’s favourite From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

nors have recommended him to succeed Governor Rotimi Amaechi as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum in May. “The recommendation of the governor is based on his achievements, antecedents with the Yar’Aduas, and ability to reach out to Northern emirs and opinion leaders.” Asked of the disposition of Jonathan, the source added: “So far, he is not disposed to dropping his deputy but if the party thinks otherwise in 2015, he might have no choice. “The President does not

want to talk about 2015 now to avoid distraction.” Another source added that some forces in the presidency are uncomfortable with Sambo’s political weight. “I think the signs are there that the PDP might change its team because some forces want Sambo out. They have no particular reason than sheer politics. They are suspecting his movement too. “Recently, Sambo was scheduled for a trip to Owerri, Imo State. His advance team had gone to Owerri only for the VP to be stopped from going. They said the President asked Sambo to represent him elsewhere.”

It was also gathered that Jonathan’s strategists have not lost hope on their plan to ‘capture’ the South-West in 2015. It was learnt that they are targeting Osun and Ekiti States. Another source said: “Jonathan’s team is yet to give up on the South-West although the presidency’s cold war with Obasanjo and the recent sack of the National Secretary of PDP have discouraged most party members in the geopolitical zone. “Their targets are Ekiti and Osun States. The recent development in PDP has helped to strengthen people’s faith in the Action Congress of Nigeria

(ACN) in the zone. The performance of the ACN governors has added much value too.” Although Jonathan is banking on Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the Labour Party to deliver Ondo State in the South-West, there are concerns that the politics of the South-West does not follow a similar pattern all the time. It was gathered that the same forces which claimed to have secured a second term ticket for Mimiko, came out openly to protest against Jonathan’s administration for allegedly marginalising the South-West.

•From Left; Chief Arthur Eze, Tourism Officer, Bascilica of Our Lady of Peace, Ms Ines Anoman; President Goodluck Jonathan; his wife Patience and wife of the President of Cote D'ivoire, Mrs Dominique Ouattara, during the visit of President Jonathan to the Bascilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro at the weekend.

ROSS River State Governor Liyel Imoke’s quiet return to the country on Friday after three months of absence is creating ripples in political circles in the state. Those in the corridors of power in the state, especially executive council members, are said to be particularly shocked by the development. Some of them, sources said, would have preferred to make elaborate arrangements to welcome him back if only to publicly show their loyalty to him. Commissioners, lawmakers, PDP officials and even the governor’s personal aides, were caught unawares by his return. A top party official who pleaded anonymity yesterday said: “His return took us by surprise. We would have loved to give the governor a befitting welcome, but he beat us to it.” A member of the executive council who also pleaded anonymity said, “he (Imoke) wanted to avoid crowd and sycophants.


Imoke’s unexpected return unsettles political class • Makes first public appearance in over three months From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

There is no need for frivolities. He has come back to business.” Governor Imoke arrived in Calabar on Friday night by chartered flight. He remained indoors at his Ikot Omin Street, State Housing Estate residence, declining to see aides and other top government functionaries who besieged the house with a view to welcoming him back home, a source said. However, he turned up later in the day at the U J Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar to watch the Golden Eaglets in a U-17 international friendly with Botswana.

Dressed in a black suit chequered shirt, blue jeans and a white baseball cap, and looking radiant, the governor was accompanied by his wife, Obioma. The deputy governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham, his wife, and Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, were also at the stadium. The governor in a statement expressed gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his dear wife, the Vice President and his dear wife, good people of the state, the media, friends and well wishers of the state for their kind words, love, care, concern and understanding during his absence. The statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr

Christian Ita, said Imoke, who returned to the state Friday, also expressed his deep appreciation to his deputy, Mr Efiok Cobham, members of the State House of Assembly and the state executive council for expertly steering the ship of state. Imoke said he returned home with renewed vigour for the task of furthering the growth and development of the state. “His Excellency has returned home recharged and energised for the task of furthering the growth and development of the state, which in the past five years has not only become a tourists destination but is also now becoming an investment hub in Nigeria,” Ita said.

death in grenade attack on Jos mosque

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos


EN worshippers escaped death in a mosque in Bukuru, Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State at the weekend after a grenade thrown into the mosque failed to explode. It was not immediately clear who the brains behind the failed attack were. The grenade, described as 36 hand grenade, was later taken away by the Special Task Force (STF) on Jos crisis. An eyewitness, Danjuma Bala, said, “The incident occurred at about 8:30pm on Friday. About 10 people were in the mosque preparing for the Ishai prayers when the grenade was thrown inside by unknown persons. Media and Information Officer of the STF, Captain Salisu Mustapha, confirmed the incident, sayin, “there was an attempted explosion at a mosque located along Bukuru express way in Jos South Local Government Area on 1st March, 2013 by 0830pm. “Miscreants threw a 36 hand grenade into a mosque but it failed to explode. Thereafter, they fired shots into the air and escaped. No arrest was recorded.” Captain Musptapha said operatives of the JTF cordoned off the area to avert a breakdown of law and order. He enjoined people to be vigilant and report any suspicious objects, persons or activities in their area to security agencies while investigation into the Friday incident is going on to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly act. In a separate operation, security agents in the state discovered two un-identified corpses during a raid of suspected criminals’ hide out in Shendam and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of the state.



The poverty of politics T

HIS morning, Snooper makes a global case for the reaffirmation of politics as a noble profession, perhaps the purest and most selfless calling that humanity has come up with since man first socialised on the plains of Africa. But this is going to be a tall order. Everywhere you turn in the world, politics has suffered a gross devaluation of contents and form. It is however when we consider the fact that the current global crisis in all its economic and spiritual complications is fundamentally a political crisis, or a crisis of politics, that we begin to get a sense of how dire things might be. For the first time in about six hundred years, we have a pope resigning as a fall out of poor leadership in the Vatican How then did the world get to this sorry pass when old certainties have given way to new uncertainties?. In traditional and advanced societies, the formula for recruiting leadership material and the mechanism for controlling access to the upper echelons of political leadership were as sure as they were surefooted. Catch them young, and get the best and the brightest into the best schools. Every other thing would fall into place. If this formula worked in the past, it does not seem to be working very well at the moment. In the western world, particularly its Anglo-American sector, the best institutions have become too narrow, too elitist and too corporatist in their world view to address the issues of inequity and the fundamental disparity of income thrown up ironically by the great material strides these societies have taken. In Africa and the Third World, the authentic political elite, the best products of the best institutions. are muscled out by emergent social forces whose reality cannot be ignored. It is a classic case of double jeopardy. You see disaster approaching but you are powerless to do anything about it. As the rot assumes a world-historic dimension, you can only curse your star in impotent fury. So it is, then, that everywhere you turn politics as the conduct of human affairs for ameliorative and regenerative purpose has suffered a grim demystification. There is a frantic disavowal of politics and politicians. The mass of humanity holds them in bitter contempt. They are a sick joke, not worthy of any respect or reverence. But if politics is a sick and cruel joke, a theatre of clowns and buffoons, why not elect the real thing? All over the world, the people seem to be wising up to this momentous revelation. In Brazil, they have sent up a professional clown to the National Assembly. In the recently concluded Italian election which led to a hung parliament, the party with the biggest gain—twenty five percent of the votes cast—is led by a former comic striptease. It doesn’t get more hideously comic than that. Earlier, Indonesia had elected as president a former actor and dancer with predictably tragic result. Emperor Caligula would be smiling in his grave. The great Roman ruler was known to have sent his horse to the Roman Senate in a moment of wild hilarity. The horse-senator did not disappoint. If gold can rust, what will iron do? The situation is even more comically tragic in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Nigeria, where governance has dissolved into a horrendous mockery; a permanent theatre of the Absurd with each new day bringing even more outlandish revelations of official



nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu


shenanigans. How did we get to this sorry pass? The tragedy of modern Nigeria is the tragedy of a bankrupt political class which is not politically, intellectually and ideologically equipped to understand and appreciate the grave dimensions of the crisis facing Nigeria and its implication for Africa and the Black person. Beginning from the crackdown at King’s College in the forties, it is obvious that the colonial masters were not interested in nurturing an authentic leadership cadre or indigenous political class that would take the Nigeria of their subversive imagination to the next level of selfactualisation. It was clear that they were more interested in a compliant and collaborating indigenous class that would best serve and protect their interest. This is only natural, but it is a short-sighted policy. In order to be driven to the next level beyond its conception in the colonial imaginary, Nigeria needed an indigenous political class that is both adversarial and complementary to the colonial world view: complementary in the sense that it cannot lightly wish away the “national” reality on the ground, but adversarial in the sense that it would have to create the nation anew by striking out boldly even against the interest of the colonial masters. Given the contemporary poverty of politics and the inability of our ruling elite to understand and situate the multi-dimensional nature of the developmental crisis facing the nation, it is always a thing

of joy to sit down with a politician who seems to appreciate the grave nature of the crisis facing the nation. It is in the nature of politics to agree to disagree, and whatever his morbid adversaries may put out on the internet, Rauf Aregbesola is not your run of the mill politician. The governor of the state of Osun is a troubling oxymoron: a thinking politician. With his boundless enthusiasm and incredible reserve and reservoir of energy, Aregbesola can wear you out with facts, figures and statistics. His mastery of details and developmental arcana is a tad short of the extraordinary. As this column never tires of asserting, the ACN is not a perfect party. It also suffers from the posttraumatic stress disorder of prolonged and protracted military rule. But one good thing Aregbesola and his ACN governor colleagues have done for Nigerian politics is to establish clear benchmarks and templates by which their performance could measured and evaluated by the public and the electorate alike. By so doing, they have brought back ideology into the front burner of political discourse. This profound ideologising of politics is both salutary and beneficial. It puts pressure on the other parties, particularly the PDP, to come up with their own ideological parameters. By so doing, it sharpens, clarifies and crystallises the choice for prospective voters. In the history of Nigerian post-independence politics, it is only the progressive parties and their

leftwing fellow travellers who have made such templates available to the people. The ruling parties have always believed that ideologies do not matter, which is indeed a bankrupt conservative ideology meant to preserve the status quo. In politics, Aregbesola has been helped by his antecedents. His youthful flirtations with communism and his role as a field commander of the foot soldiers during the struggle against the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections have burnt into him certain deep ideals which power his politics. From communism, he has taken a deep compassion for the poor and needy, a passion for social justice, and from the June 12 struggle a deep commitment to political justice and unflinching loyalty to living and fallen comrades in arms. When Aregbesola speaks of his foot soldiers who fell during the struggle to reclaim his electoral mandate and of his friend and benefactor, Hassan Olajokun, who was killed in broad daylight on the Ife-Ibadan road, you could see tears welling up in his eyes. For a week and a few days, Snooper was with Aregbesola on a whirlwind tour of America, testing the canons of his developmental project against adversarial and complementary framework, From Boston through Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh to Howard in Washington, we were there. It is often suggested that the fundamental failure of the Black person stems from his chronic lack of capacity to valorise capital. Even if you redistribute the resources of the world equally, in a few years time, the Black person will be penniless once again, cadging and cajoling on the streets. Is there a fundamental deformity of character in the Black person? Snooper does not think so, even though the zillions stolen from the public coffers in the last 30 years are enough to transform Nigeria into a modern paradise. Instead, the money goes into vainglorious personal projects and the most obscene of conspicuous consumption. Like a big cunning cat, the west waits to part the fool from his loot, and it has done so relentlessly and remorselessly. If you see a man being pursued by the Egungun masquerade, you will be a fool not to help yourself to his food. The problem, it seems, lies in our inability to come up with a matching ethos for modern capitalism. It has been suggested that modern Christianity has certain values which tend to reinforce the very ethos of modern capitalism. Among these are strict monogamy, the deferment of enjoyment and the suppression of wild, irrational yearnings. Even most of our so-

“As this column never tires of asserting, the ACN is not a perfect party. It also suffers from the post-traumatic stress disorder of prolonged and protracted military rule. But one good thing Aregbesola and his ACN governor colleagues have done for Nigerian politics is to establish clear benchmarks and templates by which their performance could measured and evaluated by the public and the electorate alike. By so doing, they have brought back ideology into the front burner of political discourse”

called spiritual fathers have not been able to avoid this jollification of the flesh. The throbbing tropics have a way of reclaiming their own. The Calvinist ethos with its emphasis on thrift, hardihood and self-abnegation underwrites modern capitalism and its values. To the best of our knowledge, and with all humility, there is no matching indigenous African philosophy, except threadbare expostulations which underwrite indolence and freewheeling prodigality. In African countries which have recorded a measure of success in modern capitalism, particularly Ghana and Botswana, we see a national elite given to thrift and selfrestraint. In the end, it all boils down to the question of leadership and of a viable political class. The political class as currently constituted can only lead Nigeria along the path of perdition and destruction. Something urgent will have to be done to reclaim this country and its longsuffering people from the suffocating grips of monstrous predators. Without an overarching federal development, stung out of its laggard and thieving dementia by developments elsewhere in the country, even regional integration may ultimately prove a forlorn dream. This is why developments in Osun and all the ACN states should concentrate the mind of those interested in the future of Nigeria. The aim of government should be the greatest good of the greatest number. Developmental politics which tries to optimise resources for optimal capacity building and the greatest benefit of the downtrodden should be on the front burner. Aregbesola is right to emphasise youth empowerment and the maximisation of human capacity. Osun is known for its prodigious production of human resources. But there are complexities and contradictions on the way. You cannot step into the same river twice. Almost everybody sent abroad by the government of Chief Obafemi Awolowo came back to contribute their quota to the development of the region. If Nigeria remains a post-colonial hell, there is no chance that these youths will return. On a personal note, Snooper is saddened and depressed by an interesting development. Everywhere that we visited in America, from Boston to Pittsburgh and to Washington , there was at least one person who originated from the ancestral town. From Howard University where the legendary Professor Sunday Adeniran Adeboye conducts mathematical inquiry in addition to occasional internet firefights, to Boston where Segun Adeyemi is Bridge Engineer to Washington where Snooper chanced upon the daughters of the late Dr Edward Arowolo, the World Bank supremo who died at the age of forty two and Professor Rufus Adegboye. These Nigerians were products of an earlier sterling education. They still retain a sentimental attachment to the home country. But they are not coming back soon, if ever. Nigeria is a nursery bed for valuable plants to be transported to the west. What will be the epitaph for a country that has squandered its money and most valuable children so badly?




UK’s richest man battles Obasanjo’s associate over Nigeria oil blocs L

AKSHMI Mittal, Britain’s richest man, is expected to be crossexamined over his business practices and relationships with politicians in a court case that could offer a rare glimpse into his empire. The steel magnate, worth an estimated £12.7bn, is being sued at the high court for allegedly reneging on an agreement to pay fees to a former friend for helping to secure an oil deal. The case, which begins on Tuesday, is the culmination of a seven-year battle with the rice importer Moni Varma. Both men will be asked to discuss their relationships with Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president who granted Mittal access to two unexplored oil fields in the Niger Delta. Mittal, 63, has previously dismissed the claim, saying the case would be defended vigorously. Since moving to Britain with his family in 1995, the “steel maharajah” has become well known for his expensive tastes and his involvement in public life. He has donated more than £5m to the Labour Party and has imported marble from the quarry used for the Taj Mahal to decorate his £60m home. The ArcelorMittal Orbit – 1,500 tonnes of steel twisted into a sculpture by the artist Anish Kapoor – dominates the Olympic park in Stratford, East London. In documents put before the court, Varma claims to have facilitated a deal in 2006 for Mittal to access two unexplored oil fields in the Niger Delta, and to have arranged a meeting with Obasanjo. Varma, 64, from Northwood, Middlesex, whose company Veetee Rice

• To explain relationship with ex-president is one of Britain’s biggest rice traders, declined to comment on the case on Friday, saying: “Let the courts decide if my claim is legitimate or not. My intention is not to malign anybody.” The writ details how Varma and Mittal have known each other socially since 1997 and regularly discussed business opportunities at social events in London. Varma, who was born in India but educated in Malawi, has longstanding connections with Nigeria and had known Obasanjo since 2001, the documents claim. In July 2005, Mittal In-

vestments Sarl, a company owned by Mittal, launched a joint adventure with OVL, a subsidiary of ONGC India, India’s leading oil and gas exploration company. A month later Mittal and Varma met for dinner at an Indian restaurant in Knightsbridge and discussed possible deals in Nigeria, the writ claims. In September 2005, Varma claims, the pair had a conversation that is at the heart of the case: how much Varma would be paid if the deal came through. Varma claims Mittal said he could expect 5%-15% of the defendant’s investment.

According to the writ, Mittal responded: “I will cover you” or “you will be covered … The reward could be even bigger than 15%, depending on the size of the deal.” Varma claims that over the following six months he was cut out of the deal. Mittal’s joint venture with the Indian government was successful in its bids for two licences for 10 years in downstream projects in Nigeria. The anticipated combined yield of the “blocks”, or areas of oil, was 650,000 barrels a day and the value of the downstream projects is $6bn (£4bn).

Mittal’s lawyers are expected to argue that Varma was a social acquaintance of their client, and that Varma offered to arrange a meeting with Obasanjo, but dispute Varma’s recollection of the conversation in September 2005. The lawyers have also dismissed as fanciful Varma’s claims of introducing Mittal to Nigeria. The commercial court has put aside 21 days to hear the case. A spokesman for Mittal said: “Mr Varma’s claim is an opportunistic and speculative piece of litigation brought on a conditional fee agreement, which Mr Mittal denies in its entirety and intends to vigorously defend.” Source: Guardian of London

• Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, administering polio vaccine to children during the flag-off ceremony of the Second Round of Year 2013 Immunization Plus Days (IPDs) at Ijebu-Ode, yesterday. With him is the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Olaokun Soyinka.

North poised for showdown over PDP Governors Forum


HE North is spoiling for a showdown with the newly formed PDP Governors’ forum. Many Northern leaders see the emergence of the forum as part of the ploy to stop power from returning to the North in 2015. At least, seven Northern governors, some members of the National Assembly, and elders from the North met in Abuja on Friday to discuss the implications of the coming of the PDP Governors’ Forum for North’s presidential ambition in 2015. The meeting was chaired by a Second Republic presidential adviser, sources said yesterday. The Nation gathered that the meeting resolved to ensure that the PDP Governors Forum does not succeed in stopping the North from winning the presidential race. The meeting is expected to be followed soon by that of the Northern Governors Forum to review the situation and suggest the way forward.

By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor

One source, privy to the development said: “One of the governors present assured the gathering that the leadership of the NGF will soon meet to take a position on the development. According to the governor, the NGF is not pleased with the attempt by the president to truncate the unity existing among the governors in the country.” Forces opposed to the PDP Governors Forum are convinced that it needs the support of the Northern Governors Forum to succeed. Speaking to The Nation on condition of anonymity, a senator who was at the meeting said the decision to fight the PDP Governors Forum was taken because Northern leaders see it as another of President Goodluck Jonathan’s schemes to hijack the party’s machinery ahead of 2015. The second-term l legislator from the North-Central

said it is worrisome that the president will not mind sacrificing the unity and brotherliness that has existed among Nigerian governors across party divides in his quest for another term. “We find the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum a very strange development. We are shocked and disturbed that our president will not mind sacrificing the unity and brotherliness that has existed among Nigerian governors across party divides in his quest for another term in office. “This is why we resolved to work against the body. We have the assurance of our governors that it will not be as effective as its handlers will want it to be. It is not in the interest of the nation to pitch our governors against themselves,” the senator said. It was also gathered that Northern governors may meet this week to discuss the recent statement by their Chairman, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger

State, that President Jonathan signed a pact in 2011 to serve for only one term. Sources at the secretariat of the Forum said invitation had already been extended to members for the crucial meeting which is also expected to discuss the emergence of the PDP Governors’

Forum among other things. “Yes, it is true the Forum will meet during the week. Members are all aware of the date and venue as the notice of the meeting has been sent out. I am not in a position to reveal the venue or date to you,” said a secretariat source who does not want her name in print.

Lagos begins Saturday work


OUR agencies of the Lagos State government yesterday kicked off the Saturday work as promised by Governor Babatunde Fashola during his 2100 days in office. The State Government team which monitored the exercise was led by the Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe and started at the Sura Drivers Training Institute at Epetedo area in Lagos Island where some staff of the Ministry were met on ground and confirmed that some members of the public have already been attended to as at when the Head of Service came calling.

At the Olowu area office of the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) in Lagos Island, the staff of the Ministry of Transportation led by Muyideen Adeleye attended to members of the public who were there to make enquiries. The next port of call of the team was the Lands Bureau where the Permanent Secretary, Mr Hakeem Muri Okunola was available to ensure the smooth take off of skeletal services while at the Directorate of Land Regularization, one Mrs Janet Jaja was met by the team making enquiries.

Boko Haram is Northern civil war, says Danjuma From Tony Akowe, Kaduna


ORMER Minister of Defence and veteran of the Nigerian Civil War, Lt.General Theophilus Danjuma said yesterday in Zaria that the current security challenge in the North has placed the region in a state of war. He warned that unless a solution is found urgently the situation may consume everyone in the region. The former Chief of Army Staff spoke at a special convocation and launch of a N50 billion endowment fund for the development of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He described the state of insecurity caused largely by the activities of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, as highly contagious and one that offers no one any form of immunity. Danjuma, who was conferred with a honorary doctorate degree at the occasion, asked the nation’s leaders to emulate the founding fathers who placed a great emphasis on merit and self-reliance to create a united Nigeria irrespective of tribe and religion.He confessed his inability to offer any solution to the security challenges, but said: “It is up to us the elite to get together and brainstorm to solve our problem. I take this opportunity therefore, to appeal to the nation for unity. We must unite to solve our problems.” He said that unlike a normal war situation where the enemy is easily identifiable, the enemy in the current ‘war’ in the country cannot easily be identified as they have remained faceless. “Given the challenges now facing the nation, this ceremony affords us an appropriate opportunity for reflection. This is no time to doubt or to ask questions what others have done or failed to do. It is time to ask ourselves what we have done or are doing as individuals to preserve or to enhance the heritage bequeathed to us,” he stressed. He said further: “In their time our founding fathers placed emphasis on merit and self-reliance. They sought to create a united and self-reliant society based on respect for human life and respect for the rights of others irrespective of tribe or religion. They would certainly be appalled that today the nation is in total anarchy. Human life is very cheap and impunity has become the norm. “In the case of the North, the danger is very real indeed. Ladies and gentlemen we are in the middle of civil war in the northern Nigeria. There is no defined front in this particular war. Worst still, the enemy is faceless and unknown. There is no immunity for anyone. Moreover, this war is contagious. Needless to say, the social and economic cost is incalculable.” He described ABU as the only truly federal university in the country, as according to him, “every local government area of Nigeria has student(s) in the university and similarly, all states of the federation have representative in the staff profile of the university.”



Fire guts SuperSports studio

Strengthen democracy or face political instability, Jonathan warns African leaders

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro


From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja


RESIDENT Good-luck Jonathan yesterday urged African leaders to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in their countries or face continued threats to political stability and societal peace. Addressing the Parliament as part of activities marking his visit to Cote d'Ivoire, President Jonathan said the present generation of African leaders must rise to the challenge of managing contests for political power in a manner that assures greater collective security and peaceful co-existence. Leaders of emerging democracies, he warned, must not succumb to the lure of dictatorship, which is the surest way of bottling up grievances and dissent in their countries. His words: "We are ourselves daily confronted with the multiplicity of demands and expectations that are the hallmarks of multicultural societies. "There are some, here and elsewhere, who might think that the straightjacket of a dictatorship is the surest way to bottle up these grievances and dismantle dissent. "That is wrong. Nothing strengthens a society more than openness and a leadership courageous enough to understand the inherent positives that flow from these contending demands. As African leaders, we have to, calmly and dispassionately, harness these energies and utilise them to serve the best interest of our people. "Indeed, it is self-evident that people, who feel secure and free, governed by the rule of law and not by the whims of men, are less likely to go to war with each other, either within or across borders, than those who do not. "We therefore risk the very institution we are trying to build if we exclude the people who voted us into power in the governance process. That is why we have to build strong institutions and allow the rule of law to take root. Democracy without strong institutions defeats its own objectives." He also maintained that political leaders in Africa must do more to alleviate and ultimately eradicate abject poverty from the continent as it de-empowers people and retards growth and development. "We must assiduously promote the welfare of all citizens and create the enabling environment in which they can fully realise their aspirations and potentials. "This would enable them, as stakeholders, to invest in the protection of peace and stability of our countries. And this is achievable," he added. The President also called for the loosening of the "bolts of bureaucracy" that currently stifle trade in the sub-region.


• Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola with the Minister for Africa, Mr. Mark Simmonds during a visit to the State House, Marina, on Friday.

'Don't allow APGA die,' Bianca begs supporters •Says Ojukwu remains party's National Leader


OME leaders of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) took to the podium yesterday in Awka in a last ditch move to save the party from going under. Led by Bianca, the widow of the late Chief C h u k w u e m e k a Odumegwu-Ojukwu, national leader of the party, the APGA leaders issued a clarion call to supporters to keep it afloat. The occasion was what the party called 'the mother of all rallies' to mark the first year remembrance of the late Ojukwu. Bianca, Nigeria's ambassador to Spain, speaking in Igbo, said, "Today marks one year that my husband and our National Leader was laid to rest. I thank all of you that made today possible. This rally is a wonderful one. "Nobody can remove our flag from INEC. Don't allow this party to die and don't allow this party to be put to

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka and Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

shame. "I have pleaded with Governor Peter Obi to conduct the local government election and he has agreed to do so. Those who don't want to continue in APGA will be given a befitting send off but the era where one or two persons were taking decisions on our behalf in the party is over." She condemned the recent destruction of the Ojukwu Library in Owerri by unknown persons. Governor Obi who is the National Deputy Leader of the party, reading what he called resolutions passed by those at the rally said the late Dim Ojukwu remains the National Leader of APGA. The party, he maintained, is not merging with any other party. He said: "We stand by our earlier resolution to con-

tinue to support His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan . We state that our great party remains committed to good governance in Nigeria at all levels of government." He said APGA is out to win more states in 2015 and mentioned in particular Ebonyi, Enugu and Abia. Obi said the rally was an opportunity to celebrate Dim Ojukwu for what he was to the Igbo people and to invoke his spirit to continue to be with, and guide APGA as it embarks on the process of rebuilding and strengthening the party. Other speakers at the rally included Dr. Tim Menakaya, Maxi Okwu and Odi Nwosu. They all expressed happiness at the rejuvenation of APGA and asked supporters to embrace the new spirit and work hard for the growth of the party. At the rally were : Anambra State Deputy

governor, Emeka Sibeudu; Chinwe Nwebili, Speaker of the State House of Assembly and her deputy, Chukwudi Orizu; Dr. Tim Menakaya, BOT member; Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, Prof. Dora Akunyili, Ambassador Odi Nwosu, Obinna Obiegue, Ochiagha Reagan Ufomba, Chuma Nzeribe; former members of APGA National Working Committee now functioning on interim basis, namely, Chief Chris Uche, Alhaji Garba Barne, Chinyere Okeke, Bernad Akoma, Sunday Obaslam, Chief Dickson Osu, Tondo Joseph, Ella Nwabueze, Ferguson Okpara, E.A Shonubi, Dr. Gbenga Afeni, Abubakar Adamu, Dr. Sagir Auwal Maidigu, Lawal Barma, Alfred Nwosu, Dr. Isa Jiga, Mrs Victoria Oyeng, Ambassador Frank Ogwuewu, Chief Reagan Ofomba, Okey Udeh, and Chief Okey Ezeibe,

Ijora: Lagos to pay compensation


LL hope of compensation may not be lost for residents of Ijora Badiya whose houses were demolished recently by the Lagos State government. The lawmaker representing Apapa 2 Constituency in the House of Assembly, Olumuyiwa Jimoh gave his people a ray of hope yesterday when he said he was discussing with Governor Babatunde Fashola on the possibility of compensation for those affected. He spoke at the Apapa 2 Constituency Town Hall meeting with Muyiwa Jimoh facilitated by The Lagos State

By Oziegbe Okoeki

Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP) at Ijora Badiya yesterday. But the problem about compensation, according to him, is that most of the people affected don’t have documents to prove their ownership of the property. He said: “I am making every effort, I am relating with the governor on behalf of the people for possible compensation, but a lot of them don’t have documents to back their claim. In fact, there is no evidence for now that any of them has any document of the land.

“But on humanitarian and moral grounds, I feel the governor can still compensate them despite that a lot of them cannot produce evidence that the land was sold to them in the past,” Jimoh said. He, however, said that the state governor has already shown some commitment indirectly by assuring those displaced that some of them will be beneficiaries of the scheme. “But how far it would go I can’t say categorically. But I advise those concerned to form a block and present a united front instead of operating in clusters or different groups, it will not help matters.”

He also debunked claims by the residents that they were not given notice before the demolition, arguing that when he met the governor he showed him two different notices of more than a year’s notice given to the residents. The residents, according to him, claim that the land was given to them by the Federal Government “how do you give what you don’t have?” he queried. “Even the Oba Ojora of Lagos, from what I read in the newspaper, has also said that the place is long overdue for development, that in the 21st century Lagos cannot wait behind, it must move with the time.”

HICK smoke rent the sky, staff and passersby scampered for safety as a raging fire razed the Lagos studios of Supersports, a sports channel on satellite pay television, DSTV yesterday. The studio situated at the former Philips building in Ojota Bus Stop, off Kudirat Abiola Way, was completely destroyed by the fire including state-ofthe-art equipment. The cause of the fire which occurred at about 3:45pm could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report. But the Director Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe said investigation was on to unravel the cause. He explained that a call was put across to the Alausa Headquarters of the Fire Service at about 4:01pm. He said the fire, which raged profusely, was aided by the padded materials used in soundproofing the studios, stressing that the roof of the building had already caved in when the fire fighters arrived the scene. Fadipe explained "I was in the office when the call came in. I quickly dispatched two fire vehicles from Alausa and Ikeja stations. On arrival at the scene, we discovered that it was a very serious fire as it was raging. I had to deploy two other fire vehicles from Ilupeju and Isolo to complement the efforts of the vehicles that got there first. So, in all we had five fire fighting vehicles to contend the fire with". Men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) were on ground to dispel onlookers who trooped to the scene to catch a glimpse of the fire. One of the RRS officers fired twice into the air, leaving onlookers scampering for safety.

Ikuforiji congratulates Adesina By Oziegbe Okoeki


PEAKER of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, has congratulated Mr. Femi Adesina, the deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspaper on his election as the new President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. In a statement by his Chief press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Adebayo, Ikuforiji described the election of Adesina as" a thing of joy for me, my family, and all my fellow legislators, the entire management and staff here at the Lagos State House of Assembly". He said, "It is indeed a welcome development that your election is coming at a time when your media organisation, The Sun Group of Newspapers is celebrating its tenth anniversary. "As the pioneer editor of The Sun ( daily), it is clear that your superb professional wherewithal, alongside other sound managers of The Sun newspapers in the last ten years , has indeed earned your media organisation the excellent image of a brand that is well respected nationwide today." He prayed that the Almighty God endow Adesina with the required knowledge, wisdom and understanding to successfully take the Nigerian Guild of Editors to the next level.


Woman baths daughter, 12, with acid in Akwa Ibom From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo


12-year-old girl, Miss Mercy Asuquo Frank, has appealed to the Akwa Ibom State Government and Nigerians to come to her aid following an acid attack on her body by her mother. The distraught Mercy was sighted yesterday at the Children Ward of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) during a visit by The Nation to the premises, sitting alone begging passersby for money to eat. The 12 year-old primary pupil of Atabong Primary School in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, told The Nation that she was accused of being a witch by one pastor, a situation that made her mother to bath her with acid solution. After the acid attack which affected her breasts, mouth and other parts of her body, the little Mercy said her mother dumped her on the road side in Oron and took to her heels. “ I am the second child to my parents in the family of four children. My mother poured acid solution on my body. That is why my mouth and my body are like this. "One of our neighbours told my mother that I am a witch, but I told her that I am not a witch. She took me to Apostolic Church in Atabong, Oron and the Pastor told her that I am a witch. "The Pastor prayed and told my mother that I am a witch then we went back home after the prayer. "Later at midnight, my mother took me to a deep forest and poured acid solution on me and carried me and dropped me by the roadside and left that midnight." According to Mercy, the security agents brought her to the hospital after seeing her in pain crying by the roadside. Efforts to get her mother's reaction to the allegation did not yield any result.


Amaechi congratulates new NGE president




IVERS State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has hailed the emergence of Mr. Femi Adesina as the new president of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE). Speaking through his chief press secretary, Mr. David Iyofor, Amaechi commended Adesina on his sterling attributes and wished him a successful term at the helm of affairs of the guild. The governor expressed confidence that the leadership of Adesina, who is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Managing Director of the Sun Newspapers would take the guild to greater heights. He said, “I believe that his tenure would well represent the Nigeria Guild of Editors and cause an increase in professionalism in the field and among its members.” The governor also congratulated other members of the newly elected executive made up of seasoned professionals in the media industry.

ABSU withdraws Kalu's degree certificate T HE Senate of the Abia State University, Uturu, has withdrawn the degree certificate it had earlier awarded the former Governor of the state, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, while he was a sitting governor of the state. The decision to withdraw the certificate was contained in statement released and signed by the registrar and secretary of the Senate of the university, Mr. Earnest Onuoha, after the senate meeting, where it was approved that the certificate be withdrawn and cancelled. The statement reads in parts, "On the strength of the

From UGOCHUKWU UGOJI-EKE, Umuahia findings and recommendations of an investigative panel into allegations of breach of the extant Academic Regulations of Abia State University in the admission process of the admission and graduation of Kalu Orji Uzor in the discipline of Government and Public Administration , of matriculation number 00/42226, the Senate of Abia State University at

its resumed 69th Extra-Ordinary meeting of Friday, 1st March 2013 and by a vote of eighty-eight (88) against three (3) dissenting voices only, approved the cancellation and withdrawal of the degree result and certificate awarded to him.” “The decision of Senate was based on the following grounds among others: *The violation of the Academic Regulations of the university on Admission-by-

Transfer, which rendered the offer irregular, ab initio. *The non-completion of the mandatory six (6) semesters (i.e. three academic years of study), before he was awarded a degree of the university. He spent only two semesters in all. “The university Senate maintained that its action, aforesaid, derived from the exercise of its onerous statutory responsibility to guard and maintain, at all times, the Academic Regulations of the University, its hard-earned reputation and the credibility of the certificates it awards." In a related development,

•L-R: Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulure; Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; former Minister for Health, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi; his wife, Juliana; and husband of Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Arch. Lanre Olayinka, during a reception for the governor by Igbimo Ure-Ekiti, in Lagos... on Thursday.

Nigeria's leadership must esteem ideas, Fayemi


KITI State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said the Nigerian leadership must esteem ideas and knowledge for the country to move forward. According to the governor who spoke at the maiden Interdisciplinary public lecture of the Postgraduate School, Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, "ideas rather than materials move the world." Governor Fayemi noted that like the experiences with past leaders including Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his contemporaries, there is an urgent need to elevate the place and importance of knowledge in today's governance. According to the governor, the coming "generation of elites has to be distinguished not by wealth or their possession of trinkets but by the quality of their thoughts and ideas." Fayemi equally urged a need to develop the leadership skills of the Nigerian youth, noting that "the litmus test of our success as leaders is not how many people we are leading but how many people we are transforming as leaders." He cautioned the youth against agitating for a Nigerian version of the 'Arab Spring' as solution to a multiplicity of challenges facing the country, urging them to organise and become drivers of the required change. He said, "We need to rescue the concept of leadership itself from the cheapening it has undergone. True leader-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti ship is something quite distinct from holding an office or position. "We will enhance the quality of leadership on our shores if we dissociate it from acquisition of titles and positions. True leadership is influence. It is driven by core convictions, values and ideas." Urging a need to change beliefs and perceptions about the elite and what qualifies people as such, he said, "Over

the course of the past decades, the monetisation of our values has yielded an association of elitism with wealth. We perceive elites to be those who are simply wealthy. He spoke further: "The first generation nationalists such as Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikwe, Hezekiah Davies, Aminu Kano and Adegoke Adelabu among others were men of thought as well as men of action. "It was no idle boast. Awolowo was the most prolific of the founding fathers. It

seems almost absurd to us today for a politician to advertise his intellect as one of his qualifications for high office." In attendance at the lecture were notable figures from public and private sectors as well as the academia, including the renowned professor of Public Administration, Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun, who chaired the occasion; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin; the State Chief Judge, Justice Ayo Daramola among others.

Blame vandals for poor telecom services, says Rep.


HAIRMAN, House of Representatives Committee on Communications, Hon. Oyetunde Ojo, has said vandals are responsible for poor services rendered by telecommunications companies in the country. Ojo, who represents Ekiti Central II Constituency, spoke in Erijiyan Community High School, Erijiyan in Ekiti West Local Government at the inauguration and inspection of projects initiated and executed by him in conjunction with the federal government and corporate bodies. The projects are located across some communities comprising Ekiti West, Efon and Ijero Local Governments. They included the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) initiated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); MTN Foun-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti dation Learning Facility-200 units of MTNF branded students' desks and benches and 20 units of MTNF branded teachers' tables and chairs by the lawmaker; ICT project at Efon; 500KVA at Igbemo and some others. According to the lawmaker, "DAP is the initiative of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) designed to equip youths and the literate members of the communities with internet education for improving their ICT skills to enhance their economic opportunities. The lawmaker said the vandals whose presence is felt in all parts of the country had made the telecom masts and other support facilities their main targets, thereby creating disruptions in phone net-

works as witnessed lately. He stated, "The most challenging task affecting the telecommunications companies is the insecurity in the country; that is the attack on these base stations. At the end of the day, once you have a problem with a base station in Maiduguri, the effect is felt in neighbouring states." According to him, only the prompt and decisive intervention of the federal government could reverse the picture and make the telecommucations companies improve on services. In his speech at the event, the executive vice chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, represented by a national commissioner on the board of the commission, Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi, explained that a total of 230 secondary schools across the country benefitted from the programme.

the chief press secretary to Abia State governor, Ugochukwu Emezue, has described as untrue the allegation by the former governor of the state, Oji Uzor Kalu that Governor Theodore Orji is behind the revocation of his degree certificate. Emezue said that the former governor is not a graduate of Abia State University, as investigations have revealed and made public by the Senate of the university after looking into the findings of the investigative panel set up the university authorities. He said that there was a petition against the former governor alleging that he was not properly admitted into ABSU, which the university authorities mandated the Senate to look into after setting up the investigative panel. The CPS said that the petitioner claimed that Kalu arm twisted the school authorities to admit him while he was the governor following public outcry then that the state governor was not a graduate, adding that Kalu as the then governor only came to school for two semesters. Emezue said, "Following this allegation, the Senate set up a panel which found out that the transcript Kalu sent to ABSU from the University of Maiduguri did not bear the letterhead of that institution. "Secondly, Kalu did not matriculate according to the rules and guidelines of the institution which makes it mandatory for a student to matriculate having dropped out from another university. "Thirdly, Kalu only came to school for two semesters and never graduated." The chief press secretary stated that ab initio, Kalu was not a graduate of the institution and advised the former governor to go to court to challenge the outcome of the panel's report if he so desires.

Damino Damoche buried ...2 more students killed


AMILOLA Ibrahim Olaniyan aka Damino Damoche, a student of the Lagos State University, who was shot dead by suspected cultists last Thursday was buried yesterday at the Badagry Cemetery. A candle light procession also took place for the deceased on the evening of his burial. Meanwhile, fresh facts are beginning to emerge over the gruesome killing of the lewd lyricist. Sources revealed that Damoche was a prominent member of the Buccaneer Confraternity who unfortunately got caught up in a reprisal attack by the Aiye Confraternity. Tension has been on the high in recent times as relationship between both rival cults groups soured over an unsettled issue, which had been left unresolved for over a year. The source further revealed that Damoche’s death also resulted in the killing of two members of the Aiye Confraternity hours after the artiste was gunned down. Palpable fear now pervades the air as students of LASU are scared of being caught up in the ensuing mayhem, even as the semester examinations are around the corner.



Group endorses Obiogbolu for governor in Anambra

Niger Republic honours Akunyili By Rita Ohai


N view of valiant efforts made in the fight against counterfeit drugs and unsafe foods, the Republic of Niger is set to honour former Minister of Information and Communication and Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Dora Akunyili (OFR), with the prestigious Pioneer Trophy at the 4th edition of the International Active African Woman Awards. The ceremony, a joint collaboration between the Niger Republic Ministry of Women Affairs and the Incubation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership Promotion Center (CIPEL), is a national occasion, sponsored by the First Lady of Niger, Dr. Issoufou Malika, under the high patronage of the Prime Minister, His Excellency Brigi Rafini. According to the chairperson of the organising committee, Mrs. Issa Halimatou Almoustapha, the country seeks to “pay tribute to African women leaders who support to the best of their ability, the wellbeing of women.” Other awards received by Professor Dora are the Time Magazine and Transparency International’s Integrity awards. Congratulating the former NAFDAC Director-General, Mandour Maman Hadj Daddo, the Niger Ambassador to Nigeria, felicitated with Akunyili. The event which will take place on Friday the 8th of March at the Palais des Congres in Niamey will have dignitaries from Cote d’Ivoire, Morrocco, Togo, Burkina Faso and Benin Republic in attendance.

Traditional rulers hail Aregbesola’s leadership From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo


RADITIONAL rulers in Osun State, under the aegis of Osun Divisional Conference of Obas, have applauded the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, for his visionary leadership which they said would have, in no distant future, a far reaching positive effects on the socioeconomic life of the state. Rising from a meeting in Ila-Orangun, Osun State, the traditional rulers in a press statement signed by the chairman and secretary of the conference, the Orangun of Ila, Oba Wahab Kayode Oyedotun, and the Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba Abdulrasheed Olabomi, respectively, acknowledged the developmental projects and programmes of the Aregbesola administration. They said: “We have never had it so good since the creation of the state. We believe strongly that when various projects which the government has started are finally completed, the state would have witnessed a total turn around. So, we support all the programmes and projects of this administration because they are people-oriented.”


By Adetutu Audu


•Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, (2nd left), administering a dose of oral polio vaccine to a toddler, at the flagoff of the second round of National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDS), at the Mother and Child Hospital, Akure, yesterday

Obasanjo: Dearth of good leaders, bane of development ... Express shock over graduate - drivers in Nigeria


ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday said he was shocked when told sometime ago by the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, that six PhD holders and hundreds of masters degree holders applied for truck drivers positions in his company. In Obasanjo’s estimation, the incident resulted from the problems of job creation, wealth creation, among other challenges facing the country. Not a few Nigerians were disturbed and scandalised last year by newspaper reports that six Phd holders and over 600 masters degree holders, aside first degree holders, applied as truck drivers to Dangote

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

Group of Companies. But yesterday, the former Chairman Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, during African Regional Inter- collegiate Debate on Human Security at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), said dearth of good leaders is the bane of development in Nigeria. The debate drew participants from some secondary schools within Nigeria and Cotonou, Republic of Benin and undergraduate students from the nation’s universities, including University of Lagos and Bells University of Technology,

Ota, Ogun State. Obasanjo noted that there are many Nigerians but not many leaders and said efforts should be made to change the situation. He said: “In Nigeria, with due respect, there are not many good leaders in Nigeria; we have many Nigerians and not good leaders in Nigeria which can be extended to Africa and leadership problem is something we have to correct because we can not continue the way it is. “We have problems of job creation, employment generation and wealth creation, it doesn’t matter who emerges as winner of the debate, to me all aspects of education must be embraced.”

He said the yoke of poverty can only be broken from a people if they are educated to check the scourge from spreading to succeeding generations. Obasanjo said :”If you want to break the irk of poverty, education is the instrument to do that. Yorubas say three generations don’t go into chronic poverty. The future belongs to the youth because nobody can help Africa than we Africans. “I must confess that when the idea of the debate was mentioned to me, I did not know it will be inspiring and interesting. What I saw today is beyond my expectation and what we’ve achieved today, we should build on it.”

1500 council workers threaten to leave NULGE


OCAL government workers of Umuahia North local government, totalling over 1,500, have threatened to withdraw their membership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in protest over the alleged imposition of union chairman by politicians in government. Speaking with journalists in Umuahia, spokesman of the aggrieved workers, Comrade Dick Nwosu, and a chairmanship candidate, said the situation was worsened by the inability of the state leadership of NULGE to resist the pressure from politicians to take over union leadership. Nwosu said that the leadership of the union in the state has been under immense pressure to allow politicians take over the union while he had been approached and threatened to either step down or have himself to blame. He said, “Let the politicians steer clear of NULGE elections and allow workers to choose their leaders, and that the state leadership of NULGE had confessed that

From Ugochukwu Ugoji- Eke, Umuahia

they were “in a tight corner” to the interested politicians who are bent on having their way.” The workers had on Monday boycotted the NULGE poll after the popular candidate was prevented from contesting the election through

what they described as “spurious transfer” four days to the election. However, about 126 workers had participated in the contentious poll supervised by the state NULGE secretary, Comrade Peter Ene, during which the alleged “government candidate”, Comrade Chukwuemeka Iruoma was

declared elected unopposed despite the mass boycott of the poll. Despite his alleged wining of the election, he was never sworn in as the chairman of the union in Umuahia North council, Ene and said there are still things to sort out before he could be sworn in to take charge.

Aregbesola congratulates NGE new executive as the new chairman of the HE Governor of Osun committee association. His choice is a State, Ogbeni Rauf


Aregbesola, has sent a congratulatory message to the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) for a successful transfer of power to a new executive council. In a statement by the Director of the Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, the governor said the choice of Mr. Adesina by the body was a wise, informed and progressive one. Aregbesola said the smooth transfer of power from one executive to another best exemplifies true democratic system that respects and recognises

people’s choice. He said by so doing, the media top brass have set example for the country on the manner af power transfer devoid of rancour. The governor noted that at all circumstances, the NGE must make sure that the media does not lose focus of its primary responsibilities to all in the society. He said: “I congratulate the Nigerian Guild of Editors for the successful transfer of power to a newly elected officers. “I also congratulate Mr. Femi Adesina, who emerged

well-informed one. “As a seasoned journalist and administrator, who rose to the pinnacle of his journalistic career as editor of one of the frontline newspapers in the country, I have strong conviction that his choice will help the NGE in no small measures with his wealth of experience. “Under the new executive, it is our hope that the media organisations in Nigeria will redouble their efforts towards discharging their primary responsibilities without fear or favour, let or hindrance and with undiluted objectivity.”

HE Old Aguata political class, an umbrella organisation for the Old Aguata Union (OAU), comprising three local governments of Aguata, Orumba North and South in Anambra State, has endorsed Dr. Alex Obiogbolu for the state number one job. The governorship aspirant recently visited the organisation to intimate them of his aspiration. In his welcome address, the chairman of the organisation, Chief Iwuejina Igbokwe, popularly known as Agbalanze, declared the aspirant as a good man who can be trusted with responsibilities without apprehension of getting disappointed. Agbalanze described Obiogbolu as an astute politician whose consistency and transparency have become a bench mark for the political class, irrespective of one’s political leaning. In his own remark, Chief Joe Ifediobi revealed that he met the former boss of the state Local Government Service Commission about 15 years ago and recounted how over 3000 people were gainfully employed by the commission headed by the aspirant. The President-General of Achina, Hon. Osy Mbajekwe, added that time has come to put sentiments aside and allow the best person do the job. “If power is given, we would have gladly surrendered it to Obiogbolu because he knows what to do when he gets it,” he remarked. A spokesperson for the women in the Old Aguata political class urged the governorship aspirant not to forget the womenfolk when he gets to the Promised Land.

UCH CMD refutes claims of meddling with workers’ appointment From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


HE Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital (UCH), Prof Temitope Alonge, has refuted claims of interfering with the appointment of workers seeking admittance into the teaching hospital. Alonge, who was reacting to the allegation of using his position to secure jobs for some applicants who recently applied for different job roles in UCH, said their employment was based on merit and not due recognition. He spoke yesterday at the public lecture entitled” Healthcare Financing in Nigeria,” held at the School of Nursing Hall, UCH, Ibadan. According to him: “In line with the federal character commission’s requirement, anyone who deserves a particular job should not be hampered and the job market in UCH is open to anybody. I do not influence employment for anybody, those who are eligible and qualify after the test and interview are given the job.”



Senator Gaya donates N5m computers to NUJ From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


ENATOR Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya, representing Kano South Senatorial District, has donated 20 computers, including internet facilities and 20 units of air conditioners worth N5 million to the Kano State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to boost professional standard among working journalists in the state. Gaya, who was governor of Kano State during the aborted third-republic, said the donation was inspired by his desire to ensure professionalism within the fourth estate of the realm. According to him, just like it is obtainable in civilised world, journalists, going by the nature of their job, should have privacy during the discharge of their duties, adding that experience has proved that journalists working in secured environment seldom run into hiccups like leakages of information to the public. Gaya, who presented the facilities to Chairman of the NUJ, Abduljalal, in Kano, said apart from the fact that it will prevent information leakagewas, it was also in appreciation of the goodwill he enjoyed with members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, whom he recalled honoured him with an award when he was the state governor.

‘Good governance, panacea for insecurity’ From: Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt


OTARY club has said installing the right set of people at various leadership positions in Nigeria would bring about an enduring peace in the country. Dr. Georgiana NgeriNwagha stated this during a lecture by Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, District 9140, to mark 2013 World Peace and Understanding Day, entitled “ensuring an enduring peace in Nigeria”, held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital yesterday. Ngeri-Nwagha observed the decay in moral and family values as main factors responsible for the increase in corruption, insecurity and unemployment rates in Nigeria. She also cited “decline in educational system, promotion of gospel of materialism by religious leaders, the entrenchment of culture of corruption and greed in the society and the failure of the government to cater for the welfare of its citizens and ingrained injustices and inequality in society” as some more reasons. Ngeri-Nwagha, who lamented lack of social and basic amenities in the communities, regretted that rather than the government addressing the main cause of kidnapping and Boko Haram insurgencies in the country, it is busy chasing shadows.


Editors, others escape air mishap E

DITORS and other passengers scheduled to fly to Abuja from Ibadan Airport yesterday narrowly escaped a possible air mishap as their flight was suddenly delayed for hours after two rear tyres of their aircraft suddenly burst as it was about to take off. The passengers had boarded the chopper aircraft operated by Cabatin with the door shut before the

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

incident. It was learnt that the incident led to cancellation of the remaining flight scheduled to Abuja while those from Lagos were also alerted to abort their schedules.

The stranded passengers included editors who came to attend this year's convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), where a new executive committee led by the Deputy Editor-In-Chief of The Sun newspapers, Mr Femi

Adesina, was elected. They all returned home disappointed. All outward flights to Abuja were thereafter put on hold for about 24 hours to enable the aircraft owners fix the burst tyres. It was, however, learnt that a chopper from the affected aircraft company arrived later with two tyres to replace the burst tyres.

• Representative of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Umana O. Umana (second right), presenting a cheque of one million naira to sergeant Georgetta Yehouenu,who won the unsung hero award at the Silverbird 2012 award, while Mr Ben Bruce, chairman Silverbird group, watches.

ACN chieftain saysAPC will end misrule


HE proposed merger of four major opposition parties in the country has been described as the only panacea to preventing the advent of dictatorship and years of alleged misrule by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of the country. This was the view of a prominent leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos State, Chief Livinus Okwara, during an interview with The Nation on Friday. Expressing optimism that the newly-formed All Progressives Congress (APC) will right the several wrongs of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when it gets

By Remi Adelowo

into power in 2015, Okwara lamented the failure of the PDP to improve the plight of Nigerians since it was entrusted with the leadership of the country since 1999. He added that the situation has led to the spate of insecurity, which he noted was as a result of the alarming unemployment rate in the country. He said, "What has PDP achieved since it came into power in 1999? In the past, stealing of millions by government officials was viewed as obscene, but the situation now is that people have graduated from stealing millions to billions and trillions without the government hav-

ing the will to put a stop to it." Okwara, who is the proprietor of Rimax Institute, Lagos, stressed that now is the time for Nigerians to vote in the progressives to take charge of the affairs of the country, since the country in his views has continued to fare badly under the control of the conservatives since independence. He noted, "Conservatives by their nature do not care much about the welfare of the common man unlike the progressives whose cardinal policy is the upliftment of the standard of living of the people. A veteran politician, who was a member of the defunct

Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the defunct Second and Third Republic respectively, Okwara advised the leaders of the merging political parties to commence without delay the enlightenment of Nigerians on the ideology of APC. "Now is the time to start educating the people on the values and ideology of the new party. They (leaders) should not make their discussions a secret thing. The change APC wants to effect in the country should go down to the grass root, because Nigerians are tired of the misrule of the PDP," Okwara said.

Ezu Bridge: Community commends Obi over new bridge GBENE commu-nity yesterday commended the Anambra State Government and the Nigerian Army for constructing a new bridge across the Ezu River at Amanuke/Ugbene boarder of Awka North Local Government Area. The bridge being handled by the Nigerian Army for Anambra Statestate government is about 70 percent completed and when completed would improve access to agricultural farm produce fro the agrarian communities of Awka North. Speaking during a stakeholders meeting at Ugbene yesterday, a community leader/APGA Chieftain, Chief Fabian Ekweazu-Onwa Ugbene said Ugbene community at the completion of the Bridge would no longer go merry round before assessing the capital territory. Chief Ekweazu-Onwa Ugbene who is a High Chief in Ugbene commended


From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

Governor Peter Obi's administration for being proactive to the needs of the people of Awka North which was brought to the fore during the dumping of the dead bodies into the Ezu River but appealed that the contractors handling the AmanseaEbenebe-Ugbene-Ugbenu road wakes up to its responsibilities. He as well commended the new General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu Major General Adebayo Olaniyi, and Col. Taritimiye Gagariga, Commander of Onitsha Military Cantonment and Lt Col Bayode Adetoro, Commanding Officer 14 Field Engineer Regiment Onitsha who led the Army Engineers to execute the project. Chief Ekweazu-Onwa Ugbene informed that the road connects the other communities in Awka North to the rest of Anambra state

even as he appeals that the road be considered too for construction to open up further Awka North. He commended Obi's political sagacity and thanked the National Leader of the stakeholder's forum of the APGA Chief Slva Nwobu-Alor for his steadfastness in championing a way forward for APGA. This is coming as the new General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu Major General Adebayo Olaniyi Olaniyi who is the former Corps Commander Nigerian Army Engineers before being appointed as GOC commended Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state for trusting the Nigerian Army with the construction of the Ezu Bridge. Olaniyi said it is part of enhancing their civil/ Military relationship, informing that the Bridge which is about 60 percent completion with stand the test of time. He went further

to thank Governor Peter Obi for his support to the Military in Onitsha. Olaniyi stated this after addressing a parade of officers and men of the Nigerian Army during his familiarization tour of Onitsha Military Cantonment weekend. He commended Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state over his support to the Nigerian Army , adding that the governor deserved a lot of praise for the numerous patrol vehicles given to the army as well as other logistic support he had provided for soldiers to perform optimally. The GOC, however, urged the governor to redeem his pledge of resuscitating the water scheme and reconstructing roads in the cantonment. Olaniyi also thanked the residents of Anambra for maintaining cordial relationship with the Nigerian Army even in the discharge of their Herculean task.

Mimiko urges military to protect democracy


NDO State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has called

on the Nigerian military to assist in defending the nation's democracy. He reiterated his government's continuous partnership with security agencies to sustain the prevailing peace in the state. Mimiko made this statement in his office in Akure when he hosted the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Ahmed Tijani Jibrin. He appreciated the noble role played by the military and other security agencies during the October 20, 2012 governorship election in the state, which paved the way for peaceful conduct of the election that was devoid of bloodshed and rancour. He noted that democracy as the bedrock of the nation's development must be well protected through the collaboration of the military and civil society. The governor also stated that his administration would continue to support the families of the fallen heroes with loans and credit facilities, stressing that youth engagement in productive ventures would continue to be prioritised with a view to ensuring peace and development across the state. Earlier in his address, the GOC, Major-General Jibrin, thanked the state government for the support given to the Army, particularly in the area of logistics to enable its officers carry out their duties effectively. He assured that the military will not relent in protecting the nation's democracy and also reiterated their unalloyed loyalty to civil authority and dictates of the constitution of Nigeria.

South south group wants Atiku From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar


HEAD of the 2015 presidential election,

a pressure group, the SouthSouth Progressive Youth Movement, has thrown its support behind former vice president, Atiku Abubakar to run under the platforms of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). In a statement on Friday by its President, Mr Austine Ibok, the group expressed confidence in Atiku to address the teeming challenges confronting the youths in Nigeria. They noted that the high rate of youth unemployment, which was yet to be properly addressed, had resulted to the emergence of the Boko Haram sect in the north and militancy in the Niger Delta region, among other teething problems in the other geopolitical zones. It also canvassed that such ticket should consider the inclusion of River State Governor Rotimi Amaechi as running mate.





F there is anything that Nigerians desire so much, it is, no doubt, a buoyant economy derived from great revenue drive and windfalls. Unfortunately, the story is always the reverse and the citizenry are getting frustrated with tales of shortfalls from sectors everyone has great expectations about. One of such sectors is the solid minerals sector. The Senate has faulted the procedure for processing the fund, according to the upper chamber; the money was not with the solid mineral ministry. It alleged that it had been diverted to other sources outside solid mineral development! Some months ago, the Senate committee on public accounts raised the alarm over a missing N44 billion from the federal government's Special Intervention Funds on Solid Minerals. Gaping holes The committee actually discovered the missing funds during an interactive session it had with officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGOF). Massive discrepancies in the presentations of officials of the three government agencies were uncovered and the committee also frowned at its violations in the disbursement and utilisation of the intervention funds. Interestingly, the Special Fund was created in 2002 by the federal government as a special intervention fund to open up the nation's economy, particularly the non oil sector. But the


Solid minerals: The neglected goose This is indeed the era of missing funds; from the Abdulrasheed Maina's pension fund saga, to ecological fund, crude oil fund, to flood relief fund and more. Now, Senators are alleging the misappropriation of N873 billion meant for the development of natural resources. Yetunde Oladeinde takes a look at the stolen billions and challenges in the sector and more. committee discovered that no single project was accomplished in the sector. About the same period, it was also revealed that there were some faulty royalty payments in the sector. This information was part of the key findings in the released inaugural solid minerals sector audit report presented by Ledum Mitee, the chairman of Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI). The report covered 2007 to 2010 and the losses were due to illegal mining and lack of capacity to monitor production in the quarries by the regulator - the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. Other discoveries were discrepancies between government receipts and operating firms' payments during the specified period. At fault were federal government agencies saddled with regulating the sector; they

were found to be negligent and operating in the disregard of the laws guiding operators in the solid sector. It was also discovered that the prices used for the calculations of royalty payments were not in tune with the market value of excavated mineral components. Mitee expatiated: "For example, royalty for a tonnage of granite is still a pittance of N800, which was the price as at 2002. Today, the minimum market price on royalty per ton is N2, 500. The prices used for the calculations on all mineral deposits are long overdue for review. We calculate that about N4.048 billion is total revenue lost as a result of these outdated rates that have been used for royalties in the sector." Other factors that made this huge revenue loss possible include illegal mining, inadequate investments and lax regulatory and monitoring

framework or measure. These factors would have helped to develop the potentials in the sector, but, unfortunately, the malpractices carried out for decades have prevented the solid mineral sector from attaining its full potentials. A total of 78 firms were covered in the audit, which spanned physical, financial and process audits; the companies were found to be majorly engaged in construction, manufacturing, artisanal mining and mineral buying centres. "Between 2007 and 2010, the audit reports showed government receipts was N54.56 billion while remittance from the companies was N53.87 billion, reflecting a little over N687 million discrepancies, which is 1.25 per cent of total government receipts over companies' payments," according to Mitee. Outdated laws

The Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act spells out the laws guiding minerals prospecting, mining and quarrying. The document also talks about the prohibition of exploration or exploitation of minerals without authority, determination of fees payable, royalty, consequences for those who dare to trespass, as well as revocation of mineral title for failure to pay fees. Prospecting licenses for investors to participate in the exploitation of the vast mineral resources in Nigeria is granted by the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development. Naturally, you would think that government is in charge and due process would be followed. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be so. Nigeria is richly endowed with a variety of solid minerals ranging from precious metals, various stones to industrial minerals such as barytes, gypsum, kaolin and marble. Most of these are yet to be exploited. Statistically, the level of exploration of these minerals is very low in relation to the extent of deposits found in the country. One of the objectives of the new National Policy on Solid Minerals is to ensure the orderly development of mineral resources. As a matter of fact, there are tremendous opportunities for investments in the solid mineral sector of the Nigerian economy. Interestingly, solid minerals sector accounts for a mere one percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), yet every state in the country has solid mineral deposits. However, the country has not been able to reap the immense benefits of this sector because there are so many illegal miners operating in this sector. Many of them hail from neighbouring West African countries, while a sizeable population of Indians, Lebanese, Chinese and even Europeans and Americans are involved too. Many of them operate through local collaborators especially in the northern part of the country where security is not tight. One of the major obstacles to the development of solid minerals, especially in the northern part of the country, has been the Boko Haram menace. It has been scaring potential investors away from the sector. Government, however, cannot continue to fold its hands while revenue that should be used to develop the country is siphoned by corrupt officials and other unscrupulous elements. Now that it has been discovered that there are loopholes in the sector, something has to be done urgently. Those who are perpetuating this illegality must be brought to book to serve as a deterrent for others. If this is not checked the nation's resources would continue to go down the drain. Nigeria is not a mono-mineral economy; the current attention paid to only crude oil is not doing the country any good. Solid minerals are more like it and do not carry much environmental hazards like crude exploitation. A stitch in time...



News Review/World

Congo's army takes control of M23 town


ESIDENTS say that the Congolese army has taken control of a town that was run by M23 rebels for more than six months. Jacques Kambale said early yesterday that lines of military entered the town of Kiwanja Friday afternoon. Doctors Without Borders said late Friday that more than 55 civilians have been killed in fighting in another town in Congo's east, Kitchanga, where 135 people have been wounded. Thousands have fled the renewed violence. Fighting began again in eastern Congo after the M23 divided into two groups on Wednesday. The new splinter group attacked positions held by M23 near the border with Uganda Thursday into Friday. The M23 took Goma, the capital of North Kivu, in November but withdrew under international pressure. Congo's government promised negotiations with the group.

Venezuela says Chavez receiving P chemotherapy RESIDENT Hugo Chavez has been receiving chemotherapy since recovering from a severe respiratory infection in midJanuary and "continues his battle for life," his vice president said late Friday.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro suggested the chemotherapy was continuing in the government's first mention of it as among

treatments that Venezuela's cancer-stricken president has received since his Dec. 11 cancer surgery in Cuba.

Queen skips royal engagement due to stomach bug


RITAIN's Queen Elizabeth II is recovering at Windsor Castle after coming down with a stomach bug that forced the cancellation of a royal engagement. The 86-year-old monarch had been due to visit Swansea, Wales, yesterday to present leeks - a national symbol - to soldiers of the Royal Welsh Regiment in honor of Wales' national day, St. David's Day. Buckingham Palace says the queen is spending the weekend as usual at Windsor Castle outside London. The monarch, who celebrated 60 years on the throne last year, rarely misses engagements due to ill health. She last cancelled an engagement five months ago due to a bad back.

Teenager killed in Guinea protest violence witness and the Red Cross in Guinea say that a teenage boy was shot dead during clashes between security forces and opposition marchers in the capital. Idrissa Bah says the 13-year-old was shot twice by security forces early Saturday, and died from his injuries. Sory Camara, with the Red Cross, confirmed the teenager's death and said Abdoulaye Sow's body will be taken to the morgue at a nearby hospital. Sory said at least seven others had been injured in clashes yesterday. The opposition has been holding anti-government protests in the capital, which have turned violent with police also responding with force. The government released a statement yesterday deploring the violence that has occurred since Feb. 27. It says at least 3 people have been killed.


Firedamageshigh-rise underconstruction inDubai


UBAI police say a major fire broke out in a high-rise building under construction near the world's tallest skyscraper, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. The blaze yesterday sent a column of gray smoke over the cluster of towers surrounding the landmark Burj Khalifa spire. A statement by Dubai police says a short circuit apparently touched off what it called a "huge fire." The police say more than 20 workers were evacuated and the flames were brought under control. In November, a fire forced the evacuation of a 34-story residential tower in Dubai.

•: Activists from pro-Kremlin children's advocacy groups march through Moscow yesterday to call on authorities to ban all foreign adoptions and demand the return of an adopted boy whose brother died in Texas. AFP PHOTO

Protesters,policeclashin two Egyptiancities CTIVISTS yesterday accused police of using excessive force and running over protesters in two Egyptian cities, killing one person who was allegedly crushed to death by an armoured vehicle. The violence in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura and the Suez Canal city of Port Said came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo talking with opposition figures ahead of his meeting with the president and defense minister today. Liberals and seculars are angry that Washington is urging them to take part in parliamentary elections and see U.S. support for the vote as backing Islamists who are in power. The two cities outside Cairo have been calling for a civil


disobedience campaign to bring down President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group. Protesters and opposition parties accuse Morsi and the Brotherhood of trying to monopolize power and of reneging on promises of reform. They also want parts of a new constitution amended and are calling for the formation of a more inclusive government. Calls for strikes coincide with a diesel crisis that has caused microbuses, taxi drivers and truck drivers to wait in fuel lines for hours every day across Egypt. The political turmoil has rocked the country's economy and the government is struggling to contain a rush on the U.S. dollar by worried residents as well as a decline in foreign reserves, which threatens to

affect the government's ability to provide for subsidies that millions of Egyptians rely on for survival. One of the country's most prominent opposition coalitions is calling on people to boycott parliamentary elections slated to begin in April for the 546-seat legislature. The National Salvation Front says the vote will only further polarize the nation and that elections cannot take place during the current climate of violence. The elections commission yesterday announced procedures for elections, including an eightday window starting March 9 for candidates to register to run. Since the second anniversary of Egypt's uprising in late January, more than 70 people have been killed in clashes with police.

Zimbabwe's president predicts election victory


IMBABWE's president, celebrating his 89th birthday, said yesterday he believes he will resoundingly defeat his opponents in elections this year and remain in power for another five years. President Robert Mugabe cut an 89 kilogram (40 pound) cake at a sports arena in this mining town of Bindura, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of Harare. Youth groups of his ZANU-PF party said they walked to the bash to celebrate his "walk through a life of struggle against colonialism and Western imperialism." Mugabe said he was confident his ZANU-PF party will triumph at the polls and accused his rivals of claiming a recent increase in

political violence was intended to cover up an upcoming election defeat under the guise that the polls would not be free and fair. The nation's central bank governor donated 89 cows to Mugabe. Mugabe said he was moved by the gifts and all the "giving hearts" of his supporters. "The love that comes from the heart is far more valuable than the presents," he said. The local provincial governor Martin Dinha promised that free food at the venue for an estimated 20,000 people was plentiful and later in the evening there was to be "entertainment galore." Officials of Mugabe's party reportedly collected donations of $600,000 for the occasion. As about 1.5 million Zimbabweans

across the nation rely on food aid in the troubled economy, a diamond mining firm linked to Mugabe's loyalist police and military who control the eastern diamond fields helped pay for the two meter (six foot) long cake, the biggest of five lavish cakes on display. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in a shaky coalition with Mugabe brokered by regional leaders after violent and disputed elections in 2008, was in central Zimbabwe yesterday launching his party's campaign for a 'Yes' vote in a referendum on a new constitution on March 16. Parliamentary and presidential elections to end the coalition that are scheduled later, possibly around July.

Maduro made the disclosure after a Mass for Chavez in a new chapel outside the military hospital where authorities say the socialist leader has been since being flown back to Caracas on Feb. 18. The vice president quoted Chavez as saying he decided to return to Venezuela because he was entering "a new phase" of "more intense and tough" treatments and wanted to be in Caracas for them. Maduro's offering of the most detailed rundown to date of Chavez's post-operative struggle came hours after an accusation by opposition leader Henrique Capriles that the government has repeatedly lied about Chavez's condition. "We'll see how they explain to the country in the (coming) days all the lies they've been telling about the president's situation," Capriles, whom Chavez defeated in Oct. 7 elections, said in a tweet. Chavez has not been seen nor heard from since going to Cuba for his fourth cancer surgery, except for a set of "proof of life" photos released Feb. 15 while he was still in Havana. Chavez first revealed an unspecified cancer in the pelvic region in June 2011, and reported undergoing radiation treatment and chemotherapy after earlier operations. The government has sent mixed signals on Chavez's condition, although Maduro has said several times that Chavez was battling for his life. He repeated that Friday, and also accused opponents of spreading rumors about Chavez's health to destabilize the nation. Maduro, Chavez's chosen successor, said his boss' condition was extremely delicate over New Year's as he battled a respiratory infection that required a tracheal tube. "In mid-January he was improving, the infection could be controlled, but he continued with problems of respiratory insufficiency. Afterward, there was a general improvement, and the doctors along with President Chavez decided to initiate complementary treatments," Maduro said. "You know what the complementary treatments are, right? doctors, with his family."

Palestinian detainee dies in West Bank 40-year-old Palestinian man has died in Palestinian custody in the West Bank and authorities there have launched an investigation. Human rights groups have complained of mistreatment of detainees in Palestinian lockups. Ayman Abu-Sufian's family says he suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes. He died on Friday, two days after being detained on assault charges. An official said yesterday that the Palestinian attorney general has launched an investigation. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media. Last week, a Palestinian detainee died in custody in Israel. Palestinian officials alleged that detainee was tortured, while Israel denied mistreatment and said more tests are needed to determine the cause of death. The death of the 30-year-old man sparked protests in the West Bank.





• Ethnic Albanians clash with Macedonian riot police during a demonstration in Skopje yesterday. A demonstration was organized by ethnic Albanians on March 2 in support of the new Defense Minister, former guerrilla commander Talat Xhaferi, following violent protests on March 1 when ethnic Macedonians protested against his appointment, according to local media. PHOTOS: AFP

•Taliban fighters stand handcuffed near seized weapons as they are displayed to the media at a police • A man stands on a bus after it veered off the road and capsized as it with heading to the Moi headquarters in Jalalabad yesterday. Seven Taliban insurgents have been arrested with their weapons by international airport in Mombasa early yesterday. Six of the 15 tourists on board were injured and taken Afghan border police during an operation in Ghani khel District of Nangarhar province. to the hospital.

•Jamaat-e-Islami activists march with sticks and set fires in the street during a clash with police in • Indonesian dog lover Handoko Njotokusumo and Ace ride through traffic during their weekend joy ride Chittagong yesterday. Bangladesh police yesterday opened fire at Islamists protesting the war crimes' on a motorcycle in Surabaya located in eastern Java island yesterday. Handoko, 57 a retired businessman, conviction of one of their leaders, killing three people outside the port city of Chittagong. regularly takes Ace, a golden retriever, for a ride around the city.


News Review/World



Odinga and Kenyatta hold final rallies

Odinga said he had been cheated of victory by allies of Mr Kibaki. Protests by his supporters turned violent and this spiralled into nationwide tit-for-tat attacks on members of ethnic groups seen as supporting one or other candidate. This time there are eight presidential candidates. Elections are also being held for members of parliament, new posts of regional governors and members of county assemblies.


HE two front-runners in Kenya's presidential election have been holding their final rallies in Nairobi, ahead of Monday's vote. PM Raila Odinga and deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta are favourites to succeed President Kibaki, in the first poll since the post-2007 election violence. Thousands of supporters gathered for the two rallies in central Nairobi. The president has urged Kenyans to vote peacefully on Monday and for the losers to accept defeat. The election is the first to be held under a new constitution, adopted in 2010 in an attempt to avoid a repeat of ethnic clashes which led to more than 1,200 people being killed and an estimated 600,000 others being forced from their homes. Uhuru Kenyatta addressed supporters at a rally at Uhuru park, around a mile north of Raila Odinga's main campaign event at the Nyayo national stadium. The BBC's Anne Soy, at the stadium, said the prime minister's supporters came out in large numbers to hear the final speech of his campaign. The third main candidate of the eight running for the presidency, former vice-president Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi, was holding rallies in western Kenya, reports said. Mwai Kabaki is standing down after two terms as president, but the events of 2007 continue to worry Kenyans. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) this week released a report detailing cases of violence, hate speech

Election in numbers

•A bus loaded with people drives through the crowd for a rally for Kenyan Prime Minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga in Nairobi's Nyayo stadium yesterday, on the last day of campaigning. AFP PHOTO and ethnic intimidation, warning that campaigns had "continued to raise emotions and inflame passions as they campaign for votes". Uhuru Kenyatta is facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in a few weeks' time on charges of orchestrating some of the bloodshed. He denies the charges. After the 2007 poll, Raila Odinga said he had been cheated of victory by Mwai Kibaki's supporters. Ensuing protests spiralled into nationwide inter-ethnic attacks. Mr Odinga's supporters say that if he loses this election, they will

accept the result, our correspondent says. His office denied a report in the Financial Times quoting him as saying that if he lost it would be "because of blackmail and intimidation". In a statement, Mr Odinga said he felt "absolutely slandered". "Cast your vote and keep the peace," President Kibaki said in a televised address to the nation on Friday. "Let us send a clear message to the world that our democracy has come of age. A peaceful vote is a vote for a secure, prosperous

and stable Kenya." The government says some 99,000 police officers are being deployed around the country, at polling stations and vote counts, in order to prevent a repeat of the violence. Presidential candidates must secure support from across the country in order to be declared the victor, so they cannot just rely on support from their ethnic groups, as has been the case in previous elections. If no candidate obtains more than 50% of the vote, there will be a run-off on 11 April. In the previous election, Mr

•14 MILLION registered voters • Eight presidential candidates • 99,000 police officers being deployed • First election under new constitution • Winning presidential candidates need 50% of vote + 25% in half of 47 counties • Voters will get ballot papers for 6 different elections • 100,000 people still living in camps after violence followed 2007 poll • Uhuru Kenyatta among the favourites despite facing trial at the ICC, where he is accused of crimes against humanity over last election

Meet the candidates


IGHT candidates are vying to succeed Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki in Monday's election - the first since some 1,300 people were killed in the violence that followed the disputed 2007 contest. Only four are seen as having serious chances, three of them - Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta and Wycliffe Mudavadi - scions of long-standing political dynasties. RAILA ODINGA Prime Minister Raila Odinga is making his third attempt at the presidency, having unsuccessfully stood in 1997 and 2007. Widely regarded as the favourite this time, he claims to have been robbed of victory by vote-rigging in the last election. The dispute prompted widespread violence, which was ended by a power-sharing deal under which Mr Odinga became prime minister. The post is to be abolished under the new 2010 constitution. Born the son of Kenya's first vicepresident, Jaramogi Oginga Odina, in 1945, he has a passionate following in his native Nyanza region, in Kenya's west. He is unpopular in central Kenya, the heartland of the Kikuyu community, who are seen as rivals of Mr Odinga's Luo people. He is the candidate of the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (Cord). This includes the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which he formed to challenge his arch-rival, outgoing President Mwai Kibaki in 2007, whom he helped get elected 2002 before falling out with him. His supporters calls him Agwambo - "Act of God" in Luo.

UHURU KENYATTA Uhuru Kenyatta is the son of Kenya's founding President, Jomo Kenyatta, and also said to be heir to one of the country's largest fortunes. Currrently a deputy prime minister, he has been indicted by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity during the 2007-8 post-election violence. Far from wrecking his presidential bid, as was expected, the charges have galvanised support for him among those who resent them as foreign interference. Mr Kenyatta's Jubilee Coalition has a powerful source of support in two of Kenya's major ethnic groups - his own Kikuyu and the Kalenjin of running mate William Ruto, who has also been indicted by the ICC. The Kikuyu in particular see Mr Kenyatta as the Njamba ("hero") who "defended" them in 2007. A fierce critic of Mr Odinga, Mr Kenyatta lost to President Kibaki in 2002 after having been groomed as successor to former President Daniel arap Moi. He backed Mr Kibaki in 2007, becoming one of the most powerful members of his cabinet. Born in 1961, he would be Kenya's youngest ever president. WYCLIFFE MUDAVADI Soft-spoken W y c l i f f e Mudavadi is making his first bid for the presidency after having been running mate to Mr Kenyatta in 2002 and Mr Odinga in 2007.

He is the other of two deputy prime ministers, and is seen as a potential kingmaker in the event of a run-off. Born a member of the numerous Luhya community in western Kenya in 1960, he is the son of a prominent former politician, Moses Mudamba Mudavadi. His family has close ties with former President Moi, Mr Mudavadi Snr having served as a minister under Mr Moi and marrying a relative of the president. His Amani Coalition includes Mr Moi's former ruling Kenya African National Union (Kanu) party. Often depicted in cartoons as a harmless and gullible character, he is sometimes accused of being too laid back and lacking political toughness. MARTHA KARUA The only woman standing for the presidency, Martha Karua was a strong supporter of President Kibaki until they fell out in April 2009. Standing for her National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya party, she sees herself as a reformist battling widespread corruption. Her critics accuse her of having failed to make much headway while serving as justice minister under Mr Kibaki. An ethnic Kikuyu, Ms Karua was born in 1957 in central Kenya. She became an MP in 1992, making her name as a vociferous critic of the Moi government. PETER KENNETH Peter Kenneth, an assistant minister for planning, says he is "not a career politician", adding that he avoids tribal politics and can unite Kenya. Born in a low-income district of

Nairobi in 1965, Mr Kenneth says he comes from a humble background and was educated through charity. He is of mixed parentage and since 2002 has represented a central Kenya constituency. A former banker, he stresses his economic expertise and promises to solve what he sees as Kenya's main problems - unemployment and food security. He is standing for the Eagle coalition. JAMES OLE KIYIAPI Academic and former senior civil servant James ole Kiyapi is a leading critic of career politicians. The candidate of the Restore and Build Kenya (RBK), which has no seats in parliament, he promises to fix what he calls Kenya's problem of "recycling failed leaders" and to "give back power to the people". He has sharply criticised Kenya's courts after the High Court refused to rule on whether Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto should be barred from the election because of their ICC indictments. Born in south-west Kenya in 1961, he is an ethnic Maasai. PAUL MUITE Paul Muite is a veteran lawyer who was at the forefront of the campaign for democratic reform in the early 1990s. He is the candi-

date of the Safina (Ark) political party, which he co-founded. He promises "social and economic justice" and wants to propel Kenya to developed-nation status within five years. Born in 1945, he served as MP for a constituency just outside Nairobi in 1992-2007. An ethnic Kikuyu from central Kenya, Mr Muite is a prominent critic of established Kikuyu politicians, including Mr Kibaki and Mr Kenyatta. He is also involved in a lawsuit by independence war veterans against the British government. MUHAMUD DIDA Muhamud Dida was a virtual political unknown before standing for president and portrays himself as a defender of the common man. Born in 1975, he is the youngest candidate and the only Muslim in the race. He is of mixed heritage from Wajir, a town in the Somali-majority area of Kenya; his mother is a Kenyan-Somali and his father is from the Borana community. A former high school teacher, he has turned out to be something of an entertainer amid the otherwise rough, ethnically-tinged politics of Kenya. He is well liked by social media commentators for his often quirky comments, although this has had no impact on his low poll ratings. He puts his entire campaign budget at $5,300 (£3,500), and has described top government salaries as "madness".

•Courtesy: BBC



Talakawa Liberation Herald (2) BY BIODUN JEYIFO Mediocrity, noun: the state or quality of being mediocre Mediocre, adjective, derogatory: not satisfactory, meager, middling, inferior. Related forms: second-rate; sub-mediocre; super-mediocre (online)

The destructive triad of mediocrity-corruption-inequality in Nigeria: reflections (1)

Nations enshrine mediocrity as their modus operandi, and create fertile ground for the rise of tyrants and other base elements of the society by silently assenting to the dismantling of systems of excellence because they do not immediately benefit one specific ethnic, racial, political or special-interest group. That, in my humble opinion, is precisely where Nigeria finds itself today! Chinua Achebe, There Was A Country.



parades himself to his nation and the world as a statesman who is God’s special gift to Nigeria, Africa and the Black race. But there are not too many Obasanjos in Nigeria and Africa. Which is why the more characteristic thing is that anyone writing about mediocrity sooner or later discovers that the phenomenon is full of ambiguous, complex and contradictory aspects that one ignores at one’s peril. At one end of a very wide spectrum, mediocrity can be fairly innocuous, perhaps even benign. But at another end of the spectrum, mediocrity, especially when it becomes aligned with corruption and social inequality on a monumental scale, is life-destroying and nation-wrecking. In other words, mediocrity as a social phenomenon tends to be systemic and structural; its effects and ramifications extend well beyond individuals, either as the target of the charge of mediocrity or as the complainant, the denouncer. For this reason, anyone who writes on the subject need not be coy, sanctimonious or self-righteous since neither accuser nor accused escapes from the effects of the phenomenon. But these are all rather abstract observations. It is time, perhaps, to start us off on the discussion by citing a few well-known or notorious expressions of mediocrity in our country at the present time. There is no other name beside mediocrity or more appropriately, super-mediocrity, for the performance of Nigerian secondary school pupils in the school-leaving public examinations whose results serve as the gateway to admission to our tertiary institutions. As far as I am aware, in recent times, the best pass-

ing rate has been no higher than 35%. In one particular year about half a decade ago, the passing rate was actually 1.8% - which of course meant that 98.2% failed the exams! I have checked and can report that in no other country in the world have high school students performed consistently as poorly as our secondary school leavers. As a somewhat related phenomenon, there are the loud complaints, the wild charges that we often hear, especially from potential employers, that instruction in our tertiary educational institutions have become so mediocre that the vast majority of our university graduates are unemployable. Connected to this is the fact that while African universities rank lowly among the universities of the world, Nigerian universities rank poorly among African universities. This in effect means that we perhaps have the most under-performing tertiary education system in one of the most under-performing regions of the world! Moving away from our educational institutions, what of the legendary scale of the mediocrity of contractors who win contracts to construct and maintain our roads, schools, hospitals, clinics, stadiums, parks, offices and public low-cost housing projects? Is it not the case most times when many of us travel on the roads and highways between towns and villages in all parts of the country, we are haunted by thoughts of how many thousands of lives are lost due to the abysmally shoddy work of our “contractocracy”? And what of the politicians and public officers that award the contracts? Many of them have neither the training nor the inclination to maintain qual-

In our country at the present time, mediocrity does not come in small doses, in humble accoutrements; rather, it comes decked out in superscale proportions, as if it didn’t do so, it would not be properly Nigerian

OR those who read my reflections on Chinua Achebe’s new book, There Was A Country, that was serialised over the course of five weeks in The Guardian between mid-December 2012 and early January this year, it will come as no surprise for me to say in the present context that I consider Achebe’s engagement of the topic of mediocrity in postcivil war Nigeria in his book one the most important but also most controversial issues raised in that book. It is needless to repeat here in detail what I said on this topic in my reflections on There Was A Country. All I wish to state here is that I was greatly startled and disturbed by Achebe’s oversimplifications in his treatment of this topic in his book. I was greatly perturbed particularly because in spite of the celebrated elegantly simple and lucid quality of his prose style, Achebe had always striven in his writings to shun stereotypes and simplifications while vigorously exploring the complexities and ambiguities of our history as a once-colonised nation and continent. But in his treatment of the origins and scope of mediocrity in presentday Nigeria in his new book, Achebe oversimplifies and rather distorts things by reducing everything to ethnicity. Nevertheless, he is right about one thing and that is the fact that systems and practices of great merit and excellence did exist once in our country, even though the sheer colossal scope of mediocrity in Nigeria at the present time might indicate otherwise. Indeed, on this point, Achebe is echoing many other commentators who have again and again bemoaned the total collapse of the high standards that once existed in education, public sanitation, road building and maintenance and many other aspects of life in our country. It is against this background that in the two-part series in this column beginning today, I am returning to this topic with the intention to explore it way beyond the little that I had to say about it in my review of Achebe’s book. The reason for this, I hope, will become apparent as we proceed with the discussion. First, a necessary caveat. Mediocrity is a very delicate subject to write about. Unless he or she is a humorist or a satirist, anyone that writes about the subject cannot escape the uncomfortable feeling that he or she is being patronising or condescending towards those he or she considers mediocre. For the charge, the label of mediocrity is always attached to an individual, a movement, a practice, a group, a nation, or a region of the world and typically, the one making the charge feels ethically and practically at a considerable distance from those targeted. Of course, if the charge pertains to a megalomaniacal individual that is universally known to be a mediocre person falsely posturing as a genius, the matter is quite simple and uncomplicated. But this is not a typical scenario: as far as I know, Olusegun Obasanjo is the only ruler in our political history that left an appalling record of mediocrity as his legacy but nevertheless

ity control over the work of the contractors. There is no escaping or ignoring what this means and this is the deadly union of mediocrity, power, and corruption. In governance, in the public life of any nation on the planet, there are few things more fatal to the public good than this unholy alliance. We shall have more to say on this point later in the discussion. With regard to the topic of our reflections in this piece, we are in a completely different domain in the world of Nollywood video films. As everyone knows, the great majority of these video films are so mediocre, so lacking in even minimal standards of cinematographic quality that it is hard to believe that the screenwriters, producers and directors that produce and market them have any professional expertise in filmmaking. But in this particular instance and in a very peculiar kind of incarnation, the mediocrity that we confront does not kill, at least not in the manner in which very poorly built and maintained roads and highways claim hundreds and thousands of lives. Indeed, a very plausible case could be made for the possibility that most of the consumers of Nollywood video films are not looking for excellence or merit in filmmaking; they are not looking for anything of elevated artistic or intellectual quality; all they are looking for are products that do not tax their minds and their brains, products that serve to offer some relief, some escapism from the great insecurities and soul-deadening tensions of life in our crisis-torn society in the age of Obasanjo, the PDP and the other ruling class parties that either refuse to or are incapable of politically, morally and ideologically distancing themselves from the ruling party. Is mediocrity in Nollywood films thus completely benign? That’s hardly the case, as I hope to demonstrate before the end of this twopart series. For now, let us bring the discussion this week to a conclusion by drawing attention to things that unite all forms and expressions of mediocrity in present-day Nigeria whether they are of the “benign” kind or the destructive, virulent variety. It kills me to acknowledge it, and even more so to state it, but we must have the courage to admit that before our very eyes and in the course of less than three generations, mediocrity has become as common to the native soil of Nigeria as the River Niger itself. Here’s another way of saying the same thing: In our country at the present time, mediocrity does not come in small doses, in humble accoutrements; rather, it comes decked out in superscale proportions, as if it didn’t do so, it would not be properly Nigerian. 98.2% failure rate among high school students taking their final public exams! The most poorly made films on the planet, and made too with total unselfconsciousness! The worst records on the planet in oil spillage and environmental pollution by the oil conglomerates doing business in our country and so far at least, they have gotten away with it and the heavens have not fallen on their uncontrite heads. A completely captive consumer population to whom the poorest services in GSM and internet access in the world are routinely rendered and nothing happens, nothing at all by way of restitution. The list goes on and on and on. Why has super-mediocrity taken its most assured and protected habitation on the planet in our country? This will be our starting point in next week’s concluding piece in the series as we argue that there is nothing irreducibly Nigerian in super-mediocrity and that what we confront in the phenomenon is the great and intimate connection that has developed over the course of the last two decades between mediocrity, corruption and social inequality between a tiny minority and the rest of the population in all the regions, geopolitical zones and ethnic communities of the country.


Festus Eriye



Comment & Analysis

T was former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, who in an interview granted this paper on the occasion of his 60th birthday, called President Goodluck Jonathan ‘Nigeria’s most dangerous politician.’ Part of that lethal effect comes from the fact that because he lacks the oratorical skills of a Bill Clinton, for example, people tend to underrate him and write him off as dour and ineffective. His chess-like moves that threw the muchvaunted Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) into disarray last week, show that you dismiss him at your own peril. But the greater danger of his brand of politics that embraces all the dodgy philosophies of the Diego Maradona school of thought is that it always ends in tears. Maradona is a famous former Argentinean football player who at the height of his powers at the World Cup finals in 1986 scored a vital goal against England using underhand tactics. He then blasphemously attributed the inspiration for his dubious goal to a holy God. He scored, he said, with a little help from “the hand of God!” For the Maradonas of this world the end always justifies the means. It doesn’t matter who or what is trampled upon or run over in the process. But the trouble with dribblers is that they soon tie themselves up in knots because they quickly run out of space for manouvre. Former President Ibrahim Babangida never called himself Maradona. But the moniker naturally attached itself to the man and never detached itself. And it was all down to his penchant for periodically sabotaging a political transition that he invented. This last week President Jonathan showed that he has assimilated the bare essences of Maradonic politics by demobilising and balkanising the NGF with the creation of the socalled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Gover-

Jonathan and his Maradona politics nors Forum (PDP-GF). But while the President and his men might count what happened in Aso Villa last week as some tremendous achievement, I am less than impressed. I have long held the view that the power and unity of the NGF is grossly exaggerated. A few weeks ago, prominent Ijaw leader, former Minister of Information, and Jonathan’s chief cheerleader, Chief Edwin Clark, was fulminating against the NGF – accusing the body of all sorts of crimes. In reaction to his comments I had written in my column of January 27, 2013 as follows: “Today, Clark would like us to believe that the NGF is this new-fangled monstrosity that is a clear and present danger to our democracy. Closer examination will, however, show that the behemoth has a soft underbelly. They can be a powerful bloc when they agree, but they are as powerless as a congregation of strange bedfellows when their interests diverge along regional, ethnic or monetary lines.” The Aso Rock drama therefore goes beyond a clash of egos between a prickly president who wouldn’t brook a contrary word being said about him, and a governor who in the eyes of the powers-that-be was beginning to spill out of his britches. It is, in reality, the foreplay for the coming 2015 battles. All these chess moves are evidence of an incumbent president who has decided to run and is putting structures in place to support such a bid. This sort of aggression is usually deployed for something greater than assuaging a bruised ego. After Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, blew the whistle on the one-term pact supposedly signed between Jonathan and PDP gover-

nors in 2011, the president’s spokesmen would not give a yes or no answer – but rather settled for hot air. The president will not be distracted and will only speak on such matters from next year, they said huffily. But we don’t need any other confirmation. His actions speak louder than words. His party chairman, Bamanga Tukur, has even come out to affirm the right of the president to run again. But here they all miss the point. In 2011 and as it is now, the real issue was not whether Jonathan as a Nigerian had the right to run. What we are confronted with is the reality that in politics in countries with a multiplicity of ethnic groups, things are not always resolved only by legalities. Sometimes factors like balance, fairness and spread come into play. In 1999, every Nigerian had a right to run for president. But the major parties that year decided that given the injustice suffered by the late Chief M. K. O. Abiola whose victory at the June 12, 1993 presidential polls was arbitrarily annulled by the military, that the South-West be compensated with the position in the interest of national reconciliation. That year, the PDP’s Olusegun Obasanjo ran against the All Peoples Party (APP)-Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, Olu Falae. Both men were Yoruba. Jonathan is free to run as the Tukur and the courts have said. But the question he will have to answer sooner than later is whether he gave his word to stand down after one term. It doesn’t matter whether he signed a physical document. Did he give his word of honour? I recall that after this deal was reached, and the northern governors left the group of Atiku Abubakar, Adamu Ciroma and Ibrahim Babangida and Aliyu Mohammed Gusau in the

“The tragedy for the president and country is that he talks up a storm about transforming Nigeria, yet his politics threatens to sink the nation deeper into the mire of division. Instead of offering the ‘breath of fresh air’ he promised during his 2011 campaign, all he’s doing is serving up the regurgitated banalities of previous leaders”

lurch, many of them became pariahs in their own states. They were perceived as treacherous individuals who deserved to be stoned for selling out the interest of their region. They stuck out their necks in the belief that a gentleman will keep his word. I suspect that someone like Atiku who was especially embittered by Jonathan’s decision to run in 2011 returned to PDP in the expectation that the president will not contest again. Surely, he must be wiser now. If there was a deep reservoir of resentment against Jonathan back then, it will be difficult to plumb the depths of regional ill-feeling were he to renounce his pact to serve for just one term. The tragedy for the president and country is that he talks up a storm about transforming Nigeria, yet his politics threatens to sink the nation deeper into the mire of division. Instead of offering the ‘breath of fresh air’ he promised during his 2011 campaign, all he’s doing is serving up the regurgitated banalities of previous leaders. What is so novel about locking governors up and showing them a video of Amaechi attacking him over the Bayelsa-Rivers oil wells dispute. The late General Sani Abacha patented the Aso Rock film show tour – trucking in everyone from traditional leaders to market women to watch bungling, bumbling generals planning to topple a master coup-plotter. In a country aspiring to build a democracy should we be coercing people using the tactics of military dictators, or engaging in a contest of ideas – no matter how contentious? What is so unique about changing the goal posts in mid-game? Babangida wrote the manual on that. As for renouncing agreements sealed with a handshake, Jonathan must have torn several pages out of the handbook of a couple of predecessors. Unfortunately, this base politics devoid of honour cannot take Nigeria far. If people occupying or aspiring to the high office of president can blithely disavow commitments they made to others – just because they didn’t sign a written document – why should we believe anything they tell us when they come seeking our votes again? Nigeria certainly deserves better.


Comment & Analysis


Pharaoh and the NGF President Jonathan is waxing into a tyrant


ESPONDING publicly last year to critics who perceived and condemned his presidency as weak and vacillating, President Goodluck Jonathan famously declared that on no account would he behave like a Pharaoh or Nebuchadnezzar. That he would rather be seen as weak than toe the path of tyranny, dictatorship and lawlessness was clearly the impression he sought to create. We are thus alarmed at the increasing dictatorial posture, high-handedness and even paranoia of the President. It is indeed becoming so difficult to distinguish between President Jonathan and the all-powerful Pharaoh of the Bible fame he tried to distance himself from not too long ago. Many Nigerians would certainly be right to wonder if a most humble President who once plaintively told them about his shoeless boyhood is not fast becoming a dictator before their very eyes. In one of his nationally televised presidential media chats last year, for instance, President Jonathan, in response to a question, said he would not publicly declare his assets and did not ‘give a damn’ what anybody thought about that. There has definitely been a disturbing change in the President’s attitude, carriage, disposition and body language. Perhaps, the man did not change. Like the autumnal foliage, he is only now showing his true colours, or the people are only now seeing it. Jonathan is no more hiding his determination to wield the full and imperial powers of the presidency to crush any perceived opposition in his path. We recall, for instance, how he, for inexplicable reasons, declared virtual war on the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylva, and vowed that the latter would not have a second term in office. A President who was helpless to respond effectively to waves of Boko Haram insurgency in the North was quick to deploy massive force – the police, army, navy and air force – to impose the victory of his anointed candidate, Seriake Dickson, in the highly militarised Bayelsa State governorship election. Right now, the target of President Jonathan’s anger is the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and particularly its chairman, Chief Rotimi Amaechi. Some of President Jonathan’s close associates, including the Ijaw elder and statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, have launched vitriolic attacks against the NGF, arguing that the governors constitute an opposition bloc to the President. This


OLITICIANS live a life of noisy desperation. It is all about how to outsmart, outwit and oust any contrary opposition. Sometimes, what they term as opposition is not opposition in the real sense of the word. They mistake critics or divergent opinions for opposition. This is glaringly what the presidency has taken Governor Chibuike Amaechi for, because of his unequivocal and unrelenting approach in the business of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), which he heads as Chairman. Down home, because President Goodluck Jonathan is Ijaw, and Amaechi is Ikwerre, many uninformed opinions and politicians from the Ijaw extraction have taken Amaechi to be in a war of slow-destruction against the Ijaw, because he addresses the views of the NGF, many times, challenging the stance of the federal government on any national issue. Some have likened Amaechi as a University Union President who is always challenging the authority. To this set of people, they have ignorantly mistaken the presidency as the authority that Amaechi has been challenging, but this is a biased viewpoint. So, for now, it should be taken that Amaechi has not challenged and is not challenging any authority no matter the quarter that has been hatching this propaganda war against Amaechi. It was Amaechi that made the NGF the formidable force it has become today, not to scuttle the presidency, but for the

is obviously because the forum has been very resolute in resisting arbitrary deductions from the Federation Account or such extra-constitutional contraptions as the Excess Crude Account or the Sovereign Wealth Fund. In the case of Governor Amaechi, his ‘sins’ include his fierce opposition to the payment of proceeds from certain disputed oil wells within Rivers State to the Bayelsa State government, as well as the belief that he is being positioned to be the running mate to a northern presidential candidate in 2015. So far, the presidency has not denied widespread media reports that President Jonathan actually threatened PDP governors at a meeting at the Presidential Villa last Monday, insisting that Amaechi must be removed as chairman of the governor’s forum. The PDP governors were reportedly treated to video clips of Amaechi’s alleged verbal attacks against the President, with Jonathan hinting darkly that the machinery of government would be deployed against any governor who failed to cooperate in the bid to oust Amaechi from the chairmanship of the NGF. Such ‘recalcitrant’ governors were allegedly threatened with withdrawal of their security aides as well as being denied access to funds from the excess crude account. Despite these subtle threats, however, Amaechi still enjoys the support of the majority of his colleagues. Faced with this scenario, the presidency instigated the formation of a new PDP Governor’s Forum with Governor Godswill Akpabio as its chairman. This move is clearly aimed at weakening the NGF and breaking its ranks. Meanwhile, the governors have decided that Amaechi will continue as Chairman of the NGF till a


•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 Kunle Fagbemi

new election is held in May. This newspaper commends the governors for standing their ground and refusing to be browbeaten by a desperate presidency and its primitive antics. In the same vein, we vehemently condemn President Jonathan’s blatant attempt to intimidate the governors and his needless meddling in the affairs of the NGF. By his acts of arm-twisting blackmail of the governors, Jonathan reduced his presidency from its lofty and cathedral dignity to a pedestrian low. The NGF is a voluntary association of governors rather than a body created by the constitution. By trying to dictate who their leader should be, the President was not only abridging their constitutionally guaranteed right of association, he acted contrary to the spirit of federalism, which recognises the centre and the states as being ‘equal and coordinate’ in their respective spheres of influence. In spite of the cries to pursue an inviolate federal system, the Jonathan administration still operates with a unitary mindset, a tragic throwback to the discredited sensibility of our military past. Despite his protestations to the contrary, it is obvious that the President is so preoccupied with his 2015 ambition that meaningful governance has taken a back seat. He is right at the centre of the raging battle for the soul of his party, the PDP and this intra-party conflict is fuelled largely by the 2015 polls. It is thus no surprise that with a distracted President preoccupied with political warfare, the much touted ‘Transformation Agenda’ remains an empty slogan. In pursuit of his personal ambition, he acquits himself like a lame-duck president barely two years in his term. He has fractured the NGF, thereby interfering with a cardinal constitutional principle: freedom of association. He has also problematised the practice of federalism. More importantly, governance is now a weary priority: infrastructure, education, agriculture, power and other high flyers in the needs of the Nigerian people now suffer miserable neglect. This is the president as egoist, a self-serving exercise of executive authority. This is no monarchy or dictatorship. Executive power should only be exercised within the limits of the law, decency and popular interest. This he has not done. If he claimed not to be a pharaoh, then what we see today is a pharaoh denying himself.


Amaechi and desperate politicians aspirations and objectives of the NGF. Happily, Amaechi and A majority of the governors that consist the NGF are members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). If Amaechi were in the opposition it can be brought home the speculation making the rounds that he is against Jonathan. How can he be against Jonathan when virtually 85% of the NGF’s members are PDP? It will not be out of contest to say that it is not Amaechi or the NGF that is desperate in the ongoing politics, but the presidency. The unfolding reports between Amaechi and the risky-in-nature plot by the

presidency to oust him as the chairman of NGF are clear indications that the presidency does not want any challenge from any quarters, but loyalists. It cannot be said that this is democracy, if Amaechi’s opinions representing that of the NGF are termed the enemy’s, because of certain interest group for the 2015 elections. Does anybody think that Amaechi has anything to lose if his purported quest to be re-elected as the NGF’s chair fails? The fight against Amaechi started when the news from the rumour mills started to

circulate that he was nursing the ambition for the presidency in 2015, as a possible running-mate to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, which he has rebuffed several times. Somebody might say that before the news started circulating it had been mirrored through the presidency’s intelligence mirror, but why still tag that on his neck when he has declared in public that there was nothing of that kind in his political career, at least, for now? What Nigerians expect from Jonathan is to be meeting the yearnings of the populace, and not the meetings with the PDP on how to oust Amaechi;

hence a splinter group named PDP Governors Forum emerged. Would they also throw Amaechi out of this splinter group since he is a member of the PDP? If the presidency is blunt to Amaechi, it should know that it is also blunt to the people of Rivers State that Amaechi governs; no strategy that was meant to dampen any opinion that is not tyrannical! As far as the NGF is concerned, any of its members that is seeking loyalty for the presidency can be regarded as a traitor. The loyalty of any member of any group should be for the group and not the other. In this case, there is no gainsaying the

The alleged Yoruba marginalisation


HE issue of Yoruba marginalisation is “much ado about nothing”. Yoruba are lucky not to be involved in the present administration. The administration is nothing to write home about. It has not done anything remarkable, and moreover why are Yoruba clamouring for inclusion when those already in it have nothing to show for it? Dr. Doyin Okupe wouldn’t be happy to contest for visibil-

ity with any Yoruba man. He enjoys the exclusion of other persons from South-west. Apart from this, what has he done to justify his presence in the administration? Yoruba do not enjoy going cap in hand begging for positions in the past, and why now? Are we missing anything? No! We are not. The political party in the Southwest are doing their best. The Yoruba are highly favoured by God that they do

not belong to the ruling party at the federal level. What is best is for the ruling party in the South-west is to win more states in the next election. The added states won will learn the art of good governance from them. Excuse me, what did the South-west enjoy even when a Yoruba man was at the helm of affairs at the federal level? Virtually nothing. What the Yoruba need is not seeking for inclusion in government but unity with other like-minded people

in the country to defeat the kleptomaniac government at the federal level. It is the best opportunity to demonstrate how to operate all inclusive governance. Therefore, leave Jonathan and his lackeys alone and let the Yoruba strategise for the next election. Thanks. By Rev. Christopher Lekan Alawode

fact that the presidency is also a strong opposition to the NGF, without the later knowing it. What was expected of the NGF’s members to do was to question the right the presidency had in interfering in its matter. If Amaechi will go, it has to be done by the members of the NGF, and not by any wandering aggressor. Anybody viewing the NGF as an arm of the ruling PDP, therefore, the presidency has the right to interfere, is not just being truthful. If this is not true, why have there been speculations that the Czar of the NGF might come from an opposition party if by tomorrow Amaechi did not emerge chairman the second time? Though, as it stands, Amaechi has proved that he also knows how to fight, and not only how to talk. In this stance, it was expected that the objective of Jonathan when he wanted to be elected as president was good governance and not to wrestle power or anybody. Though, the constitution of men, they say, is not written on their faces. What did Amaechi do? The presidency should stop creating fictitious stories against him before the public. The attempt to fool Nigerians that Amaechi was doing this and that against the presidency should stop. This government should know that it is becoming irritating every day, while using the media as cover, for its noisy desperation for power. Odimegwu Onwumere, Port Harcourt.




Comment & Analysis

Yoruba marginalisation: to what effect? (3) Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni


OME readers have asked if enough words have not been spoken or written in the last few weeks about Yoruba marginalization and if it is not time to yield media space to other pressing national issues. Marginalisation is a national issue. It just happens that the focus today is on the Yoruba, but the practice of marginalisation of one ethnic group by another in control of central power has been with the country for long and does not show any promise of abating or disappearing until there is a major structural change in the political and economic organisation of the country. Hence, the four-part essay originally planned for this column on Yoruba marginalisation will be completed, despite feelings by some readers that the topic has been treated ad nauseam already. It is important for us to gbo ara wa l’agbo ye (understand each other well) on this issue, particularly as discussions in print or electronic media only start new rounds of communication for citizens in the informal sector, where Nigerians exchange ideas and feelings about the country in which

Femi Orebe femi.orebe 08056504626 (sms only)


RECENTLY wrote here about the historian’s episodic or epochal interpretation/explanation of historical events. The history of this column falls squarely into that paradigm. It began largely as a counterpoise to Obasanjo’s cynical, indeed, absolutely contemptuous treatment of, not just anything Ekiti, but of Ekiti people themselves sparing no contempt and denigrating to his heart’s content, the very icons we hold in awe and great respect in that part of the country. Nor did he stop there. He believed it was his divine right to inflict on us just about anybody as governor and would not stop until he had, in spite of an inchoate impeachment of the sitting governor, whimsically gifted us his kinsman, the genial General Olurin, as sole Administrator in a totally needless and, induced, emergency administration. That was a period when I thought nothing of his massive powers but wrote here on this page, literally every Sunday, detailing our ordeal under his creeping misrule. Then came the equally intolerable phase when, courtesy his military jackboots, a peoples’ victory was aborted at the collation centre. That period started on a day when, though Ekiti people were already on the streets dancing and celebrating Kayode Fayemi’s victory in the 2007 gubernatorial elections, INEC, acting on orders from above, miraculously divined a PDP victory out of nowhere. Thus began a long period of thoroughly acerbic dirges detailing, and recording for posterity, all the shenanigans the candidate, and ipso facto, Ekiti was made to go through going from one tribunal to another until God, in His infinite mercy ensured that truth trumped falsity and the cocktails of judicial lies and aberrations were summarily incinerated.

The neglect that the Yoruba region is currently experiencing from the Jonathan administration is an intrinsic part of the de-federalisation of Nigeria by military regimes, all in the name of promoting national unity. nature or colonialism has put them. Those who are familiar with the informal sector know that nearly as much thinking and talking go on there as do exist in the formal sector. Since the issue of Yoruba marginalisation became popular a few weeks ago, several political groups and socio-cultural organisations, as well as highly informed individuals have tried to throw more light on the topic. The topic has begotten deep analysis and in some cases exaggerated conclusions that include blaming the victim. There is nothing in political action or cultural style of the Yoruba that should encourage any national leader or the federal government to marginalise the Yoruba or any other nationality for that matter. Plurality of perspective is an abiding aspect of Yoruba civilization. It has been this way since the beginning of Yoruba history. The Yoruba belief in life as a market place of ideas and options (graphically couched in Eyi to wu mi ko wu o ni omo iya meji fi n jeun lototo, difference in taste indicates why siblings eat separately) explains the readiness of the Yoruba to be tolerant of other cultures and to be ready to live with them without attempting to dominate them. Therefore, that the Yoruba are found in all political parties that exist in the country does not indicate disunity. It is, therefore, misleading to blame the worldview of the Yoruba

for the marginalisation they now experience under the presidency of President Jonathan in particular and have in general experienced since the re-shaping of the Nigerian polity by military dictators. This is not to say that Yoruba individuals, like their counterparts in other cultures around the world, do not have flaws. One of such flaws is manifested by Yoruba men and women in President Jonathan’s party that is seen to have marginalised the Yoruba region. Such Yoruba PDP members have shown no concern about claims that the Jonathan administration has neglected the Yoruba region. But to encourage the Yoruba in whatever form to depart from their belief in plurality of views is to call for cultural suicide on the part of the nationality. Even if all Yoruba citizens were to suddenly alter their worldview and collectively vow to think alike on all issues and join one political party, the marginalisation of the ethnic group is not likely to come to an end. The neglect that the Yoruba region is currently experiencing from the Jonathan administration is an intrinsic part of the de-federalisation of Nigeria by military regimes, all in the name of promoting national unity. Direct and indirect marginalisation of one ethnic group or the other has been a part of the country’s history since 1966. At the hands of military governments, what used to be three regions (one from the north and two

from the south) were changed into 36 states with 19 states from the North and 17 from the South. Over 400 of the local governments in the country were allocated to the North by military regimes under a dispensation that also allocated funds from the federation account to local governments. In effect, the revenue garnered from petroleum at the expense of the ecology of the Niger Delta was mobilized and allocated to northern states much more than to southern states, on the thinking in military circles that even development would create national unity. In a way, Jonathan is a victim of the policy of marginalisation and could have developed the complex of someone abused or oppressed by the Nigerian political system. Could his marginalisation of the Yoruba have ensued from a past of deprivation suffered by his people at the hands of other federal governments? But why would he punish the Yoruba for the oppression of the Niger Delta? The legislative strength of the North in the National Assembly makes any attempt to neglect the North dangerous for him politically. The cultural overlap between Jonathan’s region of origin and the Southeast makes it unnecessary to hit at the Igbo region. The only region that becomes to ignore in the re-distribution of national projects is the Yoruba region, with 22% per cent of the population but with just about 8% of the legislative strength at the federal level.

The policy or practice of marginalisation is only a symptom of a cause that should be familiar to all observers of the country’s cultural politics. Fifty years of the advantages awarded to the North over the two southern regions by military dictators (most of whom are also from the North) had created a culture of deprivation in leaders who may not be psychologically capable of overcoming the negative effect of neglect. As things are, the country will need to have heroic individuals as presidents, if it is to bring domination of ethnic group by another that has the advantage of federal power to an end. For long, the ideology of even development created by military dictators and its subtext: the theology of ethnic or regional domination and exploitation have shaped the thinking of military and civilian leaders who now claim to be policemen of mainstream politics. Jonathan is largely a product of primitive geopolitical pressure or ethnic rivalry that pits the North against the South or the Southsouth/Southeast against the Southwest. But the appropriation of the nation’s resources by the federal government and the geopolitical pressure by leaders of large or small ethnic groups with federal executive power on ethnic groups with small legislative strength have to be addressed by patriotic citizens and organisations, if Nigeria is to achieve its potential as Africa’s most populous state. To be continued

Fayemi: Of values and the building of a successor generation in Nigeria True leadership is something quite distinct from holding an office or a position. Indeed at a point, the columnist advised the President, and Obasanjo’s protege, the late Yar ‘Adua, to order for coffins if they insisted on inflicting their whim and caprice on hapless Ekiti people as we were prepared to fight to the last man. That epoch has been fittingly chronicled in THE LONG WALK, a book by aides of governor Fayemi in which I am privileged not only to have a decent mention but which I assisted in editing. Since October 16, 2010 therefore, it has become my bounden duty on this page, to the chagrin of not a few, to project the unprecedented milestones of the Kayode Fayemi administration , at least, one of which – the social security payments to the elderly - is clearly unprecedented in this country. These preliminary remarks became necessary because some are bound to rave and rant at merely seeing the title of this article since to them, bringing the good works of a public servant to the public space tantamounts to sycophancy. For such knaves, I have neither apologies nor explanations except to say that this column, in unalterably promoting the good of Ekiti and the Southwest in particular, and Nigeria at large, predates Dr Fayemi’s involvement in partisan politics even though he had much earlier came into the Nigerian consciousness via the Radio Kudirat which he operated with others at great personal risk. And those making the charge obviously do not know how much Kayode Fayemi detests obsequiousness. ‘Nough said. In interrogating the above topic at the Ist Inter-Disciplinary Public Lecture of the Post-Graduate School Of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, on Monday, February 26, 2013, Dr Fayemi started off by posing the following questions after he had drawn attention to the oft-quoted cliche that The Trouble with Nigeria is a failure of leadership:

‘If, after thirty years, we are still citing bad leadership as the root of all or most of our problems, why should we not now, be interrogating the cultural and institutional forces, both subliminal and overt, which conspire to ensure that our society constantly throws up bad leaders?’ He went further: ‘If Nigeria is to stand a chance of national rebirth shouldn’t we, of necessity, ensure that the old brigade described by Prof. Wole Soyinka as the ‘wasted generation’ and which - has to act as nursing mother to the emerging generation - does not contaminate them with the same tendencies and thus prime them to failure?’ These were essentially the challenges he set out to answer and because of the seminal nature of his suggestions I believe the lecture deserves to be taken far outside the limiting purview of a leaned journal. However, since it is beyond my ken to reduce a lecture of that depth and fecundity to a half page, I have decided to restrict myself to his views on leadership. For starters, it is his view, that it is time we soberly reflect and take those affirmative actions that will be geared towards ensuring a successor generation which will effectively redefine the ‘Nigerian dream’ in which the younger generation was fast losing faith. In discussing leadership failure in Nigeria, Dr Fayemi identified the following three key elements: Corruption and the decline of moral values; the conceptual debasement of leadership itself; and the inability and unwillingness of leaders to reproduce themselves’ Corruption, he says, has remained alive and kicking in our society simply because of the creeping monetization of values and the growing inability to perceive and articulate one’s life goals in non-material terms. Young Nigerians, he says, have been socialized in such a way that they have no conception of non-material achieve-

ment, resulting instead in a culture that serenades only the wealthy and esteems the “big man”, but never the studious with our institutions eagerly assisting in suffocating the spark of idealism which would have facilitated our nation’s renewal.. Leadership, which he contends, is neither an office nor a title but a function, is consequently debased in our country since the pomp and pageantry, the long motorcades, the sirens, the circus-like atmospherics surrounding political leadership have become the only signs and symbols of power. He went further to assert that the inability or unwillingness of leaders to reproduce themselves in far better molds, which has worsened our circumstances as a nation, is signposted by our dominant cultural and institutional models which are defined by the exercise of raw power, projecting a paradigm that is based on fear and exploitation. This he considers largely a legacy of military authoritarianism with leadership cast in the image of jack-booted soldiers wielding whips, guns and swagger-sticks. In concluding this short piece, and to understand the lecturer’s thought process and his well-merited place as an intellectual in politics, it is apposite that we quote him, at some length, and directly, on what he sees as the ‘deus ex machina’ to Nigeria’s myriad problems. Says Dr Fayemi, ‘we need to rescue the concept of leadership itself from the cheapening it has undergone. True leadership is something quite distinct from holding an office or a position. We will enhance the quality of leadership on our shores if we dissociate it from the acquisition of titles and positions. True leadership is influence. It is driven by core convictions, values and ideas. In a profound sense, leadership is living out one’s values and ideas. It is the

sheer power of personal example that projects influence. For the next generation of leaders, it is essential that we recognize that one does not need a political office or title to become an exemplar of higher values. We also need to redefine elitism. Traditionally, the term ‘elite’ referred to those who are enlightened. Over the course of the past decades, the monetization of our values has yielded an association of elitism with wealth. We perceive elites to be those who are simply wealthy. The first generation nationalists such as Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Hezekiah Davies, Aminu Kano and Adegoke Adelabu among others were men of thought as well as men of action. They wrote books, pamphlets and articles. They popularised their ideas aggressively. They thought deeply about their society and disseminated their musings. ‘For instance, while campaigning for the presidency in 1979, Awolowo said, “Look at the books which I have written, the lectures which I have given, and the many speeches and statements which I have made. You will find that there is no problem confronting or about to confront Nigeria to which I have not given thought and for which I have not proffered intelligent and reasoned solutions.” It was no idle boast. Awolowo was the most prolific of the founding fathers. It seems almost absurd to us today for a politician to advertise his intellect as one of his qualifications for high office’ If Nigerian leaders and the led, especially its youth will read in full, not just this article, but Dr Fayemi’s offering on : Reflections on Values and the Building of A Successor Generation in Nigeria’, whether on the internet, in hard copy or in learned journals, we just may have made that first step in facilitating and ensuring our country’s renewal and survival as a worthy member of the comity of nations.

Comment & Analysis



Adegboyega 08054503906 (sms only)


O one needs to be told that the race for 2015 has begun. Sometime ago, some strange campaign posters appeared in Abuja, the federal capital territory, canvassing a second term for President Goodluck Jonathan. The Presidency disowned them. Of course that was the logical thing to do, especially for a government that has been in power for close to two years and has so little to show for it. But that is the way they have been running Nigeria. May be President Jonathan has been somewhat charitable not to have come out with his intention to contest for a second term earlier because of the too many troubles that his administration has had to contend with, chief of which is the security question. Most other elected officials - president, governors and all, used to begin campaign a little after their first year in office. But the allegation by Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, to the effect that the President had an agreement with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors not to stay beyond one term in office is like an objective question which requires a simple 'yes' or 'no'. However, we have not heard a convincing answer. Rather, the otherwise innocuous statement by Governor Aliyu has led to unanticipated reactions within the ruling party. We, the people, may not know yet if there was such an agreement; but what we know is that someone is telling lies or is being economical with the truth. It is either such a pact

Postscript, Unlimited! By

Oyinkan Medubi 07057012862 (SMS only)


This week, reader, we will turn our minds to a higher and more edifying subject: the politics of a woman's indisposition. What, for instance, can we impute to be the exact value of a woman's headache? True, many things are usually scampering around a woman's brain. Perhaps that explains why, whenever I have been rummaging around in my handbag for a very important item, I have come across little note-reminders of things to do about and on the house: 'paint other half of kitchen wall', 'restore order in the garden', 'bring in last week's laundry', 'please paint other half of kitchen wall', 'resume aerobics class', 'cut meat with knife, not nail file', 'must definitely paint other half of kitchen wall this year'… The other half of the kitchen wall is still not painted, the garden still looks pretty much as if Adam has had to vacate it in a hurry again, the laundry still spends days waiting for the midnight sun, aerobic classes go on without me... But can that account for all the well-timed headaches women have? Let's see now. A renowned fictional character lists the things that women are said to be: nagging, noisy, agitated, infuriating, illogical, irrational, weepy, wanting to be sent flowers, and forever straightening their hairs instead of


Did you or did you not? Did Jonathan sign any pact on one term? exists or it does not. The implication now, lends credence to the fact that this country has been in the firm grips of Judases. If people cannot be truthful over little things, how then can we continue to trust such people with our future? I am not necessarily saying he did; but I remember that one of the very first things that President Jonathan did was to fly a kite on a seven-year single term mandate for the president and governors in 2011, two months after his swearing in. The President was said to be concerned about the acrimony generated by reelection after four years. Secondly, he had earlier told the Save Nigeria Group that he considered four years too short for any leader to make any meaningful impact. Jonathan had said then though, that he did not intend to benefit from the arrangement. But Nigerians who had travelled that road several times saw through the shenanigans and rejected it outright. What the Presidency needs as defence on this issue is brandish good governance instead of harassing people who brought the alleged pact into remembrance. Unfortunately, the PDP has failed to give good govern-

ance in about 14 years. That is why the party's big wigs are jittery and that is why we are having all these scheming and rumblings in the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF). Even if President Jonathan signed a pact with the PDP governors not to serve beyond a term in office, that will become null and void if he is adjudged to have done well by the time the 2015 elections come. Again, even if the President admits to signing such an agreement and on his honour announces his intention to leave the stage in 2015, it is Nigerians who will insist that he stays on to 'complete the good works that he has started. ' It is because the party knows that Nigerians are now more aware of its failure and the widespread corruption that the party has legitimised that it is now turning the whole thing into 'rofo rofo' fight. Again, unfortunately, this would lead the PDP nowhere. The party has fooled the people almost all of the time and it is not likely it would get away with that again. PDP itself seems to have realised this and that is why it has brought expiring people who should be tending to their grandchildren at home

Nigeria's presidency is just too powerful. That is why the President would summon governors and they would run to Abuja; their tails between their legs … No one wields such enormous powers and capitulates on the basis of a pact condemning him (as it were) to one term. It takes more than honour to admit that such a pact exists, not after tasting the mudun mudun (sweet things) in government at that level. If ever such a pact existed, I guess it was done at a time of ignorance.

to come and 'fix' things for it come 2015. But the party would be hugely disappointed that Nigerians would resoundingly reject it in 2015 if it fails to improve on its record, in a way that the 'Fixer' himself would be too dazed to fix anything. But what is happening in the PDP should surprise no one. Many people had predicted that it was only a matter of time for the party to implode. I guess that prophecy is about coming to pass. The party itself has acknowledged that it harbours more Judases than genuine disciples. Even 'baby' Christians know that Judas Iscariot, the only Judas among Jesus' 12 disciples, was one too many. Now that the ruling party has confirmed that it has more Judases in its fold than genuine disciples, we do not need to look too far for why this country has been like this, especially since 1999. The problem now is that we do not know which of the factions is the authentic Judas' faction, because, for every original, there is always a fake. We saw that in Moses vs. the Egyptian magicians. Instead of telling Nigerians that 'yes', the President signed a pact, or 'no' the President did nothing of such; governors were summoned to watch the video recording of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State who allegedly 'disparaged' the President. It's like watching of video has become a pastime in our seat of power. We remember how a general was shown in one such video in the military era prostrating for another general when caught in the quagmire of a coup. The fretting general, a learned man for that matter, did not know when he mistook 'masterminder' for mastermind! A case of when a hunter of humans sneezes, that of elephants

catches cold? All said, we all know that for Nigeria to make progress, PDP must speak in incoherent tunes. Unless the party breaks, we cannot move forward. If it could happen in Ogun State in 2011, it can happen again and again. We should pray ceaselessly for a repeat of the Tower of Babel crisis in the PDP. For those who are getting worried about a budding dictator, they are only worried over nothing. God has always fixed every such dictator in this country; they either retraced their step or they got consumed like the greedy fly that follows dead bodies to the grave. That is why I will never lose sleep over dictatorship, budding or full blown. Only last week, I said Mrs. Patience Jonathan must have wrestled seriously with death to be alive after nine operations within one month since no one in her shoes would succumb simply because Mr. Death sneezed. In the same vein, for ill, Nigeria's presidency is just too powerful. That is why the President would summon governors and they would run to Abuja; their tails between their legs. That is why the President could threaten to castrate state governments financially and he would get away with it. Some have argued that many governors tremble at the President's feet not because they do not know their rights but because their hands are soiled and the President has the dossier to do them in if they fail to fall in line. No one wields such enormous powers and capitulates on the basis of a pact condemning him (as it were) to one term. It takes more than honour to admit that such a pact exists, not after tasting the mudun mudun (sweet things) in government at that level. If ever such a pact existed, I guess it was done at a time of ignorance.

The joy of the birds, bees and flowers (1) Women say Nigerian men are unemotional, uncaring, blind, brusque, brutish, and unromantic; while men say women are nagging, noisy, infuriating, illogical, irrational and weepy. the contents of their heads! But I ask you: is it such a bad thing to be sent flowers rather than bills? And do women really nag? The way I see it, women tend to be repetitive, but I think it is mostly because men tend not to hear them, mainly I think, because women tend to be repetitive and so on; but that's not enough to cause a headache. The average woman doesn't really know what she is about or wants until sometime in her middle ages. That's when she discovers she has teeth to laugh with. She also discovers sex; or is supposed to. It's not as if it's not been there all along. After all, there are the children to show that something must have happened. But what exactly, she will be hard put to explain. Quite often, she has been so preoccupied with sundry affairs such as indulging her anxieties over children, work and husband that she does not notice the years slide down the hill, pulling her relentlessly along until she is close to collapsing at its foot in a heap! Then she panics and grabs for a bit of self assertion: she 'invents' the headache. Ah Ha!! There's the reason for them infernal things. Someone once asked me a very confidential question. Saith he: very often, when I want to be alone with my wife in the evening, she says she has a headache; is she telling the truth? Or is she using headache as an excuse just to avoid me? Frankly speaking, the question threw me, for I never imagined that my own headaches could be invested with such political values that would someday be the subject

of some kind of parliamentary inquiry. I get headaches from many things: our African sun; my full sink; my empty purse; PU deadlines that bear down on me like meteorites every week… just name it. I guess no one will ever know the exact value of a woman's headache. A friend once told me that she had bedtime anxieties. Whenever night-time approached, she would start by moaning about a 'terrible' headache, then graduate to lying down 'for a while', then ask the children to buy her some Panadol tablets, then ask that all lights in the room where she lay be turned off, and finally the children should not let her hear any noises. After all that, no one would have the heart to ask her for anything. Perhaps, these convenient headaches could be due to the fact that most women think that Nigerian men just don't know the meaning of the word 'romantic' and so do not think the trip worth the while. They say Nigerian men are unemotional, uncaring, blind, brusque, brutish, unromantic, dishonest, difficult to please, violent and don't know how to treat a lady. For one thing, most men think the most romantic moment is when they hand over the month's housekeeping allowance. For another, they are more likely to wonder what's got into the woman if she decides to send the children to stay with her sister, leaving just the two of them in the house 'for a romantic evening'. 'Are you mad?! You sent my children to stay with that sister of yours who doesn't know how to cook? What do you want my chil-

dren to eat this night, bread? If you don't go and fetch them back this instant, this ground will be higher than you!' Now, I ask you! Perhaps again, these headaches do occur because women are never off duty, unlike the men who have this superb ability to distance themselves from the problems of the home. Sometimes, when the lights are turned down low, and the mood is catholically pure for that romantic joust, the woman is more apt to exclaim: 'oh look, it's this part of the ceiling that's leaking again! I had been wondering where the water was coming from. Wait; let me get a bowl to collect it.' And off she goes. Or, she might exclaim instead, 'Ha, Baba Wale, I forgot to tell you that while you were out yesterday, we found a snake in the compound but it escaped into the garage. If you can help us look for it later...' Furthermore, many women probably do not obtain the maximum benefit from any romantic venture because of the fact that our culture does not really permit any pampering for women. Rather than be sent flowers for instance, a woman is lucky if she is allowed to ask one question: how many children should she produce in this union? And rather than be dined and wined and wrapped in the gentle hues of candle lights turned down low, she may be given the chance to ask a second question: what sex? For, the wrong one can send her out of the house. Things may not be this bad in some cases, but to African women in general, the joy of the

birds, the bees and the flowers is much overrated. Generally, culture imparts the idea that women have very few rights, especially in the matter of the birds and the bees. Women believe it and do not act; men believe it and act on it. Unfortunately, education or lack of it, does not really have much to do with this as it happens to 'em all; the illiterate, the halfwit, and the super elite. While women in the first and second categories simply grin and bear it, those in the third have refused to be so helpless. Collectively and all to a woman, they have taken their fate into their hands, gone into a closeted meeting, and have come out with a unified resolve: to have headaches until such a time that their opinions would count. This thus accounts for the lying-ins and the evening-evening Paracetamol! Clearly, there is an impasse here that would task even the famed sagacity of our Socrates. Headaches, for one, are difficult to prove or disprove; culture, on the other hand, is difficult to change. So, while the women hold their heads, the men hold their groins. I rather think the women should bring down their hands and demand instead their rights. A Nigerian woman is entitled to maximum romantic considerations; flowers, candle lights and all, or let us all agree that the matter of the birds and the bees is best left to the birds and the bees. •A version of this article was first published in 2006 or thereabouts to celebrate women.




•Georg Ganswein

•His ring

•Social media •Mater Ecclesiae - Benedict's new home in the Vatican

1. Name and title He will be known as Pope emeritus, or Roman pontiff emeritus, the Vatican announced on Tuesday. He will also continue to be known by his papal title of Benedict XVI, rather than reverting to Joseph Ratzinger, and he will continue to be addressed as "Your Holiness" Benedict XVI - in the same way, for example, as US presidents continue to be referred to as "president" after leaving office. "Emeritus" is a Latin word meaning "retired", from the verb "emereri" - to earn one's discharge by service. 2. New home Benedict XVI will leave the Vatican by helicopter before he resigns at 20:00 (19:00 GMT) on Thursday, but he will return in about three months to a new residence - a former convent known as Mater Ecclesiae - in the south-west corner of Vatican City. Reports suggest Vatican gardeners will continue to cultivate a 500 sq m organic fruit and vegetable garden there - the Pope is said to enjoy marmalade made from its oranges. Meanwhile as Mater Ecclesiae is refurbished - he will stay in the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. 3. His clothing The Pope emeritus will continue to wear papal white - rather than the black of an ordinary priest, or the red of a cardinal. However it will be a simple cassock, with none of the flamboyant hats and vestments he revived during his papacy (prompting the Wall Street Journal to ask "Does the Pope Wear Prada?") He will be giving up his trademark red shoes, wearing instead brown shoes handmade for him by Mexican craftsmen during a visit to the country

•His clothing

10 things about the Pope's retirement Pope Benedict XVI's resignation - the first by a Pope for more than 600 years - is forcing the Vatican to consider some unusual questions. Here are 10 answers. last year. 4. His ring The papal gold ring, known as the fisherman's ring, will be smashed with a specially designed silver hammer when the Pope leaves office. No change here from normal practice. "Objects strictly tied to the ministry of St Peter must be destroyed," the Vatican says. His personal seal will also be defaced. 5. His duties Benedict XVI will have no further administrative or official duties. He will not participate in the conclave to elect his successor (nor will any cardinal over the age of 80), though, since he appointed 67 of the 115 men who will take part in the conclave, his influence will be felt. Senior Catholics have also been re-reading speeches made by Benedict XVI before of his retirement for any hints about the qualities he believes his successor will require. 6. Life in retirement Announcing his resignation, the Pope said he would spend his time praying for the Church. His elder brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, has also said Benedict would be happy to

advise his successor, if required. Writing and studying also seems likely to be on the agenda - Benedict had a library of 20,000 books installed in the papal apartments when he was elected in 2005. He also enjoys playing the piano and watching old black-and-white comedies - and he loves cats. At least one, Contessina, is known to live at Mater Ecclesiae. 7. Social media The Pope's Twitter accounts (@Pontifex and its eight different language versions) will go into hibernation when Benedict XVI steps down. He is expected to utter his final tweets along with his final general audience on Wednesday and before he departs the Vatican on Thursday - saying goodbye to the 2.5 million followers he has gained since opening his account late last year. Whether he will take the papal iPad on the helicopter is an open question. During the "interregnum" - the period between two popes - Vatican updates will be distributed from the Secretariat of State's account @TerzaLoggia.

8. Golden parachute Modest as Benedict XVI's retirement plans may be, as a bishop he will retain the Vatican's generous private healthcare policy and is likely to have recourse to the doctors who currently manage his medical treatment. It's possible he will continue to be cared for by the small group of German nuns who have looked after him during his papacy. As a pope has not retired for 600 years, there's no precedent for a papal pension plan, but Canon law requires each diocese to look after the welfare of retiring clerics. Rome will doubtless take good care of its Pope emeritus. 9. Georg Ganswein Benedict XVI's personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein - the photogenic face seen in the background of a million photographs - will stay in this post. However, he will also keep up his role as head of the papal household for Benedict's successor. He will be the servant of two masters. 10. Infallibility It's a widely held misconception the Pope is infallible in everything he says and does. In fact, the First Vatican Council of 1870 ruled a Pope's rulings are infallible only when they are made "ex-cathedra" - as part of a doctrinal statement about the Church. Benedict XVI never invoked this privilege (and in fact only one infallible statement has been made since 1870). When he resigns as Pope he will no longer be able to make ex-cathedra statements. Courtesy: BBC

Dealing with the two-pope problem


he Pope has resigned because he felt he was no longer up to the demands the office made on him. That hasn't happened in 600 years. In 1294 the hermit Pietro da Morrone, elevated to the papacy with the title of Celestine V because the cardinals couldn't agree on anyone else, felt likewise after only six months in the job, and gave up. He wanted to return to his hermitage, but Boniface VIII, his successor, thought it wiser to lock him up in a convenient castle for the rest of his life, fearing he might become a rallying-point for the disaffected. And, as it turned out, there was no

By Michael Walsh

shortage of disaffection during Boniface's pontificate. One of the arguments marshalled by Boniface's many enemies was that, because popes could not resign, he wasn't the legitimate heir to St Peter. Electing an antipope? That may have been a long time ago but the same arguments are beginning to appear. Two distinguished Italian theologians have called on Benedict XVI to withdraw his resignation, one arguing he ought not to resign, the other claiming a pope cannot

resign. In the latter case, when the cardinals proceed to elect a successor they are, according to Enrico Maria Radaelli, electing an antipope, an impostor on the chair of St Peter. There are those in the Church who well might exploit such ambiguities were the new pontiff to choose a very different path from that of his predecessor on, for example, the role of women in the Church or rather less contentious - the promotion of the traditional Latin liturgy. And outside the Church, a schismatic •Continued on Page 68

•Pope Benedict




Recent factionalisation of terrorist group, Boko Haram, has created fresh worries in Nigeria, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan.


HERE are fresh fears in the restive northern parts of the country that the cracks within the ranks of dreaded Boko Haram sect will further escalate the already complicated security situation in the area. This is coming as experts say efforts aimed at curbing the violence unleashed on the region by the sect will come to naught if the alleged factionalisation of the Islamic sect proves to be true. Recent reports indicate that Yusufiyya Islamiyya and Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan are two new militant Islamic sects believed to have emerged from the factionalisation of Boko Haram, following ideological and operational disagreements among the commanders of the dreaded group. Also believed to have caused the crack in the wall of the militants is the inability of the commanders to agree on whether to resume the abandoned dialogue it was having with the federal government or not. Investigations showed that there is concern among leaders and elites of the troubled region over what they described as a dangerous drift towards total terrorism with the likelihood of plunging the entire country into widespread anarchy. It was gathered that following the factionalisation of the violent sect into about three different groups in recent times, there has been a new wave of concern amidst fears that the development may plunge the region into the throes of uncontrollable terrorism. At a recent stakeholders meeting held in Kano, the alleged factionalisation of the sect topped the agenda. For hours, leaders and elites of the region discussed the implications of the development and came to the conclusion that it is not in the interest of peace. Alhaji Sanni Abba Yerima, a chieftain of the Northern Union, who was at the meeting, said. “The fear now is that it will be practically impossible to trail or trace the activities of these people. Before now, the sect is known to always claim responsibility for its attacks. But if you take a good look, you will discover that nobody has come out to claim responsibility for recent attacks. This is because the sect

• Shekau

• Abubakar

Fresh worries over Boko Haram split is now in factions. ‘With this situation, the issue of dialogue as a way out of the crisis is becoming difficult. Which of these groups will government dialogue with? If we claim to know how to reach the leadership of Boko Haram, how do we reach the leadership of the other groups? “What do you think will happen if these groups engage themselves in violent clashes in the region? The development is a serious threat to peace as it is capable of throwing the whole northern Nigeria into violence and anarchy. It was difficult coping with Boko Haram alone. Now that the sects are three or four, what do you think can happen if the situation is not quickly addressed? “That is why we are meeting to discuss the situation and how best to intervene now before the whole region is enveloped in crisis.” Another source at the meeting

said it was resolved that a committee of traditional rulers, eminent personalities and religious leaders should be set up to try and reach out to the commanders of the sect with a view to persuading them to remain united and embrace the dialogue option offered by the federal government. “The decision became necessary after it was unanimously agreed that the factionalisation of the sect will make the attainment of a peaceful resolution of the Boko Haram crisis impossible. “The argument is that if allowed to go on, the division in the sect will give room for further proliferation of violent groups within the region. The implication of this is that the north may be consumed by violence in no distant time. We are tired of the killings and bombing and we want peace to return to the region. “The challenge now is how to

reach the group. The committee is expected to consult widely with government and other agencies that have been involved in the Boko Haram issue with a view to finding a way of mediating in the alleged crisis within the sect.” We believe that if the sect remains one, it will be easy to dialogue with them and bring the mayhem in the north to a quick end,” our source said. The Boko Haram sect has been engaged in a bloody campaign of bombings and killings in parts of northern Nigeria in the past few years. In response, the Nigeria Police and the armed forces under the aegis of the Joint Task Force mounted a crackdown on suspected members of the sect across the northern part of the country. After more than a year of clampdown on the sect, the federal government last year acceded to a request from the sect, calling

for dialogue with the authorities as a way of ending the reign of terror. A senior member of the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, Sheik Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, had in November 2012 requested talks with the government, with a claim that he was speaking on behalf of Abubakar Shekau, the sect’s leader. The group set conditions for peace talks and even nominated mediators. It also requested that the talk take place outside the country. Sources close to the two divides claimed discussion was actually opened between them. One of such dialogue, The Nation learnt, took place in Dubai where parties agreed on the modalities for the eventual meetings. It was learnt that both the sect and the authorities were well represented at the Dubai talk. But the talks were allegedly stalled when late last year, not less than three factions of the Boko Haram sect emerged. One of the splinter groups, Yusufiyya Islamiyya, publicly distanced itself from the effort to resolve the face-off through dialogue. Yussufuyya, is said to be under the leadership of Sheik Abu Usamata Al’Ansari, who before now is well known as the commander of Boko Haram in Kano. Sources even described him as the sect’s leader in the Northwest, comprising Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi and Jigawa States. Another faction of the sect calls itself ‘Ansaru.’ In a statement it circulated late last year in Kano, Ansaru gave its full name as ‘Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan,’ meaning Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa. Its motto is “Jihad Fi Sabilillah,’ meaning it is fighting and sacrificing for Allah’s cause. The statement was signed by one Abu Usamata Al’Ansari, who claimed to be its leader. Few weeks back, Ansaru expressed displeasure with Boko Haram’s style of operations, which it described as inhuman to the Muslim Ummah. It vowed to restore dignity and sanity to “the lost dignity of Muslims in black Africa” and to bring back the dignity of Islam in Nigeria and the Sokoto Caliphate, founded by Othman Dan Fodio in 1804, which spread across Niger Republic, Cameroon and some other West African countries. Ansaru’s logo shows the Qur’an, with a gun on both sides. Attached to the guns are black flags with the inscription, “There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.” Kyari Mohammed, who heads the Centre for Peace and Security Studies at Modibbo Adama University of Technology, has studied Boko Haram closely and he is of the opinion that the factionalisation of the sect is no good omen for the region and the country as a whole.




Taraba Cracks in Suntai’s wall As the call for full disclosure of Governor Danbaba Suntai’s state of health becomes more strident, Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan, reports that the issue has also caused a division among the governor’s associates


ANY are likely to say it was Senator Jummai Al-Hassan, the lawmaker representing Taraba North Senatorial District in the National Assembly that sparked off the fresh debate on the health status of ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai with her recent allegation that the state government was concealing the true state of health of the governor, who is undergoing medical treatment in Germany following an air crash. But the senator is not alone in the renewed call for Suntai’s state of health to be made public. If anything, it appears she is just one of the many stakeholders now insisting that a full disclosure of the governor’s state of health should be made so as to assist the state assembly to consider a call for his removal. Investigations also revealed that all may not be well within the political camp of the ailing governor as his aides and associates are now divided into two camps. This followed incessant disagreement over the need for full disclosure of his state of health. Sources claim some of Suntai’s men, led by the Acting Governor Garba Umar, are now convinced on the need to tell the people the true state of things with Suntai. But a commissioner in the state, who is also a very close ally of the ailing governor, is allegedly leading a group opposed to the idea. The disagreement within the political family, which became visible during the week, The Nation learnt, started shortly after the acting governor returned from a visit to Suntai in Germany. “It all started when the acting governor returned from his visit to Germany where he saw his ailing boss for the first time. While he would have love to tell the people what he saw in Germany, it appears he was prevailed upon not to. “You will recall that though he said he saw Suntai, he confirmed the people’s fear when he said the governor didn’t speak with him. He then promised that the commissioner of Information would be visiting Germany soon after that. He promised that the ailing governor would hold a tele-conference with a selected audience then. “Though he refrained from saying too much about what he saw in Germany, it was clear that the acting governor was not pleased that he was unable to answer the barrage of questions that followed his return from Germany and he told Suntai’s as-

sociates so.” Matters worsened when Bello returned from Germany and a meeting was held to decide what the people should be told following the inability of Suntai to speak with a selected audience on phone as promised by Umar. Our source revealed: “At that meeting, Umar and some other associates of the governor suggested strongly that it is better that the people are told about Suntai’s current condition. But some prominent members of the group opposed any form of full disclosure. “That marked the beginning of open hostility between Umar and some of Suntai’s close associates. In no time, they started accusing the acting governor of plotting the removal of his boss.” The acting governor’s insistence on celebrating his 100 days in office, in spite of alleged advice to the contrary by loyalists of his bedridden boss, according to inside sources, widened the crack within the political family. On February 18, with an advertorial titled, ‘Taraba: One Hundred Days to be Thankful About,’ Acting Governor Garba Umar marked his 100th day in charge as the chief executive in Taraba State. The advertorial was placed in numerous national newspapers. An associate of the governor said: “The advertisement is in bad taste. We see it as Umar’s way of saying Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, who remains in a hospital in Germany, is too physically and mentally incapacitated to run the state. ‘He behaved as someone who will remain in charge to celebrate more days and years, not as a temporary occupier of that office. Such behavior is unbecoming of someone whose boss is sick and recuperating. It is pregnant with meaning and we know,’ an associate of the governor said. But Umar’s supporters say his critics are just out to create problems for him. According to them, there is no big deal in the newspaper advertorial. “The advertorial, if anything, is meant to remind the people that the machinery of government is moving on smoothly in spite of the absence of our governor. It is a wellthought out plan that received the blessing of the party leadership. There is nothing to it but that critics of this administration are out to create problems for the acting gover-


nor,’ a chieftain of the party said. There are also insinuations that the acting governor is quietly making plans for a cabinet reshuffle aimed at easing out commissioners and other aides perceived to be disloyal to him. “He wants to remove people he thinks are still loyal to his boss. He wants to take over fully and position himself ahead of the 2015 governorship election. That is the real crux of the matter,” a source claimed. Supporting the move for full disclosure, Jummai Al-Hassan, representing Taraba North Senatorial District in the Senate, had said the state government officials have failed to come out with the true position on the state of health of the governor but were contented with feeding the people of the state with tissues of lies. “The state is not going the way it should be. It is unfortunate that this accident happened but we are praying for him to be well and come back soon. We hear that he is getting better every day. They even fix dates that he is coming back today, he is coming back tomorrow but we are still praying for him to recover fully and come back to the state. But now we have an acting governor. “You see, people in my state are crying out, saying they should be told where the governor is, how the governor is. You see, if you say the governor is getting better and you speak with him on the phone, you should be able to take at least an audio message to the people so that they hear his voice. “Everybody in Taraba knows the governor’s voice. If they say they spoke with him every day, they should be able to take at least an audio message. They say he goes to parties, they send pictures to us. They should be able to record video or take an audio message from the governor to tell us he is alright. But they are politicking with somebody’s health,” she said. A former deputy governor of Taraba State in the administration of Rev. Jolly Nyame, Senator Saleh Usman Danboyi, has also lent his voice to the renewed controversy over Suntai’s state of health. But unlike those calling for full disclosure, Danboyi wants the state assembly to immediately swear-in Umar as substantive

governor. He said the action would put an end to what he termed “administrative standstill in the state.” Danboyi’s argument is that since Governor Danbaba Sunati was involved in a plane crash three months ago, the state had been in a standstill. He added that the political situation was worrisome to many natives. The senator, who represented Taraba South Senatorial District between 2003 and 2007 in the Senate, said in any civilised society, the citizens ought to know the health condition of their leaders, adding that the situation of things in Taraba State showed the state was a shadow of itself compared to when the ailing governor was in charge. “We want the governor to address us. At least, he can do that from Germany. The position of the constitution in Sections 189 and 181 is well spelt out on how we should have an acting governor and how the acting governor will become substantive governor. “So, the acting governor is not addressing us about the condition of the health of the governor. The onus of the proof about the health condition of our governor lies entirely in the hands of his deputy,” he concluded. The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in the state, speaking through its chairman, Alhaji Hamidu Suleiman, also wants the government to make a full disclosure of Suntai’s current condition in the interest of the state. Suleiman said the acting governor, Garba Umar, and the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Emmanuel Bello, should come out clearly on the position of the state of health of the governor. He then urged the Taraba State House of Assembly to remain alive to the expectation of the people of the state by ensuring that the right things are done. With critics of his administration and other stakeholders determined to get a full disclosure on his state of health in the following weeks, it is left to be seen how Suntai’s men will handle this renewed row over his continued absence from his duty post.


Following disagreements over alleged manipulations ahead 2015 presidential elections, the new leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is facing stiff opposition threatening the organisation’s very existence, reports Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu


Ohanaeze’s fate hangs in the balance


HREE months after its election, the new leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been unable to take off effectively following dogged opposition from many of the seven member states. It’s election in Enugu, on January 12, 2013, was marred by allegations of manipulation followed by rejection and protests. While some critics of the election accused the Ambassador Ralph Uwechue-led former executive of manipulating the system to favour some associates who would allegedly work for President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 presidential ambition, others accused the former executive of tampering with the timetable approved by the organisation’s highest decision-making body, Ime Obi, in order to disenfranchise some stakeholders and enthrone their cronies from the backyard. In spite of the controversy, the Chief Gary Igaraiwe- led new executive was inaugurated, even as angered stakeholders swore to hold separate elections, dismissing the January 12 election as fraudulent and illegal. This sharp disagreement created fears that except something was done immediately, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, may soon split into factions. So, hopes were raised when several elders of Ndigbo, who responded to the confusion promised to step in to resolve the crisis immediately. The controversy The disagreement began shortly before the controversial January 12, 2013 election in Enugu. Dissatisfied members of the organisation, warning against the election, had dragged the matter to court, receiving a court injunction restraining the Uwechue-led out-going executive from conducting the election that day. So, on the election day, Emma Okocha, one of the contestants for the position of National Publicity Secretary, told The Nation in a telephone chat that the election was in bad faith and cannot stand. He confirmed allegation from other critics that the process was manipulated by the outgoing leadership and the PDP top hierarchy as a way of ensuring that the new leadership that would emerge will work for the party in 2015 presidential election. According to him, that is why the PDP took over the election, flooding the venue “with policemen armed to the teeth.” Citing the court injunction restraining Ambassador Ralph Uwechue from holding such election, critics of the new executive


•Uwechue are contending that the election was “illegal, ab initio,” and should therefore be discountenanced. Another issue under contention is the position of Ime Obi, the highest organ of Ohanaeze, visa-vis the action of the former executive. Ime Obi, according to reports, had scheduled the election for 17th January and this information had been communicated to all the state executives, elders and traditional councils. So, most of them felt hurt and betrayed when they learnt that the election held on 12th. But when The Nation called Uwechue’s number on January 12, as the election was ongoing, to confront him with that allegation, an aide, who refused to give his name, said the former Ohanaeze President General was still at the centre of the election. He, however, denied that Ime Obi slated the election for 17th, alleging that it was slated for between 12th and 17th. Many elders in Igbo land are still contesting this claim. Although the office of PresidentGeneral, which was zoned to Ebonyi State actually went to the state, Ebonyi is one of the most aggrieved states over the outcome of the election. “The point,” according to Mazi Ukandu Ude, an elder from Ebonyi State, “is that Ime Obi had earlier put the election date for January 17. We, therefore, felt cheated when, without notice, Uwechue’s executive suddenly

rescheduled it for the 12th. Some of the contestants were in the dark when the alleged election held. This is strange and unacceptable to us because Ime Obi’s decision, according to our constitution, cannot be altered at will by an obviously interested outgoing executive. Election of a new executive for Ohanaeze Ndigbo is a very crucial matter and the entire Igbo race cannot be taken for a ride by few politicians,” he said. To formalise the grouse of

The crisis peaked when a parallel election was fixed for Ebonyi State on January 19, 2013, leading to fears that the fate of the sociocultural organisation was indeed under serious threat.

Ebonyi State over the way the election was held, the Ebonyi State Government alleged that the secretary of the national election committee of Ohanaeze, Chief Richard Ozobu, sent a wrong date to the state as against January 12 when the election took place. An official of the state government, who craved anonymity, told The Nation that it was all the handiwork of top Ebonyi State federal government officials working for President Jonathan, both to cheat and to score a political point against the people and the state chief executive. He argued that the election committee deliberately sent the wrong date to make way for some contestants and deny others. The crisis peaked when a parallel election was fixed for Ebonyi State on January 19, 2013, leading to fears that the fate of the socio-cultural organisation was indeed under serious threat. It turned out, however, that the planned counter election by dissatisfied Ebonyi leaders and other stakeholders could not hold following a last minute action to save Ohanaeze. The Ohanaeze National Electoral Committee, encouraged by a few concerned elders, who were alarmed that the situation was getting out of hand, had hurried and obtained an interim court order to stop the planned second election. In search of peace Although the interim court


order, which stopped the second election provided some form of temporary relief, it was, as a member of Ohanaeze Ime Obi said offhandedly in a private meeting, that the relief cannot last long enough. To save the situation, members of Ime Obi held several emergency meetings with leaders, including state governors, to find a lasting solution to the problem. By January 20, 2013, when the governors of the South-East states and respected representatives from Delta and Rivers States resolved to intervene to save Ohanaeze, an 11-man committee, headed by Senator Ben Ndi Obi, was set up. The committee was urged to look into the problems of the organisation and make recommendations. We gathered that at inauguration, the committee was given February 10, 2013, to conclude its findings. It was also said that the new executive was advised to stand down all executive activities until the issues are resolved. “This advise has not helped anybody as the organisation has remained grounded since then. We have neither heard from the committee nor the governors. We are only caged in this suffocating waiting game,” a member of the new executive said. Although Senator Obi, was last week quoted in the media as saying his committee has finished its investigation since, insiders told The Nation during the week that personal interests and 2015 political schemings have made it difficult for the SouthEast governors to agree on the fate of the Ohanaeze executive elected on January 12. “During the last meeting of the governors on this matter, Governor Obi was adamant that the new Ohanaeze executive must be left alone and allowed to lead Ndigbo. His position was, however, not quite popular and this led to a form of stalemate,” said a source. The source, a top aide of one of the South-East governors, explained that it is the need to avoid a repeat of this stalemate, the governors have deliberately postponed their meeting with the election committee. They have not forgotten the problem in Ohanaeze. My boss confided that they are meeting with and discussing with all stakeholders in an effort to resolve the matter once and for all,” the source said. Besides the governors, The Nation learnt that Ohanaeze elders council, led by Justice Eze Ozobo and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu have been meeting with stakeholders. An associate of one of them confide, however, that one of their recent meetings in Enugu ended in a stalemate. As the behind-the-scene discussions continue, concerned observers are expressing fear that Ohanaeze’s fate may indeed be in a mortal danger. This is so because, today, three months after the controversial election of the new executive, the gulf seems to have widened as the leadership still seems unable to garner enough support in order to take off more effectively. Elder Ude summed up the fears when he lamented thus during the week: “Instead of the much-needed consolidation to defend the interest of Ndigbo, all we hear today in Ohanaeze is continuous disagreements within the elders, stories of manipulation from the Presidency, distrust among South-East governors and such like. When are we going to wake up as a people?





T is on record, and an historical fact, that Ibrahim Babangida’s engineering of two parties – one, “a little to the right”, and the other, “a little to the left,” which produced Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC) that contested the presidential election in 1993, was the best political arrangement Nigeria ever had. The arrangement killed the fortunes of political jobbers who were always waiting on the wings to form mushroom political parties for the sole purpose of collecting grants from government, only to run away with the money with their “offices” located in odd places like the vulcanisers’ shanties and uncompleted buildings just to justify their unwholesome existence. With the formation of SDP and NRC as progressive and conservative parties, there was no hiding place for political jobbers and prostitutes. You either belonged to SDP or NRC but not both. You were of course free to belong to none of them. The system was so neat, simple and easy to manage by the electoral officers that, with only two party symbols and logos on the voters’ cards, the elections were tidy and smooth. At the polling stations, there were agents of only two parties, and electoral frauds were easy to detect and curtail. MKO Abiola made sure he deployed his agents to all the polling stations in the federation, sometime conveying them by air. At the polling booths, there was no confusion about where to thumbprint before you cast your vote. It was either “a little to the right” or “a little to the left” scenario. No middle course and no confusion. The result of the election at every polling station demonstrated one indisputable fact: the majority of Nigerian electorate are predominantly progressives, and that included those political jobbers who would have gone ahead to form political parties just to collect grant from government and later have the prefix of “presidential candidate” added to their names. After the election in which they really did not feature except on paper, they enjoyed being called former presidential candidates. Charlatans loaded with empty stuff! All the phantasmagoria of deceit had vanished with the formation of two political parties where only two serious presidential candidates emerged” MKO Abiola (SDP) and Alhaji Baba Torfa (NRC). That was the dawn of a true democratic election.

APC: The rebirth o By Moses Akinola Makinde

However, the political landscape turned to a free for all political bad business at the 1999 election, when anybody who cared could just wake up and declare himself/herself a presidential candidate of a Kangaroo political party, just to catch public attention and run away with a part of the national cake. The motive was not to campaign, let alone win a single seat either in the national or state assemblies. The scenario itself was so stupid, primitive, rowdy and expensive that a single long sheet of paper could not contain the extended names of political parties. Many people, especially the illiterates, went into hell and back before they could identify certain political parties beside which they were to thumbprint. In the end, they misthumbprinted! The criminally cumbersome process delayed voting in all the polling stations to the extent that many hours were lost and many people painfully disenfranchised under that primitive arrangement by people of primitive mentality. From the look of things now, it appears that nature is taking its sweet revenge by the merging of major political parties into one formidable party namely, the All Progressive Congress (APC), mainly from the opposition, to banish mushroom political parties and, in its place, install a coalition of these opposing political parties into a formidable and earthshaking one, like the old Social Democratic Party (SDP), a combination of all progressive politicians across the country, regardless of caste, creed or tribe. That coalition produced MKO of the progressive stamp. In the end, not only did the progressives win the presidential election with a handsome majority, the conservative presidential candidate of the NRC, Alhaji Torfa, lost in his Kano constituency. Such was the revelation of the powers of the coalition of the progressives and grassroots politics in Nigeria. If anything will work, the formation of APC will, and should, even now, as it was in the past. Therefore, the merger of ACN, CPC,

• Buhari

ANPP, APGA and possibly some others will, and must, work. In philosophy, this statement is called “pragmatic”” “if anything will work, induction will”. It is in fact inevitable that the APC, the offspring of a prudential merger of progressives all over the country, like the old SDP, will work, and must work. It is just a matter of time for more parties to join the progressive coalition. Remember NADECO and its awesome influence on driving away a mad government from the Nigerian political space. In the next few months, the progressives in the PDP would join the fray, to the amazement of PDP as a dying political party, serially infected with human AIDs. Already, 70 PDP legislators in the National Assembly are reported to

• Tinubu

be on their voyage to the new Eldorado. Are they running away from a terminal disease? Already, the governor of Niger State, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, (and later, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, in his “no room for one party-system”, Nation 20/02/13, p43) had swiftly congratulated the merging opposition parties (not from a slip of tongue) which he honestly sees as a good thing for democracy. Whatever his (Aliyu’s) motive is, his statement speaks volumes about the beauty of the merging scenario. The ground of possible defection from PDP to the all embracing APC rests on the ineffectiveness, wickedness, regime of lies, looting, characteristic of the

PDP in all spheres of governance and its unprecedented bad leadership. With Nigeria as seen as one of the most miserable nations and of worst inflation (exorbitant fuel, electricity, goods and services prices), high jobless rate, frequent violence and insecurity of lives and properties, its dismal records in fighting corruption like graft, embezzlement and systematic looting of the treasury, leading to a criminal neglect of the poor electorates, it is virtually impossible for the ruling party to atone for its sins of commissions and omissions since 1999. This must have become obvious to the progressives in the PDP. Therefore, the emergence of APC may have come at the right time in the nation’s political history. Because of its serious impli-

Why I joined APC -Okorocha I


MO State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has explained that his decision to pitch tent with All Progressives Congress (APC) is because the People's Democratic Party (PDP), of which he was a founding member, has disappointed the people of South-East and Nigerians. Okorocha, who made this statement while addressing newsmen in Government House Owerri, said he has nothing against President Goodluck Jonathan but his party the PDP. According to Okorocha, “there is need for a better change, Nigerians are tired of Peoples Democratic Party, which is no longer what it used to be after failing to address the needs of Nigerians, ' he said. Declaring his interest and

support for the merger and the new All Progressive Congress (APC), Okorocha described the political party as a child of necessity, capable of providing the much needed change in the South-East geo-political zone. Pledging to win the South-East zone for APC, Okorocha said the party would be good for democracy and for the Nigerian people. He recalled that the nation had dwelled long on coalition government which could not guarantee uniformism, arguing that introduction of two party system would enable Nigerians to strike a balance in governance. He also stated that any ruling party that is not doing well is waiting to be changed. According to Okorocha, APC will promote internal democracy

since it does not support imposition of candidates. He was of the opinion that if the country must have all round development at the state and local government levels, people of the rural community must be allowed to partake in decisions on the affairs that concern them. To this end, he identified community government as the way forward, pointing out that although the introduction of CGC in the state has received criticisms and lots of challenges, it has not deterred the rescue mission administration from carrying out plans already set out for success of the new government. He stated that the CGC is the pivot upon which the wheels of rescue mission rotates, disclosing that the state Executive Coun-

cil has ratified the approval of Government Liaison Officers (GLOs) made up of eminent leaders from various communities who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that each community has at least a mini industry to create jobs for their unemployed youths. On the rescue mission administration, Okorocha said the government is on course to deliver democracy dividends to the people of the state as promised during election. He made reference to the achievements of his government which include 305 school projects on-going in the electoral wards, 27 general Hospital projects, 1000km of roads and dualisation of Anara-Okigwe road, Airport Road, Owerri- Orlu roads.



h of SDP cation for the ruling party that had boasted it would rule Nigeria forever, desperate and even deadly attempts would be made to frustrate the merger plan. But this largely depends on the resolve of the merging parties, who must remember the wise saying: united we stand, divided we fall. If they unite and fight together today, they will together reap the benefit of their unity of purpose tomorrow. On the other hand, if they allow themselves to be divided, they will suffer defeat together” all of them without remainder. What is before them is either victory or defeat. The choice is theirs. If they allow individual ambition to wreck a possible success of the merger plan, then the political stakeholders would only have themselves to blame. It is more expedient for the APC to plan to win the presidential election than for its leaders to harp on sharing positions before the chickens are hatched. If truly their aim is to rescue Nigerians from its ugly past as well as from our present political madness, they should focus on things that would lead us to the promised land and not just what is in there for individuals to grab for, as one commentator wrote, “APC is hope of the nation.”(Nation, 21 February, 3013, p.20). The issue of sharing political offices may work against the merger if stakeholders are not careful, or if they take things for granted. The most important position are those of the President, Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker, Chairmen of the party and BOT, National Secretary and other officers who would play prominent roles in providing good governance for the country as from 2015. Since the APC is meant to be a truly national party, offices should reflect the different geopolitical zones of the federation. All this should be settled before the commencement of elections, from the State Assemblies through the National Assembly to the governorship and presidential elections. The South-East must be pacified with a position that would

give them hope for the future, while the major parties in the APC should be rewarded for their numerical powers. Under no circumstances should positions be given to just “for the boys” or cronies but should be given purely on competence and ability to deliver in a party aiming at good governance. All these things must be taken into account when distribution (not sharing) of political offices are being considered. Above all, everybody in the party and every other Nigerian has something for him/her in a government founded under the sound ideology of egalitarianism (the greatest good of the greatest number), and life more abundant for all citizens, especially as I believe that APC stands for justice, freedom, true democracy and good governance. As for the big one, i.e. the president, it appears there is already a consensus about its location among the geopolitical zones. So far, General Muhammadu Buhari from the North is on the radar as a possible presidential candidate, owing to his strong followership in the North and his record as an incorruptible and disciplined human being. Seeing that the major problem of this country is the hydra-headed corruption, which affects all other things like the economy, inflation, utilization of our national and human resources, social welfare and standard of living in an extremely oil rich country, some have seen Buhari through his War Against Indiscipline and corruption (WAI) as one who would not condone indiscipline and corruption of any kind in the system. Lately, while making a direct reference to Rawlings and the aftermath of his revolution which has reshaped the destiny of Ghana in the international community, somebody on the television even went as far as saying we should give Buhari only six months to clean corruption, corrupt and undisciplined people from the system, and that there may be no hiding place for corrupt politicians, past and present, and that peo-

ple would learn how not to jump the queue anymore. All this is heart warming, provided Buhari would remember those things that nearly caused him disaffection, especially in the South-West, during his regime. But he still remains the best candidate whose nomination would strike fear in the minds of the PDP and corrupt Nigerians. As for the other posts, from the Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker etc to the officers of the APC, care should be taken in order to balance the equation among geopolitical zones and accommodate the views of smaller opposition parties, especially if such parties have a sizeable number of followers in some of the geo- political zones. This is where deft political moves are necessary in order to give every zone a sense of belonging, especially as the party must take a positive and an unassailable step to win massive votes from every zone of the federation. This is the bottom line and the only magic needed for wrestling power from the ruling party whose prayer, from now on, is to see a possible crack that would put spanner in the veritable union of progressive politicians in the country. This is why the new party must beware of saboteurs and moles in the APC political machine. The APC MUST re-enact the political feat of the SDP as a true coalition of the progressives under MKO Abiola of blessed memory. For the new party, APC, the sky is its limit and no progressive politician would like to be left behind in this dawn of a new political era in Nigeria. It is a once and for all life opportunity for all well-meaning Nigerians to grasp, with all their might, as potentially victorious electorates in the coming new dispensation. Therefore, all God fearing people, lovers of freedom, justice and good governance should pray for APC on their rescue mission, which Nigeria badly needs at this point in time of its history and destiny. Nigeria has for a long time been reeling in pains. Nature has now prescribed a potent APC for its permanent relief. - Professor Makinde is the DG/CEO, Awolowo Centre for Philosophy, Ideology and Good Governance, Osun State, Osogbo.


ripples •Jonahan

Delta North elders in dilemma over Okowa, Ochei


ANY influential stakeholders in the Delta State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agree that power should shift to the northern senatorial zone of the state in 2015. Latest reports, however, indicate that elders in the zone are in a dilemma over the best candidate to put forward to succeed Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. While some party members are rooting for the senator representing the zone in the National Assembly, Dr. Ifeanyi Okonwa, others are alleged to be backing the aspiration of the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochei. For now, some elders are eager to know Uduaghan’s preference before voicing out their position.

PDP ‘rebels’ and endangered ministers



ITH the determination of the Presi dency to rein in recalcitrant mem bers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who are believed to be opposed to the alleged second term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan, the heat has now been turned on some ministers, who are known to be key allies of some ‘rebel’ PDP governors. Sources disclosed that the ministers, who were nominated by the alleged ‘rebel’ governors, have allegedly been told in clear terms to ditch their states’ helmsmen or be fired from the cabinet. For the ministers who are ready to play ball, sources disclosed they will be given all the logistic support to provide a counter power base in their respective states to challenge the awesome powers of the governors.


Political Politics turf

with Bolade Omonijo

Jonathan versus Amaechi, round one


T LAST, Mr. Jonathan has bared his fangs. After denying the obvious over and over again, he has now ostensibly acknowledged that he is running the presidential race in 2015. This, itself, is nothing wrong, whether constitutionally or politically. He has a right to contest in as much as he has only been elected once. In a perfect setting, I have nothing against a man offering himself to the electorate for an office. However, everything should be done in accordance with rules and with decorum. It is unfortunate that our president thinks the only way he could grope to office is by identifying those who may not align with his interest and use the powers of state to break their heads. It is in this light that I fight the politics of Mr. President despicable. Only a naïve analysts would fail to realize what the move against Governor Rotimi Amaechi is about. The Rivers State governor is a man who has panache. He has the charisma and ideas. He has seen his office as chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum as a pedestal to stand and peep at the promised land as 2015 is within grasp. Jonathan understands this. He too wants to be returned to office. Both men are from the oil-rich Niger Delta region and there is only one slot. To make matters worse, they are aspiring to the only ticket available to the Peoples Democratic Party. Were Amaechi from the North, there could have been attempts to prevail on him to take the Vice Presidency. But this is not so. President Jonathan has shown how desperate he is to hold on to power. One thing he has demonstrated since he happened on power in 2010 s his appreciation of the use and abuse of power. He knows what it takes to disorganize a political party, create confusion and seek to impose order. He is a matter in playing Machiavelli. But, unfortunately, is that what Nigeria deserves now? We have a president who has no idea what it takes to run a country. A president who sees power as an end in itself. We have a man who understands that many people underestimate him and turns that to his strength. If he were doing that to better the lot of the people, I guess we would all be jumping now that the good Lord has sent us a messiah. Truly, Jonathan is a disappointment to all those who had thought he was the best alternative available in 2011. Many voted for him because they thought his doctorate degree would count for something. I am yet to see the discipline and adroitness of a doctoral candidate in Jonathan. I challenge any of his men to come up with any sector that the president has turned around or is about to change positively. The power sector that he is quick to tout as a success story has collapsed again. His information minister labaran Maku has treated the public to the gospel of deceit that the railway is about to run. So did Obasanjo in all of eight years. What is the state of federal roads? The Jonathan response to the challenge in the higher education sector is perhaps the most ludicrous. Despite having ministers and advisers who ought to know what is desirable, he has launched into the establishment of so-called federal universities. He believes that establishing universities in states that could not fill their quotas in the existing universities is one way to revamp the sector and promote ground breaking researches. Rather than concentrate on fighting imaginary foes like Amaechi, Jonathan should begin to spare some thought for his place in history. What is the meaning of creating a PDP Governors Forum just to deal with Amaechi? He is merely cutting his nose to spite the face. I am almost sure that at the rate that the president is going and with the groundswell of opposition against him, he would pull down the PDP house on himself and characters like Akpabio, Seriake Dickson, bamanga Tukur and Mr. Anenih. What really does he think Anenih has to offer again? Here was a man who was thoroughly floored and disgraced in his home state. Yet, he touts himself as a master tactician. I sincerely look forward to the All Progressives Party coming on stream soon enough to aid the awaited implosion in the ruling party. Meanwhile, those who have the ears of the president should draw him close and warn that he is treading on a dangerous ground. He who has ears, let him hear.




‘Drugs, not religion, is Nigeria’s problem’ Professor Ishaq Oloyede is the Coordinator and Executive Secretary of Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC). In this interview with Kazeem Ibrhaym, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin insists that Nigeria’s problem is not Christianity or Islam. For him, what is necessary for the adherent of the religions is to tolerate each other and fight drug addiction, violence, bombings and killings.


HAT is NIREC set up to achieve? The Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NREC) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) established by the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) with the support of the federal government. We have as co-chairmen the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. The meeting of the Council from 1999 when it was established up to 2004 were normally held in Abuja. However, in the last three years, the present leadership took the decision of moving the meeting from one geopolitical zone to the other to impact positively on the adherents of our two principal religions and to further sustain religious understanding, peaceful co-existence and promotion of ethical values and good governance. Meetings have been held in Enugu in February 2008, Maiduguri (May 2008), Kano (November 2008). The first and second quarters were hosted by Plateau State (May 2009), the third one was hosted Rivers State (August 2009) while the last quarter was hosted by the FCT (December 2009). We have also been to Bauchi, Sokoto, Oyo and last year in Kwara State. The meeting is aimed at addressing among other things the security situation in the country. But I must also let you know that NIREC has as its objectives to honestly and sincerely create fellowship between Moslems and Christians, create a sustainable channel of communication and interaction across religious lines, to promote moral, ethical and social values of our respective religious traditions, provide a forum for mutual cooperation and promotion of the welfare of citizens, to serve as an avenue for articulating cordial relationship among the various religious groups and between the religious communities and the political leadership. Why Christians, Moslems must tolerate one another We have found ourselves in the same boat; even if you don’t like the other religion what can you do? You start to fight that you don’t want that religion, either Islam or Christianity; then you become the poorer. This is exactly what some people are doing that we say is not good., So if you find yourself in the house, the least you can do; if one is responsible and sensible is to tolerate each other. Tolerance is not good but it is better than intolerance. I believe none of you is tolerating money because you like money and when a person says I am tolerating my spouse that marriage is at the verge of collapse. I think what we want is not even tolerance which is the least, it is understanding, you understand why this is this and therefore, you can say I am a Moslem. You should know why I am a Moslem. You are a Christian, I should know why you are a Christian; and when you take an action, I will know that because my friend is a Christian, he must go to church on Sunday. Oh my friend, who is a Christian must pay one tenth of his salary to his church and therefore I don’t need to ask him to account for one hundred percent of his salary. So for a Moslem he must account for 99 percent of his money. You know in Islam, adherents pay 1/40 of net income as Zakat. So understanding requires we know Christians pay 10 percent as tithe while Moslems pay 1/40 as Zakat. We must realise that 90 percent of us are what we are because of the training and where we are born. If you are from Akwa Ibom and you go there to deliver a baby and one woman from Jigawa also goes there to put to bed and the nurse makes a mistake to swap the babies; what would happen? The Jigawa woman will go home with an Akwa Ibom child while the Akwa Ibom woman would go home with the Jigawa child, then as the children grow

If you take a Yoruba man to tell the history of Nigeria, he will just start the story from when Awolowo was imprisoned, that Hausa and some people connived together and Awolowo was jailed. If you asked a Hausa to tell you the problem of Nigeria, he will start with the assassination of Tafawa Balewa and Co.

up they will be thinking they are from where they are told they come from. So, the Akwa Ibom child taken to Jigawa will become a Moslem and the Jigawa child in Akwa Ibom will become a Christian. And when people here begin to fight Hausa, he will be also say we don’t want Hausa; not knowing Hausa blood flows in him. So, the point we are making is that some of these things we now capitalise on are mere accidents and you can become anything by anything . If just a nurse makes the mistakes, then you from Akwa Ibom becomes an Alhaji, when you could have become a Bishop. You become a Hausa when you could have become an Igbo or Akwa Ibom person. But we lay undue emphasis on things that are primordial. Now if this country is in trouble today, the pastor and the imam will meet at a point that they will be sitting together, not

only in the same house but in the same room. In any case, if God had wanted all of us to be Christians we would have been. If He had wanted all of to be Moslems, we would have been. On how NIREC has nipped many crises in the bud Somebody asked whether NIREC has any value at all with the spate of insecurity in the country, but I think the question we should ask ourselves is if there had been no NIREC, where would we have been? There are so many crises that NIREC has solved that you do not know about. It is the few crises you know about that you believe are too many and that is why you are asking what NIREC is doing. It is like asking us what the security agencies are doing; what are the courts doing when there are still crimes. When people are still committing crime should we abrogate the police, courts judiciary and the prisons service? But if you abrogate those departments, it is then you will know that they have been providing us with succour. I believe it is a challenge to NIREC to do more. What is NIREC doing to curb insecurity in the country? I think because you have not taken pains to look at the other side; to say if there had been no NIREC, if Christians are left on their own in this country, Moslems are left on their own and there is no way of their coming together to discuss, even if to disagree, then things would have been worse than it is. In any case, when you talk of insecurity, Boko Haram and all other crises you have related to religion as destructive as they are; even without them we still have insecurity. Insecurity is a global issue and it rears its head under any excuse. It might be religion; it might be economic. To me, if you ask me, we are only treating the symptom. We are not treating the real issue. I believe the real problem with us in this country, whatever might have been the reason, is drugs. Most of our youths across the country are acting under the influence of drugs and it is a problem we have to face but we are shying away from calling a spade a spade. When somebody is addicted to drug, that is when he can become an armed robber, or any evil doer. When you see armed robbers being arrested, and you ask them how much were you given, they say N20,000 or N30,000. They talk about money that will make you ask why should somebody decide to kill himself in the process of carrying out such dastardly act. More often than not, he or she is not in his right sense and this is the product of drug. In some southern American countries, you know what’s happening; how drug cartels have formed themselves and they are waging war against their society. I believe NDLEA/NAFDAC and other agencies would have a lot to do to solve this issue. My own position is that we must find our youth doing drugs and try to re-orientate and rehabilitate them. Today if you tell somebody you are going to a particular part of this country, they would say you would be kidnapped or armed robbers will attack you; while in another part they will say some religious fanatics can attack you. We are just having different shades of a problem and unfortunately for us, rather than collectively facing the problem we are pursuing shadows, and that is why we now say this one is from this zone, this one is from that zone, and politicians bring this up. As far as insecurity is concerned, NIREC is doing what is can and will continue to do more. On the polio crisis in the North It is very sad that people who are engaged in rescuing our future, like those nurses were killed in Kano. It is very unfortunate but if you ask us what we are doing on polio, I will tell you that NIREC members are on the National Committee Against Polio. The Emir of Bama in Borno State and one other person are on the committee. And last month they held a meeting in Abuja where they decided on the next phase; just as the governors were meeting to do this. We are doing our best but we are not Ministry of Health; so we are just an NGO. But for your information, before you start asking questions on what NIREC should do that is has not done, NIREC is not a government agency, NIREC is an NGO. We do not control the police, to say go and arrest Mr. ‘A’ or leave Mr. ‘B’. We are just like an NGO making our contributions to peaceful co-existence. So it is unfortunate that what happened in Kano happened but anybody who knows the history of polio vaccination in the North would know that it is a struggle that has been on. A lot of information is going out, re-orientation is taking place. It is, in fact, getting better but it is not good enough and that is why we are having this unfortunate incidents. On alleged denial of Certificate of Occupancies to Churches in the North We have heard of such cases and we have intervened. Unfortunately, for us in Nigeria, we have this persecution syndrome. If you take a Yoruba man to tell the history of Nigeria, he will just start the story from when Awolowo was imprisoned, that Hausa and some people connived together and Awolowo was jailed. If you asked a Hausa to tell you the problem of Nigeria, he will start with the assassination of Tafawa Balewa and Co. He will say that one day they just woke up to discover the Igbo eliminated them. •Continued on Page 25





in the North where you say they are Almajiri, go and see the amount of cough syrup that are being sold in the North, they are being used as drugs. The truth is that we are in for a serious problem of drugs.

that are being sold in the North, they are being used as drugs. The truth is that we are in for a serious problem of drugs. Our people are getting addicted by the day, some unconsciously. Go to the North, the people you claim are poor, you see them going to get excreta of certain reptiles in the house wrap it and use as drugs. They use gum, rubber from vulcaniser as drug. They are very cheap to get. Rather than facing those problems, we are now facing the externalities of the problem by saying it is Boko Haram, kidnapping and so on. Go and interview those people and you will find that they are not themselves, they are acting under certain influences and certainly that influence is drugs. Terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon, people look for any reason to terrorise. If here those who are attacking us across religions are using platform of Islam to say Boko Haram, Moslems have told you clearly that they are not Moslems. Islam does not teach or send anybody to go and kill. We also have cases of people using the name of Christianity to do what is unchristian. So I think we must collectively fight those who are bastardising the names of our religions. Major success of NIREC I must tell you that since 1999 till date, NIREC has been a major success of providing a platform for communication at the highest level of these religious bodies. If any problem is linked to religion today, the Sultan will not start looking for the CAN’s president number to call him. They interact almost on a daily basis. We are meeting here now and part of what we are going to discuss is how to rescue the two religions from the problem of the secularists who are daily attacking religion as if religion is the problem. It is when religion survives that there will be Christianity and Islam. But today what we are having is that people think religion is the problem. And that is why when 419 people were buying aircrafts and jets there was no problem but immediately religious people started buying jets, they started attacking and saying even they are buying jets, as if they are born to suffer. So the point we are making is that religious people as religious people have problem internally and externally but NIREC has provided a platform for us and we have been using that platform effectively. There are a few cases which we were unable to manage properly, then you see the effect, you now say what is NIREC doing. If you know what we settle at the level of NIREC you will be amazed. At ABU Zaria, in the last two years there has been the conflict on providing land for a church. They said a new land was given at Kongo but the Christian community wanted another one and Moslems said no, it is close to the mosque. We have been on it and we are trying to settle and when we settle that and it does not become a national problem you won’t know. But if it goes out of hand it is that one you will know. Please know that there are so many problems we are solving. One of our success stories is unity, you may not know; because you think we are disunited. How NIREC is fighting corruption You asked why we are talking only to poor people to stop corruption and wondered why we are not talking to rich people.

The truth is that we talk to the big people as we talk to the so-called ordinary citizens. The truth of the matter is that NIREC, almost every year makes position paper available to the big people. Recently one of the co-chairmen said we have told the president what to do about X or Y. We keep on talking and we continue to talk. Just as most of the parents talk to their children, yet some of them go astray, we continue to talk, preach and appeal to them but their non-compliance is not a proof of our inactivity. The challenge of NIREC I think the greatest challenge we face is how to bring down prejudice. People have fixed positions. Many people believe that in some parts of this country you are not safe because they slaughter human beings and eat them. It is something that has been passed from one generation to the other. Some people say that some groups in this country are homosexuals. Some people believe so many funny things. The primacy of the individual is what is important. Until you live with the person, don’t make up your mind against the person. My own take is that Lagos created some of these prejudices we carry along because it is in Lagos you have all kinds of people. They are just beer parlour jokes that people have now developed into monsters and unless we work very hard, we will continue to have the problem. But let me say here that whether you are a Christian or Moslem and if there is a fine girl you are running after, you won’t ask her religion. When you go to Corporate Affairs Commission and you want to register your business, go and see that Alhaji and Bishops co-own companies at that time they don’t care whether you are a Christian or Moslem. But when it comes to issue of welfare, people start segregating among themselves. In Ilorin where I live, there are sections where they say they are the real indigenes; you have some that are second class indigenes. In Lagos, not all Yoruba can beat their chest and say they are from Lagos; they will stone them. If you go to the East, they have free -born and slaves. So the point I am making is that we have so many reasons to be different but let us work together for the sake of the country.

when 419 people were buying aircrafts and jets there was no problem but immediately religious people started buying jets, they started attacking and saying even they are buying jets, as if they are born to suffer,

•Continued from Page 24 If you ask an Igbo man to tell you the story, he is going to tell you about the killing of Aguiyi Ironsi and how they wanted to send the Igbo away from the North. Everybody picks what is suitable for him to anchor on; not giving the whole picture. He just gives what is convenient for him. I do not know of any major town in the North where you do not have up to 500 churches. I do not know of any town in the North where you can travel for one kilometre before you get to a church. It is unfortunate that in Nigeria we emphasise only the negative. For everyone man in the North that is denied C of O there will be 50 that have been granted. It is not good to deny but what we are saying is that it is not as if you cannot build churches in the North or you cannot build mosque in the South. Please when there are cases of aberration, let’s treat them as aberrations and collectively fight them. We have more than 250 ethnic groups in this country and they have been fighting one another before Islam and Christianity came and they are still fighting, but religion has reduced it to two or three. It is human to have differences and when you have differences you solve them. On how drug encourages crime Government knows who the Boko Haram people are; they can’t tell us that they don’t know them. They are in their custody; they should make them available to us to interact with them. We want to interact with them so that we can make sense out of their nonsense. So I want to say that as terrible as the Boko Haram episode is, I don’t see it as the major issue. I see the major issue that we are not attacking as drugs. What leads somebody to Boko Haram or kidnapping is drugs. Some people say poverty is the problem, yes, that may be part of the problems but I think the issue is madness induced by drugs. Majority of our youth across the country are now involved in drugs. Let me give you an example, in the North where you say they are Almajiri, go and see the amount of cough syrup




Controversy trails Soludo’s 2014 governorship ambition For former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the popular dictum that once beaten twice shy may not be politically expedient, if his alleged interest in the Anambra State 2014 governorship election is anything to go by, reports Remi Adelowo



NTIL the Supreme Court validated his candidacy as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for Anambra State in 2010, not a few stakeholders in the party, both at the state and national levels, were determined to frustrate Professor Soludo’s ambition. From the high court, to the appellate court, culminating in the decision of the highest court of the land that Soludo was the validly nominated candidate of the PDP, it was indeed a long drawn battle for Soludo, with some likening his experience to a baptism of fire of sorts in his debut in party politics. With the PDP in Anambra State sharply divided between those for and against Soludo, the former university don went into the election severely weakened. Not even the drafting of the famed ‘Mr. Fix It,’ Chief Tony Anenih, and some national officers of the party to add some impetus to Soludo’s campaign team, made any significant impact, as the PDP candidate came a distant third in the polls behind the eventual winner, APGA’s Mr. Peter Obi and ACN’s Dr. Chris Ngige, respectively. For Soludo and his supporters, his victory at the 2010 election, according to sources in the party, was thought to be a done deal. The confidence may have stemmed from the assurance of the then president, Umaru Yar’Adua, who was alleged to have convinced the initially skeptical Soludo that all envisaged obstacles would be cleared to ensure his emergence as governor. His defeat at the polls was not totally unexpected. According to a source close to Soludo, sabotage within the PDP was cited as the major reason for the loss. A

• Obi

• Uba

“No one is sure if the governor intends to install a successor from his party and then move to PDP with his structures or move to PDP before the election next year. This uncertainty is partly responsible for the lull even in PDP, as its aspirants are well aware of the governor’s closeness with the presidency.” dejected Soludo was alleged to have told a few close associates that he was done with contesting election in the state in the foreseeable future. Why the change of mind? The alleged turnaround of the professor of economics to contest the Anambra governorship seat next year is coming as a surprise to close watchers of the state politics. Not a few are asking what has changed in Anambra politics between 2010 and 2013 to warrant Soludo’s change of mind. This latest development, The Nation gathered, may not be unconnected to an alleged understanding between Soludo and Senator Andy Uba, who is alleged to have decided against contesting in the 2014 race. In the last few months, speculations have been rife that Uba, who represents Anambra South in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, was poised to contest for the PDP governorship ticket in 2014. Different interpretations have been adduced for the alleged tactical withdrawal of the former presidential aide from the governorship race. First, there are strong speculations that

some powerful forces in the Presidency are allegedly not comfortable with Uba’s alleged ambition due to his reported closeness to former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, whose alleged frosty relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan has been widely reported, but severally denied by the parties involved. Uba, in the calculations of these forces, may be too difficult to stop once he joins the race, as he is too entrenched politically, with an almost inexhaustible financial war chest. Another side to the controversy is that some presidency top shots are allegedly behind the move to draft Soludo into the race, not for any altruistic reasons, according to sources, but a calculated plot to put forward a weak candidate who would be easily defeated by the presidency’s anointed candidate at the PDP governorship primaries. A hazy political climate For governorship aspirants in the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and PDP, nothing is certain yet regarding where the pendulum will swing. What has made the political setting in Anambra State more unpredictable is the

alleged plan by the incumbent governor, Mr. Peter Obi, to dump APGA under which platform he was elected for the PDP. While Obi has severally denied he has such plan, many APGA members, according to sources, are at a loss as to why under the governor’s watch, the party has been practically torn into shreds as a result of the incessant leadership crisis that has plagued it in the last three years. Not a few APGA members are also peeved that the governor has allegedly fulfilled in breach his promise to compensate party members who worked for his victory, first in 2003 and later in 2010. The Nation reliably gathered that governorship aspirants in APGA are still confused on whether to kick start their campaign now or wait till when the governor will formally announce where his political future lies. A source said, “No one is fooled that Obi has a plan to decamp to PDP, but he should come clean with his party members.” The source continued, “No one is sure if the governor intends to install a successor from his party and then move to PDP with his structures or move to PDP before the election next year. This uncertainty is partly responsible for the lull even in PDP, as its aspirants are well aware of the governor’s closeness with the presidency.” A new aspirant and the battle ahead A few days ago, controversial businessman, Ifeanyi Ubah, confirmed speculations of his governorship ambition, thus setting the stage for an epic battle on who succeeds Mr. Peter Obi. While it is not clear yet under which platform he intends to actualise his ambition, there are strong indications that the 42-year-old oil magnate may pitch his tent with the PDP, with fears being expressed in certain quarters that the battle for the party’s governorship ticket may likely leave casualties in its trail. Some months back, Obi was alleged to have anointed Ubah as his successor. As part of the process towards softening the ground for his entry into the governorship race and enlisting the support of critical stakeholders, Ubah allegedly held several secret meetings with some members of the Anambra State House of Assembly at his Ikeja, Lagos residence early last year. The Nation, however, gathered that the governor is still keeping his cards close to his chest, even as he is now said to be looking in the direction of one of his top aides as his preferred successor.





Kehinde Oluleye Tel: 08023689894 (sms)


Keep it simple and By Adedayo Lawal


hiffon is a beautiful breathable fabric that is easy to wear and always looks elegant. It can be very cheap and sturdy despite its light weight. Some chiffon fabrics are made of silk while others are cotton, nylon, rayon, or polyester. There are many styles and colours that can be created from chiffon fabric for gorgeous styles. Chiffon dresses are great formal wear, appropriate for parties, formal events or as casual, even every day wear as well. They look amazing with all kinds of accessories, costumes, or real jewelry. They flatter all body types and you can look just stunning. Chiffon is a feel good easy trend. We will all realise that one way or the other we own at least one or more pieces of chiffon outfit, perhaps a blouse or dress. Chiffon outfits just never go out of trend. It gives a sultry look and you can always keep it simple or glam it up. If you are looking for the glam look, watch out for pieces with detailing such as draping. Keep it simple and sophisticated. These dresses are often sheer and summery. The fabric is usually layered to avoid allowing transparency. However, care should be taken by ensuring that the undergarments are not visible under the dress. If your skin tone contrasts with the colour of the dress, be extra careful that your skin is not too visible. A pale slip made out of a thin silky material can be worn to help avoid wardrobe malfunction. A chiffon dress can be short or long. Chiffon dresses that are cut just above the knee are more elegant and often fitting to a woman's physique. The lightweight texture of a chiffon dress should be coupled with flattering makeup and modest accessories. Some black chiffon dresses look best with gold or silver jewelry. A white chiffon dress looks best with gold if it does not have any sorts of prints on it. Other accessories can be chosen to match the print. Casual dresses with flowers look stunning with playful costume jewelry and a solid coloured clutch or purse. Strapped sandals complete the look. A few of the more elegant chiffon dresses might be complemented with a pair of heels. When you're shopping for chiffon outfits, be sure to take into account any stretching of the fabric.




Get a


Adedayo Lawal


HERE'S no denial that a majority of our women admire full lashes; maybe because it accentuates the eyes or it makes us feel glamorous or perhaps because of its popularity on our celebrities' eyes. Whatever the reason on our minds, false lashes add va-va voom. Apart from the facial makeup, long and curly eyelashes also elevate the beauty of the face. Though, not everyone is endowed with such remarkable lashes, you can easily achieve that diva look with the help of false eye lashes. Yet, the thing to be kept in mind here is that false eye lashes require utmost care and precision while applying.

Effects of wearing fa

lse eyelashes: ? Spikes - give a retro, wideeyed cutie look. Looks Twiggy, but more doll-like. ? Criss-crosses - give a natural glam effect. Nice wide eyes, but not super heavy. ? Dense/full lashes - give a retro look like Twiggy. ? Angles/sweeps - give a cateye effect. Of course, angles/sweeps are often combined with other styles (often criss-cross, spikes and dense), so you get two looks. ? Natural/sparse lashes - give a very natural look, they just add some fullness. ? Wisps- give a glam look, a little heavy.

Tools needed when applying false lashes ? Your favourite mascara. Needs to be black. Not brown or brown-black. ? Eyelash curler. ? False eyelashes ? Eyelash glue. Please note that most eyelash glue contains latex. So if you have an allergy, you'll need to probably order latex-free glue. ? Tweezers; just make sure the tweezers can pick up and hold onto the lash. And length is everything. The longer the length, the more glam and your lashes will appear.


Applying False Eye Lashes ? Apply makeup as you normally do. However, make sure your eyeliner is thicker. This will enable you to conceal your false eyelash line, framing and merging them well with your eyes. ? Be very careful while taking them out of the box so that they do not tear or damage. You can even trim them according to your eye size, before using. Now, curl your eye lashes so that the false ones ? adjust properly on yours. ? For applying false eyelashes, eyelash adhesive is required which usually comes along with the lashes. ? Spread a thin layer of eyelash adhesive onto the eyelash strip, as too much of the glue might become messy. ? Wait for a second, till the glue becomes a little thick. Now, gently put the false eyelashes on your natural ? ones. Begin with the outer corner of your eye, placing them as close as possible to your natural eyelash line. Readjust the eyelashes if you ? don't find the position right as the glue will be soft in the beginning. Press them gently, making them ? firm on the outer corners of the strip to ensure they stick on. ? Make sure you do not have a white line appearing, as this indicates that there is gap between the two eyelashes. To fix the problem, you can either try to ? readjust it there itself or you can remove them and place again. After your eyelash adhesive is completely dry, apply ? a few coats of mascara. For finishing touches, curl them with an eyelash curler.





Eloquent Nollywood actress, Iyabo Ojo, reveals her top favourites to Kehinde Oluleye

Favourite perfume Robanne, Jadol, D and G, Khloe, Givenchy,


Favourite shoes Aldo, Gucci, Fioni, Giuseppe Zanotti, Fendi


Favourite bags Gucci, Fendi, , Ted Baker, LV, Hermes and Prada bags


Favourite wrist watch Micheal kor, Swatch, Gucci, Swaroski, Guess, D n G


Favourite book read lately Twilights, Fifty shades of grey, 1,2,3 books


Favourite undies Victoria secret underwear


Favourite food Pounded yam with egusi soup


Iyabo Ojo’s



Favourite skirt Short skirt


Favourite make-up kit Black up


Favourite car Range X6




The Secret Life of

Janet Jackson W

ITH every salacious rumor and scandalous detail of her family's personal life splashed across tabloid pages on an almost daily basis, that Janet Jackson has managed to keep her private life so, well, private is an age-of-TMZ miracle. The “Control” singer proved an uncanny ability to do just thatcontrolher private life when she announced Monday that she's no longer Ms. Jackson (if you're nasty), but Mrs. Al Mana. Shocking the entertainment press, Jackson said that she married Qatari tycoon Wissam Al Mana … and that the wedding happened last year. In a culture of such rabid celebrity obsession and microscopic coverage of even the most D-list of stars' daily lives (Breaking: Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie make date night a priority!) a key member of one of the world's most public families managing to keep an entire marriage secret for any amount of time is astonishing, let alone for months. More impressive is that this is the second time Jackson has managed to keep her nuptials a secret from the press. In fact, looking back, Michael's little sister has had a remarkablyalmost implausibly, given her notorietyprivate life. Janet Jackson had been dating Wissam Al Mana since 2010. That much wasn't a secret; the two were even spotted out Monday, the same day as their

Surprise! Michael's little sister has been married to a Qatari businessman for a whole yearand it's not even her first secret wedding. Kevin Fallon on how Ms. Jackson keeps her life under wraps. marriage announcement, taking in the Giorgio Armani show during Milan's fashion week. They began seeing each other less than a year after Jackson's seven-year relationship with Jermaine Dupri came to an end, after meeting at a hotel opening in Dubai. Al Mana is the 37-year-old managing director of Al Mana Retail, his family's luxury corporate group in the Middle East. Jackson is 46. The marriage was finally revealed because rumors over the past few months that the couple was planning a lavish wedding had spun out of control. After breaking news of the couple's engagement in Decem ber, Us

•Janet Jackson and husband Wissam al Mana

Weekly ran reports that they had their sights set on a spring wedding. The same day the “engagement” news leaked, The Daily News reported details of a supposed $20 million wedding in the work, a price tag that included the supposed cost of flying Jackson's entire family to Qatar on a fleet of private jets. None of that, apparently, was true. They were already married. “The rumors regarding an extravagant wedding are simply not true,” the not-sonewlyweds said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. “Last year we were married in a quiet, private, and beautiful ceremony. Our wedding gifts to one another were contributions to our respective favorite children's charities.” And these nuptials were even revealed faster than Jackson's last ones. News of her marriage to Rene Elizondo Jr. in 1991 didn't surface until the couple separated in 1999. When the news broke, it was called “the best kept secret in Hollywood.” At the time, even Elizondo said he “was surprised we kept it a secret so long.” At the time of their divorce in 2000, Elizondo told JET magazine that keeping a secret marriage with one of the most famous people in the world was difficult, but worth the effort. “We decided early on that we wanted to preserve our marriage by keeping it private. We noticed that couples that are always in the media seem to break up quickly in Hollywood.” Their 1991 wedding was performed at their home in San Diego County, and was attended by Jackson's mother and her best friend, Jackson's best friend, his parents, and a few of his closest acquaintances. The couple may have been on to something with their privacy crusadebetween their secret marriage and courtship, Jackson and

•Janet Jackson and husband Wissam al Mana

Elizondo were together for 14 years, a Hollywood eternity. Even Jackson's three-month first marriage to singer James DeBarge, when she was 18, has some lingering secrecyalthough the reports there are harder to take seriously. Gossip rags chased stories for years in the 2000s alleging that Jackson had a secret child with DeBarge. Rumors ran rampant in 2005 that Jackson had given birth to a girl during their marriage. At one point, it was speculated that it was a son named Omer Bhatti and he would now be in his late 20s. While (coincidentally) promoting new music, DeBarge's brother, Young DeBarge, claimed that Jackson had a grown daughter named Renee who lived with her older sister, Rebbie. Jackson shot down all that talk. “I do not have a child and all allegations saying so are false,” she said. So no secret babies, but Jackson's proven herself incomparably skilled at masking marriages. Of course, secret or surprise weddings aren't exactly rare for celebrities. They're even en vogue. Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen did it. Anne Hathaway and Adam Shulman did it. Kate Winslet and Nick Rocknroll did it. There are monthly reports that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have done itso far none of which seem to be true. The difference, however, is that those weddings were only “secret” in that no save-the-date cards were leaked to the press. In most celebrity cases, news that the clandestine nuptials are in progress hit E! Online or TMZ often before the celebrity bride gets down the aisle. Jackson kept her ceremony a secret for a full year. Long-kept secret marriages have occurred before. Bob Dylan's six-year union to backup singer Carolyn Dennis in the late '80s and early '90s wasn't revealed until ten years after they divorced. There are conflicting reports that Aaliyah and R. Kelly were scandalously married in 1994 when she was 15 and he was 27 (she reportedly lied about her age on court records). Yet the big difference is time. Those marriages predated the paparazzi circus and the Radar-TMZ-Inside-Edition-willpay-you-millions-of-dollars-to-sell-outcelebrities culture. By that measure, even Jackson's first secret marriage is all the more understandable. As countless veteran Hollywood actresses diplomatically say when asked to give advice to today's young starlets, the amount of privacy celebrities had then and can expect now has decreased beyond reason. Naked photos (Scarlett), tawdry affairs (Kristen), secret siblings (Lindsay)it all comes out, whether someone close to the star leaked it or some intrepid gossip journalist dug it up. It's why talk that Beyoncé faked her pregnancy is ridiculous (with so many people around her, someone would have spilled the beans). It's why allegations that Justin Bieber fathered a child are insane (he'd never get away with that). And it's why the fact that Janet Jacksonamid all her family's dramamanaged to keep her own wedding a secret for an entire year is utterly amazing. Source: The Daily Beast



Gloria Maduka drops new video oria Maduka is IGERIA-BORN Gl from the g currently smartin music video release of her latestinternational u'. The titled 'Crazy for Yo er whose music and rit singer and songw fluenced by mainstream dance styles are in d with African se pop and rock infu r techniques with the he elements believes djembe, among other d an o, ng bo a, cong r apart from other percussions, set he e scene. female artists on th deo sees Gloria infused 'Crazy for You' vi ks dance skills into an ar her unique tradem e catch dance steps are awesome video. Th her eclectically fresh nicely blended into of sound. was one of 40 out Before now, Gloria Jacksonville, Florida in 12,000 contestants in front of American n tio di au to chosen . She was featured Idol judges in 2008 during the 2009 singing on the show r 2011, Gloria was be season. In Septem Act" at the NPA ew N t es "B ed awarded GA. She also open Awards in Atlanta,emorable performance. the show with a m








Tel: 07029013958

Ngozi Nwosu flies to UK for treatment


ONTHS after receiving the perfect New Year gift from Lagos governor, Babatunde Fashola, who responded to the clarion call to save the life of Nollywood actress, Ngozi Nwosu, by donating the sum of N4.5m to complete the money needed for her operation, the actress has now been flown to the United Kingdom for treatment. Ngozi jetted out of Nigeria this week aboard a British Airways flight and will be away till the end of March. She will be treated in a UK hospital for both heart and kidney related diseases. She has been ill for months now until she left for treatment abroad. The once robust and bubbly actress has featured variously in Yoruba, English and Igbo movies. She was part of the movie titled Living In Bondage but the Arochuckwu-born actress became an instant hit playing the role of Peace in the now rested family sitcom Fuji House of Commotion.


Soul E revels in new found status


HINGS seem to be looking up for Emmanuel Okose, fondly referred to as Soul E, ever since he released his latest album titled Message. In a chat with the marketer distributing the album nationwide, Chuksbiri Enterprise, he said over 5,000 copies were sold within a week after the release of the album and the demand for the album continues to rise. The 8-tracker album was officially released on Monday, February 4, and it includes songs such as 'Baba You Too Much', 'Thank God', 'By My Side', 'Love', 'Healing in the House'; 'He's Alive', 'Baba Baba', 'Oba' and 'Your Love'. Speaking further about the album, Soul E who now prefers to be called 'Prophet of Praise' says the album is inspired by his true life story. Soul E currently has a music video aptly titled ‘Thank God’ 'enjoying ample airplay. The video has also recorded over 30, 000 downloads on the internet since its release.

Ini Edo and Tonto dazzle in Playing Safe



CTRESSES Ini Edo and Tonto Dike are steadily growing their profile as thespians in the Nollywood circles, as the duo dazzle with a superlative performance in the soon-to-be-released movie titled Playing Safe. A romantic thriller from the stable of Diamond Groove Pictures, Playing Safe features Ini Edo, Tonto Dike, Jibola Dabo, Ghanian actress Matha Ankomah, Sexy Steel, Ik Ogbonna and Johanness Meyer. It is a story of young ladies who draw lessons from failed relationship experiences to play safe in the game of love. The young girls try to live on past love experiences and, not ready to put their eggs in one basket, choose to play safe. The game takes a turn and the quest to play the right card becomes impossible even as the clock ticks and desperation sets in. The flick is directed and produced by award-winning actor cum producer Elvis Chucks. Elvis is the Producer of Victims of the Society, True Citizen, as well as A Wish, a hilarious comedy. The movie shot in Lagos, Dubai, Ghana and London is due to be released during Easter.

•Soul E

9ice, K1 De Ultimate for New York concert


RBIT Entertainment owned by Mike Fash is set to stage a concert that will see two Nigerian artistes take to the stage in a first of its kind show come Friday, March 29. The event which will take place at Tropical Reflections Ballroom, 4501, Glenwood Road, Brooklyn will feature K1 De Ultimate and hip hop star, 9ice, live on stage. DJ Tunez, D Afoo and Brave Boi Music Group will also showcase outstanding performances at the event which is slowly but surely gathering momentum. In a chat with Mike Fash, the CEO of Orbit Entertainment, the wave-making outfit which in the past have promoted the likes of Lanre Teriba (Atorise), Tope Alabi, Late Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Lagbaja, K1 De Ultimate, King Sunny Ade and Yinka Ayefele, to mention a few, he revealed that the concert will be the first time two Nigerian artistes will be performing together on stage in New York. Mike also revealed that K1 De Ultimate will also perform a duet on •9ice stage with 9ice.




Death is not peculiar to the entertainment industry—Yaw T

speaking to her yesterday and I told her a lot of people believe she's coming to do Jenifa. Unknown to them, she's coming to do something totally different. Is this a political satire? To an extent it's a political satire. It centres on what has been happening in Nigeria from 2012 to 2013. Just everything that has been happening all this while; we'll talk about it in a way that will make people laugh while at the same time pass a message. Radio seems to have overshadowed your love for acting… My problem is with timing. I was speaking to a director recently and that was the same thing we talked about. I told him that the problem I'm facing is time. You want to go shoot a movie; they say come to location at 8am. You get there at 8am, you don't start to shoot till 2pm. They tell you, you are going to shoot for only four days, at the end of the day you end up shooting for seven days. It appears that you are not as passionate about acting as you are with radio? I am very passionate about acting. I just shot my TV programme called Yours and Mine. It will start to air from March 8. It will be aired every Friday on LTV and Tuesdays on TVC. Acting is my life. Even when I talk on radio I act. I do stuff for BBC and if BBC will need you for five days they will book you down for eight or ten days, bearing in mind that anything can happen but our productions are not like that. If they want to shoot, they will tell you we are just shooting you for only two days, but at the end of the day you will stay more days than you were booked for. I was supposed to be in the movie Mr. and Mrs. I was supposed to be the other guy. You know Joseph Benjamin was the rich mean guy. I was supposed to be the so called good guy, but it was the same issue of time that squashed that plan. They said I had to come to Abuja. I asked them how many days I was going to be shooting. They said at least four days. Now if I have to be taking permission from work it has to be that four days because I can't take permission for four days and I'm staying eight days. It's not right. And true to my fears, they spent more than the four days I was supposed to shoot. I didn't go but when I asked, I was told they spent more than four days. So if I had gone to do it and then I tell the producer or director that, 'sorry I can't spend beyond four days,' that I must go back. Of course, I would look like I'm not being considerate or I'm adding to the challenges they are already facing. So, would you ever quit radio to be able to fit into the challenges of timing in Nollywood? I think with time it is getting better. I don't think it will continue like this forever. I want to believe that with time it will get better. Like the producer that was talking to me two or three days back, I told him that my problem is time. My station will give me the opportunity to go but I cannot tell my station that I will be away for five days and then under five days, you've not finished. It is the movie mentality. If they want to come and record in this building for instance, they will tell you that, “we are recording for only two hours sir.” Meanwhile, for the next four, five hours they've not finished and yet they would have told you that they are recording for only two hours. For this play, we did a skit, myself and Funke. We shot it in a hotel in Ikeja. The man asked me how long we would be spending. I knew I was recording two skits; I told the man that I would spend six hours. He said six hours is too much, so I asked him if he would prefer I lied to him. In your own production, do you avoid this issue of timing? I try to. When I was shooting my TV programme


Consummate entertainer, Steve Onu, popularly called Yaw, has come a long way in the Nigerian entertainme nt industry. The On-Air Personality with Wazobia FM and star actor of the rested soaps, Twilight Zone and Flat Mates, has evolved over the years into a brand in showbiz. In this chat with MERCY MICHAEL, Yaw, who features versatile actress Funke Akindele in his Yaw Live on Stage comedy show, The Bar, speaks passionately about his love for acting, the challenges and his comedy show.

ELL us all about The bar. It's a satire basically. It's a two-man play. Don't be deceived by the flyer. It's just Funke Akindele and I. The others will just entertain in what they know how to do best but every year I do a two-man stage play. In the past, I've done with Jude Orhorha, Owen Gee, MC Abbey, Koffi, but this year I'm doing it with Funke Akindele. Why the choice of Funke? Because she's got the blend of craziness that I actually need and she's versatile. You know, a lot of people don't believe she can speak Englis h. I was

Entertainment Fm the evening of that day, February 14. She was supposed to come on Freeze's show to come and talk about the Grammy experience and what's new. That was after she had done the two singles. She was supposed to come, but I never had a close encounter with her. Fears have been raised about the constant deaths in the entertainment industry. What's your take on it? I think a lot of people would say the entertainment industry needs to pray, I'm not ruling that out. I think it's important that they do, but another thing I would say is that just like people die in the entertainment industry, people die in other sectors but maybe because they are popular, they are public figures, people know them; that is why you think that theirs is worse. I'm sure if you go to the banking industry in the whole of Nigeria I'm sure you will see one banker that died today or yesterday, so it's like that. That's the way I want to see it but I'm sure it's also very important that we pray and rededicate ourselves to God because the position that we are is not like every other man on the street. Please permit to say that. Let me just give you a simple example. I remember when they did the 'Abacha one million man match', the youth earnestly asked for Abacha, if you remember. Shina Peters was one of those that performed for him. Now he went to Ife to perform and students yapped him. They were shouting at him to get out. He had to prostrate to beg them that he was sorry for going to sing for Abacha. He was castigated for a long time. Then I looked at it, when Abacha was alive, there would have been times when he was sick, and doctors attended to him, taking care titled Yours and Mine last April, if not that I fell ill, I of him. Who is castigating those doctors? Nobody. had chicken pox which made me stop shooting and Now, they said the Abacha's family embezzled everybody saw it, I would have finished shooting money but lawyers are still standing for them in within the time frame that I set. I asked the director court. Who is castigating those lawyers? Nobody! But how many days it would take him to shoot and he said it would take him ten days. I said fine, I'm telling if an entertainer endorses any of those people all my cast and crew that we are shooting for haaaaaa!!! He or she is castigated and I don't know fourteen days bearing in mind that someone might why. It means our position is different from everyone have a reason not to be around when we are ready. else. So it's very important that entertainers should All those things have to be put into consideration. do things and do them right. Let's be careful with the Could it also be that the reason you are not ready things we do and steps we take. If a man slaps a to stick out your neck for acting is because it's not woman it is nothing but let an actor slap a woman, it lucrative enough? is news. It means that we occupy a delicate position and it should be guarded. So prayer is very I think it's more of the pleasure. That's why I want important in our industry. to still come back to act. That's what I love to do. But if it's about putting food on my table, I don't know. As a humour merchant, will standup comedy Maybe it is for other people. But I don't think so. I come later? don't think it's actually putting food on the tables of I think we all have our strengths. Babasala was not many of us. For me, it's just for the love of it. That's a comedian. Ibu is not a standup comedian. Nkem why I've stayed glued to it. Owoh is not a standup comedian. I don't know if you What are television soaps like? get me. Dele Odule is not a standup comedian. These Twilight Zone and Flat Mates was crazy. Then, there people are comic actors but that doesn't were not much TV soaps and all that. I also mean they can't handle the mic. I think that was the only programme on There was a just think I understand my own market TV for young people and a lot of people time a lady came and I'm just following it squarely. I actually liked it. It was good. A lot of anchor events, I crack jokes at event. It people still make reference to it till date. I to my office with works well for me. was with Kanu Nwankwo when we my name “Yaw” How do you handle your female went for the Olympics, and he asked tattooed on her fans? why we stopped Flat Mates. I guess most You can't run away from female of us just went on to other things. waist. She said fans. There is nothing you can do Would you do Flat Mates again if you that is the extent about it. Women make the world go are cast for it? round so you must learn to relate with to which she Yes I would, but I don't think it would them. Even if you bring them close you happen. I think the storyline would loves me. I was must learn to keep them at arm's change because it's difficult now length. Let me give you an example. shocked. I've removing those actors from what we are you go to a club, it's usually free today. Basketmouth is already big. I am never seen her When for the ladies. So what that means is at my own level, so is Kayode Peters. It before and she that without the ladies the men won't might not really be easy. Besides, people come there. So you must just learn to will now look at it like, “What is wrong tattooed my walk around it. with these old men? Abeg make una leave name on her this thing for small boys to do.” That's what Tell us about your ordeal with a female fan if you have any? I think. But Kayode is working on waist! That's something, trying to do a reloaded kind There was a time a lady came to my madness! of thing. Everybody is now big. We just office with my name “Yaw” tattooed pick it up from that angle. That was what on her waist. She said that is the extent Kayode said. to which she loves me. I was shocked. I've never seen Did you find radio or radio found you? her before and she tattooed my name on her waist! That's madness! I just left and told the security people No, no, no Wazobia started in November, I joined them in December. But I think I contributed in to chase her away. building what the station should look and sound like, Are you the typical African man who doesn't yeah! I'm not sure they wanted humour at the early believe a woman should express her feelings to a stage but maybe because I came in, so my MD made man? it a point of duty that you must be humourous to be Of course I believe… I don't have a problem with able to work in Wazobia. If you are not humourous that. It happens but not to that extent. That is going you cannot work there. to the extreme. So what's your background? What are your plans for 2013? I did Theatre Arts at the Lagos State University, Apart from The Bar, coming up very soon, written Ojo. And that was when? I did my diploma by Obe Martins there is the TV programme Yours and sometime in 1995. E never too tey (laughs). Mine which will start showing from March. As an on-air personality, did you ever encounter How did you spend the Valentine? Goldie before her death? I was in a meeting. I went for a meeting. No, not much. She came to Cool Fm, which was Are you married? after Big Brother. I think that was the last time she came. Except if she came on some other shows I don't I'm involved. Work come first for me in everything know about. Like I'm not in the studio right now, so I I do. Besides, I have a show. Every day is love for me. don't know who and who is there. But I knew on the But that apart I had a meeting on that day and it was day she passed on she was supposed to come to Cool important I went because of my show.


FRSC to induct new celebrity marshals


N its resolve to maximise public enlightenment on the need to imbibe safe driving habits, the Federal Road Safety Corps has concluded plans to induct another set of its celebrity Special Marshals. The celebrities drawn from the music, movie, comedy and media are expected to use their goodwill to reach out to the public through advertisements, endorsement, road shows and enlightenment campaigns. They will also act as ambassadors of safety. Some of the celebrities set to be inducted on th March 8 at a yet-to-be-named venue include: Halima Abubakar, Oge Okoye, Fidelis Duker, Chico Ejiro, Steve Ayorinde, Queen Ure, Azu Amatus, Seyi Law, Tony Okoroji, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi, Emeka Rollas, Emeka McDowen, Doris Simeon, Patience Ozokwor, Deji Balogun, Tokunbo Ojekunle, Sola Salako, Salomey Eferemo, Iyanya, Victoria Pepple, Victor Ayara, Jide Alabi and Ayo Makinde. The celebrities Special Marshals initiative is a voluntary programme aimed at enlightening the public on the need to drive safely.

Charles Granville excites fans with two new singles


HEN it comes to gospel music in Nigeria, Charles Granville is one of the forces to reckon with. Very unassuming but always busy pushing his musical career, Charles has again made a statement with his recent two latest singles which are currently enjoying massive airplay on different radio stations across the country. The two singles he recently released are titled Trip for You and God No Be Your Mate. Speaking on the new singles produced by ingenious producer, ID Cabasa, Charles said he wrote the songs based on his personal relationship with God. “Trip for you talks about my love for God and I wrote it in a way that will appeal to everyone that loves God irrespective of their religion. God No Be Your Mate, which is the second song, came while recording in the studio. We initially did the slower version of it before we got the one we have now. I am sure of the quality of what I just released because I took out time to ensure that both songs meet any standard anywhere in the world.” Officially, Charles Granville is working with ID Cabasa's Coded Tunes and managed by Evergreen Entertainment. Charles is also a talented actor. He acted in the blockbuster movie, Last Flight to Abuja. •Charles



secret plan

• Eyes modelling after soccer career






MBA'S SUNNY SIDE Super Eagles' AFCON hero Sunday Mba at home with puppies


EFORE the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicked off in South Africa, he was comparatively unknown, but that changed after netting two important goals for Nigeria's Super Eagles, and today, Sunday Mba, the hitherto unsung player in the local league, is now the toast of his countrymen and top clubs in Europe. Super Eagles had not won the trophy since 1994, but this latest triumph in Mandela's country will forever be remembered about a certain Mba. Born 24 years ago in the quiet town of Alayi in Abia State, the unassuming player netted the winning goal - a sublime kick at the tip of the box - to beat pre-tournament favourites, Cote d'Ivoire, 2-1 in the quarter-finals and capped a glorious outing with the lone goal against Burkina Faso that grabbed Nigeria the elusive trophy. Lion- hearted Mba, who is currently a subject of ownership row between Rangers International of Enugu and Warri Wolves Football Club, has, however, revealed his extreme love for puppies, whom he said taught him the true meaning of loyalty and reliability. “I love dogs, particularly puppies, with passion and l have some,” Mba told The Nation Sport & Style. “I like play around with puppies and whenever they are around me, l feel quite satisfied. I think l love the puppies more than the big dogs.” Asides from the pleasure derived from watching and cuddling puppies, the unassuming midfielder noted that his likeness for puppies is borne out of the fact that they are ever loyal and dependable. “Whenever l'm on the pitch, l feel restless like the puppies and l can do whatever l set my mind on, noted Mba, who graduated from The Class 2004 Pepsi Football Academy. “I like dogs because they are loyal and dependable to the core.” In his major interview since his heroic performance at the 2013 AFCON, Mba s p e a k s exclusively on the AFCON experience, the glorious g o a l s ,

By Taiwo Alimi teammates and his next destination. Excerpts... The match against Ethiopia The Ethiopia match gave us a little scare. Big Boss, Coach Stephen Keshi, called me aside before the match and told me that l should just go in there and do what l have been doing. He told me that I had been doing it right and that he expected me to do the same. That fired me up and like they say, the rest is now history. Battle against Cote d'Ivoire We knew it was not going to be an easy game because they were the pre-tournament favourites. And that was what fired us up. After settling into the game, it was obvious that we had an edge. So it was easy to step up our game. The secret for us is that we played for each other and as a team, so unity was the key in that match. If we had not played as a team, the result might have been different. As for the winning goal that I scored, I must tell you that it was a result of selfbelief. That goal was a result of my resilience. You may not know it but before I scored, I was really on edge because time was running out on us. The spirit in camp was quite high before the match and we all believed that we could beat Cote d'Ivoire though many did not share that feeling. When l got the pass and was able to gain some space, the next thing that came to me was to go for the goal, there was no way I was going to pass to anyone and thank God it worked out. At first, l did not believe I had scored such an important goal, but the moment it dawned on me and was lifted off my feet by Moses (Victor), l started shouting, 'I am the man…I am the man.' It was an unforgettable moment. ”



E may be enjoying a starring role at his Spanish La Liga club, Granada CF, but Nigerian striker, Odion Ighalo, is already eyeing a career in the modelling industry once his soccer career is over. That Ighalo is a guy on the fast lane is never in doubt. In fact, a quick look at one of his social web pages speaks so much about why he's regarded as the next big deal to hit the fashion runway. Many noted that his masculinity would stand him out if he ever considers a career in modelling. “Yes! It is true that many of my fans feel that I would be a good model,” admits Ighalo in a conversation with The Nation Sport & Style. “But I am not thinking about it now because I want to go far in my football career. “Of course, this is something I can consider in the future particularly after my soccer career. “I have been told to consider a career as a model and I was even advised that I can do this along with my soccer career. “Many said I'm handsome but I see that as just compliments. I don't want to be carried away though I like modelling, that has to wait until I retire from playing football,” he explained. And with further insight into his style ensembles, he says: “I like putting on simple and fitted clothes because I don't like heavy dressing! My wife is very fashion-conscious and I like to wear what she can appreciate. I like a unique outlook.” Ighalo has been with Granada since 2009. Two seasons ago, he was instrumental to their promotion to La Liga as he scored in a 1-1 draw with Elche CF in the promotion playoffs which sent Granada to the first division on the away goals rule. This season, he has been in an excellent scoring form, including the club's only goal in the 21 loss to Spanish giants, Barcelona. The 23-year-old shares some of his exciting time in Spain, among other things. Excerpts... Waxing strong with Granada I have no reasons not to be at my best for Granada because the club and the fans believe so much in me. What have been keeping me on are the passionate fans of Granada and the coaching crew. I'm very happy here since I always get a chance to prove myself every week. That pushes me to improve on my games every day. I thank God for all he has done for me. Whenever I remember the day I scored the goal that helped the club secure promotion to La Liga, I'm always very happy. I consider it the day of my destiny. Ever since, Granada fans have been helpful to me; even when the goals are not flowing they keep supporting me. We survived relegation last season, but this year we are working hard now to be at the middle of the table at least at the end of the season. Role Model I am living my dream today by playing against some of the world best players in Spain. I knew the road to success is not easy and it has taken me a big struggle to be where I'm today. Cristiano Ronaldo is my number one role model. I like him a lot and I can't quantify my love for him. Some years back, I watched him on television and challenged myself to be a player like him. It's a dream come true for me to be playing against him today. I felt so happy when we beat Real Madrid. That victory against Real Madrid was great for the team and me. We always like to prove ourselves against those big teams, but claiming the maximum point against Real was a great one. I felt so proud scoring against Barcelona because it's boosted my confidence. I always see Real Madrid and Barcelona games as real challenge for me, that is why I usually do my best at any given opportunity. I have been lucky to play against Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They are both very good in their own right and I consider the two of them as the best players in the world today. I don't think I'm saying anything new. But I will not like to compare Messi and Ronaldo because I think they are not comparable based on the fact that they play in entirely different teams with different football culture. Living in Spain I am addicted to Spanish life. I dreamt of playing in Spain and that was why I didn't give it a second thought when I had the chance of coming to Granada. Coming to play here today is living my dream. I live peacefully here. Racism is everywhere

Eyes modelling after soccer career

• Ighalo with his boy, Daniel

By Morakinyo Abodunrin especially when the fans are not getting on well with you or your performances. But I thank God not only because I am not racially abused, but to be living comfortably in the country. Though I'm regarded as a hero here, I respect myself too. I don't see myself as a star that has arrived and I'm happy the club as well as the fans appreciate my stay with them and they always show it to me. Super Eagles 2013 AFCON success I was excited that the Super Eagles won the 2013 AFCON in South Africa. Though I was not part of the team to South Africa, I was so thrilled that we won and I expressed my feeling on my social network page. I am proudly a Nigerian and I always say it anywhere. At last, we have proved that we are the real giant of Africa. I salute the team the coaches and the players - for the wonderful work. I still have a big dream to play for the Super Eagles. I will work harder to justify that dream. Personal target I have the same ambition with the club, and our target at Granada is to remain at the topflight. Maybe next season we can start dreaming about doing better, all the same we are on course to make it big. Last season, we struggled all through but we know we are capable of finishing at least in the midtable this season. Personally, I still have the dream of playing a big role in the Super Eagles.

I am living my dream today by playing against some of the world best players in Spain.

It's all about working hard here and waiting for my time. I have learnt never to relax because I have everything to succeed in the game Relaxation Madrid is a lovely place to be for holiday and shopping. You will see different things and life entirely. I take my family to Madrid as often as possible for shopping. Barcelona is another great place you'll love to be in Spain. The two cities compete a lot not only in football but every other thing. Their rivalry is a joy to some people because of their investment in the cities. Between family and adoring fans Of course, I have so many adoring female fans. But that is not a big deal, really. I have a very beautiful wife who is my greatest fan. I relate with everybody with matured respect. I love my wife and my kids are here with me, so it really makes sense for me to concentrate and reciprocate the fans' passion for me. I can't do without my family; they give me inspiration. I am always encouraged by their support and they always pray for me. My family know the kind of work that I do. My kids also support me by coming to the stadium, and if it is the wish of God they will play football too. But they will go to school first because they must have good education. That is the first step, and then any other thing can follow. They are showing me that they have the passion for the game already. So don't be surprised when you see them playing football in the future. Between Spanish and Italian football I think Spanish football is more technical

in terms of tactical ability and creativity. I have always been a fan of Spanish football. I love Spanish football because it suits my style. You need to be more physical if you really want to play in Serie A. You have to be more energetic, but in Spain, you will allow the ball to run. That is why I still love football in the Spanish league than any other, and I am sure that is why it is rated as the best for now. I think it is a plus for any player that has speed to play in Spain, and that is why you see Cristiano Ronaldo being more effective since he came to Real Madrid. Craze for Manchester United I have always been a Manchester United fan. In Spain, we talk about Barcelona and Real Madrid. In Italy, we talk about Inter Milan and in England we surely talk about Manchester United because they play good football. These are the most reliable teams in these countries. They are always assured of trophies every season. And what makes a team big other than winning trophies? I would like to play for Manchester United but my focus now is to do well with Granada.

•Kanu with Onyewuchi Abia




The grass-to-grace story of Olympic star, Mo Farah


ll things being equal, by the time he reaches Tower Bridge during the forthcoming London Marathon, Mo Farah will have long since left in his wake the race's fancy dress pantomime horses and giant chickens. Then, after taking in the applause from the cheering crowd at the halfway point of the iconic sporting event, Farah its most celebrated and recognisable competitor will simply stop. He will not be required to take another step in order to pick up the £250,000 cheque the race's sponsors, Virgin, will give him for completing just 13.1 miles of the famous 26.2-mile course. All of which might seem like something of a kick in the teeth to the 35,000-plus other participants struggling past the finish line on April

21. But, then, double-Olympic champion Mo, who will be running a competitive marathon for the first time, is such a draw that the race organisers are prepared to bend over backwards and bend the rules in order for him to take part. `Indeed, they have promised him and the American moneymen who have just taken over the reins of 'Brand Mo' a further £500,000 when he runs the full distance of the marathon in 2014, pushing his post-Olympic earnings to £3.75million. Such dizzying sums are the tip of the iceberg. Two weeks ago, Team GB hero Mo and his ambitious wife Tania who helps oversee his career quietly agreed a deal with Connecticut-based global sports management firm Octagon that, it is hoped, will propel him into the big league.

'Mo is just as much a brand as Virgin,' Octagon's UK vice-president Clifford Bloxham told me this week. 'And we have to build that brand. 'When it comes to the big deals in British sport, Mo can be doing those deals. He is going to be able to compete with Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray and top footballers. He deserves to get his share of those opportunities.' Already, big money sponsorships with the likes of French fashion house Louis Vuitton and South Korean car makers Hyundai are being discussed. Conservative estimates forecast that Mo, who was brought up in poverty in war-torn Somalia before moving to Britain at the age of eight, could make up to £10million over the next two years. Suddenly, Farah, who won the nation's hearts with his stunning gold medal achievements in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at London 2012 and his trademark 'Mobot' celebration, is realising his full commercial worth. Sadly, however, it seems even the 'Mobot', which involves arching the hands over the head to create a letter 'M' and which was recreated with such innocent glee in the nation's school playgrounds in the wake of his victories has a price. The runner's aides told me this week that his long-time manager Ricky Simms, who also looks after the career of Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, has applied to trademark it. Of course, while no one would begrudge the likeable 29-year-old his chance to reap the financial rewards of his hard work, there are concerns in athletics that by so assiduously chasing the riches on offer to him, he could be jeopardising his career as a runner. Indeed, his insistence he will complete only half of the London Marathon has led to bemusement among his peers. This week, Paula Radcliffe described the move as 'a little bit strange' and Steve Cram called it 'difficult to comprehend'. I am told behind the scenes in the close-knit world of athletics that there is, among some, unbridled fury over the plan. 'It's pure showboating and has nothing to do with the long-held spirit of the marathon,' one senior figure

told me. 'Some of the elite athletes will be spitting tacks. 'Because he has to run only half the race, Mo could decide to go for broke, hit the front and run an incredible time. Then he'll just stop, and no doubt be treated as a winner by the crowd. 'In effect, you'll end up with two winners and it detracts from the man who makes the supreme effort to finish the allotted course and come in first.' Yet the lure of cold, hard cash seems to be too hard to resist. His close advisers, who include Tania his wife of three years, who also acts as his media consultant are insistent that Mo's transition from track to marathon running, with its bigger appearance fees, will increase his scope for sponsorship earnings exponentially. Crucially, it will also give Farah access to the lucrative U.S. market. Last weekend, Mo, who moved to Portland, Oregon, with his family in 2011, ran in the Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon in New Orleans. Interviewing him after the race, a local TV reporter made the cringe worthy mistake of asking Mo if he'd ever run before. Too polite to mention his Olympic gold medals and the fact he is the reigning World and European 5,000 metres champion, Mo didn't let the journalist know her mistake. Steve Cram said it 'difficult to comprehend' Farah's decision to run half of the London Marathon Yet his stateside advisers are planning to raise his profile in the U.S. by playing down his Britishness and talking up the 'inspirational story' of his impoverished African background. 'Running marathons in New York will increase his profile in the States,' said Bloxham, whose company generates more than £2.6billion for international sports stars including swimmer Michael Phelps and Formula One driver Mark Webber.

Mba reveals love for Spanish football Contd from page 36 AFCON final match At that point we knew no one was going to stop us though we still showed some respect for Burkina Faso. We knew them well, having played against them in the first game. However, we saw they had improved as we watched them beat Ghana in the semi-finals and knew we had to be careful. Coach Keshi told us that it was the final game and would need all our focus to stop Burkina Faso and that was what we did. We took his advice and we won. I am glad that l scored again, and it was an important goal but it was made possible because we played like a team. Best friend in the team I was always with Chigozie Agbim and Godfrey Oboabona. They are great guys and l enjoyed their company throughout the competition. I was actually very free with all members of the team and I can say I'm close to all members of the team On Mikel Obi Mikel Obi, like the captain of the team, Joseph Yobo, is an experienced player. Alongside with Yobo, he inspired the rest of us. Mikel is quite humble on and off the field of

play and that made us new players to feel special too. He is a professional and Yobo would take time out to speak with us at different times, urging and inspiring us. It is a great feeling to be part of that team. My style I like to dress in jeans and nice shirt because as a player, it makes me free. Sometimes, l go for local attires when occasion demands for it, but l love to dress simple. I also love to listen to good music, preferably Rhythm & Blues. It gives me inner peace and keeps me at ease. European Deal I've had offers from England, Spain and Italy, but if I have my way, I would want to play for a club that is based in Spain. This is because apart from other considerations, the way they play their football suits my game. I have always admired Spanish players. But like I said, if it is in my power to choose where I will play in Europe, I would most definitely move to Spain. I believe I have the necessary requirements to do well in that country. Nobody believed I would do well, but I braved the odds and God crowned my efforts. I will do well in any country, but Spain remains my first choice. • Mba (m) celebrating with Super Eagles team mates




Nigerian Idols: Ten contestants in breakout night


Standing ovation as Ani Light croons at album launch

S the competition gets into full swing, it was a time for the top 10 Nigerian Idol finalists to give some of the strongest performances seen and heard this season. The contestants performed their personal favourites and many of the performances got appraisals from judges Yinka Davies, Femi Kuti and Jeffrey Daniel, as well as guest judge, DJ Jimmy Jatt. Amara set the ball rolling, taking on Jennifer Hudson's You Pulled me Through, and the judges were not pleased with the performance. Moses was up next. The rising star decided to go British, rendering Shayne Ward's Breathless. Kome took on Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing which Yinka Davies called it a “fair effort,” but was not blown away. Dani Angus changed the tempo by selecting Jackie Wilson's To be Loved, a song which wowed the audience as well as the judging panel. For Debbie Rise, Alicia Keys' Fallin was the way to go and Femi Kuti commented; “Best performance so far.” Joe Emmal,


Efezino, Abasiakan, Sefeeyat, Etta James as well as JayFeel all had chances to outdo each other in a night that has come to be regarded as one of the toughest in the contest so far. The top prize for this season is

HE Vchannel team on Friday, February 22, 2013, unveiled its fresh presenters to special guests and the general public. The unveiling took place at the high scale watering hole, Troy Lounge, Ogba, in a carnival-like T Ani Light's album launch last atmosphere that provided the guests with a feel-good Sunday, friends, families and members of the press came together for experience. It was a night of fun, glamour, and anticipation. The the event which held at the Terra unveiling, which started by 9pm with a red carpet, had Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. industry stakeholders, media executives, agency heads, The 10 tracker album, titled My reporters, entertainment personalities and select special Greatest Treasure, was launched amid guests in attendance. thrills and frills. The presenters, consisting of 6 ladies and 5 men, were The MC, simply known as Bontu, set unveiled and were obviously excited and eager to express the tone for the evening with his witty themselves and entertain the audience. The presenters would handle various segments on the V-channel such as Annabel but hilarious jokes. In less than half an presents Comedy, Bridget hosts the Ladies' Forum, April hour after the event kicked-off, the takes charge of Celebrity Interviews, Oyinda presents guests didn't need to be told they were Musicals, Zaziya anchors V food/Lifestyle, Perpetua in for an experience. Bontu invited on presents Fashion and style, Papasam does the Dance stage Ani's parents, which further sent segment, Patrick presents Musicals, Jude hosts E-Campus, the atmosphere to a high. Both parents Speens anchors Excite on TV, and Chemist boy hosts the couldn't hide their joy. They poured Comedy challenge. encomiums freely on the only daughter V-channel, on Channel 221 is a spanking new of the family. “I'm a proud mother. She's entertainment channel on Startimes that aims at changing the dutiful. Before 20, Ani had finished her face of the entertainment world, with its diverse and first degree. She holds a Masters degree exclusive packages. It is an entertainment platform targeted too,” said Ani's mother. “Sometimes, I at youths. It's a blend of African movies, drama series, wish she were my first child,” submits celebrity lifestyle shows, fashion & style, reality her father, a retired Navy Captain. TV shows, kiddie's programmes, comedy, musical content, game shows and other It was an evening of climaxes but exciting television experiences. the icing on the cake remains the According to Sola Fajobi, CEO of Vperformance by the newest channel, “the platform is aimed at gospel light. She started with delivering credible alternative and varieties; Glorious. Everyone gradually the world becomes more enjoyable and nodded in acceptance of the worth living when you have assorted melodious tune. And as soon as alternatives. Without varieties, the world she dropped Amanam, the only is monotonous. The world is void. The Efik flavour in the pack, the world is formless; nothing satisfies the soul whole hall event into a wild like different experiences of unforgettable ecstasy. Someone said, “she memories. We hope to deliver a variety of killed it; this will sell.” rewarding experiences to our TV audience and engage them in a more meaningful way than Very groovy song indeed, the ever before.” guests boogied all the way, Mercy Micheal


$100,000, in which the lucky winner will get 7.5 million naira in cash, a recording contract also worth 7.5 million naira, and a brand new SUV. Runner-ups will not be left out as they will be given prizes to the tune of 10 million naira.

Vchannel unveils presenters

•V-channel presenters

Julius Agwu takes Laff 4 Christ Sake to Port-Harcourt

praising God to high heavens. It was time to formally launch the album, friends and lovers of good music didn't waste time as they picked the album in two's and three's with free will donations rolling into hundreds of naira.


•Julius Agwu

EW days after staging a matchless Festival of Love Valentine show in Abuja, one of Nigeria's most resourceful comedians, Julius Agwu, is gearing up for the Port Harcourt edition of Laff 4 Christ Sake, another popular event brand from his stable. Having held in London and Lagos, this is the first time the show will be holding in Port-Harcourt. Billed to hold on March 29 at Aztech Arcum, the event will feature talented gospel acts like Frank Edwards, Tim Godfrey & D Extreme Crew, Afy Douglas and Freke Umoh. Top comic acts like MC Abbey, Owen Gee, Dan D'Humorous, Senator and Buchi will be entertaining guests with rib-cracking jokes. Speaking on the event, Julius Agwu said

it is another opportunity for him to thank God for his talents. “I want to use this event to say a big thank you to the Almighty God who gave me the talent, nurtured it and led me from Port-Harcourt to Lagos where my career grew globally. So I want Rivers and the entire South-South people to join me in thanksgiving to God who oils my wheel of creativity and ingenuity, as I also thank Him as I celebrate my 40 years on earth. God's grace is what has kept me going, and I want to use this event to seek His renewed grace in my life and career,” the artiste said. On what to expect from the show, Julius said it will be nothing short of “serious praise and gospel comedic experience like never before.” As part of its corporate social responsibility, Dana Airlines has identified with the event and agreed to be the official carrier.



Lessons I learnt from my failed marriage—Kefee


HAT explains the reason behind your release of a double album some months ago? I am a spiritual person and in as much as I like to sing and dance I am still spiritual. So I decided to show people both sides of me; the part that loves to dance titled Beautiful and the part that is spiritual titled Chorus Leader. Without a strong spiritual life you will find it very hard to cope in the physical. Both albums are themed “The Best of Both Worlds” showcasing different sides of me. Are you trying to strike a balance between both sides of you? I wouldn't say it is about me trying to strike a balance between both sides of me; it is just about me trying to do what I want to do. I am just being expressive with my talent; I am Kefee, I don't have to copy what other people are doing. I have to be creative, I have a lot to write about and I have a lot to talk about too. My burden is to continue to inspire people with my songs and when I get positive comments from people on my works it encourages me to do more. Did music start for you in Church? Yes! Music started for me in the Church; I started singing and dancing in Church and I used to go with my late aunt. She also took me out for social events too and always enjoyed myself singing and dancing at every occasion we went to. I am usually the centre of attraction back then and people sprayed me with money. That was how it all started for me… You started out as a duo some years back. Why did you part ways with your other partner? It was only necessary that our individual goals and ambitions defined our co existence. As we grew up in life our values changed and the things we held so dear in the past no longer commanded primary attention. So, we had to move on; we did not part ways, we only moved on to greater fulfillment for the purpose our creation. As a young girl from the Niger Delta, were you not scared you were going to face stiff competition as an artiste when you went pro? I am not scared of competition; I believe everybody has a place under the sun. Everyone has equal opportunities and it also depends on how well you use the opportunities that come your way. I never worried about competition because I was sure about my talent and the strength of my songs. How have you been able to stay relevant in an industry where most people listen to hip hop? I do a bit of hip hop too but most people know me as a gospel artiste. I try to work with a lot of people and that keeps me relevant. I like experimenting with music; I love hip hop and my husband is a big fan of that music genre. I love rap too and I draw a lot of inspiration from rap greats like Rakeem. I try to do anything that music allows me to do and I don't just dwell on waxing traditional songs which has come to be my trademark on the music scene. Have your works been anyway affected by piracy? Yes! Piracy is a painful reality that confronts musicians, actors, writers and all others that have one form of intellectual property or the other. The presence of piracy and its very debilitating and traumatising effect has diminished us all. I see mix tapes of my songs and videos with no royalty coming to me. However, I am positive that things will soon change for good. Your debut song Branama brought you so much fame when you started. How were you able to hold your own at the time? Having been brought up by my parents in a home where love, humility and discipline were the hallmark of growing


sign from a lucrative Very few people would recertain. This, Irikefe banking career for the un ged headlong into the Obareki did when she plun industry 11 years ago, ic us m e th of s er at w ky mur born artiste is enjoying and today the Delta State- and around Africa. In wide acceptance in NigeriaMED BOULOR, the this interview with AH mind on a range of r Branama exponent bared he riage, her current album issues such as her first marong other sundry issues. and Branama Kitchen, am

up, it was only natural for those values to still be part and parcel of me. I never lost touch of where I was coming from. I never forgot the fact that I am a child of God and the fact that all that we have today was truly given by Him. So, the fact that I was devoted to God helped me handle the fame that came with the success of my debut single Branama. What inspired you into writing that song? Branama was inspired by a grateful heart; I was just thanking God for all he had done in my life at the time. God gave me a reason to celebrate and Branama means shakara; I had reasons to show people what God has done for me. I wasn't really known at the time and I was just a girl who was relatively popular in Sapele, Delta State before I came to Lagos. Most people seem not to be able to balance your extravagant outlook with your spiritual life. What is your opinion on that? People should not try to balance other people's lives because I am not like every other person. Everybody cannot be the same because life has no manual; I try to do everything I can with my talent and that makes me who I am. I try to get the best out of whatever talent that I have because everybody cannot encourage you, but at least there are people who value what I do. The tempo of your songs seems to be on the rise; Branama was a mid-tempo tune and Kokoroko is a high tempo song. Are you moving with the current trend? For the song Kokoroko, I would say I was just doing good music except you want us to do a remix. Branama is a danceable song and so is the song Kokoroko, like I said earlier, I try different things because that is what creativity is all about. I cannot do everything the same way; variety is the spice of life and that makes the whole thing interesting. What's 'Branama Afrique' all about?

Branama Afrique (which means show off Africa) is a brand that is involved in aggressively redefining the African persona. It is the definition of our expressions, our strength, panache, beauty and values. It is more like cultural reloading. What's your greatest desire as a married woman? I have already told God what I want from Him; if I tell you what I want you will not be able to do it for me (laughs). Whatever I want God to do for me has been tabled with the most high and I know He will do it in His time. Whenever I call on God, He always answers me. How did the cooking part of you take shape? My mum loves to cook and I learnt everything about cooking from her; she was always cooking and I was always standing in the kitchen trying to monitor things. I used to enjoy her cooking too and that somewhat prepared me for the business I am involved in at the moment which is called Branama Kitchen. That was how I got interested in the area of cooking before I thought of making money off it. At what time did it occur to you that you could make money out of cooking? I decided to get a restaurant after I was totally convinced about my cooking skills in 2005. I reme

mber I just released Branama 2 at the time. I was actually going around looking for a place, but I couldn't get a suitable place. I was still searching for a place until 2011 when I finally got a place. I started thinking about having a restaurant where I could further display my cooking skills and get paid for it. You have three full-time jobs as a wife, an artiste and a business woman. How do you manage your time because you don't look stressed in anyway? I don't work alone; I have people working for me and I have a husband that understands what I do. That makes it easier on the home front. I also try to live up to my expectations as a housewife. I have people who love my music and who try to contribute their own quota to ensure that I get the best out of my music. At work, I also have people who take care of things too and that makes it possible for me to be able to balance all the activities I get myself involved in on a daily basis. What major lessons did you learn from your last marriage with Alec Godwin? It only opened my eyes more to what life is all about; if you don't go through challenges you never become a stronger person. That was a chapter in my life that was meant to make me stronger as a person. People go through challenges and that was my story and when we couldn't carry on any longer, we had to part ways. What have been the gains of your current marriage to Teddy Esosa? My husband is a very nice guy and I am actually writing a book about my first marriage. The bottom line is that I am happy and if you ask me, this is the first time I am getting married. How did you meet your husband? We've known each other for a long time, and when he felt it was time, he proposed to me. The rest is now history, like they say… How often does he rush home to eat your meals? He comes home straight to eat my meals; he doesn't really eat outside the house. He also comes to Branama Kitchen to unwind too.





Jazz acts dazzle at Social Media Week


T the recently organised Social Media Week Lagos, two of Nigeria's entertainment companies, Emem Ema-led One Management and Ayoola Sadare-led Inspiro NAIJAZZ, teamed up for a fusion evening of music of various genres provided by the artistes on their platforms. The show featured an eclectic mix of Hip-hop, Jazz, R & B, Soul, Highlife and more as acts from both crews intentionally chose to perform and show their skills using live bands and not backing tracks to the delight of the audience for close to two hours. The acts on parade from One Management included rapper Provabs, soul diva Ebisan and highlife 'infinity' crooner Wizzboy, while Inspiro's NAIJAZZ presented

•Imole Afrika performing

Jazz piano virtuoso Dapo Dina, dexterous trumpeter/percussionist Victor Ademofe and Imole Afrika. Each artiste from both crews performed on stage alternately. The event was the last day of the Social Media Week Lagos and held at Terra Kulture. It marked the first time Social Media Week would be taking place on the continent of Africa. Produced by Dragon Africa and AFRIKA 21, the Social Media Week brought together leaders of thoughts, artistes, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens from Nigeria and throughout the continent and the Diaspora to explore how people and organisations are connecting to share new ideas and information.

Wreck It Ralph Featured Actors John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch Genre Comedy and Sequel Running Time 101min A Thousand Words Featured Actors Eddie Murphy, Cliff Curtis and Kerry Washington Genre Comedy Running Time 91min Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Comedy ARGO Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Drama Running Time 120 min Twilight Saga 2 Featured Actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 115min Skyfall Featured Actors Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 143 The Meeting

PORT HARCOURT Harris Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 143 The Meeting Featured Actors Rita Dominic, Femi Jacobs, Linda Ejiofor, Jide Kosoko, Kate Henshaw & Nse Ikpe Etim Genre Drama Running Time 120Min

Billboard Music Conference:


Charting a new course for Nigerian music

SSUES relating to the development of the music industry in Nigeria took centre stage at the maiden Billboard

•Obi Asika


OUNG up-coming artistes can now heave a sigh of relief as Campaign Hype Entertainment announces the date for its Next Rated…The Search concert. This event billed to hold at the MUSON Centre on Saturday March 23, 2013 is the brainchild of Mr. Von Styke. Speaking to a group of journalists recently, Mr. Styke said his passion for showing young talents the way to attaining the dream of making it big in entertainment necessitated the organisation of the Next Rated concert. According to him, Next Rated is the first ever talent hunts that gives young talents a platform to showcase their talents in front of record labels. “Over 150 companies are billed for the event, including record labels, music studios, music schools, movie and music producers, directors and music publishers who will initiate/sign new deals with artistes. Also excepted at the event are the nation's leading radio and T.V presenters, DJs and VJs whose presence will add to creating the ambience of a well rounded music festival. The over 3000 guests and spectators expected at the event will also watch live performances and guest appearances by the nation's

Music Conference which took place at the Porsche Centre, Akin Adesola, Victoria Island, Lagos. The prestigious music conference organised by Beat 99.9 FM in conjunction with Billboard Music took a critical look at the Nigerian music while proffering possible ways to move the industry forward. The conference which witnessed the convergence of stakeholders in the music industry such as Banky W, Eldee, Efe Omorogbe, Kunle Ayeni, Obi Asika, Chris Ubosi, Ayo Animashaun, Edi Lawani, and members of COSON, among others, examined issues such as

the size of the Nigerian music market and the opportunities therein, financing, music blogs, how to break into the US music market, mobile music and technology. Although the panelists differed on the way forward on issues such as distribution, piracy, artistes, record labels and monetising online content, they all proffered similar solutions. According to Obi Asika, "it's a rare privilege to have brought the Billboard Music Conference to Nigeria for the first time. It is the right step in the right direction at this era of our music industry.”

Mercy Michael

talents on the day of the grand finale come March 23. Organisers have said that the winner of 2013 Next Rated…The Search, will go home with a recording deal and one million naira. The first runner up shall get a recording deal and N500,000 while the second runner up will get a record deal and N300,000. Meanwhile, it has been revealed that for every up-coming artiste who registers for Next Rated, he or she stands the chance to win fantastic consolation prizes. They include like I-Pads, smart phones, laptops and other entertainment savvy devices.

Next Rated to hold March 23

top music artistes,” he said. Registration for Next Rated began on January 9 and ended on February 22. However, organisers say that the barrage of pleas from up-andcoming acts to extend the dates for registration is the reason for the next timeline of registration which will open March 8 and close immediately. Expected are 250 entries, but after the auditions 100 participants which will also go through an eviction process will emerge. Eventually, only 25 participants will have the opportunity to showcase their

•L-R: Dan Premo (Head of Event), Von Styke ( President), Vera Ike (V.P Talent), and Anyim Victor Anyim (Director of Academy)

Featured Actors Rita Dominic, Femi Jacobs, Linda Ejiofor, Jide Kosoko, Kate Henshaw & Nse Ikpe Etim Genre Drama Running Time 120Min Dr . Bello Genre Action/Adventure Hotel Transylvania Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Comedy Running Time 91min Shaolin Featured Actors Andy Lau,

ARGO Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Drama Running Time 120 min Twilight Saga 2 Featured Actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 115min Skyfall Featured Actors Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie

Featured Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans Genre: Action/Adventure Married but Living Single Featured Actors: Funke Akindele, Joke Silva, Joseph Benjamin, Tina Mba, Femi Brainard, Kiki Omeili, Yemi Remi Genre: Action/Adventure Men in Black III Featured Featured Actors: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin Genre: Action/Adventure Dark Shadows Featured Featured Actors: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green Genre: Action/Adventure

ABUJA A Wish Featured Actors Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse and Bingbing Fan Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 131min Here comes a boom Featured Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91min Premium Rush Featured Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 min Argo Featured Actors Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 120 min Sparkle Featured Actors Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo and Whitney Houston Genre Drama Running Time 116 min Skyfall Genre Action/Adventure The Meeting Genre Drama

Taken 2 Featured Actors Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace. Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 min •Hoodrush Genre Comedy •Taken 2 Featured Actors Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace Genre Action/Adventure Running Time 91 mins •The Dictator Featured Actors Sacha Baron




Why I am passionate about women and children - Leila St Matthew Daniel

Leila St Matthew Daniel is a woman of many parts. After her training and work in the United Kingdom, she came back home and made a mark in the furniture industry with her company, Jacinta. She recently, with a group of women, actresses and music stars, including her daughter, Funke Kuti, campaigned against violence against women through her NGO, Acts Generation. The woman of substance speaks with Yetunde Oladeinde on why she is passionate about women and children at risk.


HAT is Acts Generatio n all about? “I like w o r k i n g w i t h marginalised people, mostly women and at risk children. I am still my brother's keeper here. What that does is to offer a platform, whereby people can offload their minds; they can get counselling from things that otherwise could have let them down the wrong path.” She also offered rehabilitation for those who for one reason or the other have lost it down the line. “So, I have tried in my own little way to empower some people too as well in vocational skills.” So what can be done to change the trend? “Most times, when there is a problem, instead of allowing the law to prevail, they say it is a family matter. The policemen and security forces are being sensitised by us. There is a need to know that they have a role to play, when you send them back, sometimes, you are sending them back to their death.” She adds “that when you don't allow the law to take its course, you allow them (big men) who are crafty to get away with it. Like everything in Nigeria, the corrupt practice where they say 'I can do anything, all it would take is t o pay my way through, talk to someone who can influence things.' What we are saying is that they should stop influencing the course of justice, because what happens is that it affects

the course of justice and it just continues.” There is a need to take urgent steps, according to her, because “men are raping young girls.” She said further. “For goodness sake, what is happe n i n g ? They feel they c a n continue this way. When the law begins to put its foot down and when the police begin to realise that they are supposed to protect the populace, not because they are the judge and the jury, then you would find that people would be careful how they abuse little children, kill or maim their wives and vice versa.” St Matthew Daniel goes on to explain that “what we are trying to do is to take things in stages. Rome was not built in a day. We keep talking and talking about it until one day the law would take its course. They are trying their best but what happens is that during the interval between the reports and when the police want to take action too, they hide it under and the man who rapes scatters money.” She continues: “We are trying to tell them that they hurt, health-wise, it is more than money. The family has a role to play, they should stop keeping silent. They should stop saying we want to keep it in the family; they should stop saying shame, shame, and shame. It is shame to the person who does it; it's not shame to the victim. So, we are calling you to be your neighbour's keeper. If you are ashamed and you don't want your name to be mentioned, just call us. Tell us where it is going on and we would intervene.” Citing for instance the late Cynthia's case, she said “We are following up on all the situations. We are following up to make sure that the law takes it course. We are working hand in hand with the Lagos State government and we are joining a lot of companies to say no. You can see a lot of men here. A lot of men say real men don't hit women.” She made a mark in the furniture business. Her words: “In 1984, I started my furniture factory, I was well-known in the furniture industry with Jacinta Limited. It was my confirmation name,

and one thing led to the other. It all started one day when the furniture in my house needed to be recovered at that time. Ali Bare was to do it, I waited for too long and I got a little bit exasperated.” She was introduced to another person who also messed up. “So I just said to myself, what the heck! I am very artistic and so I got one of these Obiomas (mobile tailors) and we took apart the fabric. Then we cut and put it back. And from that point, friends were asking me how I did it and I just found that I had a deep interest in something different from my artistic background.” The brand Jacinta then started first by recovering and later started manufacturing in a little way. “People would bring tables and I would re-spray, renovate and I had a good chap who had worked in my late husband's factory. That was how we started in a small shed and before I knew it, it was growing bigger and bigger.” It was at this point that government banned imported furniture. She said “So I started expanding the scope by teaching. We took students in and they graduated after two years in the spraying, woodwork and other sections.” Along the line, she went back to England, did a three-month course and was ready to capture the Nigerian market. “I had a full-fledged factory of about a hundred-and-twenty people in all the sections like finishing, spraying and upholstery. I won quite a few awards because I started solo exhibitions. In fact, it became such that I was known through the name of the company. I did this for about 14 years.” Scroll down memory lane and she talks about the very first job that she did. “It was in England. When I finished schooling I worked with Lipton, England. I was in the admin department and I worked as an Admin Officer. I was a young graduate and I progressed and became the assistant to the man on top. Then I came back home and did one job after the other. Basically, I have gone it alone in consultancy, business solutions and project management. I am a builder; if you have problems with your business I come in and sort it out.”





ADETUTU AUDU (E-mail:, Tel: 08023849036)

Dakore EgbusonAkande still rocks

Taiwo Odukoya plots son's wedding


ONTRARY to the news making the rounds that the marriage of screen diva, Dakore Egbuson, to the billionairecum-politician Chief Harry Akande's son, Olumide, will take her off klieglights, the mother of one has continued to rock the social circuit. The Bayelsa State born scandal- free actress was among guests who stormed the launch of Giorgio Armani's fragrances last weekend at the Essenza Store located at The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki. The event which started with a champagne reception also allowed guests to be photographed on the red carpet. Mr.Kayode Kasumu, the CEO of the Essenza Stores, treated the guests to a goodie bag each with a bottle of the n e w l y launched f r agrances.


IMMY Odukoya, the first son of Pastor Taiwo Odukoya and late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya, will be getting married come March 9. Popularly called Pastor J, he will be signing the dotted lines with Oluwakemi Sade Banjoko at St. Mary's Church, Saffron Walden, UK and the reception will follow at the Quendon Hall, Quendon Park Estate, Saffron Walden. A pastor, gospel rapper and singer, Pastor J, while in college, was one of the founders of a dance crew on campus and was involved in various musical events and competitions. His elder sister, Tolu, also got married last year November.

Titi Adelagun-Oyinsan shows off baby bump Yosola Kuku O

regains grooving


N E o f Lagos top spinsters, Yosola Kuku, has regained her lost steam in partying. The daughter of top socialite, Chief Bewaji Kuku, who works with an oil firm, adopted a new lifestyle when her romance allegedly crashed. She built a fortress around her privacy. This must have been pulled down as she has been spotted at gigs letting her air down.

N-AIR-PERSONALITY and top model,Titi Adelagun, aka Titi Fanta, who got married to her colleague at Inspiration FM, OAP Gbemileke Oscar Oyinsan, last year, is definitely in her best moments. The popular model is now heavily pregnant and she could not hide her joy. She posted the photograph of her baby bump on her facebook page to the admiration of all her friends. Titi was initially linked with another model and former Mr. Nigeria, Bryan Okwara, before she was dumped by him for another top model, South Africa-based Bunmi Ademokoya. Titi later found a soul mate in her colleague, Gbemileke 'Oscar' Oyinsan. They met working the red carpet (at Denrele's birthday party) for SoundCity and Showtime Africa respectively. Both presenters found time to build a strong relationship which culminated in marriage last year. Apart from working at Inspiration, we gathered they also coown Amber 11 Media, a creative agency based in Lagos.




Rotimi Makinde gives marriage another shot


CTOR-CUM-POLITICIAN, Hon. Rotimi Makinde, member of the House of Representatives, representing Ife Federal Constituency, has decided to give marriage another shot. His new wife, Oyebanke Oyelami, we gathered, is a final year student of political science from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and the reigning Miss Osun . The movie producer and auto dealer sent tongues wagging recently when he stepped out with the beautiful lady. Last week, he had a formal introduction to the family of the beauty queen. Makinde is a man who has his hand in many pies. The father of three started having matrimonial crisis with his former wife before he was sworn in as a federal law maker. Sources say the politician's wedding to his new love will take place as soon as she is done with her academics.

Western Group Boss, Adewale Adesina, now a regent


HE CEO of Western Group and socialite, Adewale Adesina, aka Wale Saranda, is now the (Regent) Adele Olu Iwoye, following the recent demise of Olu of Iwoye-Ilaro, Oba Tijani Adebari. The consummate entrepreneur, we gathered, was appointed by the paramount ruler of Yewa land, Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle, for his indelible contribution to the development of Iwoye-Ilaro. He will be the interim ruler of the sleepy town until another king is installed by the kingmakers. Meanwhile, the final burial of the late Oba Adebari has been fixed for 16th of March.

Gbenga Adeboye's Godwin widow, battles Mekwuye hard times lies low


ARA Adeboye, rememeber her? She is the widow of the late ace broadcaster, Gbenga Adeboye, aka Funwontan. Sources informed us that Lara is now a shadow of herself and seems to have fallen on hard times. After the demise of her hubby, she was romantically linked with Lukmon Ajuwon, the Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, in Ajuwon, Iju a Lagos suburb. And things were definitely taking shape for her, until she fell out with her lover boy. It was widely reported that she got married to a civil servant in Abeokuta, but all that seems to have gone awry too as sources revealed that she is now back in Lagos and things are not really rosy for her again.


O you remember him? He is the amiable youngman behind Vivid Imagination. Sir Shina Peters sang his praise to high heavens in the 90s. Upon the inception of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration in 1999, Mekwuye gave him a new look by changing his wardrobe and appearance. The Vivid Imagination boss was in the news when he opened a multimillion naira gym and spa for his better half, Laura. But the meticulous designer, whose unique selling point is said to be the darling of dandies and aspiring style leaders, is missing on the social radar. Apart from the recent opening of the spa for his wife, Mekwuye is not functioning well again in the world of fashion he was noted for.

Isabella Ayuk gets busy


HOUGH her crowning and reign as the 2012 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria has been controversial, Isabella Ayuk is intent on using her position positively. Last year October, she launched the Vanessa Manyor Memorial Foundation (VMMF) in Abuja. VMMF was founded by Isabella in memory of her sister who died of typhoid fever and she therefore intends to use it to campaign against typhoid fever. Still not resting on her oars, the delectable queen launched her fashion brand/label, Bellasabel, last Wednesday in the Federal Capital Territory. Bellasabel will have in stock some of the best collections of classic pageant, dinner party, wedding and red-carpet dresses, including jewelries.





OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821)

•Toyin Lawani and John Obayuwana •Chief and Mrs. Harry Akande

•Rufai Ladipo and wife Funmi

•Mrs Sena Anthony and Daisy Danjuma

•Terry Waya and Segun Awolowo

At Florence Ita-Giwa’s 67th birthday bash By: Olusegun Rapheal

•Edi Lawani and Tony Okoroji

•Data Okorodudu


ENATOR Florence Ita-Giwa, former Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters to former President Olusegun Obasanjo is in the best of her moments. Mama Bakassi, held her 67th birthday penultimate Tuesday,19 February. The event held inside Sky Restaurant, at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites drew the crème in the society, though it was not meant to be loud. The aging gracefully birthday gal looks radiant at 67, as she was full of smiles in her purple gown. There was high celebrities in society presence. Those who made the day grand for Mama Bakassi include former Cross-River State governor, Donald Duke, billionaire businessman turned politician, Chief Harry Akande and wife,fun-loving. Terry Waya, Diamond Bank chief, Alex Otti,Polo boss, John Obayuwana, belle, Toyin Lawani, Abah Folawiyo and son,Segun Awolowo , former Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN president, Tony Okoroji ,Senator Daisy Danjuma,Sony Irabor,multiple award winning musician,Tuface and wife, Annie ,top fashion designer,Funmi Ajila-Ladipo and hubby,Rufai Ladipo,Chief (Mrs.) Sena Anthony,Sofisticat boss,Lanre Ogunlesi among others.

•Charles Ahize and Bayo Abdul



HIS piece is in keeping with our commitment to helping compliance to the standard professional practice of brands management and advertising, by bringing to notice, those basic and functional elements more commonly undermined in the face of present day quick-fix approach and system compromise due to impatience and inadequate training. We must also quickly add here, that more and more, professional training and proper and induction are lacking in the advertising industry. Consequently, quality of service delivery is dropping with time. It has become alarming. On the one side of the divide in this case, are the practitioners on the client’s side, and on the other are the professionals on the agency side. We must also state here that practitioners on both sides are equally tasked on the provision of world standard professional service delivery. It is to that extent of expectation and responsibility that we have always made the case forappropriate human resource consideration through an unbiased selection process, when there is the need to engage people for brands management and advertising functions. It also applies in the process of engaging advertising agency for a brand. The consequence of compromising this process of human resource engagement is simply too costly to be undermined. But because the consequence of mediocrity in brands management and advertising build up rather slowly, most systems wish it away. But unfortunately, it tells on the brand, its competitiveness, market performance and the value of its equity in the long run. May we also state here, that in most cases, the benefits of professional brand management are not measured in sales figures? Suffice, therefore, that a brand may still be enjoying good level of consumer engagement and shelf off-take but losing out on consumer perception in so many ways. The danger in a case like this is that owners of such brand will assume all is well since the sales figures remain good, not knowing that potential competitors are waiting to take advantage of the negative market perception of that brand to attack. It is that simple. One of those critical points in the process of developing effective brand communication commonly undermined today is writing the advertising brief. The importance of a good advertising brief is simply enormous and cannot be narrated simply. To start, let us appreciate the importance of THE BRIEF from the standpoint of the fact that advertising is all about telling a brand’s story. Simple! Now, this story could be towards persuasion, enlightenment, reward, developing or consolidating friendship (relationship), forming an opinion or simply planting an idea - in someone’s mind. Again, that is why advertising is about the human mind. Decision taken on account of an advert message is resultant and in fact consequent upon the impact the given advert message had on the mind of the target recipient of the advert message. If we closely follow with another fact that there is no good story without pieces of information and a plot, we can then begin to appreciate the importance of background information, properly gathered and arranged, set in a plot for a good and impactful brand story. That sets the tone for appreciating the importance of an advertising brief. The advertising brief helps in


Writing the advertising brief: How and why

determining the scope and extent of strategic and creative work, creates and shapes the plot, guides the creative process and helps in profiling the target audience. In addition, the brief helps in revealing the brand’s competitors, guides the agency towards properly investigating the possible threat areas including the competing brands, investigate own-brand for proper and appropriate protection from harm, and channels the use of scarce resources. In effect, therefore, a brand’s communication or advertising campaign is only as good, effective and impactful as the brief that originated the entire process. That explains why professionally managed brands pay utmost attention to advertising brief development. I still find the Procter & Gamble outstanding (if they still do so now). Way back when I worked in the team that introduced Vicks Lemon Plus and Euro-Pampers brand into this market, P&G system required that all those chosen to work on their brands from the Agency side go through a period of orientation within their system. The aim was to adequately intimate the agency with the global practice standard and method of handling the P&G brand. Their system is so thorough the intellectual and mental ability of all those put forward by the agency were rated during this process. At the end of the interaction process participants are scored on the bases of alertness, appreciation and

internalization of the P&G process. It is when they are satisfied at this point that on the job interaction begins. Then, it is assumed that everybody on the brand know what to do for the brand. Not to mention the advertising brief from then on; a brief from P&G clearly spells out the given brand’s personality, value-essence, its target market, a history of its market performance up till the time of briefing, its challenges, strength and weaknesses in the face of market expectation versus competition, the marketing objective in volume and value terms, the immediate and long term projection for the brand, in terms of market performance, perception/image and market position. Of course, and that is what makes it all the more interesting, the brief from this team is extensively supported by current figures. The figures they supply are open to independent verification. In fact the agency is expected to consider information contained in the brief as hypothetical until verified through independent market study. It was quite engaging and exciting because by the tradition of the practice environment then (which is the tradition with my team now), the next step after reading a client’s brief, is conducting a research. Agencies’ research helps in either confirming or substituting client’s information or claim based on empirical studies. Such extra work on the agency’s

part helps the strategic planning and creative process which in turn ensures a effective end-product in form of advertising campaign. A good advertising brief assures all of the above. The challenge, however, is that a good brief can only come from a properly trained person/professionally matured personality. Writing a good advertising brief requires intelligence, commitment, dedication, professionalism, attention to details, knowledge and hard work. All of these are considered too problematic by over 75% of brand managers on the client’s side in today’s environment – not to mention “corporate affairs managers” and “corporate communications” managers of today (mostly journalists and PR people by training). Improper job description and personnel engagement, therefore, have added to the confusion. By and large, we must put the importance of writing an advertising brief in its true perspective. There cannot be a good and effective advertising or campaign with potentials to optimize returns on advertising spends without a good brief. So, it is important that clients engage professional brand managers in their system and these persons are constantly trained and retrained for optimal efficiency – starting with ability to write a good advertising brief. …as captured above!




HAT drives you to do your job in spite of the challenges? It is my calling. It's very simple really. I cannot do anything else. This is my purpose and I'm just blessed to have seen it very clearly with no confusion. I also live by the philosophy that lives must be affected positively with everything that I do because I truly believe that we do not live for ourselves and the world would be so much easier if we lived for each other. For every person who has said to me Taruwa has blessed him or her, there's a sense of fulfillment. Did you take any steps to prepare you for a life in the arts? I trained at the 'Idakula Institute' of performing arts! (she laughs). I grew up in a very artsy family. My father taught my brother, Bez, his first chords on the guitar and we used to sing as a family in churches. We were like the Von-trapp family singers in the day. We listened to music from morning till the television came on at 4 and we were allowed space to be creative. In other words, we never went anywhere, so our boredom drove us to acting plays and composing songs. I studied Law in the University of Jos and went to Lagos Law School. Law broadened my mind and formed the basis on which other things took shape for me. Other t h a n that, I

'We don’t need naked girls to sell a video' Lydia Idakula Sobogun is the CEO of Gbagyichild Entertainm ent and the brainchild behind Taruwa, a monthly gathering for budding talents in music, poetry and drama. Through Taruwa, this graduate of Law has provided a platfo rm for artists like Jude 'M.I' Abaga, Omawuni, Bez, among others, to hone their skill and become international stars. In spite of her efforts, very little is known about the mother of one, as she lies content in doing all the work behind the scenes. In this interview with Rita Ohai, she raises the veil on her life as she shares on her love, temper and childhood.

have years of experience and lessons learnt from mistakes made. Are there things people do that upset you? Most of the things that annoy me happen on the road, especially because I feel the way we drive in Nigeria is an indication of our 'every man for himself' mindset. We don't care about the person in the next car as long as we get to where we're going. My friends say I have road rage (I don't agree with them). I hate to see people intentionally do stupid things like run a red light, park in the middle of the road, or drive recklessly. When I see those things, my I-Too-Know comes out. I recently, for example, saw a truck from a popular bottled water company drive 'uselessly' I got their number from the back of the truck and reported the number plate. I feel the need to be a road marshal. When you come home from work, what special dish would you prepare and why? I always have ogbono soup in my house because we all love it. I make ogbono in my biggest pot! What can you not stand about Nigerian entertainers? I do not know if there's something I can't stand. Everybody has his life to live. We just need to remember that the industry is fickle and so is life. I would really like to see less nudity in our videos. We do not need naked girls to sell a video. We need to be a little m o r e

creative. Also, I'd really love for more quality music to get airplay. How has married life been treating you? Married life has been good. Like every relationship, it has its ups and downs but my husband is a kind and thoughtful man who lets me be myself. I feel blessed and I'm really grateful for him. I know that there's something beautiful about the intimacy that marriage brings. I think everybody should have someone who you know is your 'person' for life. And two heads are better than one, so in as far as the marriage relationship makes you a better person, why not? Tell us about your childhood, what are your most fond memories‌what do you miss? I miss the innocence and carefree life of childhood even though I would not go back. I love where my life is at right now. I miss my dad who died in 1997. I feel like we would have been best friends, and he would have been a great granddad. What values do you want to pass on to your children? I would like for my child to be confident and selfassured. To know the difference between right and wrong and be brave enough to do what's right. Above all, I'd like her to fear God and be true to herself. How did you start Taruwa? Taruwa started in August, 2007 and it was because we saw a need for stages that would let upcoming artistes express and sharpen their talents, also one that would let corporate workers who love and have a talent for arts express themselves where they would not at work. It was something I needed too because I love the arts desperately. My life's calling is in the arts. The day Taruwa was conceived, I went with Sage (the Spoken word Poet) to Bogobiri and as soon as I saw it I knew it was the venue. I spoke with Chike and he was gracious to let us use it. The story can never be complete without Bogobiri. On the day of the first Taruwa, we were only 7 in attendance.






Living in a fool’s paradise


What do men think about you? W

HEN a woman projects a low self-esteem, has poor moral standards and serves as drinking well to every fellow she meets, she is generally treated with very little respect. Unfortunately, we live in a society that does not vilify men as much for being irresponsible as it does women. The nickname "player" for a man does not carry the same stigma as the word "slut".This probably stems from centuries of victimizing the female species. As a result more ladies are under pressure to go the extra mile to appear 'sexy' by being as generous as the women they see on television, a vast contrast from what most men want. David Ochonogor, an Infotech expert gives a male perspective on how the average man rates a woman. “What girls do not know is that guys talk a lot. If a chick is lazy or does not know how to behave in public, a dude will spill to his boys while hanging out and nothing the girl says will prove him wrong. But if she’s the type who has her head in the right place, everyone will want to roll with her.” While some are more liberal in separating loose from wayward, others, like Bayo Esho, are only interested in how proportionate the face and waist-line are with other parts of the body. “It’s not hard to size a babe up. If

By Rita Ohai

she looks good, smells nice and takes care of herself, she’s good to go! “Because if she is fine” he said, “you will be happy every time you see her and you can take her anywhere because she will not have all those inferiority complex issues.” Airing a slightly different opinion, Obi Uchendu shares, “A woman’s mind is her treasure. “There are women everywhere like pure-water. If I am feeling funny I can just go outside and pick one as long as I throw enough money around but to find a sensible woman is very hard. That is why men like us are afraid to get married, nobody wants to enter one chance!” he finished. Although there are general assumptions on how a woman should comport herself, these are a few more to help keep us on the right track; a) Become busy An idle mind is the devil's workshop. Learn to enjoy reading. I will expand your mind and help you make good desicions. Master a new skill like tailoring, volunteer at a healthy social club. When you have your hands full with responsibilities, there will be no time for frivolous activities.

touches you in a suggestive manner, you reserve the right to tactfully walk away and make sure that person never comes within 10 miles again. If your lady friends at work, school, church or other places live carelessly , carefully break ties with them because your friends are a reflection of you. Friendship is not by force. c) Act like a lady We know a lot of '21 century' ministers and evangelists say it is the heart that matters most in the sight of God but the truth is, you will be addressed the way you dressed. If you are ever insulted by okada- men who whistle at you when you walk by, it may be a sign that you are not properly dressed and it will help if you stop giving them something to whistle at. Cover your cleavage and close-up the slit at the back of your dress. When you sit down, cross your knees.

d) Stay in control In spite of what people say, everyone respects a woman who has enough self-control to abstain from leading a promiscuous lifestyle. Diamonds are rare, so are virgins! If you have eaten the forbidden fruit, it is never too late to close your legs and buy yourself some dignity. The people who turn their noses and b) Grow some standards smirk at you for choosing to be Not everyone is allowed to be your disciplined are not looking out for friend. If a man or woman talks or your best interest .

Colombian woman becomes mother to monkey


HE tiny night monkey is with Martha Silva 24 hours a day, nestled in a wool pouch inside her coat or beside her while she sleeps. Eight times a day, she feeds milk to the five-inch baby like an attentive mother. The long hours of monkey mothering don't bother the 54-yearold Colombian woman, she said, because she already raised two children. "To me there is no difference. You have to look after each the same. When you give them the bottle, you have to make sure they don't choke," said Silva, who works with the neonatal unit of Bogota's Wildlife Reception Centre, part of the capital's environment ministry. Silva, who has children aged 20 and 30, began working at the centre west

of Bogota in 2000. She has nurtured species ranging from birds to turtles to primates. Her husband and daughter help her with the household chores and cooking while she is occupied with a baby animal. They sleep together and Silva takes the monkey to work each day on her bicycle, the baby snug in the wool bag. Every three hours, the monkey must be fed delactosed milk with vitamins added, Cardenas said. In the wild, adult night monkeys eat leaves, insects and small lizards and frogs. When he grows up, the monkey will weigh 800 to 900 grams (1.75 to 2 pounds) and stand about 34 centimetres (13.4 inches), Cardenas said, adding that he will look like "a medium-sized teddy bear."

Silva says she has raised two other baby monkeys and both of those were freed in different parts of the country. She hasn't heard anything about them since. "It is like with a child. You are at peace because they are going to be in their natural habitat," she said.

T was Bimpe's birthday, and Wale decided to give her a wonderful treat. He bought all her outfits, accessories and took care of all the other details. Friends were invited to this memorable event and he thought it was a great way to convince the babe that he really loved her. Unfortunately, things did not just work out as planned: the birthday gal and some of her friends who were the typical,' bad gals' changed the agenda. Some of her other friends were brought into the arrangement a few days to the D-day and they hijacked the ceremony. At this point, our dear friend realised that he was not as important as he thought he was on her emotional scale of preference. Oh dear! Why didn't anyone warn him about all this? How come he never knew that his 'baby' was cheating on him? Frustrated, he left the party midway because every moment spent made him realise that he had been a fool all this while. His heart was very heavy indeed, and in his belly you could feel the emotional animosity that he was carrying in pains. No need to cry sweetheart: It is only an eye opener and it would make you wake up and plan for something better. Most times, a lot of guys and babes get carried away with the emotional gesticulations and display. You need to look beyond the physical and do some assessment of your worth from time to time. You also need to understand what goes through a person's mind when they are feeling attraction for you. What really are the criteria for selecting you and not another? Is it because you have a good job, work very hard, are pretty cute or a really kind and easy going person. Time definitely will certainly tell…But before you allow the odds to catch up with you, you may need to do a quick survey. A sincere partner naturally should smile to the emotional bank after working so hard to make a relationship work. Yes, sometimes this is the result of dedication, hard work and perseverance. But there are times when you put in so much and you get so little in return. It happens especially when the person that you put all your hopes and dreams upon is insincere. From the outset, he or she has it all worked out, and foolishly you tagged along until the emotional carpet is pulled off your feet in a very rude way. Just last week, yours truly ran into a story that brings tears to the eyes on the Internet. It's actually about a young man dubbed the "Internet Casanova" for breaking hearts online. He ran out of luck and his bag of emotional tricks was turned upside down. Now, the handsome Casanova is facing charges for not just stealing women's hearts but also their money. The 29-year-old man scammed and robbed 38 women in at least seven states while giving different identities as Ray Holycross, Ray Cross and Ray Tompson. He was arraigned last Saturday in an Indiana courtroom on one-count charge of theft, accused of stealing the camera of Theresa Bridegroom, a woman from Mishawaka, Indiana. So how did he do this, you wonder? Police informed that Holycross spent years logging onto dating websites to meet women before moving in with them and then stealing from them. Bridegroom, 35, began dating Holycross in last September. Police arrested him at the apartment they shared after Bridegroom discovered he pawned her camera and turned him in."That's when I found out all the information about all of the websites and dating sites," she said. Holycross is also wanted in Oregon on two counts stemming from an identity theft charge."I think he relies on girls that he meets on the Internet to provide him with what he needs to get through life," Lt. Michael Budreau of the Medford Police Department in Oregon told " Good Morning America" in August when the first report of his alleged fraud emerged. The next victim was Jennifer Clark. This unfortunate 'mugun' met Holycross on the online dating site She was smitten and the two lovebirds quickly moved in together."We lived together in my house and I decided I wanted to help him. Once he captured her heart, the next thing was to convince her to sell her home and her car. Love struck lady agreed to do the wish of this prince charming and he also promised to take her to Chicago. The emotional coast was very clear and he took her laptop and iPhone, withdrew nearly $1,000 from her bank account, and then vanished. Just like that! "He made me feel like he was going to take care of me and, instead, I was left with absolutely nothing," Clark recalls sadly. Was she really stupid or could it be love? "He was extremely charming and convincing and, looking back at myself, I feel foolish."Many of the women who met Holycross online told a similar story. They said he was an online charmer who took off with their cash once they let him into their lives and homes.






By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE 08060343214 (SMS only)

Tortiz, quo vadis?



THE GReggs

To the child in every reader the writer beckons with additional yarn around fabled character, tortoise, aka ‘Tortiz’. Setting out to amuse more than anything else, the writer cautions that morals buried in the story be exhumed for purposes other than academic as fantastic reasons fed generations of enthusiasts for the protagonist’s variegated shell, bald head, or some other consequence of overreaching craftiness are. Without prejudice to age, gender, culture, religion or race, therefore, the reader is promptly launched into the thick of the plot where Tortiz thrives as we speak. WHEN King Toughluck Leonathan ordered a progressive increase in taxes six months into the year to curtail stampeding inflation and rectify the gap between rich and poor, the cost of living in Naijungle shot through the tree tops and not even the most resourceful animal could match obligations. Self-help in provision of social services ordinarily the prerogative of the government was one thing, absorbing an economic sucker punch from official quarters was another. Packaged as TIN (Tariff Identification Number), the latest toll on the animals’ sweat stretched all, from the lowly gnat to the mighty elephant. None contrived financial freedom as the animals wilted under economic dictates that by some reverse working ensured the rich got richer and the poor poorer. (TIN might as well stand for ‘Tax in No man’s land’ for all the animals cared). Just as stumped, our reptile of irreverent wit, Tortiz, thought he would have to do something about the matter on behalf of the community. Bored out of his shell one lazy afternoon, he plotted remedy. Whatever idea he came up with would not just be another scaly scheme, he decided. He really meant well because everyone deserved more for constant labour and devotion to society than serial levy as apparent in reintroduction of toll gates once demolished at exorbitant costs beside the controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) and Petroleum Tax. The more Tortiz contemplated the jam, the more the Orwellian quote ‘all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others’ spun in his scheming head. Accused of lethargy while favoured ‘businessanimals’ monoplised production and a perpetual political class abused power, King Leonathan clearly needed help, and assisted by his friends, Tortiz just had to make himself useful. After all, didn’t the whole of Naijungle twist that old saying to be ‘Where there’s Tortiz, there’s a way’? Taking one slow, steady step at a time, Tortiz called at the walled home of his trusted sidekick, Larri the lizard, who more than anyone else valued his famed shrewdness. Larri habitually nodded as Tortiz explained the point of his mission, convinced that his friend was on to something, even if the plan, as others before, signalled genius as much as catastrophe. Through Larri, Tortiz sent out invites to the cold-blooded animals he planned to assemble. One after the other, Messrs Kapo the monitor lizard, Mumba the snake, Geda the gecko and Kuntzi the chameleon received the nod from Larri. The select group, Tortiz thought, could be counted upon, in typical reptile fashion, to dissect and digest the cold, hard facts of the matter without hesitation or emotion. As they marched off to the rendezvous, the animals thrashed the issue. Why should the honest animal pay a high price for success whenever the king needed to right the course of the Naijungle economy? And why are billionaires seemingly made by the illicit practices of currency round tripping, wanton bribery and official compromise in taxes, tariffs and import duties evasion as rampant in Naijaland? Even before the animals arrived at their destination, answers to the troubling posers begged another question: if a case needed to be made for tax reduction, especially for the high earner, by what formula? Indeed, by what inspiration? Tortiz had a solution that he kept close to his chest in anticipation of heightened camaraderie and tongues loosed by liquor. If, as expected, the dry-skinned bunch faulted the Pay As You Earn (P.A.Y.E.) form of taxation, he would render appropriate alternative in the Earn As You Pay (E.A.Y.P.) — a proposal sure to benefit all, rich or poor.

QUOTE I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better. —Plutarch

Jokes Humour Talented Cats FOUR men, an engineer, an accountant, a chemist and a government worker bragged about how smart their cats were. To show off, Engineer said to his cat, “T-square, do your stuff.” T-square pranced over to a desk, took out some paper and a pen and promptly drew a circle, a square, and a triangle. Everyone agreed that was really smart. But Accountant said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said, “Spreadsheet, do your stuff.” Spreadsheet went out into the kitchen and returned with a dozen biscuits. He divided them into four equal piles of three biscuits each. Everyone thought that was good. Chemist said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said, “Measure, do your stuff.” Measure got up, walked over to the fridge, took out a pack of milk, got a glass from the cupboard and poured exactly three quarters without spilling a drop. Everyone agreed that was better. Then the three men turned to

Government Worker and said, “What can your cat do?” Government Worker called to his cat and said, “Tea Break, do your stuff.” Tea Break jumped to his feet, ate the biscuits, drank the milk, defecated on the paper, bullied the other three cats, claimed he injured his back while doing so, filed a grievance report for unsafe working conditions, put in for Workers Compensation and went home for the rest of the day on Sick Leave.

The Contest ONE enthusiastic man entered a local paper’s pun contest with great enthusiasm. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did. Hint: read ‘no pun intended’ Quick Thinking A MAN noted for telling puns was locked in a dark closet, and told he would not be released until he made up a pun about the situation. He immediately said, “Oh, pun the door!” •Adapted from the Internet


AKING Writer ’s Fountain y o u r writing glow: Acknowledge that let alone a publisher. One painless way to do this is to get your story will never be perfect. Can you write a perfect story? Of your story as good as it’s ever going to get. course not. Nobody has and none can. Then put it away for a month. Fish it out Even Shakespeare’s plays have lines that and try not to laugh at how bad it has make no sense at all, even to scholars. You become, all by itself. That wonderful just have to re-write a story at least a dozen paragraph you spent hours on? Drab. And times before it’s fit to present to anybody, why do your characters talk so much? Oh! The ideal time to re-write a story is Choice trivia: when it has spent a year away from view. •A panagram is a sentence that contains all Yet, you can’t afford to leave a story on 26 letters of the English alphabet. For the shelf if you write for a living. example: Pack my red box with five dozen Professional authors have to make do with quality jugs. getting their work 80% perfect and letting •A typical lightning bolt is two to four their agent and copy editor tidy up the rest. inches wide and two miles long. Still, everything they submit will have gone •A speleologist is one who studies caves. through the rewriting process a good •A vulture will never attack a human or many times. animal in motion. Yes, there is a definite formula for •A mosquito will become restless and start writing stories that succeed. It’s the one flying around if there is an increase of above and it has been around since stories carbon dioxide in the surrounding air. began. •Sharks can detect one part of blood in 100 To be sure, no formula will work unless million parts of water and can grow a new you have some writing talent. If you have, set of teeth in a week. it’s just a matter of developing good habits, •The kangaroo rat can do without water like those above. It’s how every professional for a longer period than a camel. author started.




‘We have a lot of science in our culture’ He began his career in Agriculture and finished it with communication, but Dr. Akin Sola Sofoluwe who recently retired from the Department of Communication Studies, Lagos State University, Ojo, after lecturing at University of Ife has also had his stint in the arts working in Nigeria Television Authority. He spoke to Taiwo Abiodun on Nigeria’s dying cultures and why he believes his generation is a wasted one


HE state of Nigeria infuriates many people and Dr. Akin Sofoluwe, a retired academic, is not an exception. His grouse is that he thinks that Nigeria has been wasting and frustrating the younger generations. Sofoluwe who would soon be 70 counted himself as a victim of a wasted generation. “I will soon be 70 in few months time but I am not happy,” he said. “We cannot develop, we have no target. We are not targeting anything. The Ministries and parastatals are not targeting anything. America once said they would go to the moon and they eventually went. But we are stagnant here and like Professor Soyinka once said that his generation is a wasted one, I am wasted. I am wasted by the university. At 70 I am not happy with the way Nigeria is going.” As he said this, he looked at the Ogun State Cultural Centre and added, “look at this beautiful structure. It is not only meant for acting plays but for full usage of Arts, Culture and for our upliftment, but people believe it is only for acting plays. This place should be busy all the time.” According to Sofoluwe, he was frustrated out of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in the 70s when he left his secondary school teaching job to take up employment as a Graduate Assistant at the then University of Ife with a promise that he would be placed on level 09 step 02. “There were about 15 of us (then) who were employed as Graduate Assistants by the University and the Institution (then) kept on promising and promising us that they would give us a better grade level but to our dismay we were still earning the salary of level 08 step 2, year in year out and this was the level I was (on) while teaching in secondary school at Ife. Later we heard that the Federal government had reviewed the budget in Agriculture and that there was no money for it. I was the first to leave after spending four years. After spending four years, we were stagnant. That was in 1973. It is a pity the Federal government abandoned or took no or little interest in Agriculture and this is what is affecting us till today.” After he left the University he got employment as a production officer in Nigria Telvision Authority (NTA) Abeokuta. Lamenting further, he said; “I was also frustrated. I was the one producing Baba Sala (a popular Yoruba comedian) when he was producing My Pickin on tel-

evision. The management were not paying and I was using my own money for all these. They saw me as a radical for when my boss, whose name I will not mention was embezzling money, I was reporting him while my promotion was delayed. I had to tell the late Ambassador Segun Olusola who later intervened.” Narrating how he scaled through, Sofoluwe said, “I was not promoted; not because I was not good but because they saw that I did not like what they were doing. I had been acting for four years and I was to become Manager Programme from the position of a Controller, but as God would have it, one day I went to Ibadan to service my car, and I went to our office in Ibadan. It was there that I was informed that there was an advertisement placed for the position of Manager. I was told that I said I wasn’t interested but I said it was not true. I went back to Abeokuta where I then applied. When they saw that I applied, all those who applied for the position then withdrew.” Only a lady came to do the interview but Sofoluwe said that after that session, he was promoted, though he left shortly after in 1987 having spent 17 years. Today, he is a pensioner. Branching to the Arts Sofoluwe claimed that his going into arts was a divine intervention. According to him, “before I left Government College Ibadan (GCI), I had been acting on stage.” At GCI, he was a science student and even wanted to study medicine but owing to his indigent background, he applied for scholarship organised by the Nigeria Cocoa Board for students interested in studying Agriculture. But while studying Agriculture at Ife, he deployed his acting skills. “I acted Gbonka and later Kurunmi in the Professor Ola Rotimi’s The gods Are Not to blame in 1968,” he said. “As an undergraduate at Ife then I had travelled with Rotimi to France to perform at the World’s Festival of Arts and it was there I learnt more again that laughing and smiling are universal language for the French people laughed and smiled at our plays of which they enjoyed without understanding our language.” Recalling how he branched to the Arts, Sofoluwe said he wanted to do a post-graduate diploma in Theatre Arts and went to the Theatre Arts department of the University of Ibadan while he was lecturing at the University of Ife, (Moor Plantation). He said: “Luckily I met Professor Bucknor. I have forgotten his first name. He came from America and was specialized in Broadcasting and Cinematography and that is what I later studied.” Sofoluwe would later get a doctor-


ate degree in Agricultural Communication from University of Agriculture Abeokuta (UNAAB) where he also lectured. According to him though the course is not popular but it’s not a new course. Differentiating Agricultural Information from Agricultural Communication, he said, “Take for example, you can partake in their festivals like Ogun, and paint your faces with chalks, drink from their palm wine, and this does not take anything away from you. I used to worship Ogun with them. And they appreciate it. Agric communication is using the culture of the people within the area you are to express what you have or want to make them understand easily.” Eroding cultures Feeling bitter, he decried the way African Traditional practice is not being reckoned with. He said, “We don’t appreciate what we have. We believe only in the western culture and thereby eroded our own culture. We have egbe (art of disappearing in time of danger) and ayeta (local bulletproof) but we either don’t believe it or have thrown it into the dust-bin instead of doing research on it.” He added: “When I was running a programme on Ogun State Television called Ogbon Agba (Wisdom of elders), I said many things had disappeared because we did not either regard our traditional beliefs or believe in them any longer. We should try and develop all these instead of ignoring them all.” He continued: “In 1984 I discovered that the codification of Ifa is digital. I told some professors that there is science in Ifa but they said it was a

myth then. They were not looking at it. It is in International Journal of UNAAB in 2002. If I have time I would teach you within two months you will know it. It is practical Not a stickler for the easier or popular route, Sofoluwe recalls rejecting ideas of doing research in drama communication and television drama for his Phd thesis because according to him, it was “simpler.” Rather, he told his supervisors that his Phd would be based on Ifa because it is visual. He said, “I went to read two books of Wande Abimbola’s Odu Ifa but he was talking about similes, innuendos, metaphors but that was not what I wanted. I wanted to know whether they see visuals.” Sofoluwe is not happy that we do not regard our culture as we have turned it into another thing. He said: “Culture is the totality of our living. It is not just fun. It is beyond drama, show biz, or dance. Today, many of our cultures are ignored. Ifa is not idol worshipping. It is a compendium of knowledge, it’s totality is knowledge, it is a tree of knowledge; there is medicine and electronics in Ifa. On Nigerian Film industry As one of the pioneers of stage production, Sofoluwe decried the dearth of stage plays. Recalling his days at NTA where to many people Baba Sala was a comedian. But Sofoluwe disputes. “I don’t see Baba Sala acting a comedy,” he said. “I will not laugh when thrilling the audience because he was acting Farce. This is what many did not know. I remember before I joined the NTA Baba Sala was not rehearsing before coming to

the studio. But when I became the production manager, I did not allow him such a thing. I discovered that he would have been tired after his return from his tour called Alarinjo and would have nothing to offer. “Later he tried to bribe me but I said no. I insisted that he must be doing rehearsal. He brought wine for me and I took the wine round the office telling them that this is what Baba Sala gave me o. Yet I insisted that he must be rehearsing and this annoyed him. Then Baba Sala wrote in a newspaper, I think it was Sketch (now defunct) that a new producer has been employed and wanted to eject him. The management asked me to reply him also in the newspaper but I said he did not employ me and I don’t care. Later he started dancing to my tune and saw reason. We later became friends (prolonged laughter).Then I had already been rehearsing with Oyin Adejobi and had recorded eight episodes. By the time they checked they loved it and they picked Kootu Ashipa. Later, we continued using Baba Sala’s My Pickin again but he was rehearsing. However, Sofoluwe kicked against celebrating juju in Ibo films. He accused filmmakers of having more ritual films in Ibo films. “To me, it’s too much of a ritual, showing evil in our culture, but I see a lot of good in our culture. Like I said, we have a lot of science in our culture and not everything is evil. I know we have traditional medicine. When I was trying to promote it people thought I was a witch or wizard, that I am too fetish whereas I know the medicinal plants.”




‘Painting is my first love’


BULLIENT, winsome, and a common sight at art events in Lagos, Dotun Alabi is blessed with the physical attributes of a wrestler. But Alabi’s hands don’t crush, slap, or deal blows. Rather, his hands do more of painting and for the past three years, also teaching what he loves best – fine art. “My decision to become an artist was borne out of a desire to do what I love doing as against what I had to do,” he said, as we settled down to chat. “And yes there was initial family resistance but I was too determined.” Defying family, he enrolled at the Yaba College of Technology where he had graduated with HND in Painting at Upper Credit. He had his apprenticeship and studio practice with Abraham Uyovbisere. Later, he set up the Triad Studio where he set up his practice. A twotime winner (1995 and 1996) of the Academy Press Award, Alabi also won the Solidra Circle Award (2007). His other achievements include SNA Stewardship Award 2008, SNA Most Valuable Player Award (Challenge Cup)2009 and 2011 and participation at the Painting Competition Lagos Black Heritage (2010). He obtained his Teachers Training Certificate (TTC) in 2010 at the Fedrel College of Education, Akoka, Lagos. And for the past three years, he has been lecturing fine art at the Federal College of Education, Akoka. But how does he feel about the transition? “As a full time studio artist teaching art classes was an aspect of my studio work,” he replied, “but learning the pedagogy has greatly increased my efficiency while painting remains my first love. So, it’s not too much transformation.”


HE filmmaker was on his cellphone, his voice hoarse, his enthusiasm abounding. “It’s a Cinderella story!” he exclaimed. “Here’s a little guy who’s struggling!” The little guy in question was himself, Tony Abulu. The story: the long, fraught arc of his latest project, “Doctor Bello,” a movie he wrote, directed and produced. Shot last year on a shoestring budget in New York City and Nigeria, Mr. Abulu’s project has had a lot riding on it. It was the recipient of an inaugural loan made by a governmentbacked fund in Nigeria created to improve the quality of the movies churned out by that country’s booming film industry, known as Nollywood. And now Mr. Abulu’s narrative was reaching its denouement. He recently finalised a deal with AMC Theaters to screen the movie at 20 theaters around the country, including the company’s multiplex on 42nd Street in Times Square. Mr.

Lagos SNA holds elections


OLLOWING the leadership void left at the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Lagos chapter after the moving on of erstwhile chairman, Oliver Enwonwu, who became SNA president in August 2012, the association will on Sunday March 10, conduct a bye-election. Disclosing this at a press briefing on Monday, the acting chairman, Mrs. Stella Awoh, said she hoped the best

person will emerge winner. And vying for the position of chairman is Dr. Ademola Azeez, Dotun Alabi, Kolawole OlojoKosoko. While both Azeez and Alabi lecture at the Federal College of Education, Akoka, Olojo lectures at Lagos State Polytechnic. Other open positions include the post of Treasurer and General Secretary and Assistant Secretary.

ANA Abuja hosts Dzukogi


HE Abuja chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), will be hosting ANA general secretary, Mallam B. M. Dzukogi, for its March Celebrity Guest Session. Dzukogi, a noted writer and Director General

of the Niger State Book Development Board [NABDA], was elected general secretary at the 2011 Convention held at Abuja. The event will hold on the 7th of March, 2013 at the Savannah Suite Hotel, Area 3, Abuja.




T’S season of harvest again! Harvesters assemble with bucolic baskets. While parents garner the ripe produce, Infants caper about kicking rotten ones Till worms devour the remains.

•Alabi By Joe Agbro Jr.

Not one to rest on his oars, he recently bagged a Bed Art Education from the University Of Education, Winneba, Ghana. In recent times, there has been a lull on the Lagos art scene. Alabi, who resigned as General Secretary, Lagos Society of Nigerian Artists, SNA, attributes this to the leaving of Enwonwu as chairman to become the SNA President. “The lack of vibrancy of SNA Lagos,” he said “was because of the vacuum created due to the emergence of the former chairman, Mr

Oliver Enwonwu, as the new president of SNA in August 2012.” And with the absence of the former chairman, Oliver Enwonwu, Alabi is one of the three contenders to the post of chairman. “My decision to resign from the office of the general secretary and contest was an easy one,” he said. “ On what he aims to brings to the association, Alabi said: “My plan for the Association is to see it maximise its potentials along the lines of its aims and objectives by promoting membership stratification and welfare, sustain and increase programmes and

events, become more involved in the development of visual art in the educational sector, to provide an enabling environment for the development and promotion of professional art practise, increase visibility of the association through well-planned programmes, collaboration with government agencies and the private sector to enhance policies and event that will promote the visual art and much more.” As the March 10 election date approaches, Alabi is optimistic. “I have a good chance of re-focusing the society on the path of greatness if elected as chairman,” he said.

Harvesters amass the best of fruits That survived the wind and fierce storm Into barrows, out of plethora of flora; To make limeade for kings And herb for herbalists They hold a feast to the gods For yet another fruitful season— For the timely rain and sun; That kind Nature preserved and nourished These small yellowish green citrus fruit-balls Amidst this fruitful mirth, Visible is the sorrow of the

rotten limes: Driven by the whirlwind off their Destined-nutrient branches and roots; They lay to be trampled underfoot by men And later blazed with withered leaves I wonder what to make of these rotten ones, When even in the mind of the ripest lime Lays the sadness of the incertitude of therapy usage: Knowing that ripe ones gathered in previous seasons Still tarry—unused—in the barn. What will be the destiny of these rotten ones? Or of the seeds yet to be sown— for the coming seasons. Angel Simon, 400 level, English dept., UNILAG

Seeking Hollywood audience for Nollywood film Abulu, who is from Nigeria and has lived in Manhattan for nearly three decades, said it was the first time a Nollywood production had secured a mainstream theatrical release in the United States. The run begins Friday morning (22/02/2013) and is scheduled only through next Wednesday (27/02/2013)— unless box-office receipts warrant an extension. “It’s the make-or-break weekend,” Mr. Abulu said. “This is where I become either Tyler Perry or just fade out into oblivion.” To Mr. Abulu, oblivion means the wasteland of Nollywood DVDs, the one and only destination for nearly all of the more than 1,000 titles spewed out by that industry every year. Most are sloppy productions with weak writing and acting and low production values, though they are popular at home and among Nigerians and others through-

out the African diaspora. In 2010, Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, pledged to create a $200 million fund to help raise the production value of Nollywood movies with an eye toward capturing a wider international audience. Last spring, Mr. Abulu received $250,000 from the fund. The film tells the story of an African-American cancer specialist in New York, Michael Durant, who seeks the assistance of an uncertified Nigerian doctor to save a young patient. The Nigerian doctor, an immigrant living in Brooklyn named Dr. Bello, administers the patient a secret African potion. But the unorthodox treatment leads to Dr. Durant’s suspension and Dr. Bello’s imprisonment for malpractice. When Dr. Bello himself falls ill, Dr. Durant goes in search of a secret elixir, found only in the mountains

of Nigeria, in a place called the “Garden of Life.” Mr. Abulu hopes the film and its international story line would have special appeal for AfricanAmerican audiences. Alongside A-list Nollywood stars, including Genevieve Nnaji and Stephanie Okereke, he cast several Hollywood actors, including Isaiah Washington, best known for “Grey’s Anatomy”; Vivica A. Fox (“Kill Bill” and “Independence Day,” among others); and Jimmy Jean-Louis (the NBC series “Heroes”). He has spent about $500,000 to make and distribute the film, Mr. Abulu said — small by Hollywood standards but enormous for Nollywood — but was able to keep his expenditures relatively low because many cast members agreed to defer at least some of their payment on the promise of a share of profits. “It’s been a struggle for,

like, three years for me, nonstop,” Mr. Abulu sighed. The movie had its premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington, in September, and was released in theaters in Nigeria, where it received a mixed reception from reviewers and made about $100,000 at the box offices, Mr. Abulu said. For months, Mr. Abulu relentlessly lobbied American film executives for a distribution deal in the United States, finally getting traction with AMC. “Having recognised Nollywood as a rapid growing industry, AMC is pleased to not only provide a platform for sharing more socially and culturally relevant stories, but to respond to the feedback from our diverse guest base,” Nikkole Denson-Randolph, vice president of alternative and special content for AMC Theaters, said in a news re-

lease announcing the deal. In addition to Times Square, the film will open at theaters in New Jersey as well as Atlanta; Baltimore; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Detroit; Houston; Jacksonville, Fla.; Los Angeles; Miami; Philadelphia and Washington. Since the deal was finalised, Mr. Abulu has been scrambling to ensure an audience. This has mostly involved word of mouth because, he confessed, he has run out of money and could not afford advertising. “If I had a million dollars to advertise, I would predict that we would do $60 million the opening weekend,” he said. Still, his confidence in the film’s future remained unflagging. “It’s going to catch fire,” he predicted. Culled from New York Times



Keeping an eye on your cholesterol levels —PAGE 55


HE gray staircase banister leading to the five bedroom house smells of fresh paint. As he opens the kitchen door and murmurs ifa poems in Yoruba laced in American accent, the neatness of the kitchen and scent of rose air freshener is convivial. Moving through the passage to the divination room, one needs to remove shoes before proceeding further. On the right is a black wooden shelf containing books on Ifa authored by scholars from all over the world. On top of this shelf are a black gong, pictures and ifa divination chain, known as opele. Unlike the room of an ifa priest in Nigeria, this room has no strange wall hangings. In the middle of the room there is a rug, two small chairs facing each other, a small table between and some ifa paraphernalia. On the table is a divination tray carved from wood known as Opon ifa containing divination powder (Iyerosun), carved Ivory object used to invoke ifa during divination (Iroke) and cowrie shells (Eerindinlogun). Welcome to the home of Tony Vandermeer, an African American ifa priest known as babalawo located in Dorchester area of Boston,Massachusetts,United States of America. Vandermeer, an enigmatic character in many ways hails from Harlem, New York, a predominantly black settlement, famous for producing a generation of black intellectuals. He comes from a family of seven. Coincidentally, he also has seven children, five boys and two girls. This is unusual in America where most families do not have more than three children. Unlike most Americans, he does not celebrate Christmas, Easter or any of the Christian holidays. Rather, he observes the ifa new year (odun ifa) and other celebrations recognised by his religion. He is known for his ifa practice throughout New England and beyond by his students and clients. New England is a region in the northeastern corner of United States consisting of six states namely Maine,Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts . Why would someone in America need the services of an ifa priest? One of his clients, Yvette Modestin, a social worker and coordinator for Network for Afro Latin American and Afro Caribbean Women says divination allows her to understand the sequence of events unfolding in her life. “ I have been in the position where ifa divination has spoken directly to a situation that I was in. I actually find it hard to explain because it is an internal thing that happens, that validates the next step you are about to make.’’ According to Modestin, “ Ifa has become my voice and whisper because I felt like my ancestors were speaking to me. I had tapped into something that was deeper than me. This is what has been calling me and what I need in my life.’’ For Askia Toure, a 73-year old writer, poet and political activist who comes for divination when his mind is troubled, ifa has shaped his direction in life. ‘’Ifa is a blessing for me because I get the right answers. I grew up in the African American church, my father was a deacon. Then, I had influence of Sunni Islam. My whole life has been a search for how best to communicate with my creator. After a very traumatic experience in my life, I met (Prof) Wande Abimbola.” Prof Abimbola, a former vice chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife is a world renowned ifa scholar. Similar to what obtains in Nigeria, African Americans, Latinos, Jamaicans, Cubans or Brazilians in America who believe in it , consult an ifa priest when searching for jobs, setting up a new business, failed marriages and other challenges of life. Bridgit Brown, an African American blogger and writer in Boston says she had an ifa divination when she was going to work in West Africa for the first time a few years ago. She wanted to know how the journey will be and the divination revealed that it will be a major success. “ And it was. It also told me to be mindful of the importance of ordinary things, and to not just see wealth in terms of money, but in terms of having those things which are of basic needs: food, shelter, love, and so on, which is very contrary to the American way that I grew up know-

•Vandermeer's initiation, Abimbola(Green dress)

Behold ‘Babalawo’ in America

The world has truly become small. Abdulrafiu Lawal, in the United States of America visits a ‘Babalawo’ and reports on his encounter.

•Adetutu Vandermeer

•Askia Toure

•Ayoka Onifade

ing.’’ The method of divination for Vandermeer’s clients is also similar to that of Nigerian ifa priests. All a client needs is to give a small consultation fee, whisper his intentions on it and Vandemeer consults ifa for answers. For him, ifa divination is a vehicle to help the society rather than an avenue for material gains. “This is why I have no fixed price for divination. I have students who come with coins or a dollar from their pockets. I tell people who come to see me that if they are doing

well, I am happy to be part of it.’’ He says some of qualities he has learnt from ifa in dealing with clients are honesty and patience. “No divination can bless one unless one’s ori (godhead) accepts it. It is a two prong process involving divination and sacrifice (ebo). So, if you are not gonna go through the process, don’t even bother. This is because the idea of sacrifice concretizes what is it you came for and manifests.’’ First Contact with Ifa Vandermeer recalls his first contact with tra-

ditional African religion in 1978 when he was about graduating from the University. “Things were kind of rough, I was having problems with the mother of my daughter. I went to an Obatala priest for divination which enabled me to get through these problems but things got worse in 1983’’. The priest was of Jamaican ancestry who got initiated through the Cuban system and was part of the African Americans who set up the •Continue on Page 54



Life •Continued from Page 53

poipular Oyotunji Village in South Carolina. In 1983, sensing that his life had not really changed for the better, the father of seven met some Cubans who introduced him to their own form of ifa practice. He was given a caudron,beads of various deities (awon orisa),Esu and Osanyin. Still not fulfilled, Vandermeer left the Cuban house in 1994 when he met a Nigerian, Afolabi Epega, whose father had written a book on ifa. The turning point However, his romance with ifa took a turning point when he met Wande Abimbola, who is spokesperson for Babalawos worldwide (Awise Awo Ni Agbaye) in the Unites States. “I began classes on the ancestors, orisas and ifa for four years. I knew more than I have ever thought which necessitated my doing a serious study around ifa’’, says Vandermeer. Comparing the Cuban system with the Nigerian style of ifa practice, he says studying under Abimbola who has a long history with the religion and a linguist made him understand the ifa philosophy. “Like the notion of iwa pele (good character and humility) which set the tempo for my getting deeper in terms of practice. Though the Cuban system was based on the Nigerian practice, not being familiar with Spanish made it more difficult studying under Cubans.’’ Like the proverbial journey of a thousand mile beginning with a step, getting his first hand of ifa signaled his sojourn to the esoteric and spiritual world of ifa priests. Vandermeer ended up studying with Abimbola for 12 years. “If people come for divination, I would help or any kind of spiritual work like ebo (sacrifice). At this point, he (Abimbola) had set up the Ifa Institute in Atlanta where people were coming to see him.’’ This culminated in his initiation in Oyo in 1999, adding that when he got involved, his mission was to use the ifa “to get the kind of spiritual balance and guide that I need to navigate the challenges of life’’ but his destiny decided otherwise. Like adherents of Islam and Christianity, who observe their morning prayers before leaving the house, Vandermeer begins his day chanting ifa verses,odus and ancestral chants for Egungun and throwing kolanuts before Esu. The essence is for him to have an idea how the day will be and may determine what his schedule will look like . “ If it is caution and I don’t have to go out,I will stay indoors. If I have to, I will be cautious.’’ He says going to Nigeria where he was in seclusion as part of the initiation process made him appreciate how ifa related to his character, that of other people and the notion of sacrifice. “ The notion of ori, were concepts that makes a lot of sense, stories around Esu and the idea of being able to reconstruct your life. Someone in a bad situation can be better if he makes efforts. That is why the Esu is on the opon ifa and the in the ebo (sacrifice), Esu gets something’’. Why would an educated, widely travelled African American choose to become an ifa priest? Vandermeer says before embracing the religion he had developed a sense of himself as a descendant of Africa. “So it made sense to me that my spiritual system should be one that related to Africa.’’ However, he makes a distinction between his relationship to ifa and its relationship to Nigeria stressing that he was not tracing his roots to Nigeria. Though, his parents are all from the United States, he believes they have links to Ghana and Sierra Leone.‘ Stressing that some may dispute his claim of being an African, he supports his claims with the statement of Malcom X that “putting puppies in” the oven, does not make them biscuits.’ So as Africans, just because trans-Atlantic slave trade brought us here does not make us less Africans. For me, exploring ifa as one of the gifts of Africa, the birth place of civilisation,you see the richness in terms of its value systems and philosophy which intrigues me.’’ Ifa divination system and religion

‘Babalawo’ in America

•Maria Clemencia

•Professor Wande Abimbola

•Vandermeer,3rd from left with senior babalawos in Oyo

associated with Yoruba history is common in most cultures in West Africa and later Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia,Mexico and Venezuela due to the trans Atlantic slave trade.The divination system uses an extensive corpus of texts and mathematical formula interpreted by the diviner. In the United States, Prof. Abimbola has given it so much prominence through his works especially in the last two decades. Its philosophy centres around belief in Olodumare, the Yoruba high God, humility and honesty. Statistics from the Council for Parliament of the World Religions estimates that ifa religion has over 70 million followers in Africa and the Americas. In 2005, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed ifa as one of the 86 traditions of the world to be regarded as masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. By this proclaimation,ifa joined the league of heritage elements that require urgent measures by the state to preserve it. Abimbola, on the other hand, has become an ambassador of sort conveying the message of religious tolerance around the world including a visit to the pope. Challenges Ifa, like any other thing coming to America from Africa, is associated with some negative stereotypes such as voodoo or something primitive. But to Vandermeer those stereotypes have not discouraged him in any way because history rewards those who research it. “We live in western imperialist society which played a role historically in slave trade and being part of society of people trying to dominate African people. Part of colonialism says what the coloniser does is right and the colonised what-

ever they do is wrong. So, their belief in god is wrong but their belief in the coloniser’s god is correct.’’ He describes the negative strand around ifa like blood sacrifice, witchcraft and devil worship as nothing but imperialists’ propaganda. He emphasises that research done by many scholars around the world has proved that ifa is more valid than many other belief systems. “I have studied how Christian missionary society used its relationship with those in power to convince people that Christianity was the way and not to believe in their own indigenous belief system’’, he says. Working as an ifa diviner in America is not without challenges especially language, says Vandermeer. “We as babalawos in the Diaspora especially North America don’t have that type of learning community that exists in Nigeria. This is one of our dilemmas, how do we build communities among practitioners so that we are able to learn and share more knowledge around ifa’’. As a way out, he had to get people who understand Yoruba language to help him out. He notes that another challenge is learning the odu and ese ifa in English which is kind of problematic. Stressing that Nigeria has a stronger apprenticeship model where a young person goes to live and study with the babalawo. Though, he says this does not make them inferior to other babalawos but a mere difference in cultural context. “ We are at a unique place because we understand the culture here. When we look at ifa as a people here, we are able to relate those circumstances in relation to ifa. The babalawos in Nigeria are at a higher level in terms of history as some know five or six generations of their families involved in ifa”, he said. Another challenge is sourcing

herbs because the country has laws protecting forest reserves. In this case, he relies on his contacts in Nigeria for help especially from Prof. Abimbola. As a way to expand knowledge of ifa, Vandermeer formed a study group of 24 people consisting of young and the old who meet once a week to learn ifa songs,chants and the orishas. Another unique difference between Ifa diviners in the US like Vandermeer and Nigeria is that they have paid jobs through which they feed their families. He is a senior lecturer in the department of African American studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and working towards his doctorate degree. Passing it to the next generation In keeping with the African culture of maintaining family traditions by passing it to off- springs, Vandermeer is grooming his 13 year old daughter, Adetutu, whose name rituals was performed by Prof. Abimbola. Like a Muslim or Christian preacher will call the name of God before doing anything, Adetutu, laced with innocence and oblivious of the challenges of becoming a success story as a black person in America chants “ifa lo loni, ifa lo lola,ifa lo lotunla pelu e” before answering the reporter’s questions. “ Every morning, I get my kolanut(Obi abata),some water , recite my odu ifa and throw it to the ground, that is how I say my prayers. My friends in school do not know ifa is my religion, but they notice I wear different Yoruba clothes especially on Fridays’’, she says. At her age, she already knows how to interpret the message of ifa when kolanut is thrown and helps her father in doing sacrifice (ebo) for clients. Her mother’s name at birth was Maria Clemencia but in 2003 became Fatuma Atoke, after her initiation, says the hospital staff were surprised when

they refused to give her a name immediately after Adetutu was born which is the usual practice in America. “Over 200 people attended her naming at our home with Baba Wande Abimbola presiding. The hospital asked us why we had to wait to have a gathering. I told them this is the way we want to do it.’’ Challenges facing African Americans For African Americans who believe in ifa, it goes beyond being a guide to resolve the puzzle of life but partly an answer to racism and something to give them a true a sense of belonging . Also their relationship with Africans from the mother continent has been saddled with tension and mistrust. Toure who pioneered the African American and Black studies programme in the US at San Francisco State University in 1968 says it has been a struggle to maintain a small bit of their African heritage. “The racist colonialists claimed the African was sub-human and a little more advanced than the ape. Ifa gives us a common way of thinking, looking at the universe and ancestral grounding for those us in the Diaspora and our brethren in the mother continent. We in the Diaspora can be viewed as the lost tribes who have been re-linking with motherland and re-establishing respect for African traditional religion and spirituality.’’ For Modestin, who has spoken at the African Union (AU) , United Nations (UN) and travelled all over Latin America, coming to the United States made her realise the excruciating effect of racism. She says this experience compounded her problems because “you are told you are not black enough because you were not born here and you are not Latino enough because am black.’’ Ayoka Onifade, a mother of two whose name before her conversion to ifa religion was Maura Gaines, says it has enabled her to redefine herself. “ My conversion has given me a stronger sense of identity around being an African woman. This has a different political ideology because the sense of being hyphenated African-American, like what does it mean ? When I was initiated in Oyo, I felt I was home. It changes who you are and how you see the world’’. Onifade was initially a Christian, moved to Cometic religion and then converted to ifa. She and her husband also had the only Yoruba ifa wedding in New England conducted by Abimbola. Her two children Oyade and Ifatayo,aged nine and 11 respectively had their life story divined by Prof. Abimbola and their names were chosen from the odus. Though,Onifade has not been able to trace her roots to any country in Africa,she would love to go back to live in Nigeria. “ I have committed myself to ifa and Yoruba culture, hence I will feel more comfortable in Nigeria. When I came back to the US, I was homesick for three weeks. It was difficult to re-acclamatise because I felt I was home. I had a profound experience in Nigeria,’’ she confessed. Vandermeer captures the plight of African Americans more succinctly. “ Here, in the African American community that we have been stolen from our native countries. Our languages have been stripped from us; we are made to believe we are somebody else. And we still suffer from a different level of oppression”, he says. Askia Toure and Modestin believe ifa can be used to unite Africans in the mother continent and the Diaspora. “This could be a way for us to begin to understand each other a lot better. This could be a place to validate ourselves within ourselves in a way that we would not get in other platforms,’’ she says. Counting his blessings, Vandermeer says studying under Prof. Abimbola is a “transforming’’ experience and ifa has made him a “seeker of knowledge’’. This is because he is now interested in learning many languages fluently like Japanese Akida,Spanish, Suriname and Cape Verdean Creole as well as Yoruba.






ALARIA is an infectious disease caused by the parasite of the genus plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. There are four species of the parasite that have been identified to be causing human malaria; Plasmodium falciparum (Pf), Plasmodium vivax (Pv), Plasmodium malariae (Pm) and Plasmodium ovale (Po). In Nigeria, 98% of malaria infections are due to Pf. This parasite causes the most deadly form of malaria, known as severe malaria. Other forms of malaria present in Nigeria include P. ovale and P. malariae which play a minor role with the latter being quite common as a double infection in children. Malaria is a disease that could be easily prevented and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. Statistics show that more than 60% of the outpatient visits in Nigeria are due to malaria, and over one million children and pregnant women die yearly from the disease. The objectives of the malaria treatment according to the malaria treatment are curing the disease and eliminating the parasites from the body. It is also important to prevent progression to a severe disease. Busola Bamishaiye has been working on the field, monitoring and sensitising people about new trends in malaria in some states in the past few years. She disclosed that ACT is the approved drug. According to her, “even these drugs are a combination of two different anti malaria; it cures and eradicates the parasite completely.” Bamishaye added that “in malaria we have treatment for complicated and noncomplicated malaria. If the complicated type is discovered then they are referred to the comprehensive centres for proper management where this can be handled. We cover over 21states. In 2004 when we came in, the rate of malaria was very high but with the interventions things have changed. So far the prevalence of malaria in the state is changing and we hope that by the time we get into the second phase of the programme things would get better.” To facilitate the project, Bamishaye said that there has been support from some donor organisations, the federal government as well as some state governments. “We work in conjuction with the World Bank to fight malaria in Nigeria. Presently, we are working in Ekiti State. Malaria is one of the major health issues in sub Saharan Africa, especially in Nigeria.

Unending battle with malaria parasite The battle to eliminate the malaria parasite has evolved over the years. Yetunde oladeinde reports. Out of every ten patients in the hospital at least four are affected by malaria. The rate at which it kills is faster than any other disease in Nigeria. The latest drugs in use now are so expensive and so many states cannot afford them; that is why the federal government and other stakeholders are involved. She stated: “Between 2009 and now about 1.5 million nets were brought to Ekiti State and there has been lots of campaigns. If nets are used properly, the rate of malaria would have reduced drastically. As at now things have changed and the primitive beliefs about the things that cause malaria have changed. In the past they used more of herbs and concoctions, but now there is the awareness of free treatments.” Her organisation, SHI-Nigeria, is one of the initiatives that have helped to reduce malaria. Bamishaiye said: “We are involved in malaria programming as a sub recipient to the National Malaria Control Programme in some states of the federation. Other activities of the organisation include procurement and supply chain management and distribution of health commodities for other organisations.” As a sub recipient to the National Malaria Control Programme in the Global Fund R8 Malaria grant, SHI is working to ensure effective malaria control delivery in line with the National Strategy for combating malaria. “This is aimed at achieving timely and equitable access to malaria diagnosis and treatment by all Nigerians through some key intervention programmes. The first is the introduction of parasitological confirmation of malaria cases by quality assured microscopy or Rapid Diagnosis Test. We also have the treatment of

uncomplicated malaria with an ACT within 24 hours of fever onset through health care providers,” said Bamishaiye. Malaria could be suspected malaria: A patient with a fever or history of fever in the last 48 hours who lives in Nigeria, or has come from anywhere or any other endemic country. Uncomplicated malaria: A patient with a fever or history of fever in the last 24 hours who has a positive parasitological test and no symptoms of severe disease. Severe malaria: A patient with parasitologically confirmed malaria who is ill and has one or more of the clinical manifestations which could be severe anemia, unrousable coma, multiple /repeated generalised convulsions etc. It is also important to note that chloroquine and sulphadoxine/ pyrimethamine (SP) are no longer effective in treating malaria in Nigeria due to high treatment failures resulting from widespread resistance. Efficacy studies that test the ability of anti-malarial medicines to kill and clear malaria parasites have shown that ACTs are better than chloroquine. ACTs are widely available in all the Global Fund supported health facilities (public and private) Artemisinin derivatives are the most effective drugs against malaria in the world at the moment and yet if misused the parasites can potentially develop resistance to them. A technique to prevent resistance developing to artemisinin derivatives is to combine them with other anti-malarials so that as a combination there is less possibility of the parasites developing mechanisms to avoid both medicines. It is for this reason that artemisinin derivatives such as artemether, or artesunate are combined with one other anti-malarial

T the receiving end of negative media over the last decade is the tiny molecule which has been taunted as the reason behind a wide range of diseases. However, many studies have shown that cholesterol is not the cause behind problems of the heart as once thought. With a strange twisting of information, the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture cholesterol-lowering drugs have protected their billiondollar industry. Here's a look at some common cholesterol myths and facts: Myth: Cholesterol is inherently evil. Fact: You couldn't survive without cholesterol, since this waxy substance produced by the liver plays many essential roles in our body, from waterproofing cell membranes to helping produce vitamin D, bile acids that help you digest fat, and sex hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Cholesterol is ferried through your body by molecular “submarines” called lipoproteins, such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Myth: Eggs clogs up arteries. Fact: It is true that eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, with upwards of 200 mg, mainly in the yolk. Research shows, however, that eating three or more eggs a day boosts blood concentrations of both good and bad cholesterol. The LDL particles tend to be the light, fluffy ones that are least likely to enter the arterial wall, while the increased HDL helps keep the arteries clean, suggesting that most people's bodies handle cholesterol from eggs in a way that's unlikely to harm the heart. The researchers say that their findings add to growing evidence that eggs are not “a dietary evil.” Myth: There are no visible symptoms of high cholesterol. Fact: The truth is that there are some signs that indicate a person might have problems. Some people with high cholesterol develop yellowish-red bumps called xanthomas that can occur on the eyelids, joints, hands, or other parts of the body. People with diabetes or an inherited condition called familial hypercholesterolemia are more likely to have xanthomas




Folic acid in pregnancy may help lower autism risk


AKING folic acid before pregnancy, and through the first several weeks of pregnancy, may help reduce the risk of autism for those children. Researchers in Norway looked at data from 85,000 pregnancies, and found that women who took the supplement four weeks before pregnancy, and through the eighth week of pregnancy, were 39% less likely to have children with autism. This is the largest explanation to date on the benefits of folic acid for autism prevention, and marks one of the first tangible things a woman can do to reduce her risk of giving birth to a child with the disorder. "This is pretty exciting," said Alycia Halladay, senior director for environmental and clinical sciences for Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy group. "It actually supports the idea of actionable things women can do before they become pregnant, and right as conception happens." Experts have known for some time that taking folic acid can prevent neural tube birth defects like spina bifida in developing fetuses. The same dose appears to provide some benefit in preventing autism, according to the research. "This is another piece of evidence that supports the beneficial uses of folic acid during pregnancy," said Halladay, who was not connected with the study. But some experts are not quite ready to tout the benefits of folic acid too loudly, particularly for autism prevention. The Norwegian researchers

do admit that more studies should be done to confirm the link. Zachary Warren, director of the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Vanderbilt University says he wishes the solution were as simple as just taking folic acid. "Caring for individuals with autism and their families would be a whole lot easier if we had simple answers about cause and risk," he says. "The reality is, autism is a complex disorder and our best answers about causes and treatment are going to be

complex as well." Despite the fact that a link between taking folic acid and reducing autism risk isn't fully proven, Halladay says there's no harm in taking the supplement, and women should be taking it anyway to prevent birth defects. Folic acid is already recommended to prevent birth defects, but the supplement could lower risk of autism as well. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate, which occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables and is

important for generating and maintaining healthy cells. That's why it may prevent neural tube birth defects early in fetal development, and could explain why it also plays a role in neuro-developmental disorders such as autism. The fact that the protective effect appears only during early pregnancy, further supports the idea that the nutrient may be preventing some of the molecular abnormalities that trigger autism, which seems to develop during the initial stages of fetal development.

Depression May reduce response to Shingles Vaccine


ESEARCH has shown that adults with untreated depression who received the vaccine possess a relatively weak immune response. But those who were taking antidepressants showed a normal response to the vaccine, even when symptoms of depression persist. Shingles, an acute and painful rash, strikes a million Americans each year, mostly older adults. Health officials recommend that those over 60 get vaccinated against the condition, which is caused by reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox, varicellazoster. A group of 92 older men and women for two years were followed and it was observed that forty of the subjects had a major depressive disorder. Compared with the control patients, those with depression were poorly protected by the vaccine. But the patients who were being treated for their depression showed a boost in immunity. This is something the researchers called a “normalization” of the immune response. It is unclear why that was the case. The authors of the study speculated that treatment of older people with depression might increase the effectiveness of the flu shot and other vaccines as well.

HEALTH Antioxidants in coffee, tea may not help prevent dementia, stroke


RINKING coffee and tea rich in antioxidants may not lower your risk of dementia or having a stroke, according to a new study published Wednesday in the online journal Neurology. The study may call into question other research suggesting a diet high in antioxidants helps reduce the risk of dementia and stroke. Researchers followed approximately 5,400 people aged 55 years and older for nearly 14 years. The participants had no signs of dementia when they began the study and most had never had a stroke. They were questioned about how often they ate 170 foods over the course of the past year and they were divided into three groups based on the levels of antioxidants in their diet - low, moderate or high. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help protect your cells and repair cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals, molecules responsible for aging and tissue damage, may be a factor in heart disease, cancer and other disease. Foods loaded with antioxidants include blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, tomatoes, kale, bell peppers, corn, and spinach. The major antioxidant vitamins are Vitamin C, beta-carotene and Vitamin E. They're largely found in colorful fruits and veggies, especially those that are red, blue, purple, yellow and orange in color. "These results are interesting because other studies have suggested that antioxidants may help protect against stroke and dementia," said Devore. "It's possible that individual antioxidants, or the main foods that contribute those antioxidants - rather than the total antioxidant level in the diet - contribute to the lower risk of dementia and stroke found in earlier studies." In fact, the researchers say there is growing evidence that consuming lots of fruits, vegetables and even alcoholic beverages may be linked to a reduced risk of stroke - that specific antioxidant-rich foods and beverages are more important for lowering the risk of stoke than the overall antioxidant capacity of the diet.

•Getting a massage at least once a week helps calm frazzled nerves and tones tired muscles. PHOTO: Google

Nine-year-old Victor Nwanekezi is dying


OSEPH Cornelius Nwanekezi is a very sad man. He is unhappy because his 9year-old boy, Victor, who has been diagnosed with kidney problem, is dying. The parents decided to withdraw him from the Federal Medical Centre when they could not afford to pay his hospital bill again. Nwanekezi who earns his living by riding okada says, “I make 1,200 naira per day and I have to give 800 naira to the owner. “Unfortunately, I have spent all my life savings on the boy but there has been no positive change to his ailing health.” Nwanekezi goes on to explain that ''the problem started early July last year when Victor had fever and we took him to the

hospital where he was treated. Shortly after getting better, his health deteriorated and we took him back to the hospital where the doctor detected that he had swollen legs and that was where the whole problem started from. It was at the Federal Medical Centre, (FMC) Owo that we were told that he had kidney problem.” It was double sad news for Nwanekezi as the news came at the time he had an accident with his okada. “It was while I was at the bone setter's home treating my fracture that my wife informed me about the development, and my world began to fall apart." Basilia, the mother of the boy, is a petty trader who sadly narrates what

they have been experiencing thus: “I have gone round to look for money. I have borrowed over two hundred thousand naira from family members, friends and other people. We now lock the boy in the house and prayer warriors from the church have come here to pray for him but nothing has changed. When we could not get any money to pay settle his bills we asked the doctor to discharge him from the hospital. That is why he is at home. He can hardly eat; he has no strength and he goes to the toilet once in a while." Victor who attends Divine Glorious Primary and Nursery School, Ijebu-Owo, Ondo State is in primary four. He is a

brilliant boy; one of the friends stated that a number of his friends in school have been crying for him because they are missing him in school. A friend of the family who spoke with the reporter pleads with Nigerians to help before it is too late. “We are pleading with kindhearted Nigerians, NGOs, and all the governors to help this boy before it is too late." Donations can be sent to the account number below while Nwanekezi, the boy's father can be reached on phone number: 08063917407 Account No: ECO Bank 0058752936 Owo Branch; Cornelius Nwanekezi.





MEGA Power Ministries (OPM), one of the fastestgrowing churches in Port-Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, has opened a restaurant for provision of free meals to the destitute in the oil-rich city. Its general overseer, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, said the gesture was to fight hunger and poverty in the land. Chinyere said he has borne the desire to feed the less-privileged long before the ministry came into existence. He recalled the desire came while eating in a restaurant years ago in Lagos and a middle-aged mother came to collect remnants for her children. “I was touched when the restaurant owner came in and accosted the woman for taking away the waste meals to which she replied it was because her husband was out of job and she needed to feed her children for them to stay alive,” he recollected. Chinyere said the encounter left a lasting impression on him on how small a meal can save an entire family. “I vowed that whenever God establishes me, I will provide food for the poor,” he disclosed. The restaurant lo-

•Free meals at the commissioning

OPM commissions free restaurant for destitute Stories by Sunday Oguntola

cated at Rukpoku axis of Port Harcourt will provide free meals on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The cleric assured that the scheme will be sustained through the church’s financial contribution, saying similar humanitarian programmes of higher magnitude are being executed

by the Church. The vision, he said, is to commission similar restaurants in all local governments in Nigeria. This, he stated, is because “so many people you see walking on the road just need a square meal to be able to move to the next level. “There are also so many unemployed graduates who are very hungry and cannot afford a meal

for themselves, but with the OPM free restaurant such people can come in and eat free of charge.” One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Agorondu Woke, pledged the donation of a goat to the project on behalf of the Community Development Association (CDA) of the area. He also assured the project will be protected from vandalisation.

•Chinyere speaking at the event

Church ordains 27 female pastors L

•Apostle Wilson Omoregie presenting certificate of ordination to the newly ordained wife of spiritual leader, Pastor Patience Alile


T. Joseph’s Chosen Church of God (SJCCG) has ordained its first set of female ministers in Benin City, the Edo State capital. 27 female females were part of the 43 pastors ordained to end the 4-day 67th annual delegates conference presided over by the pioneer DirectorGeneral of Nigeria Stock Exchange and the church’s general overseer, Apostle Alile. The colourful process started with a procession with each of the candidates carrying his cross,

the cleaning/washing of the candidates by the senior ministers, robbing and anointing by the spiritual leader. Two of the ordainees, Samuel Ohaegbu and Obadiaru, were upgraded to the office of apostles. After the ordination exercise, six of the female pastors were immediately promoted to the post of staff pastors. They were Pastor Pat Alile, Gloria Konyeshi, Mariam Omoregie, Bridget Dafe, Hosanna Okoh and Victoria Obadiaru. The exercise was in

fulfillment of the decision of the council of St. Joseph’s Chosen Church of God, headed by Apostle Hayford Alile, last year, in favour of female ordination as part of ongoing re-organisation of the church predominantly governed by spiritual rev-

elations through the Holy Spirit. The conference, which featured several activities including the selection of ministers, lectures, bible quiz, a book launch, award ceremony for the bestdressed ministers in the church was attended by two representatives of the Oba of Benin, the Ihekhuuoba of Benin, Chief S.O. Asuen and the Uso of Benin Kingdom, Chief Nosa Egharevba. The spiritual leader, Alile, described the world today as a theatre of the absurd, noting, “it is not an exaggeration to say that our world is in great turmoil and it is burning with fever worse than that of Peter’s mother-in-law.” According to him, it was while he was holidaying in one of his daughters homes in the US that he got a divine revelation that gave him the theme “No limit”.

IFE Gate Ministries International Lagos is working assiduously towards building an estate for widows. The general superintendent of the Church, Reverend (Dr) Levi Adegbe, said the move is to assuage the plight of widows that have lost the comfort of their matrimonial homes. He said: “Most widows have quit their homes after the death of their bread winners. “Others have had their family houses built by their husbands confiscated by their husbands’ relations and left in the lurch with their children and have nowhere to live.” “Many,” he added, “don’t have any means of livelihood and are just left in the cold by the day.” These, he said, informed the founding of Friends of Widows and Orphans International (FOWAI), a nongovernmental organisation, (NGO) to offer them succour. According to him: “We have considered it imperative to build an estate for them to provide comfortable homes for them and equally give them other basic neces-

Divine Grace Ministries celebrate


LORIOUS passover is the theme of the anniversary celebration of Divine Grace Ministries a.k.a solution ground, Ikeja Lagos this year. It commences on March 26 with a musical concert from 7pm.

The grand finale comes up o n March 31 with celebration service at 8am to 3pm. Those expected to minister include Don Moen, Rev. Joshua Talena, Apostle Vernon Amakhol, Bishop Ugo Wems, Lionel

Petersion (South-African), Uche Ndukwe (Liberation Time) and Esther Adeola (Ebo-Ope). Comedians expected are Holly Mallam, Gordons, Charles B.Yaw and Mike Light Child, among others.

Church proposes widows’ estate sities of life and make life meaningful for them.” He called on well-meaning Christians to support the project. “It is a very expensive project. That is why we are appealing to government, individuals, private and Christian organisations, especially women organisations, to support us. It is not a project I can undertake alone. “We need land, we need furniture, we need skill acquisition, equipment, among other facilities,”Adegbe stressed. Recalling how he received the vision, he said: “In my dream, God led me to a very big parcel of land and showed me a factory with different trade departments. “Some for hairdressing, some for bead making, some for cake making, some for fashion designing, some for soap- making, among others.” He said the estate will not only offer free accommodation but also empowerment schemes and training opportunities for the widows for self-sustenance.




NEWS Praise God always, Abiara charges Christians


•Resident Pastor, Glory Christian Ministry (GCM), Pastor Ben Chiaoika, James and Resident Pastor, GCM-Satellite, Pastor Yemisi Duggan at the parley PHOTO: AYODELE ISAAC

Demands for church accounts in order, says James


HE founding pastor of Glory Christian Ministries Lagos, Dr

Iruofagha James, has supported moves for churches to file their annual accounts to the Corporate Affairs Commission for inspection. He said the measure will not only ensure financial probity but also restore confidence in the moral integrity of the church. James added that charlatans in the body will also sit up and cases of financial recklessness will be reduced to the barest minimum

By Sunday Oguntola

among churches if such moves become legal tools. The cleric spoke last Tuesday ahead of the 21 st anniversary of the Church and the formal dedication of Gloryland Dome in Lagos. The anniversary holds from March 6-10 with Bishop Mike Okonkwo and Pastor Tunde Bakare ministering. He said churches resisting such moves must have something to hide and up to something sinister.

According to him: “I see nothing wrong with accountability; regulations are there to guard and save us from troubles. “If we support the move, it will sanitise the body and expose those who are in the ministry for their bellies.” He said the dedication, which holds on March 9, is a culmination of the faithfulness and grace of God on the church. According to him: “The Lord has been good to us. The Dome represents His faithfulness and commitment to the ministry.” He praised members for actualising the vision, saying such development confirms their dedication to the things of God.

HE General Evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Worldwide, Pastor Samuel Abiara, has enjoined Christians to cultivate the act of praising God in the face of increasing socio-economic challenges facing the country. Abira gave the charge last Sunday at the 25 anniversary celebration of the C A C, The Transfiguration Hill District at the Zonal Headquarters in Baale, Ajuwon, Ogun State.The anniversary attracted thousands from parts of the country with sessions on teaching, drama presentation, song rendition and prophetic ministrations. 50 elders and deaconesses were also ordained while a 120seater luxury bus was dedi-

Stories by Adeola Ogunlade cated at the event. Abiara said the secret of enjoying the supernatural power of Jesus is always been appreciative of what He has done in the past no matter the challenges facing human beings in life. He said that with intense political climate, failing economy, kidnapping, religious unrest and wanton destruction of lives, survivors need not be told only God has kept them. The cleric said: “Life is full of challenges but we can only walk over them when we continue to look up to God and exhibit the act of praising him at all times and we will see Him working on our behalf”. Abira noted that many people are missing out of di-

vine agenda for their lives because they are always complain and are disillusioned about everything instead of expressing gratitude to God. He cited the patriarchs of faith who despite their challenges praised their way to victory. The Zonal Chairman of CAC The Transfiguration Hill, Pastor Emmanuel Odejobi, said the anniversary was a celebration of God’s grace and faithfulness to His children who put their implicit trust in Him.”For 25years, it has been filled with many gaping events and terrifying happenings, each one strong enough to wipe us off. We are grateful to God who chose to spare us,” he stated.

L-R: Prophet Paul Makanjuola; Special Apostle Samuel Ariyo; Asst Secretary OAIC Nigeria Region, Supt. Apostle/Prophet Samson Opadotun; Snr. Apostolic Mother Elizabeth Akinadewo; Motailatu Church International Sub-Headquarters Superintendent, Superintendent (Dr) Israel Akinadewo; CAN Chairman Osun State, Superior Evang. (Dr) Abraham Aladeseye; Secretary OAIC South West, Superintendent Apostle Elijah Fagbule; Bishop Zacchaeus Sanyaolu; and Snr. Mother In Israel Esther Taiwo at the foundation laying of Motailatu Church Cherubim & Seraphim Worldwide (Kingdom Parish) Osogbo, Osun State last week

Cleric tasks churches on discipleship


HE General Overseer of Pentecostal City Lagos, Pastor Peter Atoyebi, has challenged the body of Christ to remain committed to raising disciples as demanded by the great commission. He said only true disciples can represent the church well and survive the increasing socioeconomic challenges facing the country without compromising. Atoyebi spoke at the first anniversary thanksgiving of The Mantle Prayer Ministry, an interdenominational outreach in Ewu •The newly elected President, Lagos Archdiocesan Youths Council, Bro. Rotimi Fadairo (M) flanked by a Matron, the Revd. Dr. Janet Daramola (2 nd Left) her colleague, Dame Mariam Akintola (3rd Right) a Patron, the Lagos Arch Diocesan Lay President, Sir Bonajo Badejo (with bouquet and white Agbada at the back) at the investiture of the new President, Patrons and Matrons of the Society at the Wesley Cathedral Olowogbowo, Lagos.

•Group photograph of Group 32 of last year’s pilgrims to Jerusalem at the thanksgiving Service at Chapel of Christ the Light Alausa, Lagos, 5th from right, Mr. Sanya Oni Editorial Page Editor of The Nation Newspaper. To his right is Mrs Wuraola Pitan.

Oliwo, Sagamu, Ogun State. He stressed the needs for the church to intensify efforts in preparing believers for discipleship remains urgent as many souls die daily without the hope of eternal life. He also lamented that corruption, cultism, immorality, terrorism, moral bankruptcy; murder, drug addiction and crime have continued to increase in every sector of national life despite the abundance of churches. Atoyebi said: “God is looking for the vibrant Church that will be able to exert

spiritual authority over the satanic forces of violence in the land and speak to troubled waters in the nation.” President of the Ministry, Pastor Isaac Olaomo, gave thanks to God for His faithfulness. He said: “We have seen God saving souls and working miracles when we put our implicit trust in him. We are mobilising Nigerians to pray for their families, communities and the nation at large in the face of the increasing socio-economic challenges facing the nation.”

How Muslims, Christians can live in peace, by Saka


HE General Overseer of Mountain of Loosing Bondage (Oke Tude), Dr. Shamsudeen Saka, has described the tensions between Muslims and Christians in many parts of the world as needless since they serve the same God. He said both adherents will come together one day to worship the Almighty God at the throne of judgment because there is only one God. Saka spoke at a parley with newsmen ahead of the 23rd anniversary of the ministry slated for February 26. According to him: “There is no reason why the Muslims must fight the Christians, it is not written in both the Quran and Bible. “Islam is a religion of peace, likewise Christianity, Isa 19:23 and Quran 14:22 preach peace.”

By Sunday Oguntola Saka, born into an Islamic family, said he got the call in 1989 while on a holy pilgrimage to Mecca. He said the intention of God by sending prophets to different people in different geographical locations is not to create confusion or segregation as being practiced today. “Religion does not segregate; the intention is to bring the knowledge of God to people and not to build a caste system.” Though he started out as a witch hunter and herb practitioner, the cleric said he has been preaching the message of love between Christians and Muslims. This, he said, informed how the ministry succeeded in blending the two forms of worship into one without

any rancour. He added: “At this mountain, Muslims and Christians worship together without any rancor.” He supported the calls for dialogue by the federal government with the terrorist Islamic sect Boko Haram. “The Boko Haram imbroglio is a manifestation of the ills of the society. The federal government must constitute a committee with eminent religious leaders that are not biased and respected by both parties to mediate in the crisis. “If the crisis is not nipped in the bud quickly, there is the tendency for similar groups to spring up and terrorise citizens,” he said. The theme for the anniversary is Prayer for the peace of Nigeria by Christians and Muslims.





Believe God for great things (2)

Bishop Wale-Oke

DIVINE MESSAGE Jesus rose again


HEN Jesus rose again from the dead that was a complete turn-around for the entire human race. That was a great thing that has changed the whole world permanently. Jesus Christ actually died on the cross. The Bible makes that very clear. But on the third day, He was raised back to life, never to die again, King of kings, and Lord of lords. He died for the sin of all mankind – mine and yours (II Corinthians 5:21). He was made a curse for us that we may become truly blessed (Galatians 3:13-14). He, by the grace of God, tasted death for all mankind, so that we may partake of God’s everlasting life (Hebrews 2:9). He defeated Satan completely on the cross and gave victory to everyone who believes in Him (Hebrews 2:14–15). He conquered death. He conquered the grave. He conquered sin that opened the door to free us from all our woes, and made it possible for everyone who believes in Him to be free indeed (John 8:36). That indeed is a glorious turn-around for all human race. And you can partake of that victory

from this day. The Bible makes it clear that if God did not spare His only Son but gave Him up for us all, then, there is nothing else that God cannot do for us. In Christ Jesus, therefore, all things are possible for you. Only believe (Romans 8:32). EXPERIENCE GREAT THINGS You can experience God’s great mercy in your life, like David did (I Kings 3:6). You can enjoy God’s great goodness, which He has laid up for those that fear Him (Psalm 31:19). You can experience God’s great faithfulness as He brings His great promises to pass in your life, fulfilling His great plans for you (I Corinthians 1:9). God’s great grace can rest mightily upon your life in such a way that other people shall know that you are a carrier of uncommon grace (Acts 4:33). You can become a partaker of God’s great wisdom, as a gift from heaven. That was the hallmark of Solomon, and it reflected in all that he did. GOD CAN MAKE YOU GREAT God can bless the work of your hand and make you great indeed. God can put His mighty hand upon you and use you greatly for His glory. God can bless your seed, your children, so they can be mighty upon the earth. This is part of His covenant of blessing to those who fear Him. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: the

generation of the upright shall be blessed (Psalm 112:2). You can become a great man in the sight of God and men. You can become a mighty man of honour, a mighty man of wealth. And this is not a factor of your gender, race, age, education, background or experience, environment or location. It is not even in the hands of other men. It is between you and God, even though He will use other men for you (Isaiah 58:14). GOD CAN INCREASE YOUR GREATNESS No matter how great you have become and the dimension of grace you have enjoyed, God still has something better for you. He can still increase your greatness, and comfort you on every side. The psalmist prayed that prayer, and he experienced it in reality. You can pray it too and see God perform it in your life (Psalm 71:21) Now then, what is that great thing you want the Lord to do for you? What is that great turn-around you want the Lord to give to you? Can you be definite and specific about it? Jesus needed to ask from Bartimaeus what he wanted, in spite of Bartimaeus’ visible blindness. It is what you desire in prayer by faith that God will give to you (Mark 11:24). For further information, counseling and prayer, please contact me on telephone number: +234 816 308 7780, +234 816 363 6364 or send an email t o You may also write to P.M.B 60, Agodi Post Office, Ibadan.


Christian persecution rising in China


NCIDENTS of Christian persecution in China rose by 42 percent last year as compared with 2011, according to a report by China Aid, a Texas-based human rights group. The report revealed that persecution in 2012 was 61 percent worse than in 2010; 85 percent worse than in 2009; 120 percent worse than in 2008; 308 percent worse than in 2007, and 372 percent worse than in 2006. Last year alone, the number of persecuted Chinese Christians rose by roughly 14 percent while individual detentions increased by nearly 12 percent in what China Aid called, “the tip of the iceberg”; at least 132 incidents of perse-

cution involving nearly 5,000 Christians were reported. Beijing saw the highest number of persecution cases impacting 934 Christians; Xinjiang Uyghur in North-

west China followed with 11 cases involving 382 Christians, while 1,056 Christians in Central China and 750 in East China were also harassed.

TD Jakes ‘shocked’ by Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation


ISHOP T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas said he was shocked when he heard the news about Pope Benedict XVI resigning from the papacy. Jakes said he was “astounded” when he learned that Pope Benedict XVI would be retiring just eight years after succeeding the deceased Pope John Paul II, making the 85-year-old the

first pontiff to resign in almost 600 years of the Roman Catholic Church’s history. “I think it was shocking because we haven’t seen it for 600 years or so, but it is indicative of the times we live, that people are doing things in new ways and new capacities,” said Jakes. “I take it at face value based on what we know so far.”

‘American Idol’ contestant says church prepped her for show


RISTABEL Clack, a 29year-old American Idol contestant, recently revealed that church prepared her for the nationally televised singing competition. Clack, a San Antonio, Texas native, made it to the top 20 female contestants in season 12 of FOX’s “Ameri-

can Idol” singing competition. The mother of three recently spoke to FOX San Antonio about how her singing at Living Waters Community Church primed her for the spotlight on national television. “Being on stage all the time, Sunday in, Sunday outI think it has definitely pre-

pared me,” Clack told FOX San Antonio. The American Idol contestant began a night of worship once a month with her husband Brandon last October which she said has began to grow once she was picked to participate in “American Idol.”

Commanding Supernatural Success!

Living Faith By David Oyedepo


UCCESS in life is a lifelong adventure, as no one actually graduates from the school of success. The amazing thing about success is that we all, whether white or black, educated or illiterate, have equal opportunities to either succeed or fail in life. Everybody knows what he or she is looking for. Ask any man in his right mind, and he will tell you that he wants to become successful. The problem is that most people do not know what success looks like, so they never find it. But a reasonable search begins with a detailed description. Because of the wrong description of success, many have been searching for it in futility. What is success? Success is not possessions. Most people mistake success for possessions. They think one is successful when one has houses, lands, cars, etc. Possession is not a correct description of success. Jesus said a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses (Luke 12:15). For instance, money is not an accurate description of success, as many moneybags in town are abject failures, having failed in their families, careers and communities. Success is not by position. Some people also think success is defined by the position one holds. For instance, until recently, coup planning and execution was the order of the day by the armed forces of some African nations, because the coup planners mistook position for success. You can see that success is not by position. "So, what is the description of true success?," you may ask. True success is accomplished stewardship towards God and men, serving God's purpose and promoting mankind's welfare here on earth (Luke 22:25-27). Note that the Bible is the greatest Book ever written on the subject of success. Its values are transgenerational. Every striking success begins with access to

God's Word (Joshua 1:8). What the Word does is to show you what you must do to turn your frustration to celebration, your stagnation to outstanding success and breakthroughs. Recognize that success delivers on laws. These laws are what I call, the Biblical laws of success. We walk by common sense, we run by principles and we fly by instructions. Joshua 1:8 says: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night...observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. You have to do what the law says, before you can command good success. No one will ever command success, without embracing all God's commandments. Then only will He set you up on high above the nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:1). In exploring the Biblical laws of success, let me show you the foundational law. What is this foundational law? "The law of love: The love of God in the heart of man is the anchor law of success (Matthew 22:36-44). That is what makes it foundational. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3). That means, prophecies are even fulfilled on that platform. Prophecies are fulfilled to the level of your love for God. That's the anchor law of success, not using God, but loving God. Just show me a true lover of God, and I will show you another global phenomenon in the making. Outstanding success is the heritage of only the anointed, selfless and unreserved lovers of Christ. The things you are looking for are right there beside you; all you need to do is to submit to the right choice. For instance, my heartbeat for God is my greatest asset. Please understand that you need a heart for God, to make real marks on earth. Outstanding success is your birthright, but the love of

God is the gateway to experiencing the fullness of that right. Some Anointed Lovers Of God In Scriptures: •Joseph: Joseph, the lover of God, became Joseph the king. Joseph the prisoner, became Joseph the Prime Minister in Egypt. He was challenged, but he came out a success (Genesis 41:4142). The doors of destiny can never be closed against a true lover. A true lover of Jesus will emerge a highflyer, the weight of enmity notwithstanding. •Job: Job, the lover of God, became Job the business king. He was the greatest of all men in the business world, in his days (Job 1:13). Job said: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him… (Job 13:15). He would let go of anything, except God! A true heart for God qualifies you to make a great mark on the earth. The love of God is immune to failure; it is failure-proof. So, in the school of success, the law of love is the foundational law. That is the anchor law that makes all others to work. Anything you love more than God has placed a limit on your destiny. Anything you love more than God, makes you an idolater. Friend, the grace to have a heart for God is the privilege of children of God. You become a child of God as you confess your sins and accept Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. You can be His child now, if you have not been, by saying this prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. I cannot help myself. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious Blood. Deliver me from sin and satan, to serve the Living God. Today, Lord Jesus, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, for saving me! Now I know, I am born again! I will continue with this teaching next week. Every exploit in life is a product of knowledge. For further reading, you can get my books - Exploring The Secrets Of Success, Success Strategies and Success Buttons. I invite you to come and fellowship with us at the Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, the covenant home of Winners. We have three services on Sundays, holding at 6.30 a.m, 9.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. respectively. I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with us through: Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail:

Recently converted christian families in Vietnam beaten for their new faith stant harassment from villag- western Kontum Province –


EWLY converted Christians of the Sedang ethnic minority in Vietnam’s Central Highlands were terrorised last week – their homes and personal properties badly damaged or destroyed in four consecutive night raids, and some of the faithful seriously injured from beatings in broad daylight, sources said. Since becoming Christians in the past year, five families in mountainous Kontum Province have reported con-

ers upset that they are no longer contributing to communal sacrifices and other practices because of their new faith. The attacks constituted a third wave of sustained violence since their conversion, leaving their properties severely damaged and their lives threatened. Attacks on the new Christians – who belong to a Christian Mission Church (CMC) congregation in Ngoc La village, Mang Ri Commune, Tumorong District in north-

were primarily motivated by strong tensions within the ethnic group over the families leaving the “old ways.” Ideologically opposed to Christianity, local Communist officials freely permit and even encourage such conflicts, sources said. At the same time, local Vietnamese officials commonly incite and employ area thugs to attack Christians, whose united faith is perceived as a threat to government ideology and sovereignty.




Guns, guns everywhere FTER years of living in Ohio in the United States of America, Adebiyi (surname withheld), decided to return to Nigeria. "But I was afraid," he confessed to The Nation reporter. "We hear of armed robbers storming peoples' homes to claim all your hard-earned labour brandishing their guns to make you paranoid and such stuff; so, I was apprehensive. I had to protect my life, my family's and the much we've worked so very hard to put together. That's why I have been asking lots of Nigerians both in USA and within Nigeria if I am allowed to have my own gun. If yes, how do I get a gun, which type can I possess as a civilian and how do I get it licensed, among others? I have put this same question to my family that has been on my case to come and settle in Nigeria. Without this assurance, I tell you, I am not coming to Nigeria just yet," he declared. "Like many others, the young man, Adebiyi's has more questions than answers," said a prominent security expert based in Lagos. "Yet, we won't blame anyone for wanting to ensure his or her survival with some 'steel', as they call it. It's not out of place for him to ask to ensure his life. And I am sure that people in your kind of job, as reporters, won't mind to carry one as the current situation calls for such especially with our porous security system," he told The Nation. Recently, Abiodun Odiri and Ohikhuemen Alex, two suspects, who, according to a police statement, specialise in the making of local arms were nabbed at their 'factory' by the Edo State Police Command based on a tip off. They were believed to be responsible for the supply of lethal weapons to armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminal gangs in the South-West, South-South and SouthEast regions. At the time their factory was raided, many items such as double-barrelled gun pipes, two doublebarrelled gun butts, three single gun butts, nine single-barrelled gun pipes, seven expended cartridges, one drilling machine and a bag of weed suspected to be Indian hemp, were retrieved from them. A security expert who spoke in confidence said, the "influx of illegal arms within the country is a threat to Nigeria's economy and unity." He cited reports of seizure of large cache of arms through porous borders such as Seme, Idi-Iroko and a few other routes. On Monday, July 30, 2012, a team of the Joint Task Force (JTF), patrolling Daban Masara, a border town with Chad in Munguno Local Government area of Borno State, intercepted a blue Hilux vehicle with registration number Yobe NGU19XA. The


Illegal importation of guns and firearms is thriving in the country despite efforts to curb the illicit trade, Assistant Editor, Joke Kujenya, Innocent Duru and Nwanosike Onu report. vehicle had reportedly left Bada/Daban in Borno State enroute Maiduguri, the state capital. When stopped, the JTF discovered that the vehicle was loaded with heaps of palm leaves used to cover eight rocket-propelled launchers, 10 rocket bombs, 10 rocket chargers, two AK-47 rifles, 13 magazines with six rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and a Bank PHB ATM card. On getting closer to the vehicle to accost its occupants, the men in the vehicle, believed to be members of the Boko Haram insurgency group, opened fire on men of the JTF. This led to a bloody exchange of gunfire. The proliferation of illegal arms in the country has become worrisome both at home and abroad. A 2011 Small Arms Survey by the UN disclosed that about 875million of such weapons produced by over 1,000 companies in 100 countries are in circulation worldwide. The report noted: "Nigeria's share of between seven and eight million in West Africa puts it in the league of countries with high prevalence of illegal firearms like South Africa, Yemen, and the United States where the quantity of small arms in civilian hands is 5.95 million, 11.5 In a National Crime and Safety Survey 2012 on Firearms and Gun Ownership in Nigeria conducted by CLEEN Foundation (CF), a justice sector reform organisation, 50per cent of those polled believe that gun ownership was necessary for self-defence or personal protection. Thirty-nine per cent said it was needful for hunting, while twenty-five per cent feel gun ownership was needful for protection of their property. Another 19 per cent said it would help in protection against wild animal attack. However, 11 per cent support it for protection at work, and 10 per cent do not know why anyone would need a gun, while the last set of seven per cent represent those who believe it is traditional to possess guns. Speaking on what qualifies one to own a gun or any ammunition, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos Police Command, Mrs. Ngozi Braide, said there are three categories of firearms which are personal firearms, muzzle loading and prohibited, which involve dynamite, rocket launchers, military guns such as- AK47, pistols,

revolvers etc. The spate of seizure of illegal arms and ammunition at the nation's border posts has raised concern over the safety of citizens and the porous nature of the borders. For instance, a Briton was arraigned in the United Kingdom for shipping of 80,000 rifles and pistols and 32 million rounds of ammunition illegally to Nigeria. The shipment included 40,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 30,000 rifles and 10,000 9mm pistols. The man, Gary Hyde, reportedly shipped the huge arm cache without receiving permission from the relevant government department in the UK. But he did not act alone. His partner was one Karl Kleber, a German national based in Germany as the court was told. They acted as middle-men between two Polish companies acting for the Nigerian buyers and Chinese companies. Both men received commission payments for the deals totalling around $1.3m (ÂŁ840,000 or N351 million). Concerns for such illegal gun and firearms importation grow as Ghanaian authorities also intercepted a truck loaded with arms and ammunitions heading to Nigeria. The weapons of destruction included pump action rifles and live rounds. During one of the recent routine checks along the Lagos-Badagry Express Road; a team of officers of customs, the Nigerian Immigration Service and a host of others intercepted a truck-load of electronic gadgets under which the importers had concealed heaps of weapons in bags of beans. All the men were eventually nabbed and handed over to the police for onward prosecution. A booming business Arms smuggling is currently described as a flourishing enterprise in Nigeria, a nation that is engaged, among others, in an ongoing mĂŞlĂŠe against the Islamist insurgency in the north, oil thefts and piracy in the South-East parts of the country. Offences of illegal arms importation are said to be contrary to the provisions of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and the Customs and Excise Management 2002. It is reported that within the past thirty years,

Nigeria has seen increasingly rapid advances in all form of social vices. Among such, in the heat of most political campaigns, hoodlums are a common feature. Reportedly, political aspirants and candidates employ the use of street urchins to checkmate their opponents. In the same vein, religious violence, armed robbery, pen robbery and recently kidnapping are commonplace. This rise in crime wave has led many to clamour for citizens to be allowed to carry guns. In fact, in some states and towns across the country procurement of firearms is as easy as buying a pair ofshoes. For instance, Anambra State has become one of the dreaded states in the country in terms of crime due to majority of the citizens' disregard for value system. Sale of arms is thriving in the state so much that if to procure a gun all one needs to do is to simply talk to one of the boys hanging around the numerous markets in the state and give them the codes for the specific types of guns needed. For instance, bullets are termed 'groundnuts', 'awka' or 'kala, to mention a few. As a result, illicit guns and firearms have flooded virtually all the markets and homes in the state. Many link the proliferation of arms to the aftermath of the Nigeria Civil War and the operation of quasi military outfits such as the disbanded Onitsha Traders Association (OTA), Onitsha Market Amalgamated Traders Association (OMATA), the then "Bakassi Boys' and the Anambra Vigilance Service (AVS). Not only that, armed conflicts within the Aguleri-Umuleri community in 2000 and indeed power struggle for positions and in town unions, using youth have created pockets of undesirable elements who are willing to engage in anything to make money. Some of these guns and firearms like machine guns, AK-47, rocket launchers, double or multibarrelled guns, pistols; pump action guns are those weapons of death procured from black markets in the state or illegal sources. These, end up in the hands of wrong bearers including armed vigilante groups and ethnic militias. However, these illicit small arms are believed to have originated from dark spots across the West Africa sub region. According to Emeka Umeagbalasi, the chairman of Board of Trustees (BOT), International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, guns and small arms in circulation which are estimated to be over five million are in wrong hands! Continued on page 61


Guns, guns everywhere From page 60

According to him, "One out of every 20 residents is in possession of illicit fire arms" due to what he called monstrous vigilantism fed by Onitsha arms' black markets. Before now, the black smiths in Awka used to mould assorted guns which they sell to those in need, but they have since moved beyond this as most now use sophisticated imported weapons. It was also alleged that the popular main market in Onitsha, believed to be the largest in West Africa is home to most of these guns and firearms although other markets such as Eke-Awka and the likes have since sprung up. When The Nation visited a place in Awka believed to be the major spot some years back, the man spotted in the area denied any knowledge of such. Speaking in low tones he said, "nobody discusses such issue again in this area but I advise you for your own good to leave the place and never to come back here again." He advised the reporter to stop asking for people's opinion for his own safety. Apart from pump action guns and perhaps, double barrelled ones, every other type of gun in Anambra State is illegal even at that, the owners must register it with the security agencies before making use of them. According to a source, who pleaded anonymity, "a pump action gun is sold between N120, 000 and N150,000 depending on the one you want to purchase, while pistol also costs between N150,000 to N170,000." During the invasion of the state by kidnappers last year, some arms caches were discovered in the house of some suspects, and were later confiscated by the police. Also, in 2010, Anambra State Police Command intercepted a truck load of arms and ammunition. The same happened a year later and the suspects were taken to court. The rate at which illegal arms resurface in the state has become of concern to residents wondering if the seized arms were not the same that are pumped back into circulation. This has raised fear over the gubernatorial election which is a few months down the road. Licensed firearms dealers in Nigeria There are unconfirmed reports alleging that policemen in the country often 'sell weapons' seized from bandits or those returned permit holders to the police for 'safe keeping', as stipulated in the licence booklet; to other criminals. In the past, some individuals were reportedly duly licensed to sell guns and firearms. One of such is the defunct O.A.L Araba and Sons, which was located near Casino Cinema in Yaba, with another of its branch in Garage/Baale area in Apelehin, Bariga, Lagos. Visits to these two locations show that the man, O. A. L. Araba died some years back. An

INSIGHT elderly man in his 80s, who claimed to know the late dealer said "Araba was such a man of integrity. He never sold to criminals. He used to display his guns on the racks and we would come here to watch American movies as the actors used guns on his small TV then. At the time he died, one of his sons took over the business but I don't know why they went out of operation. We used to speculate then that maybe his sons could not cope with the legal importation demands. But we had no evidence. However, we know that the young man later relocated to Ibadan in Oyo State. But, A. O. L. Araba and sons was renowned as an organisation that sold guns legally in Nigeria during the past half century and it had the reputation for delivering ordered weapon along with the required permit." Another licensed gun dealer was the defunct company called Ashamu. It was formerly housed in a stand-alone bungalow, and marked by a road-side signpost advertising guns and building materials, then in Ibadan. Visit to the location revealed that the company was no longer in operation as the people spoken with said they heard the building they now occupy used to be a 'gun house'. Nigeria: gun facts, figures and the law In 2006, during the heated days of the NigerDelta violence, reports noted that about two million small arms were in the hands of civilians, with half of the number said to have been illegally obtained. With the well-publicised prosecution of the Amnesty Programme by the Umaru Yar'Adua administration in 2009 however, the militants reportedly surrendered a total 2,760 arms, 287,445 ammunition, 18 gunboats, 763 explosives, 1,090 dynamite caps, and 3,155 magazines, among others. Experts say that such arms and ammunitions can easily flourish in any country due to their inherent qualities such as simplicity, durability, relatively low cost, wide availability, lethality, portability and easiness to conceal, coupled with porous borders, ineffectiveness of security agencies, corruption and increasing level of poverty, particularly in developing countries such as Nigeria, make their smuggling very attractive. In 2012 alone, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), noted in a publication that between January and June, it seized a total of 2,294 with a duty paid value of N1.8 billion within the country. The NCS also said that 15 containers of dangerous weapons, including rocket launchers, mortars, bombs, small light arms and ammunition camouflaged as building materials, were imported into the country through Apapa, Lagos, port alone. Analysts however claim that while the NCS may consider the seizures a big haul, their perceived feat is just a drop of water in a mighty ocean. This proliferation has continued to pose concern to many although the situation in Nigeria may not have got to the level in the United States where school kids or gunmen often invade schools or shopping malls to indiscriminately shoot people to death. The hope is that before the Nigerian situation degenerates to this level it would be brought under control.


'We have reduced proliferation of guns' Lagos Police Command spokesperson, Mrs. Ngozi Braide, speaks with Innocent Duru on possession of guns


HAT is the procedure for dealing in firearms and guns ownership in Nigeria? We have three categories of firearms. We have the prohibited firearms, personal and muzzle loading firearms. The prohibited firearms are the ones that involve dynamite, rocket launchers, military guns, AK47, pistols, revolvers etc. The personal firearms include dane guns and sporting guns used in sporting activities. Before you can get licence to import you have to get approval from the head of state or president. For personal firearms, you need the approval of the inspector general of police. In the case of muzzle loading like pump action, the commissioner of police with the approval of the governor of a state can give the approval to possess it. There are some firearms you cannot have as an individual and from the categories that I have mentioned there are some that an individual can acquire. Before you can be given licence to acquire firearms in any of the categories like personal firearms and muzzle loading, you must be 17 years and above, you won't be an ex-convict, you won't have sight problem, you won't be somebody of high temperament and you won't be somebody that is always involved in one offence or other. In everything you must be somebody of good character for you to be able to acquire a licence. What are the types of guns you have been recovering from arrested criminals? Most of the criminals that use gun these days are robbers and kidnappers. At times we recover AK47 which is a prohibited firearm. We also recover locally made pistols and other shot guns from robbers these days. It would interest you to know that we arrested the highest illegal firearms dealer in West Africa in November. He was arrested in a hotel in Delta State. His name is Tochukwu. He confessed to have bought a lot of arms from late Ghadaffi's armoury. We found two rocket launchers and some AK47 in his car the day we arrested him. They were all smuggled into the country. He claimed that he also supplied firearms to other West African countries. For locally made pistols, arrested criminals often mention the names of the person that constructed it for them and we don't waste time in arresting such people too. When robbers attack and take guns from your men, how do you make sure the guns are retrieved? We are not magicians. We have the special anti robbery squad, we also have federal anti robbery squad, we have anti robbery sections in all divisions and area commands. They are all out there to make sure that robbery is reduced to the barest minimum. When criminals are arrested, we recover the guns and always find out if the guns they used were collected from the police or the military. We make recoveries on daily basis and armed robbers are


top on the list. Stories abound of police officers that lend criminals their firearms. How do you check this? I am not aware of this. Since I came on board, I have not heard of such. Let me take you back memory lane. During the terror days of Anini's robbery gang, Iyamu, a top police officer, supplied them firearms. I had not joined the force at that time and would not be able to speak on that. Anini operated in Edo State so you can't take me back to that. I speak for Lagos State. I can't even speak for the Nigerian police. Nobody under my command has done that since I came on board. I am not saying that might not happen, but if it does and we get to find out, it will be a serious issue. Recently, a policeman impounded a vehicle, converted it to personal use, he stole it and sold it. He is in Kirikiri as I speak to you. We have some groups like the transport workers and cult members in higher institutions who make use of guns in their clashes. How do you work on these groups? It is just like being in possession of firearms illegally. It is a criminal offence. What are you doing with firearms? It is either you are an armed robber or a criminal and if you are arrested, you will be charged immediately. The truth is that they don't come out openly to showcase these firearms. They smuggle these things in and when they see policemen they would run away. We have been making recoveries of arms from criminals and anybody with firearms without licence is a criminal and an enemy of the society. To the best of my knowledge, criminal activities and presence of guns in the society have reduced. If you check the statistics of criminal activities I sent out in 2011 and 2012 and juxtapose, you will see that criminal activities have drastically reduced in Lagos State. As a cosmopolitan city that it is, you can't rule away crime from it. It will always happen but we are on top of the situation and before the end of the year, it will further drop down.

'Presence of guns should be tightly controlled' Dr. Ona Ekhomu, an expert on security issues, is the Chairman, School of Management and Security on Turton Street, Lafiaji, Lagos. In this interview with Joke Kujenya, he gives insight into ways guns possession can be effectively controlled.



HO is lawfully entitled to carry firearms? As of today, the possession of firearms is very tightly controlled in Nigeria. Asides from uniformed personnel, undercover government agents may bear concealed firearms; State Security Service (SSS) agents are usually armed; close protection professionals working under government auspices may bear concealed arms. Individuals who have 'CAP 59 Licence' may also legally bear arms. To carry a pistol, you are required to have a licence signed personally by Mr. President as the Commander-in-Chief. And that's a tall order. Record of arms in the country I think the Force PRO is in a better position to let us know the number of licensed arms in the country, because these are issued by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). Also the NPF may be in a position to issue the statistics on firearms in police armouries nationwide. However, the NPF does not control arms that are borne by other services such as SSS, Customs, NSCDC, NIS, NDLEA. In other words, if you get the total number of arms issued to these agencies and then sum them up you could get a working number. How guns are imported

Legal importation of firearms is on approved user licence issued now by the Office of the National Security Adviser. Several safeguards control the importation of arms which is mainly for government services. Importation of arms for citizens is highly discouraged by the authorities. So, importers resort to smuggling weapons and ammunitions. The importers bribe their way through our borders. In the creeks of the Niger Delta, guns are allegedly smuggled in on boats for use in militancy and armed robbery. In the northern border towns, the porosity is quite pronounced. Weapons are brought by foot across the borders or on donkeys. The north has been embroiled in conflict for quite a while now. The northeast banditry was fed by illegal weapons imported from neighbouring West African States. These violent criminals have openly challenged police personnel to gun duels with the sole aim of seizing police weapons. Criminals have successfully built up awesome capabilities just by seizing weapons from law enforcement personnel. Is it the same for bombs? Now, bombs are a different matter. Bombing in Nigeria started with the use of dynamite, blasting cap and a power source. With the involvement of bomb masters from AQIM and AQAP, volatile

chemicals that have long been used for terrorist bomb making in the Middle East entered the equation. Now, we have fertilizer bomb and others. We have high explosives that can cause considerable damage. A lot of the explosives are smuggled in drums like normal chemicals. There is another class of arms called Rocket Propelled Grenades and Rocket Launchers. These are higher grade weapons which allow target acquisition and destruction from a long distance. These are smuggled in through the ports, through our porous borders and through the creeks. These greatly multiply the security threats in the country. How can we effect gun control? Guns kill people and their presence in the community should be tightly controlled for the protection of community members. Since the points through which guns come into the country are well known, then efforts should be intensified to interdict illicit weapons. To start with, there should be financial incentives for persons who call in tips on illicit weapons. The next line of action should be aimed at persons who turn in their weapons voluntarily. Such people should be given cash inducement. That is, a sort of weapons buy-back programme. Then, enforcement and prosecution will be helpful. That is, the federal government should assume a law and order stance and be tough on weapons violations. And lastly, offenders should be given stiff mandatory sentences, then others may be deterred.





HE nation’s foreign reserves, which now stands at $47 billion, is enough to provide 10month import cover for the country. Aside, the reserve has stabilised the naira and satisfied the genuine needs for foreign exchange for the economy. It has also in the last one year, assisted in conserving resources and withstanding external shocks on the economy. On the surface, this certainly is good news. But beyond these benefits, analysts have picked holes in government’s management of the reserves. Economist and real sector operator, Henry Boyo explained that in reality, reserves should strictly be surplus export dollar revenue within the economy. It could also be described as the excess of dollar revenue over budget projections plus other federal government dollar income belonging to federal agencies. The expert revealed that since 1999, the Federal Government has accumulated reserves despite annually increasing budget deficits. “Thus, government embarks on very costly borrowing sprees to fund ghost deficits induced by deliberate understatement of projected crude oil price benchmark in each year’s budget. Meanwhile, actual crude dollar revenue has steadily exceeded projected expenditure every year!,” he said. Boyo also goes on to explain that many expect the reserves accumulated to be used to upgrade the nation’s infrastructural deprivations. Surprisingly, however, the larger portion of the ‘reserves’ are ultimately shared instead as supplementary to each year’s appropriation to the three tiers of government; the residual balance of such reserves are designated as Excess Crude Account. He said: “Ironically, the 1999 Constitution does not recognise any such revenue classification as Excess Crude Account. Our economy has largely been destroyed by the manner in which our so-called reserves are accumulated; currently, out of about $47 billion of reserves, the Central Bank lays direct claim to about $32 billion, while the balance consists of an excess crude account, i.e. dollar earnings above deliberately understated budget crude benchmark price, while the incomes of government parastatals such as NNPC amount to about $1 billion.” He adds: “One may wonder how CBN acquired its own robust $32bn; the apparent answer is CBN’s claim to have paid the naira equivalent of the $32bn as part of the monthly allocations to the three tiers of government; consequently, the CBN claims complete ownership of the retained dollar revenue. Thus, ultimately, the more dollars we earn, the greater also will be the quantum of naira created by CBN to replace the dollar revenue it captures as its own reserves.” Olu Owolabi analysts explained that the net CBN dollar reserves will consequently be the unsold balance from CBN’s regular

• Dollar

• Okonjo-Iweala

Nigerian Foreign reserves: Beyond the rising figures auctions to the banks and allocations to Bureaux De change. Thus, the higher the consolidated dollar revenue, the greater will be the amount of excess naira in the system. Similarly, the larger the CBN’s share of the dollar reserves, the lesser will be the amount of dollars offered for sale in the market, and the weaker, inevitably, will be the naira exchange rate with the prevailing naira ‘tsunami’ in the system. A weaker naira will instigate inflation and higher fuel prices; higher fuel prices will in turn necessitate higher fuel subsidy and resultant contraction of available public funds for infrastructural enhancement. “It is believed that the billions of dollars paid out to the Paris and London Clubs of creditors in 2006 and the additional over $10 billion expended for improvement of power supply were deductions from the foreign reserves account. It is not clear, however, whether the funds came from the CBN’s share of reserves or from the Excess Crude Account! However, steadily rising crude prices, which in-

The relative rise in the nation’s foreign exchange reserves in the last few months in contrast to the slow growth of the economy is raising posers from stakeholders across the divide, reports Bukola Afolabi creases our dollar revenue and feeds reserves accumulation, paradoxically also depreciates the rate of the naira. Inevitably, a weaker naira instigates inflation and the loss of purchasing power for all income earners; a weaker naira also translates to increasing fuel

prices, as well as its collateral of trillions of naira of avoidable subsidy payments annually,” he said. The thinking among experts is that the inability of the apex bank to handle the increasing dollar income induced by rising crude prices has driven the apex bank to


Key challenges for Nigeria

NE of the key challenges for Nigeria over the last eight years, especially under a civilian administration was how to manage the phenomenal growth in foreign exchange reserves resulting from the sustained high international oil prices. Broadly speaking, there are four main options to which the reserves could be used: · Current consumption · Accumulate reserves in the short to medium term · Pay off foreign debt and · Set-up a Fund for the Fu-

ture The selection and mix of the options was done within the context of the national economic reform agenda. Specifically, Nigeria’s external reserves are deployed to two major categories of uses, namely; public and private sector uses. Public Sector Uses· Debt Relief Deal · Paris Club - USD12.4 billion· London Club - USD0.5 billion • · Annual Debt service payments (now mainly Multi-

commit the unforced error of formally funding the dollar sales of bureaux the change (BDCs); this is in spite of the obvious recognition that the BDCs are conduit pipes for capital flight and treasury looting. Undoubtedly, also, smugglers of contraband goods, who

lateral Institutions)· WDAS sales in respect of States and other Government agencies· Joint Venture Cash call payments· Infrastructural development (Power, Railway/ Roads) · Contributions and subventions (International Organizations & Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions) · Other public sector uses (Estacodes, Government LCs) ·

have contributed to destabilising the Nigerian industrial landscape, also fund their imports from CBN’s dollar sales to BDCs! One of the experts said: “Rising CBN share of dollar reserves actually puts a spanner in the works of economic growth and employment opportunities as CBN’s continuous substitution of naira allocation for dollar-derived revenue inevitably precipitates the scourge of excess liquidity, increasing national debt accumulation, high cost of borrowing to the real sector and unbridled subsidy payments.” On their part, analysts at Afrinvest said the CBN needs to build up adequate external reserves to satisfy the genuine needs for foreign exchange as such is consistent with the increase in the growth in economic activity. It will equally assist in conserving resources and withstanding external shocks. The apex bank has also said there was urgent need to pursue policies that would foster macro-economic stability, economic diversification as well as

Continued from page 63


Nigerian Foreign reserves: Beyond the figures


Board asks PenCom to resolve internal disagreement

Continued from page 62 encouraging foreign capital inflows. Experts also believe that a higher rate of retention of oil revenues should facilitate the efforts at maintaining exchange rate stability as an antidote to imported inflation without excessive reliance on monetary tightening measures. Analysts predicted that Nigeria’s foreign reserves are expected to hit $60 billion as oil production soars. In the Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Economic Report, its Managing Director, Bismark Rewane said that with an average production level of 2.7 million barrel production per day (mbpd), there will be 10.7 per cent increase in government revenue to N946.97 billion by this month. The big question that we need to ask ourselves is what are the components of our foreign reserve or how can we identity these components? Nigeria’s external reserves comprise of three components namely, the federation, the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria portions. The federation component consists of sterilised funds held in the excess crude and PPT/Royalty accounts at the CBN belonging to the three tiers of government. This portion has not yet been monetised for sharing by the federating units. It is sometimes ignorantly referred to as the reserves of the country. The federal government component consists of funds belonging to some government agencies such as the NNPC; for financing its Joint Venture expenses, PHCN and Ministry of Defence; for Letters of Credit opened on their behalf, etc. The CBN portion consists of funds that have been monetised and shared. This arises as the Bank receives foreign exchange inflows from crude oil sales and other oil revenues on behalf of the government. Such proceeds are purchased by the Bank and the Naira equivalent credited to the Federation account and shared, each month, in accordance with the constitution and the existing revenue sharing formula. The monetised foreign exchange thus belongs to the CBN. It is from this portion of the reserves that the Bank conducts its monetary policy and defends the value of the Naira. Nigeria’s dependence on oil for over 90% of its foreign exchange earnings makes its capital account vulnerable to the fluctuations in crude oil prices. This, in addition to its high import bills, contributed to the fluctuations in the level of reserves over the years and consequently the way the reserves are being managed. During the oil boom of the mid-seventies which has resulted in the build up of reserves, the external reserves were diversified into an array of financial in-



• Sanusi

struments including foreign government bonds and treasury bills, foreign government guaranteed securities, special drawing rights (SDRs), fixed term deposits, call accounts and current accounts. This provided significant investment income as well as liquidity. However, during the glut in the global oil market, which led to collapse in the crude oil prices and consequently a drawdown in the reserves, the reserves were held mainly in current accounts and treasury bills. Nigeria also needs to invest heavily in infrastructural development in order to create the enabling environment for a non-oil economy. In this regard, the provision of steady power and water supplies as well as good road and communication net works is very crucial. It is also important for Nigeria to explore ways of reviving its huge agricultural potential which has been neglected since the discovery of oil in addition to exploiting its rich untapped solid mineral deposit in order to promote diversification of the economy away from a mono cultural product base. Oil is a wasting asset and would be exhausted some day, this poses a very big challenge to reserves management in Nigeria as to what would become of the economy when this single most important source of national revenue is fully depleted. Reserve Management task is becoming more complex as central banks are moving into new asset classes with higher risk/return profile in search of higher risk adjusted returns. In the case of CBN, we are moving from the hitherto investment in money market instruments such as time-deposits; treasury bills etc into longer dated instruments like treasury and agency bonds. Although these are defaultfree instruments, they, however, have market risk. This development has necessitated the need for highly skilled personnel who could measure and control the associated risks. Although the Bank is making efforts to develop capacity in reserves management, the challenge is how to retain these staff in view of the high demand for their skills in the private sector.

HE Board of First Guarantee Pension (FGPL) has called on the acting director general of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to resolve the case it had with the former management of the commission in the interest of the shareholders and its contributors. The chairman Board of FGPL, Chief Ojo Orlando Olaiya, made this appeal while congratulating Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amaizu on her recent appointment as acting director general of PenCom. He also informed that the company is ready to amicably resolve whatever differences that might have existed with the former management of PenCom. FGPL is a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) licensed by PenCom with shareholders comprising both local and foreign shareholders, including Novare Holdings Proprietary Limited of South Africa which holds 25% equity of the company. In 2011, PenCom prepared a Draft Target Examination Report where it indicted some Directors of FGPL. The content of the Draft Target Examination was challenged in court by several parties including the board of directors in joint capacity, as well Chief Olaiya and Nze Chidi Duru, both directors who sued separately. Novare and Derrick Roper (a director in FGPL) also took up legal action. On July 18 2012, Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court Abuja in a final judgment declared as null and void “First Guarantee Pension Limited Target Ex-

From Nduka Chiejina

amination Report” authored by PenCom on the basis that the report was made in violation of the Fundamental rights of a director of FGPL. Earlier on August 11 2011, Justice Okorowo had made an order restraining PenCom and its agents/privies from acting on the examination report or implementing any of the recommendations or penalties therein (including the removal of Derrick Roper as a

director) until the determination of the suit brought by Novare. PenCom also changed the bank mandates of the company and effectively took over the management of FGPL in what the aggrieved parties in FGPL termed “a violation of the orders of the Federal High Court.” PenCom issued a press release in which it said that it had taken over the management of FGPL with effect from , August 15, 2011, which the

regulator said, “became necessary due to incessant shareholders squabbles and several issues of adverse corporate governance in the PFA.” Accordingly, the commission said it “has constituted an interim management committee to superintend over the affairs of FGPL until shareholders convene an emergency General Meeting/Annual General Meeting with a view to properly constituting a board and putting an effective management for the PFA.”

•Mr Pascal Dozie, Chairman, MTN Nigeria with Dr Hamadon I.Toure, Secretary General of the international Telecommuncation Union( ITU) at the Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, Spain

FG to partner indigenous computer manufacturer


HE minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has agreed to partner with the nation’s leading indigenous computer manufacturer, OMATEK, to make available made-in-Nigeria computers to educational institutions across the country. According to the minister, the partnership was in line with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan and the Local Patronage Initiative of the Ministry of Trade and Investment. Aganga spoke during his official visit to Omatek Computers Limited factory, in Lagos. “We will be able to

By Bukola Afolabi

achieve the much needed linkage between our abundant natural resources and the application of appropriate technology and production processes through the application of ICT in our schools and industries. We are, therefore, designing a strategy for a workable partnership between government, Omatek and the banks to make available your made-in-Nigeria computers to all our schools and colleges,” the minister said. While acknowledging the giant strides so far made by the company, especially in pioneering local production

of computers, the minister assured local manufacturers of the federal government’s support and commitment towards providing an enabling environment for their businesses to flourish. He said, “I am delighted that this ongoing success story is being championed by a woman of high entrepreneurial repute in the person of Engr. (Mrs.) Florence Seriki. Partnering with government to actualise the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is indeed a noble initiative. “Let me re-iterate here that the federal government’s Transformation

Liberian Central Bank, HASAL MFB parley over financial strategies


HE Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has engaged HASAL Microfinance Bank Limited, in a fact-finding parley with a view to learning from Hasal’s practical experiences in financial inclusion success in the past year.The Liberian apex bank team, which had earlier visited the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), was at HASAL MFB Headquaters in Abuja in company of the Nigerian Central Bank officials as part of its initiative to gain some insights into how the Nigerian apex bank and

From Nduka Chiejina

other financial institutions are implementing the financial inclusion strategy. The visit to the CBN and HASAL MFB will also intimate the Liberians on how the experiences cultivated and nurtured in Nigeria could be used to design appropriate framework for the implementation of financial inclusion strategy in Liberia. The managing director of HASAL MFB, Mr. Rogers Nwoke, took the delegation through the core areas of the

bank’s operations, including product development and marketing strategies which, he noted, had been responsible for the modest achievements recorded so far in the bank’s financial inclusion agenda. Nwoke spoke on some of the bank’s products like “the Mobile Banking which enables transactions through the use of POC (Point of Collection) terminals by HASUSU Savings Executives who carry out door-to-door cash mobilisation from micro customers.”

Agenda is a project which recognises the need to consciously nurture Nigerian industries in the quest for a sound economy developed on the back of industrial growth. We are, therefore, assuring Omatek of the necessary support all the way.” Aganga noted that government would continue to strengthen its partnership with the private sector in order to realise the objective of the NIRP. He said, “We have done a lot to remove the bottlenecks in the business environment and the positive results are already manifesting in terms of a friendlier business environment (Nigeria is the preferred destination for investment in Africa - UNCTAD), and an enhanced industrial capacity utilisation. Recent figures from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) reveal that the capacity utilisation in the textile sector, for instance, has increased significantly from 29.14 per cent in 2010 to 49.70 per cent as at 2011. “We are not yet where we want to be, but we shall get there. What government needs is the right collaboration with sound private sector operators who are always on the drawing box, thinking outside the box, in their bid to give back to the society. Omatek surely falls within this productive group.”





E learnt that the Federal Government has just jerked up the special levy on rice. What does your association have to say to that? It is actually a welcome development in the sense that it is meant to encourage local production and discourage importation of rice as much as possible. In the long run, if local production is encouraged it is going to create lots of jobs for our people and there will be food sufficiency and food security which is good for any economy. The new levy actually took effect from January 1st this year – that was when the circular came out that the special levy we pay on rice has been moved to 100 per cent. So right now, in all, we pay 110 per cent duty on rice. What was it before now? It was 20 per cent initially. Last on July 1st, it was moved to 40 per cent, and now 100 per cent that has just been introduced. Now what exactly is special levy on imported rice? It is Customs tariff, but it is meant to be a special fund pooled for the purpose of encouraging and developing local production - from farming to milling to the different chains of rice production; while the 10 per cent duty goes to government treasury. What this means is that there must be a huge fund sitting somewhere now for rice development considering the fact that this levy was imposed in 1999? What we understood was that the fund is meant to support rice development; to be disbursed to farmers, millers, for fertilizer, seedlings, the entire chain of rice production and development in Nigeria as grant, loan, aid, etc. That was the idea as envisaged by President Olusegun Obasanjo when the levy was introduced about 14 years ago. Now RiMIDAN is a major stakeholder in the rice subsector with membership cutting across the farming, milling and distribution chains. How has this fund impacted on your activities since 1999 when it was set up? We personally have not seen much of what the money has been used for. Maybe other groups who have good connection and who have interest in rice farming may have been accessing it. But we as RiMIDAN have not felt the impact of the fund. Now this sharp increase in this special levy, was RiMIDAN consulted before the increase last January? No, we were not consulted even though we are one of other associations. But we are part of the price benchmark meeting that holds in Abuja every quarter. Though we were told that this may be the direction government was going, we were not asked to make any input. Would you know why the increase is so sharp because the impact of this increase on the price of rice is quite predictable unless something is done to mitigate it? As at now, we produce about 40 per cent of the rice we consume locally while about 60 per cent is imported. I think government thinks that if we increase the price of imported rice, a lot of people will immediately return to farm; it will become more profitable to farm rice locally

‘Expect hike in rice price’ Beyond Parboiled rice is the chief staple food of Nigerians and the bulk of it is imported from Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, India and Indonesia. But this essential commodity is currently endangered as the Federal Government has hiked a special levy on rice by over 100 per cent. According to Rice Importers, Millers and Distributors Association of Nigeria, RiMIDAN, a major stakeholder in the subsector, the price of rice is on the verge of a major hike. Mohammed Shaibu, General Secretary of RiMIDAN, here, tells Steve Osuji the import of this policy by the government which took effect this January. Excerpts:


INTERVIEW once again and the country would become self-sufficient in rice. That, we believe, is the thinking of government. But how do you think this will play out based on the experience of your group in the rice business? In the long run, yes. But in the short run, I think there will be a lot of issues. I think it should have been done gradually. First, you fund the local production and do all you can to push local production to about 60 - 70 per cent from the current 40 per cent then you bring this levy to bear on the 30 per cent import so that whoever chooses to consume imported rice would know that there is a price to pay. But when we produce only 40 per cent and you suddenly impose such heavy tariff on rice importation, making the landing cost of rice to jump to about N11,000.00 to N12,000.00 per bag; this means that a bag will now sell for about N13,000.00 to N14,000.00. And we are in a country where we are grappling with N18,000 minimum wage. And surely, the price will go up if nothing is done by government; there is no doubt about that. Apart from importing and distributing rice, what is RiMIDAN doing; what have you done to grow more rice, mill more rice and work towards achieving rice sufficiency in Nigeria? A lot of our members from Stallion to Olam to Dana, I can name a host of

them, have got farmlands where they cultivate rice. We have gone into milling. We have modern mills, laser mills, mills worth close to 20 to 30 million dollars. We have decent mills that can mill our local rice, clean it very well and rid it of sand and stones, and make it comparable to imported rice. When we have done this it means that the demand for local rice will go up, the farmers will enjoy the benefits and farming will become lucrative. When this happens, many of our youths instead of remaining in Lagos doing what they call clearing and forwarding will go to their villages and farm rice. But all of this will be in the long run. Our fear is the short run effect. We read recently that government plans to ban rice importation by 2015. Are you aware of this plan; are you part of it? Yes we also read it in the newspapers that government plans total ban on imported rice by 2015, and the levy increase is actually part of the step towards that; to discourage importation of rice and after a while ban it totally so that Nigerians will begin to eat local rice. Does Nigeria have the capacity to grow her own rice? Yes, we do. I just told you that we are doing about 40 per cent local production now. With a little effort, if government has the will and supports the farmers; with a little push and planning we can achieve 60 per cent sufficiency in a short period from now. We have the land, the resources, the climate; we can

even export. We have good rice plains in Ogun, Kwara, Nasarawa, Benue, Ebonyi, very good place, and Anambra too. All we need is seriousness and funding support from government. With this sharp increase in levy, there are two things: either a sharp increase in price or massive smuggling through our borders? Smuggling is actually a major fear because if we allow that to happen, it kills the entire plan by government to achieve rice sufficiency. The customs can only try but it won’t be easy for them to control the traffic and the desperation of smugglers. And if we succeed in clamping down on smuggling, what would the government do to make the common man be able to afford a bag of rice now for N20,000 which is where we are headed? Right now, majority of Nigerians consume this imported parboiled rice and in fact Nigeria is said to be among the biggest importers of this commodity in the world. Do you think it will be easy for us to switch to the local flavour as we drive for local sufficiency? Yes, it is very very possible. As it is now, our Abakiliki and ofada rice are actually sold as delicacies today at a premium in eateries. Sure Nigerians will eat our rice if they are processed as perfectly stone-free as the imported one, and again if they are cheaper too. What would you advise government? First, we think that the government should be wary of smuggling now more than ever before so that the little gains we have made in local rice production would not be eroded. This heavy tariff only applies to Nigeria. Import duty on rice in all the other West African countries is still a mere 10 per cent. The margin is so lucratively tempting that a lot of people would dare the consequences and smuggle from the nearest border. We urge government to equip the Customs better and to take another look at this special levy to make sure that it is in consonance with its overall rice programme. Secondly, we will like government to partner with RiMIDAN. We have been in this business for about 12 years now as distributors, farmers, millers – the entire chain of the rice cycle. We want government to carry us along, to work with us, to consult more with us so that we can achieve the overall objective of rice sufficiency in Nigeria.


By Adetayo Okusanya Email:

The ten commandments


EEP your commitments: People value reliability and dependability. The quickest way to build credibility and increase your value to others is to make commitments and consistently keep them. You are on the right track when your stakeholders never see the need for a “Plan B” when you are in the driver’s seat. 2. Become a Subject Matter Expert: People value expert opinion. Be an authority in an area that is important to your stakeholders. Develop in-depth knowledge of a process, product, market, customer, etc. You are on your way to becoming indispensable when you are able to solve problems, provide insights and create value in ways that no one else can. 3. Focus on the customer: People like to feel valued. They like to know that they are important. Invest your effort in discovering and addressing what your customers (external or internal) need, want and are working to achieve. You will win the loyalty of your customers when you demonstrate both the willingness and ability to contribute to their success. 4. Get the job done: People value results not activity, and certainly not excuses. They want to associate with success and not failure, and will often be unforgiving when your carelessness or ineptitude makes them look bad in front of others. Do what you were hired to do and do it exceedingly well. You will have many advocates and supporters when you are the one who does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and how it needs to be done. 5. Be a team player: People value collaborators and enablers. They detest show-offs and stumbling blocks, and will secretly do all they can get away with to sabotage a glory-hugger. Focus your efforts on achieving your team’s goals and not just your own. You will enjoy uncommon success and favor with others, when you demonstrate uncommon support for their success. 6. Don’t forget to say “Please” and “Thank You”, and mean it: People like to be treated politely even if they are obligated to attend to your request. They also like to be appreciated for their contributions, no matter how small; especially if it is discretionary and not obligatory. Be generous with your praise. You will enjoy the largess and goodwill of others when you respect their dignity and show sustained appreciation not just in words but also in kind. 7. Ask for feedback: People like to be heard. They like to know that their input is taken into consideration in matters that affect them directly or tangentially. Schedule time to speak with your stakeholders and solicit their advice. You are more likely to see others rally around your idea or project when you make them feel important by treating them like stakeholders rather than collateral damage. 8. Give them a sneak preview: People like to test drive before they commit. They want to know that you got the goods before they sign on the dotted line. The best time to be a manager is before you become a manager, not when you are already a manager. Whet their appetite by showing them just what your “bells and whistles” can do. You will find it easier to persuade stakeholders to give you positions with higher responsibilities, when you show them that the desired functionality and capability is built in. 9. Create powerful alliances: Two heads are better than one, as long as both heads are not thinking alike. People don’t believe in know-it-alls. They believe everyone has both strengths and weaknesses and value those that specialize in what they are good at. Join forces with people whose skills complement yours and allow you to deliver unparalleled value to your stakeholders. You will achieve higher levels of return on your investment when you combine forces with trusted allies. 10. Take time to smell the roses: Life is short and you only have one life to live after all. People expect you to bring your best game to work, and you are of limited use to them and yourself when you burn out and lose your motivation. Make time for personal pursuits such as watching or playing soccer, exercising, spending time with loved ones, travelling, playing golf etc. You will live a happier life when you make time to enjoy non-work related activities that are important to your well-being. • Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge



•From left: Director, Greensprings School, Lagos, Mrs. Olayiwola Koiki; Managing Director, Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Brovo Kim and Head, B2B Division, Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Ayodele Adegboye with children of Greensprings School at the launch of Samsung's Smart School Solution at Greensprings School, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos

School gets Samsung digital education package S

AMSUNG Electronics West Africa has deployed its revolutionary smart learning solution, “Smart School,” at Greensprings School, Lagos, the first school to adopt the solution in Nigeria and subSaharan Africa. The Smart School solution is a fully integrated learning platform that empowers teachers to deliver an interactive learning environment to students. It is designed to improve the learning experience of students through the innovative medium of “Samsung Smart Class-

rooms.” The solution utilises Samsung E-boards and Samsung devices such as tablets, PCs and other new age technological tools to facilitate learning. C o m m e n d i n g Greensprings School for the foresight to embrace the solution, Samsung Electronics West Africa’s Managing Director, Mr. Bravo Kim, described the initiative as an important part of Samsung’s drive to aid schools’ transition towards a purposeful smart learning environment in Nigeria and indeed the entire continent.

The Samsung Smart Classroom solution is a threepronged converged digital education package that provides students and teachers with access to 65-inch interactive E-boards and Samsung tablet devices: On her part, Director of Greensprings School, Mrs. Olayiwola Koiki, said that Samsung’s Smart School Solution is the perfect opportunity to nurture students’ growth through interactive technology and also help them adapt to global trends in information technology.

First Bank donates to orphanages


IRST Bank of Nigeria workers in Abuja have donated items such as food, toiletries, washing detergents and fruits to residents of Hope for Survival Orphanage in Abuja. The items donated under its scheme known as Bank’s Employee Volunteering Scheme (EVS) is to assist the home in taking care of the orphans most of whom were abandoned at refuse dumps. Ifeoma Nwajei, a volunteer, described the visit as fulfilling, adding that there is nothing as good as impacting the lives of the needy.

“This visit, for me, is fulfilling and I am glad that I left everything I planned to do today to be a part of the team that has succeeded in making these God’s creatures smile. This is a moment I will cherish for a long time.” Receiving the items on behalf of the home, the proprietor, Mrs. Ruth Ibrahim thanked the staff of the bank “For coming to share love and joy with us and also putting smiles on the faces of our children, we thank First Bank for coming to share their time with us and we are happy you came to give the

children a hope and a future.” The volunteer donation scheme was also extended to the Poorest of the Poor Orphanage. Both orphanages are located in Gishiri and Gwagalada in Abuja. The Employee Volunteering Scheme is a platform through which First Bank harnesses its Employee Volunteerism engagement strategy, enabling it to effectively translate to employees and stakeholders that “giving back”, through varied CSR initiatives, is an integral element of its corporate culture.

•Staff volunteers presenting the gift items to the orphanage


N order to attain a wider market share and presence in the country, as well as other emerging markets, Lenovo, a USD30 billion personal technology company and the second largest global personal computer (PC) company, has demonstrated its commitment in extending its footprint in the information technology (IT) hardware market. In pursuit of this, a Lenovo delegation led by Mr. Oliver Ebel, executive direc-

Lenovo expands market share tor and general manager, Lenovo Middle East and Africa (MEA) and Graham Braum, Lenovo Africa general manager, met with representatives from government and private organisations, as well as business partners, to reinforce the company’s commitment, business and PC strategy in the country. As the global corporation marks its landmark achievement in securing the number

two market position amongst PC manufacturers globally, (according to IDC Q4 2012 Preliminary Results), it recognises the strategic importance of developing markets such as Nigeria for sustained growth. During their visit to the country, Lenovo executives launched the Lenovo Partner Network programme designed to skill-up channel partners and strengthen relations across MEA.




WORDSWORTH 08055001948

Double standard

ELCOME to munity. “The community dethis month. “To mands range from emwin the battle ahead is the ployment opportunities, reason behind the calling provision of basic infraof (on) a SAN....” structure for host commu“Our foreign policy as nities, compensation for double standards” Basic environmental degradaknowledge: double stan- tion resulting from oil exdard ploration activities and “Lack of forum (quo- (to) some extreme reparum) forces Senate to ad- ration from the period oil journ” Do they ever form exploration began in the a quorum except when community.” No task: there is bribe money to be range (not shared? ‘and’). “Why June 12 presi“Italy clubs reject calls dential election was to foot violence bill” Get annuled” This way: an- it right: Italian clubs. nulled. “With no precedence “Mother of raped girl (precedent) in place with demands for missing regard to invoking the parts” ‘Demand’ does not full powers of the law on admit ‘for’ when used as the miscreants of the a verb. past….” “Hajj bound aircraft “CBN governor asimpounded” Little things sures on bank distress” that count: Hajj-bound (a Tell us who the man ashyphen, next time) air- sured! craft. “Experts proffer solu“Artists unite to ward- tion for pollution in oil off sale of National The- and gas sector” No news: atre” Get it right: phrasal solution to (not for). verbs do not admit hy“I still receive my corphenation. respondences as a na“It has happened in tional vice-chairman for South Korea, where all the Souththe military presidents South zone.” ‘Correwho, by the way, were spondence’ does not take responsible for their eco- any inflection. nomic miracle were put “There has been no behind bars and made to mention of the citizens of refund all their loots.” each country holding a ‘Loot’ is uncountable. referenda to approve or “The police laid a siege disapprove what their on (to) the MASSOB governments think is headquarters in Okigwe, good for them.” SinguImo State….” lar: referendum; plural: “...the anti-crime vigi- referenda or referenlante (vigilance) out-fit dums. operating in the South“…talkless of (let Eastern commercial alone/not to talk of) taktowns of Aba and ing them to the Promised Onitsha.” Land.” ‘Talkless of’ “The police cannot win smacks of illiteracy. back the trust of Nigeri“What obtains now is ans by firing first and ask- a clear case of the presiing questions later as it dents and heads of states has (they have) just done of....” Strange union: in the Okigwe massacre.” heads of state (not states, “With these unedu- which is implied). cated boys joining (climb“It was clear to me, the ing or jumping on/ last time the General aboard) the business holstered his gun and bandwagon in droves...” stopped in his track “…pooling resources (tracks), that he did it as together and founding a tactical withdrawal, conglomerates and multi- knowing fully (full) well national companies...” that he will not abandon Delete ‘together’, please that road perma“Every component nently....” that make (makes) up the “…in memory of the car is imported and can- students that lost their not qualify as a car manu- lives in the mysterious fire facturing country.” And incidence (incident) that this: a car-manufacturing gutted the female hostel country. of GSS, Gindiri, Plateau “Chief Onyema State.” Ugochukwu is from Abia “The police officer and as such should repre- said he had not read the sent not the interest of oil constitution, it was a new producing community document and that all and the entire state in (on) they have been told is the board.” And this, that any gathering or again: oil-producing com- meeting of Nigerians re-


quire (requires) police permit.” “On this basis, he ordered that we dispersed (disperse).” “As early as 9 a.m. in the morning it is already hot.” ‘A.m.’ is a Latin phrase meaning ante meridiem (in the morning, before midday). So, ‘a.m. in the morning’ is sheer lexical atrophy. “Consequent upon the above, we hereby pass a vote of confidence on (in) the governor....” “Similar heated debates also marked the periods of long electioneering campaigns that usually preceded regional and federal elections.…” Either electioneering or campaign. Both cannot co-function. “…theatres for every hot and stormy debates on the controversial issue of the equitable revenue allocation formula for the country.” This way: all hot and stormy debates or every hot and stormy debate. “Not only because of his aversiveness to titles and temporal honours at a time when men in his position seek deification and shortcuts to fame.” A banker’s odyssey: aversion to titles. “I recall the days I use (used) to have hot exchanges of words with some officers....” “…it would mean that prayers of the faithfuls did not reach the ears of God....” No channel noise: the faithful (a collective term which does not take any inflection). “But it happens to be a dirty war out there, and incumbents are never known to lose elections in (on) these shores even with the bad governance of our past years.” “Even the most learned members of the clergy in the state have declared that they have no moral dilemma about the activities of the vigilante (vigilance) group, as they have also dared anyone to proffer a better solution.” “…they continued to mop-up (mop up) violent criminals who have….” “…one of the spiritual cogs in the wheel of Nigeria’s match (march) to greatness.” “Access to education, clean water, jobs, health facilities are (is) grossly minimal in (on) the continent.” “So the inefficiency of government agencies are (is) to be paid for by us.”


RECENT survey by the United Nations shows that 1.3 million people die daily from road-related crashes across the world. Nigeria ranks as one of the highest countries where lives are lost through road carnages. Although government agencies are working hard through various safety campaign activities to promote road safety techniques among motorists and other road users, other stakeholders; including intergovernmental agencies, civil society groups, community development initiatives and the private sectors. In an interview with The Nation, the Executive Secretary of a non-governmental organisation, Arrive Alive Initiative, Ike Okonkwo, said that the task towards promoting road safety is very germane as that would help us reduce avoidable accidents that lead to loss of lives on Nigerian roads. He opined that there are reasons why accidents occur traditionally as we have humans environmental and mechanical factors aiding the spate of road mishap worldwide. “The vehicles are always an issue. Although we have bad roads in Nigeria, it is important that road users make good use of the bad roads. Unfortunately, we make bad use of the situation and bad use of the good situation. Even when the roads are good, people still drive recklessly. Statistics shows that there

‘Flouting of traffic laws responsible for crashes’

•Okonkwo By Adeola Ogunlade

there are accidents on good road than on the bad road. The human factor is very important,” he said. Okonkwo noted that the challenge of roads safety on our road is lack of adherence to simple road safety tips. He asserted that getting people to listen to and adhere to road safety measures is like pouring water on a stone. More worrisome is when we see elites running foul of the law than the illiterate. We have more elite offenders than the illiterate drivers. I think the cost of breaking

the law is very cheap and that is why the law cannot take its root. When the cost is high, people will behave well.” Asked what is his take on the new Lagos traffic law that has been a contentious issue in some quarters, he answered that it is a good law and he was more particular on the restriction of Okada in some areas in Lagos. “Although at first when the law was introduced, I was not too happy about it from the economic point of view as a lot of people depend on it to cater for their families. And the comfort of some passengers who live and work in areas where vehicles cannot get through easily, I want to have some sympathy for them. But from another angle, politicians campaign for the living and not for the dead. Five months after the restriction, road accidents have reduced drastically. Before the law came to fruition, it was hard to find bed spaces for accident victims at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) because there were more Okada accident victims in the accident ward. Thus, if the law would help to save more lives, so be it and I think we need to support the state to make it a reality.”

•The Special Adviser to the President on technical matters, Chief Akachukwu Nwankpo (centre) acknowledging cheers from enthusiastic crowd shortly after his installation as Oputa-Ife-Adi by Ihiala Local Government Traditional Rulers Forum; right is his wife, Lolo the weekend. PHOTO: OBI CLETUS

•L-R: Chairman, Lagos State Assembly Service Commission, Chief Wale Mogaji, ACN leader, Shomolu LG, Alhaji Seik Banire, Chairman, Bariga LCDA, Alhaji Dengel Anifowoshe and Senator Gbenga Ashafa, during the commissioning of a motorised borehole and accessories by Ashafa in Lagos… recently. PHOTO:MUYIWA HASSAN.











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I formerly known and addressed as Miss Popoola Olajumoke Janet, now wish to be known as Mrs. Olumoyin Olajumoke Janet. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Yunusa Samsondeen Babatunde, now wish to be known as Anisere Akeem Alimi. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Borokinni Abibat Abike, now wish to be known as Ibrahim Olabisi Idiat. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

POPOOLA I formerly known and addressed as Miss Popoola Abiodun Oyebola, now wish to be known as Mrs. Abiodun Oyebola Ajewole. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.



I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogunde Abisola Oluseun, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Agbeja Abisola Oluseun. All former documents remain valid. MTHIL,First Registrars and general public take note.

PETROS I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Temitayo Perry Petros, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Temitayo Perry PetrosMokelu. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Owoola Folasade Dorcas, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. OwoolaAdebayo Soyingbe Folasade Dorcas. All former documents remain valid. Central bank and general public take note.






I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ikudaisi Adiat Omolara, now wish to be known as Mrs. Rufai Adijat Omolara. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ako, Ochanya Angela, now wish to be known as Mrs. Esilonu Ochanya Angela. All former documents remain valid. NYSC, and general public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Agunbiade, Tolulope Hannah, now wish to be known as Mrs. Adeoye, Tolulope Hannah. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. I formerly known and addressed as Chisom Ojukwu, now wish to be known as Chisom Mba. All former documents remain valid. Enugu State University and general public please take note.

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I formerly known and addressed as Ebegbuna Maureen K., now wish to be known as Otukwude Maureen K. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Customs Service and general public please take note.

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OGUNDINA I formerly known and addressed as Ogundina John Ayodele, now wish to be known as Ajayi John Ayodele. All former documents remain valid. Lagos State University, Ojo general public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Perpetua Amarachukwu Emenike, now wish to be known as Mrs. Perpetua Anthonia Amarachukwu Okonkwo. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


AFOLABI I formerly known and addressed as Afolabi Oluwatoyin Abiodun, now wish to be known as Iwere Oluwatoyin Abiodun. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Shittu Omotolani Aminat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Akinbiyi Omotolani Aminat. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

BANKOLE I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Bankole Emiola Odunola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Osinoiki Emiola Odunola. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Violet Osanyande Camillus Boddy, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Violet Unaorumh Camilus Boddy. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.



OMEYE: I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. OMEYE LILIAN KOSISOCHUKWU, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS EZUGWU LILIAN KOSISOCHUKWU. All former documents remain valid, NYSC, IMT Enugu and general public take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Mr. Akinwale Sunday Oluwole, now wish to be known as Mr. Gaamobowei Sunny Michael. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Babade, Funmilola Comfort, now wish to be known as Mrs. Adedimila Funmilola Comfort. All former documents remain valid. Owo Local govt. Universal Basic Education Area and general public please take note.

ABIOYE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Abioye, Bukola Oluwatpyin, now wish to be known as Mrs. Fatunase Bukola Oluwatoyin. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Chukwuamaka Opara, now wish to be known as Mrs. Chukwuamaka Emeka Oparaeke. All former documents remain valid. NYSC, Niger Delta University and general public please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS OWOBI ELIZABETHnow wish to be known and addressed as MRS INNOCENT ELIZABETH ONYECHE. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed MISS. CHINWE CHRISTY EJUZIEOGU now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. CHINWE CHRISTY EZEGBUGHA. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed MISS. DORIS CHIDINMA OKPALEKE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. DORIS CHIDINMA ANABRABA. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed MISS. SIYA HARRY now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. SIYA OGBEBA GEORGEWILL. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed MISS. ABARA ELIZABETH now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. ELIZABETH CHIANU UGBOGU. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


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




NWOKORIE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Nwokorie, Ngozi Uchechi, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ezeanyika, Ngozi Uchechi. All former documents remain valid. Federal Medical Centre, Owo and general public please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS UMEAFOEKWE JENNIFER UZOCHUKWU now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OKEZUE JENNIFER UZOCHUKWU. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed MRS. BLESSING ACHESEOMIE now wish to be known and addressed as MADAM BLESSING LOVEDAY. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Saheed Kafayat Omobolaji , now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kehinde Kristiana Omobolaji. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Sansaliu Rukayat Amope, now wish to be known and addressed asMrs Mayeloye Ruqayah Amope. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Yemisi Meyenbe, now wish to be known as Mrs. Yemisi Omolola Oreh. All former documents remain valid. Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, NYSC and general public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Darah Ukamaka Cynthia now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Urigwe Ukamaka Cynthia. All former documents remain valid. ESUT, NYSC and general public take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Ruqoyat Asake Hussan, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ruqoyat Asake Odedeji. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Bernadette Uwaoma, now wish to be known as Mrs. Bernadette Sunday. All former documents remain valid. NIPOST and general public please take note.

EMMANUEL I, formerly known and addressed as EMMANUEL CHUKWU (CHUKWUDI CHUKWU E, now wish to be known and addressed as Pastor Chosen Joseph Chukwudi Mbannaji. All former documents remain valid. MFM Church, ESUT, Nigeria Air Force and general public take note.

CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, OBIUKWU VICTORIA OBIAGELI and UGOCHI VICTORIA OBIAGELI are one and the same person, now wish to be known and addressed as OBIUKWU VICTORIA OBIAGELI. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Oyegbade Timothy Adeyemi, now wish to be known and addressed asOyegbade Theophilus Abiodun. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ijeoma Obianuju Ndefo, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ijeoma Obianuju Edward-Ibe. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ademola Feyisayo Cecilia, now wish to be known and addressed asMra Adebimpe Feyisayo Cecilia. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.



BEN-EDO-OSAGIE I, formerly known and addressed MISS. OSAS BEN-EDO-OSAGIE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OSAS IGHAGBON. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed MISS. AREOLA OLUKEYEDE IPINROTOLA now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OYE OLUKEYEDE. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Oguntala Vitoria Ayanpeju, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Moronkola Vitoria Ayanpeju. All former documents remain valid. Ministry of Defence and general public should take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Patricia Agbenyo OCHOLI, now wish to be known as Mrs. Patricia Agbenyo UGBO. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

AFOLABI I formerly known and addressed as Miss. Afolabi Tomilayo Lizzy, now wish to be known as Mrs. Adeshina Tomilayo Lizzy. All former documents remain valid. NYSC, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and the general public please take note.



I formerly known and addressed as Miss Seigbaghanebi Cristabel, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ikioumoton Ebi. All former documents remain valid. Federal University, Otueke and general public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Ezekiel Oluwakemi Oluseun, now wish to be known as Sheleru Oluwakemi Oluwaseun. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Itoro Richard Akpan, now wish to be known as Miss Itoro Silas Inieke. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

EKE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Gloria Ebelechukwu Eke, now wish to be known as Mrs. Gloria Ebelechukwu Nwamadi. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.


I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adeola Ganiat Olaniyan, now wish to be addressed as Mrs. Adeola Ganiat Lanre-Bakare. All former documents remain valid. African Habitat Development Limited and the general public 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.


‘Zoning advocates are enemies of PDP’ From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


GOVERNORSHIP aspirant in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, Dr. Peter Obafemi, has said proponents of zoning for the 2014 election are “enemies of the party.” According to Obafemi, “only a strong candidate can challenge incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi, who has done well, especially in infrastructural development in the state.” The aspirant noted that the party which “currently has a minimum of 18 aspirants jostling for the party’s ticket” would not assist its cause of winning the election through zoning which may produce a weak candidate. He spoke in a statement made available to journalists through the Director General, Peter Obafemi Campaign Organisation (POCO), Dr. Tunde Ajayi. Noting that more candidates would still join the race in the months ahead, the aspirant emphasised the need for “increased intra-party unity and focus if truly desirous of winning.” On the question of disharmony in the party, Obafemi explained that “there is already a high powered committee undertaking the critical task of bringing parties together and resting the age-long problem.” He noted that the party would not choose “an unsellable candidate with a blemished pedigree as the voting populace cannot be deceived.” Obafemi stated that many supporters of the governor have been canvassing his return as governor for a second term despite the fact that he (Fayemi) himself had not openly expressed interest.

Mimiko tasks military on sustenance of democracy


NDO State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has reiterated his government’s continuous partnership with security agencies to sustain the prevailing peace in the state. Governor Mimiko stated that in his office in Akure when he hosted the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Ahmed Tijani Jibrin. Mimiko appreciated the noble role played by the military and other security agencies during the October 20, 2012 governorship election in the state, which paved the way for peaceful conduct of the election that was devoid of bloodshed and rancour. He noted that democracy as the bedrock of the nation’s development must be well protected through the collaboration between the military and civil society. The governor also stated that his administration would continue to support the families of the fallen heroes with loans and credit facilities, stressing that youth engagement in productive ventures would continue to be prioritised with a view to ensuring peace and development across the state.



PDP chieftain scores Orji high on road rehabilitation


CHIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State, Mr. Goodluck Njoku, has rated Gov. Theodore Orji-led administration high on road rehabilita-

From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba

tion, particularly in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state. Njoku said residents of the city have started to ap-

preciate the governor’s giant strides in giving the roads a facelift. He said, “Aba now looks like a huge construction site with works going on at all corners. The gov-

ernor has kept his promise of doing the Roads in Aba. The Obikabia Road to the Obingwa Local Government headquarters at Mgboko has been completed. The Aba –Ikot Ekpene and Ehere roads are now wearing new looks. We have Azikiwe and Umuoba Roads, Milverton Avenue, among others. I score the governor

high because he has continued to tackle the basic problems of Aba,” he said. Njoku said security and good road network would help to boost economic activities in the commercial city, while urging the federal government to fulfill its promise of stable power in Aba. “I am appealing to President Goodluck

Jonathan to fulfill his promise of partnering with the governor to change the face of the town as he said during his election campaign in 2011. “Since the governor has restored security, if the federal government can ensure stable power, unemployment would be reduced and Aba will regain its lost glory.”

Group canvasses more funding for family planning in Oyo


•From Left: former heads of The Civil Service of the Federation, Messrs Abu Obe, Stephen Oronsaye, Oladapo Afolabi and Ama Pepple with the current Head of Service, Alhaji Bello Sali, cutting the cake at a send-off ceremony in honour of Prof. Afolabi and Mr Oronsaye at the State House banquet hall on Friday night.

2015: Abia PPA repositions to take over state


HE Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Abia State chapter has stated its resolve to take over Abia State in 2015 from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party’s State Chairman, Prince Emeka Okafor, stated this while addressing stakeholders of the party in Ohafia, Abia North Senatorial zone. Urging party members not to lose faith, Okafor said that the state, which he described as a great one, has lost so much of its resources to bad leadership as a result of the selfishness of those at the helm of affairs. He noted that the state, •Continued from Page 18

roup called the Society of St Pius X has long been on the verge of declaring a "sede vacante", of claiming that the pope was not a legitimate successor St Peter because he had accepted the teachings - as they do not - of the Second Vatican Council of the early 1960s. Benedict laboured hard to bring them back into the Catholic Church, far too hard in the eyes of some, but finally failed. The collapse of negotiations occurred not long before Benedict announced his resignation, and may be contributed to his sense of weariness. The Society of Pius X remains a separate Church, attracting disaffected Catholics, yet another division within Christianity. Papal status Very oddly, the Vatican, in conjunction with Benedict himself, has decided to make matters unnecessarily complicated. A (very) short lesson in Catholic theology is necessary here: the rank of deacon, priest and bishop is regarded as sac-

From Ugochukwu Ugoji-eke, Umuahia

which is number one in alphabetical order in the country, should also be rated number one economically, but for the inability of those in power to harness the potentials that abound in the state. He called on party faithful to go to the nooks and crannies of the state to sell the manifestos of the party, adding, “go and tell them that the 2015 elections will not be like what happened in the 2011 elections when security agencies were used to intimidate the electorate. This time it will be free and fair”. He challenged youths in the state to stop some of the

leaders who are feeding fat from the state coffers when the led are languishing in abject poverty, stressing that such era will soon be over. Also speaking, a leader of the party in Ohafia, Chief Ndukwe Iko, said that the party has been re-positioned to field candidates in all positions, pointing out that the era of writing election results by certain individuals contrary to the wishes of the people in the state will not repeat itself in 2015. Over 1000 members, comprising of ward chairmen, their secretaries, youth leaders and women leaders were at the meeting which took place at Ikenga Hotel in Ohafia.

HE Oyo State team leader of the Nigeria Urban Reproductive and Health Initiative (NURHI), Mrs. Stella Akinso, has called on the state government to increase the budgetary allocation for family planning and child spacing in order to improve maternal healthcare in the state. Akinso also disclosed that about 262 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births occur annually in the state, which Akinso said can be prevented with

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

the use of reliable and appropriate interventions. She spoke yesterday at a one-day debriefing meeting on tracked family planning organised by NURHI, held at Kankanfo Inn, Ibadan “These maternal deaths are unnecessary and preventable with the use of reliable and appropriate interventions including modern family planning. Child spacing can avert high risk pregnancies and

consequently reduce maternal deaths by about 32 per cent. “Enacting and supporting laws to back effective family planning in the state is crucial to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) which seeks to improve maternal health,” Akinso said The NURHI team leader also appealed to the state legislators for the speedy passage of the law that would help in the effective delivery of family planning services in Oyo State.

FRSC official beaten, falls into coma


PREGNANT staff of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Anambra State command was yesterday beaten to coma for daring to book and impound a bus belonging to a member of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Ikem Uzoezie. The bus according to the Sector Commander of FRSC, Anambra State Command, Mr. Hyginus Omeje, was booked for dangerous driving but rather than explore peaceful means of recovering the bus, thugs came to the FRSC office and beat up a pregnant

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi staff on duty. Omeje lamented that political office holders are abusing the law which they swore to protect and called on the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Chinwe Nwebili, to intervene in the situation in order not to allow the issue degenerate. Omeje said, “The bus is said to belong to one Hon. Ikem Uzoezie representing Aguata constituency in the House of Assembly. The bus was driven by one Hon. Okoli,

supervisory Councillor for Works. This morning, the thugs came to my office, beat up the pregnant woman on duty to coma and forcefully removed the bus. The woman is presently lying critical in one of the hospitals in Igboukwu. Political office holders are not above the law and are expected to be role models.’’ But the lawmaker has denied the allegation, saying there is no way he would obstruct the operations of the organisation when he was the one who provided an office space for FRSC to work in his constituency.

Dealing with the two-pope problem ramental, on a par with baptism or marriage. A bishop can resign his job, as can a priest, but theologically, says the Church, they are still bishops or priests. But being pope, however, is an office, it is not a sacramental status. The pope is pope because he is bishop of Rome. He can stop being bishop of Rome (all other bishops are expected to submit their resignation at 75), and therefore can stop being pope. No problem there. Many people expected that Papa Ratzinger would revert back to being Cardinal Ratzinger, which is what happened to two rival popes in 1415. Instead of that sensible solution, it has been announced he will be "Pontiff emeritus", dress in white and be called "Your Holiness", hopelessly muddying the waters and making him appear a quasi, alternative pope. What about Georg?

The confusion gets worse. Benedict is keeping his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein. But Archbishop Gaenswein is also currently head of the papal household and therefore papal gatekeeper, though it is likely the incoming pontiff will make a new appointment. Benedict will continue to live in the Vatican. The new pope may well find such proximity uncomfortable, feeling obliged to consult him especially on subjects Benedict made his own, the creation of the "Ordinariat" to receive Romeward-bound Anglicans, for example, or the controversial reintroduction of Latin into the Catholic liturgy. Benedict has indicated that he will henceforth live in seclusion: he was always happier with his books (and cats) than with people, so that should not be too much of a burden. He intends to write. He was always insistent, as Pope, that

his theological writings came from the pen of Joseph Ratzinger rather than that of Benedict XVI, though one can't help feeling the office helped the sales. And perhaps there is no realistic alternative to the Mater Ecclesiae convent in the Vatican grounds for his residence. Were Benedict to leave the security of the Vatican City and return, say, to his beloved Regensburg, some might attempt to sue him with failing to handle properly the clerical abuse cases which came before him, while others might turn his residence into a shrine, a rallying place for dissent from any new departure by the incoming pontiff. But there are legitimate questions about his title of pontiff emeritus. It opens him to accusations of pride, when he has hitherto been widely praised for his humility. Source: BBC •Pope Benedict



Aregbesola leads new OYES volunteers in endurance trek


HE governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has described service as a cardinal principle of life, which must not be denied the people. Aregbesola observed this while addressing the volunteers of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) shortly after endurance trek and road show as part of the comprehensive training programmes for the newly recruited volunteers. Ogbeni Aregbesola, who described the second batch of OYES volunteers as the Champions of the State of Osun, urged them not to deny the people their services at all times. Aregbesola, who joined the OYES youth on a five kilometres road show, expressed delight that the scheme has assumed international dimension, adding that there cannot be better service than that which they are rendering to the state. He described the scheme as the most dignifying and honourable, stressing that the resolve of his administration to discourage idleness, indolence, waste of time and energy gave birth to the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme. Speaking on the commitment of the government to the scheme, Aregbesola said judging by the allocation that accrue to the state monthly, as the number 34 on allocation chart, the administration remains committed to the scheme. “If there is any state, which should not embark on a money-gulping venture as this, it is the State of Osun. “This is based on its position on Federal Allocation table as thirtyfourth on allocation,” Aregbesola said. On the registration of the participants, the governor confirmed that the figure of those who applied for the present scheme is not as high as over two hundred and fifty thousand that applied for the inaugural batch. He lamented that with over 150,000 youths that indicated interest for this batch, it is enough to conclude that the statistics of unemployment in the country is still on staggering rate. Aregbesola said it was disheartening that Nigeria’s unemployment records show that the country has a big problem on her hand.


2015: We will stop Jonathan – Arewa youths

The Arewa Youth Congress (AYC) yesterday vowed to use every legal means at its disposal to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from having a second term. Rising from a meeting in Kaduna, the group which is the umbrella body of youth organisations in the region said the President should focus on fulfilling his electoral promises instead of preoccupying himself with schemes aimed at securing another term. They threatened to file their own suit against the President’s re-election bid. A high court in Abuja had, on Friday, ruled that there is no law stopping the President from seeking a second term if he so desires. However, the AYC in a communiqué at the end if its Kaduna meeting yesterday said: “It is not acceptable that while Nigerians are looking forward to the courts to save the country from another attempt at tenure elongation by the President and his party, these people are daily making statements capable of intimidating the judiciary. To us, that is not democratic enough and we say it should stop forthwith.” National Co-ordinator and the Secretary-General

By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor

of the congress, Dr. Ishaq Bala Dandagoro and Comrade Macmillan Egoche respectively, also had the names and signature of the leaders of over 30 youth organizations from across the nineteen states of the region on it. The congress said it has set up a seven-man committee to examine the implications of the President’s re-election bid to the North, and suggest legal options for it to stop President Jonathan’s re-election bid. It said: “Following the realisation that President Goodluck Jonathan, who along with his late predecessor, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua served a full four-year term between 2007and 2011 and currently serving a second term, is determined to throw the country into confusion with his bid for another term, we wish to state clearly that the Arewa Youth Congress will stop at nothing humanly possible to stop his 2015 reelection bid. “It is saddening that while the President has so far failed to fulfil the electoral promises he made to Nigerians before the 2011 presidential election, he is

exerting much effort on a bid to force another term out of Nigerian by hook and crook. “We see his attempt as another dangerous trend similar to the third term aspiration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which was resoundingly defeated and thrown out by Nigerians. It is our belief that the same thing will

happen to Jonathan’s and we are ready to be part of the force that will defeat him. “As part of this struggle against another term for the President, we will from this moment make it our duty to sensitise civil society groups and the general public to wake up to this latest attempt at tenure elongation.

“It is not acceptable that while Nigerians are looking forward to the courts to save the country from another attempt at tenure elongation by the president and his party, these people are daily making statements capable of intimidating the judiciary. To us, that is not democratic enough and we say it should stop forthwith.”

Director of Sports, FCT, Mr Alims Musa (L), congratulating some winners of the 2nd Premier International School Inter-house Sports competition in Abuja yesterday.

Ekiti group, leaders pass vote of confidence on Fayemi


KITI indigenes based in Lagos State have hailed the performance of the Dr. Kayode Fayemi-led administration in Ekiti State. They gave the commendation at a forum organised in honour of the governor by the Igbimo Ure Ekiti, a non-partisan social group in Lagos on Thursday night. The event, which was designed as a forum for interaction between the governor and prominent Ekiti citizens in Lagos, as well as major players in the corporate world was attended by former Military Governor of the old Western State, Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo; first civilian governor of the state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; pioneer Military administrator, Col. Inua Bawa; one time sole administrator, Gen. Adetunji Idowu Olurin and the Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr. Aigboje Aig Imokhuede, to mention but a few. Other dignitaries at the event include the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke OrelopeAdefulire, her Edo State counterpart, Dr. Pius Odubu, husband of the deputy governor of Ekiti State, Arch. Lanre Olayinka and Commodore Kayode Olofinmoyin (rtd). Speaking at the event, the president of Igbimo Ure Ekiti and former

Minister of Health, Prince Julius Adeluyi-Adelusi, said Fayemi has performed creditably well through the implementation of his administration’s policies and programmes as contained in the 8-point agenda. Adelusi said the i n f r a s t r u c t u r a l development that the State has witnessed in the last two years of the administration is worthy of commendation. He stated that Fayemi is also restoring the values of equity, fairness and integrity, which Igbimo Ure Ekiti stands for, stressing that the State has not witnessed any “invasion” by any anti-graft agency since Fayemi’s assumption of office in 2010. Also speaking at the event, a stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Akin Osuntokun lauded the governor, adding that Fayemi has a clear understanding of what governance is, and has proved that he is well prepared for the job. Osuntokun added, “Fayemi has marketed the state well” by wooing foreign and indigenous investors to the State, adding that this is “a step in the right direction”. In his remarks, Governor Fayemi explained that his administration has been able to lay a solid foundation towards a better future for the State. Fayemi highlighted his

achievements in the various sectors of the State economy; stressing that the achievements have been made possible as a result of planning, prudence and sincerity of purpose. He explained that his administration is working on the Urban Renewal project to make Ado Ekiti a befitting State capital, adding that this will be complemented by e m p o w e r m e n t programmes for the people, even as his administration is committed to banishing poverty from the State.

The Governor, however, called on Ekiti indigenes who are interested in helping the State revive moribund industries or set up new ones to come home and invest, stressing that laws have been put in place to ensure a conducive environment for businesses to thrive. Other dignitaries at the event were the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin; Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ganiyu Owolabi; Head of Service, Mr. Bunmi

Famosaya; Chairman of Access Bank, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode; former minister of FCT, Princess Bisi Ogunleye; Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin; renowned lawyers-Mr. Femi Falala (SAN) and Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN) and former UACN boss, Chief Ayo Ajayi; former Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Akin Oshuntokun; Chairperson of SUBEB, Prof. Dupe Adelabu and Nollywood star, Mrs Foluke Daramola-Salako.

•L-R Governor Musa Kwakwanso of Kano State, Gov Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Silverbird man of the year 2012, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Gov Peter Obi, of Anambra State, Gov Isa Yuguda, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Nwogu and Mr Umana Umana, AkwaIbom State SSG,who represented the governor of AkwaIbom state at the Silverbird 2012 award recently.




Real dominate Barca again in El Clasico


ARCELONA'S recent slump continued as Sergio Ramos' header nine minutes from time handed Real Madrid their second win over the Catalans in five days. Karim Benzema had given the hosts the perfect start as he stabbed home Alvaro Morata's cross after just six minutes, but Barca were level just 12 minutes later when Lionel Messi equalled Alfredo di Stefano's record for goals scored in Clasicos as he rifled in his 18th strike in clashes between the two. The rest of the first half was then played out at a rather pedestrian pace but the introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo from the Madrid bench livened up matters after the break and Madrid eventually found the winner when Ramos rose highest to power home Luka Modric's corner. Jose Mourinho had signalled that Tuesday's Champions League clash with Manchester United was clearly his priority as he made seven changes to the side that started the 3-1 win over Barca in the Copa del Rey semifinal second leg in midweek with Ronaldo's absence being the most striking. Barca weren't just slow to start at the back as their play going forward was also decidedly predictable until they quickened the pace and equalised with their first effort on goal 12 minutes later. A nice through ball from Dani Alves put Messi in behind the Madrid defence and he turned onto his favourite left foot to score for the 16th consecutive league game. The game then settled down into a familiar pattern with Barca happy to pass the ball around without overly threatening, but Messi did have a good chance when Raphael Varane failed to cut out a pass from David Villa on the edge of the box just after the half hour.

EPL Results Chelsea 1 - 0 West Brom. Everton 3 - 1 Reading Man U 4 - 0 Norwich C. South’pton 1 - 2 QPR Stoke 0 - 1 West Ham Sunderland 2 - 2 Fulham Swansea 1 - 0 Newcastle Wigan 0 - 4 Liverpool Sunday match Tottenham v Arsenal Monday match Aston Villa v Man City

Suarez bags three, upstages RVP as leading scorer Luis Suarez struck a hat-trick for Liverpool as they defeated Wigan Athletic 4-0 away from home to move into seventh place in the Premier League. The Uruguay international followed in some illustrious footsteps by becoming the third Reds player to score 20 or more in a Premier League season after Robbie Fowler (25) and Fernando Torres (24). With 10 matches to go it seems inconceivable he will not surpass those efforts as it looks like a straight race between him and Manchester United's Robin van Persie (19), whom he now leads by two in the battle to become the topflight's leading scorer. After Stewart Downing had headed Liverpool in front after just two minutes, Philippe Coutinho claiming the first of two secondhalf assists, Suarez punished an overwhelmingly poor Wigan defence to move onto 21 goals for the season, putting him top of the scoring charts. His first was a clinical finish from a Coutinho through-ball, his second a fortunate free-kick that took two touches off Wigan players before going in off the post and his third a classy finish through Ali Al-Habsi's legs four minutes into the second half. As Liverpool moved ahead of West Brom and Swansea into seventh, Wigan looked every inch a side who are now only four points above bottom club QPR with the nadir of their defensively shambolic performance being a raging row between Emmerson Boyce and James McArthur that required the two men to be pulled apart. Liverpool brought Coutinho back into the side for Jordan Henderson following their ultimately futile win against Zenit St Petersburg nine days ago and the Brazilian made a telling contribution in a first half that the visitors, fresh from their prolonged rest, dominated comprehensively. Though Wigan enjoyed the first chance of the game when Arouna Kone tentatively hooked a cross straight at Pepe Reina inside 60 seconds, it was Liverpool who edged in front after two minutes.

• Luis Suarez scored a free-kick, with the aid of the wall and Ali Al Habsi, just before half-time in yesterday EPL match against Wigan at DW Stadium. •Mba

Classy Kagawa hits hat-trick for United


HINJI Kagawa scored a hattrick as Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to 15 points with a 4-0 home win over Norwich City. The Japan international enjoyed his most productive 90 minutes in a United shirt since his summer move from Borussia Dortmund as he produced three delightful finishes to maintain United's seemingly unstoppable title charge ahead of their Champions League fixture with Real Madrid on Tuesday. In first half injury time Kagawa poked a volley past Mark Bunn and in the second half he beat the keeper with a wonderfully disguised sidefoot and then a gorgeous chip. As

an exhibition of considered, delicate finishing it is unrivalled this season. Wayne Rooney rounded off the scoring in the final minute with a more bombastic effort from range as United put further distance between themselves and rivals Manchester City, who face a trip to Aston Villa on Monday night. United made six changes from the team which won at QPR last weekend, but while Real Madrid decided to leave Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil out of their side to face Barcelona, also in a 3pm kickoff, Sir Alex Ferguson surprisingly deployed both Robin van Persie and Rooney ahead of Tuesday night's huge last-16 second leg.

With Norwich limited to a couple of hopeful yet ultimately fruitless crosses, Bunn and his centre-backs Michael Turner and Sebastien Bassong were Norwich's busiest players, United denied by a series of blocks before the keeper made a smart save at his near post to prevent a measured shot from Michael Carrick sneaking in. United did finally profit from a rare flourish of quality deep into first-half injury time though. Antonio Valencia put in a leftfooted cross from the right and Van Persie stuck his toe in the air to take the ball away from Bassong and send it spinning to Kagawa six yards from goal.

All hail King Eagles


HE cheery news that the Super Eagles of Nigeria against all odds, have been crowned the new king of African Soccer with their victory over Burkina Faso on Sunday night in the finals of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, has been heard in all the football regions of the world. Here at home, the echoes of the sweet victory will be heard in every nook and cranny because of its meaning and significance. The reason is not farfetched. In one single stride, the Super Eagles have taken Nigeria 19 years out of soccer wilderness to limelight. What a feat. For us in Nigeria, football is the greatest national passion and a tremendous unifying factor, a bridge over our numerous divisive forces as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. This is why football elicits a lot of interest of most Nigerians young or old, big or small. As we bask in the euphoria of the heroic victory therefore, it is important that we spare sometime to distil and reflect on the lessons inherent in the entire episode particularly the resilience of coach Stephen Keshi and his faithful soccer ambassadors. Throughout the entire course of the championship including the preparatory stage, Keshi became a Philosopher and Preacher of sorts on some virtues implicit in life such strength of character and positive mental attitude. It was a dialogue of the deaf as nobody seemed to be listening to his admonition but he was unrelenting.

Interestingly, the Super Eagles and their handlers we celebrate and eulogize today, were yesterday caricatured, derided and called names. Nobody gave them an outside chance of even qualifying from their group let alone winning the cup. They were harangued and variously described as 'Super Chickens,' 'Fatherless Eagles' and 'Wingless Eagles' etc. The one that amused me most was the cartoon of a little boy who went to court to seek a court injunction to live neither with his mother or his father. Asked why by the presiding judge? The boy said it was because the •Carzola mother and father beat him every so often. Asked further who then he would like to live with? The boy answered, the Super Eagles they beat nobody. Can you imagine! Thank you King Eagles for freeing us from the suffocating grip of negativism and cynicism. We are really grateful to you for a gift so precious, sometime to love and cherish and something different from the misery and despair we feel from the daily dose of stolen billions, armed robberies and other myriad of social malaise. What is more, you and your handlers refused to be detracted by the barbed and irritating criticisms of pundits and analysts. Rather, these criticisms fired your spirit which has produced the result and handsome dividend we are celebrating today.

BY DAVID ATTAH It will be recalled that these pundits for whatever reasons, dissipated so much energy in drawing parallel between you and your fore-bearers who won the African Cup 19 years ago and hastily concluded that you were inferior to them. To begin with, there is no rational basis for the comparison. You are just starting and half of your members are debutants. There is no need to mention names as these impatient pundits know themselves. Today, some of them are singing a swan song. In-fact, some have been bold enough to apologise for their hasty predictions while only a few remain defiant and unrepentant. That is neither here nor there. It can't change anything now but suffice it to say that in the battle of wits, the Super Eagles and their handlers are the winners. They fought many battkes on and outside the field of play and won all of them. For the Super Eagles it has been a triumph of determination over cynicism. While the rest of us wallowed in despair, the King Eagles and their handlers waxed stronger in faith and spirit. They avowed intent was to win the African Cup. Happily, they have achieved their supreme objective and nobody can deny them the glory which belongs to them and by extension, to all Nigerian both

detractors and supporters. What is really important now is for all of us to emulate the worthy examples of our glorious soccer ambassadors. This is reminiscent of John Kennedy's inaugural address as President of the United States in which he passionately enjoined his people not to think of what American can do for them but what they can do for their country. It is important also to stress that people imbued with sense of character like Stephen Keshi has demonstrated, are like possessed creatures, men and women in the trail of belief so powerful that they ignore all else including criticisms however barbed and discouraging. This is similitude of what Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” Yes indeed! Negative thinking limits the potentials of what we can do. Think positive, believe, have faith. Wnhat is more, be patient, be diligent and you will overcome. The danger is that the impression of what we are, is reduced by the shallow or demeaning images, that impoverishment pursuits for a long time if not nipped in the bud. Happily, the 'Big Boss,' Stephen Keshi has shown us how to nip negative thinking in the bud through sheer strength of character and unshakeable determination. I salute your courage and the

dedication of young soccer ambassadors. You are winners by every consideration. It is plausible to allude our cynic impotence, discourage and despair to the myriads of social problems we have endured over the years and having stayed so long in dab situations, we feel that good times are gone for ever. No! Keshi and his all conquering boys have proved that with faith and determination, trials and tribulations can be overcome. As a distinguished speaker once said, “history is not yet done with its exploration of what it means to be human especially the image of our limits and possibilities.” On this note, all Nigerians are invited not only to hail the heroism of the King Eagles but to share in their optimism that our lost glory will soon return in all facets of our national life. That is to imply that the Super Eagles' victory is capable of ushering in a new era in Nigeria. In this wise, the Federal Government's transformation agenda this time around, should go beyond rhetoric. Our newly crowned kings of African soccer have shown the way. All we need to do now is to fall in step to move Nigeria forward. Nigeria has what it takes to be great, prosperous, peaceful and a happy nation. 08069311323




53 kids attend SNAG golf demonstration


HE four-day training on Starting New at Golf (SNAG) was concluded last Saturday at Astro Turf in Ikoyi with 53 kids taking part in the inaugural demonstration. SNAG, a proven first touch developmental programme, designed for new learners of all ages is the skillacquisition programme used in the national school programs introducing over 8, 000 children worldwide was being introduced to Nigeria by 2AT an indigenous golf promotion company. The kids were tutored by some of the nine instructors that Tony Howarth (a Master trainer from SNAG Europe) had been training earlier in the week. One of the trainers, Innocent Alonge, who is a physical education trainer that was getting his first contact with the game of golf said, “this has made the game of golf very simple, even for me as a trainer, this is very revealing and I am sure it will be an interesting class for kids when we take it back there.” Also, the scribe of the Lagos Amateur Golf Association, Sola Lawson announced that the body finds the Starting New At Golf (SNAG) curriculum complimentary to its state wide golf campaign and will adopt it for children in Lagos State. “We want to make the game as easily accessible to kids as possible. And with what we have seen the kids display here; there is no point trying to re-invent the wheel-so to speak. LAGA will work with this firm (2AT), this has made a lot of things very easy. There is nothing wrong with sitting down with them and setting a goal of reaching 50, 000 kids in our first year,” he said. The training was concluded with a free training and demonstration day on Saturday Feb 23, where 53 children from different schools were introduced to the game.

NFF thumbs up women league board


IGERIA Football Federation (NFF) has again reiterated its support to the women football league in Nigeria while lauding the board constituted to manage the women football for a job well done in 2011/2012 soccer season. President of NFF Alhaji Aminu Maigari disclosed this in his speech at the Nigerian Women Football League congress held at Idyll Fountain Hotel, Zone 7, Wuse, Abuja. Maigari who was represented by Dr. Sanusi Mohammed at the event expressed his delight over the orderly manner NWLB executed all its programmes in the last soccer season, saying “NFF is proud of Women League Board and it’s ready to give them more support.” The President of NFF however, singled out Chief Dili Onyedinma, the Chairman of the board and other board members for commendation for their efforts towards moving the game to the next level.

Motorsport: Nigeria Racing Eagle signs deal with British GT


HE Avon Tyres British GT Championship welcomes a sixth new team to the series this year in Team Nigeria Racing Eagle, a new racing project from the African continent, fielding an Audi R8 LMS in the GT3 category. The project is the mastermind of Ribi Adeshokan, who has a desire to engage African people into motorsport and develop motorsport into an industry for Africa. After initial plans to run a team in the A1GP single-seater championship were halted when the series folded, Adeshokan investigated alternative options for the Nigeria Racing Eagle project. Based on a number of factors, including the popularity of super cars with Africa's more affluent community, GT racing and in particular GT3 seemed an obvious choice. This year the team appointed Leeds-based United Autosports as their technical partner, but plan to eventually have a wholly African team engineering the R8 LMS, with a mid-season move to an R8 LMS ultra already in preparation.

Levante hold on to Martins O BAFEMI Martins move to MLS side Seattle Sounders may drag longer than expected if not called off as Levante want to keep their top scorer. The Spanish La Liga side have turned down the US team's offer to pay the $4 million transfer fee clause in the Nigeria striker's contract. The Spanish club fear they won't get a replacement for their top scorer at this point of the season. The Levante directors, after a meeting on Friday afternoon, have decided not to accept the offer of the Seattle Sounders for Martins, according to The News Tribune. However, other media reports have indicated the deal may be delayed, but is not yet dead because Levante do not have absolute veto power. Chris Henderson, who had been in Spain negotiating for the transfer, was back in the US Saturday morning. And general manager Adrian Hanauer gave an interview on KJR station in which he said no conclusion had been reached although he stressed how difficult a challenge these high-profile international transfers could be. Sounders could still trigger the exit clause but they will then have to pay the money to the league board instead. They also have to pay tax equivalent of $800,000 and it is not clear if this will be in addition to the $4 million transfer fee.

• Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (centre) in a group photograph with the athletes who represented Oyo State at the 2012 National Sports Festival tagged shortly after presenting cash gifts to them at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan

Goal-rious Eaglets welcome Gov. Imoke


HE Golden Eaglets on Saturday beat the Diamond Zebras of Botswana 3-0 at the U.J Esuene Stadium in Calabar as they welcome back to the state Senator Liyel Imoke, the Executive Governor of Cross River State after almost three months of overseas

Ajimobi rewards Adesokan, athletes to Eko Sports Festival


N line with Senator Abiola Ajimobi's Transformational Agenda to encourage excellent performance and appreciate outstanding talents that have done the state proud in sports, Oyo State government has financially rewarded the state contingents to the 18th National Sports Festival. The Reward and Reception for the medal winning athletes took place at the Lekan salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan and was attended by dignitaries in the state including the Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi. Ajimobi praised the athletes for making the state proud and for displaying the spirit of pacesetting by winning the first gold medal at the 'EKO 2012'. He commended the Commissioner for Youth and Sports for his vibrancy in the development of sports in the state and also appreciated the efforts of the Oyo State Sports' Council, Sports officials, coaches and the entire sports family. The Governor further stated that the purpose of the reward is basically to fulfil his promise when the festival started and also to motivate and encourage Athletes that the state would strive hard to recognise and reward outstanding and excellent performances. Athletes that came back with gold medals smiled home with N750,000.00, Silver medallists were rewarded with cash prizes of N500.000.00 while bronze medallists N350,000.00 respectively. World record breaker at 2012 London Paralympics, Yakubu Adesokan also got a cash reward of N4 million and a slot to Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) while his coach was rewarded with N2 Million. Last year, the Oyo State Government also rewarded its athletes to the Port Harcourt 2011 National Sports Festival. It turned out to be a good motivating factor for the contingents at EKO 2012. Oyo state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Adedapo

Lam-Adesina described the Oyo State Governor as a sports loving Governor who has deemed it fit to encourage Oyo sportsmen and women in all ramification. It should be recalled that the state gave N 500,000.00 to gold medalists as against N300,000.00 and gave them N750,000.00 on Friday, N350,000.00 to silver medalists as against N200,000.00 and gave them N500,000.00 and N150,000.00 to bronze medalists as against N100,000.00 and gave them N350,000.00 respectively and It is indeed an awesome thing that the 'EKO 2012' Athletes' Reward would outstand that of 'PORT HARCOURT 2011'. The State Government also rewarded Yakubu Adesokan with a sum of 4 million naira and a slot to Hajj (Pilgrimage) and also rewarded his coach with 2 Million naira.

...Beat Botswana 3-0 in friendly vacation. The game was an opportunity to test the readiness of the two teams ahead of the 2013 African Under-17 tournament in Morocco in April but significantly, it gave the Golden Eaglets the chance to thank Senator Imoke for being instrumental to their qualification for the continental tournament. The players unfurled a large-size banner with a clear message: Welcome Back, Governor Liyel Imoke...Golden Eaglets' Foremost Supporter.' Two other players, Ifeanyi Matthew and Taiwo Awoniyi who later grabbed the goals of the match, wore T-shirt with another message: Welcome back, Gov. Imoke as the Governor smiled broadly in company of his wife, Mrs. Obioma Liyel-Imoke while being introduced to the team. After all said and done, the Eaglets began the business of the day though after a tentative start. Striker Taiwo Awoniyi marked his debut for the national Under-17 team, with a superb goal when he finished off from a Bernard Bulbwa's pullout in the 16th minute. The second goal did not arrive until some 15th minutes later but it was worth waiting for. Hardworking midfielder, Ifeanyi Matthew scored from a well-taken

free kick from just outside the box that left goalkeeper Daniel Kedidimetse rooted to the spot. Six minutes later, Awoniyi, the former under-15 striker, got his second goal of the evening when he rose through the defence of the Diamond Zebras to head home a pinpoint pullout from Musa Yahaya for the Eaglets' last goal of the match. The Eaglets still had the upper hand in the second half but goalkeeper Kedidimetse did a Yeoman's job as he foiled several chances from the Nigerian youngsters to end the game at a respectable score line. Commenting on the standard of the game, Botswana coach, Kagiso Kobedi said both teams gave a good account of themselves despite the score line, adding that the second game of the two-match series on Monday would be very interesting. Also in attendance at the Saturday's game were high profile personalities including Cross River State's Deputy Governor, Barrister Efiok Essien Cobham, Senator Victor NdomaEgba, members of the Cross River State Executive council Cs well as Mallam Isa Yuguda, Governor of Bauchi State who breezed into the stadium towards the end of the match.

Guinness gets certificate for World's largest football jersey


AKER of premium brand, Guinness Nigeria Plc have officially received certificate from Guinness World Records for creating the largest football jersey in the world. The framed certificate made available to Sport Extra reads: The largest football shirt measures 73.55m (241ft 3 in) wide and 89.67m (294ft 2in) long and was created Guinness Nigeria Plc (Nigeria) in Surulere, Lagos Nigeria, on 25 January, 2013. The largest jersey was unveiled at the Teslim Balogun Stadium Surulere Lagos and the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt in a bid to galvanize the support of millions of fans for the Super Eagles in their quest for victory at the city of Madiba. According to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Seni Adetu, it is a case for double joy for the nation. “We are elated as a company to have greatly contributed to these successes, putting Nigeria on the

world map once again with this feat. Initially, there were doubts as to whether we had broken the world record when we started out. However, today, I am proud to present to you the Guinness World Record Certificate for the largest football shirt in the world proving that we actually did break the world record” Adetu announced. While the jersey was laid out during the AFCON tournament, over 40,000 fans inscribed their goodwill messages, wishing the Super Eagles victory at every stage of the tournament and Adetu believes it was a great motivating factor for the team. “As the Super Eagles played at the tournament in South Africa, they were spurred on by the goodwill messages inscribed on the largest jersey by thousands of fans back home in Nigeria. It also raised the team’s morale and they realised they are made of more with the support of their fans back home. Here we are after 19 years of exploit, the Super Eagles are once again, African champions” Adetu enthused.

The Marketing and Innovation Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Austin Ufomba in his remark appreciated the support of the government for this achievement.

QUOTABLE "Nigerians are very funny people. They are talking about the people in the merger talks having different or no ideology. What ideology are they talking about anyway? We already have an ideology given to us by President Jonathan. One of the ideologies is that we have to stop people from stealing public funds… We have to provide security to Nigerians. We must ensure that our industries are resuscitated. So, what ideology are they talking about."


— Senator Kanti Bello, speaking on the ideology of the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC)


FTER the vicious cut and thrust of the past 10 days in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), few within and without the association now expect it to remain the same, either as influential as it was before, or as cohesive as it had hoped when it was founded. It may be premature to write it off, considering that the convulsion tearing it apart is essentially trivial and limited to disagreements within the ruling party, but in the long run it is really hard to see it retaining the kind of relevance that thrust it to the forefront of national politics. Indeed, with the creation of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF), after the Governor Amaechi-led NGF refused to yield to the entreaties of the President Goodluck Jonathan government, it will take some doing to bring the governors back to the sort of unity they were accustomed to. For in fracturing, the governors did not just go their separate ways, they went about it acrimoniously using words that neither dignified their offices nor showed the kind of character many naively thought inhered in state executive mansions. For NGF, fame has become a doubleedged sword. Founded in 1999, the Forum only became notable when it played prominent role in abating the constitutional crisis triggered by the illness of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. Since then, the body has flexed its muscles on a number of exigent national or party issues including the election of party chairmen, excess crude account, constitutional reform, and electoral reform, among other things. Until now, it had also been fairly stable, with no overt leadership squabbles. So far, too, it has been chaired by five governors, including the long-serving former Governors Abdullahi Adamu and Bukola Saraki of Nasarawa and Kwara States respectively. Before the presidency took the Forum apart using the willing hands of a few governors, in particular, Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina, the public thought governors reasoned more expansively and with admirable depth. Their supposedly copious rationality was thought to be a bulwark against the meddlesomeness of higher powers, including the presidency. The reason given by the presidency for undermining the unity of NGF is that the association had become a trade union. According to the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, “The leadership of Amaechi in that forum has completely gone contrary to what PDP expects a PDP governor to do. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has really become a trade union. Some elder statesmen have really come out to explain things in that perspective. For instance, about three weeks ago, Prof. Jubril Aminu came out publicly to say the NGF was not supposed to be a trade union. It is supposed to be an association of governors coming together to discuss common challenges in the country, not to hold the country to ransom.” While it is true the NGF has been forceful in championing certain causes, even ap-

Turmoil in Governors’ Forum



pearing to act as an opposition party to the ruling party, dismissing the Forum as a trade union masks the imperceptible undercurrents in the PDP and in the polity. First, there is a general feeling of dismay that the Jonathan presidency, with its sometimes baffling pronouncements, its mystifyingly uninformed policies, its general lethargy and incompetence, its wastefulness, and its gross inability to inspire the country into innovation and greatness, is unable to rise to the occasion the times demand. The NGF is not inoculated against these frustrations, nor, even if it sympathised with the ruling party, could it pretend to be indifferent to the country’s massive drift towards aimlessness. There is also a limit to how the NGF could promote the interest of the PDP or pull its punches when the ruling party is overreaching itself. After all, the NGF is an umbrella body of 36 governors, not a PDP creation for PDP governors. Second, much more than merely reacting to what the presidency described as Amaechi’s boisterousness and opposition politics, one of the chief reasons for the president’s hostility is Poll 2015, an ambition that would be endangered if the NGF consistently wrongfoots the presidency. In addition, presidency officials rightly or wrongly believed Amaechi himself nursed presidential ambition, and was probably using the NGF platform to boost both his leadership credentials and countrywide appeal. Amaechi in fact did not help matters by playing the revolutionary. He had a highly publicised disagreement with the president’s wife in Rivers State in 2010, and openly disagreed with the president on a number of issues including disputed oil wells

situated between the borders of Rivers, his state, and Bayelsa, the president’s home state. The Rivers governor in fact began to come across as Amaechi the Just, or even Amaechi the Revolutionary. And if left alone, perhaps, he could, in the secret opinion of the Jonathan presidency, start to come across as Amaechi the Great. But having created those heresies and infused them into Amaechi, the PDP leadership and the presidency committed themselves to burning the new wizard at the stakes. It is no small matter that the Rivers governor himself provided the fuel for the lynch mob. He often spoke candidly when circumspection would have been sufficient. He thought aloud instead of silently, though his thoughts were nothing but alarming revolutionary heresies. And he seemed incapable of stopping at simply playing David to the presidency’s Goliath; but must paint by his words, connotatively or denotatively, a Goliath that is clumsy, vacuous and intemperate. Worse, he seemed to enjoy the new role circumstances thrust upon his shoulders, for he was trusted by his colleagues in the Forum, and they knew he was earnest and honest in his utterances and predilections. Everything about Amaechi, however, drove Jonathan and his aides up the wall. At any time, there will always be many governors in Nigeria and in the NGF (if it survives) who think rationally and patriotically. They will resist the coercive and corrosive influences of the presidency, and their pride, as well as their natural inclinations, will make them abjure the tendency by the presidency to corral the entire country into

All Progressives Congress steals Jonathan’s thunder in Maiduguri


T may be too early to begin to speak in superlatives about the All Progressives Congress (APC), a party still in formation but comprising some four political parties determined to challenge the dominance of the PDP. Last Thursday, nine governors and one deputy governor belonging to the four parties in the APC met in Maiduguri, Borno State, the hotbed of Boko Haram fundamentalist violence, for talks on their proposed merger. The meeting, which was third in the series of meetings being held for the special purpose of unification, was successful. The APC probably shifted the venue to Maiduguri because President Goodluck Jonathan was yet to visit the unsettled state. It was a deft political move. In fact, it was a move that stole the thunders of both Jonathan and the PDP. The APC governors pressed home their advantage by moving round some parts of the city to soak in the adulation of the wearied but grateful Borno people. They also very significantly donated N200m to succor victims of

Boko Haram violence. And with an eye on the main chance, they told the press at the end of their meeting that they came to Maiduguri to show solidarity with the people and to prove that leaders needed to show courage in the face of danger. The message was not lost on Jonathan’s government. Cut to the quick, presidential aides quickly announced that the president had planned to visit the state on March 7, and that the APC leaders merely preempted the president. Planning to visit is unfortunately not the same as actually visiting. By meeting in a city wracked by sectarian and socio-economic uprising, APC has indicated it is capable of thinking on its feet. In addition, the party, even before it is registered, is exhibiting the advantages of nurturing another party to shake the PDP out of its complacency. It will no longer be business as usual. Not only is the polity gradually transiting into a two-party system, it is also evident that the race to 2015 has really begun. Many elements favour the

APC already, including dominance in critical regions. If the party can overcome its teething problem, get its zoning arrangement right without the constraints that shackle the PDP, and conducts rancor-free primaries to produce credible and popular candidates, it is hard to see them losing the next polls, or winning by a margin that is less than assertive. But far beyond whooping for a political party, Nigerians must begin to think less partisan by ensuring that real democracy is enthroned through the availability of credible choices. The way to begin is to defeat the rather incestuous PDP in the coming polls, give a new party with a different set of developmental and socio-political paradigms the opportunity to preside over the country, and let the people have the satisfaction of knowing that waiting in the wings every election year is another beautiful bride in a brilliant, lawful and luxuriant polygamy.

one lobotomized whole. Unfortunately, how+ there will also be a few governors who ever, think rather obtusely, whose convoluted patriotism is interpreted in terms of the private yearnings of the president, and whose definition of unity and example of duty are rooted in monarchism and focus primarily on a servile relationship between the president and his subjects. Last week, in the final hours of the collapse of NGF resolve, it was thought only six or seven governors believed Amaechi led the association improperly or imperially. Suddenly after a meeting with the president on Tuesday, and for reasons reporters only speculated, about 16 governors had been persuaded to vote for partisanship over common sense. Thereafter, Akwa Ibom’s Akpabio exuberantly rationalised the creation of PDPGF and talked of kicking out the Judases within the PDP governors’ ranks. The PDP national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, also exulted about a new spirit sweeping through the party, which spirit he believed would engender greater things and open a limitless vista of achievements for the party. It wasn’t apparent to both gentlemen that their newfound enthusiasm could in fact be a reflection of puerile politicking or of betrayal of general and party principles, values and virtues. It was expected of Tukur, as party chairman, to grandstand unscrupulously before the country in favour of the president, for the president had provoked an earthquake in order to crown and canonise him. On the other hand, the same ingratiation was not expected of Akpabio, for he is legally recognised as chief executive of a state, with rights and immunity vouchsafed to him by the constitution almost as powerfully as the same constitution has done for the president. That he chose to forswear those powers and instead read the politicking in the NGF through the president’s prism was a matter of choice to him. More, however, they were also an indication of a major flaw in his character. By speaking gutsily and with striking imperturbability against Amaechi, Akpabio gave notice of his capacity to listen to his heart rather than his head. That single embrace of the presidency, and the risible justification he lent his action, has probably defined and tarred his politics for all time. It is an action he may not be able to live down. The turbulence in the NGF was inevitable. The association was indeed becoming more powerful than even opposition parties, and its leadership, when it was personified by a Saraki or an Amaechi, had bigger halo than both party and national leadership. Its strength and ascendancy were underscored by the corresponding weakness and decline of a mediocre presidency. A clash was, therefore, unavoidable. And such a clash, thankfully, always helps to sharpen contradictions and expose leaders and politicians overrated by their accomplishments rather than rated by their lack of virtue and character. This is why I think that while NGF’s future is in doubt, the dismal future and political retrogression of both Akpabio and Shema are not. All it takes sometimes is just one wrong turn to consign a politician to the dustbin of history.

The return of Anenih


HE return of Chief Tony Anenih as PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman is the most potent indication of the torment and crisis of confidence facing the ruling party. It was a terrible act of desperation to exhume the Edo dinosaur. But it is even more shocking to expect that the mothballed dreadnought, this Samson shorn of his hair, can return to service and dazzle like before. His assignment, it seems, is to ensure that Jonathan returns as PDP candidate for the 2015 presidential election. They must be encouraged to make that dream come true. For, given the extraordinary conjunction of political events in the country today, the opposition will find it more rewarding battle Jonathan than any other candidate. I think it is in vain that the president and his party chairman romanticise the exhumation of Anenih and repose abundant hope in his talisman.

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ISSN: 115-5302 E-mail: Editor: FESTUS ERIYE

The Nation March 03, 2013  

The Nation March 03, 2013

The Nation March 03, 2013  

The Nation March 03, 2013