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How British, Italian hostages were shot in toilet –Autopsy Jonathan commiserates with Britain, Italy Last days of McManus, Lamolinara in captivity –PAGE 5

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.06, No. 2061



MARCH 11, 2012


IBB, Ciroma, Atiku, others move against Boko Haram Set up two committees on security, economic problems Nobody will escape if there’s trouble –Maitama Sule Meeting reconvenes on March 27 –PAGE 4 WHO’S WHO AT ABUJA MEETING General Ibrahim Babangida Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar Ex-VP Atiku Abubakar Senator John Wash Pam Adamu Ciroma Alhaji Maitama Sule Alhaji Sule Katagum Justice Mamman Nasir Gen. Paul Tarfa Gen. Abba Kyari Sheikh Ahmed Lemu Prof. Ango Abdullahi AVM A Daggash

Mattia (2nd L) and Angela Lamolinara (2nd R rear), son and sister of Franco Lamolinara, Italian hostage killed in Sokoto, react as they follow his coffin at Ciampino airport Photo: REUTERS near Rome, yesterday.

Food shortage looms Oxfam warns FG –PAGE 5

‘13% derivation is 87% deprivation for N/Delta’ –PAGE 5



Kidnappers were all too ready for ‘shock’ raid


• Courtesy London Mail

Hostages spent final days in squalor and sickness T HE two hostages from Italy and Britain found dead during a botched rescue operation spent their final days living in bare squalor under the watchful eye of their alleged al-Qaidalinked captors, drinking water drawn from an underground tank and possibly enduring bouts of malaria and other illnesses. The bodies of Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara were found Thursday during a joint British-Nigerian rescue operation, which has ignited a diplomatic dispute with Italy. At the house where their bodies were discovered, the water supply came from dipping a plastic bucket into a simple underground tank in Sokoto, the major city of Nigeria’s dusty northwest. Illnesses apparently struck as well: The remains of anti-malaria tablets, cough medicines and penicillin creams littered the compound’s dirt courtyard. And off one unfurnished bedroom, blood pooled under a toilet and a smashed sink in a tiny bathroom, the site where those living around the compound say hostages McManus, of Brit-

By David Stringer and Jon Gambrell

ain, and Lamolinara, of Italy, died at the hands of their captors. As curious children poked their hands Friday through holes left behind by large-calibre ammunition fired in the botched rescue, Italy demanded an explanation for why it learned about the raid only after British special forces began their assault with Nigeria’s military. Confusion also remained over who was responsible for the kidnapping in the first place, as a radical Islamist sect in Nigeria initially blamed for the abduction denied it was

involved. The rescue attempt began Thursday morning in Sokoto’s Mabera neighbourhood, a sprawling maze of sandy roads and single-storey cement homes on what used to be fertile farmland surrounding the city of 500,000 people. Residents said a seemingly unending barrage of gunfire followed, as did an attack led by a military armoured personnel carrier. Once in the compound, soldiers found the two men had been killed. Details of how and when they died remained unclear Friday, said Steve Field, a spokesman for

British Prime Minister David Cameron. But Field said “early indications were that both men were murdered by their captors before they could be rescued.” The operation grew out of co-operation between Nigeria’s security forces and British military and intelligence officers who had been in the country for several months, officials familiar with the details of the operation said. Within recent weeks, a contingent of special forces soldiers — drawn from Britain’s elite Special Boat Service — arrived in Nigeria to assist, officials said. • Courtesy AP

ECRECY, surprise and decisive force are key elements of any hostage rescue. All three seem to have been lacking when British Special Forces launched the operation to free Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinaria. The gunmen holding the hostages appeared to know a rescue operation was under way and had opened fire even before the Special Boat Service attacked the singlestorey compound where they were held. Both men were shot in the head by their captors within seconds of the first salvo being fired during the daylight rescue bid by 20 SBS specialists and Nigerian Special Forces at Mabera, a suburb of the northern city of Sokoto. The kidnappers had already been fearing a rescue attempt would be launched after the capture of their cell leader two days earlier. The SBS was said to have chosen not to use helicopters in daylight because of the potential for alerting the kidnappers. Instead the specialists, in civilian clothes, approached the area in five vehicles. All carried body armour, respirators and helmets with blue tape strapped around them to act as a recognition marker for colleagues. The ‘break-in party’ of five soldiers carried MP5 machine pistols and automatic shotguns. Military sources said there had also been a plan to confuse the kidnappers. The Nigerians were to assault a house 300 yards away causing maximum chaos. As this happened the SBS was to hit its target, but the kidnappers opened fire first. It is said to have taken some 40 minutes for the special forces to fight their way into the compound. They called in a Nigerian armoured vehicle, which had been hidden in an unfinished house, to punch its way through metal gates amid fears that the area had been booby-trapped.

• Relatives of Italian Franco Lamolinara follow his coffin at Ciampino airport near Rome March 10, 2012. Lamolinara's body was returned to Rome on Saturday and received with full honors by the justice minister. It was taken to a hospital for an autopsy.

By David Williams

Such was the resistance that at one stage the Nigerian forces suggested ‘burning out’ the kidnappers by throwing blazing tyres over the 12ft high perimeter walls, locals said. At least one terrorist gunmen was killed in the fire fight with the SBS and two more shot dead as they tried to escape through the rear of the compound. They were hit by Nigerian troops who had formed a circle around the area, closing off the area behind the British troops. In all, eight terrorists were killed. Details of the operation were relayed to the operational headquarters in Lagos by a Hawker Beechcraft twin turboprop plane flying above Sokoto and passed on in ‘real time’ to Whitehall. Yesterday evidence of the ferocity of the fighting could be seen on the bulletriddled whitewashed walls of the sparsely-furnished four-sided compound, built around a courtyard where a small tree had been split by bullets. A number of holes were found in the grounds of the compound, raising the possibility that the hostages were held in them, terrified and in darkness in the baking heat. The Nigerian authorities said five of the kidnappers were under arrest but refused to go into detail about the failed rescue, which followed an exhaustive operation to pinpoint where the hostages were being held. It began hours after they were taken in May last year from an apartment in Birnin Kebbi, 100 miles from Sokoto. The urgency increased in December after a video showed the men blindfolded, flanked by gunmen and carrying a warning that time was running out for their demands of the release of prisoners to be met. The big breakthrough in discovering the hideout came with the arrest in January of 28-year-old Kabirum Sokoto, said to be the Boko Haram leader behind the Christmas-Day bombings in the capital Abuja and two other cities which left at least 44 dead. Nigerian officials say he provided ‘good-quality information’ on the group’s plans, backers and operatives. Crucially, police also seized three BlackBerry handsets as well as two Nokia and two Samsung mobile phones. They contained a wealth of intelligence, including text messages – some coded – and call logs. • Courtesy London Mail




F it is true that the South African authorities have climbed down from their high horse and apologized to the Nigerian government for their appalling and unbecoming treatment of Nigerian visitors to South Africa, then one can only conclude that Sizwe Bansi is very much alive in the former domain of apartheid. In political pathology, what we propose as the Sizwe Bansi Syndrome occurs when certain social pathologies survive the remission of the original political disease. The apartheid era was a terrible time. But it also produced its heroes and villains and its tragic felicities. One of the heroes is a man called Athol Fugard. Fugard is a great white liberal novelist and gifted playwright who opposed the iniquities and inequities of apartheid with all his soul. In play after play, Fugard drew global attention to the comic tragedies, the sinister contradictions and sadistic buffooneries of the apartheid system. It was a risky thing to do. As the name suggests, the cockroach theatre, like the cockroach itself, is a burrowing and elusive phenomenon. Like a guerrilla outfit, the dramaturgy is completely pared down, eternally improvising and devastatingly mobile. The apartheid police waited for it, but it did not wait for the police. It struck when and where least expected and before you know it, the drama and the solitary dramatists have folded up, vanishing without trail or trace. Let them arrest ghostly apparitions. Perhaps the classic of the strange genre is a play titled Sizwe Bansi is Dead. In it a man had to assume the identity of a dead person in order to find work and survive. All former documents remain invalid. The man dies, but lives. It was a memorable metaphor for an evil system. You have to die in order to live. Radical critics have charged Fugard with an effete liberal humanism which seeks a shabby accommodation and complicity with an ungodly status quo thereby blunting the revolutionary spirit. It has not dented his sacred and heroic status. It is one of the great ironies of history that apartheid has bequeathed the South Africans with


NOOPER was enjoying an early morning reverie after a wonderful breakfast of dele, an ancient Yoruba delicacy made from deep frying ground beans and crushed okra all mixed together, when the crazy dustbin woman charged in. She was panting and breathless and she held her broom like a weapon of mass destruction with her loincloth flying at half mast. Snooper wondered whether she had just survived a determined amphibious assault from the inevitable Okon. “Madam Kafaya, what is the matter, it is too early in the morning”, snooper inquired, while averting a gaze on her state of dishabille, as the French will put it. “Oga Yellow, he don tey when Calabar boy dey craze, but dis one na pabambari. Dem ogogoro come jam him head. He come tie dem rag for pole and him come dey shout Bakassi, Bakassi. I think say dem mala paraga dey worry dem pikin”, she announced, barely recovering her breath. Like the warden of a delinquent ward, snooper rushed outside only to find a lone, crudely improvised flag with the insignia of the Republic of Bakassi flying

Sizwe Bansi is alive



nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu

• Ashiru

a first class, First World country and infrastructure. The gleaming cities of South Africa, the finicky efficiency of its social system, would make many First World countries cringe in envy. Alas, the bequeathal comes with a terrible price. A police state bureaucracy survives. Even by Western standards of Weberian rationality and fetish, this is a classic Kafkaesque bureaucracy that is as alienated as it is alienating. In the labyrinth of laborious futilities, paper trails proliferate all to the glory of paper trail. Welcome to Kafka’s Penal Colony. This is the Sizwe Banzi Syndrome. Snooper himself has been a victim of this post-apartheid pathology. On a visit to South Africa during the last World Cup, a bleary-eyed and tired snooper was bluntly informed after a tedious queue that he could not enter South Africa because his yellow card was missing. When the officials were told that it was the South African embassy in Lagos that misplaced the card and that in any case the visa could not have been issued without an accompanying yellow card, he was given a look of surly contempt. “How do we believe that?” a female immigration official tersely and curtly demanded.

“So are you sending me back then?” snooper demanded. “No, we are sending you down”, he was casually informed. “Down” turned out to be lower level immigration clinic for summary justice. Two vicious jabs and ninety US dollars after, snooper was so dizzy and disoriented that one began to experience an out of body sensation in which one was having an imaginary conversation with Pik Botha, a great exemplar of apartheid, a.k.a De groot Krokodil (The great Crocodile). On the return leg, it was the turn of the airline officials to subject one to another sampler from Kafka’s The Trial. It is bureaucratic sadism gone gaga. While the diplomatic spat lasted, snooper reserved a ringside seat, taking furious notes about the encounter and the disposition of gladiators. Just as there are political and historical ironies, there are also diplomatic ironies. It is profoundly ironical that the current Foreign Minister, Gbenga Ashiru, should find himself taking the battle to his former hosts on an earlier diplomatic posting in which he had acquitted himself with aplomb and panache. A normally amiable and immensely clubbable fellow,

Okon flies a kite

at full mast. And there was the crazy one kneeling down in worship and supplication before the tattered flag. Alarm bells started ringing in the head. “Okon, what is the meaning of all this nonsense?” snooper demanded. “Oga no be nonsense at all”, the crazy boy exploded. “I don declare Republic of Bakassi be dat. Pikin wey say him mama no go sleep, himself no go snore. Sebi dem say we come from Kamerun, even though we no dey fire dem baboon meat? Dem bring us back to obodo, but dem no gree make we vote. So dat means say we get am for Bakassi kontri be dat one”. “Okon, we are Nigerians. There cannot be two sovereignties at the same time”, snooper offered. “Oga na dat one una still dey?”, the mad boy began with a scornful glare. “Make una siddon look. Dem sufferenties come boku for obodo Nigeria. Dem Boko boys dey sufferin dem for dem north, dem massob dey sufferin dem for dem Ibo land, dem

MEND dey sufferin dem for dem delta and dem ogbologbo ACN dey sufferin dem for dem west, so sufferin don complete. Bakassi no dey suffer dem Nigerian sufferin again”. “Okon, but even Mama Bakassi herself said that when she got to Bakassi it was an Ilaje boy who was taking her around”, snooper noted with a weary sneer. “Oga, point of incorrection. Mama no say dat at all. Dat one na sleep of tongue. Mama’s tongue dey sleep for dat one. You know say monkey dey sweat too, na hair and dem mascara dey cover am”, the mad boy noted with a wicked grin. ‘But”, snooper began, trying to suppress a creeping mirth. “Oga, no but. Ilaje people na Ijaw. When you catch dem women dem go dey scream for Ijaw language, pogome, pogome!!! He get one who come throw man from dem canoe for Abgabu. I come drink Yoruba shit for lagoon well well before dem fisher woman grab man”

Ashiru was uncharacteristically vigorous and impassioned in his denunciation of his former hosts. But that was just as well. All is fair in war, and even biting is part of fistic combat. The South Africans need to be taught a hard lesson in the principles of diplomatic reciprocity. You do not treat those who treat you with courtesy and compassion with contempt and condescension. There are many things wrong with Nigeria. It is said that a fool and his money are sooner parted but there can be no doubt that in its foreign policy and in particular its sterling contribution to peace-keeping abroad, Nigeria has demonstrated a nobility and compassion worthy of emulation. It is a typical Nigerian paradox that what is in short supply at home we tend to export with a feckless prodigality. Snooper suspects that rather than learning their lessons, the South Africans are merely responding to pressures and in particular the threats of economic sanction. They are yet to internalize the habit of generosity and graciousness to loyal and dependable political allies. As soon as things calm down, the Nigerian authorities will still have to engage the South African in a long bilateral talk. This is important for those seeking the salvation of the afflicted continent. When they act in concert and are in perfect congruence, the two countries may well provide the answer to the backwardness and millennial misery of a blighted continent. Snooper will not go as far as the Nigerian Foreign Minister to accuse ordinary South Africans of xenophobia, particularly with regards to Nigeria and Nigerians. Xenophobia is a rather heavy word to use in the current circumstances. In any case, xenophobia is usually more elite-directed than mass-oriented. Due to their eco“Okon!” “Olodumare! Dis pikin na proper Digbolugi” the dustbin woman exclaimed. “Oga no be Ilaje be dem problem. Dem problem for Nigeria na dem Yoruba people. Na dem foolish Yoruba boy for Calabar FEDECO no gree make dem Bakassi people vote for Lion Imoke. Him name be Ogini and na ogbologbo Ijesha him be”. “Okon, I have told you that Mike is not Yoruba, and his name is Igini not Oginni”, snooper corrected. “Oh I think say him papa be one Ogini man for Gbagi market for Ibadan when man dey push truck. Dat one suffer man well well”, Okon snorted. “Okon, please remove this nonsense”, snooper growled trying to reassert his authority. Before the crazy boy could object, some irate OPC stalwarts led by Sikiru Omooseparo, a dreaded ruffian from Alapere, burst on the scene chanting war songs. The burly thug charged Okon like a deranged rhinoceros as his supporters kicked the rickety flag to dust. The crazy boy fled as his risible republic collapsed.

nomic and social plight and of course as a result of their psychological conditioning under apartheid, the average South Africans may be bitterly resentful of other blacks particularly those who appear better-heeled and more jauntily confident like the typical Nigerian. But this is not the same thing as reflex hatred and hostility. Whenever a social and economic phenomenon is explained away by a racial category, we can be sure that the explanation is false. We must also regret Ashiru’s damning disclosure that funds from the Nigerian authorities meant for the anti-apartheid struggle were routinely embezzled by the exiled ANC Nomenklatura. There have been snippets of that huge racket in the public domain for some time, but even in the course of a diplomatic dogfight, there is a hint of diplomatic indiscretion about a Foreign Minister dwelling on it. The South Africans must be commended for the maturity and restraint with which they handled the sensitive issue. If South Africa were also to reveal Nigeria’s official secrets buried in the vaults of their banks and real estate trunks, the consequences may be dire indeed. However, all these may be, it is clear that it is South Africa that may need to clean up its act. There is a lingering official discomfort and unease about Nigeria which is reproduced at the level of ordinary citizens. Nigerians, by their jaunty confidence and vexatious one-upmanship, may grate on more sedate nerves, but that is not enough excuse to treat them with official discrimination or subject them to popular displeasure. If it is not spurred by a deliberate official policy of crippling Nigeria as a rival nation no matter its past generosity and steadfastness, the whole thing may boil down to a lack of understanding and an absence of fraternal feelings. It is curious that South Africa continues to make an unsupportable and unsustainable distinction between old ideological allies and constant political friends. Snooper once heard President Mandela, during a stormy session, tell critics of his Libyan policy to “go jump into the sea”. If only half of that warmth and affection could be extended to Nigeria! Given Nigeria’s sterling contribution to the struggle against apartheid, the country does not need to embrace a harebrained communism to enjoy South Africa’s respect and affection. In the interest of Africa, the Black race and humanity at large, we need to sit down and talk. Let the South Africans not be under any illusion that they can go it alone. A crippled and disabled Nigeria is not in anybody’s interest. The two African giants must link up. The key to unlocking the secrets of Africa’s potential greatness lies in the intra-continental articulation of the vast potentials of the two great countries. Let there be a genuine handshake across the Congo River. Africa expects….



IBB, Ciroma, Atiku, others meet over Boko Haram

T Lamorde shakes up EFCC, announces six key appointments From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation


HE Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, yesterday named six key appointees in part fulfilment of his pledge to reform the Commission. The appointees are the Director of Operations, Mr. Olaolu Adegbite; Head of Internal Affairs Department, Mr. Mohammed Wakili; Director, Planning, Policy and Statistics, Dr. David Tukura; Commandant of the EFCC Academy , Ayo Olowonihi; Acting Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Osita Nwajah; and Mr. Bala Sanga (Legal Unit). The Head, Media and Publicity of the Commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, gave details of the changes in a statement in Abuja. According to him Mr. Adegbite, a Chief Superintendent of Police, succeeds Mr. Lamorde who held that position before he was named acting Chairman of EFCC on November 23, 2011. Uwujaren described Adegbite as “a vibrant, efficient and extremely professional detective who is credited with the successes achieved by the Commission in the fight against Advance Fee Fraud, otherwise known as 419. He has been head of the Advance Fee fraud section of the EFCC since inception.” Mr. Nwajah, Assistant Director and pioneer Head of Media and Publicity, becomes Acting Deputy Director, Media and Public Affairs. He is a multiple award winning journalist, who has, among other awards in his professional bag of laurels, a 1999 CNN African Journalist of the Year award. Wakili, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, was for many years the head of the Bank Fraud Section of the Commission. He also served briefly as Deputy Director of Operations between January and May 2008 when Lamorde was acting Chairman following the departure of the pioneer chairman of EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. Until his new appointment, Wakili was head of the Economic Governance Unit at the Commission’s headquarters. Olowonihi is returning to a familiar terrain having previously served as deputy director, EFCC Training and Research Institute, Karu, which is renamed EFCC Academy.

HE North yesterday launched its most significant initiative yet on the state of insecurity in the country. Its most prominent elders including former military rulersIbrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar-former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, one-time finance minister, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma and Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Alhaji Maitama Sule met in Abuja on the insurgency of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram. They set up two committees to come up with solutions within three weeks. The elders are due to reconvene on March 27. One of the committees is on security and the other on political and socio-economic problems confronting the region. The meeting lasted three hours and took place behind closed doors. Alhaji Maitama Sule, however, set the tone for the deliberation when he, in his opening remarks, warned that no one would be spared if nothing was done immediately to curb the insecurity menace. The solution, according to him, lies in unity. He said: “The problems in Nigeria and indeed in the North are two: tribalism and religious bigotry. I see no reason why religion should be a barrier to our unity not only in the North but also in the entire country. Nigeria is a very religious country. The Christians in Nigeria are more than any Christendom. The Muslims are more religious than any Muslim in any part of the world.” He bemoaned injustice in the land and berated the government for alleged negligence, saying: “If there is justice the people in power will be concerned and create jobs, look after the people. It is not force that will make the people obey. The world can never be governed by force, never by fear, even never by power. In the end what governs is the mind. What conquers is the spirit. “Today, what we need in the North in order to arrest the situation is unity. And we should learn from the lessons of our elders. But I beg you: let us try to revive the glory of the past. We are all brothers, if there is any trouble it will affect every one of us. Let no one think that he would escape. “The problems facing us today are much greater than any problems that faced us before. And these problems are more pronounced here in this part of the country in the North. It is true that there is poverty all over the country but there is much more poverty in the North than anywhere else. “Insecurity is all over the country, but there is much more insecurity in the North than anywhere else. Disunity is very pronounced here. We have to do something about this. In order to understand or appreciate the position in which we found ourselves let us revisit the past and see how we started in the North and the East. I

• Nobody will escape if there’s trouble –Maitama Sule

From Left: Commander, 33 Nigeria Air Force Jos, Air Commodore David Akpofure; Commandant, Police Staff College Jos, Aig John Moronike and representative of the IG, Adulrahaman Akano, during the Graduation ceremony for Asstant Commissiner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police Promotion Course 2 in Jos yesterday.

From:Yusuf Alli and Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

remember way back in 1949 when we started the very first organization in Northern Nigeria the NPC. What informed our decision to organize that was the political development taking place in the South. We felt that we in the North needed to be organised so that we in the North might be in the main stream; so that we might contribute our own quote; so that we might bring together our brothers in the South. “What has gone wrong? The moral teachings of all the religion are the same. If we are to follow the moral teachings of the religions there will be no fighting. There is no religion that says you should go and pressurise someone to embrace it. The essence of every religion is love. Love is what is lacking in Nigeria. Let us teach love. Today there is poverty in the country. There is injustice in the country, if there is justice there will be peace. If there is development there will be work for everybody. We must create jobs to get people employed so that they may not be ideal. I think that is the source of insecurity.” The Northern elders declined to grant press interview at the end of the talks but mandated a former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Ango Abdullahi to brief newsmen. He said: “The meeting was chaired by Justice Mamman Nasir of the Federal Court of Appeal. The meeting has decided to set up sub committees on various aspects and bring solution within three weeks. “Two sub committees are being set up and the first one is chaired by Air Marshal Al-Amin Daggash while the second is chaired by Senator John Wash-Pam. “The meeting focused on the peace and progress of Nigeria and

on insecurity and instability in the country.” The meeting, according to sources, was instigated by those described by one of the organizers as “young elements” in the North who felt the insecurity in the region was getting out of control. A reliable source at the meeting said: “The leaders convened to look at the increasing deterioration of security in the North which used to be a peaceful region. They are out to find a permanent solution to the security challenge. “They may spearhead a peace initiative in the North with all aggrieved groups. They are determined to return the North to its past glory where every Nigerian felt safe and had a sense of belonging. “The insecurity has affected the robust economy of the North and most Northerners have been living in fear in a region where peace was its uniqueness. “The leaders also met to address the high unemployment rate and increasing poverty in the North. “They will design ways to tackle the socio-economic problems in the region. These problems have made the youths willing tools for violence. “At the end of the meeting, the leaders raised two committees on how to tackle insecurity and political and socio-economic problems confronting the North “This was just a preliminary session; more leaders from the North may be mobilized to attend the next meeting of the leaders on March 27.” Apart from Babangida, others at the session were ex-Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar; ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; a former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator John Wash Pam; Alhaji Maitama Sule; Alhaji Sule Katagum; a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mamman Nasir; and a former Military Ad-

ministrator of Oyo State, Gen. Paul Tarfa. Others are a former Military Governor of the old North-Eastern State, Gen. Abba Kyari; former Grand Khadi of Niger State, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu; Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura; a former Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and AVM A Daggash among others. Yesterday’s meeting followed the recent exploratory talks in Abuja by the Coalition of Concerned Northerners. Last Tuesday, the coalition which is led by Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr.Junaid Muhammed set up 10 committees on security and Borno dialogue, constitutional amendments, revenue and fiscal systems and structure of Federalism in Nigeria. The security committee is made up of participating governors, Dr. Muhammed (Convener), Alh. Mahmud Yayale Ahmed (Chairman), Sen. John Wash Pam, Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Prof. Ignatius Ayua , Alh. Adamu Maina Waziri, Mr. Timaus Mathias, Dr. Ladi Hamalai;and Solomon Dalung. Others are Commodore Isa Tijjani, Chief Audu Ogbe, Mal. Mohammed Haruna, Mal. Mohammed Hayatuddeen , Sen. John Shagaya,; Prof. Idris Mohammed, Alh. Lawal Batagarawa , and Mal. Yusuf Abba. Members of the Borno Dialogue Committee include Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa. Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno, Prof. Nur Alkali, Abubakar Mustapha, David Garnva and Kalli Ghazali The Convener of the Coalition, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “In the course of the discussion at our session last month, the insecurity in the country came up and this issue of Boko Haram menace.



How British, Italian hostages were shot in toilet –Witness • Hostages dragged into toilet, then shot–witness T • Autopsy report says four shots killed Italian

HE bloodied, filthy toilet says it all: the harrowing end of the British and Italian hostages killed at Mabear, in Sokoto on Thursday by terrorists as a rescue operation to set them free got underway. It was into the rest room Chris McManus (Briton) and Franco Lamolinara (Italian) were dragged by their captors and shot in the head, one after the other. After 10 months in captivity. The floor of the toilet remained coated in semi-dried blood yesterday, 48 hours after. The sink had been ripped off and lay next to a plastic waste paper basket and a bottle of bleach. Two copies of the Koran lay in one bullet-marked room. The wife of one of the guards holding the hostages in the building said yesterday the two men were taken into the toilet and shot dead during the failed attempt to rescue them by British and Nigerian forces. The woman who gave her name only as Hauwa cried into her hands as she spoke to Reuters. The autopsy report on Lamolinara in Italy tallied with Hausa’s testimony. The autopsy carried out a few hours after his body arrived in Rome, concluded he was shot four times at close range, including a fatal shot in the head, according to the doctor who led the post-mortem. Lamolinara was shot “at a close distance, “ by a longbarrelled fire arm” but not at the range you’d call execution style,” Dr. Paolo Arbarello told reporters outside of Sapienza’s Institute of Forensic Medicine. He did not cite a distance. One of four shots hit his head, apparently the fatal one, the doctor said. Italian news agency ANSA said some traces of bullets were found on the Italian’s body. Analyses of the bullets could further clarify who fired the bullets — his captors or rescuers — that hit him. An autopsy is

• Wife of guard on last moments of Briton, Italian • Rescue mission was compromised From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto with agency reports

also planned on McManus’ body. Hauwa, 31, said bullets flew into the room where she and her husband were staying. The man died instantly. “After that, there were about six men who came out of the house with the two hostages,” she said. “They came into our wing of the compound, pushed the captives into the toilet and just shot them. I screamed.” She denied knowing the hostages had been living in the same compound as her. She said they were kept in the main house which she was strictly forbidden to enter. The State Security Service (SSS) is detaining five Islamist militants suspected of involvement in the kidnapping. Two of the men including Abu Muhammed

described as the ring leader, were arrested before the rescue attempt and three at the compound where the raid took place. “I don’t know why they didn’t arrest me I really didn’t know anything about the hostages. No guard was allowed in the main house. The forces saw me crying next to my husband’s body, which they took away,” she said. She said she had lived in the house for four months after her husband got a job there as a guard. But she said she never suspected anything was wrong. The people using the main house arrived at night and usually left very early in the morning, she said. The crime scene was largely unguarded yesterday with bystanders wandering in and out. Bullet holes and blood spattered the cream-coloured walls. The five suspects have

been transferred to Abuja for questioning. Authorities suspect a splinter group of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram with links to al Qaeda’s North African wing, was behind the kidnapping. A spokesman for Boko Haram’s main faction, Abu Qaqa, said on phone to reporters in Maiduguri on Friday that the sect had nothing to do with the kidnapping. The failed rescue mission took place two days after Abu Mohammed’s arrest. British newspaper reports yesterday suggested that the operation was compromised 24 hours before it was launched. Security operatives were allegedly sighted in the area on Wednesday putting the captors on alert. Neighbours were also said to have been warned by soldiers to steer clear well ahead of the operation.


Oxfam alerts Fed Govt over food shortage From: Olugbenga Adanikin and Adebowale Adenike

XFAM International has called the attention of the Federal Government to a possible food shortage in the country soon. The Acting Country Director of Oxfam, Mr. Tunde Ojei gave the warning during Farmers Award Ceremony organized by the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Oxfam in Abuja. He said some West African countries like Mauritania, Chad, Mali and Niger are already experiencing food shortages and one of the implications is that the problem could spread to Nigeria. He asked the Federal Government to put appropriate measures in place to deal with any such problem should if it arises. Ojei said: “Nigeria currently is surrounded by countries that are already getting hit seriously by the food crisis. We talk about Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Mali and in those places, the food crisis has more than doubled and all the countries at some point will approach Nigeria to the buy food and then there will be pressure on the food we ourselves as a country are depending on. “So if we do not act towards ensuring that we secure enough food for these trying times we might face some difficulties and I am not saying just the government but we as individuals raising that awareness advocating joint collaboration with different organizations.” Speaking on the award theme ‘Making Food Markets Grow’, the country director lamented that Nigerian farmers have been neglected despite their immense contribution towards food sufficiency in the country.


• President Goodluck Jonathan with Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswan during the commissioning of the Adikpo-Ikyogen road during the President’s two day visit to the state Photos: Uja Emmanuel

‘13% derivation is 87% deprivation for N/Delta’ FORMER Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Tekena Tamuno, has declared that Federal Government’s amnesty for repentant militants is not the real answer to the Niger Delta question of many decades. According to the renowned historian, the reality of life in much of the region today is “13 per cent derivation and 87 per cent deprivation of Niger Deltans of the benefits of their natural resources, especially crude oil and gas.” Tamuno, an Okrika from Rivers State spoke as a guest lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT). The lecture, entitled: “Local, National and Global Impacts of Oil on Niger Delta

One of the suspects confirmed during interrogation that the captors had a standing instruction to kill the hostages if they sighted security agents around the building. The captors stuck to the instruction for within seconds of the first salvo from the security forces the terrorists dragged the hostages into the toilet and shot them. The kidnappers appeared so well prepared that it took about one hour for the security men to gain access into the compound. Even then an armoured vehicle had to be used to batter down the door. Residents in the neighbourhood were hesitant to talk openly about the house in which the hostages were found. No one was willing to talk about the owner. However, a resident said the house had been occupied over the years by different tenants. The present set of tenants comprises seven one of whom is a woman, apparently Hauwa.

• Amnesty not the solution, says Tamuno From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

History since 1807,” was delivered at the opening of the maiden Niger Delta History Week of UNIPORT’s Institute of Niger Delta Studies. Tamuno, 80, is the first Professor and vice-chancellor from the geo-political zone. He said: “Most of the stakeholders who are engulfed in conflicts (caused by crude oil and gas), not only enjoy healthy environments, which encourage better living standards, but also preserve their lands for agricultural produce. “At any time oil runs out, one set of lucky stakeholders

(Northerners) will have clean arable lands to cultivate for their livelihood, whereas the Niger Delta communities, through current and recurrent mismanagement of the oil sector, would have lost assets in their discriminatory world. “Despite intense agitation by Niger Delta advocates, during and after the 2005 Political Reforms Conference, opponents of their cause successfully defied any drastic change in the 13 per cent derivation formula. Current and recurrent public policy disallowed a return to the 50 per cent benchmarks under the 1960 and 1963 Constitutions. The current debate on derivation is

unnecessary. “It will do more good than harm, if crude oil and gas are allowed to sleep in their underground bunkers, for an indefinite period, without molesting further, the peace, comfort and harmony of innocent Nigerians. “Nigeria will be able to do well in a world without crude oil and gas. The readily available alternative is cheap and abundant, if only Nigerians are willing to embrace the simple tenets of ‘Green Governance,’ a return to nature and obey her laws concerning easily affordable and sustainable development, with beneficial bonuses.


Jonathan writes British, Italian prime ministers By Kelvin Osa- Okunbor


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday sent condolences to the families, people and governments of Britain and Italy over the murder of their two citizens who were killed in Sokoto on Thursday during a military operation to free them from kidnappers. British Chris McManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara were shot in the head by their captors as Nigerian soldiers and members of the Special Boat Service (SBS) from Britain closed in on the kidnappers’ den. President Jonathan in separate letters to Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy said the hearts of the people and government of Nigeria go out to the members of the immediate families of the victims in their moment of grief, while praying that “Almighty God imbues them with the fortitude to cope with this painful tragedy.” He also assured the two leaders that “the Nigerian Government remains resolutely committed to facing up squarely to the challenge of terrorism on our shores and in the international community.” Describing as “invaluable” the cooperation Nigeria has enjoyed from both Prime Ministers in the fight against terrorism in the country, the President expressed the belief that as “we join forces with the rest of the world in frontally confronting the menace of terrorism in all ramifications,” the special relations and strong ties that exist among the three nations “can only grow deeper and stronger.”

Ojukwu’s burial ceremonies end today From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


CTIVITIES marking the burial of Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu , Ikemba Nnewi are to be rounded off today with an outing church service. Tomorrow, all canopies erected for the various ceremonies tents will be dismantled and the family will commence a stock taking of the burial. Yesterday masquerades turned out in large numbers from different communities and local government areas to pay their last respect to the deceased. There are indications that members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB) will pay their own condolence visit today.





HE fierce battle to choose a chairman for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos has split the party into factions. The party’s elective congress has been slated for next weekend (March 17). However, to save the party from further fractionalization, leaders and members may have opted to work for the emergence of a neutral candidate. Reliable party sources told The Nation at the weekend that following the tensed atmosphere generated within the party by the tussle for the chairmanship position, party elders have intervened to stop what they called “further fragmentation” of the party. Rising from a stakeholders’ meeting, held at the Adeola Odeku, Lagos home of a prominent Abuja based party leader, the elders re-

Battle for chairmanship splits PDP in Lagos By Dare Odufowokan

solved to prevail on three of the frontline candidates in the race to jettison their ambition in the interest of the party. The candidates are the one party elders felt are being sponsored by certain groups or interests within the party. “The idea is that if we allow any of these sectional candidates to emerge as the chairman, it will just be the beginning of further fragmentation of our already divided party. If we want a united front in 2015 as we all are saying, then we must have a

uniting factor in the state chairman. “That is why we decided that a neutral person, who is not being pushed or sponsored by any of the divides, should be encouraged and supported to emerge as the chairman,” a source said. All available positions are currently being eyed by more than one aspirants but the chairmanship post in particular has generated quite a stir with more than ten party bigwigs struggling to emerge as the new leader of the PDP in Lagos State. All the candidates say

they are in the race to reposition the party ahead of the 2015 general election. But rather than unite the party, the ongoing frenzy over party positions appears to further divide the members into splinter groups lining up behind the various aspirants, especially those vying for the chairmanship position. Among those who have indicated interest in the party’s top job are Chief Deji Doherty, a two-time governorship aspirant, Chief Bode Oyedele, a respected party chieftain, Navy Capt. Tunji

Police arrest gang of robbers operating in unmarked taxi P OLICEMEN attached to the Alausa Secretariat at the weekend arrested a four member gang of robbers who specialise in robbing passengers in unmarked vehicles known as ‘one chance’. Luck ran out on the gang when they picked a lady who simply identified herself

By Taiwo Abiodun

as Amarachi. The victim told The Nation on Sunday that after waiting endlessly for public transport at 7UP/Lagos toll gate without success she boarded the unmarked taxi. According to her, “I met four people in the car and since I met two women there I had no reason to be afraid or

•The suspect being paraded by the police


HE Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, said yesterday in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, that the days of Boko Haram’ menace are numbered with security forces decimating their network. Petinrin spoke in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff held in Cote d’Ivoire to stem the rising inse-

to be suspicious of their wicked act. The driver started the conversation and asked one of the women what she kept in a big bag she had in the boot. The woman replied that she kept pampers in the boot. Later she said she had dollars in the boot while the other man asked me to assist her since I am also a woman

but I kept my cool. “Later, they all started an argument and the other lady said she is a prostitute and would like to abandon the job. They started talking to me I asked them to drop me but they refused. I started screaming. When the driver refused to stop I opened the door and they pushed me out of the car around the Ministry of Environment.” The victim, Amarachi who works with Shoprite in Ikeja said a detachment of policemen attached to Alausa Police Station who witnessed the drama gave the car a chase after she was pushed out. The unpainted vehicle was double crossed and all members ofthe gang –two men and women – were arrested and taken to Alausa Police station. Amarachi was taken to the Mobile Clinic and treated for minor bruises. When the suspects were paraded, they were saved from being lynched by armed policemen. The suspects were paraded along with their Mazda car with registration number CX 487-FST used for the operation. They are now in detention at the Alausa Police Station. The policemen who effected the arrest refused to talk to the press.


Boko Haram days are numbered – Chief of Defence Staff curity in West Africa. On Friday, suspected members of the sect killed a man in Gombe as he left mosque after the last of the five daily prayers. The victim was named as Alhaji Bello Kagarawal. Petinrin said that the security forces had gained more intelligence from frequent arrests

of the members of the leadership of Boko Haram. “Boko Haram is a religious sect that initially started by condemning western knowledge in Nigeria and blossomed into a terrorist group that had unleashed mayhem on unsuspecting victims. “Boko Haram has killed

over 1,200 people in Nigeria, including Christians, Muslims and most internationally remembered was the bombing of UN House in Abuja that killed about 23 people. ”The truth of the matter is that we have decimated the leadership of Boko Haram and most of them are now in detentions.

Boko Haram kills traditional ruler in Gombe


USPECTED Islamist militants shot dead a traditional ruler in Gombe, state, as he left a mosque after last Friday prayers, witnesses and police said. Alhaji Bello Kagarawal was walking out of the mosque after dark on Friday when the gunmen sprang their attack, Gombe

Shelle, outgoing secretary of the party, former minister of works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, Chief Shakiru Apena and Kamal Olorunoje among others. Of all the aspirants, the ambitions of Oyedele, Shelle, Ogunlewe and Olorunoje are said to be the strongest because they are backed by various factions of the party. While Ogunlewe represents the faction of the party loyal to him and up against the current leadership believed to be backed by his arch-rival, Chief Olabode George, Oyedele is seen as the candidate of angry party elders alleging marginalization by Bode George and his camp. Olorunoje on his part is in the race allegedly on the prompting of younger elements within the party who are desirous of change. For Shelle, he is believed to be the anointed candidate of both George and the outgoing party leadership. While the battle among these contending forces has been fierce, the tussle between the Ogunlewe and Bode George groups has been the most vicious, threatening to tear the party apart. Several efforts have been made by eminent persons within and outside the party to stem the tide of the confrontations with little or no success. One of such is the committee headed by Dr Oluyomi Abayomi Finnih, a medical practitioner and party chieftain, set up by the Elders’ Forum of PDP to look into the matter. Another committee chaired by Chief (Mrs.) Onikepo-Oshodi also looked into the matter. Members of the committee included Dr Segun Ogundimu, Dr Remi Akitoye, Yaya Dosunmu, Phillips Aivoji, Princess Gbite Olateru and Anayo Emenua. Following the search for a neutral candidate, findings within the party revealed that Doherty may emerge as the consensus candidate of the stakeholders. This is as a result of the popular view that he is not a member or supporter of any of the factions within the party.

police spokesman Ahmed Gidaye Mohammed said. He added that there was no known motive for the attack. Islamist group Boko Haram has been waging a low level insurgency against Nigeria’s government since 2009, and has been blamed for hundreds of killings

in gun and bomb attacks. A movement styled on the Taliban, the sect says it wants to transform Nigeria, a country of 160 million people split evenly between Muslims and Christians, into an Islamic state. Attacks usually target security forces,butauthorityfigures,includ-

ing traditional Islamic leaders seenbythegroupasnotsufficiently pious, are also frequently struck. “The suspected Boko Haram sect members came and asked for the traditional ruler who was about entering the mosque to say his prayers,” said eyewitness Abubakar Abdulsalaw.

”They have been caught. And just recently, about 23 days ago, we again caught the leader of the military wing, which led to our knowing where the kidnapped victims were and unfortunately the victims died in an attempt to rescue them. ”We all know that this can happen in the best planned operations and that shows the extent to which we already have a good angle on how to grab the leadership of Boko Haram and it is a matter of time.’’ Petrinrin said that Boko Haram sect had no clear sense of direction from the list of their demands from the interrogations that had been conducted so far.

Two killed as Oyo PDP holds congress Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan HE local government congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ibadan North turned bloody yesterday with at least two members dead. Sixteen others were injured in a clash between two factions struggling for the control of the party in the congress held at Salvation Army Primary School,Yemetu. Armed policemen from the state’s anti-crime outfit,Operation Burst,had to be deployed to the scene to bring the situation under control. Guns,cutlasses knives and charms were freely used in the fracas that lasted almost one hour. Former deputy governor of the state Hazeem Gbolarumi and and former chairman of Ibadan North Demola Omotoso had allegedly stormed the congress venue with the aim of ensuring that their supporters emerged winners at the congress.They were however resisted by supporters of the other faction. The situation soon degenerated into a free for all fight. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Olabisi Okuwobi in her reaction told our reporter that she would get back to him after she might have got the briefing from the affected Divisional Police Officer. Gbolarumi however, denied that he wanted to impose anyone. He said on phone that all he wanted was justice and fair play. Gbolarumi, Personal Assistant to the late Chief Lamidi Adedibu blamed the fracas on some supporters of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Ms Jumoke Akinjide, Hon. Bayo Sarumi,, Hon. Ademola Omotoso, and Hon. Tunde Jinadu who he claimed stormed the venue throwing stones at people. “ They thought they could use threats to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the congress, but our people rose to the occasion and dispersed them without delay. We know their mission and that was why we told them that it would be impossible for them to disrupt the congress and as we have it, the congress went on smoothly and candidates have emerged,” Gbolarumi said. The leader of the Congress Monitoring Team from the National Headquarters of the party, Ismail Hussein told party supporters to give peace a chance saying they ought to have learnt their lessons, having lost the last governorship election in the state.




FG tasks oil firms on Niger Delta crisis T

HE Federal Government yesterday challenged home countries of oil-exploiting companies operating in the Niger Delta to convince those firms to plough back parts of their profits to the development of the region. The government noted that the best form of security required by the companies operating in the region should not be from troops stationed there but through earning the confidence of host communities. Arguing that pulling out a major chunk of the revenue

•Says soldiers alone cannot guarantee security From Yomi Odunuga, Abuja Bureau Chief

made by oil producing firms has not helped to inject visible investments that would benefit the people, the government called for the injection of some of the profits into developing the region. These disclosures were made by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku when he received the director of

African Affairs from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Desiree Bonis. Kuku, who is also the chairman of the presidential amnesty programme, told the visitor that the Niger Delta problem goes beyond a presidential amnesty. He said: “Oil exploration and exploitation would be safer in the Niger Delta, not based on the number of soldiers sent there by government but on the level of un-

derstanding and involvement of oil exploiting countries in the development of the region. “Let there be hope for the people in terms of employment. There should be an employment quota deliberately reserved for the locals. This is how to build trust and confidence. “It is not the number of soldiers moved into the Niger Delta that will help secure oil installations. The

solution to insecurity lies in eradicating the poverty of the stomach’’. Desiree said that she was in the country to have a firsthand feel of Nigeria’s economic and political development. She praised the amnesty programme for helping stabilising the Niger Delta after a period of gang warfare that almost brought Nigeria’s economy to its knees.

We are not against unionism- NECO


• L-R:President Women Arise Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin; Chairman of the occassion Prof. Funso Sonaiya; Director, Ministry of Special Duties, Lagos State Mrs Dosunmu Titilayo and Coordinator Getting Good Governance (3G) Prof. Remi Sonaiya at a public forum on Governance and the crisis of Trust in Nigeria... yesterday in Lagos

Abia PPA factions in free-for-all


HE crisis rocking Abia State chapter of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) deepened over the weekend. Suspected thugs invaded a rally organised by the Chairman Emeka Onuoha and destroyed property at the party secretariat in Umuahia after chasing people. Onuoha had on February 26, 2012 announced the suspension of the party's Board of Trustees Chairman, Dr Orji Uzo Kalu and other members of his family over alleged antiparty activities. Trouble started about 11.00am when the faction that organised the rally was attacked by the opposing

•Police seal secretariat From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia

faction leading to a free- forall fight. The attack led to pandemonium as party members scampered for safety. The party flags mounted on about five poles were torn and flag poles destroyed during the fracas. Members of the feuding factions freely used chairs and broken bottles, inflicting many with wounds. The situation worsened when another group invaded the secretariat destroying

chairs and chasing remaining party members away. They claimed being the authentic PPA members. A detachment of policemen however bought the situation under control. The policemen sealed the secretariat after keeping factional members at bay. Onuoha said those suspended at the state level remain suspended indefinitely. Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) Geoffrey Ogbonna said that the party duly applied for permit and wondered why thugs besieged the meeting.

Ondo Commissioner, GM in row over firm


NDO Commissioner for Commerce and Industry Mr. Tayo Akinjomo and the General Manager of the Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc Mr. Henry Olatujoye are battling over the management of the company where the state government has 29.8 per cent equity shares. The company was established by the Western Nigeria Development Company (WNDC) and became the property of the Ondo State following the creation of the state in 1976. The company had been operating at a loss which led to its hiring through receivership. The Commissioner was said to have petitioned the police to investigate the activi-

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

ties of the company since Olatujoye became the head. This was consequent upon series of complaints by customers particularly one Mrs. Amaekwe Joy. It led to the detention of the GM for two days at the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID). It was learnt the ministry also alleged that Olatujoye embezzled millions belonging to the company and sold some property without following due process. Olatujoye said he was dragged to Akure headquarters of the Nigeria Police despite his plea that he would appear the following day and kept in a cell.

The embattled GM alleged that the commissioner was instrumental to his arrest over his alleged refusal to part with N500, 000 monthly gift. He said while in detention, the commissioner nominated somebody to take over from him without proper investigation. Olatujoye said that he had contacted his lawyer to institute an action against his unlawful detention and embarrassment. But the Commissioner said the police was invited to probe the company’s activities following complaints by customers. He challenged the embattled GM to provide evidence that he requested for money or other gratifications.

HE National Examination Council (NECO) has faulted claims by some faceless groups accusing it of deliberately frustrating moves to unionise staff of the Council. The examination body insisted that its doors are open to industrial unions to operate. Its Registrar and Chief Executive Professor Promise Okpala stated this while addressing newsmen in Minna yesterday. He lamented that the group acting under the auspices of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) is causing unnecessary challenges and distractions for management of the council. Some staff of the council, Okpala stated, were discovered to be involved in secret union activities and spreading false stories. These staff, he alleged, have also been trying to interfere with the day-to-day activities of the Council while giving NECO wrong public impression. Okpalla said: “We are not opposed to unionism. Anyone who is interested in joining the union is free to join. ‘’It is also noteworthy to say that a Union does not translate into a parallel management group for the Council,’’

From Jide Orintunsin

He added that it is senseless for a union “to issue directives via circulars to staff that is in contradiction to directives from management.’’ Okpalla said the management is disposed to cooperating with staff willing to join unions but lamented the faceless groups are not open to such interaction. According to him: ‘’The approach they are using is not the best approach and hiding under the cover of working for the union and trying to destabilise the management of the Council”. The Registrar faulted rumour that management was against meeting with the national leadership of NASU. According to him, the Council called on the leadership of the union to address staff on the 22ndof February but was surprised when the Union postponed the proposed meeting indefinitely, emphasising that the Council is not against unionisation. He also stated a total of 5,541 Senior and junior secondary schools have been accredited and reaccredited to sustain quality in NECO examinations. Okpalla further said that successful measures have been taken to reduce examination malpractices.


‘Ndigbo will determine Nigeria’s unity’ •MASSOB rejects national anthem From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha


HE traditional ruler of the ancient city of Nri in Anaocha council area of Anambra state Eze Obidiegwu Onyesoh has reiterated the commitment of Ndigbo to a united Nigeria. Onyesoh spoke during the official presentation of the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazurike and Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka as the Ijele and Ogirishi Igbo respectively. He said that Ndigbo will not be stampeded out of Nigeria. He noted that Igbos will continue to agitate for their fair share in Nigeria. According to him: “until we actualise sovereign Biafra we will continue to uphold the Nigerian constitution. We remain Nigerians and we demand equal opportunities”. The monarch called on President Goodluck Jonathan to award the second Niger bridge and create additional states in the South East to bring it at par with other zones. Uwazurike arrived Nri around 1.50pm accompanied by thousands of MASSOB members. He said that he motivated by the honour and assured that he will remain committed to the Igbo agenda. Meanwhile there was apprehension as MASSOB members disrupted the recitation of the national anthem. They insisted it is a taboo to play the Nigerian anthem in Biafra land before the “Biafran president”. Calm was restored when they were allowed to recite the Biafran anthem.

‘Ayinke House will be back in 15 months’ 40th day prayer for


YINKE House, the popular ‘baby factory’ of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital(LASUTH), which was closed about two years ago for rehabilitation will be reopened in the next 15 months. The Chief Medical Director of LASUTH Prof Wale Oke disclosed this in a chat last week. Oke said the contractors handling the project have been paid and have intensified works on the building. All monetary challenges facing the project, Oke declared, have also been resolved. The cardiologist said the consultant has assured the project should be completed in 15 months. His words: ‘’ The biggest project we are working on is the Ayinke House. Last week, we had a meeting with the consultant. Hopefully, in a year or so, it should be back. He told me the project should be completed in 15 months.’’ He said the teaching hospi-

By Sunday Oguntola

tal is eager for Ayinke House to resume operations, stating that it is working on equipping the complex to facilitate faster resumption. Oke stated that the consultant has been interfacing with the end-users on key components that will facilitate better services. ‘’ Last Monday, we had a meeting with the end users-the gynecologists, the x-ray people and every one that will be using the facility because the place will be an ultra-modern project. And I am really, really thrilled by what I have seen,’’ he stressed. Oke assured: ‘’The comeback of Ayinke House will be glorious. There are many consulting rooms with its own kitchen and canteen. In the next 15 months, this dream will come to pass.’’ Our correspondent observed on-going intensive works during a visit last week to Ayinke House.

Abubakar’s wife From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


USLIM faithful, well wishers, colleagues and family members of the Acting Inspector General of Police, MohammedAbubakar converged at his Gandu Albasa home in Kano yesterday to observe the 40 th day prayer of his late wife, Maryam Abubakar. Maryam, who died on January 30, 2012 in Kano at the age of 47 following an undisclosed ailment, was buried at the Tarauni Cemetery. Yesterday’s special prayer was conducted by a senior Imam for the repose of her soul. Traditional rulers, top police officers, members of the business community were present at the occasion.




3000 PDP supporters join ACN

Senate must descend hard over pension saga - CNPP

From Osagie Otabor, Benin From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja


ORE than 3000 supporters of former Governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor yesterday dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Iruekpen, Esan West Local Council. The former PDP supporters tore the membership cards of the PDP and pledged to ensure the re-election of Governor Adams Oshiomhole. This defection is coming two days after Prof. Osunbor declared support for Governor Oshiomhole’s re-election. Former Chairman of the local council Monday Abulu said they were joining the ACN because of the way Prof. Osunbor was humiliated in the last governorship primaries of the PDP He said Esan West local council has the highest voting population in the senatorial district and vowed to humiliate the PDP for working against the emergence of Osunbor as its gubernatorial candidate. Governor Oshiomhole said the July 14th governorship election will be about report card. According to him, “this election is going to be different from the past. It is about report card. When Chief Anenih comes here for campaign, ask him what he has done for Iruekpen community. We have to begin to ask questions. “We want to build a new political system. We don’t want a political system where men are discarded as small boys, a political system where one man is educated. People must have the power to reward and to punish. If you remove the people, then democracy is empty.”

South East PDP aspirants kick against alleged ‘’allocation’


BIG row has broken out among contestants from the South East zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over offices duly zoned to the region. Some of the contestants are protesting alleged plans to ‘’award’’ the posts of Publicity Secretary, Women Leader and Deputy Secretary to some unpopular aspirants. Aggrieved aspirants, it was learnt, have tasked the party’s leadership to allow for level-playing grounds and subject contestants to popularity test. Competent sources hinted that there had been behind-the-scene allocation of posts, a development that is being resisted by other stakeholders. It was also discovered that one of the aspirants for the post of the Woman Leader has made visits to top PDP echelons to trade off the post of Publicity Secretary to enable her emerge.Most women from the zone are angry with the development and called on the PDP to throw the contest open.



HE Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) yesterday warned that senators will be considered compromised if they do not order criminal prosecution of the Chair-

man of the Pension Reform Taskforce Team Abdulrasheed Maina and other persons indicted in the ongoing probe. The coalition expressed worries over reports that Maina has allegedly bribed senators to give him a clean bill of health following the series of testimonies that fingered him in the administration of Police Pension Fund. The CNPP, in a statement in Abuja by its Secretary Gen-

eral, Chief Willy Ezugwu said:”It is alarming that a man who has being named in the embezzlement of Police Pension Fund is now trying to buy people up to make them return a favourable report about his involvement in the whole fraud. ‘’We understand that Maina is enticing lawmakers and other key parties to the Senate probe with naira and dollars, possibly proceeds of the pension money that never got to the poor pensioners, some of whom are now dead.”

It said it was not surprised that bribes of such magnitude were being mentioned considering that the panel was told how Maina with an annual overhead expenditure of N80 million was spending N450 million as overheads in just two months. “The CNPP would have urged that the Senate recommend Maina to the EFCC for prosecution, but that commission has also been named as part of the problem with the Police Pension Fund. ‘’The Senate would thus

have to take more drastic steps if it genuinely wants to discharge its responsibility to Nigerians. ‘’In addition to ordering the trial of Maina and his cotravelers, Senate must also bar him from ever holding a public office again.’’ The statement said CNPP and its allies are watching to see what decisive action the Senate would take in this matter before deciding on the next line of action. “We are, however, not ruling out seeking alternative means of making Maina and his allies face the full wrath of the law even if it means seeking outside help and reporting him to the anti- corruption authorities of other countries where they have assets and bank accounts,” CNPP said.

Appeal Court verdict: Deji, two dethroned monarchs on war path


HE two traditional rulers in Ondo State dethroned by the Appeal Court sitting in Akure last week are now at war with the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida. Barely 24 hours after the Appeal Court sacked the monarchs, the Deji of Akure issued letters of suspensions to the dethroned royal fathers. But the embattled Osolo of Isolo Oba Kayode Oluwatuyi and the Iralepo of Isinkan, Oba Olu Ojo insisted that Adesida has no power under the tradition and law to suspend them in their domains. The suspension letter issued by Oba Adesida reads, “In the light of the judgment and in the public interest/security within the kingdom, the Dejiin-council met on March, 7 2012 and resolved to suspend you as Osolo and Iralepo with immediate effect. “You are hereby stopped from parading or allow yourself to be addressed as Osolo and Iralepo of Akure henceforth. “It should be noted that any attempt to hold yourselves out and or to be addressed as Osolo and Iralepo of Akure shall be deemed an affront to the esteemed throne of Deji of Akure

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

kingdom, who is the prescribed authority and the paramount ruler of Akure kingdom”. But the dethroned monarchs said the Deji of Akure has no such right since he was not the one that gave them staff of office and instrument of appointment. According to them, Isinkan particularly had been in existence before Akure people came to settle in their present abode. They declared that Oba Adesida could not alter the history because of primordial interest. ”Oba Adesida has no right to remove us from the throne of our forefathers. ‘’Akure has never been one;we have Isinkan, Isolo and Akure and no one can lord itself over the other,”they insisted. The Iralepo said the first Oba of Akure, the Asodeboyede, acknowledged the fact that Isinkan people came before he settled into the town just as Oba Ademuwagun Adesida ,the father of the incumbent Deji also corroborated the assertion. The monarch said he would appeal the judgment of the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court.

Ikemba named young global leader


EO/Founder of Friends of the Global Fund Africa, Dr Akudo Ikemba has been honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Swiss non-profit foundation based in Geneva. The honour, bestowed each year by the Forum, recognizes outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the

future of the world. Ikemba founded Friends of the Global Fund Africa (Friends Africa) in 2006 as an African voice in support of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Ikemba is planning a Women and Children Summit in Nigeria in 2012, as an innovative way to raise awareness about Women and Children’s issues and to give promising young women an opportunity to be mentored.

EKSTMA begins operation tomorrow, urges compliance to traffic regulations


HE Ekiti State Traffic Management Agency (EKSTMA) will tomorrow commence full operations in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State. Newly trained officials would mount strategic spots on major roads in the capital to monitor/enforce compliance to traffic regulations by drivers and motorcycle riders, the agency said. Its General Manager, Mr. Charles Fasuba, in a meeting held with ranking officials of

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

drivers unions and motorcycle riders association at the weekend, disclosed there will be an early morning visit to the palace of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti for what he described as “a symbolic consent of the royalty”. He said well kitted officials of the Agency wearing green top on black trousers would take positions at particular spots from the Post Office junction to Ijigbo junction in Ado-Ekiti.

•Wakama with NAWOJ President, Mrs Asabe Baba-Nahaya... yesterday

NAWOJ honours Ogun first female CPS


HE National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) yesterday conferred “Woman of the Media” award on the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ibikunle Amosun on Media and Communication, Mrs. Funmi Wakama. NAWOJ bestowed the honour on Wakama at the end of its National Executive Council meeting at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. Also honoured at the event were the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun; Chief Judge of the State, Hon.

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

Justice Tokunbo Olopade and Justice Oluwatosin Osinuga. National President of NAWOJ, Mrs Asabe BabaNahaya commended the tremendous support given to the association by the Amosun’s administration, especially its women empowerment schemes. In his goodwill message, Governor Amosun reiterated the determination of his administration to develop the

state by maximizing the potentials of its women-folk. According to the Governor, the government has gone beyond the 35 per cent affirmative action of Beijing Declaration in positioning women in governance in Ogun State. He commended the initiatives of NAWOJ and promised his administration’s readiness to support them. Wakama in her speech congratulated NAWOJ for a successful NEC meeting and thanked members for the honour done to them. She dedicated the award to Senator Ibikunle Amosun and members of his administration.

Aregbesola trims stadia projects


SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has scaled down six stadia projects awarded by the immediate administration of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. The stadia were to be built in Iwo, Ede, Ikirun, Ilesha, Ile-Ife in addition to the upgrading of Osogbo township stadium. The Governor declared this last week during a meeting with some contractors handling the projects. He disclosed that apart from Osun township stadium, which will be upgraded to international standards, the other five stadia would be scaled down to athletic and football facilities. Aregbesola, according to

a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Semiu Okanlawon, said the scaling down was necessitated by contending pressing needs. He told the contractors: “I will rather divert the resources in your hands into education sector in the state. ‘’We want to build hospitals; we want to construct roads; we want to ensure that our people get the best that they deserve. He went on: “Instead of building six stadia, we should concentrate on upgrade of the Osogbo stadium, while the other stadia would simply be provincial with some sporting facilities and not as elaborate as origi-

nally intended. “Save the Osogbo stadium, all other stadia could have, at best, pitches for some athletics and football. ‘’I need enormous resources to serve the core social needs of the people of this state. ‘’For that reason, I want to scale down considerably the facilities previously provided for in the stadia you are all handling.” The decision, he said, is in the interest of the people and not intended to hurt the contractors. The contractors expressed satisfaction with the handling of the issue and promised to support government’s efforts.




What ordinary South Africans think of Nigerians The South African government may have apologized for the deportation of 125 Nigerians, but the country’s citizens harbour deepseated opened animosity towards Nigerians as reflected in online reactions to a story on the diplomatic row published on the website www. Joe Agbro Jr., trawls through the bile.


N the heat of the diplomatic tiff triggered by the deportation of 125 Nigerians from Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport on account of issues with their yellow fever vaccination cards, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, accused South African Immigration and police of “fuelling irritation” between the two countries. The minister may actually be understating things when he talks of “irritation” between citizens of Africa’s two leading economies. A more accurate position would be that South Africans have a very negative perception of Nigerians. DEEPROOTED ANIMOSITY The deportation saga brought to the fore again, how Nigerians are seen in the ‘Rainbow Country’. The underlying tensions spilled over into cyberspace when during the diplomatic impasse last week the South African website,, published a report which generated a slew of comments from South Africans and Nigerians bordering not only on the deportation, but also on the perceived criminality of Nigerians living there. The bulk of comments by South Africans suggested Nigerians were wrecking their country by being involved in crime like drug smuggling, prostitution and stealing. Predictably, a few Nigerian voices on the forum took contrary defensive positions. A post by one Jeanpierre Dumont justifying the deportation wrote; “Oh, come on! How typical. Nigeria = corruption and now we are blamed for trying to uphold the law.” His post did not cool before he got a blistering response from Chux Edwards, a Nigerian, who reminded the Internet audience

A typical day in front of the South African Embassy visa section in Lagos.

of the high prevalence of HIV/ AIDS in South Africa by writing; “South African = HIV. Please stay off Nigerian soil. It’s policy: health first.” And back and forth the comments raged. Sampson Mamphweli, wrote “South Africans as young as 10 years know that Nigerians are good at selling drugs, faking documents and human trafficking for prostitution and drug transportation. At least that’s what I learned about Nigerians when I first heard the word ‘Nigeria’. So they have to blame it on their people and not us.” Mamphweli blames Nigerians for adding to his nation’s troubles and urged vigilance. “Crime has risen because of drugs that came from the same country. Our people are dying, our kids are no longer safe at school because they either take drugs or become victims of drug dealers; and all these because of Nigerians. They can keep their oil, we will keep our gold.” Balimi1, evidently a Nigerian wrote: “Are they talking about drugs here? You South Africans are dumb asses. You only say sir to the white man. This is about travelers - not drugs dealing. We don’t make drugs in Nigerian dig that.” Another Nigerian, Agba-Akin wrote: “I laugh when the White South Africas talks and calls Nigerians drug dealers.... Ha! Ha! Ha! Who are the buyers of these drugs? 98% of the buyers are white and they still come out here and say Nigerians are into drugs...” A certain Susan while admitting that “not all foreigners commit crime and wreak havoc in SA” was of the view that “South Africa is far too lenient on illegal entry into the country and it’s is now proving to be a nightmare.” She was of the opinion that

ecutives in MTN, SABMiller etc living in Nigeria. Let’s see who would lose!!! HIV infested country.” Telecommunication giant MTN and cable TV company, DSTV, are two of South Africa’s multinationals doing brisk business in Nigeria. But Nhlanhla Sibiya argued in his post that “you won’t find any South Africans in the street of Lagos or Abuja selling drugs and faking documents.” In a post dripping contempt, one Timmy addressed the enraged •South African Foreign Minister, Maite Nigerians: “Your supNkoana Mashabane posed “leadership” can’t stop a ragtag band the country has “paid its dues” of Islamist bandits from blowing for refuge offered its citizens dur- people into pieces in places of ing the Apartheid era. She im- worship. And on the rare occaplored Africans not to disrespect sion that they are able to effect each other’s space; specifically any arrest, the bandits just walk accusing Nigerians of abusing out of prison without trace. South Africa’s hospitality for “And what is your so-called long. “Build your own economy leadership doing when a few Niand improve your own country gerian elite continue to siphon instead of clogging ours” was her billions of dollars of oil money message to Nigerians. out of the country - leaving the While Nasir Abdulsalam, a rest of you dirt poor and having Nigerian posted a Youtube video to eke out a living in faraway link countries (where you are dewatch?v=D9Ihs241zeg to high- spised like a plague) through all light the good of Nigeria, manner of illegal means like sellUcheharpers followed up by ask- ing drugs and 419 scams?” ing: “Why do South African comBiz, a Nigerian replied: “No panies and other investors rush country in Africa can boast of a to Nigeria to invest despite all the more friendly, hardworking and evils, and why we are set to over- welcoming people than Nigeria. take them as Africa’s biggest I had so much regard for South economy?” Africa and its citizens, but not He continued: “South Africa anymore. If past Nigerian leadshould remember they have lots ers had channeled the country’s of companies making 60% of huge resources into developing their profits from Nigeria. You the country and creating a legacy may call us thieves but don’t for future generations, what will come begging when we retaliate. Nigerians be looking for in South When we are through we would Africa?” focus on their half educated exEarlier, Oke who referred to

South Africans as a “bunch of ignorant, idiotic and envious South Africans” said he enjoyed living a far better and healthier life in Nigeria. “I will not even think of traveling near South Africa because of the crime and HIV,” he vowed. A swift response came from Elle-Black who replied: “Thanks Oke. Don’t come. As much as we value your presence here in Mzansi, we will try to get by without you.” Ofentse, an offended South African, replying to Oke’s post wrote: “Please... Oke shut up you moron. In Nigeria there is no accountability for anything. Nigeria has no standards. At this moment murder is rife in, kidnappings and killing of innocent people… You Nigerians live like you are holier than thou, yet you are the most corrupt, hungry and destitute nation in Africa after Ethiopia.Yyou want to sing gospel of HIV infection and rape in S.A. Let me educate you idiot, at least in SA we have accounts and statistics - something we can’t say about your beloved Nigeria.” A dispassionate Nigerian poster, jsoile, commented: “Nigerians here commenting should just shut their mouths and take their jingoism elsewhere. South Africans are not the one fleeing the shores of their land in the name of seeking “greener pastures”. “They all stay in there to contribute to the development of their country. South Africans that visit Nigeria are public officers, investors or any well-to-do individual who don’t roam our streets or harass Nigerians. They don’t even come to study in our socalled universities and/or colleges.” Jsoile, however, believes the average South African does not travel anywhere except within the country and wrote: “They lack the ingenuity, creativity, adaptation, exposure and education. Nigerians are by far the most exposed in all of our Africa. SA should simply be grateful they still have these so-called white South Africans living still in their midst. They are the ones who got your economy to height it’s attained over the years. They are the thinkers and builders of your damned land. Your black leaders are mediocre.” Reflecting a totally different experience, Cohaka, a Nigerian poster, confessed: “Maybe I have been shielded so much by my amazing South African friends that it never occurred to me the level of hatred the citizens have for my country. “I’ve had friends either robbed or murdered by South Africans in South Africa but I’ve never put it beyond a clueless few. I’ve also invested in South African friends and businesses that didn’t work eventually and never called them cheats.” Ronny Mphahlele simply went to the heart of the matter: “Your country Nigeria is a joke; a big village. That’s why your all are here.” Elle-Black, a female South African wrote, “I had a guy from your country try to chat me up •Continued on Page 26


News Review


Hostage fiasco, South African apologies an Boko Haram kills British, Italian hostages


HE Islamic sect, Boko Haram on Thursday executed two foreign hostages it had been holding for 10 months in Sokoto during a raid to free them. Killed were Christopher McManus (Briton) and Franco Lamolino (Italian) both of whom were abducted in May last year in Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital where they were working as engineers with the construction company, Stabilini Visioni. President Goodluck Jonathan said the suspected abductors had been arrested. Earlier in the week, the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in Borno State ,on Monday, killed three members of the sect who were trying to burn another school in Maiduguri. School burning is the latest fad of the group. The Boko Haram members were about burning Lamisula Primary School on Customs Road when the JTF members opened fire on them. The following day, however, suspected members of Boko Haram set ablaze the Konduga police Station, a Church, council secretariat and the palace of the district head of Konduga in Borno State. They also attacked Mafoni ward in Maiduguri killing two artisans and two other residents of the area while on Wednesday they killed the Borno/Yobe Area Comptroller of Customs, Adamu Ahmadu in Potiskum, Yobe State, a five year old boy and another man. Ahmadu was gunned down at about 7pm in his residence. Also last Monday, the group shot dead two police officers in Dorayi Quarters of Kano.

30 feared killed in Fulani Benue raid


GANG of Fulani herdsmen went on the rampage in 13 Tiv communities in Guma and Gwer-West Local Government areas of Benue State last Sunday, killing about 30 residents. The attack was sparked by complaints by Tiv farmers that cattle owned by the Fulani were destroying their crops. The Fulani who were apparently angered by the farmers’ resentment waited for the Tiv to go to bed before attacking them in the early hours of Sunday. Attacked were Tse-Yange, Chile, Nanikpe, Tse-Gbuku and Tse-Kpar. The grief-stricken residents have fled to neigbouring towns and villages.

Fed Govt accepts White Paper on Boko Haram crisis


HE Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its last meeting on Wednesday considered the recommendations of the presidential committee on the security challenges in the North East.Most of the recommendations were adopted by the council although details were not released Information minister,Mr.Labaran Maku said the Ministry of Justice will now work on the document before details can be made public.Minister of the Internal Affairs,Mr.Abba Moro said : “Government,in consideration of the White Paper also realises that some of the issues raised cut across Nigeria and so the measures that will be applied in these areas of the North East zone will certainly also apply to other parts of the country. For instance,on the issue of indigeneship and settlership,the recommendatiom of the committee was to the effect that governments should emulate the situation in Sokoto state where there is no discrimination in terms of education and employment.”


Coke, Pepsi change formula

THE ‘FASTEST’ MEN IN THE WORLD •Britain’s Prince Harry mimics the victory signature of Olympic 100 metres champion, Usain Bolt, after the duo took part in a “race” with during the prince’s recent visit to Jamaica. He was there as part of a Diamond Jubilee Tour, representing Queen Elizabeth II.

JTF recovers bodies of slain officers


HE bodies of four members of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta who were shot dead in an attack by hoodlums in the creeks of Brass, Bayelsa State were recovered. Killed were the Commander of the Brass Unit of the JTF,Lt-Col A. Malik, another soldier and two naval ratings. The Task Force blamed the attack on a group led by Shedrack Itokofuwei alias Mammy Water. The same group was said to be the brain behind the series of pirate attacks on Nigerian territorial waters in the last three months. The JTF vowed to crush any attempt by “misguided persons to orchestrate another round of violence and insecurity in the region.”



Dangote, Adenuga among world richest


LHAJI Aliko Dangote and Dr. Mike Adenuga-were named among the world’s richest in the 2012 Rich List released by Forbes on Wednesday.Dangote is ranked 76 with a net worth of $11.2billion while Adenuga is ranked 248 with a net worth of $4.3biilion.The list contains 1226 billionaires with a combined net worth of $4.6trillion.

Britain deports 120 Nigerians •Cameron


OKE and Pepsi are making some changes to their formula to avoid having their cans slapped with a cancer warning label. The companies directed their suppliers to reduce the level of the chemical 4methylimidazole, which is a component of the caramel coloring and can be found in trace amounts in the soda. The change comes following a California law that demands drinks with a certain level of carcinogens display a warning, and while scientists say there are no immediate health concerns associated with the product, the two companies are changing the way they make their coloring to comply.


HE 19 northern states on Thursday opted for an integrated regional approach to combat the current state of insecurity in the region.Many parts of the north have been attacked by members of the Islamic sect,Boko Haram over the last three years leaving hundreds of people dead. However,governors of the 19 states,rising from a meeting in Kaduna said they have had enough of the criminal activities of the sect and would now embark on confidence building with a view to pro-


• Dangote


HE British Government has deported no fewer than 120 Nigerians from the U.K. for various immigration offences. The deportees arrived Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos in the early hours Friday. They were airlifted back home aboard a chartered cargo aircraft that landed at the cargo section of the international airport. The returnees, comprising mostly young men and women, spoke of harrowing experiences, saying that they were brought back home unprepared by the British authorities.


News Review

ies and dry fuel pumps Fuel scarcity returns


ETROL scarcity returned to some parts of the country causing long queues at the few filling stations that had fuel. Also scarce was aviation fuel, Jet A1.Many flights had to be cancelled owning to the development. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) blamed the scarcity on the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Navy at the ports. Industry sources said the situation was caused in part by the refusal of some banks to lend money to marketers to import fuel following the recent partial removal of fuel subsidy. NNPC officials confirmed rationing occasioned by insufficient importation.

Supreme Court upholds five govs’ elections


HE Supreme Court in separate rulings on Tuesday and Wednesday upheld the April elections of Governors Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Danbaba Suntai (Taraba), Abdul Fatai Ahmed (Kwara), Martins Elechi (Ebonyi) and Tanko AlMakura (Nasarawa). In all the cases, the apex court affirmed the judgements of the states election tribunals on the petitions filed against the governors.

Northern govs rise against criminals moting economic prosperity in the region.They set up a five-man committee to monitor the implementation of the Federal Government white paper on the security challenges in the North East

THE WEEK IN QUOTES It is curious that a country that had issued entry visas to intending travellers which issuance was predicated on the presentation of a valid Yellow card, will then turn around to deport those travellers. If these travellers had fake Yellow cards, how did they come about valid visas?” –Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, Health Minister querying the deportation of Nigerians from South Africa for allegedly carrying fake Yellow Cards.

“These people, the (pension) administrators stealing pension funds can never live in peace because the prayers of these old men and women who have diligently served the country will haunt them and their children’s children.” –Senate President David Mark, in a message to the public hearing on the Management of Pension and Administration in Nigeria by the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service and States and Local Governments.

“There is no nation on the face of the earth that shared resources from non-renewable capital, non-renewable endowment and simply by sharing became great. It is the proper translation of the rent from nonrenewable assets and endowment to physical caital and human capital that forms the basis of economic growth.” –Dr.Oby Ezekwezili, Vice President World Bank (Africa),at the launch of Feed Africa Programme to mark Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s 75th birthday.

South Africa apologises for deportations


OUTH Africa on Thursday apologised for barring 125 Nigerians from the country and unveiled new immigration procedures aimed at ending a diplomatic row between the continent’s two powerhouses. The dispute blew up after immigration officials at Johannesburg’s main airport last week refused entry to Nigerians, saying their yellow fever vaccination cards might be fake. Nigeria, turned away 131 South Africans in retaliation, Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru told reporters in Abuja. Nigeria said the cards were unnecessary as the country is yellow fever free. “We apologise for this unfortunate incident and we hope this matter will not in any way affect our bilateral relations,” deputy foreign minister Ebrahim Ebrahim told reporters in Pretoria.




HIEF Olusegun Obasanjo, who turned 75 last Mon day, could not have had a better birthday present than the launch of ‘Feed Africa Programme’ (FAP), an initiative of the Centre for Human Security of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library. The initiative is to draw attention to the bleak picture of food security in the continent and help in proferring solution to the problem. His passion for food production is immense,even legendry although his attempts, whether as military or civilian ruler, to revive agriculture are nothing to write home about. The birthday provided another opportunity for his friends and associates to eulogise him. President Goodluck Jonathan described him as a man with exceptional courage, steadfast commitment and abiding faith in the unity, peace, stability and prosperity of the nation while Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State hailed him for his policy of backward integration which “has not only led to private investments in the country but has ensued that substantial raw materials for such industries are sourced locally, thereby maximising the Godgiven resources of the nation, providing employment for the teeming masses of our people and reducing pressure on our currency.”




AST week’s 70th birthday of Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) may be summarised as an unusual celebration of an unusual man. First was his exhortation to well wishers that instead of sending him congratulatory messages through media adverts he would want the money for such adverts donated for the completion of ongoing work at the permanent site of the Redeemers University (RUN). Close to that was his advice to RCCG members that instead of organising a buffet to mark the birthday they could “pray for me with 7, 14, 21, 28 or 35 days of fasting.” Then came 70 hours of praises by the church to thank God for the life of the man described by the Time magazine as one of the 50 most influential personalities in the world.The session began penultimate Tuesday and ended a few hours before a special Holy Ghost Service at the Redemption Camp in Ogun State.



OLUGBENGA ASHIRU NO one, it seems, embodied the indignation and outrage of the nation to last week’s deportation of 125 Nigerians from South Africa than the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Olugbenga Ashiru. Ashiru who, until his appointment, had served as Nigeria’s High Commissioner in South Africa, called the action of the South African authorities an assault on Nigeria. Briefing the Senate on the development, the minister said: “Nigeria will react in a mature and calculated way to this assault on our people. I call it assault on our people. We will not allow it to go without it being reciprocated. “We are going to do it in a calculated way to target and deliberately show that we mean business and that when you ill-treat Nigerians, we will hit back at you.” Nigeria did react, turning back 116 South Africans as they landed in Lagos between Monday and Wednesday. It vowed to do more .That was besides summoning the South African High Commissioner and demanding an apology. The apology was swift in coming



News Review

Anambra: Landslide agony in Oko As many as 2000 families are on the verge of losing their homes to the landslide scourge sweeping through Oko–home community of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme. Odogwu Emeka Odogwu reports.


T is rare to see a royal father express such extreme emotion. Prof Laz Ekwueme, traditional ruler of Oko, Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra State literally wept over the recent landslide measuring over 70ft from ground level that ravaged Akama erosion site , Ezioko Village Oko community penultimate weekend. Igwe Ekwueme was receiving in audience the House of Representatives member for Orumba South and North Federal Constituency, Hon. Ben Nwankwo, who came to inspect scene of the landslide. At the site, Nwankwo wept alongside some women who were also present. Residents of the community are now losing sleep over the landslide and gully erosion that claimed over 15 houses and a large expanse of land measuring over 100 hectares. After that major slide, there had been two minor ones. About 300 buildings and their over 2,000 occupants are being threatened by the rampaging menace. Some of the victims including Mrs Hilary Ezeoffor, Caleb Ezeokeke, Benjamin Ezeokeke, Cyprain Ezeokeke , Dorathy Udechukwu , Hon Martin Ezeoffor and Mrs Roseline Ezeonyekwelu as well as as Idah Ezeokeke among others were on hand to recount their experiences and count their losses amid wailing during the visit. Ezeokeke said: “We are no longer sleeping. I am a widow and I want assistance because I have no place to carry my children to. Why can’t government help us by tackling this erosion problem? I was living in a four- bedroom apartment but now I have hired one room which cannot contain my property. Let them relocate us or bring a lasting solution to this menace.” Another set of victims, the Ezeoffors had a similar story. “This erosion has forced us out of our residence and we have no place to take our property. We are desolate, helpless, devastated and I lack words to describe the situation we have found ourselves in. I don’t know what to say but let them come to our aid.” The President-General of Oko Peoples Assembly, Mr. Cyprian Ike Nwammuo, linked the recent havoc to the collapse of channels built by Second Republic President, Shehu Shagari and his Vice , Dr Alex Ekwueme , some 32 years ago to check environmental disaster in the community. He told the visiting House member that the landslide was sequel to the vibration from heavy equipment and machines deployed by a construction firm, Rhino Construction Company for the on-going construction work on the opposite end of Nnanka erosion site. Nwammuo said the community noticed a landslide around the Oko erosion site two years ago, which later widened over the months. He also said: “Our bamboo, Melina and cashew plantations have also gone as a result of the landslide, which occurred two days ago.” He appealed to disaster management agencies to send assistance to the community. He disclosed that leaders of the area had written severally to the Federal and State Governments to no avail. He also said the Oko community had spent over N20 million on the men-

• Gov. Peter Obi at the flag-off of the control of Nanka-Agulu-Oko erosion site Wednesday

•Traditional ruler of Oko, Igwe Prof Laz Ekwueme

• Women crying at the scene

ace without any reprieve. Responding, Nwankwo, urged the Federal Government to give environmental emergency status to Oko and Nnanka. Nwankwo, who organized the tour of the erosion site, scored the nature of work done on the Nnanka end of the erosion site low. He regretted that since Ronasco Company worked on Nnanka / Oko erosion site in 1982 , nothing has been done in the emergency situation at the location which the Fed-

eral government and international organisations had visited severally from time to time. He told The Nation that the disastrous situation would not have arisen as a result of the construction projects which were awarded for both ends, Oko and Nnanka, if equal force had been maintained at the two sites. However, he said, because the contractors were working only on the Nnanka axis, the vibration pulled the Oko end, overwhelming the culvert built in 1982

by Ronasco during the tenure of President Shagari. He said the culvert had served as a barrier between the erosion and the people. He added that among the 300 threatened buildings and structures is the Federal Polytechnic, Oko - the biggest polytechnic in Anambra State. He said the erosion is also menacingly overlooking former Vice President Ekwueme’s house where he has stayed for over 70 years. Nwankwo lamented that the

people’s means of livelihood had been taken away from them and that there was now a war between erosion and the people, and erosion appears to be winning. He asked the government to intervene in what he tagged ‘erosion Haram.’ The lawmaker consoled those who lost their homes and economic crops to the slide but promised to bring it up on the floor of the National Assembly as a matter of public importance. He equally promised to strive for its inclusion it in the budgets of 2012, 2013 and 2014 for appropriation value as well as through the Ecological Fund office. Nwankwo, who is chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism as well as a member on National Emergency committee further said he would create international awareness for the multinationals to come to the rescue of the people of Oko as the magnitude of the erosion was beyond the capacity of the state government. It was something that required the collaboration of the Federal Government and international organisations like the World Bank. The traditional ruler of Oko, Prof. Ekwueme, expressed fears that when the rainy season fully comes, more damage would be done to the community. “I have sent SOS to the Anambra State government and Governor Peter Obi but they have done nothing and now the worst has happened because the gutter done to checkmate the ravaging erosion has collapsed. Since Ekwueme left in 1983 after the coup nothing was done there again. They tackled desertification in the Northern Nigeria but have allowed erosion to swallow Southern Nigeria. There is panic in my community, Oko.’’ As if in reaction to the traditional ruler’s plea, last Wednesday Governor Obi flagged-off construction work to tackle the Nanka erosion site, which has stretches from Agulu to Oko towns. He said this phase of the work – a collaborative effort between the state and Federal Government - involved stopping the erosion from escalating. The next phase involving the World Bank would seek to recover the land affected by the erosion. Obi said that supervision of the erosion site would form part of his schedule because of his determination to provide a final solution to the erosion problem.

Oyo farmers, Bororo herdsmen set for bloody clashes


BLOODY clash is imminent in Oyo State over the alleged encroachment of farmlands by Bororo herdsmen. No fewer than eight villages and farm settlements in the Afijio local government area of the state have declared total war on the herdsmen. The villages are Oluwatedo, Temidire, Idode, Kaye, Fitila, IsaleAwon, and Ekefa. Visibly furious, the villagers, mainly peasant farmers, narrated how they lost millions of naira to malicious damages of their farm lands and produces by the herdsmen. Spokespersons for the villagers Sunday Adeladan and Jacob Ayoola said the invasion of their farmlands started late last year. Frantic efforts to check them, they said have led to violent attacks by the herdsmen. According to them, “villagers from each of the communities planted cassava, maize, and yams on about 50 acres but were unable

• Farmers issue 14-day ultimatum for N60million compensation From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

to harvest five ridges because the cattles owned by the Bororos have eaten up all the crops. ‘’Whenever we contact them on the damages and the need for compensation, they will draw out their sharp daggers and cork their double-barreled guns in readiness for attacks.” They accused the police of complicity in the matter, saying efforts to seek amicable resolution were usually thwarted by their uncooperative attitudes. According to the villagers, ‘’If you go to the police station or police post to lodge complaint about them, rather than for the police to act accordingly and do thorough investigation, we (farmers) the complainants will later be treated as the accused. ‘’Often times, the police will lock

us in their cells and torture us on the dictates of the Bororos”. The spokespersons added that they are indebted to the tune of over N10million as loans received could not be repaid. Chairman Ilora Farm Settlers Association Alhaji Azeez Giwa also disclosed that over 8,009 acres of farmlands were eaten up and destroyed by grazing cattle between 2003 and to date. He hinted that an agricultural loan of N7million received by the settlers from the government could not be repaid because of these activities. Giwa further alleged threats to lives and property by leader of the Bororos, a certain Alhaji Jere, who boasted to be untouchable and vowed not to relent in the destruction and damages of the farm products. The farm settlers also accused

the State House of Assembly of negligence, alleging that several letters on the issue were treated with kid’s gloves. Neither the Oyo Area Police Commander Bature Umar nor any of the Divisional Police Officers in Oyo metropolis was available for comments as at press time. But a competent superior police officer who pleaded anonymity described the allegations of complicity as “spurious and laughable”. He explained: “whenever complaints were brought to us by the farmers about malicious damages to their crops by the Bororos, we made attempts to settle the matter amicably. But the farmers would insist on compensation.” Chairman Oyo House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters Hon. Femi Adelakun, denied knowledge of any letter on the issue.




Yellow cards and righteous rage Festus Eriye 08052135878 (SMS only)


N rashly deporting 125 Nigerians over the flimsy excuse that their yellow fever vaccination cards were suspect, the South Africans made a grave mistake. As the incident snowballed into a major diplomatic row, they scrambled to contain it with an apology demanded by Nigeria. Ever since that apology was offered and accepted, some of our compatriots have been carrying on as though we’ve just won the World Cup. Obviously, it is a nice feeling for citizens of a country so used to being pushed around to be able to wrap themselves in the national flag. Now that our pride and ego have been assuaged, perhaps we can move on to lessons and self-examination. In this regard, it will be useful to return to the world of football and say that we should see what played out in the last 10 days as a cautionary “yellow card” of sorts. It is all great fun getting our patriotic juices warmed up and bashing South Africans for their xenophobia, arrogance and ingratitude. But when you put yourself in some other person’s shoes you would be amazed at how quickly your perspective changes. South Africa may be Africa’s largest economy and the 28th-largest in the world, but it is not heaven on earth. The country still suffers from very high unemployment. It is ranked in the top 10 countries in the world for income inequality. Despite Black Economic Empowerment policies adopted by the governing African National Congress (ANC), the bulk of the black population remain poor. Some studies say that 56% of blacks live in poverty compared to a mere 2% of whites. The problem of wide income disparity is further worsened by rampaging HIV-AIDS infection. As many as five million people are infected with the disease. Crime is also a major challenge. A survey for the period 1998–2000 compiled by the United Nations, ranked South Africa second globally for murder and first for assaults and rapes per capita. As many as 50 murders are committed each day. It is also estimated that over 500,000 women are raped each year - with the average woman likely to have been violated in this way before they finish secondary school. But all these negatives cannot becloud the fact that the country’s economy is still the most prosperous on the continent. As the global economic downturn worsened more and more desperate Africans from countries like Nigeria have rushed down south in pursuit of a better life than they had at home. The consequence of this upsurge of emigration has been greater competition between aggressive, sometimes better educated and skilled foreigners and many shiftless locals. The loss of opportunity has often resulted in frustration boiling over into deadly xenophobic violence like happened in 2008. The point of the foregoing is to underscore the fact that for all of South Africa’s economic success, it cannot really carry the sort of burden that growing emigration is dumping on it. As a Nigerian I am bit leery about go-

Nigerians will continue to receive the South African treatment for as long as our own country remains a mess Back to the South Africans. There is no question that in their interactions with Nigerians and the rest of the continent, they often come across as not just ignorant but often times arrogant. Perhaps we can blame this on insularity of the Apartheid years. But I also think a certain sense of superiority comes from the knowledge that they are much better off economically than others in Africa. Indeed, there is a sense that they don’t really feel part of the continent. A South African colleague once told me that whenever some of her compatriots were travelling out of the country to a destination like Nigeria, they would say “I am travelling to Africa” – as though their country were not part of the continent. One thing that kept •Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru. cropping up during the ing overboard with the accusations of xe- latest crisis is South African’s supposed nophobia knowing that in this country “ingratitude” towards Nigeria in spite of economic pressures have driven us to simi- the contributions made by this country to their liberation struggle. I believe that our lar behavior. In the mid-80s after the Nigerian support for the likes of the ANC are welleconomy collapsed to the point that items documented. Still, I think we need to back off from like vegetable oil, milk and sugar became classified as “essential commodities” by beating them over the head with our conthe General Muhammadu Buhari military tribution every time we get into an argujunta, it was the unfortunate foreigners ment. How many countries supported our own struggles? Do we bow in obeisance that became the target of our frustration. The official excuse was that they were to them every morning? Sure, they have IOUs to sort out. But “illegal aliens”, but Nigeria gladly threw out Ghanaians believing that their influx let’s not forget that all we did was offer was at the root of our economic woes. The cash and sanctuary for some of their leadpopular carry-all “Ghana-must-go” bag ers. They are the ones who did the hard derived its name from that unfortunate part: going to prison, shedding blood and dying to secure their freedom. A little huepisode. The then Ghanaian leader, Jerry mility doesn’t hurt. Now that we’ve got our apology what Rawlings, rather than grovel and beg, sent in scores of lorries to ferry his people next? The South Africans not willing to home. They went back, knuckled down endanger their economic interests here have moved quickly to ensure that this and sorted out their country. Today, without any sense of shame our sort of spat never happens again. But elite have swarmed all over Ghana – buy- what are we doing beyond gloating over ing choice property and sending children our “triumph”? Unless we fix our country more crises to school. Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi has estimated that Nigerians like the one over the yellow fever card will spend N155 billion paying school fees in crop up. If Nigeria is working there will be a reverse in traffic. If our people are Ghana annually. With our increasingly overbearing travelling it will be more for business, presence, it is no wonder that even in study or leisure rather than outright emiGhana we, and our business interests, are gration. But as things stand today, Nigerians often the targets of xenophobic outbursts. are fleeing the country in all directions. Anywhere will do: Ghana, Libya, Israel, Cyprus, China, Australia, Mongolia, US, UK; anywhere under the sun where the taps run and you can sweep the factory floor for a few bucks. The longer we allow the mess here the more desperate our people will become to use all sorts of dodgy means to escape. And before we get all indignant and selfrighteus let’s admit that law-breaking is our national pastime. If we do it here, we are bound to export it to some land that is unfortunate enough to host our more despicable compatriots – creating difficulties with their hosts. As we reflect on the fall-out of this diplomatic row, let’s face up to the fact not all countries are as tolerant of disorder as we are. In some places the rules are the rules – you don’t bend them for anyone irrespective of their colour, station or nation.

“Unless we fix our country more crises like the one over the yellow fever card will crop up. If Nigeria is working there will be a reverse in traffic. If our people are travelling it will be more for business, study or leisure rather than outright emigration”

Lekan Otufodunrin 08050498530 (SMS only)

South Africa: Beyond the apology


BOUT four years ago, I arrived Johannesburg enroute Cape Town for a conference with a ‘fake’ yellow fever vaccination card. Back then; having a yellow card was not one of the requirements for getting a South African Visa. After lots of unnecessary hassles, I got the visa the day before my trip and was unable to go to a local government office where I could have gotten an official yellow card for as cheap as N200. I ended up getting one from touts at the airport. Apparently, the South African airport officials knew that some travelers to their country usually come with fake Yellow card, so they were prepared to penalize those who violate their regulation. I and others, with fake cards, including nationals of other African countries were asked to step aside during the checking by immigration officials and eventually taken to the health centre where we were quarantined and given the vaccine after paying $100. I am reminded of this incident following the deportation of some Nigerians from South Africa penultimate week allegedly for not having the required vaccination card. Good enough the South African government has apologized for the incident that has triggered off a diplomatic row between the two countries admitting that the airport officials did not properly check the documents of the deported Nigerians. The Federal government deserved to be commended for the handling of the matter which should have sent out signals to other countries that more than ever before Nigeria will no longer allow the rights of its citizens to be violated by any other country. For too long, Nigerians have been subjected to all kinds of shabby treatments at airports worldwide based on negative perception of who we are. Because some Nigerians have been arrested for various crimes, just as other nationals are, we all have been labeled criminals and immigration officers are usually on high alert while checking Nigerians. Last week’s incident confirms that the South Africa immigration officials who ordered the deportation must have acted on whatever prejudices they have had about Nigeria. If not, why didn’t they take their time to sort out those who may really have fake cards and subject them to whatever penalty the offence attracts, which deportation is not likely to be one of? If they thought they could always get away with maltreating Nigerians for no good reason, they and others now know better. The South African government should also be commended for admitting the fault of its officials and not allowing the row to degenerate into a major crisis which will definitely not be in the interest of both countries. However, the Nigerian government must not gloss over the fact that some Nigerians actually obtain fake Yellow cards like I did due to time constraints. The cards are sold at the departure lounge of the International airport which should not be the case. Even at Local government health centres, the cards are issued without immunization. While we celebrate our diplomatic victory over this matter, Nigerians must be ready for stricter enforcement of immigration laws, not only by South Africa but by other countries. Those who give us bad names by committing crimes in other countries must also desist if we don’t want to reinforce the negative perception about us.


Ogochukwu Ikeje 08084235961 (SMS only)



Comment & Analysis

HAT Nigeria has become a very hypocritical country was evident recently from the drums of crocodile tears shed before the glittering casket of Chief Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu. To be sure, such nationwide insincerity and double standards did not just pop today. It has been there with us, though its practitioners, like the famous chameleon, do change colour from time to time. Ojukwu started out being admired and envied for his urbane upbringing and schooling. He joined the Nigerian Army as an even more curious figure armed with an intimidating CV, and at par with the few officers in the service, most of who expatriates. But when he protested the dismal treatment meted out to his Igbo people in the Nigeria of the 60s, and eventually led the three-year secession, his admirers-turnedfoes would have given anything to capture him dead or alive. Admiration gave way to bitter rivalry and hostility. At death, one of the effusive tributes we heard and read was that he rebelled to keep Nigeria one and that everyone loved him all the way. He was once chased as a sinner, but at interment, he attained sainthood. Ikemba Nnewi helped to bring out our hypocrisy. Another person who also helped along these lines is Mrs Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, the history-making hairdresser, beauty therapist and politician who represents Ayedaale/Isokan/Irewole constituency, Osun State at the House of Representatives.

Sinner today, saint tomorrow Ojukwu and Patricia Etteh have exposed the Nigerian hypocrisy The case of Etteh who must be given her due as Nigeria’s first woman to hold the office of Speaker of the House, was even more spectacular than that of the Biafran leader. She assumed leadership of the House by popular demand and mandate in spite of her modest education, and in spite of her better accomplished opponents. But her reign was also one of the briefest, lasting barely four months. She came under such a sweeping attack by the same colleagues who chose her as Speaker, and with probably the same venom as the passion that attended her electoral glorification on June 6, 2007. They harried her and her deputy Usman Bayero Nafada over an alleged N928 house renovation and car contract. They accused her of trying to enrich herself corruptly, and wanted her to go immediately. She elected to defend herself but that angered her accusers the more. She tried to address them but they shouted her down, chanting ‘thief’, ‘thief’. On October 30, no more than four months after she became Speaker, she re-

signed. Most of the people who pulled her down were from her own party, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. The media seized upon Etteh’s lowly professional calling and her limited learning to needle her relentlessly. She was news every time for the wrong reasons. In those days she came across as the most unlikely woman to assume such an exalted office, and who lasted as long as she did simply because of the backing of her party and that of her mentor, the inimitable Obasanjo. Etteh slipped out of office and into obscurity even as she remained in the House, but by June last year, she received a unanimous bill of clean health by the same House which had disgraced her out of office. At a session of the House she was cleared of any wrongdoing and, to boot, her colleagues said there was no record of any improper or illegal conduct against her. Finding her voice, the former Speaker reminded her colleagues that since she became a lawmaker in 1999 she had sto-

“Etteh reminded her colleagues that since she became a lawmaker in 1999 she had stolen neither a kobo from the House nor from the federal government. She got a thunderous applause. It was the stuff of dreams, stranger than fiction. Was it the same hairstylist turned third most powerful person in the country?”

len neither a kobo from the House nor from the federal government. She got a thunderous applause. It was the stuff of dreams, stranger than fiction. Was it the same hairstylist turned third most powerful person in the country? Was it the same Etteh packaged and presented to the public as the best public figure to hate? But there she was, confidently addressing fellow lawmakers, an opportunity denied in her darkest hour. Waxing lyrical, she asked to be exposed if found guilty, and cleared if nothing was held against her. The House obliged and cleared her. Why was she accused in the first place? Why was there such apparent determination to kick her out? So rough was the House in those heady days that otherwise honourable men and women came to blows. There were cuts and bruises. The Speaker herself was eased out for her safety. If Etteh was such a sinner, why is she a saint now? Do we blame her ordeal on politics and politicians or on the media, as some have insinuated? I blame the country that breeds such politics and politicians. I question its claim to objectivity and clear-headed reasoning. I shudder at a country which seems to leap before it looks. For three years, Ojukwu was chased and targeted for daring to question the plight of Ndigbo in the Nigeria of the 60s. At his death, an unprecedented crowd of mourners and scorners heaved and hummed with parting praises. Etteh was once one of the most hated leaders in the land. Today, as it is said, there is not a trace of wrongdoing in her records. Today’s saints. Yesterday’s sinners. Haba, Nigeria.



Comment & Analysis

South African folly It was high time she apologised for acts of diplomatic impunity


T all started like a bizarre theatre of the absurd when on March 1 and 2, 2012, the South African authorities deported 125 Nigerians from the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The ostensible reason for this rash action was the allegation that the affected Nigerians were in possession of irregular Yellow Fever vaccination cards. The Nigerian authorities naturally assumed that there was more to this than met the eye. This is because of repeated reports over time of discriminatory, hostile and inhospitable treatment of Nigerians in that country. Of course, no one would ask the South African authorities to close their eyes to visitors who violate necessary medical requirements and may thus pose a health threat to that country’s population. However, as Nigeria’s foreign minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru explained when he appeared before the Senate, there was simply no basis for the stigmatisation of the Nigerian travellers and their subsequent dehumanising deportation. Explaining the process for issuing Yellow Fever cards, the minister said the Port Health Services under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health vaccinates and issues the Yellow Fever cards to travellers at the airports, sea ports and land borders in Nigeria, while health officials do the same in the states and local government areas. In any case, he further pointed out possession of valid Yellow Fever cards is a necessary condition for issuing visas to Nigerians in the first instance. Again, the Nigerian Embassy was not informed before the Nigerians were deported, which amounts to sheer illegality, gross contempt for and a gratuitous insult on the government and people of Nigeria. The foreign minister’s position was further reinforced by the Federal Ministry of Health, which revealed that the last Yellow Fever case recorded in Nigeria occurred in 1995.


OS is known for its hospitable climate coupled with the hilly nature and scenic attractions of nature co-habiting in a once peaceful town known for its tourist and white settlers. It is located in the rain forest zone with very rich resources such as tin, coal, and gold. It has every natural endowment one can think of. The history of this unique town on the plateau dates back to the 40’s when our colonial masters came to Nigeria and were captivated by what they saw and met in Jos. With an altitude of 4,062 feet above sea level, it enjoys a more temperate climate than much of the

While some sections of the public angrily called for the shutting down of all South African companies in Nigeria and the closure of Nigeria’s Embassy in South Africa, Ambassador Ashiru said the government’s reaction would be measured but calculated. In his words, “I believe that the present Administration is determined to ensure the dignity of Nigerians anywhere. When you deport two Nigerians from a country, there will be appropriate action. It may not be retaliation but we will know we are responding one way or the other”. The retaliatory deportation of 131 South Africans in response to the unfriendly acts against Nigerian travellers was appropriate and commendable. After all, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. This decisive response by the Nigerian government will go a long way to assure Nigerians across the globe that their government will not be indifferent to their plight, especially when they suffer victimisation. Apparently stunned by the tough stance of the Nigerian government, the South African authorities have issued an apology to Nigeria over the incident. It is obvious that South Africa has such huge stakes in the Nigerian economy that she certainly has much more to lose from a disruption of diplomatic ties between both countries. Even then,


•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

LETTERS rest of Nigeria from mid November to late January. Due to its cosmopolitan nature and humane environment coupled with a climate not seen anywhere before, visitors to the city will notice massive road projects embarked upon by the present administration. The city has extensions into the town of Bukuru to form the Jos –Bukuru metropolitan axis. The National Museum in Jos was founded in 1952 by Bernard Fagg. It has been left to ruin as is the case with most of the cultural establishments in Nigeria. It houses the pottery

For peace in Jos hall which also boasts of the specimens of NOK terra cotta heads and an artifact dating from 500BC to AD 200.It also incorporates the Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture (MOTNA) with life size replicas of a variety of buildings, from the walls of Kano, the mosque at Zaria to a Tiv village. The city of Jos is divided into three local government areas of Jos North, Jos South and Jos East. The city proper lies

on Jos North and Jos South while Jos East houses the prestigious National Centre for Remote Sensing. The Jos North is the state capital and the area where most of the commercial activities take place although due to the recent clashes, it has gradually shifted to Jos South. The Governor’s Office is located in an area in Jos North called “Jise” in Berom language, “Gise” in Jarawa language or “Tundun-wada” in Hausa language. Jos South is the

Why the rumpus in South-East PDP?


T never ceases to amuse one to see how desperate some politicians can be. The present horse trading going on in the South-East wing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is, to say the least, shameful. Why would politicians from the SouthEast be interested in rancour rather than follow simple guidelines? The

this unsavoury incident should spur us to ponder again why there is always such a burning desire for Nigerians to travel out of the country in search of greener economic pastures. When will we get our acts together and build an economy that not only provides jobs and prosperity for our people back home, but also attracts foreigners the same way millions of Nigerians find the lure of foreign travels irresistible? Some Nigerians have deplored the unfriendly attitude of South Africa to Nigeria against the background of the country’s massive material and moral support in the battle against apartheid. This may be a valid point but it must not be stretched too far. Nigeria’s role in the anti-apartheid struggle was a sacrifice for the redemptive dignity of the black man. The aim was certainly not to reap any undue favours from a post-apartheid government. Apartheid has since collapsed and the black man’s dignity in South Africa salvaged. Whether the current government in South Africa appreciates it or not, it is impossible to obliterate Nigeria’s indelible contributions to the defeat of apartheid from the pages of history. What we must never condone or take lightly is discriminatory, unjust and dehumanising treatment of Nigerian citizens in South Africa or anywhere else for that matter. During his appearance before the Senate, Ambassador Ashiru said his ministry would work closely with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to enforce strict compliance with all immigration laws and practices. In particular, he affirmed that “The South African countries are here in Nigeria making so much money, bringing in half-baked graduates as expatriates to manage these companies”. If such illegal practices are known to government, there is no excuse for not taking corrective action long before now in accordance with the law.

party headquarters had zoned the positions of Publicity Secretary, Deputy Speaker and Woman Leader to the zone, but surprisingly some mischievous persons who are afraid to face delegates in open, transparent elections are arrogating these party offices to themselves, and this is being stoutly resisted by other

contestants. Women from the zone contesting for Women Leader are insisting that they all be allowed to run irrespective of state. They are also protesting the imposition of an unpopular woman from Imo State - a one-time minister and ambassador who is likely not going to win the election in an open contest at the party’s convention

on March 24 - over other women. The party must allow other contestants for the posts. The position of Publicity Secretary and Deputy Secretary cannot to be the preserve of certain people and states. The contest should be thrown open. Dr. Emmanuel Odum, Owerri, Imo State.

seat of the Deputy Governor’s office which is situated in the old Government House in Rayfield and the industrial nerve of the state due to the presence of industries like NASCO, Grand Cereals and Oil Mills, Zuma Steels, Standard Biscuits, Jos International Breweries etc. while Jos South also houses the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), the National Veterinary Research Institute, the Police Staff College, the NTA Television College including the Nigeria Film Corporation. Jos North has the University of Jos to its credit and the Teaching Hospital. The earliest known Nigerians in Jos were the NOK people skilled artisans from the Jos area who mysteriously vanished in the late first millennium. It is the discovery of tin by the British that led to the influx of other tribes such as the Hausa, Igbo, Urhobo and Yoruba thus making Jos a cosmopolitan city. It became an important na-

tional administrative, commercial and tourist centre due to its natural endowment. Peace is priceless and it is an essential commodity for tranquility, progress and development of Jos and its environs and as such, government should make concerted genuine efforts to reconcile the various stakeholders and warring parties. This approach must be genuine with a master plan and a timeframe for lasting peace to return to Jos. Like the saying goes, we have to up our game as a people, as individuals, corporations, institutions, governments and as a country. We need to make sacrifices individually so as to bring lasting peace to Jos and Nigeria as a whole. Look at the history of our nation, where would we be right now if the people before us did not have their fair chance to change the nation? Returning Jos to its pride of place which it belongs will require addressing discontentment and bridging the gap that will usher in new development for the common good.

By Omoba Aigbegbele





Comment & Analysis

Western Nigeria’s revival initiative Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni


FEW days ago, Afenifere Renewal Group publicly lived up to its name by convening a meeting of leaders of the states carved out of the three regions that originally constituted today’s Nigeria. With this important meeting, Afenifere Renewal Group summoned, with the support of governors from the Southwest, the people of old Western Region of Nigeria to action towards the renewal or revival of Western Nigeria. Just as most of the sitting and former governors in attendance acknowledged, the right ideas and words have been put in place in the DAWN document presented at the Lagos City Hall meeting. What is needed is commitment by leaders and citizens of the region to move from rhetoric to action. By presenting the vision that Western Nigeria must be the first place of choice to work, to live, and to visit to current rulers of the region – executive, legislative, and

The initiative to revive Western Nigeria requires a partnership between government and the private sector cultural - ARG has taken the first laudable step. As for the governors of the region, they too need to be congratulated for seeing, thinking, and promising to act right, in the interest of the people that voted them into office. The governors made their party and their constituents proud by embracing with enthusiasm the call for integrated development in the region that used to be the country’s trailblazer in terms of modernization and development. This essay will respond to the three questions sent to me by regular readers of this column: 1. “Is Integrated Development of the Southwest a subtle attempt to distract the people from more than two decades of struggling for restructuring?” 2. “Is development of the region a matter to be left in the hands of politicians?” 3. “Is DAWN an attempt to emphasize Yoruba exceptionalism?” An integrated development agenda for the region does not in any way shift attention away from the imperative of re-federalizing the country. This is why just about every speaker at the City Hall meeting emphasized the importance of fiscal federalism. DAWN is not designed to be in lieu of restoration of federalism. It is, on the contrary, an agenda to

refocus the attention of the people of the region to the need to solve problems common to the states within the region. My reading of the DAWN document is that the authors set out to show that the advantage of decentralization, manifested in the breaking of one region into six states over the last thirty years, can be enhanced through an integrated development agenda. There are several problems that can be solved more cost effectively through collaboration among the states in the region: road development, rail development, education, culture & tourism, energy development, agriculture, mass transportation, revenue generation, environment and sustainable development, than with each state trying to solve these problems in isolation from other culturally and ecologically related states in the region. As important as politicians are, efforts to integrate the region economically should not be left solely in their hands. As lucky as the region is for having governors at this time that see the need for a new approach to the development of the states within the region and who have publicly committed to the vision and mission of DAWN, the intricate connection between

politics and economic and social development in most countries today requires, as the Governor of Lagos State observed at the meeting, all hands on deck, if integrated development of the Southwest is to take place. The initiative to revive Western Nigeria requires a partnership between government and the private sector. In addition to the suggestion that governments in the region should establish Integrated Regional Development Commission as an agency to coordinate policy formulation and implementation to revitalize the region, there is a need for the proposed commission to include representatives from both public and private sectors. Respectable businessmen and women, manufacturers, and supra-partisan professionals and researchers should be invited to serve on the commission as partners in progress with commissioners or special advisers for integrated development from the states in the region. Governors must not be left alone to fund the agency that is to coordinate regional development. Captains of industry and business owners who are likely to benefit from integrated development projects within the region must be given opportunity to participate in

making contributions in terms of funding and ideas to re-awakening a region that has been pushed into near coma by the peculiar circumstances of military re-engineering of Nigeria between 1966 and 1999, particularly the organization of the nation’s politics and economy on the strength of one product: petroleum. The Southwest or the Yoruba Region is not trying to say that it is a special region. With DAWN, the region is simply coming to terms with the loss it had experienced in the area of infrastructure, human development, food security, sustainable development, etc. DAWN is calling for an acceptance that the region’s progress has declined over the years. Because of region’s pre-Independence head start in education, the region now has more educated children that are on the unemployment line than any other region in the country. It has the worst federal roads between its cities. The region has more dysfunctional cities than any other region in the country. DAWN is saying that the region has no moral authority to expect help from anywhere and anybody, if it is not willing to help itself. It is to strengthen the region, in preparation for restructuring that may end the culture of dependence on petroleum.

Afenifere Renewal Group and the DAWN document Femi Orebe femi.orebe 08056504626 (sms only)


T was to a completely jam-packed City Hall, Lagos, that the Afenifere Renewal Group, this past Tuesday, 6 March, 2012, the 103rd post humous birthday of the Avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, made a public presentation of its 80-page seminal document entitled DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FOR WESTERN NIGERIA (DAWN). But first, some unfinished business. It was just as well that space constraint ensured that my last week’s article could not be fully published as it concerned that chimera, i.e. Engr Segun Oni’s case, asking the Appeal Court sitting at Ado-Ekiti to review the judgment by which that honourable court ousted him and restored the Ekiti peoples’ mandate to Dr Kayode Fayemi at both the 2007 gubernatorial election proper, as well as at the re-run election which was ordered by the court at its IIorin circuit. Whereas, I have sought to demonstrate the unreasonableness of the case solely on legal basis, I have since been mightily blessed by ‘Daddy G.O’, that is, Pastor Adeboye, on the subject of fraudulent gains. Wrote he on the Sunday, 4 March, 2012, edition of OPEN HEAVENS: ‘any gain made from deceit, fraud and lies will be short lived; initially it will appear as an increase but later it will leave you plundered’. And the remarkable man of God was not just talking but scriptural relying on Proverbs 20: 27 which instructs that ‘bread of deceit is sweet to man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel’. So it is with all stolen mandates.

No longer will our people tolerate a return to the Baba Adedibu-type politics of those days However, if Engr Oni who twice went to church claiming he was thanking God on his ouster could not be blamed for being unaware of God’s words on what Pastor Adeboye called ‘Holy Fraud’, he must have been completely remiss not to have heard of the legal doctrine: RES JUDICATA which, put simply, forbids a court from reviewing its own judgment. Also, if his lawyers would keep that away from him because this was a very lucrative brief, for which houses were allegedly sold , as a result of which they packed the court expecting victory, he should have, at least, benefited from the well known precedent set by no less than the apex court in the case of Andy Uba who had also chimerically asked the Supreme Court to restore his thrashed governorship by reviewing its own earlier judgment. I do not think anybody should attempt to restrain Engr Oni from going even beyond the Supreme court, if he can; it is solely left to his whimsical wishes and nobody should accuse his lawyers of being immoral for they know all too well that this is a journey to nowhere. But here, we‘re talking money; big bucks too. To the much more momentous event then I return. But also before then, a word about the Peoples Democratic Party which kept Yorubaland under its stranglehold for eight long years during which period their leader, a Yoruba man, was also the President of the Federal Republic. Not for once did one hear them say a thing about economic development in the region, nor would you find, even if you search all the way to Antarctica, a single document comparable to the Afenifere Renewal Group’s Development Agenda For Western Nigeria which is a hardnosed strategy road map for overall development, not only in core Yoruba states but also in Kwara,

Kogi, Edo and Delta, where large swathes of our kinsmen are domiciled and there is contiguity. For the PDP, which the American Council on Foreign Relations describes as ‘an elite consensus dominated by patronage networks’, development in Yoruba land is a non issue; rather it is always about conquering our space even if they had completely run down our road infrastructure; if our education,the greatest Awo legacy, has been bastardised just as our youth and the old were left, unaided, to fend for themselves. All these were cool, as long as their bank accounts, local and foreign, got bigger and properties erupted from under the ground, to their names. Literally all who had served in the interest of Yoruba land were present at the public presentation. From retired General Adeyinka Adebayo who was once governor of the entire region, Chief Bisi Akande, A C N’s National Chairman, the event’s Chairman, Mr Fola Adeola to elder statesmen like Senator Ayo Fasanmi, Lt. General Alani Akinrinade,Evangelist Dele Olumilua, Dr Fred Faseun, founder of OPC, former Kwara state governor Latinwo, their Royal Highness es, most of them from Ekiti state, and distinguished personalities too numerous to mention made it a grand occasion. Also in glorious presence were hundreds of Yoruba leading lights in the professions like Chief Wole Olanipekun who is, forever, burning the midnight oil in the service of our people and humanity as well as key private sector leaders. Nor must I forget the distinguished presence of Mr Joe Keshi, former Nigerian Consular-General in the US,and now, Chief Executive Officer of the BRACE Commission; the South- South counterpart to our own South West effort at regional integration. Present too, was former Speaker, House of Representatives, the Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole who,

indeed, addressed the August gathering to great acclamation, even though that did not sit well with the stormy petrel, and legal icon, Mr Femi Falana, who believes that Dimeji represents a dark phase in the politics of Yorubaland. Looming large, however, was the man who, besides God Almighty, made the day a reality: the Jagaban Borgu and former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who spared nothing to ensure that the main streamers were not only dusted but banished into political Siberia. To Asiwaju belongs the God-given perspicacity and the coordinating prowess that ensured that illegally acquired mandates in Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun were reclaimed with all the illegal occupiers of the office of governor routed ignominiously. We are well aware of their current legitimate and illegitimate moves to have a look-in again. But the Yoruba people have said not again, as we will never go back to our vomit like the Ladojas of this world who must traverse all political parties. The Yoruba say, if your neighbour is eating something that will not let him sleep and you do not warn him, you too will not sleep. It therefore behoves us, now that the PDP is again admitting and re-admitting strange bed fellows in the name of reconciliation, that we advise them to spare a thought for the present all-pervading peace in Yoruba land. No longer will our people tolerate a return to the Baba Adedibu-type politics of those days. Economic development is our new mantra as the governors who were the cynosure of all eyes on the day collectively affirmed. Their consuming passion, to the last man, is how to improve on, and indeed, surpass the huge developmental landmarks that our indomitable leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, left behind whilst jealously guiding our com-

mon patrimony under the aegis of the highly focused Board and Management of the Odua Investment Company Ltd. The company only recently completed The Heritage Mall and The Cocoa Mall, property wonders which in my congratulatory message to Mr Bayo Jimoh, the Group’s Managing Director, I described ‘as the greatest achievement in the economy of the South West since Awo established that octopoidal conglomerate slightly over half a century ago’. Naturally both the O’dua Chairman, Chief Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli and the Group Managing Director were present at the event. On this column has appeared by far too many articles on the DAWN document to make a detailed analysis any longer a desideratum. Suffice it to say, however, that under the lead of the ARG Chairman, Hon Wale Oshun, former member, House of Representatives, former Secretary of NADECO and the leading author on the old Afenifere, the new, fresh and focused Afenifere Renewal Group has shown conclusively that given the right atmosphere, and a serious political leadership dedicated not to the god of mammon as in the days of yore, but to service to our people, the Yoruba can rise to the occasion and redirect the region out of the days of the locust which PDP’s illegal suzerainty over Yorubaland represented. I could not have been happier than when I stood up, on the order of an absolutely hard-working Dipo Famakinwa, Secretary, Governing Council of the Yoruba Academy, to be recognized alongside the ladies and gentlemen whose humble efforts culminated in the historic document. As was the theme of the keynote address expertly delivered by Dr Doyin Salami of the Pan African University, Lagos, Yoruba land is on the march again. Never again the predators!



Adegboyega 08054503906 (sms only)


UST about when everyone thought the issue of the N100million donated to the victims of the Kano State bomb blast by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was being overtaken by events, it reared its ugly head once again at the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Indeed, it would have degenerated into exchange of fisticuffs (as members spoke either for or against so passionately), but for the intervention of some principal officers of the House. These must be trying times for Mallam Sanusi. Indeed, if there is any public official in the country that has been in the eye of the storm in recent times, it is the CBN governor. It would appear that he has been contesting for attention with the government officials in the centre of the fuel subsidy imbroglio, because they naturally have a pride of place in the media, given the centrality of their actions or inactions to our overall wellbeing. Funny enough, Sanusi was one of the few government officials who counselled a shift of position by the government during the crisis. Not long after, the government announced a reduction in the price of petrol from N141 a litre to the present N97. Interestingly too, Mallam Sanusi has not been in the ‘dock’ over issues directly related to his core functions, but over what many consider extraneous issues, some of

Postscript, Unlimited! By

Oyinkan Medubi 08187172799 (SMS only)


ODAY, this column is dedicated to all women in the world. You know them, don’t you? They are that special group of people who have dedicated themselves to looking beautiful in order to improve the lives of men so that one day, those men would realise that they cannot live without them. To a very large extent, this aim could be said to have been accomplished in the seventies because a very clever artist came up with a poster that would have been described in today’s parlance as ‘viral’. The poster showed a man’s face on which was draped the very seductive figure of a woman all together in the not together, if you get what I mean, accompanied by the caption ‘What’s on a man’s mind’. Her essential body parts made up his facial points. Today, that artist would be wrong, very wrong. It is not as if men no longer have any uses for women. Far from it; they still need mothers and wives and girlfriends and sisters. The truth, however, is that men seem to have exhausted the possibilities of the usefulness of women because of the modernist and post-modernist problems of angst and ennui. They are people who have got what they want and no longer want what they got. So, to solve those problems, men have replaced women with something even more powerful, more allur-

Comment & Analysis

Sanusi in the eye of the storm House of Reps in needless eruption over Kano donation which, they contend, the CBN governor ought not to have dabbled into in the first place. This includes the N100million donation, for example. But the argument is neither here nor there. The unassailability of the House of Representatives’ prerogative of oversight is not in doubt; neither are its powers to make laws for the good governance of the country. But why the House has chosen this time to erupt over the matter is somewhat baffling. There appears to be more to it than meets the eye. The legality of the action seems to have been taken care of by the CBN Act. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was approved by CBN Board in 2006. The CBN Act gives the board power to approve the budget (S.6(3)a); including the power of expenditure. And, since there was an approval by the CBN board (no one has told us anything to the contrary) it would appear that the donation was an institutional one and therefore ought not to have been personalised as if Sanusi is the CBN. We can only continue to see it in the light of Sanusi instead of an institutional action if only we want to say that the CBN board members are a bunch of morons. As a matter of fact, the CBN had been involved in CSR for long, the reason why many of us are not

aware was because such initiatives were hardly made public. That is why many of us could even swear that the Sanusi donation was novel in the history of the apex bank. For me, even if Mallam Sanusi was wrong to have made the donation, what ought to be done is to look at the laws that he is claiming gave him the powers to do so. Apparently, he did not act in a vacuum; he has predicated his action on the CBN Act. It is this Act that the National Assembly should examine and if there is need to tinker with it to bar the CBN and its board from embarking on CSR, or spending without approval from the |National Assembly, the process of amendment to the Act should start in earnest, and it should so state unambiguously. The question of whether it was proper for the CBN to have made the Kano donation, especially since there had been many other bombings before the Kano incident is also debatable. Perhaps the only question mark there is whether that should have been the starting point, particularly when the CBN governor is an indigene of Kano, and more so when he is alleged to be nursing the ambition of becoming the emir of the ancient city. No doubt the Boko Haram fanatics have been bomb-

“All said, Mallam Sanusi, as a public official should take these criticisms in good faith; even as many of them could have been triggered by those who felt aggrieved by the effects of some of his policies on them and their corrupt lifestyle”

ing many places before the Kano incident; the point is with the magnitude of the Kano incident. Forty bombs in a single day, killing about 300 people and rendering many homeless and injured (most of them non-indigenes of Kano) could not have been described as a child’s play. Anyone with a contrary fact could make them public. As I said, the unfortunate thing is that Kano happened to be the home state of Mallam Sanusi himself. With the benefit of hindsight, therefore, Mallam Sanusi should have exercised circumspection, if only on that score because as it is now, all the angels in heaven swearing that he did it out of compassion, devoid of any sectional agenda, would not make any difference. On the other hand, the Madalla bombing was significant because a church was involved and more importantly, because it happened on Christmas day. And, with regard to the allegation that the N25million donation to the church was an after-thought, the priest of St Theresa Catholic Church concerned is the best person (apart from Sanusi), to say precisely what transpired; and he had put the record straight by corroborating the CBN governor’s claim that Sanusi had got in touch with him earlier about the donation before proceeding to Kano for a similar purpose. Unfortunately, the priest told him he would not be around at the appointed time; moreover, obviously he had to get clearance from the church hierarchy before he could collect such a gift, hence a


shift in the date. Knowing the Catholic Church set-up for what it is, I want to believe that the church would have come out to deny Sanusi’s claim that he intended visiting the church first before going to Kano if it had not been so. It would seem to me that politics is now taking the better part of this issue, which is regrettable. When Sanusi came on board as CBN governor in 2010, he began a reform process in the sector aimed at cleaning the Augean stable. This led to the unceremonious exit of the managing directors/chief executives of five banks. Corruption, especially where it has become a festering sore like the Nigerian situation is always known to have fought back when ferociously attacked. It is therefore not unlikely that some of these reactions to the donation are indirect fall-outs of the banking tsunami. The lesson for Sanusi as well as all other public functionaries in all these is that they have to sleep over whatever decisions they are to make before embarking on them. The debate on the matter is good provided it is healthy and devoid of politics; it is part of the beauty of democracy. In spite of his weaknesses, real or perceived, Sanusi has received accolades for his performance in the CBN. Things had been so bad before he took over, making quick fixes absolutely impossible. By now, the CBN boss should have realised that he has more foes than friends, probably as a result of some of his actions which might have been taken with the best of intentions. All said, Mallam Sanusi, as a public official should take these criticisms in good faith; even as many of them could have been triggered by those who felt aggrieved by the effects of some of his policies on them and their corrupt lifestyle.

A bank for Women: That things may change for the better ing than the largest stone diamond, more seductive than the biblical Salome, more inviting than a trip down River Hubris, and a million times more enticing than the riches of Arabia. That’s right; ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the new post-post-modernist thing on a man’s mind: the gun. You heard right, the gun. Men have found that the gun is a zillion times more fun than a woman, and certainly gets more results. With it, empires have been built, lives wrecked, souls depraved, and peoples made to grovel. Is that fun or what?! So, when you can have a gun, why settle for a woman? This is why our artist never made a return trip to his studio to bring out a second painting that would certainly have been guaranteed to go even more viral: ‘What’s on a woman’s mind?’ Instead, an irresolute film was made with a dubious title: ‘What does a woman want?’ For anyone to go in search of what a woman wants is to embark on a fruitless journey, like going to look for the tree of life that bestows on the individual life ad infinitum, you know, without end, as if this short life is not miserable enough. The reason men would go in search of what a woman wants is because they pretend not to know. Over the centuries, one thing you cannot accuse a woman of not doing is not talking. Anywhere and everywhere, home, office or road, women have always made their needs known, even if it is to tell a taxi driver to give her back her road, idiot. In 1908, for instance, when the business of women

coming together to articulate their needs began, it was for shorter hours of work, more pay and the right to vote. Only the deaf, such as men, would pretend not to have heard what the women were really asking for: respect us! The women have continued to speak since that time, but sadly, the men have not been listening. For instance, I know many of us women have been asking for an increase in housekeeping allowance but have the relevant parties been listening? Not on your life. Seriously, if men listened to women, there would not be hunger, want, poverty or wars, and the family would not have bought the car that is now requiring the entire month’s combined salaries for its maintenance. No, if women had been listened to all along, there would not have been any need to dedicate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) to how to empower rural women in order to end hunger and poverty. I tell you, if women had been listened to, the world would sooner have turned all its guns to ploughshares so that their children could eat. So, why are we looking for what women want? What women want often stands in direct opposition to that of men; that is why you cannot get a perfect union of a man and a woman. While women are busy going on about peace, love and equity served on a platter of justice, men are busy growling ‘where’s my dinner?’ often after using the latest implements of war such as guns, bombs, etc. Has a woman Boko Haram bomber been found yet? After waiting in vain for peace, equity and so on to come via

a network of interrelated meetings of the minds of both sexes, the women have gone out to work, leaving the men scratching their heads. This was what prompted Leyman Gbowee of Liberia to marshal Liberian women to band together and sue for peace in the country, thus succeeding in helping to end the long civil war. But the world continues to be more skewed than before. The International Day of Women is to draw the world’s attention to these skewed goings-on where what matters to women can be better focused on. This year, it is how rural women can be better empowered. Ordinarily, this would not have been a hard thing to accomplish. The rural areas are bristling with unploughed opportunities if only the men, who control more than eighty per cent of the world’s resources, would just turn their minds to it. Women are ready to cultivate lands if only they are given more access to bank loans made softer. Women are interested in participating in the politics of their local areas if only the men would not monopolise the game and strangulate it beyond recognition. Right now, very few women would dare to be part of the nocturnal activities the men call politics. They would rather stay home, look after their children and be poor. Women need cottage industries to work in. Very many natural gifts and talents of women are wasting because of lack of resources to develop such talents. Just look at your basket weaving, pottery-, bead-, lace-, needlework-, and artefact-making industries and much more that can lift women’s living standard up and provide self-

fulfilling work: these are presently not being done because there are no resources. Don’t get me wrong; this is not a men-bashing essay. I have not come to drown men in disparaging or deprecating verbiages. No, not at all; but if indeed, men control the source of the world’s resources, and also the means by which it may be accumulated, what then do you want me to say? The intention of this article is to draw attention to the fact that women are being strangulated good and proper by the society dominated by you know who. If things continue like this, it would only end in a pyrrhic victory that is worse than defeat: men would be in charge but homes would continue to suffer, children would continue to grow up depraved, lives would continue to be ruined, Nigerian living standards will continue to plummet and the nation would continue to pay. We can begin by having a bank for women, that focuses particularly on the rural areas. Having very few chances among the larger body in the formal market, most Nigerian women are in the informal market, engaging in the pepper and salt part of the economy. With access to a more ‘merciful’ banking system which grants soft loans, however, women can develop themselves systematically and end their own cycle of poverty and hunger. It is important to open up avenues of wealth for women everywhere, particularly in the rural areas, so that things may change, for the better.



Comment & Analysis

Power politics or T welfare politics? Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the history of African nationalist political thought



S to be expected, this lecture discusses Nigeria's contemporary challenges and predicaments, but I would like to be more in keeping with the passion of the great statesman himself: the preeminent politician, Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909-1987), who was, in his lifetime, inevitably consumed by similar challenges and predicaments as well as the crushing power of negative forces and opposition. However, he met these challenges with a tenacity and passion. He survived the struggles of early life, worked hard as a young man, and used his talents and skills for the development of a greater number. Similarly, the contributions of Chief Obafemi Awolowo to the development of Nigeria cannot be overstated in this or any lecture devoted to his enduring legacy. His contributions were monumental, enduring, and still visible today. I will locate Chief Awolowo within a broader framework of African intellectual history since the nineteenth century. No one has put Awolowo in such a larger, global, continental context before, to explore his legacy as part of continental intellectual movements and growth and of cultural-religious history, and within the generalities and specificities of Nigerian/Yoruba history and politics. He was part of two forces: those of colonial and post-colonial African emerging political thought and those of Nigerian nationalism. Placing Awolowo within this larger context enables us to appreciate the bigger picture, to understand the dreams of a pioneer generation: dreams that have been stalled by the values of our milieu imposed on us by a class of the most corrupt politicians who have been the burden of our history to endure. The current mood has been

By Toyin Falola

based on the pursuit of this vision. Welfare politics, he argued, would generate patriotism and loyalty to the state in a way that would keep Nigeria stable, orderly, and peaceful. Intellectual Paradigm, Tradition, and the Foundation of a Leader Western education in Africa created the new elite, invested them with power, and made them the most important participant in the modernizing sectors of society. The governments of post-independence Africa expanded facilities, created new schools at all levels, devoted considerable budgets to education, created opportunities to train girls and women, and promoted African languages and literatures. Education became an important part of national politics. I have started with the context of Western education because it explains much about Chief Awolowo and his most important legacy: the rapid spread of Western education. Chief Awolowo's journey began when his parents wanted him to go to school, an education that came with Spartan discipline at the slightest of mistake. This included his struggle to navigate the social realities tied to being in an environment filled with youth. However, the social struggle he experienced during this time allowed him to shape his understandings of the world. This statement that "any position, status or preferment that comes only by mere patronage or favouritism has never since interested me" strikes at the very core of his work ethic that developed as a result: rugged individualism that disregards ascriptive rights. For that spirit of individualism to work, education became a key, and the conversion of that knowledge to skill sets could bring rewards and satisfaction. Along the way, he acquired the values of defiance, toughness, fearlessness, and truth. He acquired both secular and religious training, and he benefitted from the rich legacy of missionary education. In 1926, he spent a year at Wesley College, the famous teacher training school at Ibadan. Wesley not only imparted academic knowledge but respect for legitimate labour and humility. He also imbibed strong habits of discipline in terms of consumption, hard work, and resoluteness. When his cocoa business collapsed in 1939, he entered in his diary of March 7, 1939, a poetic chemistry of hope, even in downfall: After rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes the glorious dawn.

conditioned to respond to a reality and an epistemology created for us by those in power: a confrontation with mismanagement and the corrosive power of corruption. Current discursive strategies and paradigms tend to be confrontational or aggressive, but this is inevitable when the people tend to think that development and progress elude them. In recent times, so distrustful and alienated are so many people that they no longer trust their governments and regard the words of their political leaders as empty and morally offensive. But our past, the one represented by Chief Awolowo, and a vibrant intellectual generation, was full of greater promises. By highlighting the success of Awolowo, we celebrate African genius as well as demonstrate that scholarship has been deliberately constructed to serve the true needs of the state and the nation. Writing on the eve of Nigeria's independence, and as part of the intellectual bedrock to policies, Chief Awolowo clearly defined the objectives that Nigeria should pursue, an injunction that merits repeating even today: "As we enter into independence, the thought that must be uppermost in many Nigerian minds is how best to organize and administer the affairs of our country and to cultivate the goodwill and friendship of our neighbours, for the welfare and happiness of our people, (Abridged text of the 2012 Awo and the general good of man- Foundation Lecture, Friday, March kind... In determining what our 9, Lagos, Nigeria, by Professor Toyin defence and foreign policies Falola). Falola is the Frances should be, we must first of all Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Prosettle in our minds which of two fessor in History and a Distinguished types of politics we prefer: power Teaching Professsor at the Univerpolitics or welfare politics." Chief sity of Texas at Austin, USA. Awolowo chose "welfare politics," and his entire career was •To be continued next week

HE South Africans are an ungrateful lot. After all Nigeria did for them during the struggle against apartheid, white minority rule and the relentless tyranny of the Boers they have done nothing but treat us with disrespect, disdain and contempt. A glaring example of this is their shameful treatment of our Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, at Johannesbourg airport a few years ago when this respected and much-loved international statesman was stopped by the immigration officials, treated like a common criminal and kept waiting for hours simply because he was a Nigerian. Though Soyinka had a valid visa he was only allowed into the country after the intervention of a high ranking South African government official who was contacted by the Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa in the middle of the night. So unpleasant was that experience for Professor Soyinka that he vowed before the world that he would never travel to South Africa again. Sadly nothing appears to have changed since then. The deportation and humiliation of no less than 125 of our people (all of whom had valid visas) at Johannesburg airport just a few days ago for allegedly not having valid yellow fever vaccination certificates is just the latest chapter in that sordid catalogue of insults. They did this after Arik Nigeria, our leading airline carrier, faithfully flew our people from Lagos directly to Johannesburg. The South African authorities denied them entry and promptly put the majority of those passengers back on board the plane and compelled Arik to fly them back home there and then. I feel particularly bad about this because as Minister of Aviation a few years ago I was one of those that fought hard for Nigerian airline carriers to secure most of the international routes that they are plying and that our people are enjoying today. I am particularly impressed by Arik's robust reaction to the incident when they threatened to simply stop flying to South Africa if the authorities were not ready to treat our people and their passengers with respect, fairness, sensitivity and decency. I am also glad that the Federal Government itself has risen to the occasion and has found the courage to reciprocate the South African gesture by denying entry into our country and promptly deporting 75 South African air travellers that arrived at Lagos airport just a few days. They gave the same reason as the South Africans had earlier done for this action. They have also deported a further 56 South Africans since then. This was an appropriate reaction though it is only a first step. However more steps have to follow and we must go much further than that. Nigerians in South Africa have suffered racial discrimination, unjustifiable incarceration, humiliation, murder, beatings, insults, persecution, unfair trade practices, the most vicious form of racialstereotyping and all manner of crimes and indignities from the South African authorities and the local population on a regular basis. This has been going on for the last twenty two years, it is institutionalised, it is systemic and it appears to be getting worse. Such cheek and consistently uncharitable acts channeled towards a friendly African country is inexplicable and sicken-


Warning to the 'Rainbow Nation' By Femi Fani-Kayode ing. This is all the more so when it is coming from a so-called ''rainbow nation'' with black legs, a brown torso, a coloured neck and a big white Boer head and mentality. Can this sort of thing really be happening to our people in the land of the great Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, Tokyo Sexwale and Cyril Ramphosa? Nigeria shed her blood, spent her treasure and made monumental and painful sacrifices for over 40 years for these people and for that land through the darkest years when they were regarded as being sub-human and mere ''drawers of the water'' and ''hewers of the wood'' by their white Boer overlords and compatriots. Have our South African brothers and sisters forgotten so soon? We may have our own fair share of challenges in this country and we may still be struggling with our own internal differences and contradictions but let those that seek to shame and humiliate our people make no mistake about it- Nigeria is still the giant of Africa and no-one, not even the biggest economic players on the world stage, have ever been able to bring us to our knees. South Africa would be best advised not to provoke a regional conflict whose outcome she cannot predict and which she cannot possibly contain, control, handle or win. The number of South African companies that are fleecing Nigeria today are enormous. In the light of what has happened they should all be closely scrutinised and probed and where they are found wanting they should be kicked out. Enough of these insults from people that are very far behind us in terms of enlightenment, civilisation, culture and education. Nigeria is just too big and too good to be treated in this way. The South Africans may have more fighter jets, tanks and war ships than we do but they do not have the fighting spirit, discipline, courage, ferocity, professionalism and experience of the Nigerian ground forces and infantry. No nation on the African continent

does. Our efforts in Chad, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Burma, the Congo, Angola, Mozambique and countless other nations over the decades where we have fought, shed our blood, kept the peace and made our input can bear testimony to that. The average South African does not have the spirit and appetite for war and aggression and the ability to forcefully resist evil and stand up against injustice that the average Nigerian has cultivated over the last 52 years. Our civil war, in which over two million people died for a cause, is sufficient evidence of that. In any case they are the ones with the massive economic and financial investments in Nigeria whilst Nigerian companies have been effectively and systematically shut out of the South African market right from the outset. In this respect if the conflict widens and it comes to an economic war the South Africans have far more to lose than we do. The truth is that nothing forges Nigerian unity more than any form of aggression or hostility from outsiders and foreigners. This is because before anything else we are first and foremost Nigerians and we are ready to sacrifice all in order to defend our honour, our land, our dignity, our citizens and our integrity even if it means doing so with the last drop of our blood. The South Africans must not mistake our liberal values, our generous disposition and our friendly and genial nature for weakness or stupidity. Behind our smile lies a proud heart and a resolve of steel. We do not shirk. We are slow to anger but irresistible in battle. Our history, our lineage, our stock, our ancestry and our strength of purpose tells our story. They should read that story well before going any further. Nigerians are very tough, very resilient and very hard people. We are not just titans but we are the immortals. The South Africans would do well not to not dare us, and not to wake up our sleeping sword lightly. •Fani-Kayode was former Minister of Aviation








2015: North in search of fresh candidates


OLITICAL stakeholders in the North are said to be leaving no stone unturned over the bid by the region to ensure the emergence of a northerner as the president of Nigeria after the 2015 general elections. Sources within and outside the three zones of the north told The Nation that the thinking in the North is that come 2015, everything necessary should be done to ensure that the region regains the presidential position it lost to the south following the death of late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua in 2009. It would be recalled that the fierce attempt put up by the north to displace the then acting President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 ended with the defeat of all presidential aspirants of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party’s convention. Jonathan eventually went on win the general election.

Fresh wine for old bottles

Reeling from the 2011 loss, stakeholders in the region are now said to have resolved to embark on a search for fresh presidential aspirants as a way of ensuring the emergence of a Nigerian president of northern extraction in 2015. Consequently, various committees have been mandated to work on the 2015 presidency project. One of such is the one saddled with the task of ensuring the emergence of new faces in the contest for the presidency. The committee, headed by a former Secretary to the Federal Government, is expected to advise and convince some shortlisted potential presidential candidates to throw their hats into the ring and wrestle for the presidency in 2015. “The idea is that if the north intends to win the presidency come 2015, there is need for it to present new candidates that will attract votes outside the region. The stakeholders came to this conclusion after it was generally assumed that the known candidates may no longer be sellable beyond the northern states,” a source told The Nation. Our source who is a member of one of the committees also revealed that the north is not oblivious of the possibility of Presi-

As some northern groups and political leaders express concern over renewed presidential ambition by ‘old war horses,’ Dare Odufowokan reports that the region may have evolved plans aimed at ensuring emergence of fresh candidates

dent Goodluck Jonathan making another shot for the plum job. “We are not unconscious of that possibility. It is for this reason, among others, that we are now saying we must look beyond our known aspirants if we must present a formidable quest for the presidency in 2015. It is no longer comfortable to tell Nigerians we want the presidency because we are the north. It is more appropriate to offer the very best of candidates for Nigerians to choose from,” he said.

Plot within PDP

Another committee, according to another source, is saddled with working out modalities on how a northern presidential aspirant will emerge as the PDP candidate come 2015. “This is because the stakeholders believe the PDP is the best political platform upon which the north can regain the presidency. It is our view that we lost in 2011 because we allowed ourselves to be outsmarted in the struggle for the presidential ticket of the ruling party. That is one mistake we want to avoid this time around,” said the source. The challenge for the region, it was gathered, is how to raise a candidate that is without blemish with a view to attracting support and acceptance for such ‘fresh’ contender from zones outside the region. “It is a widely held view across the north as we speak that if we are serious about clinching the presidency, we have to do away with the same old faces like Ibrahim Babangida, Muhammadu Buhari and even former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. “The argument is that none of them can really provide strong opposition to President Jonathan if he decides to vie again, because they are seen to have liabilities here and there. Since many people still regard President Jonathan as a new breed, we need to come up with something similar, if not better,” the source said.

Already the contact sub-committee saddled with reaching out to potential candidates has drawn up a list of prominent northern politicians and other personalities that can be considered for the plum job. The names on this highly classified list, according to very reliable sources, include Alhaji Namadi Sambo, current Vice President, David Mark, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, a Senator and former governor of Kwara State, Babangida Aliyu, current Niger State Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Aliko Dangote, a business mogul and founder of Dangote Group.


Faces and voices behind the push

It is believed that the effort towards coordinating the north’s challenge for the presidency in 2015 is being championed by the Northern Leaders’ Forum (NLF). supported by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Union (NU), while the Northern Senators’ Forum (NSF) and the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) have sent representatives to the stakeholders’ meetings at several times. Sources at the National Assembly told The Nation that the senators had started discussions with key stakeholders within and outside the North over the 2015 presidential race. It was gathered that the Senators, led by a former governor of Kano State, Senator Kabiru Gaya, recently met with prominent political leaders across the region, ostensibly to woo them in supporting the aspiration of the northern stakeholders. Sources in the National Assembly said the senators met with former national chairman of the PDP, Chief Solomon Lar; former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ghali Umar Na’aba; former Kano State governor, Mallam Ibrahim

•Dangote Shekarau, among others.

The fear of old war-horses

Meanwhile, northern youths, on Thursday said there is no cause for concern over renewed presidential aspiration of some politicians within the zone whom they described as ‘old breed.’ The youths, under the auspices of the Arewa Youth Coalition (AYC), said the electorate should not be bothered about the alleged plans by some of the old politicians to contest the presidency as plans are on •Continued on Page 21





The conviction of former Delta State Governor James Ibori by a United Kingdom court casts another dent on the nation’s judiciary, writes Sunday Oguntola


VERYONE knew he stole. But corruption and criminal charges against him failed in Nigeria. Former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori succeeded in pulling the wool over the nation’s judiciary. A Federal High Court in Asaba dismissed a corruption suit against him. An Abuja High Court also ruled he was not the same James Onanefe Ibori charged before an Upper Area Court in Abuja, tried, convicted and sentenced in 1995 after pleading guilty to a two count charge of negligent conduct and criminal breach of trust. Appeal Courts and even the Supreme Court acquitted the former Governor of any wrongdoing. But on February 27 in far away London, Ibori pleaded guilty to a 10-count charge of money-laundering and conspiracy to defraud. Ibori, at London’s Southwark crown court, admitted to stealing public funds and laundering same through a number of offshore companies. Prosecutor Sasha Wass told the court Ibori had accepted he was involved in “wide-scale theft, fraud and corruption when he was governor of Delta state”. The fraud, according to the confessional statement, totaled more than $79m ((£50m), said to be part of total embezzlement that could exceed $250m (£157m). Ibori has a long list of crimes. In 199, while working in a hardware store in the London suburb of Neasden, he was caught by his employer allowing his wife walk through the till he was manning without paying for goods. They pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court and were fined. In 1992, he was convicted for possession of a stolen credit card, which had £1,000 spent on it, and was again fined in a UK court. In the mid-1990s, Ibori was questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the US on how he came into the possession of millions of dollars transferred to accounts in the US. The FBI suspected the money came from advance fee

Discharged at home, convicted abroad fraud but he was able to prove the money came from his work with the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha. To conceal these convictions and criminal records, Ibori allegedly used a false date of birth when running for the governorship of Delta. Wass disclosed, “Mr Ibori tricked his way into public office. He had tricked the Nigerian authorities and the Nigerian voters. He was thus never the legitimate governor of Delta state. “We are pleased with today’s guilty pleas which mark the culmination of a seven-year inquiry into James Ibori’s corrupt activities,” said Detective Inspector Paul Whatmore of the Metropolitan police. The former Governor racked up credit card bills of $200,000 a month and owned a fleet of armoured Range Rovers, said the prosecution. He was trying to buy a plane for £20m at the time he was arrested. That it took a British court to convict Ibori of his criminal activities is a big indictment of the nation’s judicial system. Analysts have wondered how he beat Nigeria’s judicial inquiry only to be exposed in the UK. Ibori who wielded immense political power until the death of former President Umaru Yar’Adua is believed to have bribed his way to escaping conviction in Nigeria. He also thrived on high-powered official protection. Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was said to have desperate moves to

bring Ibori to book for his flagrant lootings. But then Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Michael Andoakaa stood against Ibori’s prosecution, which fuelled suspicion the flamboyant politician was under government’s protection. An angry Ribadu reportedly smuggled incriminating documents against Ibori to the United Kingdom, which led to his prosecution. This, it was gathered, was why Andoakaa and Ribadu fought to the fight at that time. Those who spoke with our correspondent averred that Ibori escaped conviction in Nigeria because of judicial corruption. They alleged the judiciary has been compromised to allow corrupt public officers like Ibori escape with their loots. Chief Ayo Opadokun said it is a shameful that the same acquitted at home has been condemned overseas. According to him, “It is a shame on the Nigeria nation and the Nigerian Judiciary too that this one called James Ibori who governed Delta State is being exposed abroad. That the man has been jailed two times in London. ‘’He was jailed here in Abuja again for criminal theft. The magistrate that sentenced him came to court to testify that this is the James Ibori he jailed. Yet, the Supreme Court said it has not been sufficiently established.Now Ibori has pleaded guilty in London of having stolen money. We knew all these ones before but it took the British court to tell our own people that Ibori whom we said was a saint is a thief.’’

‘’It is an albatross on the neck of Nigerian Judiciary; it will continue to haunt the Nigerian Judiciary eternally. They have played the ostrich when it comes to Ibori’s matter. This conviction of Ibori stands eternally as an albatross on the Nigerian Judiciary, particularly under the leadership of the time the event took place.’’

On how this has dented the nation’s judiciary, he said, ‘’It is an albatross on the neck of Nigerian Judiciary; it will continue to haunt the Nigerian Judiciary eternally. They have played the ostrich when it comes to Ibori’s matter. This conviction of Ibori stands eternally as an albatross on the Nigerian Judiciary, particularly under the leadership of the time the event took place.’’ Lagos lawyer and human rights activist Modupe Oduguwa described Ibori’s conviction abroad as a shameful development to the nation’s judiciary. She said, ‘’There is no running away from the fact that the Ibori saga has exposed the Nigerian judiciary. This is the same man who was given a clean bill by Nigerian Courts. It is saddening to note that no court in Nigeria found Ibori culpable, not to even mention guilty. ‘’It is so shameful that the Nigerian Judiciary could not rise up to the occasion on this Ibori matter. It is not to any advantage for us that an Ibori who stole Delta State dry is being exposed abroad. Here is a man who has been jailed several times before he became governor. He was jailed here in Nigeria and in London. He was jailed for criminal theft. It was not a hidden thing. It was the same judiciary that jailed him that couldn’t find the records of his conviction.’’ She stated that the handling of his case has exposed the fact that money must have exchanged hands. ‘’When the EFCC took him to court again for corruptly enriching himself while he was governor, the Court said the case was not sufficiently established. He was set free to continue his activities. Sadly, today Ibori has pleaded guilty in London of stealing the same money our courts said he never even saw. We should be ashamed that it took the British court to tell us Ibori stole Nigerian money. ‘’As a lawyer, I see this as a shameful development. I think it should serve as a catalyst for the judiciary here to embark on massive reorganisation. In fact I think what we need is the overhauling of the system.’’




ripples More headaches for Mr. Fix-it


LL is still not well with the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). If anything, there appears to be more trying days ahead for the embattled party and its commander, Chief Anthony Anenih, the former chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees. Before now, the hurdle before the ageing politician was how to retain his grip on the party in the state. This was in the face of what his critics described as his dwindling political fortunes. Right under his nose, various factions within the party struggled for prominence. Pundits had predicted the failure of his anointed candidate at the party’s gubernatorial primary, but Anenih proved them wrong. His preferred aspirant, Major-General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.) clinched the ticket, albeit amidst controversy. With that Mr. Fix-it, as he is called, sent another clear signal that he was still in the mould of swinging political surprises. But as he was still singing his victory song, the Edo godfather developed new political headaches. First, aggrieved PDP aspirants went to town with tales of how he single handedly foisted Airhiavbere on the party, ahead of better qualified aspirants. There was even the allegation that the retired soldier settled some powerful quarters before he was endorsed. This was followed by the allegation by Loius Odion, the Edo State Commissioner for Information that Anenih was after his life. Many observers blamed the aged political leader for threatening a government official over mere political differences. The heat generated by Odion’s outburst is still scathing both Anenih and his party, the PDP, ahead 2012 governorship election in the state. But that is not all. It seems more troubles have lined up for the embattled godfather of Edo politics. While some aggrieved PDP aspirants in the state have conspired to ensure


Anenih and his governorship candidate’s failure, a source said the leadership of the party at the national level, are beginning to feel uncomfortable, wondering if Mr. Fix-it is still capable of boosting the party’s fortunes in the state. Rumoured PDP aspirants’ resolve to work against the party at the polls is currently causing panic within the camp of the Esan-born politician. Though he is said to be making frantic efforts to reach out to the concerned politicians, it is feared that Anenih may not be making much headway this time. Perhaps that explains why he recently summoned a stakeholders’ meeting of the party in Benin City. But the meeting was poorly attended as prominent party leaders in the state boycotted the parley on the excuse that the attempt by Anenih to involve them in the party’s preparation towards the gubernatorial poll came too late. “He cannot be inviting us to come and discuss the governorship election after he single handedly imposed a candidate on the people. He should go it all alone. We are watching to see how far he can go this time,” a leader of the PDP in Edo Central said. So, as Anenih battles to safeguard the fortunes of the party in the state, he is also conscious of an alleged plot by some people at the top to find a new rallying point for Edo PDP if he fails to deliver Edo State back to the party. It remains to be seen therefore how the grandmaster would heal his many political headaches.


Cloud over Olajumoke’s moves


HERE appears to be so much uncer tainty surrounding the political ca reer of Dr. Bode Olajumoke, the immediate past senator that represented Ondo North in the National Assembly. Tale bearers are currently feasting on his future political moves. While many are ready to swear that Olajumoke, who lost his senate seat to Professor Ajayi Boroffice of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) during the 2011 general election, would dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), others are saying the senator is working hard at repositioning the PDP in Ondo North. His planned defection, a source said, is not without a good reason as it is designed to further his ambition of returning to the senate in 2015. As a political leader in the area explained it, “with Professor Boroffice’s declaration of intention to contest the governorship of the state later this year, Olajumoke may be positioning himself to return to the senate. This may explain his plan to join the ACN.” There is however another school of thought that says the senator may have joined the Labour Party ahead of the 2012 governorship election. As a way of curtailing the overwhelming influence of ACN in the state, it is alleged that Governor Segun Mimiko had been desperate to woo political bigwigs in the state, especially in Ondo North. The calculation is that Olajumoke would help Mimiko to confront the raging force of the ACN in Ondo North in exchange for a political life line afterwards. Olajumoke was elected as senator in the 5th (2003–2007) National Assembly on the platform of the PDP, to represent Ondo North Senatorial District. He was re-elected in 2007 for a further four-year term. While in the senate, he was a member of senate committees on Navy, National Planning, Foreign Affairs, Employment, Labour and Productivity, Downstream Petroleum, Defence and Army.

Masari’s ambition Orji’s many battles threatened P

T is no longer news that former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari has declared his intention to stay out of partisan politics for now. The southern Katsina-born ex-lawmaker announced his sabbatical after he was schemed out of the race for the governorship ticket of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Katsina state. And following the victory of Masari’s former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the governorship election, little has been heard of the ex-Speaker. We learnt he is also nolonger on talking terms with CPC leader, General Muhammadu Buhari over the latter’s role in denying him the party’s ticket in 2011. Also with Masari’s arch-rival, Governor Ibrahim Shema, at the helm of affairs in the Government House, his associates are alleging that everything is being done to frustrate and keep him in political oblivion. Sources said this may be why subtle efforts by Masari to return to the PDP have

yielded no fruits. Because of this development, Masari’s alleged plan to return to the national assembly in 2015 may be under threat.

OLITICAL opponents of Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State gave him a hard tackle at Aba Township Stadium during the lying in state of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. As the governor was acknowledging cheers from the people, some elements in the crowd pelted him with sachets of water. Since that ugly incident, tongues have been wagging. While his political opponents insisted that the development was a confirmation of the governor’s dwindling popularity, sources close to the state government said it has been ascertained that it was the handiwork of political enemies of the governor. Orji has been involved in many political battles since he assumed the office of governor in Umuahia, especially political battles with his predecessor, Orji Uzor Kalu. Is this a flag-off of a fresh battle or just another unfortunate incidence?

North in search of fresh candidates •Continued from Page 19 the way to ensure that such aspirations are subsumed under a bigger northern interest. The National President of the AYC, Alhaji Ibrahim Mai’Kasuwa, who spoke on behalf of the youths, said nothing would be allowed to truncate the resolve of the region to return to the presidency in 2015. Nigeria’s presidency, according to him, was not an exclusive preserve of this same set of old politicians. So, he argued that what mattered most was that the region should be allowed to present a new crop of presidential hopefuls that will attract support from other zones.

The old war-horses:

Though many insiders had insisted General Muhammadu Buhari of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) will not join presidential race again, there are indications that the ex-Head of State may reconsider his stance.

While bringing his 2011 campaign to an end, he had said: “We have been struggling for liberation; I ran in 2003, same in 2007 and now in 2011, and I said, this is the last time that I will run, and the thought that some people because of abject poverty will sell their votes also made me emotional and I wept for our country.” But sources close to Buhari said the General is under immense pressure from certain quarters to prepare for the contest again. “I can only tell you that there is serious pressure on the General to run again. I cannot tell you if he will run. Let me say that the pressure is mostly from outside the north. Some groups and stakeholders in the south are of the opinion that it will take a General Buhari to stop Jonathan in 2015. Even within the civil society movement, there are talks about supporting Buhari for the presidency in 2015. But I don’t know if he will yield to the pressure,” our source, an aide of the General said. For former Military President Ibrahim

Badamasi Babangida, the presidential race may also not be over in spite of his well publicised decision not to run again after he was edged out by Adamu Chiroma-led Northern Leaders Forum in the build up to the 2011 presidential race. While it is reported that the Minna-born General will prefer to be left out of the contest in 2015, many of his aides and political associates still see a future for him in the race. Perhaps in preparation for their eventual success in convincing IBB to run again, his associates are currently busy reviving the General’s political machineries across the country. A meeting of IBB associates was recently held in Lagos. The meeting, which was called by a former gubernatorial candidate in the state, discussed the General’s truncated effort in 2011 and how to avoid the political mistakes made during that contest. Another meeting was scheduled for the month of August.

Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Turakin Adamawa, is another important member of the old politicians said to be nursing presidential ambition in 2015. The continuous funding and maintenance of the Atiku Campaign Offices located across the states of the federation is seen as a sign of his unrelenting ambition. Recently, he reconciled with former political rivals, including Governor Murtala Nyako of his home state of Adamawa and President Goodluck Jonathan. This was interpreted as part of his plan to re-launch his presidential ambition in 2015. But if the thinking and plans of the ACF, NU and NGF-supported northern stakeholders is anything to go by, the presidential ambition of all these renowned politicians may just be about to go up in smoke. But will this old political war-horses allow that to happen? The answer to this question will have a lot of effect on the desire of the north to produce the next president.




Political Politics

‘Jonathan must revoke Generals’ oil well licenses’ Former Secretary General of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and Labour Party’s candidate for Bayelsa’s Yenagoa-KolokumaOpokuma Federal Constituency in the 2011 elections, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, believes government must stop paying militants. He expressed this view in a recent interaction with some journalists, where he also spoke on alleged sharing of oil wells, federalism, call for Sovereign National Conference and new revenue sharing formula. Sam Egburonu was there. Excerpts: • Eradiri


OU are an active politician in Bayelsa State, how do you see the emergence of Seriake Dickson as governor? We are happy there is a change in Bayelsa State because for the past five years, Bayelsans were oppressed and suppressed by the Timipre Sylva-led government. In fact, young people, who were supposed to be given training; who were supposed to be encouraged, empowered and educated for tomorrow were recruited as thugs for the purpose of elections. This was a very wrong precedent and we thank God there is a change. Now, we can begin to fashion a way forward for the state. Dickson has said he is not going to pay any militant or group of people monies from the state coffers. This is very welcome because when we were young, we got to know that when you read your books and study hard, you come out and work. Gradually, you will begin to drive cars and build houses and pay your children school fees. Today, the trend in Bayelsa is that, if you can shoot a gun, if you can intimidate people, if you can snatch ballot boxes, then, you will drive a Jeep in the nearest future. And the young ones that are growing up think that is the way forward. Go to the schools, they are deserted. Young people no longer want to go to school. Monies meant for critical infrastructure in the state are in the pockets of these people. Look at the schools in Bayelsa, funds for those schools are in their pockets. There is no drinkable water in Yenagoa, as small as it is. When we talk about these things, some people call us trouble-makers. You just quoted Dickson as saying he was no longer going to pay militants. Won’t that lead to resurgence of militancy? There are over 10 million young people who went to universities but don’t have jobs and they are civil. It does not mean they cannot shoot guns. If we continue this trend, it will get to a point where you will not be able to sleep in your house. He will not pay them and nothing will happen. It is our state and that is why we are saying that Dickson should begin

with consultations with the people by holding town hall meetings. How many are these militants? They are not up to 2,000 people. So, why will you pay this particular group of people? Don’t you think I have the capacity, with the knowledge I have, to also shoot guns and be paid money? It is not accepted and will not be accepted. Dickson has extended the olive branch to his fellow contestants. What does this portend for Bayelsa politics? For me, I feel any man who has an ambition to be governor of Bayelsa State may not help his government to succeed. Dickson needs to be careful with the people he is bringing into his government because they have the ambition to sit on his seat and any man who has that ambition may capitalise on his weak points, build on it so that he will fail and the fellow would be seen as an alternative. Therefore, I am not comfortable with certain persons that he has appointed. I won’t mention names. He knows what I am talking about. Recently, there was a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics which stated that over 100 million Nigerians live below the poverty line. What do you make of this, considering the abundant natural resources in this country? Not natural resources but abundant oil wealth that they are stealing from. The fact is that despite all these statistics, there is no day they will sit down and say: what do we do? You don’t need the Bureau of Statistics to come out with these figures before you know that there is poverty in the land. We have gone beyond statistics. What we are asking for now is the solution to the problem and the solution is only when we sit down to re-write the constitution of this country. There is a document that is going round that has shown that virtually all our oil wealth is in the hands of retired generals. President Goodluck Jonathan should revoke these oil licenses because they were criminally acquired. Recently, there was a call by the Niger State Governor for a review of the revenue sharing formula. He claimed that the South-South is

getting more than the North. What is your take on that? Governors in this country are too lazy but there is no problem about reviewing it. I hope when we are reviewing it, they will bring something to the table for us to review. True federalism is where I stand. Look at the whole of this country, any infrastructure that is standing the test of time today was built by then regional government. Just show me one infrastructure that democracy has built. Nothing! True federalism, how do we get there when the government is rejecting calls for a Sovereign National Conference? No Federal Government will sit down and just accept call for Sovereign National Conference. My proposal is that all ethnic groups should go and meet, bring out their proposal and drop it on the table. People are allocating billions to themselves, see the way they have been revealing who collected subsidy money and you expect them to say yes to change? Ethnic nationalities must come out with a position but I am afraid that we are not even ready. All these leaders talking are only paying lip services to the issue. They are not prepared; by now we would have brought out a document and dropped it on the table and say without the implementation of this document, there will be no next election. These leaders talking, didn’t they know that the government will not accept their position? So, they should stop deceiving us. When we are ready for true federal system, we will show the dance step. That time, people will take us seriously. Right now, nobody is taking us seriously. Ethnic groups must be mobilised to go and write their own constitution, bring it to the table, let’s marry it, come out with a document and let’s drop it on the table and see if they will not accept it. If they reject it, we too, will not accept their own. It was the military that wrote a document and called it our constitution and forced it on us. This is the time for us to say that we are no longer using the document. The President has said the Police and other security agencies may likely not be involved in the next elections. Won’t that encourage massive rigging? We know the dance steps. That is why for us to avoid the chaos that is coming in this country, the peaceful means is for us to sit down and discuss. Should we continue like this? If we should, what are the bases for us to continue? It has been predicted that Nigeria may disintegrate before 2015. Do you think such may happen? Well, the indicators of disintegration are everywhere. You don’t need to wait for the Americans to tell us. Our security has collapsed. There is no security in this country. There is no job in this country. Everybody is coming out to call for his own rights in his own manner. For those of us who love Nigeria so much, we are saying that it is better for us not to shed blood. That calls for us to sit down and agree.


with Bolade Omonijo

PDP’s wild goose chase in Osun, Ekiti


NE general affliction of politicians in this clime is the refusal to accept defeat. Under the law, it is the right of every candidate in an election to contest the result in court if he feels aggrieved. But, there is a limit to everything. There is a hierarchy of courts. Some cases are supposed to terminate at the Court of Appeal, others at the Supreme Court. But, some desperate losers have continually attempted to put the Nigerian judiciary to shame by taking their cases to the ECOWAS court. Even a non lawyer knows that is sheer waste of the court’s time. Others, knowing that the buck ought to stop at the Appeal Court , headed for the Supreme Court, all in a morbid attempt to buy time. Legislators who engaged in such games thought they could hold on to their seats for some more time, draw fat allowances and bear unmerited titles. Eventually, they left. After they had shortchanged the rightful winners at the poll. The governorship cases in Ekiti and Ondo States have been laid to rest. The mandates snatched by the PDP in the two states have since been retrieved and handed to the ACN candidates in the two states. The progressives should be angry that the plans to genuinely transform the states had been delayed by the impostors. The people should be enraged. But, rather, it is the men who were duly found guilty of politically defrauding the people who have feigned indignation. Former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola who held on to the office undeservedly for three years keeps arguing that there was some connection between Justices of the Appeal Court who heard his appeal and lawyers of the Action Congress of Nigeria. Infuriatingly, he took the matter to the National Judicial Council and it was promptly dismissed after due investigation yielded nothing. His brother in Ekiti, who lays claim to Awoism, Olusegun Oni, joined the train. But, even after the NJC verdict which should have satisfied decent people, Oyinlola and Oni have kept the pressure up. What could be the motive? Why would a lawyer agree to approach the Appeal Court to review its decision? It seems to me that the two men just want to keep their political relevance in the two states. They believe that for as long as the red herring continues, they would grace the front pages of some newspapers and that would be enough to keep them going. They know that some of their supporters are ignorant and would believe whatever the leaders tell them. But, the general public is not that unenlightened. When they had the opportunity last year to tell their own story at the poll, the electorate showed they were with the ACN. In Osun, the party won in all constituencies, in all the elections. In Ekiti, the party was gracious to concede a few House of Assembly seats. All seats in the National Assembly went to the ACN. In a sane setting, that would be enough to show that the PDP men were not beloved of the people and, perhaps, never ever won any election in those states. To further establish the stand of the South West, when it was time for governorship elections in Ogun and Oyo States last year, the inept PDP leaders were swept off the stage. The South west people are one-sociologically and politically. This has been demonstrated over the years. They are also progressives. Whenever conservatives and reactionaries attempt to force their ways to the people’s palace, they are resisted and it sometimes leads to unpalatable consequences. In all cases, the people triumph; the pretenders lose. That was the situation in the First Republic . At the time, it appeared that the conservatives held the aces. The political leader and symbol of the progressive struggle, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, had been clamped in jail, his party decapitated. Other leaders were thrown into detention camps and a sympathetic conservative, presented as a neutral, was installed as Administrator as an emergency was declared in the region. It was a ruse meant to prepare the way for the return of the Ladoke Akintola government that clearly lacked popular support. Then, the 1964 and 1965 polls were shamelessly rigged. The people fought back. Awo and his party became more popular and we all still live with the consequences of those actions. Since then, the Awo political family and platform have triumphed at every election. The conservatives have lost the battle for the hearts of the people. The PDP “resurgence” in 2003 was a mere subterfuge. The government in power, as was the case in 1964/65, forced its way into power, but could not hold on for too long. Had Alliance for Democracy decided to fight the imposition, there would have been the same result as we had in the West in 1965, but the party’s leaders knew that the truth could not be held down for too long. The progressives won again in 2007 and an attempt to play the same trick failed in court. I hope the PDP leaders in the South west know that they are testing the patience of the people. It is clear where and with whom the people stand. Oyinlola and Oni should let peace reign. Rauf Aregbesola and Kayode Fayemi are the men of the people. The will of the people must prevail at all time.





How Igbo are killing Igbo W

HY would a brother knowingly kill his brother in cold blood? Is sheer greed and envy enough motivation for this act, or is the passion traceable to some natural genes? Cain, the biblical progenitor of this beastly instinct, was unable to proffer any satisfactory explanation for his action in the Garden of Eden, where he killed his brother, Abel, simply because God preferred his brother’s sacrifice to his. So, since then, wise men have never ceased to ponder over the reasons for this human descent. Brother killers or generations of Cain have also continued to give one flimsy excuse or the other for their inhuman acts. For Cain, envy was blamed. Today, in the affected communities in the Southeast, several ridiculous or vexatious excuses are being advanced, including struggle over little possessions like fishing ponds and renaming of a community. Irrespective of direct excuses anybody may adduce, murder itself is bad enough while killing of one’s brother, relation or neighbour, further proves the depth of human debasement even in the face of civilisation. The point is that the world may be advancing in physical manifestations of civilization, state-of-theart cars, ultra-modern houses, hitech equipments, aircrafts, computer, internet and such like, but the heart of man is still very dark, backward and wicked, like that of Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. During the colonial era, when the Whiteman purportedly brought light to the dark continent of Africa, he was quick to explain away ritual killings and inter-village wars as primitive manifestation. Africans in the Heart of Darkness were therefore portrayed as crude and wicked barbarians because they lacked civilisation.

PROLOGUE By Sam Egburonu

Cain’s generation and their bloody business So, the importance of that fictional work lies more in the shocking discovery made concerning the Whiteman, as represented by Kurtz. As Conrad’s novel shows, the Whiteman, who claimed to be an agent of light in Africa, like Kurtz, became part of the crude orgy as he moves deeper into the Heart of Darkness. The Whiteman, who came to shed light in the so-called dark continent of Africa, became a major

agent of evil as he prospered in the inhuman slave trade and allowed himself to be worshipped as a god. He tortured and killed millions of Africans in his avaricious quest for gold, an adventure that exposed the deep darkness of his heart. But that was before the jet age. That was part of the dark history of the ancient world. This is the modern world; this is 2012; an age full of the knowledge

of God and of science; a world whose knowledge and civilisation is epitomized by the wonders of the internet and other formats of the information technology, that have combined to shrink the big wide world into a tiny hi-tech village. Given the advancement, it has been taken for granted that civilisation-induced love and restraint would have obliterated such crude occurrences.

•Destroyed houses in Ezillo carnage

But it seems that is not the case in Igbo land of today, where devilish hatred in man has seemingly prospered, fueling fratricidal wars and senseless killings of brothers. At the last count, over 1000 innocent people have been slaughtered by their own kith and kin, as a result of petty struggles over farmlands, chieftaincy titles, fishing ponds, and so on. Beyond these external material reasons, it is clear that the root cause of these mindless killings is the darkness of the people’s heart. Like Kurtz, they are of the generation of Cain: evil and accursed, filled with blind hatred. Social Psychologist, Alexander Gunz, in his Situationist Theories of Hate, tries to explain why we humans seem to hate so readily and so often. In the first theory, he explores, amongst others, the personalitybased explanation by social psychologists. Such explanation will agree that the problem lies more with the people involved in this dastardly act than the material things under contention. What is happening in some villages in the Southeast today, where brothers are killing their brothers, is a clear proof that many have not learnt the lessons in Elechi Amadi’s classic novel, The Great Ponds, which dramatises the devastating effects of communal war between neighbouring villages of Chiolu and Aliakoro. Even in that rustic Igbo setting, when heroism was largely celebrated, it was clear that war between brothers is senseless and costly. So, actors in this current barbaric bloodbath in the Southeast, who pride themselves in this age and time as village heroes and heroines, are nothing but accursed and despicable elements Ndigbo and Nigerians must be ashamed of having as brothers, sisters and fellow citizens.

Ebonyi communal bloodbaths From Abakaliki, Ogbonnaya Obinna gives a chilling account of the many communal wars in Ebonyi State within the last three months


•Offor: One of the victims of the clashes

HE dawn of December 31, 2011, came to the Ezillo community in Ebonyi State with a full dose of bitterness as some blood thirsty assailants invaded the village. By the time the killers departed, many souls and properties have been wasted. So, as the rest of the world celebrated the birth of 2012 with shouts of joy on January 1, Ezillo community mourned. From that late December, 2011 to this March, 2012, at least six other communal crises have been reported in different communities in Ebonyi State alone. These have led to the death of over 100 people. The worst affected communities in the state include Ezillo in Ishielu Local Government Area, Inyimagu and the Akpo-Amaka in Ikwo Local Government Area.

It is suspected that the New Year eve invasion in Ezillo was a reaction to the October 2008 land dispute between the people of Ezza-Ezillo and the Ezillo community, which led to the killing of more than 150 persons in both communities, including innocent motorists and commuters who were continuously waylaid along the Ezillo axis of the Enugu-Abakaliki express road. The motorists were either shot or burnt by some militants who operated in a guerrilla manner. Prominent people killed while the crisis lasted, excluding indigenes of Ezillo community, included a top civil servant from Cross River State, indigenes of Mbaise in Imo State, among others. The communal war led to the closure of the Enugu-Abakaliki express

road for more than two years, until the then Inspector-General of Police, through the Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, Dipo Ayeni, authorised the deployment of more than 1000 mobile policemen, who arrived the state and sacked the militants. The state government, in its effort to ensure lasting peace in the area, demarcated the land and gave the EzzaEzillo people another portion of land to inhabit. But while it was planning to provide electricity and create access roads to the new location, the Ezza- Ezillo people dragged the state government to court, prompting the suspension of work in the area. For more than one year, there was relative peace in the area. But some observers described the

•Continued on Page 24




•Continued from Page 23 peace in the area as peace of the graveyard. So, in the surprise early morning attack, gunmen numbering more than 20 persons invaded the community, killing everyone at sight, including a police officer, identified as a Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) in charge of the police station in the area. When The Nation visited the scene, those killed included aged men, women, youths and children between the ages of three (3) to five (5). An eyewitness, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, said the gunmen invaded the community around 5a.m with an unidentified vehicle, divided themselves into groups. He also said they first opened fire on Ezillo Police Station, adding that some of the attackers, who stationed themselves at the Afor Ezillo market, also opened fire on people. Eze said they were still asleep when the gunmen attacked. On hearing gunshots, most of them ran out of their homes to take refuge inside the buses but those who stationed themselves inside the buses killed them. Another eyewitness, who lost all the members of his family, Mr. Jacob Okoro, said “we were still sleeping when we heard gunshots and people running and yelling. I and my family members ran out from the house so as to run into the bush but to our astonishment, as we were running out from the house, many were hit by bullets. I cannot really say how I escaped death. I have lost everything, our compound that has about 32 persons; only three persons escaped the bullets of the gunmen. When we ran out of the house, we saw some young men and we thought they were also running for safety not knowing they were the gunmen. So, as we ran towards them, they just shot and killed many,” he said, holding back tears. Our reporter, who visited the scene of the incident, observed that the bodies of another family who were escaping from the gunmen in their car ran into the gunmen and were set ablaze with the entire family burnt inside the car. It was also observed that hundreds of empty shells of AK47 littered the Ezillo axis of the Enugu-Abakaliki Express road while some youths of Ezillo were seen still bringing out more corpses from the nearby bushes. The State Governor, Martin Elechi, could not hold back tears on seeing the

Ebonyi communal bloodbaths

•Destroyed vehicles in Ezillo carnage

number of dead bodies that littered the express road. The Nation also observed that the gunmen did not spare even donkeys as they burnt down Afor Ezillo Market, filling stations and residential houses. The Ebonyi State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adeola Adeniyi, who accompanied Governor Elechi, to the scene of the attack on the same day, described the incident as regrettable and unfortunate, adding that the then InspectorGeneral of Police approved the deployment of mobile policemen from Cross River, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states to assist those in Ebonyi. Ogbodo and Igbeagu’s crisis On January 16, 2012, over 1000 persons were displaced by a group of enraged youths in Ogbodo village of Igbeagu community in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The youths, according to reports, went in mass to the homes of their fellow village members, blocked entrances leading to the area, destroyed properties worth millions of naira and chased them out of the village due to unresolved differences revolving around the inauguration of a new village head and control of political influence in the area. The Nation gathered that the village and its leadership have long been di-

•Motorbike thrown into hnad dug well during communal crisis

“ am beI know when ing deceived, let no one try to deceive me, I don’t like it. There are people within this hall who know the perpetrators of the crime in Ezillo, there are people within this hall who have a hand in that crime, that is why civil wars are more difficult to fight than wars between nations because wherever you have 12 apostles, one of them must be Judas Iscariot. “ vided along two interest groups allegedly piloted by the village head, Chief Adum Edward. The displaced persons,


who were ardent supporters of the deposed village head, were displaced by their brothers for not supporting the

Ekpe-Omaka and Inyimogu tragedies


S the state was still battling to come to terms with the brutal killings in Ezillo, another communal crisis rocked the people of Ekpe-Omaka and Inyimagu community in Ikwo South-East Development Centre, Ikwo Local Government Area also of Ebonyi State. The communal crisis claimed the life of at least nine persons but unconfirmed report has it that the death toll rose to 20 with properties worth millions of naira destroyed. The communal clash, which erupted in the early hours of February 2, 2012, followed claims by the two communities over the right of possession and ownership of a piece of an agricultural land and fish pound lying between the two communities. An eyewitness, who spoke to our reporter on grounds of anonymity, said the contest over the ownership of the piece of land and the fish pond had seen the two communities take up arms against each other, each farming season. The eyewitness said, “This problem has been in existence for more than 10 years now but the problem normally erupts each time the farming season draws near. Even when the farming season ends and the ponds are filled with fish, the problem resumes again. The problem is as a result of a disputed land between the two communities. “Regrettably, there is a specific

boundary but allegation of encroachment has always triggered off the clash,” he said. The Nation investigation shows that the natural fish pond in question is lying in the disputed land in an area known as Akataka. Both Ekpa- Omaka and Inyimagu, live and share the Akataka area, known for its rich natural agricultural resources and have good natural waterways rich with fishes. It is usually in an effort to fish in one of these waterways that occasions the continuous crisis. A community leader, who also pleaded anonymity, said the two communities have fought wars in the late 1980s over land boundaries that stretched up to several kilometers, adding that in 2008, Ekpe-Omaka and Echara communities fought another war making the area volatile. He explained that because of the sour relationship between the people of Echara and that of Ekpa Omeka, during the clash, the people could not escape through Echera, making it possible for them to fall to the attack of Inyimagu people. When contacted, the National President of Ndiagu-Echara Development Association, Hon. Sunday Nwonu, denied the allegation that Echara community refused the people from taking refuge in the community, adding that the community mobilised resources to stop the crisis from escalating. He said some of the people of Ekpa-Omeka, who took ref-

uge in the community, are still there, pointing out that the leaders of the community have joined other leaders from Ikwo to broker peace in the disputed area. Reacting to the crisis, the council Chairman of Ikwo Local Government Area, Hon. Celestine Igberi Nweme, who confirmed the crisis, said as at now, it could not be said that the nine persons have been killed since their corpses have not been seen. The communal crisis left more than 2000 persons displaced. As at the time of filing this report, hostility has continued in the community with more people injured. The people had said they had to flee from their homes following incessant killings of their people by the people of Inyimagu community. It was learnt that the community had petitioned the state government following the economic hardship they were exposed to since taking refuge in the near-by communities. Some of the displaced persons, who spoke to our correspondent, said since government intervention in the crisis there has been relative peace but noted that such kind of peace could be described as the peace of the graveyard. Mr. Ifeanyi Ogah, for example said; “Yes, since the government intervention and the visit of some major stakeholders from the two communities, we can say we now have relative peace but we must not deceive our-

selves, what we are experiencing now could be simply described as the peace of the graveyard. “I must tell you, there is anguish, bitterness and frustration amongst the people. Some of these people you see here had homes but now they have been displaced and are currently taking refuge in another community. The question is, when would they go home? If they do, are they sure of security of their lives because you can’t talk of properties since all they can boast of have been destroyed? Another displaced person, Mrs. Veronica Onwe, said, “This problem has been there for a very long time now and the state governor is aware of it. What baffles me is the inability of the governor, who comes from the local government, to intervene and ensure a lasting solution to the problem. “Our people are slaughtered always like goats because we don’t have people in government. The people of Inyimagu boast of the big ones in government and they are more populated than us, so they can always do anything and get away with it. All we are asking the governor is to intervene and help us continue with our lives,” she said. Meanwhile, the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Josephine Elechi, has visited the community to condole with the affected families. She urged the people to embrace peace, adding that no meaningful development would be achieved in an atmosphere of rancour and dispute.

new village head selected by a faction of the village. The displaced persons are now refugees in Ndubia, a nearby village in the community. It would be recalled that similar disturbances had occurred in the area on March 18, 2011 in which properties worth millions of naira were destroyed as seven suspects, Mr. Augustine Obiya, Christopher Igube, Innocent Orji, Michael Aguiyi, George Aguiyi, Oke Nwali and Basil Mbam were arrested and charged to court for conspiracy, arson and malicious damage. In a petition, the aggrieved members of the village had earlier informed the Commissioner of Police in the state, Adeola Adeniji, about the threat by the rivalry group to cause mayhem in the area even as they called on the security operatives to beef up security in the area. The spokesman for the displaced group, Mr. Nwofe Pius Nwele, stated that the incident started on 2nd January, after a new village head, Mr. Aguiyi Michael was installed, contrary to the wishes and guidelines laid down by the people of the area. He lamented that about 45 families in the village had been displaced as a result of the crisis, adding that policemen, who were deployed to the area to tackle the menace, were driven away by the rampaging youths. “Regrettably, the thugs did not only chase us out from the village, they also dug a big trench along the only road that leads to the village so that the police team dispatched to quell the crisis would not gain entrance to the village. The Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) deployed to the area could not get to the village because of the trench. As it is now, we don’t even know when we can get back to our different homes again,” he lamented.

•Continued on Page 67





It’s too late for Nigeria to breakup



URING the fuel subsidy crisis, you said President Jonathan inherited the problems he faced. Do you think he handled the matter well? What I said he should do about the matter then was that he should make the greatest sacrifice and I think that is what happened. Like I always said, no form of government compares with democracy. Nobody has ever been able to invent anything better than democracy. Consequently, we must always respect the democratic structures we have. So, because the President was elected by the people, he would have to continue listening to his people and I am glad President Jonathan understands that. Yes, he is a victim of an inherited problem. He didn’t create any of the problems we have today. The fuel subsidy issue has been there for decades with nobody ready to tackle it the way he did. He has not done badly at all. He made the sacrifice and listened to his people. That is very good of him as a leader. But he waited until the people protested before making the sacrifice. We are in a democracy. That the people protested is part of democracy. That he listened to them is also part of democracy. What was done was good. If the people say the way it was done was not good enough and as such they protested, well. It is democracy. The process has been corrected and we are moving forward. That is good for the country. I support the policy and I am happy that whatever mistake has been corrected and the people have accepted it. You also spoke about him listening more to technocrats to the detriment of political considerations… What I mean is that he should seek the opinion of politicians on the political consequences of government policies. Technocrats are very useful but they don’t understand the political consequence of these policies. So, politicians and not technocrats are needed to understand these things. Look at how the systems operate in America

Second Republic Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Akinjide, (SAN), is scandalised over the huge sums of money spent running governments in the country today. The legal luminary spoke with Dare Odufowokan on a number of other issues, including agitation for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, possibility of disintegration of Nigeria and the Boko Haram challenge. Excerpts: and Britain, and even other developed democracies. Politicians are left to decide on people-related policies not people who do not understand the political implications of such actions. These two sets of people have their different roles to play in the administration.( As an elder statesman, are you not worried about the persisting state of lawlessness in the country? Like every patriotic Nigerian, I am worried but what I don’t believe in is this talk about disintegration. I have always said that Nigeria will not disintegrate. This country Nigeria will not break. We should stop promoting this view that our own country will collapse. Nigeria will continue to grow until we become a nation. We have seen worse crisis before. If we didn’t break up then, I think it is too late now for us to break. In the last fifty years, we have become inseparable as a people. Where will the boundaries be if we break up now? Who and who will group together to form what country? What will be the terms of such regrouping? These are the things we must always remember when people talk about disintegration. All great nations of the world had their trying period. Both America and Britain went through crisis. Under Lincoln; America had a very dreadful civil war. In Britain, Cromwell overthrew Richard in 1649 and he was in power till 1660. He suspended the British parliament. Of course you must have read about the German crises. France also had its own challenges with Louis. None of these nations collapsed due to the challenges they faced. So, why should Nigeria collapse? All we need is for the government to remain on top of the situation. I am very sure this nation will survive. And do you think the federal government is actually on top of the situation given the spate at which violence is freely being perpetrated across the country today? The violence is part of the challenges we have but I have no doubt that President Jonathan and his team are handling the situation well. I will urge him not to relent

at all. We will overcome the current situation. It will all pass away. Our people love their freedom; so, together we will defeat those trying to rob us of our freedom through unnecessary violence in some parts of the country. Democracy is not the same as lawlessness. Nobody should hide under the umbrella of any organisation to unleash violence on the people. It is against the tenets of democracy, so, we will defeat the lawlessness currently in our midst. If we have grievances, I think we should find avenues to discuss such grievances, not take law into our own hands by unleashing mayhem on others. That should not be tolerated. I want the President to continue tackling the menace. Those who are lawless will soon be defeated. Talking specifically, how do you view the activities of the Boko Haram sect in northern Nigeria? I have said it before, this thing called Boko Haram is a disaster. It is not good that such a thing should happen to Nigeria at all. But we must find out why this is happening all the same. We cannot say because it has happened we should ignore the danger it poses. We must do everything we can to find out the root causes. It is like a sick person. Before you can treat a sick person, you must find out why the person is sick. A diagnosis is necessary to understand the nature of the sickness. It is only when you know the sickness that you can prescribe the remedies. This is not the first time we will be witnessing violent agitations in this country. What is happening in the North is similar to what happened in the Niger Delta some years back. The politicians in the North made use of those people to win election and after the election; they abandoned them, which I was told was the same thing that gave birth to militants in the Niger Delta. Their agitation was also very violent. A thorough investigation into these cases will no doubt reveal the hands of politicians in the whole mess. That is the cause of the •Continued on Page 26



Sunday Interview

•Continued from Page 25 sickness we are talking about. It is after we have addressed that that we can find lasting solution to the problem. But like I said, President Jonathan is handling the matter very well. I think he is trying to address the causes first before prescribing solutions. That is the best way to go.( ( Government wants to negotiate with the sect. how do you see that? I am fully in support of the dialogue approach. We must jaw-jaw rather than war-war. That is done all over the world. Even governments are negotiating with the most violent people in the Middle East. The only addition here is that such negotiations must be devoid of publicity. We are talking about a security matter; it shouldn’t be discussed on the pages of newspapers. All over the world, such negotiations are done without publicity, sometimes through third party. Yes, they should negotiate with them. There is nothing wrong with that.( As a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, how do you see the judgment of the Supreme Court that sacked five state governors in the country recently? Well, that is the final judicial pronouncement on that particular matter and it is not to be contested by anybody. It is binding on us all and it must be obeyed. That is why it was implemented with immediate effect. That matter is closed. Nobody can challenge the decision and nobody can raise any issue about it again. But there was this insinuation that the judgment created confusion in some of the affected states. Yes, the judgment created confusion. I think it was at the implementation stage. In Kogi, two governors emerged on the day the judgment was delivered. Though it was eventually resolved, there was confusion at first. There is also the issue of which of the party primaries to recognize. In Bayelsa for example, one primary produced former Governor Timipre Sylva while another produced Seriake Dickson. There were one or two other issues in one or two other states. No doubt, there was confusion but it is not for me or anybody to say this is what is right or that is what is wrong. The place to go for clarification remains the court. It is the same judiciary that can clarify the confusion. The senate recently objected to the call for a Sovereign National Conference. What is your

‘Sovereign National Conference is impossible’ “ I see no need for a Sovereign National Conference. People can call for a conference, yes, there is nothing wrong with that, but a Sovereign National Conference is impossible. Most of these people agitating don’t really know what they are saying. A Sovereign National Conference can only come when there is no government in place. “

•Akinjide take on this? I see no need for a Sovereign National Conference. People can call for a conference, yes, there is nothing wrong with that, but a Sovereign National Conference is impossible. Most of these people agitating don’t really know what they are saying. A Sovereign National Conference can only come when there is no government in place. That is when the sovereignty is an issue. But in a situation like this, where we have all arms of governments at all levels in place and functioning, I cannot see any role for another sovereign. There can never be two sovereigns in one country at the same time. People need to understand the meaning of sovereignty. Sovereign means having all the powers as given by the people. It confers the powers to make laws, to make appointments, etc. In fact, it gives the power to rule. Don’t you think it is that type of conference vested with such powers that can discuss the way forward for our country? As it is now, we already have a government vested with all these powers. We already have a constitution. It is not that we lack a functioning constitution. So, when we talk about sovereign, we must understand all these things. Dialogue, yes. Conference, yes, but a Sovereign National Conference, No. it is because they don’t know what they are talking about. People can get together and talk about the way forward but such gathering can

never be sovereign since we have a government in place already. But there is the argument that there are some things that only a Sovereign National Conference can do. One example is the need for a people-oriented constitution. What is your reaction to this? The national assembly has the powers to review the constitution and even make amendments if need be. I think that is what they have started. These lawmakers are elected to represent the people. They are to make laws. They are there to perform legislative functions. If you now say they don’t have the power to amend the constitution, who does? Those saying that don’t know what they are saying. There is no other body saddled with lawmaking in a democracy other than the national assembly. The national assembly is the appropriate body to initiate a constitutional review, not a national conference. Such a conference can only be convened for the purpose of making suggestions and offering advices to the national assembly on how to go about the review. The truth of the matter is that the ultimate power lies with the national assembly and as such, no other body or organ can do that. There is so much talk about fighting corruption in this country. What have you to say to this? It is not enough for us to say we have punished those guilty of corruption. We should let the people know how they have been

punished. One important thing is that whatever those caught have stolen must be taken away from them and returned to the treasury. It is only when we do this that we can fight corruption. Secondly, those fighting corruption must also be sincere and free from corrupt practices too. We must all be disciplined. Corruption itself is a product of indiscipline. We must be disciplined enough to always apply the law without fear or favour. Why do you think it is so difficult to fight corruption in government circles? There is too much money in government nowadays. There is too much oil money. I earned less than a million naira a year as a parliamentarian. That is not even enough for a day nowadays. That is the problem. We must reduce the money we spend in running government. People are earning so much for doing so little. Even national assembly members need to hold more sessions than they are currently holding. They need to work more for the people. The national assembly I know don’t seat on Mondays and Fridays. They need to do more. You think elected office holders are getting more than they deserve? Generally, the money we spend on running government is too much. As for the legislators, they are trying but they should spend less. They should sit more. There was even a suggestion that lawmakers should be on parttime. I am in support of that sug-

gestion. They should be on part time so that they can go back to their work when there is nothing for them to do. They should only come around when there is need for them to do so. That way, we may be able to save a lot of money. Perhaps the country should return to the parliamentary system of government as a way of reducing cost. I don’t think that is the solution. I was part of those who said parliamentary system should be abolished. The problem is that there is no stability in a parliamentary government. Once there is a vote of no confidence, the government changes. The government can just be removed any time by the parliamentarians. I don’t think that is what we want now. The presidential system is more stable. We have a President elected for four years. No ‘vote of no confidence’ can just wish him away like that. He is there for a specific period. It is not easy to remove him. I still support the presidential system above the parliamentary system. You are a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). There appears to be so many crises within the party both in Oyo State and the national level. There is no party without crises. In Oyo here, we have resolved our differences and we are one family. At the national level, I am sure the President and the national leaders are on top of the situation. It is all part of democracy.

What ordinary South Africans think of Nigerians •Continued from Page 9 and, well, he was a good looking guy so I gave him the time of day. We were chatting quite nicely up until I asked him what he does for a living… That told me exactly what he does for a living.” Lebogang Molefo painted this scenario: “Nigerian man enters South Africa today. Next week he has a house, in a month he has a very expensive car. In six months he lives at Houghton Estate, driving the latest Mercedes Benz. Now tell me how he did that with a legal job?” Not tired, Balimi1 pointed out that South Africans doing business in Nigeria evade paying taxes. But, Bibi, who claimed to have lived in Nigeria replied,

“BOLLOCKS! They all pay tax to the government and lots of separate other ‘taxes’ to heads of states etc.” She then asks: “Why should SA let Nigerians in with fake documents? Surely, it tells you that their intent is not good.” Chima, had a ready answer in a post that read: “Isn’t it the job of your dull headed consular officials here in naija to determine that before issuing them visas? How come it is inside your country that they suddenly realised it is fake?” Dean sums up the South African consensus in a punchy post: “Nigerians are all a bunch of criminals. Please name one honest Nigerian in SA. You guys are really desperate to come to this HIV and crime ridden country.”

Urging Nigerians to clean their act, his compatriot, Hedda-Louise, posted in agreement: “Whether it is in SA, America, Europe, Namibia, Asia or Brazil, when you hear of problems, your citizens are ALWAYS involved.” Amidst all the rage another South African puts things in perspective. His name is Eric and he posted this: “Compared to our own criminals, I think the Nigerians are better. They part you with your cash without killing you. It’s unlike our own who kill three-year olds for kicks.” BRIDGINGTHE GAP Gabriel, a Nigerian engineer living in South Africa contributed this diplomatic post: “If yellow fe-

ver (vaccination) is a requirement, then Nigerians need to get one; failure to do so means you will face deportation.” He, however, advised that if South African immigration officers “are afraid of fake yellow fever documents, they should deploy their own health reps to the embassy in Lagos and Abuja to ensure approved yellow fever vaccination and documents are obtained prior to issuing of visa.” In all, however, not all the posters blindly took sides. Adil Smit, most likely a South African wrote: “The guests that believe rhino horn is a cure for stupidity are the ones we should send back home. Personally I have met several upstanding citizens from Nigeria.”

A poster, verena64, believes the hate and blame-trading “mentality” between Nigeria and South Africa should change. I do a lot of business in both countries and the corruption in both countries is huge,” he wrote. “What will surprise you is the volume of trade between both countries. There are over 300 South African companies doing very well in Nigeria and lots of Nigerian small businesses are also doing very well in South Africa. Every society has its own vices. Let’s shed our myopic views and make the word a better place. What the two countries need to show is direction to other African countries and not this. Don’t we have enough hatred in the world already?”


– PAGE 42



THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 11, 2012 •Common colour trend

What you need to know about hair colour •Whether it is to make a subtle change or to pursue a drastic statement, hair colouring is a large part of the beauty industry


HEN it comes to colouring your hair, everything and anything goes! Not only do different types of hair colour give you different results, the chemical processes you already have on your hair can greatly affect the colouring process and results you get. You can consult with your hair stylist for her input and professional advice. Before you choose a colour, you need to first choose which type works best for you. Temporary hair colour- As the name suggests, this colour won’t last long. They are usually marketed under the term “hair rinses” and only coat your hair’s cuticle; they don’t penetrate it. Because of that, they are perfect for relaxed hair as they don’t place a lot of additional stress on it. Temporary hair colour gradually washes out over time, usually a period of a month or so depending on how often you shampoo. BUT if your hair is gray or white, temporary hair colour is not temporary,according to Chichi of ChiBest Salon, Magodo, Lagos. “ It will leave a permanent stain on your hair” Semi-permanent hair Colour-This hair colour is made for darkening or adding depth to the hair, not for lightening. It coats the hair much like a rinse, but some types do contain small amounts of peroxide (not enough to lighten the hair). You will often find an activator inside a home semi-permanent colour box, which makes your

colour darker. This is a good option for adding richness to your existing hair colour and will last about four to eight weeks. “Be careful applying this colour all over. It’s best to concentrate on the roots’ Permanent hair colour-This is perfect to give you a whole new look or for covering significant amounts of gray. However, because of the higher levels of peroxide, permanent colour is better for:

•Bob hairstyle with red highlights

•Empress Njamah in one of her unusual hair colour (blonde)




At most highbrow events these days, gracing the red carpet is what most young celebrities look forward to. Kehinde Falode brings you the fashion hits and misses at the grand reception party organized for upcoming actresses in Yoruba, English and Hausa at Water Parks.

HARRIET TARI ETEIMO wore a bold animal skin print dress that created an unusual contrast to her accompanying accessory, Oops!

Among those making the night's biggest missteps was this wannabe dude who appeared almost nude in her 'spaceman' number. Oops!

LAITAN was eye-catching in this number, but the riotous combo and the peeping tom scarf at the back was uncalled for. Oops!

Although her apparel and combo seems to be cool, but she gets a bad hair day! Apart from your dress and its accompanying accessories, your hair can make or mar you on the red carpet. Oops!

Making one of the bolder style statements of the evening was SANDRA ROBERTS, who cut a dandy profile in this velvet crimson gown. She bubbly posed with a clutch purse and dangling chandelier earrings on her shoulders. Kudos!



THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 11, 2012 Favourite wrist watch designer

Belinda Effah comes across as the girl-nextdoor but she is packed with talent and creativity. The thespian cum TV presenter first hit TV screen as a housemate of The Next Movie Star reality TV show in 2006 where she finished 5th. She later surfaced as an on air personality with urban music channel, Sound City. In this interview, she reveals her top ten favourite things to Kehinde Falode


Favourite food

Favourite shoes designer

Pounded Yam and Afang soup


Favourite artiste

Favourite bag designer

Asa and Nneka

Hermes and Louis Vuitton

Favourite writer Chimamanda Adichie

Favourite local designers Zizi Cardow, Derby Collections and Ouch

Favourite actror/actress

Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Mercy Johnson and Genevieve Nnaji

Favourite perfume Obsession

Favourite sunglasses Gucci









Tel: 08077408676






Surprise birthday gift for Paul 'Play’

OLLYWOD star actress, Uche Jombo recently suffered an accident on set. The incident occurred on the 3rd of March while on the set of the historical movie, Ikenna. Uche dislocated a b o n e w h i l e preparing to film a scene. The actress is getting better but will be off the set for a while in order to allow her injury to heal.


Uche Jombo suffers accident

•Uche on the set of a movie Ikenna

IS last birthday coincided with auditions of the wannabes on Star Quest, the Nigerian Breweries sponsored band-based reality show. Thus, Paul 'Play' Dairo, who is one of the celebrity judges of the reality show, was obviously elated when fellow celebrity judges, Waje, and KC, along with Gideon Okeke, anchor of Star Quest 2012, sang a special birthday song for him and presented him with a birthday cake. As if that was not enough, another special song was rendered by Rosaline Okoh, one of the contestants during the Lagos auditions. After impressing the judges and securing the all important yes votes from them, Miss. Okoh requested to do the special birthday song for Paul 'Play'. “I just want to say thank you to every one for this heart warming act. The judges, Gideon and the live audience have been wonderful. I am humbled that they decided to honour me in this way,” he said excitedly. There was also a special appearance by singer, Omawunmi, who paid a visit to the National Theatre, venue of the audition. The event was also graced by The B.E.A.T, the winners of the 2011 edition of Star Quest.


WARD-WINNING actress, model, producer, musician and self-taught guitarist, Folake Olowofoyeku a.k.a The.Folake debuted recently with her self-titled single titled “The.Folake!”. Excellently produced by DatBeat and showcasing The.Folake's very unique style and versatility, the song is more than poised to not only set many clubs and dance

May date for Giringory's burial


AMILY of veteran actor, James Iroha has announced that the actor will be laid to rest in the month of May. Speaking on behalf of the family, the late actor's son, Uche Iroha said that presently, the family is meeting with stakeholders like the Church, members of the television community, the government as well as the movie industry to organize a befitting burial for the veteran. “Presently, we have fixed the burial for the month of May, but we are not certain about the date yet. Presently th we are considering May 6 th and 11 but before the week runs out, we will be more certain,” the late actor's son revealed. At the moment, he said the Iroha family is in talks with the Abia State government regarding the


Enters The.Folake floors alight for much of 2012, but also position The.Folake as an innovative and electrifying new African artiste for the future. She earned the Best Actress Award for her lead role in When They Could Fly at the prestigious ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada and over the years,

her acting career has flourished, from numerous stage productions to film and television, leading to her role in the Jodi Fosterdirected The Beaver. Folake proceeded to make several appearances on the Law and Order franchise, 30Rock and White Collar.

Anita Joseph, Ebube Nwagbo mend fences


A •Giringory

funeral arrangements. “The incident just occurred and procedures have to be followed. That is why we still haven't heard from them, but we know for certain that they will play a major role in the funeral. We are really grateful to the Abia State government because they were helpful

during the time of our father's illness,” Uche said. Reports say that the actor suffered a relapse after he returned from India two weeks before his death. Following the relapse, he was taken to a private hospital at Onitsha where he died on Tuesday at the age of 69.

FTER four years of resentment, Nollywood actresses - Anita Joseph and Ebube Nwagbo have decided to become friends again. The actresses fell out over KC of the KC Presh fame. According to a reliable source, Ebube was alleged to be dating KC before Anita came into the picture and allegedly started a romance with the singer, which led to the crash of their frosty friendship. The “No More War” scenario first played itself out when Anita, in one of her recent interviews in a magazine apologized to Ebube. •Anita





T'S no longer news to most people that the once seemingly inseparable duo of Don Jazzy and D'Banj have parted ways. Although frayed nerves may have been calmed in the last two years between the duo, things went downhill last year following the deal signed with G.O.O.D music, Kanye West's record label. One of the few reasons making rounds that influenced D'Banj's decision to break-up his romance with Mo' Hits Records and Don Jazzy was because the latter allegedly gets a whopping fifty percent of all the money that comes into the music outfit, leaving the other members which include not just D'Banj but also Wande Coal, D Prince, Ice Prince, Dr Sid, et al with just fifty percent to share amongst themselves. This, according to sources, has become unbearable for D'Banj. The tension between them seems to be so bad these days that the duo, who used to be practically inseparable, have actually been spotted sitting well apart from each other at several recent award ceremonies. A source close to both parties also revealed that the relationship between the two is now so fractured that Don Jazzy has since moved out of the mansion they once shared in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. Their split-up has also been blamed on creative and personal differences. The source confirmed the disparity in the deal's structure and revealed that D'Banj's involvement is peripheral which has led to major problems between the two. The deal also involves a financial commitment of up to $3M, which Mo'Hits has not yet fully made up. “When we all celebrated the deal last year, little did we know that it was really Don Jazzy that was being signed up,” the source said. “While Don Jazzy has already produced a track for G.O.O.D Music, D'Banj is just waiting around idly.” Don Jazzy, according to the source, has become so frustrated with D'banj's lifestyle, tantrums and unmanageable ego that he refuses to work with him. D'Banj, for his part, feels Don Jazz y is spending more time honing the careers of the Mo' Hits fledglings such as D'Prince and Dr. Sid. He has also accused Don Jazzy of delaying his album release by giving “excuse after excuse.” “D'Banj has an album d u e thi s



career, I have the ability and confidence to deliver my lines. Of all the movies roles you have played in the past, which of them would you say is the most challenging? The toughest role for me was in the movie titled Dirty Secret although I featured in a minor role in the movie. In that movie, I snatched my friend's boyfriend and there was a scene where we tried to make love and in the process, he had to go under me. I felt really uncomfortable and it wasn't easy because the Ghanaian actor, Atus was really daring. How much were you paid for your first movie? It wasn't that big but manageable… How much was it? Like I said it wasn't that big and I wouldn't like to disclose how much it was because of some reasons. Which Nollywood actor spurred you into acting? Genevieve is one of them; I admire her a great deal and right from my secondary school days, I wanted to be like her. I love watching her because she inspires me a lot. What brings out the best in you on set? It has to be with the crew that you work with; it has to be with the kind of atmosphere you find yourself on set. If the environment is okay, it brings out the best Were you rebellious while you were in you but when the set is tensed, it kind younger? of rubs-off negatively on the actors. OULD you introduce yourself? I always stood my ground for whatever How daring can you get onset? ....My name is Ejine Okoroafor; I I want to do in life. I can afford to live I can be daring but it depends on the am an actress and I am also into with my mistakes and I always stand for script. clothing business. I am from Imo State, what I want. I am always after that thing Can you play nude roles? Oguta to be precise. I am from a family of that makes me happy and I have found it I can't play nude roles; at all. five girls and two boys; I am the fifth in the movie world as an actress. Why? child. How long have you been in active I cannot play nude roles because it is At what time did you cut your teeth as acting? against our culture. an actress? I started acting in 2001 in Port Harcourt What if the money is good? when I was still running a certificate As a youngster, I always wanted to act. That would definitely not be in a course in Theatre Arts at the University. I Nigerian movie. While I was in secondary school, I was always part of drama presentations. I also was really young then and I was just out What if this offer was presented by a of secondary school. There was this studied Theatre Arts at the University of big Hollywood producer? particular time I was in the village and I Port Harcourt and I started active acting Now you are talking! (General heard there was auditioning for a movie some years back. laughter). If the storyline requires that I go across the river of my village. I went for bare, I will do it but that would be in a Did your father not want you to study auditioning and I was luckily picked for Hollywood movie and not Nollywood. I anything else other than Theatre Arts? the movie. I was a journalist in the movie have seen epics like Spartacus, Gladiator Yes he did. My dad wanted me to be titled Oyi Village and I had to interview and others where people go almost nude science-inclined and my mum the late Sam Loco Efe. just in order to effectively deliver their wanted me to be an accountant That was my first appearance in a movie roles. I can't do pornography; I can't be but I never really liked and it was produced by Sam Onwuka. caught doing that. mathematics as a student. I also Along the line while shooting, I got wind What kind of roles are you more did not like Physics. I had to that my father was back from the north comfortable with? opt for the arts and that led I can play any kind of role as an actress. me to choosing Theatre Arts and he was coming to look for me at the movie location, so I had to run away from I cannot say I am more comfortable with as a course when I got this role or that role. the set. Luckily for me, I had already admitted into the What would you do if you had your played my part in the movie before he University. way as a young actress? came looking for me. I later registered So how were you I would not accept most of the roles that with the Actors Guild of Nigeria while I able to convince come my way; it is good for you to stand was still an undergraduate and three your father about for quality and positivity. I am not saying years ago, I also registered with Divine your choice of most of the roles that have been given to Touch Productions where I got a shot to study? me are not good, but I feel the need to feature in a mainstream production I had already play more positive and inspiring roles in a settled for the entitled Plane Crash. movie. But as an up and coming actress, How would you describe your journey arts and it was there's absolutely nothing I can do about it into Nollywood? too late for It has been quite tough but interesting. I because I have to play whatever role that him to reverse is given to me for me to be able to get started out basically with the Next Movie whatever Star other jobs. reality TV show where I was one of decision I had What's your greatest asset as an the contestants. After contesting for the taken, because actress? show, I went for youth service. On he was far away I think my look is one thing that singles completing service, I felt free enough to in the north. me out. People seem to like my follow my dreams as an actress. The What was his appearance and they sometimes long to turning point in my acting career was in response when see me again on set. 2008 to 2009 and ever since, it has been he eventually What do you do when you are not worth the while. found out? acting? What was it like with your first role; He wasn't happy were you jittery? Whenever I am not acting, I find time about it and I was a I was cool about it; I wasn't jittery. Most for my clothing business. It keeps me bit stubborn as a engaged until when I get my next movie of the times, it depends on who you are child but he knew I role. working with; sometimes when you are loved the arts and he on set and you see the big actors, it makes What does acting mean to you? just naturally allowed you feel jittery too. It's not easy facing the Acting has always been my dream and me to have my way. in it is turning out to be a passion for me. camera sometimes but at this stage in my

h g u o r h t y e n My jour n e e b s a h d Nollywoo r o f a o r o k O e tough —Ejin

If the storyline requires that I go bare I will do it but that would be in a Hollywood

Inside the

D’banj, Don Jazzy

break - up

year,” the source said. “He wants Don Jazzy to spend all his time working on his own album. Can you believe that Don Jazzy spent only two days working on Wande's new singles?” This is contrary to earlier reports which said that the management of Mo'hit records has been working on Wande Coal's album to give D'Banj a chance to come out with his' first. Until his new singles Go Low, Been Long You Saw Me and Private Trips, hit the airwaves and social network a couple of months ago, there was a strong indication that the rising music star, Wande Coal was not happy with the

label. As explained by Don Jazzy then, there was a timetable for the release of albums of those on the label. The source added that D'banj has also made several disparaging remarks about some of the Mo'Hits crew who he calls “backup singers.” He has also made several less than complimentary comments about Don Jazzy, who he accused of going around in “pyjamas and t-shirts.” “Things are so bad now that there are many shows that D'Banj does and does not remit any money to Mo'Hits,” the source said. “He accuses Don Jazzy of being too laid back and not attending meetings and negotiations but still feels entitled to collect fifty percent.” Since the news of the crisis broke, none of the duo have debunked or confirmed the story. As a matter of fact, their publicists have chosen to remain mum on the issue while hoping for a quick resolution. There were reports that their label manager, Sunday Are has also not

He accuses Don Jazzy of being too laid back and not attending meetings and negotiation s but still feels entitled to collect fifty percent

talked about the rumour as he usually does in the past. On the other hand, it is said that Don Jazzy, together with other members of the Mo' hits family are not happy with the utterances of their co-artistes over the past few months, especially where the fuel subsidy issue was concerned. D'Banj first came under heavy criticism when he held what was regarded as a sham interview for then presidential aspirant, Goodluck Jonathan. That cast him in a bad light in public eye. A few months later when the fuel subsidy removal protests raged, the artiste further alluded to being too busy working on his upcoming album to be a part of it. That further irked his fans who accused him of being insensitive to their plight. Recently, D'Banj was recently interviewed on Sahara TV and in defense of his actions on both counts, he drew the ire of Nigerians. Among other things, he said; “well as you all know, if you have been following me very well you know that I have not even been in the country since this year. I've been in London working on the Good Music album with Kanye West…. So, fuel subsidy, I will not say anything about that matter because I don't know much about it. I was not in the country when everything was happening. Records can show that. My video is coming out, “Oliver Twist” and I did that video when subsidy protests were still ongoing.” This statement was said to have alienated the entire Mo' hits crew from the artiste because they believe that he is out to cause them embarrassment and to avoid a ripple effect by losing credibility before their fans, the crew have decided to chop off the bad head. It remains to be seen what the long term implications are for the Mo'hits record label but D'Banj has wasted no time in launching his own record label very soon.

Having featured in a handful of movies in recent past, Ejine Okoroafor is gradually cutting her teeth in the movie world. The Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Port Harcourt has gone through testing times in her quest to carve a desired niche for herself in her chosen profession. She opened up on her growing career and other sundry issues in this interview with AHMED BOULOR.






Nigerian Idol

Dakolo, Waje loud Ono's Love concert

Nikky, Diwari kiss the door


VER gorgeous contender, Nneka Njoku otherwise called 'Nikky', and 'lawyer turned singer' Diwari Peterside, have both been evicted from the Etisalat - sponsored Nigerian Idol music reality. Tension could be said to be on the increase as the competition is gradually getting to the climax where one contestant will grab a cash prize of $100,000, a recording contract, a brand new SUV, a Galaxy Tab, Blackberry and an iPod. The exit of the two brings the number of the remaining contestants to six. As is the practice on the show, both evicted contestants gave their last renditions, and as it seemed, the judges and audience had thought


they could bring them back. Tears rolled down the faces of many as they took a bow. Still in the race are Najite ElDavid, Adum Oboni Honey, Giami Lynda, Mercy Chinwo Nnenda also known as 'Mecinda', Stephen Onochie, and Joe Anthony Ekpo popularly known as 'Joe Blue'. The evicted duo could not but thank Etisalat for giving them the platform to showcase their talents to the world. “Etisalat has done so much for me by giving me a chance to sing to the world. I thank the audience and viewers who have brought me this far and finally the judges and all the crew members of Nigerian Idol who taught me all the things I never knew about music”, said Diwari.

For Elvis Daniel, Head, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, 'It is shocking to see these beautiful ladies with awesome voices leave the show. This only tells people that the show is now at its peak. Everyone here has got great voices too but only one person would take home the grand prize”. The Nigerian Idol show is aired across Nigeria and will produce a winner and two runners-up in April. The first runner up gets N1.5m also a Galaxy Tab, Blackberry and iPod while the second runner up will receive N1m, a Galaxy Tab, Blackberry and an iPod. Other finalists from the 4th to 10th place would also go home with a cash prize of N100,000 each, a Galaxy Tab, Blackberry and iPod.

OR The Love of the Season, a live concert by gospel singer, Onos, took the Grand Ball Room of Eko Hotel by storm recently. It was the maiden edition of a series of shows planned by the artiste to celebrate Love, and this year's edition coincided with the St. Valentine's Day. The event paraded notable artistes, including Timi Dakolo, Waje, Eric, Jodie, Ese Peters, and Segun Obey who thrilled the audience to the best of their recordings. You couldn't miss Timi Dakolo's husky voice among the lots, and so was Waje's sonorous bold rendition. Onos too, was at her best as she rendered songs from her repertoire. The highpoint of the concert was a duet on Whitney Houston's Hero, which Onos did with Waje. The two singers demonstrated their mastery of the song with the live rendition, which won them applause from the excited audience. The show was anchored by Comedian, Julius Agwu, even as comedian MC Abbey was also on hand to entertain the audience. Right from the point she released her debut album, Keep Moving at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Onos has shown traits of making a mark in the music industry. It would be recalled that weeks after she wowed Lagosians with her electrifying performance in collaboration with America's Chevelle Franklin at the Experience concert, Onos dropped the video for the song, f r o m Tomorrow, a track her debut effort.

•Onos collabo Waje

How to be a star —Nse

Why banks may never sponsor Nollywood movies again!


GAINST the backdrop of criticism that Corporate Nigeria is refusing to contribute to the growth of the industry through partnership on film projects, a bank MD, who prefers anonymity said recently that it is difficult to work with an industry which is lacking in structure. He said that although some Nollywood filmmakers are trying their best in the field, he described majority of the players as charlatans, who cannot put up an ordinary business proposal. He maintained that until the motion picture industry is structured

properly, giving an example of the Motion Picture Practitioners Council (MOPPICON) bill that is yet to be passed into law, no financial institution would be willing to enter into a blind risk with the industry. The bank boss recalled that in 2007, a set of Nollywood filmmakers were sponsored by Ecobank on a project tagged Project Nollywoood, saying that the partnership did not yield the desired results. He added that apart from piracy which did not enable returns on investment, the social objective of the project was not realised.

It would be recalled that the filmmakers, four in number, had promised that the initiative was just to make well researched, well interpreted, and technically sound movies, but to also go the extra mile of getting the movies across to the buyers. It, however, leaves many wondering why Ecobank itself did not find the deal palatable in the end, owing to the fact that it had boasted of its network of over 17 countries, where it hoped to distribute the movies. The deal was said to have cost the bank an initial rolling budget of N100 million.


SE Ikpe Etim is one star who cannot be ranked among the up and coming, especially given the number of successful movies she has featured in and her deft delivery of her role. However, being a successful star, she agrees, is no walk in the park. Playing the role of Mary, an Igbo tailor in the flick, Phone Swap, she says, fills her with honour and pride. But on the downside, she had to face a chain of mishaps which she didn't find funny. “I like to say I had a lot of fun while filming Phone Swap. It was very draining. My character had to fall in the pool for different takes. I fall in like ten times and it was dead in the morning and it was very cold. I fell off a bike as well. At that point, I think Nse showed. I used to climb Okada at the University of Calabar so I don't understand how I fell off the bike. The next thing I heard the cinematographer ask, ‘wey Mary? When I heard that, I said OK, Mary never die. So, I got up and my back really hurt me. Because of that, I couldn't work for a bit. At a point, I even dislocated my arm.



Television viewers in the late 80's would be quick to remember Behind the Clouds, a Nigerian sitcom which enjoyed massive viewership hardened back in the days. Creator of the now rested series, Paul Emema talks to OVWE MEDEME on his journey through the world of sitcoms, the Nigerian movie industry as well as his latest offering; a book titled A Plague of Gadflies.


OU are not a newcomer when it comes to writing scripts. How has it been over the years? There are steps in life and every step for me has been very progressive. I have changed in terms of the things I do. I have moved from one project to another. The last 27 years in the industry have been more than a blessing for me. Behind the Clouds ran for about two years. It was created in 1985. It went on air for the first time in 1987. Prior to that time, I had been writing. I wrote some of the programmes on NTA. After Behind the Clouds ran for a couple of years and terminated in 1989, I also created and scripted another sitcom called Supple Blues. I have been in the industry, which is for sure. Now I have grown over the years into what we call Visual Network. After Behind the Clouds and Supple Blues, what happened? In 1997, the programme I need to know began and we produced 104 episodes over a period of six years. It terminated sometime in January 2004. Even then, there have always been other programmes that I have produced. I do not come to the press and maybe that is why I haven't been seen. Television is funny. It sells your products and your programmes on their own. When it comes to publicity, I am on the reserve side; I really don't do it. I allow these programmes to speak for me. I have been involved in all kinds of projects. From documentaries to commercials and of course right now, books. You don't seem to want to join the Nollywood bandwagon. Why is that? I am a part of Nollywood. I belong to the Association of Movie Producers, I belong to the Directors' Guild of Nigeria, I belong to ITPAN and even the Advertising Practitioners' Council of Nigeria. The last time I made a movie was in the year 2000 when I had to do the biography of Iwene Tansi. I also produced a movie for Mnet. I have been around, only that I don't do home videos as frequently as others. How many movies have you done so far? I directed a movie in 2004 but basically, I will say that I have one movie to my credit. What actually happened with Behind


Why Behind the

Clouds was rested —Paul Emema the Clouds? Did you run out of stories? sad. I worked with him in 1990 I also It had nothing to do with running out of worked with him in 2002 back in Port stories; it had to do with primarily a Harcourt. He was an excellent writer and decision by NTA management then not to an excellent producer. He listened and he allow their staff to be actors on their worked so hard. May God grant him programmes. I don't know the reason eternal rest. We are all not fortunate. behind that, but it was a decision they There are people who have also made the took and that naturally affected over 40 kind of impact he had made and have percent of the principal characters like made money as a result. It was just an Matt Dadzie and the rest. It had nothing unfortunate situation that he found himself but who can we blame. You do to do with stories not being available. When you look at the story that was not expect me to say the government or woven around Behind the Clouds, do you the public should have come to his aid. Of course, well meaning see such in our sitcoms could have today? It had nothing to do Nigerians come to his aid, There is a reason why with running out of particularly for the fact it has been difficult for that he entertained us in me to get on the train of stories; it had to do New Masquerade over producing what is with primarily a the years. called home videos. We decision by NTA You seem to have a really need story tellers to tell good stories. It is management then not preference for sitcoms. is that? not an all-comers affair. to allow their staff to Why I have actually not If a story is not good, it be actors on their thought about it that can never be good on the screen. That is why programmes. I don't way. It is not about a preference for Soap most sitcoms are know the reason Operas. I like them uninteresting. It starts with the story and such behind that, but it was because I began there good writings are still a decision they took but that does not mean that I have jettisoned there but then the and that naturally home videos. I am a challenge by several affected over 40 member of the factors. First is budget, N o l l y w o o d know-how, the use of percent of the As we technology and several principal characters community. speak, I am planning a other factors are there like Matt Dadzie and movie. It is not really challenging the growth o f t h e c r e a t i v i t y the rest. It had nothing about preference. It is about doing a industry, particularly to do with stories not also movie and being at the the television sector in being available mercy of pirates who Nigeria. are out there ready to Given its popularity, sell your movies without did you make money the money coming to you. from creating Behind the Clouds? Is it right then to deduce that piracy is Relative to that period, yes I did. I can't remember how much exactly because it is keeping you away from producing feature films? over 20 years now. Piracy is a factor. Budget is also a factor. Did you pay your cast well? I was not responsible for the It is not enough to say you want to do a production. I was the creator and the feature film. What kind of feature film do you want to do? If it costs money, would writer. One of the contemporaries of that era, you be able to recoup your money? Of Gringory Akabogu passed on recently. course there are some that have been able to recoup, there is no doubt about that but How did you receive the news? When I received the news, I was very if you really want to recoup fast, then you

do it cheaply. And if you do it cheaply, you are not likely to get the kind of story that the public will not get tired of; you are likely to get very predictable stories which is the bane of most Nollywood films that we see. That is not what we want. You just wrote a play titled A Plague of Gadflies. How is the play themed? Centrally, it is really about corruption as seen from the eyes of tradition. The use of tradition in the book is metaphorical. It is a satire. I used tradition as a basis to talk about corruption, not only in Nigeria but in Africa and the rest of the world. From a thematic point of view, that is what it is. I want to also say that corruption is not only about government. Like I mentioned before, corruption is really about the individuals. How do we see it? What do we do about it? From the local government employee, State, Federal, private or the independent to the contractor, what do we do about corruption? To what extent has it eaten to the heart of Nigerians? This is just an expression. By writing a book, are you taking your art now and putting it in permanent form? It is one of the medium that I would use to express myself. I have expressed myself in television, on radio, in film and I am expressing myself continuously. It is a continuous thing. As long as God gives me life, I will continue to express myself. This didn't start today. This book was written as way back as 1993 when I was observing my Youth Service in Benue State. While there, the events for the moment spurred my creativity and I had to put it down in writing. I concluded it the same year and ever since, I have been meaning to publish it. I wanted to publish abroad but ultimately, 18 years after, I have published it here in Nigeria. Being a play, would you want to adopt it into a film sometime in the future? In the future, I would want to adopt it for the screen. I would want to perform it for the stage. It is futuristic. Where did you receive your training? I schooled in the University of Uyo. I studied Communication arts and I graduated in 1992.




F there was any doubt that Star Quest belonged to the exclusive list of top rated talent hunt competitions in the country, the regional auditions dispelled that notion. The array of talents that stormed the audition venues, especially in Benin and Lagos, bore testimony of Star Quest's popularity amongst wannabe superstars in the country. The quality of the contestants in this year's edition certainly made it hard for the celebrity judges comprising Paul 'Play' Dairo, KC and Waje. "I don't think that we would be any problem replacing M.I, D Banj and other top music stars with the array of talents that I've seen so far," Paul 'Play' Dairo said during the auditions in Lagos. He should know. A top rated artiste and one of the leading producers in the country, Paul 'Play' Dairo's verdict should not be taken lightly. Romeo Okudike, Imo state born rapper, was one of the reasons for the verdict. The 22year -old tore the Lagos State auditions apart with his rap routine. He impressed Paul Play and KC so much that he received a heart warming hug from the duo. Waje was no less impressed. The singer gladly offered her cheek for a peck from the aspiring rapper. Of course he got an overwhelming yes vote from the three judges. There were other dazzling performances too that swept the audience off their feet, or their seats, to be more precise. In fact, Waje cried during the Benin and Lagos auditions. Interestingly, on both occasions, the Edo State born singer's tears were caused by female contestants. After 12 memorable days touring Makurdi, Enugu Benin and Lagos, the band-based auditions came to an end. For the aspiring contestants, this was no ordinary audition. Because to scale past this stage would guarantee each of the aspirants a shot at the grand auditions. Should they make it past the grand auditions, they would move into Star FameLand for the competition proper. Exciting prizes like a N7.5 million recording contract, N3.6 million, a brand new SUV amongst others beckons on the winning band. There would also be a unique opportunity of performing at Star - sponsored activations. No wonder, mammoth crowds thronged the auditions in the four States to try out for the event. 'Dare Yourself': so says the theme for this year's edition. Thus,

Paul Play, I'm not here to play, I'm here to stay, "KC, if you scream 'next', I will trace you after the show, Obinachi was obviously referring to KC's penchant for screaming 'NEXT!!!!' at unimpressive contestants


Festival of talents on Star Quest


participants at this year's auditions didn't seem to need a second prompting to do just that. They went beyond daring themselves. Some of them dared the judges. And a number of them got away with it. Kelvin Obinachi, a rapper, who auditioned in Enugu, a 23-year-old rapper did just that with the lines to his rap song. When it was time for Obinachi to audition, he opened his song with the following line: "Paul Play, I'm not here to play, I'm here to stay, "KC, if you scream 'next', I will trace you after the show, Obinachi was obviously referring to KC's penchant for screaming 'NEXT!!!!' at unimpressive contestants. If KC and Paul Play took offence at Obinachi's guts they had a funny way of showing it as they both voted yes to his performance. Waje sealed Obinachi's fate with her affirmative vote. Other singers simply ignored the Paul play and KC, preferring to focus their attention on Waje. The singer was the subject of a number of advances from some of the male participants hoping to impress her. That did not do them much good though. Osun Stateborn Habib Ahmed, another rapper also deserves a mention. The hard core rapper drew ire from the judges with his delivery. Though he got a 'No' vote from all the judges, he was rewarded with an overwhelming cheer from the audience as he exited the staged. Some of the ladies also deserve honourable mention for daring to audition in some rather unfamiliar areas. Some of them made it, others didn't. Josephine Ikudehinbu, who plays the saxophone stood out from the lot. Though she didn't wow the judges initially, she eventually came into her own nicking the all important 'yes' votes from the three judges'. She wasn't the only female saxophonist to audition

I Go Dye gets laurel


PA Williams popular comedy show, "Nite of a Thousand Laughs" has named Francis Agoda, otherwise called I Go Dye as an outstanding participant since its started in 1995. It would be recalled that I Go Dye joined the train of the show in 2000, following his desire to come on the show, which he pursued for four years, until the organisers decided to give him a try in 2000. Organisers say although other comedians where given the chance as the celebrant in the same year, his input for the past eleven years had been unprecedented judging by feedback from industry followers as regards his delivery and uncommon jokes when on stage. The Abraka-born comedian started his career at the age of thirteen on Delta Television; I Go Dye against all odds forged ahead and rose through the ranks with his creative performances, making him one of the most sort after comedians today. It is interesting to note that the comedian who used to be paid N100 for his performance in 1993 now earns as much as N3 million naira per event, says his spokesman. •I Go Dye

Rising Star: •The Pulse

but she was the only one to be picked. Asked why she decided to play the saxophone, she answered, with a deadpan expression on her face: "I want to show that it is possible for the female folks to do better than their male counterparts. That was why I took to the saxophone". For many of the participants, the Star Quest audition was the biggest moment of their fledgling careers. A number of them simply caved in, obviously overwhelmed by the occasion. The audience poked fun at them even as they struggled through the auditions. For others, it would appear as if they turned up for one sole purpose: to provoke laughter from the crowd. In Makurdi, the very first city for the auditions, the judges had what was, arguably, their most hilarious experience of all the auditions after listening to one contestant's song. The lyrics of the song went thus: "In heaven there is no beer, that's why we dey drink am here. And when we go from here, we go dey drink our beer.” So (in)famous was the song that the celebrity judges adopted it as the official Star Quest theme song. There were also the weird and wacky; an ample dramatic performance from some of the

aspirants. One fellow thrilled the audience in Benin with a comb which he played like a flute. 'Combophone', he called it. Another that auditioned in Lagos termed his routine which he termed 'Hand-Saxophone'. Sadly, their unique acts were not enough to see them through. Lagos also had Moriwawon Joshua, a 22 year old drummer who played the drums blindfolded. All three judges adjudged him an average drummer but got three overwhelming yes votes for daring to play blindfolded. And the heart rendering moments came; causing tears to flow down the faces of a few. Waje, for example cried on two occasions; first in Benin, and then for petite vocalist, Rosaline Okoh. Not done with that, Miss Okoh sang a special birthday song for birthday boy, Paul Play. The music maestro left his hallowed seat to hug the Delta State-born aspirant. Perhaps, the most emotional moment of the auditions was witnessed in Makurdi when 79 year old Pam Rosco Adaba, took to the stage to perform. Though he could not compete in the auditions due to his age, the old man expressed at his return to the stage, something he had to give up years ago after he lost his sight and his hearing became impaired.

Opiano A

first meeting with Kolawale Opeyemi Emanuel a.k.a Opiano reveals a young man who seems all set to give music- his first love, all it takes to succeed. His quest for recognition on the scene began in 2002 when he started doing music professionally and ever since his desire to succeed has been on the rise. “I have always loved doing music and I have been in my church choir since I was 9 years old. I love singing a lot and my inspiration comes majorly from writing songs that make people happy. “As a budding artiste on the scene, I think I have the edge because I am also a producer. I can play the Piano which explains why people refer to me as Opiano. Being a producer is also an added advantage for me as an artiste too.” He explained. Opiano has an album but it is not sold out yet and he hopes to get a credible marketer to help to effectively market his debut album. When his album eventually hits record stores, Opiano says his teeming fans should look out for a diversified kind of •Opiano music.




'Why I split from Seal’ Ever since German supermodel, Heide Klum, split from her British-Nigerian, superstar singer husband, Seal, she has maintained a studied silence. Now she has broken her silence reports Laura Schreffler


EAL broke his silence about their shocking break-up right after it was announced, but until now, Heidi Klum has remained silent. The German model has finally opened up about the demise of her marriage in the April issue of Elle magazine. The 38-year-old supermodel has likened the split to a tornado - and admits to being in a vulnerable place, saying: 'I'm not made of stone.'

She says: 'I feel like I'm in the eye of the tornado. It's emotions inside of your body that are a tornado. And then the outside world doing all this craziness with you wanting it or not wanting it is another tornado. 'But as hard as it is, so is life. And sometimes I think a curve-ball just comes at you. Instead of something straight that you catch, it hits you in the head from the side that you didn't expect." She admits that, though it appeared they had an idyllic, fairytale romance, their sevenyear marriage was rife with problems that they tried to keep private. The Project Runway host says: To the outside world, you don't really share all the things that happen. You kind of share just the most amazing sides. 'But I don't really want to get into any of that stuff. With my life, my family, my business - I want to go forward. 'I feel like already there are so many things being said about us about him, about me. I'm not going to comment 'Otherwise it makes you angry. You can't always call and say, 'This is not true, but this part is true.' Seal, 49, has been airing the couple's dirty laundry non-stop while promoting his latest album, and though Heidi refuses to admit she's angry, she does acknowledge that the situation is tough.

She says: 'He's a grown man. I can't tell him what to do and what not to do. It's hard. 'People don't need to know who did what. I don't want to talk positively or negatively about the ups and downs that we had. 'Every couple goes through things. Unfortunately, we're in the public, so the highs are out there.' The former couple have four children together, and she wants to protect them. She says: 'I'm a lioness. I have four cubs. I'm a mom. I want to take care of my kids and protect them. I don't want to talk about them, or him, or me.' The model adds that the separation has caused her endless amounts of pain, saying: 'I'm not a robot. I'm not made of stone.' The couple announced their split in late January after seven years of marriage. The Kiss From A Rose singer spoke out two days after announcing the split. He said: 'I think we were shocked. You go into these things with the greatest intentions when you say 'I do' and you say 'Til death do us part. 'Those vows hold value. They are not just words. 'These things happen. The thing that I'm most proud about is this great women who I married and I really do mean that from the bottom of my heart - is that together she has given me four incredible gifts, four beautiful children.'



‘Style does not cost a fortune’ For many years, Tomi Akingbelu, the CEO, 5th Heaven worked in the oil industry before she threw in the towel to pursue her dreams: manufacturing of furniture. A graduate of Computer Science, the Ondo State-born entrepreneur tells REMI ADELOWO and KAYODE ALFRED more about her business, beauty secrets and love life



HY did you choose this line of business after working in the oil industry, which is considered more glamorous? I have always had an eye for colors, textures and patterns and I knew furnishing would be my lifelong business, so no matter where I'd found myself, I wouldn't be satisfied if I didn't follow my dream. I give God all the glory today that my dream has come true. I enjoy my job and spend lots of time in the factory. It's fulfilling, refreshing and I'm happy. C a n y o u remember your first big break in the business? Furnishing M-net expatriate staff's apartment was my first big break in this business. But before then, I had been furnishing for individuals. I remember how good it felt to have the Mnet's operat i o n s m a nager approve the job. It was a good

boost for me, and I knew that if I strive harder, I would reach my goal. For the young women out there who want to go into this business, what is your advice? My advice is for them to identify what they can produce with little capacity without going beyond their bounds by taking unnecessary risks. They must also be passionate about what they are doing and not accord making money their priority. You always look beautiful and radiant, what is the secret? My mother is an epitome of beauty, so I got the good genes from her. Also, it is the unique grace of God. But there must be something you do to enhance your great shape and beauty? I'm a health enthusiast and I research every now and then on health regimen that best suits my life- style. I try to eat what will benefit me as beauty comes from inside. I don't overdo things; I eat in moderation, exercise my muscles and make sure I rest when I'm tired. It's not very easy to fit a lot of things into one's schedule, but one has to manage. Many would beg to differ that looking good costs a fortune? Looking good shouldn't cost anything if you try to maintain a healthy life style. In fact, it costs nothing if you are well informed and disciplined. What does style mean to you? My style is eclectic and always comfortable. My mood selects what I wear. At times too, the occasion selects for me, but basically I just try to be comfortable. I don't follow trends, but I keep up with the joneses. Do you have a favourite designer? I don't have any particular label I prefer really; I just buy whatever I fancy. The most important thing to me is if what I'm buying suits me. If I see something I like, I buy and I wear. I'm not particular about any designer, though there are few that tend to catch my eye once in a while. How do you relax? I enjoy fine music after a hard day's job. I also chill out with family and loved ones and I enjoy my “me time” especially when I'm able to visit the spa to pamper myself. What makes you happy? Happiness comes from within. If you base your happiness on something other than yourself, when that thing is no longer there, then you become unhappy. So one's happiness should not be bound to anything. Tell us about your family? I'm the last born in a family of 5. My dad is late. My mum is the proprietress of Kings and Queens College, one of the best schools in Ibadan established over a decade ago. I grew up in Ibadan. Growing up was fun, but my dad was a disciplinarian, so you either stood by his rules or face the consequence (laughs). I would say his discipline has helped shape my life. My mother was a loving and caring woman of virtue. How is your love life like? I am single but not searching! Of course, you will be the first to hear when I'm getting married. But for now, I'm happy.





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Olumide Ogunlesi turns born-again

Erelu Sumbo Famuyibo turns 50


LUMIDE Ogunlesi, the fun-loving young businessman behind the Lumog perfume brand and son of Fantasyland boss, Fola Ogunlesi seems to have disappeared totally from the social radar. Consequently, Lagos high society has remained puzzled by his conspicuous absence from the social scene. His prolonged absence has reportedly affected his business concerns, most especially Fantasyland, located on Kingsway Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, which is presently a shadow of its old self. In his heydays, Olumide was 'as bad as they come'. Flaunting a cash reservoir that seemed persistently filled to the brim, the fair skinned dude sure lived life to the brim without a care in the world. But realizing that he is not getting any younger, coupled with unconfirmed reports of ill health, the young man has decided to turn a new leaf by becoming a born-again Christian.


OME April 8, 2012, Erelu Sumbo Famuyibo, the beautiful wife of FSTV owner Otunba Reuben Famuyibo, will clock 50. And to make the day a momentous one, a big shindig is being planned by the celebrator and her husband, Otunba Reuben Famuyibo, who is well connected within the business and political circles. SC gathered that Otunba Reuben and Erelu Sumbo will, on the same day, celebrate their daughter, Oyinkansola, who recently graduated from the Law School after completing her studies at the Northingham University, England. The 2in-1 party would kick-start with a church service at the St. James Cathedral, Okebola, Ibadan, while reception takes place at Jogor Centre, Ibadan. The king of the world beat, Sunny Ade, who happens to be the Erelu Famuyibo's uncle, has agreed to be on the bandstand to entertain guests.

Richard Lamai cheats death


HERE is so much popping of champagne at the Lekki phase 1 home of businessman turned politician, Chief Richard Lamai following his recovery from a horrendous domestic accident late last year. Information had it that the loaded South-South political activist sustained a n a s t y k n e e injury at his palatial residence while playing a game of football with his all male children on October 1 last year when the accident occurred. He was subsequently flown to England where sources say he underwent a sixhour operation in one of the best private hospitals in the Mayfair area of London. He returned to Lagos on clutches to recuperate and even celebrated the last Christmas holed up in his Lekki home. Well, the reason for the popping of champagne in his household is that the worst is over, as Lamai has fully recuperated and undergoing physiotherapy with the assistance of his wife Mary Frances, who is always by his side in the gym. For a man who parties as hard as he plays politics, the party times are here again for Chief Lamai as he is determined to catch up on all the fun he missed while recuperating.

Ike Okolo goes low profile


ACK in the days, the name Ike Okolo was a constant feature in the Lagos happening scene. It is also no longer news that the name of the Managing Director of Aquitaine Oil and Gas featured among those whose non-performing loans brought many Nigerian banks to their knees. That he had issues with banks over his house which was allegedly used as one of the collaterals for a loan facility he took from the bank is no longer news. It was reported that when Finbank got hold of the information that Okolo was selling some of his assets to offset debts owed some other banks, the bank quickly dusted Okolo's file and swung into action to forestall its chances of not recouping some of the nonperforming loans he took from the bank. Okolo's debts are in billions of naira and would throw many mouths agape. Despite all these low moments, he has been upbeat about rising up again. In the last few months, Okolo has quietly been mopping up funds to pay a substantial part of his debts.

Reconciliation foreclosed between Ronke & Gbenga Sokefun


BENGA Sokefun was one of the three young men behind the famed Question Mark label. A US-trained lawyer, Sokefun is also the elder brother of famous singer and celebrity photogragher, T.Y Bello. That his marriage with former Oando big girl, Ronke Sokefun, who is now the Special Adviser on Lands to Governor Ibikunle Amosun, crashed few years ago is no longer news. But what is news is that contrary to the belief in certain quarters that reconciliation is in the air for the estranged couple, his absence penultimate weekend at the burial ceremony of Ronke's father, Chief Anthony Akanbi Adesola Idowu in Ayetoro, Ogun State, had completely rubbished such thoughts. A lot of people had thought Sokefun would put the fight with his estranged wife aside and commiserate with his in-laws. How wrong were they!





S OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821)

Larry Izamoje’s 3-in-1 bash

•Celebrant, Larry Izamoje and wife with their children-Bekky, Phoebe and Debbie

PORTS entrepreneur, Larry Izamoje recently had cause to roll out the drums quite unlike him. The celebration was to th mark his 50 birthday, the 10 years anniversary of his sports radio station, Brila FM and his bagging of a doctorate degree from the prestigious INSEAD Business School in Switzerland. At the event, which held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, friends, family and colleagues of 'Big Larry', as Izamoje is fondly called, turned out in large numbers to honour a man, who has done remarkably well for himself in his calling, reports OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

•Arch Bishop George Amun and wife, Dupe

•Chief and Mrs Ebenezer Babatope

•L-R: Chief Ajibade Thomas, Mr G.H Osaile and •L-R: Malam Danladi Bako and Ken Caleb Victor Ikpeba Olumese

•L-R: Sir Steve Omojafor and wife

•L-R: Mitchel Obi, Gara Gombe and Tony Akiotu

•L-R: Segun Odegbami and Godwin Dudu-Orume

•L-R: Bashorun Tunde Elegbede and Dr Kunle Oluwusi

•L-R: Eng. Yomi Bolarinwa and Taye Ige

•Dr. Sunny Obazu Ojeagbase and wife, Esther

•L-R: Mr Patrick Ikponmwosa and wife, Helen with Mrs Ngozi Omeruah

From From the the Campus Campus


Sunday, March 11, 2012


LUKMAN out of Kryvbas trip


I G E R I A International and Dynamo Kiev midfielder, Haruna Lukman will miss tonight’s Ukrainian Premier League encounter with Kryvbas in Metallurg due to suspension. The 21-year-old former Monaco player received his fourth yellow card in last weekend’s tie against Arsenal Kiev in the 53rd m i n u t e , w h i c h automatically rules him out

of this weekend’s trip in accordance with stipulated Premier League rules. A report on the club website suggests that fifth placed Kryvbas will also miss the services of a few key players due to suspension. Haruna has played nine times for Dynamo Kiev this season and has yet to find the back of the net, often playing alongside his compatriot Atanda Yusuf Ayila in the middle of the fray. Another of his compatriot, Brown Ideye, who also joined the club from France, FC Sochaux precisely, leads the team’s scorer’s chart with 10 goals, but has belted 10 more matches than Lukman.

•Haruna Lukman


15 lifters to represent Nigeria in Kenya From Tunde Liadi, Owerri


NTHEIR last ditch effort to grab tickets to the London 2012 Olympic Games; a total of 15 Nigerian lifters will participate at the African Weightlifting Championship slated for Kenya between March 25 and April 3. The chief coach of the country’s lifters, Patrick Bassey made this known to NationSport in a brief chat at the Indoor Hall of the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri. He stated that seven male and eight female will carry the nation’s aspiration as the lifters set their sights on getting the necessary points to make it to the Olympics. “We have done the necessary things to ensure that Nigeria come tops at the Kenyan African Championships. We have spent over five weeks in camp and will still remain here until our departure to Kenya. I am very optimistic and hopeful that these athletes we give Nigeria a good representation and do all within their reach to qualify for the Olympics, “We could have got to the extent of being ranked at the World Championships in Paris, France but the French embassy frustrated all our plans and made us get to the venue of the competition two days after it had started. It affected the athletes psychological and they were not able to perform at optimum level,” Bassey said.

Rabiu in line for Celtic debut


•Rabiu Ibrahim

I G E R I A N midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim could finally make his Celtic debut in tonight’s Scottish FA Cup quarter-final tie against Dundee United. The former Sporting Lisbon midfielder suffered a minor niggle last week, but has returned to full training

preparatory to tonight’s cracker. The 20-year-old Rabiu has yet to play an official game for the Scotland Premier League runaway leaders since joining the fold as a free agent in the winter. But he will most likely make the cut on tonight. Celtic have also been boosted by the news skipper Scott

over Motherwell and draw with Aberdeen due to a groin injury. He has been back in training this week and will step into the starting XI at Tannadice, if selected. Defender Mikael Lustig is set to miss out due to a minor niggle he picked up while making his debut for the Hoops at Aberdeen Brown, who missed the recent win last weekend.

Prof. Emmanuel Ojeme Is the Rwandan vs Nigeria Game a warning shot for Stephen Keshi? HE FIRST leg of the 2013 Nations Cup qualifying game between Rwandan and Nigerian football teams has taken place. The Eagles played the first leg away with a goalless outcome. It is the first competitive game of the Eagles under the leadership of the new coach. Remarks from both the coach and captain were similar. Both helmsmen simply said “we were lucky to have avoided defeat in Kigali,” the Rwandan capital. These remarks suggest that the opposition was quite challenging. One other important observation was that the local players in the team were said to have given a good account of themselves and outshone the imported Nigerian players, by a remarkable margin. This paper takes a critical look at this game and attempts to answer the question posed by its title. On a general note, I must acknowledge the fact that the new Eagles helmsman, Stephen Keshi, is working very hard to build a new Eagles for Nigeria. I commend his courage for digging into the domestic league to scoop out local talents for grooming. He has given them the first major competitive test and has also had an opportunity for comparative observation of the two constituencies of players that make up the team. I also believe that from this experience he would improve on subsequent games. Many of us could not watch the game on television, but the summative remarks by both team captain and coach showed that the Rwandan team possibly outclassed the Eagles, even if they played at home. As a qualifying game for 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa, we must not fail to recognize the importance of winning our games. It operates on a point system of scoring and given our absence from the 2012 edition, I believe Eagles handlers are fully aware of the seriousness of ensuring maximum points for our team. Was the goalless draw a good outcome? It is better than outright loss but definitely not the best result for us. The Rwandan game should bring it home to the Eagles handlers of the need to urgently and quickly dislodge the mentality of relying on Europe-based Nigerian footballers to prosecute the African Games. We have repeatedly stated in this column that the social psychology of the present generation Nigerian footballers, in Europe would not fit into the Eagles of today in a fair and square manner. The Europe-based players' motivation is based on the economics of sports performance. So, playing for the club is a warfare and a drive for economic breakthrough. Not many of them would give the nation 100% when they are on national assignment. Since there is not likely to be a commensurate premium insurance cover for the players, they may not want to take risk on the field of play for Nigeria. Inspite of this observation, it is fair to note that some of the boys are good. Stephen Keshi must quickly adjust to a higher level in his inclusion of home based Nigerians who possess the qualities for delivering the desired performance outcomes. When NFF authorities make unsubstantiated and declarative statements of assurance about Nigeria's qualification for next year's African Cup of Nations, it is very consoling but the point is that the Eagles need to win their games. This is the challenge the NFF and Eagles handlers most tackle. May I also use this medium to reiterate the suggestions about some fundamentals that could be useful in rebuilding the team. 1. Game philosophy A game philosophy that specifies the values, belief system, vision, pattern and mode of Eagles must be thoroughly worked out. The Coach must be definite about this factor as fundamental to the success of the team because it determines the character of the team. 2. Arising from above, the handlers of the team must be sure of the anthropometric, biomechanic and physiological qualities and conditions of players. Some of the players can be deceptive about their situation. A player that is not 100% fit cannot perform optimally. This is about total fitness that also includes psychological fitness. All Eagles players must be in near perfect psychological condition as they play for the team. The foregoing parameters can be tested by sports scientists who should be in the technical crew as well. 3. Team Discipline The Eagles must maintain team discipline, obey rules of engagement and maintain iron cast determination when on national assignment. It must be drilled into their minds that enlisting for the Eagles is not a tea party. Only players who are prepared to serve Nigeria to enable our performance match Nigeria's status and expectations and love for football should be featured in our games. For sure, leading Nigeria's national soccer team is not a tea party. It must be taken as warfare against the opposition. The Rwandan game against Eagles is a warning shot and may the team continue to be lucky in getting the vital points to ensure that we qualify for 2013.




VOL 1 NO. 037

Our pitch panels M

OST of the time when I focus on advertising and advertising media options, engagement and effectiveness, I inadvertently engage the concept of “think global, act local�. Most often, the tendency to get lost in a haze of innovative media creeps in to support a state of near-confusion. Technological advancement in communication and advertising media vehicle options happen so fast, one really has to strive to keep pace. Unlike in the 1980s/90-4, media environment has evolved into a massive digital experience to include the revolutionary social media. Media habits changed, media usage pattern also changed. The immediate reaction of advertisers, media planner and buyers is an equally revolutionary change in media valuation, selection and deployment. When media independent crept into the traditional advertising agency setting the alteration was a total overhaul. What we knew as the conventional advertising agency setting gave way with little or no resistance. What sold as integrated brand management offer in recent past has unbundled, courtesy media-independent practitioners. Creative hot-shops followed suit, leaving the clients service, research and business development departments confused. Those of us who believe in the 'old school' wishfully look forward to a period of after-shock when the traditional agency setting will re-emerge. Beautiful as change and innovation is, there have had to be times of cautious optimism in the embrace of innovation, for reasons of carefulness and consideration of those small peculiarities capable of big meaningful changes. Such is the warning we advised in one of our past articles on the engagement of innovative media in our local environment. Thinking global (but) acting local, we do think the efficiency of media planners will not rest too much on their hi-tech savvy status, as much as it will be judged by their ability to make the right decisions in the face of all the excitement that comes with the hi-tech gadgets adopted as advertising media vehicles. Effective media planning and buying is all about reach and cost. In other words, the critical elements will remain the opportunity any given advert media vehicle will enable the brand message meet and connect with the target audience on the one hand and the cost of achieving that connect. For effective media engagement, the media or medium of preference should be strongly determined by the above, not the sophistication of available options. When the objective(s) are properly determined, the strategic options become more rational. So, we had to look at the engagement of innovative media options within the range of social media tools, versus the prevalent socio-economic and indeed cultural peculiarities of our local market; such that define the media habits, appreciation and engagement by the larger population of our market, to evaluate the appropriateness of employing such 'media vehicles' for

certain brands. We are open to correction, but it seems to play out as an increase in the percentage of advertising budget given to waste. Even with the conventional media, optimizing return on investment by the use of television has remained very difficult due to incessant power outage. With television, so many variables that can be con-

trolled such as language are not controllable with the social media options because the use of such gadgets require some level of education which in turn does not permit the luxury of ventricular. If we are yet to optimize return on advertising investment on television, with all its user-friendliness, how do we hope to manage with the more sophisticated twitter, face-book, etc? Yes, a few times in the case of social interaction one has come across one or two tweets in one of our local languages, but definitely, no advert can be broadcast through same medium except in English language. The fore-going has only been an attempt to make a case for cautious optimism in identifying with change. However, there is a new development in the business of advertising media deployment that has become of interest to us at MC&A DIGEST, and it is about the appreciation and use of sports/sporting events and venues as viable advertising media vehicles. Again, as a result of our peculiarities, not so much has changed in the speed and form we have noticed with the mobile media tools, in the area of sports. It seems that draw back has so negatively affected that sector that advertisers and media planners do not ordinarily consider opportunities available around sporting events and their arena or venue.

I am not too sure if the advertising panels in our Abuja National stadium is digital in the real sense of it, but I know that the National stadium in Lagos has almost completely turned into one very big beer parlor (or an amalgamation of beer parlors), but the advert panels are largely under utilized for obvious reasons. But a major part of what it requires to get activate these arena for gainful advertising is carefulness and a bit of hard work towards identifying the potentials inherent. It easy and more visible to place ads on digital boards on prime locations, I mean, it does not require any ingenuity to do that. But it certainly require some rationale and careful articulation of viability to convince a client to use outdoor advertising display panel in the national stadium in Lagos, for instance, because it is not popular. If only our media planners of today will take the pain to determine the population opens to advert or brand messages, not readily open to the sophistication of social media and the likes, then there could be a rethink. For purpose of argument, considering the relative cost, between a local advert message run on DSTV channel and one placed on advert panel in our National Stadium over a considerable time, which do you think will be more effective and cost efficient at the end of the day? Readers should take this as a brain teaser and let us know your individual reaction. Please share your thought on this on our email address as above. We shall leave it at that, pending you, the public's reaction. However, our message today, is that there is a need for us all to be careful with flowing along the easy and popular way in the way we engage media vehicle options. Far beyond sophistication and the influence of a small size of the sophisticated and urbane target audience profile, the critical mass is most often left out in this rush with sophistication. We agree that particular brands are better identified with sophistication and the small but most financial influential population of consumers, our local market is predominantly barley literate and near illiterate. So media application or engagement must understand its peculiarity and accordingly identify the most cost efficient and effective way to communicate brand messages to identified target audience/market. Our media planning agencies should be more challenged, advertisers should be more critical of media proposals without grass-root or traditional media options, because our local market is not sophisticated enough to optimize our investment in those top-end media vehicles. Brands will gain sizeable awareness by identifying with local sporting events, local athletes, especially the physically challenged athletes and our local stadia. The fastest turn around I achieved with a brand in time past was in identifying with the local Paralympics. ADVERT &SPONSORSHIP This page is open for sponsorship and advert placement including brand and corporate focus.




Flimsy excuses upset me Iwalola Akin-Jimoh, the Executive Director of the Ovie Brume Foundation, spurred by her passion for working with young people has spent seventeen years grooming and adding value to the lives of under-privileged children in society. Having risen to the top of her career in the Civil Society sector, she gives insight on her life's work and principles. She spoke with Rita Ohai.


HAT is the Ovie Brume Foundation about?

institutes in Akure, Ado-Ekiti and. What we did was to build their capacity for them The foundation was set up in honour of to be able to integrate reproductive health Ovie Brume who was a promising man that programmes into the community and their died at a young age. We focus our work on schools' curriculum. By 1996, we actually saw the positive about four key areas of development and t h e s e a r e e d u c a t i o n a l l i t e r a c y impact of the project in the lives of the enhancement, sports development, people in these communities and we did not want a situation where since the project edutainment and leadership progammes. At our leadership academy, we have was going to roll to an end in 1998, we kids being mentored by people who are would just close shop so we registered an actually working in the various careers organisation called Youth Empowerment they are interested in so that they can guide Foundation (YEF) to enable us continue in them in terms of their career development. our line of work. We were actually the ones Through our academy, some of our that started the first toll-free Human Alumni or people in terminal classes like Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) hotline in Senior Secondary School 3 (S.S.3) have Nigeria back in 2001. From working with all these Youth placement programmes in Companies that they one day hope to work in. For example organisations what can you say is the if a child has an ambition to become a main challenge Nigerian youths have? The challenges they have are many-fold. banker, we provide the opportunity for the child to work in the banking industry for The first thing is the poverty situation and while because it encourages and gives the fact that there is the lack of them firsthand knowledge about what it employment. Our graduation rate is very high so a lot of these young ones do not entails to be Bankers. It is a broad array of subjects that we try have jobs, coupled with that, they also do to teach these kids and we focus on public not have the skills that enable them to use schools because we want to bridge a gap their hands and minds to do other things. between Private-owned and Public schools Not everybody is born to have a white in Lagos because we found out that a lot of collar job but within the context of where pupils in private schools have the you are, you should be able to create ways opportunity to take 'after-school' lessons, to use your talents to earn money. A lot of they have good teachers as opposed to emphasis is placed on books but the truth of the matter is that there are inherent what they have in public schools. talents that they could use to generate Could shed light on your journey resources for themselves. before joining this foundation? There is also the problem of the fast that It is a relatively long one! As a young young people live within a society that is so child, I had the opportunity of having corrupt and full of all sorts of crime and yet parent who actually spoke to me about they are expected to grow up to become sexuality issues and reproductive health Saints. Young people are a manifestation of and when I went to serve in Ondo State, I what is going on in the society. You hear had the opportunity of participating in people say things like “All these youths of various youth camps. I discovered that a lot nowadays, they are so bad” but the truth of of young people do not have as much the matter is that they are living within a access to reproductive health information society where people who know absolutely as I did while I was growing up. So I made nothing and did not have anything, enter up my mind that if I had funding and I public offices and comeback with various finished my Masters' cars and properties degree programme, I was and one begins to Young people are a going to come back to wonder whether Ondo State and do manifestation of what is they go into s o m e t h i n g o n going on in the society. public offices to reproductive health. make money or to You hear people say things I got a grant from the serve the people. like “All these youths of MacArthur Foundation What are the in 1995, after my Masters' nowadays, they are so values that have programme, which gave bad” but the truth of the helped sustain you me the opportunity to as a career woman? matter is that they are conduct a research on the Integrity, I do not living within a society reproductive health joke with it. I also do needs of adolescent and where people who know to try and bridge the gap absolutely nothing and did not believe anything is impossible. If I set that I identified. I worked not have anything, enter m y m i n d t o d o on this project for two something, I try to public offices and years with Principal of get it done. I believe schools, Guidance comeback with various in equity. I do not Counselors and owners cars and properties believe one gender of vocational training

should be given preeminence over another. I find it upsetting when women use flimsy excuses like breast-feeding or back aches as reasons why they are not doing their jobs well. Is there any advice you have for young women who want to tow your career line? The civil society sector is not a moneymaking sector yet it is a lot of hard work. Treat yourself with a high level of respect, know your self-worth and try to constantly add value to yourself because it is the way you present yourself that people will treat you. If you want to do anything, do it well. It is necessary to always try to give your best at anything you do. Set realistic goals because it is these goals that will help you have a definite plan and direction for your future. Use the internet; it baffles me when I see young people spend all their time 'Facebooking'. What value is it adding to your life? Instead of wasting all your time chatting, use that time to learn something on the Internet. The fact that you plan on becoming a Computer Scientist does not mean you cannot try to learn French or some other skill via the internet! What is your take on the structure of parenting in Nigeria? Nigeria has no parenting structure! I think the manner of parenting varies across the states. The way parents react in other States like Osun or the North or South is different from the way parents behave in

Lagos. Over here, you find cases where a father or a mother will find it hard to sit down and assist their child with home work. And research has shown that children remember more when the parent is involved in their learning process. Even on Open-Days or visiting days that happen once a term, you will still find that many parents cannot take out one day from their schedule but would rather send their nannies or relations to attend. It has gotten so bad that school authorities now insist with a written note that parents must not send any third party but should attend themselves. When a parent is not actively involved in the development of that child, as the child enters adolescence and adulthood, the parents find that they are living with a complete stranger and it will tell on the society. I really believe fathers should be as involved in parenting as much as the mothers are because just as it takes two to come together to create a child, it also takes two to properly raise a child. Tell us a bit about your background… I was born to Teachers. My dad was a Mathematics teacher and my mum was an English teacher. It was a strict family setting which help to inculcate most of the morals that I have right now. I studied Human Nutrition for my Bachelors and my Masters degree which I got from the University of Ife. I am married with three kids.




Relationships Social med Deola Ojo ia safety tips Questions and answers for women I 08027454533 (text)

Linda Lowen offers 10 useful tips for keeping yourself safe while using social networking sites


S social networking and social media have grown, we've paid a price few saw coming: the loss of individual privacy. The impulse to share has caused many of us to inadvertently expose ourselves in ways that can compromise our safety and security. While social networking sites may feel like an invitation-only gathering of friends that's accessible 24/7, it's not necessarily a closed and safe universe. Others may be able to access your personal information without your knowledge. Although cyberstalking preceded the advent of social networking, social media does make it easier for a stalker or cyberstalker to locate and track a potential victim's every move. Innocuous personal tidbits collected over weeks, months and even years often add up to a whole picture of who you are, where you work, live and socialize, and what your habits are -- all valuable information to a stalker. Don't think this can happen to you? Then you should know that according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 6 women will be stalked in her lifetime. The best way to protect yourself is to not make yourself vulnerable in the first place. Whenever you engage in social media, remember this: what happens on the internet stays on the internet, and it's up to you to make sure what appears in connection with your name and image does not have the potential to harm you now or in the future. The following 10 tips offer guidelines in managing the information that gets out there about you via social networking and can help keep you safe: 1. No Such Thing as Private. The internet is like an elephant -- it never forgets. While spoken words leave little trace and are quickly forgotten, written words endure in the online environment. Whatever you post, tweet, update, share -- even if it's deleted immediately afterwards -- has the potential to be captured by someone, somewhere, without your knowledge. This is especially true of social networking sites including private messages shared between two people and postings to a private group. There is no such thing as "private" in the world of social media because

anything you put up can potentially be grabbed, copied, saved on someone else's computer and mirrored on other sites -- not to mention hacked by thieves or subpoenaed by law enforcement agencies. 2. A Little Bird Told Me. Every time you use Twitter, the government keeps a copy of your tweets. Sounds crazy, but it's true. According to the Library of Congress blog: "Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter's inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress.... Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions." And experts predict the information will be searched and used in ways we can't even imagine. (This gives new meaning to the phrase "A little bird told me...") 3. X Marks the Spot Be cautious about using geolocation services, apps, Foursquare, or any method which shares where you're at. When it was first introduced, Facebook's "Places" feature gave tech writer Sam Diaz pause: "Guests at a party at my home could turn my home address into a public 'place' on Facebook and my only recourse is to flag my address to have it removed... If we're all at a concert...and a friend checks in with Places, he can 'tag' the people who he's with - just as if you were tagging a person in a photo." Unlike Diaz, Carrie Bugbee -- a social media strategist -- had fun using these services until a cyberstalking incident changed her mind. One evening, while dining at a restaurant she had "checked in" at using Foursquare, Bugbee was told by the hostess that there was a call for her on the restaurant's phone line. When she picked up, an anonymous man warned her about using Foursquare because she could be found by certain people; and when she tried to laugh it off, he began verbally abusing her. Stories like this may be why far fewer women use geolocation services as compared to men; many are afraid of making themselves more vulnerable to cyberstalking. 4. Separate Work and Family Keep your family safe, especially if you have a high profile position or work in a field that may expose you

to high-risk individuals. Some women have more than one social networking account: one for their professional/public lives and one that's restricted to personal concerns and only involves family and close friends. If this applies to you, make it clear to family/friends to post only to your personal account, not your professional page; and don't let the names of spouses, children, relatives, parents, siblings appear there to protect their privacy. Don't let yourself be tagged in events, activities or photos that may reveal personal details about your life. If they show up, delete them first and explain later to the tagger; better safe than sorry. 5. How Old Are You Now? If you must share your birthday, never put down the year in which you were born. Using the month and day are acceptable, but adding the year provides an opportunity for identity theft. 6. It's Your Fault If It's Default Keep track of your privacy settings and check them on a regular basis or at least monthly. Do not assume that the default setting will keep you safe. Many social networking sites frequently update and change settings, and often the defaults tend to make public more information than you may be willing to share. If an upcoming update is advertised in advance, be proactive and investigate it before it launches; it may offer a window during which you can privately edit or remove content before it goes live. If you wait until your account automatically switches over, your information may go public before you have a chance to deal with it. 7. Review Before Posting Make sure your privacy settings enable you to review content in which you've been tagged by friends before they appear publicly on your page. This should include posts, notes, and photos. It may seem tedious, but it's much easier to deal with a small amount each day than to have to go back through weeks, months and even years to ensure that any and all content related to you puts forth an image you're comfortable living with.

To be continued next week

got pregnant for my guy, he agreed to marry me but his parents refused because of my tribe. My guy insists that I should come and start staying with him without paying my bride price. Please tell me what to do. If you decide to move in with this guy without getting married to him, you may have some complications in the future. He should find a way to convince his parents to allow him to marry you. he should also pay your bride price and at least have a registry wedding so that you have a legal document that shows that you are married. There are so many ladies who have had bad experiences because they did not do things the proper way. If you move in without getting married to him, what stops him from deciding that he wants to get married to someone else later. One lady had an experience similar to yours. The man asked her to move in and she did. He never got married to her, neither did he pay her bride price. About two years later, he sought transfer from his office to another city and told this lady that he would send for her later, when he was fully settled in the new place. As soon as his parents heard that he had been transferred to another city, they decided to visit him there and stayed put. He felt that he could not ask the lady to come and join him while his parents were living with him so he decided to start shuttling between the two cities on weekends. Then he changed it to every two weeks and then to once a month. Before this lady knew what was happening, he was visiting her less and less and when the rent of the apartment expired, she had to pay the rent herself. Then one day a friend of hers came to visit and brought a wedding invitation. This man was planning to have a church wedding with another lady. She decided that she was not going to take it easy and that she would disrupt the wedding proceedings. The man felt that she would carry out her threat so he decided to have a registry wedding at an earlier date. She found out later that he did the traditional wedding as well. She could not go to his parents to express her displeasure because they never gave him the permission to marry her and in any case he never got married to her so he was free to get married to someone else. Thanks so much for 'Marriage Anchors that is currently running in the Nation on Sunday. As a single guy in his thirties, I wish more men would take the timeless lessons to heart, and encourage relationship building support groups among themselves as the ladies have since the world began. I would love to know how to lay my hands on all the previous instalments in your column. I am such a great fan. May God continue to reward your labour of love. Segun. Thanks Segun for your kind comments. Please check out the n a t i o n o n l i n e a t uthors/281/Deola-Ojo).

I have dreams that usually come to pass. I dreamt about someone I had gone out within the past. I felt this was a sign that I should get back in touch with him even though the longdistance relationship ended about four years ago. We had a long talk the day I called him and it was as though we had never broken up. After some weeks of calling each other back and forth, he told me that he wanted us to get back into the relationship and get married within a year. But I am really worried. Sometimes I have peace about it and at other times I feel confused and uneasy. I sometimes feel that if I go back into the relationship, I will end up being disappointed and that even if we get married we may end up divorced. I also wonder if I am interested in him because he lives abroad. I am really confused. It is possible to feel unsure of this relationship because of some things that have happened in the past. Even though you did not tell me what led to the break up, you may need to review what happened in the past so that you can lay your doubts to rest. It is also possible that the long distance could be contributing to the uncertainty. The two of you should take time to get to know each other again and not rush into marriage. People change over time and after four years it is possible that both of you have changed. It is also important to find out what has been happening to him in the past four years. You should also be willing to tell him what has happened to you in the past four years. This will help to rebuild trust and gain back your confidence. It is also important to pray and ask God to help you to make the right decision. I wish you the very best. I read your very interesting column in the nation newspaper. My problem is that I am in love with a lady who is a member of the prayer group in the church we both attend. We agreed to marry each other, but this lady moved to unknown place without my knowledge. While we were in a relationship, I really took care of her spending both time and money on her. Can you please help me? I guess there will be someone in your church who knows this lady's new contact. Perhaps some of the people in her prayer group may be able to reconnect you with her. If she has missed you since she moved, she is probably also itching to get back in touch with you. I pray that things work out between the two of you. At what right age should a man get married? This varies from culture to culture and also depends on the circumstances. Some people get married as early as eighteen and others do not get married until they are in their forties. Before people get married, they need to be physically, emotionally and spiritually mature. They also need to have some form of income and be ready to stay true to their marriage vows. There is nothing as disheartening as a man who is not ready to be housebound who becomes a husband.



Arts & Life



By Olubanwo Fagbemi 08060343214 (SMS only)


Significant figures •The cynic’s revised guide to Nigeria



THE GReggs

1914. KNOWN as a man of contradictions, colonial lord, Frederick John Lugard contrived his greatest challenge of all – amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates on January 1, 1914 into one lumbering entity, Nigeria. As a reminder of the bygone era, crumbling structures, old habits and even expired fashion are sometimes referred to as emanating from ‘19 Lord Lugard’. 37 plus. The number of states guaranteed to be in the federation someday, following persistent calls from mostly self-serving quarters. Since the 1996 addition of the last six to bring the number to 36 including the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), reasons suffused with social, cultural, and political intent are continually advanced with less altruistic consideration for viability of project. 150m. While size and allocation of resources engage agitators and encumber economic planners, the United Nations’ assumed population figure of 150 million for Nigeria should do until a proper census worthy of international credibility helps to banish the ghosts of botched and bungled exercises from 1963 to 2006. One in 20. The worrying rate of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) infection about two years ago is statistical reminder of the vulnerability of a vibrant population. Improved health management and awareness campaigns as undertaken by authorities are hopefully effective remedies. June 12. Look back to this date in 1993 for the proper definition of the term ‘free and fair election’ as upheld by acknowledged presidential polls winner, late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO)’s declaration. Yet he was infamously denied the mandate by former head of state Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and jailed by IBB’s successor, Sani Abacha. 48 years. Average life expectancy for the Nigerian, according to international reckoning. 30 per cent below the world average, it is nonetheless a reliable measure of deplorable returns on human capital development and abysmal social services. Any wonder, then, that the media regularly announces the premature demise of yet another compatriot ‘after a brief illness’? 75 per cent. Approximation of the incessant rate of failure in public secondary school examinations in recent years. The rate was also matched by civil servants in promotion exams performance for 2010, the population involved in agriculture – mainly for subsistence – and the poverty level as described by the standard of living below $1 dollar a day. The usual suspects: inadequate funding, poor manpower development, lack of technical know-how and inept management. Vision 20:2020. The Federal Government’s flamboyant attempt to stimulate national development and attain the league of developed nations by the year 2020. At current snail-speed progress, Illusion 20:2020 appears the more achievable goal. 10, 000 mw. Read 6, 000 megawatts, if the government’s commitment to the power sector roadmap is to be believed. While 10, 000 megawatts is the professed target in the development short-term, citizens are continually shortchanged by the back-and-forth involving gas suppliers, the minister of power and ‘almighty’ PHCN of the obsolete equipment, crooked metering and corrupt hands. 51st anniversary. The significant Golden Jubilee plus one reached by Nigeria last October. A middle age period for contemporary nations development-wise, the milestone instead marks for Nigeria appalling retrogression in all facets punctuated by audacious twin bombing of the Eagle Square venue of the obscenely celebrated penultimate anniversary by the militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a year earlier. Only imagine what the privileged but emaciated toddler would look like in 2015. 2011 A.D. The year that ushered in Nigeria’s third democratically elected president after 16 years of military rule. Through an election process considered ‘free and fair’ by Nigerian standards, the incumbent Dr Goodluck Jonathan retained power and set about forming the best government money can influence as nearly every process is politicised until, fast-tracked by the Boko Haram (western education is sin) scourge and other manifestations of insecurity, the country very well hangs on the precipice of disintegration. N20. Or is that N50 now? Well, suffice to say that the police were more likely to detect common currency than suspicious movement. Against all opposition, the road block thrived until the coming of the Inspector General of Police, MD Abubakar; but haven’t we been down this road before? In any case, lives – pedestrian and motorist – were daily wasted for failure to produce N20 notes on demand with ‘accidental discharge’ the excuse and ‘dismissed officer’ the culprit.

Jokes Humour Like son, like dad A HISTORY teacher was quizzing her students. She asked, “Johnny, who signed the Declaration of Independence?” Johnny said, “Darn if I know.” She was a little put out by his swearing, so she told him to go home and to bring his father with him to school. Next day, the father came with his son and sat in the back of the room to observe. She resumed her quiz and finally got back to the boy. “Now, Johnny, I’ll ask you again. Who signed the Declaration of independence?” “Well, heck, teacher,” Johnny said, “I told you I didn’t know.” The father jumped up in the back, pointed a stern finger at his son, and said, “Johnny, if you signed that darn thing, heck, you darn well better admit it!”

Wife, the Mechanic WIFE: “There’s trouble with the car. It has water in the carburetor.” Husband: “Water in the carburetor? That’s ridiculous.”

Wife: “I tell you the car has water in the carburetor.” Husband: “You don’t even know what a carburetor is. I’ll check it out. Where’s the car?” Wife: “In the swimming pool.”

Rookie Worker A LUMBERJACK new to the job had trouble meeting his quota of trees felled. He worked as hard as he could, but still could only chop down two or three trees in a day. His supervisor noticed this, and wondered what the problem was. Perhaps the chainsaw was broken, said the supervisor. He turned it on and it roared to life. Looking incredibly startled, the lumberjack asked, “What’s that noise?”

QUOTE Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. —Abraham Lincoln •Culled from the Internet

Writer ’s Broth UT, cut, cut: Be ruthless with your writing. Chop out Passive: The ball was kicked by the girl. every unnecessary word. If you take care of the verb ‘to be’ you will be How do you know what can go? Read what you’ve written leaving out parts using active voice more often. Active voice is stronger and moves the acyou question. If the piece still makes sense, leave tion along. Passive voice sounds like someone is out the excess. Compressed writing packs a trying to hide something or to avoid responsibilpunch. ity. We find passive voice in many government Use active voice Technically, active voice puts the active agent documents. Well, do you aspire to write like the government? first, followed by the verb (the action), folUse parallel structure lowed by the object of the action. Doing the same thing in the same way creates a Passive voice reverses the order. pattern that helps a reader follow along. Active: The girl kicked the ball. All along we’ve used a parallel structure for Significant trivia: the writing tips. Each one is written as a com•The sentence “the quick brown fox jumps over mand. We used the imperative mood (the comthe lazy dog” is a pangram, or a phrase that uses mand) because these tips are vital parts of writevery letter in the English Language. ing. We used it in each case because that creates •Perspiration is odourless; it is the bacteria from a pattern your brain picked up by the time you sweat left on the skin that creates an odour. reached the third writing tip. If we had changed •Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump. the writing tip ‘Work the details’ to ‘Details are •Watermelons, which are 92% water, originated important’, your brain would have registered the from the Kalahari Desert in Africa. shift in structure and for a moment would have •When you are looking at someone you love, flickered away from what we wanted. your pupils dilate; they do the same when you The human brain loves pattern. Give your are looking at someone you hate (so don’t mis- reader’s brain a pattern and your ideas will come interpret signals!). through like sunshine through a window.





Universal Studios of Art, a child of circumstance Bunmi Babatunde is the chairman of Universal Studios of Art (USA), Iganmu, Lagos. A renowned studio sculptor, he and his colleagues established the studios to help boost the profession and train more people as he relates in this chat with Edozie Udeze


HY was the Universal Studios of Arts established? The Universal Studios of Art (USA) is the pre-eminent studios for full time professional artists in Nigeria. It is a child of circumstance because the root is from the former National Studios of the National Gallery of Art (NGA). We all trickled into the studios, starting from the oldest artist here called Bisi Fakeye, who was invited by the National Gallery Management to come and demonstrate his prowess. He eventually became artist – in – residence. And I came in here as a Youth Copper in 1983. I was offered an appointment by the then head of culture, Dr. Asiwaju. But I humbly declined. I was asked to be given a place in the studios to practice my art. So, I was given a place in 1984 after my national service. Since then I have been practicing full time in this studio. Biodun Olakun later joined us here. He was coming from his office then to practice with us here but later joined full time too. This was in 1986. A lot of other artists of high pedigree here had some stints at the studios. People like Joe Musa, a former director of NGA was once part of us here. Olu Ajayi was here too. As a matter of fact Richard Baye from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, who is a renowned sculptor was here a year before myself. He is now in the United States of America. And people have been streaming in and out of the

Universal Studios over the years. But most of us who have been permanent here, when we were given quit notice by former Federal Director of Culture, Col. Tunde Akogun, we found it expedient to move over to this present location. We did not find that order quite palatable because the federal government had made provisions for artists – in – residence and provided that space when the National Theatre was being constructed. As a matter of fact, when we came to the studio to practice, the Gallery had an understanding with them, that that space was meant to encourage artists to practice. And that artists – in – residence as was provided by the federal government should be allowed to make use of that place. After sometime the Gallery would acquire some of their works, have an exhibition for them so that they can go out to establish on their own. None of these happened. At several times, we gave our services to the Theatre free – of – charge. In fact I was the one servicing most of the outdoor works owned by the Theatre including the old Queen Amina, which was in bad state. I did it and the thing lasted for about ten years. And then we said to them: you cannot give us quit notice in our father land where we have been rendering services to the government. But then we reasoned that government policy also protected us; that art should

be developed and given time to grow. There were no full time private studios then…? Oh, yes, artists would leave school without having anywhere to go. This was why we asked for this space after we were given that quit notice by Akogun. Even though we wrote to the Federal military government headed by General Ibrahim Babangida who said we should be reinstated, Akogun never did it. That was why we asked to be moved to this present studios of art. So when Dr. Paul Dike became the Director-General of National Gallery of Art, he saw our plight and came to our rescue. It was with his assistance that we were given this place. The building was abandoned, in fact it was in a bad shape but we had to turn it around to have it as it is today, training crops of artists in different categories. Somebody like me who is a sculptor, I needed a space to store my woods and other things I use as work tools. This way we were able to bring in a lot of other sculptors into the studios. With that, we formed this into a group of artists and then named it Universal Studios of Art. We were individual artists, but when we came here we came as a group. We had so much strength as collective artists. In fact we never saw such strength anywhere in Nigeria. You also train young artists. Ho do you do this? Yes, we also train young artists most of whom are now our


colleagues in the studios. Our training equally helped to weather the storm and helped us to look ahead. The likes of Kolade Osinowo, Yusuf Grillo and Isiaka Osunde, a sculptor, trained me at the Yaba College of Technology Lagos and we found it quite expedient to train others who did not have the kind of opportunity we had. There were no jobs then and so we had to establish ourselves firmly and began to take students from all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. First of all we have about four categories of students who come here. We have those who have not been to school at all; some of them stray to this place, some are referred to this place. And they want to study art. We train them to acquire some basic skills. After that they can go back to school for formal training. Scores of them have gained admission and graduated and joined us here.

The second set is the IT students who come here for the period of their IT. The third are university graduates who missed it. They had what they did not like. They come here as graduate trainees and we train them on the right path. The last set is the executive trainees – house wives, expatriates and so on who need to have this as a profession. We try to be of help to all these sets of people and to put them through. In all, it is a mentoring thing and we feel people need to acquire some skills to be able to be on their own. We believe we owe it to this industry to make it grow, to train people who will take over from us. That’s the whole idea of what we do here. Now we have an army of full time professionals all over the place. It is our joy to see them come out and practice. When we see people who have talent hopelessly roaming the streets and we train them to be good, we just feel fulfilled.

‘My book is for moral instruction’ A


T twenty years of age, she already has a dream bigger than her age. Indeed, Irene Onwuka, a 400 level History and International Studies student of Imo State University is set to conquer the world. While her mates are obviously busy battling with problems of adolescent and how to secure their future when they leave school, Irene has conceptualized and written and published a comic book for children entitled Young Emeralds. The book contains five striking stories embedded in morals to lead the children on the path of wisdom and knowledge. In an interview, Irene said: “This is a comic book for kids and it is mainly a moral instruction book to teach them the right way to follow. This is so because I deliberately came up with the idea

By Edozie Udeze

of bringing up something that will help children to learn about their own society, their own environment and issues that are close to them. They can read and learn something from this and get to know what they can do on their own without their parents following them along”. Talking about her motivation to write the book, the author who says she often combines her studies with writing, mused thus: “Ah, what really motivated me to conceptualize the book? Oh, sure, I came up with the idea after seeing a disabled little boy trying to write the word bell. After watching him for a while an idea struck me – If he can do this, why wouldn’t I do something greater to help the kids? I mean, why wouldn’t I write something they

can sit down on their own and understand something morally strong out of it? So, the book is to help them focus on those sound morals imperative for their upbringing and education”. Irene explained that this is the number one series, and that she is bent on making it a regular issue for children “What we have now is the number one series. Already I have stories for six more series which will follow subsequently. We needed to break it down to series so that the kids can see and appreciate the pictures, the paintings, the illustrations and read along and feel what they see”. The titles of the five stories in the book are: Three Girls and two Tempers, Feather Tales, The Fight with the Dragon, Just Judgement and The Bull’s Bully. Each story is an-

chored on the need for children to be imaginative, to see education as the best way of life. The stories are created to inspire and stimulate them along the line of competence and uprightness in whatever they do. “Yes they present materials for lessons on self-control, courage, fairness in judgement and relationships, truthfulness and kindness in various forms, love of peace and one’s nation, respect for elders and dignity in labour and so on”, she explained, smiling. “The real intention is to create the necessary impact in children, letting them know that they could be loved, they could be useful and this is why I am distributing the book in schools and using the few people I know to get the desired attention from state governments throughout the federation”.





HEN the book came out in 2006, not too many people were sure whether the author was a Nigerian or not. The name El-Nukoya was a bit frightening and somewhat strange to an everyday literary person in the society. But the book Nine Lives, which, in 2007, won the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Jacaranda prize for prose is indeed written by a Nigerian who chose the pen name ElNukoya. He said it was a decision he took “in order to differentiate that from my real name and the other professional deals I am involved in”. He made this explanation during the book – reading session at the Debonair Bookstores, Yaba, Lagos, last weekend. Nine Lives explores the trail of ordinary Nigerian youths and the despair that drives some of them across the nation’s borders. ElNukoya who studied Economics in the university, recollected how he grew up in a quiet place in Ibadan but suddenly his sojourn to Lagos widened his horizon, exposing him to the real Nigerian situation. “The bustling was just too much for me”, he enthused “And so I found the life in Ibadan and the one in Lagos strikingly different from each other”, he reminisced as his eyes twitched with excitement. “So, at every quiet moment while on those SAP – indeed holidays, I would scribble down some of the things that bothered me. And that was how the concept for the book began”. In an exclusive interview, El-Nukoya took a

El–Nukoya comes to town 2006, the author enthused, “oh yes thank you. It was done long ago and we hope to always insist on quality works. This will help our works to blossom and stand the test of time”.

By Edozie Udeze

swipe into the issues that were raised in the book and said: “Oh, for me, basically, the most striking feature of the book is its accessibility to different caliber of people and segments of the society. It was surprising to me when I learnt that older people in their 60s and 70s equally read the book and talk about it. Even then, the younger ones find it very thrilling and this indeed gladdens my heart”. The author who disparaged the Nigerian public for not showing enough attention to literary matters consoled that most of the issues and problems raised in the book are receiving public attention at the moment. “So, I will say it is profound in the sense that many segments of the society find the lessons instructive. And it is relevant also to people across many climes both home and abroad. When I go online and see the number of people that say Nine Lives is their favourite Nigerian novel, I feel elated”. The author who works as a consultant to many firms across the globe insisted that whatever you studied in the university does not have to limit your horizon as a writer. “We all are capable of playing many roles. There are plenty of talents inside all of us, it is only the one we pay too much attention to, that blossoms most in us. This book is a

Dancers thrill with romantic concert By Rita Ohai



testament as to what one can do if one gives himself up to it. This book was written in the privacy of my room and it became something that is important today; indeed very relevant and great to hundreds of thousands of people across the globe”. He therefore charged the youths to be humbled by their beginning “Yes there are thousands of Nigerian youths out there who can do it, but do not

Remembering the 60 angels


HE pre- and posthappenings surrounding the Sosoliso plane crash that claimed the lives of 60 students of the Loyola Jesuit College in 2005 would forever remain in the memory of everyone that is associated with the occurrence. It was a tragedy that hit at every level as the whole nation watched as the lives of young, promising children was snuffed out in their prime. THE SOSOLISO PLANE CRASH: OUR STORY, written to mark the five years of this tragic event was put together by a coalition of writers, editors and contributors to tell the story of what happened, answer the question of how it happened, and tell the whole world of how the school, some family and friends have been able to cope with the colossal loss. The book introduces the founding philosophy of the Loyola Jesuit College (LJC) derived from the ideals of the founding father, St. Ignatius of Loyola; it also throws light on life in the College. Section one which has the first three chapters narrates takes the reader through the graphic description of what took place on the night before the plane crash, the morning of December 10, 2005, the day the tragedy occurred. The section two of the book tagged ‘THE INCI-


By Timilehin Osunde

DENT’ narrates what happened immediately the news of the crash started making rounds; Chapter five which is in this section of the book sees family members of the deceased narrating their reactions after hearing the news of the crash and how the school staff managed the crisis. Chapter six which chronicles the visit of President Obasanjo who was then in office, is followed by a cross-section of the late students’ pictures, the only survivor amongst the students in the crash KECHI OKWUCHI, amongst other photographs. Section three which is titled ‘THE AFTERMATH’, takes the reader through life after the mishap, the return of the remaining 557 students of the school. Chapter eight in this section records the Memorial Anniversary candlelight held which evoked memories of their lives in the minds of their friends and class-mates. In the final section of the book, the recovery story of the only survivor amongst the students ‘Kechi Okwuchi,’ more aptly called ‘miracle girl’ is detailed. The section also deals with the problems inherent in the society which culminated into the air disaster and how the school has been able to carry on. This well put together

necessarily have things going for them. This is not only in literature, but in the sciences, in politics, in business and the art. We only need one another to grow and push on with our dreams. Equally important is for us to encourage people with talents and advise them not to limit themselves when they have something to offer. Big dreams, they say, start from small begin-

book answers so many questions yet raises some other questions of its own, one of which is, if stakeholders have been able to really learn from the experience while dealing with the problems central to it.

N The Great Fall Chinyere Obi-Obasi shows that she has great sense of adventure as a writer. In her determination to teach children the beauty and essence of story-telling, she retold the well-known story of the many cunning ways and antics of the Tortoise and the Hare. This is a story that has so far captured the attention of the world, mostly children. The book symbolizes the centre-point of moonlight story tactics as epitomised by the Mba family. The author herself sees this book as the proverbial old wine in new skin. In it, the writer rehashes the Hare and Tortoise escapades in a more fervent and boisterous form using a modern family of the Mbas resident in Lagos to reach out to the people. The children are drawn

nings”, he said genially. El-Nukoya promised that before long his second novel will be out. “I am on the 16th chapter now. And it will be a 20 chapter stuff. But then you can not control the muse; it can go on beyond that. But again, I have a collection of stories which is ready but will be published much later”. Asked if he has corrected the errors that first appeared in the book in

T was fun, glitz and dance at ‘Love is...’, the annual dance concert hosted by the Society of Performing Arts of Nigeria (SPAN) as guest were treated to an eclectic mix of international dance routines laced with vivid story telling that captured the deep rooted under-tones of love and relationships. Speaking on the essence of the event, Sara Boulos, the Chairperson of the society says, “We desire to present projects that will transform our community which is why our theme for this year, “Hope beyond Hope”, seeks to bring life from the gifts of our talented artistes.” This year’s event which was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites showcased the artistic edge of popular celebrities like ace vocalist, Yinka Davies, award-winning fashion designer, Zizi Cardow , gospel rapper, Nikki Laoye as well as other professional dancers.

Telling a new story By Edozie Udeze

into it by the sheer curiosity established in the beginning by the head of the family. This is why it is seen as a total revolution on the new art of telling children’s story. The family is indeed peculiar and appealing. It is a story so perfectly packaged and told that it encourages kid’s interest in story-telling. No wonder the book made the shortlist of the Nigeria Prize for Literature last year. By emerging the The Great Fall has come to re-direct third best Literature attention to animal and indeed for children in 2011, bedtime tales.


UNESCO slave routes in Calabar THE beautiful city of Calabar, Cross River State will today host historians and other scholars across the world to discuss slave routes in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The one week international conference hosted by CBAAC and UNESCO is build to find avenues for reparation and lots more.

PANAFEST takes off ON Thursday March 15, PAN African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) will kick off in Lagos. It will be an occasion to celebrate the 60 th birthday of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. PANAFEST is a Pan African event aimed at bringing African together in carnival and festival form. This year will feature dances, dramas, talks, with the governors of Lagos and Osun State in attendance.

Literary mentorship for girls YOUNG girls between the ages of 10 and 20 interested in pursuing a literary career can apply for a one-year free mentorship programme being organized by Sprouters, a not for profit organization. According to Ms Ugo Chime, founder and Managing Director of Sprouters, the programme will see the 50 mentees interact online with nine female writers on different parts of the writing craft. For additional information contact Ugo Chime on 08024345207 or visit



‘We should help the Police to curb crime’ —PAGE 55

From magic to Christ Pa Kehinde Ilesile practised magic for over 40 years. Now a born again Christian, he says he does not want any of his children to tread the path he took. Taiwo Abiodun met him.


S a young man Kehinde Ilesile was widely known in the old Western State, the north and on the West coast. A mention of his name may not ring any bell but his nickname “Young Wizard” will raise many eyebrows in recognition. In his heydays Young Wizard had performed magic in various schools across the defunct Western State, the old North and countries along the West African coasts. That was years ago, today he is a changed man. At 70, Pa Kehinde Ilesile has cast away his instruments of magic and embraced Christ. The old has passed away According to him, his encounter with Christ was simple. One day he was invited to a church service and he decided to go not because he was convinced anything spectacular was going to happen there. He went out of curiosity, and as they say, curiosity kills the cat. However, in Young Wizard’s case his curiosity saved him. As fate would have it, on that fateful day the preacher spoke about the ugly side of magic. After listening to the sermon, he w a s touched. He went home sober


and pondered over the message. He immediately decided to turn his back against the art of magic, a profession he had practised for over four decades! “The sermon touched me. I repented and I am now a Christian. I have learnt my lesson that magical art does not pay,’’ he said in a feeble voice as he sank into the dirty and torn sofa in his living room at O m i Adiye, in Owo, O n d o State. At 70 Young Wizard h a s become a shadow of himself. He is no longer


bubbling; his chubby face has disappeared while his young blossoming skin is now wrinkled. He looks weak and sick. Asked what he has gained from performing magic he declared, “I have no money. I was only popular then. I only had fame but I was not rich. Now, I am living in my father’s house. I have no house of my own but I still believe that it is not too late to build a house. I am now over 70, there is nothing God cannot do’’, he told The Nation in a quavering voice. On how he got his nickname “Young wizard” he said, it was given to him by some Britons who watched his performance at Sabo Hotel, Ita Balogun in Lagos in 1958. “When the Britons saw my magical feat at Ita

Balogun they were shocked seeing a young man like me performing magic in big way. It was there they gave me the nick name and called me Young Wizard. Since then it stuck on me and only few people knew my real name.’’ Origin of a name His astute performance and magical feats were many and that was what gave him the nickname, among some of his magical feats according to him was that “I used to drink beer from the bottom of the bottle without removing the cork. This thrilled my spectators who were amazed at such a thing. That was how they started calling me ‘Young Wizard’.” That was decades ago, today he has lost all his youthful dash and energy. He now looks pale and sick. “I am now sick and old. I no longer practise magic again. It does not pay. I have accepted Christ into my life. God is beyond everybody. I now believe there is power that is above all these things called magic. I have abandoned it” The septuagenarian has now turned a new leaf “I now go to church. I attend Christ Apostolic Church. I now go to the house of the Lord to pray. I have accepted Christ into my life. God is beyond everybody. Man is wicked. I have seen a lot in life.’’ Power from the wind Ilesile did not attend any school of magic “I did not have any formal education. I did not learn the art of Magic. I did not go to any school of magic like those ones the late Professor Peller attended in India.’’ At the age of seven, he was swept away by a strange whirlwind! For three years he was marooned in thick forest where he learnt the art of magic. According to him, “I remember that if I stretch out my hand and demanded for any object, it will appear. If I asked it to disappear it would. I could call a stone to appear or disappear. I only needed to say the word or command it. That was all. I don’t know where they come from and I don’t know where those things disappear to. I don’t

conjure any spirit I did not go to school to learn the art.” Going down memory lane he listed as his contemporaries magicians such as the late Professor Peller, Oladokun of Ikirun and Alimi Ibarapa. He boasted that he did not perform ‘box match magic’ or carried instruments about like other magicians. He used bare hands to perform his magical feats. According to him, he had performed in many states and towns such as Lagos, Ibadan, Oyo, Owo, Akure, Osogbo, Kaduna, Kano and in the West African neighbouring countries such as Ghana , Benin Republic, etc. Despite his magic he had a close shave with death. “I was once swept away by the Atlantic Ocean’s waves in Lagos. The waves took me to the middle of the ocean but God is so wonderful that I was washed ashore again. I thought it had finished but God rescued me. There is no magic one can perform on the sea; it is a different terrain entirely.” Testifying to the power of a superior being he added, “God use to send His angels to keep watch over us all the time. He has angels guarding us all.’’ With hindsight he can today confess that magic is bad “God does not support magic; that is why one cannot be successful in it. There is no money in it as it is not regarded as a serious business. It is not appreciated as it is in the West. Here, if you claim that you are a magician they will accuse you wanting to dupe them. They will call you a liar. They forget it is part of entertainment.’’ He said all proceeds from his magical feats are given out to people free because it is forbidden for a magician to use such. Although he believes in the existence of witches and wizards, but reiterated that he was a magician and not a wizard! “I am just an ordinary person like you and calling me Young Wizard is just a nickname. I sleep and wake up like any other person there is nothing extra ordinary in me. I am a human being like any other person.’’ A new life Asked where all his magical powers have gone he replied: “I don’t have to do it again. I have stopped. Since I have been going to church and listening to sermon. I was once into star gazing, Ifa oracle and divination and many other things but in the end I stopped it. There is nothing in it, it is all evil.” He has vowed not to pass the profession on to his children. “God forbid. I don’t pray to pass it on to my children. Do you think magic is a good thing? It is not a good thing my brother. I reject it. None of my children should do it. Never and Never!’’ he swore.





A castrated LASTMA?

OHNSON Ayantola (not his real name), an insurance executive, was one of the Lagosians who lauded idea behind the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA). He resides in Alagbado area of the state and has to drive from there to Lekki, in the other part of the city every day to and fro work. He was always worked up until LASTMA was created to bring some sense of relief and sanity unto Lagos roads. He was a fanatical supporter LASTMA. But that was before he had what he called “my nasty experience” with one of the operatives about a year ago. He said “On that fateful day, I left home at 5am. The traffic was tough and by 8amwhen I was supposed to be in the office I’d a flat tyre on the third mainland bridge. As I was struggling to pull off my suit and tie a LASTMA vehicle just parked by me and an official came down and said I was obstructing traffic.” All attempts by Ayantola to explain his plight fell on deaf ears and the officials tied a tow rope to his car and drove it to their office. He was flustered and when he got to the office where his car was towed to, all efforts to explain himself to the officials was rebuffed and he had to pay through his nose to retrieve his car. To make matters worse for the over N15,000 he paid he was issued a receipt of N5000. When he made issues out of this he was told that if intends to pursue it “officially” he may have to pay almost N70,000 and spend about two weeks before recovering his vehicle! That was the end of his defence of the activities of the agency. Ayantola is not alone. Many residents of Lagos have bitter stories to tell about their experiences in the hands of LASTMA officials. This range from allegations of sharp practices, such as turning the agency to a private enterprise of sorts with imposition of heavy fines on traffic offenders, fines which were not remitted to government coffers. Clipping its wings However, in September last year, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos brought some sort of relief to many a Lagos motorist. In a suit filed by one Jonathan Odutola who claimed to have been wrongly treated by the agency in

The traffic control agency of the Lagos State government seems to be undergoing a reform, Tunde Busari, reports.

March 2011, Justice Abang ruled that under Sections 9, 11, 12 and 13 of the law establishing the agency; it has no power to be a judge and prosecutor in its case by imposing fines. He, therefore, awarded a N500,000 fine against the agency. For emphasis, Abang stated that the four Sections of LASTMA law are contrary to Section 36 of the Constitution which gives the right of fair hearing to every citizen. This ruling expectedly received wide media coverage, which drew the attention of the public to it. But soon after the ruling, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, rose staunchly against it, and

promised an appeal to defend the legality of the agency. The commissioner said, “We are appealing the judgment immediately. Lagos State, Federal Government and other jurisdictions have laws that validly impose fines in the same way as LASTMA law, so we are certainly not satisfied with the judgment”. Ipaye’s counterpart in the Ministry of Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, also expressed the same sentiment in a telephone interview with our reporter. Although Opeifa was hesitant in discussing the issue, he maintained his difference with the judgement. “No, the judgement cannot

stand. That is why we have appealed against it. Hence, I don’t want to talk about it. But the judgement has no effect on the morale of the officials,” Opeifa said. A new LASTMA? The Nation gathered that the complaints which usually greeted the conduct of the officials on the roads is gradually giving way to compliment and applause even from commercial bus drivers. Ironically some of the drivers are unaware of the court ruling, hence their surprise at the new image of the officials. Oke Omoniyi, a commercial bus driver plying Iyana-IpajaMushin route was amazed two weeks ago when his bus had a

“Let’s wait and see the outcome but we are doing our work by taking offenders to Alausa, our office. People should not see us as their enemy. We are their true friend for clearing the road of unnecessary traffic jam,”

mechanical fault somewhere at Mongoro and two LASTMA officials walked up to him in an unusually friendly manner and assisted him in pushing the bus off the road. Even after the two officials had walked away from the spot, it took Omoniyi some time to recover from the shock owing to his previous unpleasant encounter with officials of the agency. His bus had in the past been impounded and he was made to pay through his nose to secure the release of the vehicle. “I could not believe myself that such a thing could happen. If somebody had told me, of course I would not believe the story because those officials who detained me were too wicked. I had to share my experience with my colleagues. I know some of them did not believe me because they could not imagine it,” the highly elated Omoniyi said. Jude Martin, an estate developer, shared a similar experience he also recently had with a LASTMA official at Ijesha bus stop on Apapa-Osodi expressway. Martins admitted that he truly committed a traffic offence; dropping a passenger right on the expressway not minding the danger such an act could constitute. But against his expectation, the LASTMA official who held him only entered his car and dished out a tutorial on the implication of stopping on the expressway among other traffic rules. After the interaction the official alighted and warned Martins against such an act. “The young man dealt with me in a way I will not forget. He was soft-spoken. I was so impressed that I offered him N1000.Can you believe that he refused to take the money? It was a funny situation because I had to beg him to collect the money. “Apart from giving him the money I also collected his number after I gave him my complimentary card. I think, that is the kind of LASTMA personnel we need on the road,” Martin said. While some sections of the public are witnessing a transformed LASTMA, there are still others with a sad tale about the agency. To this category of Lagosians, nothing has really changed. This much was also confirmed by some officials who regarded the court ruling as a •Continued on Page 55



ISHA Tosan has distinguished herself as a crime reporter. After working on the crime beat for several years, she is now the Chief Executive Officer of a communication outfit with bias for crime coverage. As a young journalist at Vanguard Newspapers, she had to endure the pains associated with chasing odd stories in the day and most often in the night, all in search of exclusives. Crime reporting was is not an easy beat to navigate but she was able to show her mettle and maintain her professional integrity through dogged determination. This earned her the respect of the officers and men of the Nigeria Police. Reflecting on her experience she said, “It took grace of God to weather the storm. It is not that I was super human but the determination to remain focused worked for me to weather the storm. For instance, as a reporter I positioned myself in such a way that I would do my work without fear or favour and with little consideration of monetary reward. I would do my editorial work between Monday and Friday and devote Saturday and Sunday for selling of articles I imported from Britain and Dubai. So, I was okay to carry out my work as it was expected of me.” Unflinching support With her long years of reporting the crime beat, Tosan is an unrepentant supporter of the Nigeria Police. Even if the whole world is throwing pebbles at the black uniform officers, she certainly would not join the crowd because she sees the force as the most important security organization in the country. To underscore her belief in the Nigeria Police in 2000, she set up a programme designed to showcase the exploits of the police to the doubting public. The television programme is called Crime fighters through which she reels out crime stories and interviews on how to combat crime. Although the journey has been tough, she has been able to cope with the tough schedules and the challenges, which to her are natural and like a springboard needed to reach one’s desired destination. She reflects: “When you are doing what you are convinced of, no problem should stop you from achieving your goal. That is the story of Crime Fighters. And one thing I have come to realise about Nigerians is that they thrive on hypocrisy as far as corruption is concerned.” To her focusing only on the police and accusing it of corruption is unfair, “Are the other sectors free of •Continued from page 54

fruitless effort to cow the agency at the expense of the convenience of law-abiding road users. “Are you not aware that we have appealed? Let’s wait and see the outcome but we are doing our work by taking offenders to Alausa, our office. People should not see us as their enemy. We are their true friend for clearing the road of unnecessary traffic jam,” an official who pleaded anonymity said. One Lukman Salawu, an Ibadan-based commercial bus driver last week brought a customer to Ebute-metta for a social engagement. They ran into the dragnet of the LASTMA at Anthony. Salawu was taken to the Alausa office of the agency. “We parked inside the premises but the woman later gave the officials N15,000 when they told us that our fine was N50,000. After they collected the money two of them just disappeared into one office as we left. It’s not good to enter their office. Those officials are wicked,” Salawu lamented. Similarly, a private car driver, Sunday Aluko said he is not aware


‘We should help Police curb crime’

Aisha Tosan runs Crime Fighter, a programme meant to showcase the world of the Nigeria Police on television, Tunde Busari takes her up on the aim of the programme


the same problem? It is just a situation of kettle calling pot black. I don’t want to be part of it. What about a contractor mobilized to do a project who gives 10 percent of the fund to those who facilitated the contract and then abandoned the project? What of an importer and Customs officer colluding to shortchange the government? What of a business man deliberately importing substandard items and sell it at exorbitant price? “My conclusion therefore is that

the police are corrupt because they are Nigerians. If the entire system washes itself of all corrupt tendencies there is no way the police will not be affected. I have no apology doing something to project the exploits of the police despite the myriad of challenges they face on daily basis. Their work is what I call 24/ 7.How many of us work round the clock? “Go to police station any time of

the day it is wide open. Do you remember what happened when the police staged a brief strike action in 2002? There was a stampede at Maryland and some other places as people took law into their hands. This is telling you the indispensability of Nigeria Police in maintaining law and order”. Speaking truth to power That she loves Nigeria Police with a passion does not, however, trans-


late to glorifying their shortcomings. Tosan like other Nigerians is also familiar with the numerous vices of the police. Instead of looking elsewhere and feigning ignorance, she would, in her characteristic manner, rise against them irrespective of the position of the errant policeman. She once hard an opportunity to confront the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim right inside his office at Louis Edet House, Abuja. According to her, “I went straight to him in his office and told him to his face that he was derailing and preparing for his failure. I told him he was becoming too arrogant with the way he was carrying himself, keeping a distance from those who would tell him the truth and befriending those plotting his downfall. I told him right there inside his office. Now, am I not vindicated?” she asked rhetorically. For someone who has covered the crime beats for years, she sees the appointment of Mohammed Abubakar as Acting Inspector General as putting a square pet in a square hole, as they say. According to her, the AIG is qualified and had waited patiently for his to come. Tosan is one of those who believe that the new dawn Nigeria Police had longed for is here with the appointment of Abubakar. “The record of his past is there for all to see. It was his achievement in Lagos State Command that Marvel Akpoyibo built upon. Wherever Abubakar works he must do something that would make him a reference point to his successors. “That has always been his trade mark. With this in mind, Nigeria Police will undergo a transformation that will make it appeal to Nigerian public and the outside world. I knew him as a DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police). He is a thorough bred officer who does not make noise but likes his work to speak for him. He will surely surprise Nigeria,” she said enthusiastically. During the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo she was a member of the Police Trust Fund. However, she had to withdraw after she felt the fund was not being run properly. She agrees that the Force now have some black sheep in its fold and asking, “But tell me which organization doesn’t breed these black sheep in Nigeria? Majority of Nigeria Police are good and ready to work under a right supervision. That is what Abubakar will achieve because he doesn’t sit back and watch; he is there with them on the field.”

A castrated LASTMA? of the acclaimed new behaviour of LASTMA officials as he coughed out N5,000 penultimate Monday along Gbagada expressway. “I was just checking the bonnet of my car along Gbagada. They came on a bike, saying all sorts of things. I gave them the money,” Aluko said. Salawu and Aluko’s experience notwithstanding, further finding revealed that the February 1 incident in which a bus conductor, Rasheed Alabi, 24, was allegedly pulled down from his bus on the expressway leading to a trailer crushing him to death has put a check on LASTMA officials’ perceived excess. Alabi’s colleagues did not spare the officials on sight. Immediately after the tragedy many of them were attacked and only escaped death by whiskers. This development traumatized the officials such that donning the uniform was considered a great risk to their safety. A senior LASTMA official who

also spoke on condition of anonymity described the incident as an opportunity the drivers had prayed for to get at his men. “It was a difficult moment given the fact that the drivers and their conductors know us so well. But when it was resolved we are all happy but this is not saying what happened is okay. We are not trained to be nuisance on the road but to enforce traffic law. “There is no way we won’t have black sheep in organization as prominent as this. The incident taught some of those bad ones in the system a lesson.” As the official said, some drivers took advantage of the incident to engage in gross violation of traffic rules like taking BRT lane despite consistent warning against the act. Vice-chairman of Alimoso branch ‘F’ of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Kayode Oladele, is, however, not happy with traffic offenders.

He said his branch is rather complementing the effort of LASTMA at Iyana-Ipaja axis by drafting its members to the road to direct traffic. According to him, commercial drivers more than other road users are the beneficiary of LASTMA’s work on the road. Our reporter took time to confirm Oladele’s claim and found some LASTMA officials and policemen clustering inside a booth, watching NURTW members directing traffic. One of the impressed members of the public is Jimoh Ademola, a resident of Aboru near Iyana-Ipaja. While Ademola does not see the exploit of NURTW as viable alternative to that of LASTMA, he does not, however, lose sight of their effectiveness in instilling discipline in the psyche of their fellow drivers. “What government should do is to use right approach to achieve right result as we see at Iyana-Ipaja. Those drivers know one another;

they know all their antics. So it is easy to control them with little use of force unlike the excesses displayed by the LASTMA officials,” he said. Governor Fashola seems to share Ademola’s view as he has promised to improve and remodify the agency in tune with the mega-city dream of the state. “So, let’s not be in a hurry to challenge LASTMA. I don’t think that is what we need, what we need is to keep the model, sustain and develop it. If it has rough edges, we trim it off and LASTMA like every innovation of man is always subject to improvement, remodification and I think that is the collectiveness that is important for us to carry along now. The condemnation of the agency, I don’t think will take us there,” the governor said. With the appeal against Justice Abang’s judgment, residents of Lagos are waiting with bated breath to see where the scale of judgment would swing.



Dealing with smelly armpits A common but most irritating form of body odour is armpit odour. The stale perspiration under your arms is strongly linked with the armpit odour. Initially the perspiration does not stink but after some time when it gets exposed to the atmosphere, the active bacteria rapidly get multiplied. The bacterial breakdown of proteins into acids during this process actually generates the odour. The perspiration itself doesn't have any smell. Interestingly not many are aware of the fact that the sweat produced from our sweat glands is actually a colourless and odourless fluid, just like water! According to Pharm. Collins Udeh, a community pharmacist, “Body odor is a common issue, especially when dealing with hormonal changes like the ones occurring in puberty or a lack of hygiene. One of the most common places for body odor to develop is in the armpits, where bacteria interacts with proteins in your sweat to produce byproducts that provides the distinct scent of bad body odor.” Generally it has been seen that the onset of smelly armpits is at the time a child hits puberty. It is irrespective of the gender and is found to be present in men as well as women equally. Many approaches can help mask or prevent foul-smelling armpits from developing. Deodorant Deodorant is one of the simplest ways to help curb body odor in your armpits. Most deodorants include a scent which can help mask the smell of body odor. Deodorants also work by making the skin more acidic, which creates an environment that is less hospitable to the bacteria that react with your sweat to cause body odor. Prescription Antiperspirant When over-the-counter products are not enough, your doctor can prescribe prescription antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride. Like OTC versions of the product, prescription antiperspirants temporarily block sweat glands, reducing the amount of sweat on the surface for bacteria. Hygiene Proper hygiene can go a long way to help treat problems with smelly

armpits. Showering everyday using soap in the armpits helps remove the proteins bacteria feast on in your sweat, as well as reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin. If you regularly sweat, you can periodically wash just your armpits during the day with a damp washcloth. Wash with soap daily, particularly your armpits, groin and feet where there are many sweat producing glands. Washing removes sweat and reduces the numbers of bacteria that act upon it. Some people have more sweat and oil producing glands than others. If you sweat a lot, you may need to shower two or three times a day. Diet Certain foods in your diet can make the sweat in your armpits stink more than other foods. Avoiding these foods may help manage the body odor problem. Examples of foods that may affect body odor include onions and

garlic. Still other foods and drinks may increase your sweating, including spicy foods, alcohol and hot drinks. Clothing Wearing clothing that breathes, such as those made from cotton and natural fibers instead of synthetic materials, may also help you keep odor under control. Natural materials are more likely to allow the skin to breathe, reducing the amount of sweat produced due to overheating. To r e d u c e problems with sweat while exercising, choose high-tech materials that wick sweat and moisture away from the body

Home remedies for armpit odour


TRANGE as it may seem, many people with bad body odour are unaware that they smell. Still wondering how to eliminate the foul armpit odour? Try these home remedies for some relief; 1) Wipe your underarms with witch hazel in replacement to deodorants. 2) Same is the effect with apple cedar vinegar and white vinegar as they alleviate the skin pH and fight against odour. 3) Lime juice is an excellent remedy for •Oranges smelling armpits. 4) Baby wipes can be used to soak excess perspiration from the genital and underarms area. Baking soda rubbed onto the underarms is an excellent way to eliminate the odour. The baking soda also absorbs the perspiration leaving your armpits dry and odour free.

Underarms shaving tips


Here are some shaving tricks to ensure ODAY, women are increasingly turning to waxing and some are you're doing it the right way and cutting t r y i n g l a s e r h a i r r e m o v a l . down on the nicks and irritation so common However, shaving remains the least to shaved skin. expensive form of hair removal. 1. The trick to shaving is to wet your skin

and let it soften from the heat and moisture. You don't want to shave dry skin. Shaving is a natural exfoliator and if you try to dry shave, you run the risk of clogging up the razor with dead skin while putting yourself at risk for nicks and razor burn. 2. There's no need to waste your money on shaving creams formulated especially for women, they are virtually the same as the creams sold for men. (Now if you can just find a scent you can live with). 3. You are going to have to experiment with razors until you find the perfect one for you. Ask your friends for recommendations and look for a razor with lubricated strips, pivoting heads and spring-mounted multiple blades. 4. Be sure to change razors or cartridges on a regular basis; a dull blade can lead to nicks. It's actually best to never use another person's razor because there is a chance you could get Hepatitis C from fresh blood on a razor. 5. Be sure to exfoliate your skin before shaving. It gets rid of all the dead skin cells that could clog up your razor, preventing a close shave. There are several ways to exfoliate. You can use exfoliating gloves or a cloth in the shower or dry brush before you shower (never get a wooden brush wet, it will mildew fast).



‘Why Nigeria remains investors’ choice’


Democratisation of taxes P

OLITICIANS around here enjoy a lot of privileges as part of perks of office. But thanks to the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), one of these privileges is being withdrawn. Unlike what obtained in the past when political appointees were exempted from paying taxes on their salaries and allowances, with the amendment of the Personal Income Tax Act, all allowances of political office holders would now be taxed. Making of new tax regime It would be recalled that President Jonathan had on June 14 last year signed the PITA into law, making it the first major amendment to the income tax law since 1979. No fewer than 41 clauses were reviewed in the old tax law in order to bring it up to date with existing realities of the Nigerian economy, especially in relation to how it would impact on the low and middle income earners. The Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mrs. Ifueko Omogui-Okauru, while briefing journalists in Abuja on the major provisions of the new tax law said: “Further to the amendment of the Act, there is a review of income exempted from tax under the Act, with inclusion of income from bonds issued by government and corporate entities in tax exempt income and the removal of official emoluments of the President, vice-president, governors and deputy governors from income exempted from tax. “With these new provisions, the President, VP, governors and deputy governors of states will now pay tax on all their income as is done by every other taxpayer.” The new PITA also has provision for a Consolidated Relief Allowance of N200,000 in addition to 20 per cent of gross income as deductible allowance. This, she noted, replaced the outdated and cumbersome process of computing allowances under the old Act. The FIRS boss said that a new income tax rate and tax table, which had a closer income bands and lower tax rates leading to reduction in tax payable for low and middle income earners, were also provided. According to her, the new PITA will now widen the tax base by bringing in a huge number of potential taxpayers, especially those in the informal sector, into the tax net The new legislation, OmoguiOkauru said, supported the use of taxation as a tool for income redistribution and wealth creation by imposing lower tax burden on low income earners and higher tax burden on those who earn more. It also supports government’s intention to implement a shift in focus from direct to indirect taxation by lowering the overall income tax burden so that there is more disposable income in the economy. This is expected to lead to higher value addition in tax collection and higher economic activity, among others.

-- Page 59


With the amendment of the Personal Income Tax Act, poFirm trains litical office holders who hitherto enjoyed a tax holiday would now have to pay taxes from their salaries and allowances. managers on Analysts hold the view and very strongly too that this new negotiation skills policy regime if enforced to the letter will boost the economy, PM Systems Engineering, an indigenous company through its subsidreports Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf iary, PLODA, is set to hold a two-


Unlike the previous tax law, she said the amended PITA had provision of a uniform, independent and cost effective process of dispute resolution by referring all disputes to the Tax Appeal Tribunal established in the six geopolitical zones. She said, “The law was conceived to bridge the gaps identified in the old Act, especially with respect to its impact on the take home earnings of low and middle income earners. “With the new Act, government has demonstrated that it has a listening ear and reduced the overall burden on low and middle income earners, while recouping these from high net worth individuals, who will be expected to bear a higher burden given their level of earnings.” Omogui-Okauru also added that the amended Act would attract a higher rate of voluntary compliance from taxpayers. Issues with PITA It is however instructive to note that the newly enacted Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Act, 2011 (PITAA, 2011) contains a number of controversial provisions which are bound to pose serious challenges for tax adminis-

trators, payroll managers, and tax consultants. These include the treatment of benefits in kind (BIK), taxation of expatriate income and the 183 day rule, double taxation agreement (DTA), reliefs and allowances, tax rate calculation/determination, tax clearance certificate (TCC), service of notice of assessment, appeal, offences and penalties, minimum tax, presumptive tax, obligations of banks, obligation of professional bodies and associations, pension contributions, National Housing Fund Contribution, National Health Insurance Scheme, Life Assurance Premium, returns among others. These were some of the concerns raised at a public forum last week. At the forum organised by UNILAG Consults in conjunction with TPSS, which held at the Julius Julius Berger Hall, University of Lagos, Akoka, faculty members focused on issues bordering on Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Act, 2011. Among the facilitators at the seminar were Mrs. Bimpe Balogun, Managing Partner, Saffron Professional Services), Dr. (Mrs.) Teju Somorin, Vice President & Dean, Tax Administration

“With these new provisions, the President, VP, governors and deputy governors of states will now pay tax on all their income as is done by every other taxpayer”

Faculty, Mr. Bicci Alli, Secretary, LIRS Board, Mr. Temidayo Sokunbi to mention just a few. According to the experts, some of the challenges posed by this law may worsen the existing overarching payroll related problems for payroll managers, tax administrators and tax consultants. Expatiating, they said: “Companies and taxpayers may be exposed to huge payment of interests and penalties on account of poor interpretation and implementation of the new law. It is simplistic to think that the recent publication of a ‘revised’ version in the Federal Government of Nigeria Official Gazette 115 of 24th June, 2011 Vol. 98 Government Notice No.117 will resolve all the problems, they stressed. Personages captured in current tax net Under the new dispensation some of the personages who would now be within the tax net include President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, governors of the 36 states of the federation, their deputies and ministers, among others. Increase tax revenue Indications are that the new tax regime would help to boost the internally generated revenue through taxes. In the view of Mr. Akanbi Rafiu, a tax consultant, the country has a lot to gain from the new tax regime. Citing the result of revenue made from taxes last year, Rafiu said: “The Federal Government made N4.62tn from tax collections in 2011. “The figure represents an increase of N990bn or 27.27 per cent over the N3.63tn revenue target set for the agency.” The increase, he said, is a demonstration of the success of the ongoing reforms in the sector. The reforms, he said, are targeted at repositioning the Nigerian tax system by making taxation the pivot for the nation’s sustainable development. Tax revenue remains a major source of revenue mobilisation. But the challenge has always been that a lot of political office holders enjoyed certain waivers and privileges when it comes to fulfilling this civic responsibility, he observed. He however said it was gratifying to note that the amendment to the PITA has the potential to change the tax administration in the country. To analysts, time will tell if this new policy regime is something to cheer about.


day interface and discussion session with senior management executives too build their skills set in deals and negotiations. Tagged: “Negotiation and Closing Deals”, the training is scheduled for March 27-28, 2012. In a statement by Mr. Cash Onadele, Chairman/CEO of BPM Systems Engineering, he said: “Negotiations and Deal Closing” is a fast paced developmental course designed for business professionals and particularly those who are top sales /relationship management producers. Justifying the need for the training, Onadele said participants are expected to acquire skills aimed at improving their sales negotiations and deal closing abilities among others. Other benefits of the training, he said, is that it would help participants walk through selling principles and practices, develop salespersons to actively sell product and services and to develop “improved persuasive communication and negotiation techniques, powerful closing strategies.

Foundation boosts youths’ employability S part of plans to further empower youths and help them maximize their potentials, Freedom Funds Empowerment recently organised an entrepreneurial training tagged: “Rediscovering your Self-Esteem and Entrepreneurial Skills.” The training, according to the organisers was designed to assist aspiring entrepreneurs within the age range of 1835 years with skills, tools, and networks that they require to establish successful businesses. The training was also focused on equipping participants with necessary skills that would enable them to become successful entrepreneurs. Facilitating at the training was Ms. Joke Silva, a renowned actress and director, who has been able to inspire youths to explore, build, grow, and expand in their respective fields. Ms. Silva educated participants on the role self-esteem plays in starting a business. Mrs. Abolaji Osime, a successful entrepreneur / management and leadership development expert who also facilitated at the training, gave participants insights on how to overcome unemployment challenges by being business owners. Justifying the need for the training, the Executive Director of the Foundation, Mrs. Tenidola Awoyemi said it was organised to provide participants with certain skills needed to start businesses. “The scourge of unemployment is growing by the day and it is high time youths realized that one of the ways to overcome this is to start their own businesses. This is one thing the training was set to achieve”, she stressed. Impressed with the turnout and active participation of youths at the training, Funmi Oluwole, Freedom Funds Empowerment Programme Officer stated that the training was an eye-opener for participants who had dreams of starting their businesses but had challenges in actualizing the dreams.




Business Intelligence

PFA withholds N137m NNB pensioners’ funds •Funds now N204.5m, says Legacy Pension


ENSION payments for about 600 retirees of the defunct New Nigeria Bank (NNB) remain in limbo as the money meant for their entitlement is locked-up in the vaults of a Pension Funds Administrator, Legacy Pension Limited. The money, totaling N137.05 million was paid by Unity Bank Plc, vide three cheques, according to a letter dispatched to Alex Okoh, the former Managing Director of NNB. In the correspondence, dated October 12, 2009, entitled: ‘Re: NNB Staff Pension and Superannuation Scheme,’ Unity Bank said it has forwarded “cheques for the sum of N120.746 million; N3.033 million and N13.269 million respectively (which were found in the books of Unity Bank, contrary to the scheme of Merger agreement), to you for onward delivery to Legacy Pension Management Limited, in line with your instruction.” The bank also accompa-

By Simeon Ebulu Deputy Business Editor

nied the letter with a list, which it described as “the last known pensioners of New Nigeria Bank Plc (as per record found in former NNB Company secretariat). The letter was written to Okoh, in response to a query from the Edo State House of Assembly, as Unity Bank Plc, in the letter signed by the Head, Legal Services Department, Umar M. Adamu and General Manager, South Zone Directorate, Ahmed Yusuf, requested for update on development, as in their words, “we are required to provide update at the Edo State House of Assembly on this matter.” The former defunct NNB chief executive, while acknowledging the payment by Unity Bank, in a reply to a query raised by Counsel to one of the retirees, Chief S. S. Obaro, of Sam Obaro & Co., clarified that the funds were never disbursed to him personally, but to Legacy Pen-

sions which was appointed as the PFA for the pension liabilities of Legacy NNB International Bank Plc. His words: “The funds were never disbursed to me personally, but are in the possession of Legacy Pensions Limited,” adding that he is aware the PFA has written to PENCOMM for approval of the existing scheme to enable them manage and disburse under the scheme. He said the approval is still pending.” Investigations by The Nation revealed that on the merger of NNB with nine other banks to form Unity Bank Plc, the emerging bank assumed responsibility for the pension liabilities and payments of the defunct NNB retirees, and this they did from January 2006 to December of that year. The payments, The Nation learnt, were made vide the retirees’ individuals’ bank accounts. However, from January 2007 to date, no payment has been made to any of the pensioners.


•Mr Kolawole Oluwayemisi, Guest Speaker, and Prof. Pat Utomi, Founder, Widow Support Centre, at a forum to commemorate the International Women’s Day in Lagos. PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

•L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Special Adviser to the Governor on Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Mr. Kayode Jegede; and Project Director, Ekiti State Digital Transformation Programme, Dr. Anderson Uvie-Emegbo, shortly after the presentation of the State’s new Digital Channels, recently

Nonetheless, Legacy Pension Limited has confirmed, according to a correspondence dated November 25, 2011, and addressed to Chief S.S. Obaro, of Sam Obaro & Co., that the said funds have been under its management since 2009. The letter, signed by its Executive Director and Compliance Officer, Misbahu Yola and Diane Okoko, respectively, entitled: ‘Re: NNB Staff and Superannuation Scheme. John S. Obaro & Lolodi and A.M Osoh, Retirees of NNB,’ Legacy Pensions, explained that the only reason they’ve not commenced disbursement of the funds, is because they were yet to receive due approval from PENCOMM. Hear them: “For the avoidance of doubt, however, we wish to state here that we, as a Pension Fund Administrator CANNOT disburse funds to beneficiaries without the approval of the National Pension Commission, which approval we have written for and still await.” Curiously, the approval which the PFA sought for since early 2010 is yet to be granted by the National Pension Commission. However, the Head, B e n e f i t s Administration, Legacy Pensions, Musa Joda, told The Nation in Abuja over the weekend, that the non-submission of the schedule of members of staff of the defunct New Nigeria Bank is what is delaying the release of the pension fund to the workers of the bank. He explained that when Unity Bank acquired NNB, the liabilities of NNB, particularly its pension funds were excluded from what Unity bank could acquire. But on acquiring NNB, Unity Bank issued a cheque for the sum of the pension funds of old NNB staff to Okoh, the last Managing Director of NNB to lodge with Legacy pensions. Mr. Okoh, he stated, lodged the amount in lump sum on behalf of the staff of NNB with Legacy Pensions without the list of staff to benefit from the fund. To protect the funds, Legacy Pension, warehoused the money as a defined benefit scheme, and not as a contributory pension scheme because the money was deposited in bulk for the staff and not as a contributory pension fund. But following several inquiries from the staff of NNB for their pension, a meeting was held between Legacy Pensions and some members of NNB, where it was agreed that the members of staff of NNB should form an association, hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to

• Director-General-PenCom-Mr-Muhammad-Ahmad

draft a resolution drawing up a schedule of lists of members to benefit from the pension fund in the presence of a notary public, officials of Legacy Pensions and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM). Joda stated that Legacy Pensions offered to pay for the notary public and the venue of the AGM but to date, no such AGM has been held and no information concerning the creation of an association for the former staff of NNB to benefit from the pension fund has been forwarded to Legacy pensions. As at December 2009, the N154,304,442.79 with legacy pensions has grown to N204,535,530.45 as at February 2012 without legacy pensions receiving any charges or commission on the funds in its care. Attempts to get the National Pension Commission for update proved unsuccessful. N o n e t h e l e s s , PENCOMM, as at February 18, 2011, admitted that it is aware of the complaints of the retirees and the fact that they have not been paid their pension entitlements, saying a meeting was held in January, 2011 with representatives of the Association of NNB and Legacy Pension Managers Limited to address the problem of non-payment of the pensioners. It said the process of engagement is still on-going and that steps are being taken to ensure that all qualified members of the scheme are paid as soon as possible. Two months later, PENCOMM again, said, it was making efforts, in liaison with the Association of NNB Pensioner to obtain an authentic list of all members of the defunct scheme. ”We expect that the association would soon conduct an Extra Ordinary General Meeting to enable all members verify their claims with necessary documents.” However, the Commission distanced itself from playing any active role in the process. In a letter dated April 5, 2011, the Commission Secretary/Legal Adviser, Chinelo Anohu – Amazu, asked Sam Obaro & Co to advise his clients to con-

tact the Association of Pensioners of the defunct New Nigeria Bank or Legacy Pension Managers detailed information on the steps taken, including the upcoming Extra-Ordinary General Meeting of the Association,” aimed at resolving the matter. While responding, Chief Sam Obaro, said there is no legally recognised association by the name of “Association of NNB Pensioners” or any similar name, formed by the NNB Pensioners. He explained that in about 2010, some NNB Pensioners, who did not qualify under the pre-2000 NNB Pension Scheme, applied to the Edo State Ministry of Information to be registered as a “social club” to be called “NNB Pensioners Association “with the sole purpose to fraudulently make themselves beneficiaries of the Pension Fund, saying “our clients did not only decline the invitation, they also formally objected to the registration to the Edo State Ministry of Information in writing. He alleged that Legacy Pension Limited was involved in” this fraudulent manipulation because they provided N150,000 to those unqualified pensioners to facilitate their registration as a social club which they called “Association of Pensioners of NNB.” It is this so-called “social club” they are now parading as “Association of NNB Pensioners,” Chief Obaro stated. “Our clients are unable to understand the relevance of an “Association of NNB Pensioners” with respect to the pension fund at present in possession of Legacy Pension whose beneficiaries are known all concerned. There is nothing to agitate or negotiate for as between the acknowledged pensioners and Legacy Pensions, he said, arguing that there is no dispute between the pensioners and Unity Bank Plc, the successor of NNB. What purpose then is the purported “Association of NNB Pensioners” supposed to serve? He wondered.




HAT is the operational profile of P&G? We have been here for about 20 years now, we have nine brands, many of which have become household names, like Pampers, Ariel, Always, Bonux, Vicks, Gillette, Duracell, OralB and now Safeguard which we launched late last year. We operate through our general office in Lagos and our factories in Ibadan. We have over 3,000 people working directly and indirectly for P&G across the country. In our distribution network over the past 5 years, we have created over 200 successful entrepreneurs in urban, semi-urban and rural areas. We have been integrated into the fabric of the Nigerian economy for a long time. Nigeria for us remains a major focus for doing business in Africa. From here, we manage P&G’s business in 22 other countries which I am responsible for…from Senegal, to Ghana, to Cameroon, DRC among others. Nigeria is our business hub for the entire West and Central Africa region. Recently you won the ACE Award in the US because of your CSR activities in Nigeria, can you explain the rationale for it? The award for corporate excellence is given to US companies based on their efforts at improving lives at home and abroad. It recognizes P&G’s strategy, which is inspired by our purpose of touching and improving lives. P&G brands have embraced this purpose in such a way that every brand is driven by a greater purpose. For example, the Pampers brand’s purpose is to promote healthy baby development, Always brand purpose is to empower girls. When you look at our brands’ purpose you would see that everything we do with these brands are touching and improving the lives of many consumers. It is not just about doing CSR activities or going to some place and donating computers or other items. But it is also about the day in day out activities of people. For example, with the Always brand we touch the lives of over 700,000 young girls in schools by educating them on puberty, changes which happen at certain ages - that they don’t have to be embarrassed and also about feminine hygiene and we also explain to them how using a sanitary napkin can help promote good hygiene. Another example is with our Pampers brand…where we reach over 1.5 million mothers and babies through our Hospital program in towns and Mobile Clinics in semiurban and rural areas. With the hospital program, trained nurses go to clinics across Nigeria and talk to mothers about how to take care of their babies. Pampers keeps babies’ skin dry through the night but more importantly, its purpose is for healthy baby development and we know that babies who can sleep through the night without waking due to wetness are healthier than babies whose sleep is interrupted repeatedly at night. With our mobile clinics we have doctors and nurses going out to semi-urban and rural areas and providing basic health checks for babies who otherwise would not have access to this. Also, over 7.5 million tetanus vaccines have been provided by Pampers and given to the government in partnership with UNICEF. From all these examples, you would see that everything we do with our brands, in communities and even the way we grow our business is inspired by our simple purpose of touching and improving lives. What is the business strategy of P&G in relation to local sourcing of raw materials? We are continuously seeking to increase



‘Why Nigeria remains investors’ choice’ Mr. Manoj Kumar, Managing Director Procter and Gamble, West Africa, joined the company over two decades ago before moving to Nigeria two years ago. Despite security challenges besetting the country, Kumar is optimistic that investors have a lot to gain in terms of market size and business opportunities. He spoke with Bukola Afolabi


the number of raw materials sourced locally for our manufacturing where possible. Our strategy is that we would source whatever materials we can get at the right quality locally in Nigeria. We have done extensive work to help develop some of our local suppliers to produce materials that meet the standards we require. In fact, today, all our packing materials are sourced locally. We also encourage some of our global raw material suppliers to come and establish supply chains in Nigeria because there is so much opportunity. What is the employment policy of your company? P&G is a company that recruits employees at a very early stage – mostly fresh out of university, we generally do not recruit

in the middle – we promote from within. Because we don’t take shortcuts by hiring only experienced people, we are committed to investing in developing the people that we recruit for the duration of their career in the company – training and coaching them to become global managers. Today, for example, I am very proud to tell you that there are many people from my organisation here in Nigeria working on assignments in the US, South Africa, Geneva, and in Europe. They are working in a different environment and getting trained while at it. It is not like one week or two weeks training. They are basically on assignments for three years working and getting trained just as we have people who come from outside and are trained here in Nigeria.

“Nigeria’s GDP has been stable and growing continuously - it’s doing very good. It has been projected that in the next five years, Nigeria’s economy will be in the middle of the BRIC countries. It will be faster than Brazil and Russia. So, I think Nigeria is a huge market and a big opportunity for any business. That’s why we are here and we have been here for about 20 years”

We also have the three days to one week trainings on topics such as leadership, organisational business development and mentorship which we regularly provide locally and in our regional headquarters in Geneva and other locations. Do you know that P&G has been recognized as one of the best companies in the world that develops leaders? For us, developing leaders in Nigeria is our number one, number two and number three priority. That is why it’s so good that 95 per cent of the managers in my office are highly talented Nigerian men and women. Our business in Nigeria actually needs people who have been exposed to other geographies in the world. They know how the global world operates and then they come and work in Nigeria. I should also mention that P&G was awarded the “Employer of Choice” in Nigeria last year. We have 3,000 direct and indirect employees. Our people are growing and thriving and getting promoted into senior positions. Why are you investing in Nigeria? We consider Nigeria to be a power house of Africa. We have over 160 million people living here. Even when you look at the projections for 2050, Nigeria’s population will become the third largest in the world, after India and China. If you look at it also, there is a large number of the population who are young. Nigeria’s GDP has been stable and growing continuously - it’s doing very good. It has been projected that in the next five years, Nigeria’s economy will be in the middle of the BRIC countries. It will be faster than Brazil and Russia. So, I think Nigeria is a huge market and a big opportunity for any business. That’s why we are here and we have been here for about 20 years, so it is not like we are discovering this opportunity today we have full confidence in Nigeria. What is your view about the security situation in the country? Obviously, in any part of the country where there is a problem, the stores get closed. You saw the experience in the recently held strike. But our approach is that the moment the stores are opened, we try to get our products to the stores. Because our products are mostly for daily use, you want it out there. Our network will always be there to replenish the stocks in the stores. I think these are temporary setbacks; they don’t really impact on the long term too much. I think most businesses are trying to look at what to do to refill the consumption. Because consumers have always been buying supplies from nearby stores and you know every store has an inventory so when it comes down, we have to go and replenish it. There maybe some loss but I expect it will be neutralized in the long term. I think the worry will be for people who have not been in Nigeria for long. For 20 years, different crisis have come and gone but the nation has remained strong enough to withstand it. We didn’t just start operation one or two years ago – we’ve been here for about 20 years. As I mentioned, 95 per cent of our managers are Nigerians, we live here and everyone understands the complexity involved and anyway, these things happen in many countries. You watch CNN and even in my country, India, these kinds of things happen. So we are very much aware of the situation but this does not dampen our enthusiasm and commitment to the country.

NESG partners foreign investors on agribusiness


HE Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in furtherance of its strategic partnership with the US Corporate Council for Africa, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Nigerian Embassy in the US, convened a dialogue with Commissioners of Agriculture and Commerce from Nigeria’s 36 States at the Southern Sun, Ikoyi, Lagos, over the weekV end. The one-day agribusiness investment meeting tagged: “Nigeria-focused Agribusiness Forum” is a prelude to

Nigeria’s participation at the US-Africa Agribusiness Forum to be hosted in Washington D.C from the 10th-11th of April, 2012. According to the Director General of the NESG, Mr. Frank Nweke Jr, ‘the objective of the meeting is to ensure that State governments and businesses that may wish to participate at the forum come well prepared with adequate information to address investment concerns that may be raised by US Agribusinesses with respect to land administration, fiscal regimes and incentives in the respective states’

Speaking at the dialogue, the Chairman of the NESG’s Agriculture and Food Security Policy commission, Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere underscored the important need for Nigeria to wean itself of the obsession with food importation and rather develop existing local capacity for food production especially during this period of global economic recession and recent adverse global weather conditions in regions from which we have traditionally imported staples such as rice. Following the interactive session, Nweke Jr assured the gathering that the

various issues raised by participants such as those on standardization and certification of products will be taken up for advocacy by the NESG with the relevant agencies. In his concluding remarks Nweke further stated that the efforts of the NESG in promoting investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector is in consideration of its important contribution (42% of GDP) to our national economy and its potential to become a leading source of foreign exchange and employment generation.





FITC, others seek strategy on financial literacy T

HE best way to ensure financial inclusiveness among the unbanked population in the country is to evolve a national strategy on financial literacy, a coalition of civil society has said. In a six-point communiqué tagged: “Civil Society Declaration on Promoting Financial Literacy” and issued by the group comprising the Financial Institution Training Centre (FITC), Idea Builders Initiatives, Junior Achievement Nigeria, Linking the Youth

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

of Nigeria through Exchange-LYNX NIGERIA, Human Development Initiatives, Development Initiatives Network, they impressed on the Federal Government, the need to ensure that Nigerians have access to qualitative financial education to enable them to make informed decisions for their financial well-being. According to the group, a National Strategy on Financial Literacy, representing the collective vision for a financially informed popula-

tion is urgently needed in order to ensure that millions of Nigerians are not excluded from economic success. Justifying the need for the policy strategy, Evelyn Okwara, Programme Officer, Development Initiatives Network, observed that there is increasing evidence to show that many financial consumers in Nigeria regardless of income or education levels, gender, age or geographical location, have low levels of financial awareness, knowl-

edge, skills and confidence. To achieve the set objective, the group called for the immediate establishment of a National Technical Working Group and Steering Committees by the Federal Government so as to drive the preparation of the National Strategy on Financial Literacy drawing from the inputs of all stakeholders. Besides, the coalition further recommended that the educational system at all levels, whether informal or formal, should incorporate financial education.

NIMASA assures on service delivery


HE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has reiterated its avowed commitment to service delivery in the maritime sub-sector of the economy. Making this known recently was the Director-General of the Agency, Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobookemi at a one day stakeholders’ forum in Lagos. This, the agency said be-

By Uyoatta Eshiet

came necessary in order to allay the fears expressed by stakeholders concerning the overall maritime security of the nation. At the stakeholders’ forum which had independent ship owners- represented by Captain Dada Labinjo; Port Administrators- represented by Otunba Kunle Folarin, representative of the Nigerian Navy Commodore A. A

.Oshinowo and a host of others in attendance, Akpobookemi stressed the need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders to curtail what he described as “the increasing incidences of piracy across the nations of the world especially in Africa.” The NIMASA boss however said it was gratifying to note that the Agency recorded very high level of success in the Lagos Pilotage

•L-R: Top distributors of Forever Living Products: Mrs. Jacqueline Erute Eture, Mrs. Justina Ekperigin, Pastor Sylvernus Esene, FLP chief executive (Nigeria/Benin Republic), Mr. Cornelius Tay and Mrs. Kikelomo Apeji, at the Abuja Success Showcase, recently

Area as a result of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative it entered into with a private service provider in the sector. According to him, “In a bid to extend the same level of success recorded in the Lagos Area, the Agency extended the partnership with the same service provider so as to be able to cover the entire nation”, even as he dispelled rumours that government has not concessioned the nation’s maritime security to a private firm. What the government has done, he stressed, “is simply address issues of maintenance bureaucracy that had crippled the patrol arm of NIMASA. By the partnership agreement NIMASA has asked a private firm to supply patrol boats, surveillance equipment and also maintain them. NIMASA and the NAVY will use these facilities to protect the nation’s maritime domain.” Expatiating, he said, the idea basically is to cut down freight costs to Nigeria which is the highest in the world. The NIMASA’s DG explained that the Nigerian Navy does not have the equipment to avoid bureaucratic bottlenecks, NIMASA opted to extend the PPP it had with the service provider, Global West Vessels Specialists Nigeria Limited, so as to enable them secure the country as a whole.

Solar powered container debuts in Nigeria


IGERIA is set to join other advanced economies with innovative solar products for sundry uses like relief centres, remote medical offices, site offices, retail centres, among others. Tagged: SPACE (Self Powered Adaptive Container for Everyone), it is the brainchild of SPACE Nigeria. Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, officials of the company including Dimeji Bassir and Abiola Iyiola explained that SPACE is a secure and robust portable building fabricated from recycled, high cube shipping containers and equipped with solar

By Tajudeen Adebanjo

power generating capability. The photovoltaic panels on the top of the SPACE unit, Bassir said, are capable of generating up to 3.5kW of solar power. “This energy is stored in the in-built array of battery backup that can last for up to five days if used in a conservative manner,” he said. In case of unfriendly weather, he said the batteries could be charged with generators. Due to the nature of its components, Iyiola stated that the SPACE unit is quite resistant to harsh climatic

conditions. He disclosed that the interior is designed to maximize space, reduce wastage and the entire modular unit can be transported easily from place to place. Dimeji added that SPACE units feature a painted and insulated interior finish, with stained plywood floors, interior lighting and electrical outlets. The unit, he noted, comes with a highly efficient mini split-unit air conditioner for cooling. “The standard SPACE unit also comes with a storefront window wall and foldable PV racking system. Additional components can be

provided on request for the SPACE unit such as pipe decking, guardrails, stair or ramp, custom interior millwork, custom flooring signage, exterior lighting, wireless Internet access, electric incinerating toilet basic components,” he said. In case of default, he said, there is a technical services agreement with Euaswell, a solar equipment distributor for after sales services. “Many products failed because people go for less quality materials. Our technical partner, Euaswell make more money rectifying failed projects than selling new products in Nigeria,” he said.

Beyond Talent By Adetayo Okusanya Email:

Managing up: How I became my boss’ go-to person


STILL remember that fateful day in 2008 when I had my first face to face meeting with my new manager. My organisation had recently been restructured and I was asked to work with a manager who had just joined the division. This new manager would be my fourth manager in eighteen months and I was weary of having to build a critical work relationship from scratch all over again. Neither of us had any brand equity with the other since we had never worked together. I cannot recall much of what was said during this initial meeting; except for a statement he made about others telling him that I had “an attitude”. What do you do, when right out of the gate, your new boss has the impression that you have “an attitude”? Eighteen months later, my not-so-new manager wrote the following in my annual review, “She exceeded expectations and landed some very important projects during the year. I view her as my go-to person and I know that she will accomplish things accurately and professionally”. Your relationship with your boss is a critical driver of career success in the workplace. It requires investment of time, resources, attention and energy on your part, if you desire to be perceived as a valuable contributor to your organization. Your boss is instrumental to your success because he determines the projects you work on, possesses important business information you need to succeed in your role, has access to senior members of your organization and will provide a formal assessment of your competence and readiness for promotion. What your boss has to say about you can often times shape how others in your organization perceive you. Managing up is the conscious process of building a branded relationship with your boss, which is based on mutual respect, trust, understanding, accountability and cooperation in accomplishing shared goals. It is not sucking up, manipulating your boss, brown nosing, politicking or being disingenuous. At its best, managing up is a triple win play. You win, your boss wins and your organization wins. Failure to manage up effectively can lead to poor performance assessment, damaged reputation, career stagnation and ultimately termination. The following are strategies that I employed which helped to convert my manager from a skeptic into a brand advocate. •Be Self-Aware: Understand your preferred communication, work and management styles, and the impact these have on your boss. Be aware of your strengths, weaknesses, career objectives, energizers and energy drainers. You can accomplish this by completing psychometric tests or soliciting feedback from colleagues, customers, supervisors, spouses and friends. The more you understand yourself and how others perceive you, the more adept you will be at making positive behavioral changes to enhance your relationship with your boss. •Understand Your Boss’ Preferences, Perspective, Priorities and Personal Objectives: Get to know and understand the things that are important to your boss, as well as her work style. Does your boss do her best work in the morning, afternoon or night? Is she a big-picture thinker or detailed oriented? What gets her excited? What are her organizational and personal priorities and how can you contribute to her success in both areas? Steer clear of her hot buttons and pet peeves. The better you understand and support your boss, the better your working relationship will be. •Maintain an Effective and Regular Two-way Communication with Your Boss. Speak in the language of your boss. Make it easy for him to receive and process information with minimum distortion. Does he prefer phone, email, written or face to face communication? How often does he prefer to get updates from you i.e. daily, bi-weekly, weekly, etc.? If you get more information about organizational priorities from others, then you and your boss may not be communicating effectively. Consider increasing the frequency of your communication, changing the delivery method or revamping your communication objectives. The more effective you and your manager are at sharing information and giving feedback, the more productive your relationship will be. •Make It Your Priority To Make Your Boss Look Good To His Peers and Supervisors. Your loyalty is to your boss and your responsibility to him is to do your job and do it well. Failing to do so will make your boss look bad. Anticipate and effectively respond to the demands facing your boss daily. Be proactive, creative and innovative in your ideas and execution of tasks, and find ways to complement your boss’ skills with yours. Recognize, acknowledge and appreciate the things that your boss does very well and provide constructive feedback on development areas. Do not go over his head, or behind his back to drive your personal agenda, and certainly do not expose his flaws or speak negatively of him in public. Your boss knows he is not perfect and will appreciate your effort to cover his blind spots and watch his back in the organization.

• Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge




RESIDENT Bashar alAssad told U.N./Arab League envoy Kofi Annan yesterday that no political solution was possible in Syria while “terrorist” groups were destabilizing the country. “Syria is ready to make a success of any honest effort to find a solution for the events it is witnessing,” state news agency SANA quoted Assad as telling his guest. “No political dialogue or political activity can succeed while there are armed terrorist groups operating and spreading chaos and instability,” the Syrian leader said after about two hours of talks with the former U.N. secretary-general. There was no immediate comment from Annan after the meeting, aimed at halting bloodshed that has cost thousands of lives since a popular uprising erupted a year ago. While they discussed the crisis, Syrian troops were assaulting the northwestern city of Idlib, a rebel bastion. “Regime forces have just stormed into Idlib with tanks and heavy shelling is now taking place,” said an activist contacted by telephone, the sound of explosions punctuating the call. Sixteen rebel fighters, seven soldiers and four civilians were killed in the Idlib fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said 15 other people, including three soldiers, had been killed in violence elsewhere. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met Annan in Cairo earlier in the day, told the Arab League his country was “not protecting any regime”, but did not believe the Syrian crisis could be blamed on one side alone. He called for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid access, but Qatar and Saudi Arabia sharply criticized Moscow’s stance. “TRUCE NOT ENOUGH” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim alThani, who has led calls for Assad to be isolated and for Syrian rebels to be armed, said a ceasefire was not enough. Syrian leaders must be held to account and political prisoners freed, he declared. “We must send a message to the Syrian regime that the world’s patience and our patience has run out, as has the time for silence about its practices,” Sheikh Hamad said. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said shortcomings in the U.N. Security Council, where Russia and China have twice vetoed resolutions on Syria, had allowed the killing to go on. Their position, he said, “gave the Syrian regime a license to extend its brutal practices against the Syrian people”. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are both ruled by autocrats and espouse a strict version of Sunni Islam, are improbable champions of democracy in Syria. Riyadh has an interest in seeing Assad fall because this could weaken its Shi’ite regional rival Iran, which has been allied with

Syria’s Assad rebuffs Annan, troops attack Idlib Syria since 1980. International rifts have paralyzed action on Syria, with Russia and China opposing Western and Arab calls for Assad, who inherited power from his father nearly 12 years ago, to quit. Lavrov told Arab ministers a new U.N. Security Council resolution had a chance of being approved if it was not driven by a desire to let armed rebels take control of Syria’s streets. The United States has drafted a fresh resolution, but

the State Department said on Friday it was not optimistic that its text would be accepted by the Council. France says it will oppose any measure that holds the Syrian government and its foes equally responsible for the bloodshed. Despite their differences, Lavrov and Arab ministers said they had agreed on the need for an end to violence in Syria. They also called for unbiased monitoring of

events there, opposition to foreign intervention, delivery of humanitarian aid and support for Annan’s peace efforts. DISSIDENTS SCEPTICAL Annan also planned to meet Syrian dissidents before leaving Damascus on Sunday. He has called for a political solution, but the opposition says the time for dialogue is long gone. “We support any initiative that aims to stop the killings, but we reject it if it is going to

give Bashar more time to break the revolution and keep him in power,” Melham alDroubi, a Saudi-based member of the Muslim Brotherhood and of the exiled Syrian National Council, told Reuters by telephone. Annan’s trip to Damascus followed a violent day in which activists said Assad’s forces killed at least 72 people as they bombarded parts of the rebellious city of Homs and sought to deter demonstrators and crush insurgents

•Special United Nations envoy to Syria Kofi Annan (R) after talks with Syria’s President Bashad al-Assad

elsewhere. Decisive victory has eluded both sides in an increasingly deadly struggle that began as a mainly peaceful protest movement a year ago and now appears to be sliding into civil war. The United Nations estimates that Syrian security forces have killed well over 7,500 people. Syria said in December that “terrorists” had killed more than 2,000 soldiers and police. Russia, one of Syria’s few foreign friends and its main arms supplier, could play a pivotal role in any negotiated solution. Chinese and Russian reluctance to approve any U.N. resolution on Syria stems partly from their fear that it could be used to justify a Libya-style military intervention, although Western powers deny any intention to go to war again in Syria. A Russian diplomat said this week Assad was battling al Qaeda-backed militants, including 15,000 foreign fighters who would seize cities if Syrian troops withdrew. The Syrian opposition denies any al Qaeda role in the uprising, but Islamists are among rebels who have taken up arms against Assad under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad chided Russia for accepting the Syrian government’s portrayal of insurgents as armed gangs. “There are no armed gangs, the systematic killing came from the Syrian government side for many months. After that the people were forced to defend themselves so the regime labeled them armed gangs,” he told the Arab League meeting. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Lavrov in New York on Monday when the Security Council holds a special meeting on Arab revolts, with Syria likely to be in focus.

Prince Harry sells Britain on Brazil visit P RINCE Harry launched a high-profile campaign in Brazil to promote all things British ahead of the 2012 London summer Olympics on his first visit to the South American economic power. Today, the prince will take part in a polo match in Sao Paulo to raise money for Sentabale, his charity in Lesotho, and several local charities. Yesterday, Prince Harry attended a British and Brazilian-themed sports day on Flamengo beach where he played beach volleyball and later, rugby with kids. Making his first solo tour, he flew into the “Marvellous City” on Friday for a threeday official visit following his tour of Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica. He was escorted to a hotel in Copacabana. The prince then had lunch in a local steakhouse

before being treated to a 30minute helicopter tour of the city’s major tourist attractions, including Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, the imposing statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the spectacular Rio bay. Prince Harry later strolled along Ipanema beach, then joined festivities including samba dance and capoeira martial art presentations, before kicking off the Britain promotion campaign from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. The campaign aimed to highlight what makes Britain great in 2012 as it celebrates 60 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and hosts the summer Olympics. The campaign was also conceived to deliver longterm economic benefits from the interest generated by the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Britain’s Prince Harry (R) plays rugby with children during a British and Brazilian-themed sports day on Flamengo beach in Rio de Janeiro, yesterday. AFP PHOTO


World News


15 militants killed in Israel Gaza strikes

Taliban Guantanamo detainees agree to Qatar transfer



IVE Taliban detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison have agreed to be transferred to Qatar, a move Afghanistan believes will boost a nascent peace process, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman said yesterday. The transfer idea is part of U.S. efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table to avoid prolonged instability in Afghanistan after foreign combat troops leave the country at the end of 2014. “We are hopeful this will be a positive step towards peace efforts,” Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi told Reuters, adding the Taliban detainees would be re-united with their families in Qatar if the transfer takes place. It would be one of a series of good-faith measures that could set in motion the first substantial political negotiations on the conflict in Afghanistan since the Taliban government was toppled in 2001 in a U.S.-led invasion. A year after it was unveiled, the Obama administration’s peace initiative may soon offer the United States a historic opportunity to broker an end to a war that began as the response to the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States. But the peace drive also presents risks for President Barack Obama. He faces the potential for political fallout months before a presidential election, as his government considers backing an arrangement that would give some degree of power to the Taliban, known for their brutality and extreme interpretation of Islam.

Three dead in Kenya bus station bomb attack -Police


bomb attack at a bus station in Nairobi yesterday killed at least three people and wounded more than 20 others, Kenya police said. A senior police official who did not want to be named told AFP it was believed several grenades had been thrown at the bus station. “I just saw a vehicle pass and then someone just threw things that exploded,” witness Charles Njenga told AFP. “Many people have been injured,” he added. “I survived because I was in a bus that was still loading people.” It is the first such incident in the Kenyan capital since two grenade attacks carried out within 24 hours of each other last October killed one person and injured 30 others. A Kenyan supporter of Somalia’s Islamist Shebab fighters was arrested soon afterwards and was convicted after having confessed to the attacks. The Shebab have on several occasions threatened reprisal attacks against Kenya since it sent its troops over the border into southern Somalia in mid-October to fight the group. No one has so far claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attacks.

•Indian residents attempt to salvage belongings from the ruins of their homes after a fire swept through an area in Hyderabad yesterday. According to local police reports a child has died and many are injured after a fire devastated an area of dwellings in the Nagole District of the southern Indian city. AFP PHOTO

Smaller crowds challenge Putin after Russia poll


HOUSANDS of Russians chanting “Time for change” challenged Vladimir Putin’s presidential election victory yesterday but their numbers were far fewer than in previous weeks. People who demonstrated in bright sunshine in central Moscow waved flags, balloons and banners and wore white ribbons, the symbol of protests that began three months ago. Echoing chants from previous rallies, they shouted “Russia without Putin”. “The road will be long and hard, it will be no quick struggle, but we will do it all. Russia will be free - Russia demands change!” liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky told the crowd. But organizers put the crowd at 25,000, about a quarter of the size of the last protest before the March 4 poll gave Putin a six-year third term as president. Police estimated the crowd at 10,000 and independent witnesses put it at under 20,000. Even though international

vote monitors say the election was skewed in his favour, opposition leaders have been forced by the margin of victory to acknowledge that Putin was the winner. Official results showed the prime minister and former KGB spy won almost 64 percent of votes and put the runner-up, Communist Gennady Zyuganov, on less than 18 percent. The opposition is struggling to find a way to maintain pressure on Putin and mount a sustained challenge to the man they say has stunted Russia’s political and economic development after 12 years rule as president or prime minister. Some are defiant. Sergei Udaltsov, a far-left leader, called for 1 million people to march on May 1, a national holiday. “Only the street can change the authorities. Only the masses. We have no other option. That’s why we’ll be fighting, going onto the streets - until we overthrow them,” he said. But organizers did not

agree on a date for the next protest and many said the opposition has to be patient over its demands for a more open political system and greater democracy. “If this system took 15 or so years to be created, we need a few years three, four, five to dismantle it,” Yavlinsky said. F e w e r protesters are optimistic about the chances of enacting change since police d e t a i n e d hundreds of people who attended unsanctioned protests on Monday in Moscow and St Petersburg or refused to go home after a Moscow rally that had been permitted.

Tanker ship runs aground off Sicily


Putin, 59, has made clear he will allow protests agreed ahead of time with city authorities but will crack down against rallies that are not sanctioned.

Somalia Islamists attack Ethiopian troops


N offensive by Somalia’s Islamist Shebab fighters on Ethiopian troops yesterday left many combatants dead, military sources on both sides and witnesses told AFP. “The fighting around the village of Yurkut was the most intense since Ethiopian forces entered Somalia” in November, said one of the witnesses in the country’s southwestern region, Abukar Moalim Yarow. Military sources in both camps gave differing tolls but stressed the fierceness of the fighting, which lasted three hours, according to independent witnesses. “The mujahideen fighters led their most important military incursion against enemy positions in Yurkut,” Sheikh Mohamed Abu-Fatma, a top Shebab commander in the

sector, told AFP by telephone. “We forced the enemy to temporarily abandon three barracks and we killed more than 40 of their men,” he added. Kalif Adan, a progovernment official, told AFP from Baidoa that the Shebab

“attacked Yurkut this morning. Many of them were killed in fierce fighting. “The fighting is now over and (the Shebab) have been heavily beaten.” The hardline Shebab attacked Ethiopian positions in

HE worst violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip in nearly a year entered its second day yesterday, as Israeli aircraft killed 15 militants, according to Palestinian health officials. Militants responded by firing nearly 100 rockets, seriously wounding an Israeli civilian. The airstrikes and rocket attacks could drag the volatile area into broader conflict especially if a large number of civilians are killed on either side. Yesterday, the low whooshing noise of militants firing rockets from border areas toward Israel was palpably heard inside Gaza City. Israeli drones hovered in the skies above. Tens of thousands of Palestinian mourners marched through the streets in funeral processions. They carried slain militants in coffins, their bodies too torn up to be wrapped in cloth, as Muslim tradition dictates. Masked militants sprayed machine gun fire above the mourners’ heads in angry grief. “Revenge, revenge!” chanted the crowds. On Israel’s southern border areas, residents were told to stay home and refrain from holding large outdoor events yesterday.

Yurkut, near the strategic town of Luuq, on the road linking the Somalia-Ethiopia border with Baidoa, a former rebel bastion in southern Somalia which Ethiopian forces recaptured last month.

HE crew of an Italian tanker was evacuated by helicopter yesterday after the ship ran aground off Sicily in stormtossed seas, and took on water in its engine room. The Italian coastguard said all aboard were plucked to safety, despite fierce gusts of wind and rain. The Gelso M., with an all-Italian crew, was caught on a reef near the port town of Syracuse, on the island’s southeast coast. The ship had come to rest at such an angle that it was impossible to lower lifeboats, or for rescue vessels to approach, said the coastguard. It was not carrying cargo, and there appeared to be no immediate danger of pollution. It was not clear why the ship ran aground, but storms bringing heavy rain and strong winds were lashing Sicily yesterday. In January, the Costa Concordia, an Italian cruise ship, rammed a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio in good weather and capsized. Twenty-five people died and seven others are missing and presumed dead.

145 ‘presumed dead’ in Afghan avalanche - UN


T least 145 people are missing and “presumed dead” after

•Aghan President Hamid Karzai

an avalanche hit a village in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan province last week, the United Nations said yesterday. Afghan officials had earlier yesterday put the death toll from the March 4 series of avalanches in Badakhshan’s Shekay district at 56. The UN said an avalanche in the area claimed 50 lives and warned of severe flooding over coming weeks due to melting snow. Afghanistan’s harshest

winter in 15 years has claimed scores of lives, with the avalanches taking the toll to more than 90 in Badakhshan alone, according to officials. “Access to Dispay village is possible only by road from neighbouring Tajikistan but has been severely hampered by snow-blocked roads”, said UN’s Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan in a statement. “Helicopter access is not possible as there is a high risk of triggering further

avalanches.” The Geneva-based Agha Khan Foundation, the UN Food Programme and the US embassy have donated food and medicines to the affected families. “This tragedy is likely to be one of many in the near future. Heavy snows will result not just in avalanches but also, in a few weeks’ time, severe flooding in many parts of the country”, said Humanitarian Coordinator, Michael Keating.



HE world moved closer to another war as conservative politicians in the West and in their Israeli protectorate seem compelled to rush to war despite the absence of a verifiable reason to do so. Innuendo and rumor used to be the stuff of neighborhood gossips and family feuds. Now they have lore of statesmen and the fillips of war. Syria or Iran are in the docks and condemned by Western public opinion. Iran is in trouble because it is Iran. The Persians have stepped across the invisible line etched by those who dominate the planet. They have the temerity to take pleasure in their adversarial relationship with the West yet want to rekindle a modern version of their ancient grandeur by mastering nuclear technology. In the eyes of American and Israeli war hawks this is enough to sentence the Iranian government if not the state to capital punishment. Syria’s current international problem is not that its citizens are being killed but that the government is deemed an appendage of the villainy of Tehran. If the trunk is to be hewn, ought not its branches accommodate a similar fate? Last week, two men mercurial men tendered saber- rattling address in the United States. One was Senator John McCain advocating the bombardment of Syria based on “humanitarian” grounds. The other was Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who basically asserted Iran should be bombed because it might be thinking of using its nuclear technology to create a nuclear weapon. Half a world away, a former hard-line Cold War Soviet intelligence apparatchik engineered his return to the Russian Presidency. The return of Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency is more symbolism than genuine change as he never actually relinquished control of government to his pliant subaltern, Dmitri Medvedev. However, the symbolism is important because it comes at a fateful moment. His displays of bare-chested virility, love of martial sports and outlandish accumulation of personal wealth reveals a man with an emperor’s state of mind. There is one thing of which an emperor is always in search: an empire. Putin lives in the 20th century but his heart is that of an old fashioned Russian imperialist. He sees the lands of Central Asia and the upper Middle East as his essential backyard. In the 19th century, Russia and England jousted in these climes in an ongoing geo-political contest deemed “the Great Game’ by those who played it. England has long ago ceded the mantle of leadership of the West to the American Republic because that fellow Anglophonic nation had become equally imperialistic yet more powerful. A collision now beckons. Local animosities in the region make it one of instability. Add to that the designs of those conservative imperialists who control American geopolitical strategy regardless of the party in power. These men have constructed a picture of the region as teeming with crazed terrorists who live their lives to die in suicide missions against American interests around the world. That the numbers fitting this description might be a few thousand alienated nihilists from a population of several hundred million people is of no consequence to the western conservative. If you can’t locate the mouse, destroy the entire building, they reason. Consequently, American war hawks dream of subduing a band of stubborn real estate that stretches from the eastern Mediterranean (Syria) to the banks of the Indus (Pakistan). Unfortunately, much of this is the same ground coveted by the newly “elected” czar in Moscow. The region will thus be awash in cantan-

World News

A hunger for war Those who hunger for war shall feast upon the unwanted desserts of their perverse affection


•Barack Obama

• John McCain

By Brian Browne kerous local rivalries compounded by global power antagonism as martially-spirited men with competing designs on the territory of others parry and thrust in the shadows that foreshadow war. The ways and chances of miscalculation are vast and the consequences devastating. Former Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain rose to speak for the conservative imperialists this week when he advocated bombing Syrian government installations in order to secure “humanitarian corridors” to help deliver aid to purportedly besieged Syrian freedom fighters. This is the same cantrip of a plea employed to justify NATO’s excursion in Libya. Now that country slowly cleaves along its east-west axis while international oil companies stoke the vanities of the new regional leaders in Cyrenaica (the east). Syrian has little oil but it is seen as the vile finger of wicked Iran. That is enough to dump Assad’s regime into the tumbrel. Assad is a despot true to form which means he deserves little sympathy. However, western conservatives are not democrats true to form who should be followed or believed; they are unalloyed imperialists who also deserve little sympathy. Much of what they say about Syria, just like in Libya, is fabricated. Disgruntled journalists working for Al Jazeera released taped evidence revealing the station’s malpractices. The station bandaged unharmed children to make them appear like casualties of government violence. The station also simulated explosive sounds and engaged in other misconduct to paint a picture that might not be real. If one carefully views the mainstream news from Al Jazeera, CNN and BBC, the coverage of government violence is based almost exclusively in one neighborhood in one city, Homs. The destruction is evident. But what does it truly signify? Is this an epicenter, representative of violent turmoil throughout the nation or is this a lone spot of ardent dissent and fighting? Is this the only dramatic location or is this the one the reporters can get to? The truth is that we have no way of knowing how widespread is the active, armed dissent and the suppressive government violence. Moreover, is the west now saying that a non-democratic government does not have the right to

prosecute what in effect is a civil war of small or large scale? If so this is a monumental shift in international law that might do more harm than good as it will be used as license by the West to intervene against governments seen as unfriendly. It will also prompt nations to deal more ruthlessly and quickly with dissent in order to foreclose the chance of foreign intervention. Watching the news coverage of Homs, I could not help but notice that portions of that wretched town resembled inner city neighborhoods in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Youngstown. Sadly, the senior Senator from Arizona would be among the last to suggest humanitarian corridors to relieve the denizens of the ramshackle ghettoes of his own nation. The violence by the government in Khartoum against the people of South Kordofan and Darfur is probably more widespread than and at least as lethal as that in Homs. McCain utters not a word about opening humanitarian corridors for these people. McCain’s new love for the Syrian people is meretricious. His objective is not their freedom and welfare but to hurt Iran by stealing its solitary Arab ally. Making matters worse, Israeli PM Netanyahu proffered a mad-hatter address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Netanyahu seems gleefully bewitched by the prospect of flying off to war against Iran. During the speech, the warmonger claimed the fundamental tenet of Iranian foreign policy was Israel’s eradication. This has been asserted so often that it has the aura of stipulated fact in the West. However, nowhere is this murderous vow stated in any official Iranian policy. On this one frail, nigh imaginary, hook much hangs in the balance. Apparently, Netanyahu and those like him are eager to war based on a dubious translation of an off-the-cuff remark by the Iranian president. If the objective is war, any flimsy excuse will do. Netanyahu claimed that Israel, a nation with hundreds of nuclear weapons and backed by an American arsenal of thousands would be vulnerable if Iran obtained one single nuclear warhead. He wants everyone to believe the Iranian leadership is so insane as to risk annihilation by hundreds of nuclear weapons just for the thrawn yet transient pleasure of knowing they had tossed one solitary bomb at Israel.

If the Iranians were in fact that mad, the nation would be in flinders by now. No leader in recorded history has been that suicidal. No leader who has withstood a sustained test of time can be that selfdestructive. The Iranian system and its leadership may not be flowers of transparent democracy but they are relatively stable and ruthlessly pragmatic within the context of their political history. To characterize the Iranian government as a corporate suicide bomber is to be guilty of the very crime of which Netanyahu accuses Iran. In so many words, he says that Israel cannot wait until Iran has a weapon because Iran will quickly use it. Consequently, Israel is obligated to attack if it thinks Iran is thinking about concocting a weapon. This reasoning is too convenient an excuse to be considered anything else by an ex post facto rationale for a conclusion already derived. Netanyahu has the brashness to call this self-defense yet maintain a straight face. In effect, he postulates that Israel has the right to attack another country just because that nation might consider fashioning a weapon. This stretches the definition of self-defense to where it means its opposite. Israeli now reserves the right to attack another nation solely because that nation may contemplate developing a certain weapon. Any objective mind would term this as Israeli aggression. Instead, it is being touted as preemptive self-defense. It is a license to war. Iran is surrounded by active American combat troops and forward bases on all sides. In such a situation, they would be insane not to contemplate obtaining a nuclear weapon. Any leader in that position would weigh the possibility because they know the deterrent value of such weaponry. But contemplating a deterrent nuclear existence is far removed from devising a lone nuclear warhead kamikaze offensive attack against Israel in exchange for what would surely be the decimation of Iran by the sustained, apocalyptic precipitation of nuclear bombs in the skies over that ancient land. Because his logic cannot bear the weight if its own illogic, Netanyahu resorted to sophomoric tricks to win a point that objective reason said he already lost. The most profound reasoning he could tender for walking the path toward war is that to him Iran was an enemy of Israel, thus “if it walks like a duck and quacks


like a duck, it is a duck. Except this duck happens to be a nuclear duck!” Wait a minute! The Middle East is being rolling to the threshold of war and the world tossed into briars because of the whims and miscalculations of a man who would poise the lives of so many on such jejune expressions. He says the Iranians are mad. He may be correct but we have reason to doubt his veracity. If he is correct, that gives us two problems not just one. For, if they are mad, they still are no worse than he. Last, Vlad the Great sits atop the Kremlin calculating how he can outdo the machinations of others. He is the latest of a long line of Russian leaders who have opposed the interjection of Anglo-American power into the Central Asian underbelly of the Russian bear. One reason Western nations nipped at him so thoroughly about his reelection was to preoccupy him and undermine his legitimacy at home to weaken him abroad. Time will tell whether their tactics worked but there might not be much time remaining before someone errantly lights a fuse in the Middle East. Russia perceives America and the West as engaged in a new round of geopolitical expansion to compensate for their recent economic woes. Putin wants to halt the expansion because it has gotten to the stage where further Western gains must come at Russian expense. Libya is one thing. Syria and Iran are entirely another. Russia has too much invested in Syria to allow the West a free hand in dismantling Assad as was done to Gaddafi. Thus, he will work with Iran to keep Assad well armed. Putin will walk a tightrope with Iran itself. Over the centuries, that nation has been intermittently friend and foe to Russia. When an outside interloper appears, they work together against the imperial designs of the alien power. Once there is no such threat, the two tend to bicker over their competing designs in the region. Consequently, Putin does not want Iran to be bombed as that would show his impuissance. He would be reduced to the hollow status of a plaintive yet effectively mute observer. However, he does not want the situation to be completely resolved. Having things in limbo gives the Russian a role as a mediator of sorts, makes Iran somewhat reliant on Russian goodwill and, by preoccupying the West, allows Putin more leg room to maneuver in Eastern Europe and around the oil-rich Caspian basin. In the final analyst, the Middle East is too small and tight a geographic confinement for all the competing grand designs by all the clench-fisted antagonists now engaged. Instead of being influenced by overambitious geopolitical goals fueled by the quick resort to iron, muscle, and steel, world and regional leaders need to be a bit more terricolous and pragmatic. It seems too many leaders have tasted of the elixir of easy power and believe war can be waged without visible domestic costs and destruction. Those who only experience war as something that happens in another’s nation can easily be tempted into believing that it is both facile and prudent to down one’s enemies instead of learning to tolerate them. This is the dangerous stage that America and its allies have entered. Unless they exit quickly, the world is bound for another war. But this will not be like the short but tragic story of Libya or even the longer tragedy of Iraq. If war happens over the skies of Iran, the fallout will be the steady crystallization of competing political blocs of greater complexity and dynamic uncertainty than those of the Cold War. Then, an Iron Curtain divided East and West. The next time, it will be a jigsaw puzzle.



With Joe Agbro Jr.08056745268

Hello children, Here’s apologising about the disappearance of your favourite column over the last two weeks.

Aunty Mamoke tells stories


ONCERNED that Nigerian children are not learning enough folklores, a new children’s magazine, Aunty Mamoke and her stories is poised to arrest the situation. Published by Edna Emamoke Edjeren, the goal of the all-colour magazine includes employing ‘folklores and other stories to teach pupils and students morals.’ According to Edjeren,

many children are being overexposed to television series and videos from abroad. ‘They have no time to listen to our folklores and therefore know nothing about them,’ she said in a statement. Apart from the story of the tortoise and the pig in the first edition of the magazine, a section is dedicated to easing the often complicated subject of mathematics.


Bodies of water

A BODY of water or waterbody is any significant accumulation of water, usually covering the Earth or another planet. The term body of water most often refers to large accumulations of water, such as oceans, seas, and lakes, but it may also include smaller pools of water such as ponds, puddles or wetlands. Some bodies of water are man-made (artificial), such as reservoirs or harbours, but most are naturally occurring geographical features. Bodies of water that are navigable are known as waterways. BASIN, BAY, BAYOU, BIGHT, CANAL, COVE, CREEK, ESTUARY, FJORD, LAGOON, LAKE, MOAT, OCEAN, POND, PUDDLE, RAPID, RESERVOIR, RIVER, SEA, SPRING, STRAIT, STREAM, SWAMP, WETLAND



I Like to Read

•Jadesola Ogunwande, a pupil of Narrow Path Nur/Pry School, Ikotun, Egbe, Lagos, celebrated her birthday recently. She was two on December 28, 2011

I READ to be the best In whatever I do, I read my books to be The best at school. I read my books so Daddy would buy me Toys and fruits. I read my books after I eat my food. When I read I always win, Everyone calls me king. My books are many, I play in the bamboo After reading everything. I will always read to lead My friends and be like The president. •Oluwatetisimi Odewale cutting her birthday cake on turning one in Lagos on January 25, 2012

Habib Akewusola

Word wheel NINE LETTER WORDS: Headcount Ache, ached, cathode, chant, chat, cheat, chute, death, detach, douche, each, echo, etch, had, hand, handout, hat, hate, hated, haunt, haunted, head, heat, hen, hod, hoe, hoed, hone, honed, hot, hound, hue, hunt, hunted, hut, notch, notched, oath, ouch, teach, tench, than, thane, the, then, thou, thud, touch, touched Answer to Riddles:

1. Rain

2. Rainbow

Send in your stories, poems, articles, games, puzzles, riddles and jokes to




WORDSWORTH 08055001948

Adeboye, Amosun: A miscellany


ENULTIMATE Friday, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), marked—not celebrated!—his 70th Birthday. Of course, there was a harvest of congratulatory adverts and articles from all walks of life. Out of all the anniversary contributions published in most truly national newspapers, one stood out—copy (particularly) and design: the one from Senator Ibikunle Amosun, FCA, Governor, Ogun State. An extract as contained on page 71 in last week’s edition of this medium: “The Redeemed Christian Church of God under your watch has become a study in the dexterity of human organization and institution building. For us in Ogun State, we are proud to be host to the Church and Redemption Camp and will continue to savour the collateral benefits of the association.” Thumbs up, Your Excellency, for making my day through the instrumentality of that commemorative toast to our universal Daddy! From this columnist: many more years to this most respected and humblest cleric in Nigeria, if not on our continent. Your reputation is without blemish. May your supra-national citizenship, boundless spirituality and borderless eschatological advocacy continually salvage humanity. I take my hat off to you as you win innumerable souls for the Lord. The foregoing tribute underscores the fact that this column is not just about media gaffes only, but all forms of meaningful writing. I equally appreciate classical collocation and engaging communication—which are usually rare in my fraternity and clime. In the words of Martin Luther King Jnr., ‘an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.’ This aptly encapsulates the attitudinal disposition/ character of this especial, meek and quintessential cleric. Many happy returns, sir, as we look forward to the inevitability of an epochal centennial anniversary of your existen-

tial flourish. Back to our regular offering: NATIONAL MIRROR Front Page Banner of March 1 goofed: “N’ Assembly suspends new number plates” This cannot be true! Our so-called lawmakers suspended the issuance/policy/exercise—and not the plates! “Alumni awards (award) pioneers” (THE NATION, March 1) “Obi mourns Gringory’s death” (Vanguard, March 1) The Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, mourned the man—not his death! “This is unlike before when elections are (were) held every four years” (Source: as above) “…series (a series) of public hearings and probes of federal agencies’ activities….” (BUSINESSDAY EDITORIAL, March 1) “This time around (round), the government should be well equipped to call….” (THISDAY Editorial, March 1) THISDAY Editorial of February 29 contained the type of error you find mostly in provincial newspapers: “The absence of such emergency agencies often contribute to the high casualty figures….” Death and the waterways: The absence…contributes The next three infelicities come from DAILY INDEPENDENT of February 29: “Kalu commends Jonathan over (on/for) honour done to Ojukwu” “Gunmen kill vigilante (vigilance) group leader in Potiskum” “Air passengers stranded at Port Harcourt airport” Why not ‘Passengers stranded at Port Harcourt airport’? They could not have been sea passengers! THE NATION of February 29 issued just two indiscretions: “It has been more than three weeks now and they said they are (were) investigating him.” “In the past two decades, the government has (had) not made tremendous effort to develop….” Back to the above edition of THISDAY: “FG to handover Almajiri schools by June” A rewrite: FG to hand over (take note) Almajiri schools in (not by) June— except if the government is unsure of the handover date. Lastly from THISDAY under review: “Seven years jail term await exam cheats” Another rewrite:

7 years’ jail term awaits (not await!) exam cheats. “Kogi: Post election blues” (Vanguard Headline, February 27) Towards a better life for the people: post-election blues. “Mandela released from hospital after treatment” (THISDAY Headline, February 27) The most eminent African was discharged—not released! But for environmental issues in language usage, this would have been acceptable even in Nigeria. DAILY INDEPENDENT Editorial of February 28 offered readers two solecisms: “As soon as the negotiated settlement with labour was achieved in January thereby ending the strike action, the government should have clarified the position.” Please, expunge ‘action’. “The manner of the clarification by the President himself bothered on the farcical.” ‘Bother’ for ‘border’ in an editorial? Could this malapropism be a function of half-literacy or sheer carelessness? “Abia, Anambra take step to combat Lassa fever” (Vanguard Headline, February 28) Fixed expression: take steps. “Two arrested over (for) plot to kill Putin” (Source: as above) THE NATION of February 28 misquoted the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) twice: “…Fashola said the estate contains (contained) all the facilities that the government can (could) provide in a....” “He said the government’s model pursues (pursued) sustainability of housing development….” “Immigration, importers, agents trade blames over cargo clearance” ‘Blame’ is uncountable. THE GUARDIAN of February 28 joined the crowd: “Family source (A family source) indicated that the late (sic) former director of press died on Sunday at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Kano during prolong (a prolonged) illness.” DAILY INDEPENDENT Editorial of February 24 disseminated two goofs: “To assume a wider role, the Euro will have to first of all flourish in (on) the continent and survive….” “The sensible caveat placed at the onset (outset) is now hunting or is it hurting the Euro?” There is a clear distinction between the words. No mix-up, please.



OLADAPO I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Oladapo Grace Folake, now wish to be known and be addressed as Mrs. Ajayi Grace Folake. All former documents remains valid. General public should take note. AKOJENU I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Akojenu Margaret Senasu, now wish to be known and be addressed as Mrs. Banefe Margaret Senasu. All former documents remains valid. General public should take note. ALOZIE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Alozie Lilian, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Lilian Prince Ajuzieogu. All former documents remain valid. NYSC. and the general public please take note. DUMBAH I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Dumbah Philomina Lepoon, now wish to be known and address as Mrs. Dumbah Philomina Lepoon Ewin. All former documents remain valid. general public please take note. IKECHUKWU I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ikechukwu Modesther Oluchi, now wish to be known and address as Mrs. Akuka Modesther Oluchi. All former documents remain valid, general public please take note. ETIM I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Itoro Samuel Etim, now wish to be known and address as Mrs. Itoro Levi Azuogu. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. ANELE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Anele Chioma, now wish to be known as Mrs. Chioma Bekwele Tyger Wohuruche. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. AMA I formerly known and addressed as Miss Oyidiya Augustine Ama now wish to be known as Mrs. Oyidiya Nnenna Olorunsola. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. ADIKWURU I formerly known and addressed as Miss Chikamadu Constance Adikwuru, now wish to be known as Mrs. Chikamadu Constance Nwachukwu. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. OFULUE I formerly known and addressed Miss Ofulue Bright Ngozi, now wish to be known as Mrs. Okafor Bright Ngozi. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. NYODE I formerly known and addressed Miss Moriah Donu Nyode, now wish to be known and address as Mrs. Moriah Donu Amadi. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. OSARONU I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ruth Goda Osaronu, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ruth Goda Laaka. Gll former documents remain valid. General public please take. AKPAM I formerly know and addressed as Miss Mandy Brown Akpama now wish to be known as Miss Mandy Brown Mcmaye. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME: Ugonna Emmanuel Chuks Amaefule and Ugochukwu Chuks Emmanuel Amaefule refers to one person. I now wish to be known as Ugochukwu Chuks Emmanuel Amaefule. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. AMAJUOYI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Amajuoyi Confidence Ndidi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Osuagwu Confidence Ndidi. All former documents remain valid. Imo State University, NYSC and general public should take note. BABALOLA I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Babalola Esther Opeyemi now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Ayodele Esther Opeyemi.All former documents remain valid.NYSC and General public should take note. OLASUNDE I formerly known and addressed as Olasunde Adeniyi Abiola now wish to be known and called Olasinde Adeniyi Aboila.All former documents remain valid,Osun state polytechnics IREE,and general public should take note. OGUNDIRAN I, formerly known and addressed as Ogundiran Ibidun Elizabet now wish to be known and addressed as Ogundiran Vanissa Ibidun .All former documents remain valid.Osun state polytechnics IREE and general public should take note. SUARA I, formerly known and addressed as Suara Mary Bose, now wish to be known and addressed as Akindele Mary Bose. All former documents remain valid. University of Ibadan and general public should please take note. OLAJIDE I, formerly know and addressed as Miss OLAJIDE FAUSAT AYONI, now wish to known and addressed as Mrs MORONFOLU FAUSAT AYONI. All former documents remains valid. Ojo Local Government and general public should take note.

ADELEYE I, Formerly known,called and addressed as Mrs ADELEYE COMFORT ENIOLA now wish to be known called and addressed as Mrs BAMIGBOYE COMFORT ENIOLA. All former documents remained valid. Ekiti state ministry of education and general public take Note. ADENIYI I, formerly known and address as ADENIYI DEBORAH ADEBUKUNOLA now wish to be known and address as ADEOYE DEBORAH ADEBUKUNOLA.All former document remains valid. General public should please take note. TAROFI I, formerly known and addressed as TAROFI HABIB BABAYI now wish to be known and address as TAROFI DANIEL BABAYI.All former document remains valid.,general pulic shld pls take note. KAREEM-ONAGUN I, formerly known as OLUFUNKE YETUNDE DINA KAREEMONAGUN, wishes henceforth to be known and addressed as OLUFUNKE YETUNDE DINA WALSH. All former documents remain valid. General public to please note. SHAIBU I, formerly known as MISS SHAIBU RAMATU MERCY, wish henceforth to be known and addressed as MRS. ACHOLO RAMATU MERCY. All former documents remain valid. University of Maiduguri, NYSC and general public to please note. OMOYA I, formerly known and addressed as MISS OMOYA ESTHER TOYIN, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. IDOWU ESTHER TOYIN. All former documents remain valid. ekiti south west local government service commission, ekiti state and general public should take note. OMOSEBI I, formerly known and addressed as MISS OMOSEBI ADENIKE BUNMI, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS IBRAHIM ADENIKE BUNMI. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. ANYANWU I, formerly known and addressed as MISS ANYANWU CHINEDU MARY, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OBIALOR CHINEDU MARY. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. INEGBENOSUN I, formerly known and addressed as INEGBENOSUN MABEL, now wish to be known and addressed as MOMOH MARIAM. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. UMARU I, formerly known and addressed ABIGAIL NATHAN UMARU, now wish to be known and addressed as ABIGAIL JOEL HARUNA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. BAMIDO I, formerly known and addressed AGBO BAMIDO SOPHIA, now wish to be known and addressed as AGBO BAMIGUGU SOPHIA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. ELEM I formerly known and addressed as REBECCA ELEM, now wish to be known and addressed as REBECCA SUINNER. All former documents remain valid. Nigerian Immigration Service and the general public should please take note. AKINDIOSE I formerly known and addressed MR AKINDIOSE OLUWADAISI CLEMENT -GEORGE, now wish to be known and addressed as MR A K I N M O L U W A Y A N OLUWADAISI CLEMENTGEORGE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. AKINDIOSE-ADEPEKO I, formerly known and addressed MRS AKINDIOSE-ADEPEKO DAMILOLA ADEBOLA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS AKINMOLUWAYAN DAMILOLA ADEBOLA. All former documents remain valid. DIFF Hospital, Abuja, Nursing Council and the general public should please take note. ADEDAYO I, formerly known and addressed MISS TAYE TEMITOPE ADEDAYO, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS TAYE TEMITOPE OGUNLADE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. JIMOH I, formerly known and addressed JIMOH FATAI OLAWALE OLALEKAN, now wish to be known and addressed as OBAYOPO OLALEKAN DANIEL. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. ABUBAKAR I, formerly known and addressed as ABUBAKAR DINATU, now wish to be known and addressed as ABUBAKAR DINAH BAH. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note. IBENEME I, formerly known and addressed as Samuel Uzodimma Ibeneme and also known as Pastor Sam-Prosper Uzodimma now wish to be known and addressed as Pastor Sam-Prosper Edward.All documents bearing the either name is refering to the same person. General public should take note.

OROLU I, formerly known and addressed as Dr. Morufat Oladayo Orolu now wish to be known and addressed as Dr. Marufat Oladayo Orolu-Adedeji. NYSC & general public should take note.

BRIEF Court dismisses suit over ownership of church A Lagos State High Court has ruled in favour of former Chief of General Staff Lt General Oladipo Diya over the long drawn battle for the ownership of the United Evangelical Methodist Church, Abule-Ijesha, Yaba, Lagos. Gen. Diya had been locked in battle with seven others. Justice M. Dauda sitting at the Lagos State High Court dismissed the claim of the United African Methodist Church Eleja organisation in its entirety and awarded the cost of N50, 000 against Eleja organisation for bringing the suit. The Eleja organisation had claimed ownership of the land at No 3, Akinsola Lane, AbuleIjesha, Yaba, Lagos and asked for a perpetual injunction restraining Diya and others from worshipping or trespassing on the church premises. However, the Lay President of the UAMC, Eleja organisation Dr. Akinola Ogunlewe vowed to appeal the judgment.

Lagos set for 2012 Black Heritage festival By Evelyn Osagie

All is set for this year’s Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF). The seven-day cultural and traditional fiesta will attract hundreds of performers. This year’s edition runs April 2 to April 9 across Lagos. This year’s edition tagged: The Black in The Mediterranean Blue will witness activities such as drama, poetry, dance, music, Boat Regatta and a symposium among others. The highlights of the heritage week will include the Lagos Carnival and a Boat Regatta, among others. The LBHF will include a colloquium which would be directed by Dr. Wale Adeniran, a lecturer from the Institute of Performing Arts at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). The Dance segment would be directed by Dr. Peter Badejo (OBE) while poetry will be directed by Jahman Anikulapo, Editior, Sunday Guardian. The poetry segment will be a cross between Nigerian and Italian poetry. Among others, The LBHF Drama section will feature William Shakespeare’s The Tempest with the theme: European Colonialism.






OMMUNAL crises have gradually become an endemic thing in Anambra State and it seems all efforts to resolve them have remained elusive. It would seem as if virtually all the over 170 communities in the state are swimming in one form of hostilities or the other although some are still in their embryo stages while others had become rather hydra-headed and more pronounced. The Nation investigation reveals that the bone of contentions include land disputes, scramble for leadership and renaming of ancestral communities, amongst others. From Anambra South to Anambra North and Anambra Central, there are skirmishes here and there. In most communities, there are outright wars and bloody communal clashes. But it seems Orumba South is the most affected. Also, it has been revealed that most of the crises in Anambra State communities are politically motivated. Politicians, fueled by greed, selfishness and quest for power, are allegedly promoting land disputes and other flimsy causes that have resulted in hostilities or bloodbath. For example, the crises in about 30 communities are believed to be traceable to the fact that they do not have President-Generals. Such communities are currently administered through caretaker committees, and the resultant quarrels have not only bred crisis but had led to intra-communal crisis. This is the case in Obosi, Awka, Igbariam, Umuchu, to mention but a few of the communities where elections have been inconclusive for years, depriving them of government patronage in the quarterly and annual N2.5million security and road maintenance grants from the state government to the President-Generals and Igwes. Also some of the communities are troubled because they have parallel executives and traditional leaders or have refused to deal with government appointed caretaker committees. This is the case in Nnobi, Abagana, Obosi, Nkpor, Mgbakwu and Enugu-Ukwu, Awka, Umuchu to mention but a few. In other areas, boundaries are subjects of litigation or crises. This is the cause of the case between Nkwerre Ezunaka and Onitsha, Ajalli and Akpu, Ajalli and Ndiokpalaeke, Ogbunka and Owerre Ezuakala, Obosi and Onitsha and Nkpor. Others are in outright intra communal crisis like Ogbunike, Nkerehi (Umuchukwu), Obosi, etc. Of the 15 communities in Orumba South Local Government Area, about 11 of them are in crises. They are Akpu and Ajalli; Owerre Ezuakala and Ogbunka; Nkerehi and Umuchukwu; Ezira and Umuomaku; Ndiokpalaeke and Akpu, as well as Umuchukwu

• Obi

•Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar: IGP

Hostilities, echoes of war in Anambra Nwanosike Onu and Odogwu Emeka Odogwu report communal clashes in Anambra State where brothers are also killing their brothers and sisters (Nkerehi), to mention but a few. The Nation reports that in all these communities, there is serious tension and urgent need for a permanent solution to the crises to avoid future reoccurrences.

Umuchukwu bloodbath and other crises in Orumba LGA

The worst of the recent communal crises in Anambra State is that of Umuchukwu community, formerly known as Nkerehi, where brothers rose up against brothers because of change of name from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu. The Nation reports that in that crisis alone, over 30 persons were murdered in cold blood, property worth millions of naira destroyed, and thousands of innocent indigenes displaced. The displaced victims are still living outside their homes up till today.

Ogbunka and Owerre-Ezukala crisis

The major crisis Umuchukwu was immediately followed by the Ogbunka and Owerre-Ezukala crisis, where about three (3) lives were lost and properties worth several millions of naira destroyed. The situation became so embracing that the State Deputy Governor, Emeka Sibeudu, the Senator representing Anambra South, Andy Uba, the member at the House of Representatives, Ben Nwankwo, almost relocated to the area for peace to reign. After that came the Ndiokpalaeke

and Akpu communities where many were displaced and farmlands destroyed. These are recent happenings. However, despite the belief that no permanent solution has been found over any of these communal crises, the council Transition Committee Chairman, Ben Ibekwe, said ‘’There is no crisis in Orumba South. I don’t know where you got your information from. There is nothing happening in Orumba,” he said, admitting at the same breathe that he was on top of the situation. “Yes, I am on top of the situations,’’ he said.

Akpu and Ndiokpaleke brewing crisis

Even before the existing major crises are resolved, The Nation observes that another bloody communal war is looming between two communities of Akpu and Ndiokpaleke, both in Orumba-South. When the former Council Transition Committee Chairman of Orumba South, Owelle Godson Obi, met the people of Akpu, during his Meet the People Tour, Igwe Peter Nwafor, speaking through the Onowu of Akpu, Chief Yogu Nwankwo, lamented that their people were still in exile since 2007 when they were chased away by Ndiokpaleke from their Umuikpa and Okpala-Obute villages. Igwe Nwafor said that but for the consequent intervention of the community elders, the youths would have taken the laws into their hands to restore their brothers and sisters back to

their ancestral homes. He noted that another constraint they had was an oath in a deity between them and those they gave land, hence they have not invaded them to take over their land. Akpu community lamented that the tiny village of Ndiokpaleke had stopped them from erecting a police station approved for them on a piece of land and there is need for appropriate government intervention to avoid the impending bloody clash they have been seeking. They wondered why their boundary now should be at Aghomili River even as they insisted that the state government assured them of a bridge to connect them and Ufuma but has not done that. Governor Peter Obi, it would be recalled, resettled the refugees on November 28, 2008, yet peace has eluded the two communities till date. Responding, Owelle Godson Obi appealed for peace and restraint as he would table their requests to Governor Obi. Obosi crisis Another recent crisis in Anambra State is the Obosi problem in Idemili North Local Government Area. The crisis which started in 2008 forced Governor Peter Obi to depose the traditional ruler of the area, Igwe Josiah Nwakobi. He died in September 10, 2011. The Obosi crisis, The Nation gathered, started when the late monarch and his council set up what they called Adike Peace Foundation (APF).


Shortly after the inauguration of the chairman and secretary of the foundation respectively, some people alleged that they were being marginalised in their land. This became the genesis of the crisis. Since then, about three persons have lost their lives while many others have been injured. Also, property already burnt or destroyed in the mayhem had been quantified by the people to be in neighbourhood of ten billion naira (10bn). Already, one of the alleged kingpins, Tochukwu Nebo, had been arrested by the police in Anambra State, who had given names of the suspected ring leaders. He has also been charged to the magistrate court in Onitsha and equally remanded in prison custody. Though, he mentioned some names as those behind the Obosi mayhem, including the controversial monarch of the area, the state command of the Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) has failed to arrest the suspects. However, the court has ordered the police to arrest with immediate effect all the people the suspect mentioned in the matter. Also, on February 6, 2012, some desperate youth descended on one Degaulle Offor in his house and broke his head. The reason for their action, The Nation gathered, was that he should resign his position as the chairman of the Obosi Task Force because, according to them, their Monarch had appointed one of them to take over. As a result, Offor has written a petition to the police command and to the chairman, Board of Trustees, Obosi Land Management Council. Their disputed traditional ruler, Chidubem Iweka, was copied in the petition in which the hoodlums were accused of being police informants. Conclusion However, the Ministry of Local Government, Town Union and Chieftaincy Affairs had waved away allegation that these crises were propelled by the way they conducted elections into the various town unions. The Commissioner, Dubem Obaze, said his ministry is committed to doing things that would promote peace and unity in the state and not on the contrary. Chairman, Board of Trustees, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi, confirmed in a report that “In Anambra State ‘’Umuleri- Aguleri inter-communal conflict in 1999/2000, OwerreEzukala/Ogbunka inter-communal conflict in 2011, Umunya intra-communal conflict, Akpu-Ajali intercommunal conflict etc, have resulted in over 1,000 unlawful deaths or summary executions since 1999.’’

Ebonyi: Edukwuachi Agbaja community crisis •Continued from Page 24 In Edukwuachi Agbaja community in Izzi Local Government Area of the state, more than 17 houses have been destroyed, properties looted, one person seriously injured and over 150 others displaced following another communal crisis that rocked the state in January this year. Eyewitness account revealed that crisis erupted in the village when the community demanded for a portion of land belonging to the Nwaobegu family for the construction of the community secondary school, which the family objected. Briefing journalists in Abakaliki, the spokesperson of the family and one of the victims, Chief Moses Nwaobegu, regretted the wanton destruction of his properties and that of his relations by some thugs allegedly hired by some political stakeholders from the village. According to him; “one early morning, I got a call from by brothers that some staff of the Ministry of Land, Survey and Housing were surveying our family land. I immediately rushed to the village and found the men sur-

veying the land. I made inquiries on why they were surveying the land. They told me that the community has taken over the land for the construction of the secondary school. He noted that having realised that all efforts to stop them from taking over the land through peaceful discussions proved abortive, he petitioned the State Commissioner of Police to intervene in the matter. “Shortly after my petition to the Police Commissioner, the stakeholders were invited and warned not to encroach into our family land. They went back and mobilised the youths to destroy all our properties and to send us out of the village. The youths, carrying dangerous weapons, went to our different houses destroying our buildings and setting others ablaze. Some of my brothers and sisters, who were at the scene of the incident, were asked to leave the village and never to come back again. Right now, more than 150 of us have been sent out from our village with our properties destroyed. While some of my relations are taking refuge in my house in

Abakaliki, others ran to a nearby village for safety. “We again reported the destruction of our properties to the police, who went to the village in company of one of my brothers. The youths chased the police away, took and wanted to lynch my brother before some other policemen from Iboko Police Station rescued him,” he said.

Investigations and peace initiatives

Though the state government has been making frantic efforts to resolve the various communal crises in the state, more of such crises kept erupting in the state while hostilities continued in Ikwo, Ebonyi and Izzi Local Government areas of the state. Meanwhile, the people of Ezillo have remained calm and as it seems, have harkened to the plea of the state governor not to take revenge but to allow the state government to investigate the matter. We learnt also that traditional rulers from Ebonyi Central Senatorial

Zone recently paid a condolence visit to Governor Martin Elechi and to brief him on steps so far taken in ensuring that the perpetrators of the act were arrested and prosecuted. But to their astonishment, the governor openly accused some of them, including traditional rulers, top ranking politicians and major stakeholders of not only having knowledge of the attack on the people of Ezillo but also of masterminding the dastardly act. It would be recalled that the crisis that engulfed Ezillo in 2008 saw the arrest and detention of many traditional rulers, politicians and stakeholders of Ezza extraction. The traditional rulers took oath and made some rituals which were meant to bring a lasting peace in the war-torn area. But addressing the natural rulers, the governor said; “I know when am being deceived, let no one try to deceive me, I don’t like it. There are people within this hall who know the perpetrators of the crime in Ezillo, there are people within this hall who have a hand in that crime, that is why

civil wars are more difficult to fight than wars between nations because wherever you have 12 apostles, one of them must be Judas Iscariot. “It is the Judases in our midst who are causing the mayhem in Ezillo, believing that what they can’t get through the ballot box, they can get it falsifying the state of our affairs. Regrettably, for such people, the more they venture into evil deeds, the more we expose ourselves. I feel sad, indeed very sad and I made bold to say that there is so much insincerity in what we tell ourselves; that is what makes me sad, the sentiments expressed here this afternoon are as they should be, many people here know what is happening and would never reveal it, that is why am sad,” he said. So far, aside the dead, more than 10, 000 persons have been rendered homeless while others are still in hospitals as a result of machete cuts or gunshot injuries sustained at the different communal crises that have engulfed the state since December 31, 2011 till date.






NEWS 5-point action plan for South West CAN Stories by Sunday Oguntola


HE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) South West Region has adopted a 5-point action plan for its new executives. The new executives were elected last month in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State. Rising from its inaugural meeting in Awe town, Oyo State last week, the body resolved to work towards functional unity among Christians. It also agreed to hold interdenominational revivals and • Atilade open air crusades in major towns of the region for rapid evangelisation. The action plan also include an interdenominational national days of fasting and prayers for the peace and unity of Nigeria as well as prayers for the unity of Christians. The body also directed its chapters to embark on lets-go-fishing, an aggressive evangelical outreach, from this Easter period. The move, Chairman of CAN South West Archbishop Magnus Atilade said is to spread the gospel and knowledge of God. Atilade explained measures are underway to reposition the body for greater impact and effectiveness. According to him, ‘’we are poised for action because more than ever before, we have realised the gospel is the answer to all the challenges of man. ‘’We want it to permeate the South West for improved living and relationship with God’’. The formal induction of the new executives holds on April 26th at CAN headquarters, Ibadan. National President of CAN Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor is billed to minister at the occasion where all South West Governors will be special guests.

Church gets new pastors, deacons, elders


HREE new pastors, five evangelists, four deacons and three elders were last Sunday ordained into the commission of the Tower of Victory Assembly Ijeshatedo Lagos. vention. The ordination was the high point of the church’s conInternational coordinator of Pastors/ Ministers Prayer Network Africa Apostle Victor Uchegbulam advised the ministers not to see their ordination as an elevation over others but a call to serve. He said: “You have been entrusted with great responsibilities, it’s not a child play. ‘’The road is not going to be always smooth but if you continue to maintain a divine relationship with the one who sent you out into the world, he will protect you and guide your steps right”. He charged the new evangelists to win souls for Christ. The preacher a1so appea1ed to the new pastors to be good shepherds. Senior Pastor of the church Tochukwu Okafor noted the ordination was the first since the church’s inception in 1999. He told the new ministers: “You must all strive to be just and pious in all you do. You are now ambassadors of Christ and this church. ‘’Your actions and utterances must win souls for God. Don’t see yourselves as being superior to other members of the church.

Missionaries offer succour for rural dwellers


UNDREDS of less privileged in Eruwa, Opete and Iropo towns in the Ibarapa East Local Government of Oyo State, were among the beneficiaries of the fourth edition of the recent non-denominational rural outreaches organised annually by the Cross of the Lord Ministry. They got relief materials such as foot wears and variety of apparels for men and women. The materials were donated by public spirited individuals in Lagos. The participating missionaries spent quality time preaching the gospel to inhabitants of Opete, Iropo and Ape hamlets in the council. The inhabitants, mainly peasant farmers, also had time of release of effectual of prayer by the visiting missionaries. While the visit lasted, the team spent time observing their needs. Basic needs they have include accessible roads, potable water, electricity and farm grants. Pastor Wunmi Adeyemo of the God’s Foundation Church, Ibadan who gave charges assured that they would convey their plights to the appropriate authorities.


‘Boko Haram cannot break Nigeria’


OU described Nigeria a country of drama and trauma. What do you mean? Is it not? This country is a nation of drama and trauma. We copy American system but not their values. In America, only those who have made money go to politics to spend it. But in our own case, we go into politics to accumulate money and power. We have not revolved a system that can meet our needs. Those we voted do not longer agree we asked them to serve us. They now believe we want them to serve themselves. They don’t render accounts because they have become gods to their constituencies. This is a country of drama and trauma, I tell you. It is like employing a man to work for you but he now works for himself and you are not powerful enough to stop him. That is where we are. When you travel through Enugu-Onitsha, PortHacourt-Aba, you will weep for this country. If you travel through Port-Harcourt Warri and come back arrive, you must be very lucky. If our leaders are holding power in trust, they will not abandon those roads. They are now the gods yet we made them what they are. But did we really vote for these people in the first place? Well, we pretended to have voted for them and the world believes we voted for them. They are using us voters to validate the vote allocation. We made them what they are. But we have never been able to challenge them. By keeping quiet, we are saying we voted for them. So, they are pretending we voted for them and we are also pretending we voted for them. How do you feel being a Nigerian at this point in time? I feel like praying more that God will help us because He is our only hope. We are holding on to Him for comfort. I tell Him He is the only one that can fix us. Sometimes, I feel helpless because even if I shout, it won’t change anything. Do you fear this country may disintegrate? I am too close to God to be frightened by anybody. I have had encounters with Him many times. Nobody can frighten me. Boko Haram

•L-R: The Synod Secretary, Methodist Church Nigeria, Very Revd Titus Omoniyi; Lay President, Lagos Arch Diocese, Sir Bonajo Badejo, His Lagos Diocesan counterpart, Bro Olusegun Sofunke, Lagos Archbishop, Dr Joseph Sunday Ajayi, Host Presbyter, Very Revd Micheal Atolaye; Immediate Past Conference Lay President, Sir Remi Omotoso and Immediate Past Lagos Diocesan Lay President, Sir Akinola Oyenusu, at the Lagos Diocesan 2012 Golden Jubilee in Wesley Church, Ikoyi, Lagos openultimate Sunday

Renown Evangelist Uma Ukpai spoke with selected reporters last week on national issues. Sunday Oguntola was there

• Ukpai

cannot break Nigeria. Nobody can break Nigeria. Boko Haram has arrogated to itself power it does not have. They are pushing us to the wall and any man pushed to the wall can fight back. We can fight back. How? We can fight back in a more organised way. They are fighting us with vengeful spirit. When we fight back, we will fight back in a calculated manner. The man who is bitter has limited his ability to think. A man who is bitter has shut down three generators. He has shut down the generator of imagination and everyone man is limited by his imagination. They have shut down the wisdom generating plant and once you take wisdom out of life, you run into failure. The difference between a failed marriage and a very successful marriage is wisdom. But a bitter man cannot maintain and sustain his wisdom. A bitter man has also shut down the ability to think creatively. If we are to fight back, we will be fighting back because they have pushed us to the wall. Fighting back does

not necessarily mean carrying guns. Under the sun, prayer is the most powerful thing. That is what people seem to underrate. In those days, the Israelites fought many wars. They won with prayers and not with ammunitions. If you bring God into any situation, you are going to win that battle. The same God that fought then can fight now if we make the connection again. What is the church doing to change Nigeria? We are praying and I tell you prayer has taken us this far. Some of us are also confronting bad leaders. I tell you it takes a believer to confront leaders in Nigeria. He can only do it when he has discovered God can protect and provide for him. When a man has not found God, he cannot fight the gods that be. In no distant days, we are going to see a raising of prayer force across the nation. On the 18th March, there will be prayer for good governance, freedom and liberty. Is Boko Haram about power change in 2015 or religious war? It is a combination of the

two because Northerners believe that power belongs to them. I don’t blame them. The Northern politicians have done better than their Southern counterparts. The Northern politician believes he is holding power in trust and he is there to serve. That is why on a given day, he can give food to thousands of people. To him, he is holding that power in trust. In the South, our leaders believe nobody voted for them and they are now little gods. In the North, they cannot publicly disgrace their leaders but we can flog our elders at the market squares and pay boys to clap for us. Once your friend becomes anything politically, he has become a masquerade. You can’t talk to him. You have to stay away because when he is flogging people in the market, he can flog you. So, you stay away until he comes down from his high horse. He avoids his old friends because they remind him of his poverty, which he does not want the world to know. He wants the world to believe he was born rich and powerful. It is a sentiment you can use to support Boko Haram. But that is not their desire. Their desire is to islamise the country. Even Northern leaders are afraid to talk about it because Boko Haram has no respect for anybody. They can kill anything. If you were invited to the federal executive council meeting for a talk, what will you tell them? It is very simple. I will ask them how far they have gone with what God wants them to do as council members. Two, they should not deceive themselves there is no judge over the affairs of men. God is not mocked. Whatever they sow now, they will reap. There was a chieftaincy tussle in Nnewi. One of the contenders hired people to kill others. As they killed one of the contenders, he said, ‘’as you kill me, every member of your family will die violently’’. A man rose to become a judge in the family of the killer. He ran to me for prayers, saying he knew nothing about the incident and should not die. Well, I said I did not have God’s instruction to pray for him. Few days later, he was killed by armed robbers. We will all reap whatsoever we sow right here.





T hit the pastor like a thunderbolt. An admirable worker had ap-

proached him for counselling on his failed marriage. His wife of six years left and remarried when the going was rough. Ten years after, his economic status had improved and he is ready for remarriage. But his pastor will have none of it. The member, furious with what he described an ‘’inconsiderate stance’’, confronted his pastor. ‘’Am I to remain single and unmarried for the rest of my life? At just 42, won’t I be susceptible to adultery and sexual misbehaviours? Is it not better to remarry than sleep around with ladies?,’’ he blurted. The inquisition set the pastor into days of intense biblical research and consultation. He emerged from the exercise unconvinced of a contrary viewpoint. The member left the church in annoyance and remarried. Other church members who stayed back had his sympathies. They grumbled their pastor’s position was inhuman and inconsiderate. When founder of Household of God Church Oregun Lagos Pastor Chris Okotie remarried in 2008, the Christian community was sharply divided over the move. Okotie remarried Stephanie Henshaw, a widow and mother of three. His first wife, Tina left and relocated to the US in 1998. Okotie received flaks from many Church leaders. Ever defiant, Okotie stated the first marriage was over. According to him, ‘’She wanted to go. It was her choice that she didn’t want the marriage anymore and she decided to divorce me. So God can’t hold me responsible for something I didn’t do. This is the second time for me now to pick it up from where Tina left.” He had a supporter in founder and serving overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly Pastor Tunde Bakare. Bakare

CONTROVERSY With Sunday Oguntola (08034309265)

Can Christian divorcees remarry? YES ‘’If we ask him or her not to remarry, what will happen? Will the other partner divorce from the second marriage for reunion? Once the other partner has remarried, the first marriage is over’’




•Femi Emmanuel


Summer, a fellow Chartered Accountant refused to join him in Nigeria and filed for divorce. Pastor Ituah, as he is fondly called, waited for 10 years to remarry. The church authorities, it was learnt, kicked against the move, stating it is against the policy. Ighodalo ultimately left RCCG to found his church, which has continued to grow in Lekki.

Whether or not a Christian divorcee can marry is contentious. There are two camps: both who believe they can remarry provided the departing partners are certainly unavailable or remarried and those who insist Christian divorcees cannot remarry as long as their partners are alive. Both cite biblical passages to support their positions. Presiding Pastor of Living

“Any Christian divorcee that wants to make heaven and follow God must seek reconciliation or remain unmarried for life’’ attended the wedding thanksgiving to the consternation of many. He even officiated cutting of the cake, describing Okotie as a true brother that he was happy for. On the propriety of the second marriage, Bakare said, “This is a brand new book; anything in the past does not exist anymore”. The controversy generated more furore when General Overseer of Trinity Chapel Lagos Pastor Ituah Ighodalo was forced to step down as Pastor of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Christ Church, Gbagada Lagos over his second marriage to former Miss Lux, Ibidunni Ajayi in 2007. His first wife, Lucy-Ann

spring Chapel, Lagos Pastor Femi Emmanuel believes divorce is a terrible development for anybody. He however said remarriage is permissible as long as the partner has remarried or unavailable. According to him, ‘’Christians must work against divorce because God hates it. But when it has happened, the believing partner is right to marry again if the other one has remarried. ‘’If we ask him or her not to remarry, what will happen? Will the other partner divorce from the second marriage for reunion? Once the other partner has remarried, the first marriage is over.’’ He explained Jesus declaration that a divorcee should remarry only after the other partner is tenable when the other partner is unmarried. ‘’Once the other partner remarries, you are no longer bound. Waiting is insensible and impracticable’’. He however stated that Christians must be encouraged to make their marriages work, instead of seeking a way out. He has a supporter in the Senior Pastor of Glory Christian Centre Lagos, Dr Iruofagha James. According to him, ‘’divorce is only permissible when a case of adultery has been established. Even at that, reconciliation is best. But when a partner has left for years and you have prayed without any positive result and this partner has now remarried, then you can move on with your life’’. James argued that to wait after the other partner has remarried is hoping against hope. ‘’Will you now ask the new marriage to crash so that the couple can be reunited? Or will you pray for the second partner to die for the first marriage to be revived? It is

an issue that requires pragmatic approach otherwise we cannot hold divorcees accountable for whatever they do thereafter’’. But General Overseer Agape Generation International Church Maryland Lagos Rev. Toyin Kehinde holds a different view. He said the Bible is unequivocal on remarriage. According to him, ‘’The Bible is clear a Christian cannot remarry as long as the partner is alive. We cannot change it but we have a choice to follow it or the society.’’ He said Christian divorcees must choose between listening to God or the society. ‘’The problem with us these days is that we have become so subnormal that normal things now sound abnormal. Any Christian divorcee that wants to make heaven and follow God must seek reconciliation or remain unmarried for life,’’ he submitted. Senior Pastor of The Vineyard Assembly Ibadan Buki Gbenro shares same view. Citing Mathew 5: 32, he said, ‘’The Bible is very clear though people are always free to argue and do what they like. Once you divorce and you want to remain a Christian, you must never remarry. To remarry is to become an adulterer or adulteress’’. He lamented the alarming rate of divorce in the Christian community and said something drastic must be done to redress it. ‘’People are just walking away these days from their homes, including men of God. They are remarrying. Once you do this, you are acting against the Bible,’’ he reiterated. Efforts to get reactions of the Senior Pastor of Calvary Christian Centre, Pastor Olumide Emmanuel who divorced his former wife, Ify and remarried her former secretary last year failed. Several men of God attended the wedding in solidarity with the move. Repeated calls to Emmanuel were unanswered while text messages were also unreplied.



QUOTABLE “Today, public service has become about accumulation and personal aggrandisement in which leadership becomes the master. The state is imperialised, converting citizens into subjects, resources into private ownership. Politics is about how to control people and resources. We need a set of leaders who will be our servants not our bosses... ” — University don, Professor Toyin Falola


N the coming days, we may get to understand why Nigeria and Britain took the fateful decision to storm the hideout where a splinter group of the Islamist terrorist sect, Boko Haram, kept British Christopher MacManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara as hostages in Mabera, Sokoto. We may also be given details of how the rescue attempt was planned and executed, which troops led the Special Forces operations, whether they had a plan of the moderately expansive building, and whether they knew how many terrorists guarded the hostages and where precisely in the building they were held. The Italian government has demanded an explanation from Nigeria and Britain on why it was not informed before the operation got underway. Anyone who has read about special operations, particularly the recent United States Navy Seals Team Six attack on Osama bin Laden’s hideout at Abbottabad in Pakistan will know just how many questions must be answered before the military is given approval to mount a rescue operation. I had an inkling of those questions when I visited the US Army 82 Airborne Division at Fort Bragg many years ago. During the visit I met with officers of the Ranger Battalion that were the first to land in Grenada during a short war in 1983. And though officers refused to admit the division was home of the US Army Delta Force, we knew that special warfare training took place there. In our interaction with some of the officers with whom we had breakfast, we had little doubt that special warfare was indeed a delicate matter that should never be treated with levity because of its potential to bring down governments and rubbish reputations. We observed their training and witnessed Military Operations in Urbanised Terrain (MOUT), and also recognised that a lot goes into preparing soldiers for special warfare. It is easy to observe the killing of Osama bin laden and the January rescue of two hostages in Somalia by the same US Navy Seals Team Six and imagine special operations deep inside enemy territories are cakewalks. They are not. They are dangerous, not only for the rescuers, but also more

Boko Haram and Sokoto fiasco

•Goodluck Jonathan

•David Cameron

so for the hostages who could be killed before they are prized loose from their captors. Even for the US, and as Britain very well knows, special operations have recorded more failures than successes. President Barack Obama has authorised more special operations than any US president in recent memory, but he knows how much he has aged in body and grey hairs every time he approved an operation. He knows the catastrophic consequences a failed rescue effort could have for his presidency. I do not think Nigeria and Britain asked the right questions, nor as their treatment of Italy showed, did they scrupulously make the right plans. Merely looking at the published photographs of the Sokoto building in which the Boko Haram terrorists kept their hostages, anything other than complete surprise would have doomed the operation

from the beginning. More importantly, there was no way the element of surprise could have been kept without abseiling down into the building with stealth helicopters. At the moment, only the United States is known to have that stealth technology. The Nigerian military is not known to have an enviable record of rescuing hostages from the grips of hardened terrorists. The government will have to explain to the country why it sanctioned an operation its military had little expertise in staging. Britain still has its citizen held captive in Somalia for much longer than the two recently rescued by Navy Seals. Did it authorise the Sokoto operation because it felt Boko Haram militants were easy targets or because British newspapers recently mocked their government for losing the appetite to stage rescue operations? When it comes to hostage

Fed Govt’s obfuscatory decision to negotiate with terror


XCEPT I err badly, screaming newspaper headlines announcing the federal government’s preparedness to dialogue with Boko Haram do not indicate anything new. The Goodluck Jonathan government has always been ambivalent on Boko Haram. Pretending it was embracing something new, it told the public on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council meeting that it had agreed with nearly all the recommendations of the Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari panel on insecurity in the Northeast. The committee, which turned in its report last year September, recommended that the government should embrace dialogue if Boko Haram renounced violence. This position is similar to the Niger Delta amnesty programme, which was conditional on renunciation of violence. In January and February, the president himself at different fora talked of his readiness to dialogue with Boko Haram once its leaders came in from the cold and placed their grievances on the negotiating table. I do not think the Abba Moro White Paper on the Galtimari report is substantially different from previous decisions of the government, except in its alarmingly misplaced treatment of the common issue of settler versus indigene disagreements. I sense that more than ever, the government is becoming increasingly desperate and despondent about the terrorist crisis in the Northeast, a crisis now spreading to the Northwest and threatening to spread further south, if some reports are to be believed. The government has absolutely no idea how to break the stalemate. With the recent arrest of some Boko Haram leaders, the govern-

ment hoped the crisis was in its final days. But I warned in this place that if anyone thought those arrests amounted to the beginning of the end of the terror group, such a person was naive. The violent sect itself warned that even if its main leaders were arrested, it would still continue the fight to the bitter end. It reminded us that the extrajudicial murder of its former leader, Mohammed Yusuf, did not spell the sect’s end. With each passing day, the violence worsens, and the government, which has neither shown impressive competence nor the strength of character required to fight terror, is becoming more and more frustrated. That frustration lured it into the Sokoto rescue fiasco, and it may yet tempt it into worse and dangerous adventures. The government has accepted the White paper on the crisis, but it is really doubtful whether it understands the deeper and fundamental issues involved. Boko Haram was partly triggered by injustice; but every day since Mohammed Yusuf was murdered, security agents have continued to extrajudicially murder about 5,000 people annually. What firm steps has the government put in place to prevent this horror, and to enthrone justice? I suspect that like a typical African government, the Jonathan presidency is merely anxious to halt the disaffection and violence spreading in the North. It knows, like the rest of us, that if the violence is not halted, the crisis could yet engulf the whole country with unpredictable consequences. After all, the economy of much of the North is already paralysed, and poverty and misery are spreading. Unfortunately, there is also

no apparent hope in sight that the stalemate can be broken soon. The government wants the sect to lay down its arms and embrace dialogue; the sect on the other hand wants the government to first release all Boko Haram members in detention and declare Sharia in at least the core North states. If care is not taken, we may be witnessing Nigeria’s endgame. Until we understand the sect’s fundamental raison d’etre, that while it is driven by socio-economic hardship, it is also significantly propelled by religious reasons, some of them quite romanticised, we may never make headway. Unwisely, too, the North’s leadership has failed to correctly weigh the danger the sect constitutes to everyone, supporters and opponents alike. Now, Boko Haram is transforming into an independent and powerful entity beyond everyone’s control. It is unproductive dialoguing with it. As I have maintained here, the attitude to take is to let the sect know that we have the strength of character to fight it everywhere and for as long as it takes, never to surrender to it no matter how overwhelmingly it projects terror in the short and medium run, and never to negotiate with it, especially out of panic and weakness. As the Jonathan attitude to Boko Haram shows, we are undone not by the plenitude and viciousness of the troubles we face, but by our weak character and poor ratiocinations in times of trouble. Sadly, our pains are worsened by those who use the crisis as a pretext to ask for the revision of revenue allocation formula, and to argue that Boko Haram is not unconnected with federally-inspired regional disparity in economic patronage and opportunities.

rescue and kidnap of terrorists, it is doubtful whether any country can compare with US and Israel. But even they do not recklessly stage or approve operations. I do not think the Nigerian government, which must bear the larger share of responsibility for the Sokoto fiasco, answered all the relevant questions, made all the necessary plans, nor, from the training manual of the US Navy Seals, did it have the men imbued with the training and psychology to stage such a delicate and sensitive operation involving the lives of more than one hostage. And from the way the targeted building and one or two buildings nearby were peppered with bullets, indeed strafed, and the one hour or so duration of the battle, it is doubtful whether those who stormed the Boko Haram hideout possessed the type of precision required for the kind of operation they undertook or did risk assessment. In addition, judging from the manner the building was abandoned for curious people to explore after the fiasco, it is doubtful whether we are ready for the kind of security challenges the 21st century is throwing up. Should it not have been cordoned off for the purpose of collecting intelligence and forensic evidence? Both Britain and Nigeria appeared hungry for morale-boosting military adventures for different reasons. There is absolutely no doubt that if the operation had succeeded, both the Goodluck Jonathan and David Cameron governments would have reaped tremendous public relations benefits, perhaps with each struggling to claim leadership of the rescue plan and execution. They have been magnanimous in claiming responsibility for the failure, but we hope that in the coming days, we will know who really is to blame for the fiasco. For now, it is important to recognise that both countries and leaders failed, and that the fallout, as angry Italy has demonstrated, is just beginning to be evident. Nigerians are yet to know what component of the operation was entrusted into the hands of the Nigerian Military, but given the weak mindset of the Jonathan government in combating Boko Haram terrorism and the desultory efforts it has made in the past one year to pacify the group, it is hardly surprising that the Sokoto rescue effort ended in tragedy. While the military has shown more spunk than the government in taking the battle to the terrorists, it has often not done it as professionally competent as the situations demand. This column last year and early this year joined the Borno Elders in cautioning the military’s disproportionate and often indiscriminate use of force in quelling the disturbances in the Northeast. The total abandonment of psychological operations (psy-ops) necessary to win the local populace could engender more hostility for the special task force deployed to bring peace to the region, this column warned. More, it said, the military’s lack of precision and restraint was causing more harm than good and alienating the host population. The Sokoto fiasco underscores the weakness of the Nigerian military (and police) whose practical and fundamental behaviour, as against theoretical rules of engagement, runs against precision and discriminating and targeted use of force. In line with civilised standards, and because both hostages lost their lives thereby dooming the operation to failure, it is important that an investigation be conducted. The doomed operation is of course not litigable, but the inquest should attempt to answer why Italy was not told until the operation got underway and whose idiotic idea that was, why the chances of success in such an operation was not adequately and competently evaluated, and why other ways of securing the release of the hostages, including laying siege to the building, were not considered and weighed. More importantly, an evaluation is necessary so that both the government, which had no previous experience in handling such matters, and the military can learn useful lessons.

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The Nation March 11, 2012  

The Nation March 11, 2012