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VOL. 7, NO. 2051 THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2012



•Prof Jega answering questions from The Nation editors in Lagos ... yesterday


IGERIANS may vote electronically in the 2015 general elections, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof Attahiru Jega said yesterday. This, he said, will depend on the amendment of electoral laws, which presently do not recognise electronic voting. Jega said contracts are being awarded for the production of a permanent voter register, which will


Electronic voting likely in 2015, says Jega By Joseph Jibueze, Staff Reporter

be embedded in electronic chips on cards. The INEC boss admitted that the commission has not performed satisfactorily in the prosecution of electoral offenders, even though over 200 cases have been tried. To him, the solution is to have an independent body outside INEC to handle

prosecution of electoral offenders while the commission concentrates on election management. Jega spoke during a visit to The Nation’s head office in Lagos. He was received by the management team, led by Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh. On the use of technology in voting, Jega said: “We are working to ensure that if by

2015, the legal framework is amended to allow for electronic voting, we may be able to see it through, provided the funding and facilities are available to get electronic voting machines. “We have gone very far with the award of the contract for the permanent voters register. It is going to be in embedded chip contact lens cards. Each card will

carry all the information about the voter, with all his biometric data, from fingerprint to photograph and so on. “Our hope is that in 2015, at the minimum, we are going to have an authentic verification of anybody who presents himself or herself at the polling unit for voting. We will have card readers, and it will automatically

verify whether you are the genuine owner of a card. “If the law is amended in good time and we’re able to have the resources and to convince the public that we can do electronic voting, then we will also be ready because the chipbased card can be made compatible with an electronic voting system. “Also, we have been working very hard to integrate our database. We are doing it in stages.” Continued on page 2

Crisis brews in PDP over choice of chairman

Aspirants reject consensus candidate SSS bars Ndume Party approves zoning of offices Jonathan seeks unity


•Dr Jonathan

OME leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are pushing for a consensus national chairman – to stave off a rancorous voting at the convention. But most of the 11 aspirants prefer a direct ballot battle at the National Convention, which was yesterday fixed for March 24. They have vowed to reject “a family affair method”, which has led to the emergence of three national chair-

From Yusuf Alli and Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

men since 2008. Some of the aspirants are: Former Governor of the now defunct Gongola State Bamanga Muhammed Tukur; National Publicity Secretary Prof. Rufai Alkali; former Minister of Commerce Idris Waziri (Taraba); former Minister of Agriculture Shettima Mustapha; National Secretary Musa Babayo; former Minister

of Agriculture Adamu Bello; former National Chairman of the defunct Grassroots Democratic Movement, (GDM) Gambo Lawan (Borno); former Governor Adamu Mu’azu of Bauchi State; and former Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters Abba Aji. Former Minister of FCT Bunu Sheriff and Ibrahim Birma, a lawyer, among others, are also in the race. Some members of the Board of

Trustees are pushing for a consensus national chairman. It was gathered that the elders are looking for a candidate who could serve as a rallying point for the party to reconcile all members and win the 2015 poll. In fact, the elders are trying to prevail on the Presidency to adopt a former Minister as a consensus candidate ahead of the convention. Continued on page 2




NEWS Salami: NJC raises five-man committee


•From right: President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and Head of the Civil Servise of the Federation Alhaji Isa Bello Sali during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the State House Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

Electronic voting likely in 2015, says Jega Continued from page 1

doing it in stages.” The popular thinking is that electoral crimes flourish because many offenders are not prosecuted. Jega attributed INEC’s inability to effectively prosecute electoral crimes to lack of evidence, court delays and high cost of litigation. His words: “Frankly, if there is anything we have not done to our satisfaction, to my personal satisfaction, and to the commission’s satisfaction, it is the prosecution of electoral offenders. But it is not for lack of trying. “To have successful investigation, you need successful police investigation and report and you must have the courts to take the cases seriously. “But there are cases in court since April that are still there. The courts are not hastening the process. There are cases where the police said they have no evidence of illegality taking place.

“I am not shifting blame, but there is a limit to what we can do, if we do not have the support of all the other partners in driving prosecution. “However, until this INEC came in, I don’t think anyone could point to one case of prosecution of an electoral offender from 1999. From 1999 to 2010, no electoral commission had prosecuted a single electoral offender. But we have prosecuted more than 200.” He spoke on the long-term solution: “For me, after being on Uwais Panel and now chairman of INEC, the easiest thing to do under the circumstances is really to take that matter of litigation out of the hands of INEC. “Let us concentrate, as an election management body, on managing elections; and let there be an independent Election Offences Tribunal to handle the prosecution of electoral offenders. We’ll provide all the evidence and they will have their own prosecu-

tors and investigators just as EFCC and ICPC do.” According to Jega, elections are still being rigged, and it will take time to end the culture. “Yes, elections have been rigged, but wherever they are rigged and we have the evidence, we have cancelled them. “Where we don’t have the evidence, we expect that those contestants who are on the field should take the extra effort not just to win the election, but to have the evidence of rigging and so on so that they can prove their cases in court. “If you say election has been rigged, you should have the evidence to prove that it has been rigged. Whoever has evidence and needed our support, we have always provided that support.” Jega defended INEC’s decisions following the Supreme Court judgment which sacked five governors, saying they were based on sound le-

gal advice and were expedient. He said if INEC had stuck with the old time-table for election in the affected states, it could be accused of disobeying the Supreme Court verdict. “Our position is that we have to be proactive and interpret decisions. If people disagree with the position, then they can go to court and get another interpretation. “But we can’t sit back and say ‘we can’t interpret this because it is not our job to interpret,’” Jega said. The INEC boss vouched for the independence of the national commissioners, saying there is no evidence that any of them is a card-carrying member of any political party. “I can tell you that I have not seen any evidence of partisanship by any national commissioner in the way we do our work. I don’t know for a fact that they are card-carrying members of any party. Continued on page 59

Jonathan, Rawlings, Soyinka, others for Ojukwu’s funeral


NUGU, the capital of the old Eastern Region where the late Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu presided as governor, will today bid him a final farewell. President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to lead the tributes at the requiem mass for the repose of his soul. Today’s event will be the major activity of the funeral programme before the body is taken to Nnewi, Anambra State, for burial tomorrow. Tomorrow has been declared a work-free day by Governor Sullivan Chime. It was in Enugu that Ojukwu declared the stillborn Republic of Biafra. He lived in the ‘Coal City’ on his return from exile in 1982, until he took ill and was flown abroad on December 22, 2010. Major hotels have been fully booked as visitors converge on the city which has been given a facelift by the state government. More security men have been deployed. President Jonathan may also be in Nnewi for tomorrow’s funeral. Also expected are former President Olusegun

From Chris Oji, Enugu

Obasanjo, former Heads of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. Former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings and Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka were also seen in Enugu yesterday. Also for the funeral are the governors of Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. Other governors are also expected. The newly re-elected governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, will attend not only as a governor, but as a direct in-law of Ojukwu. His wife, Obioma, is Ojukwu’s niece. Delegations from Haiti, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Tanzania are in Enugu. These countries were pro-Biafran nations during the Civil War. Yesterday, the Catholic Church, where Ojukwu worshipped, held a concelebrated requiem mass for the departed Igbo leader. Ojukwu never missed the daily morning mass and the mid-day angelus of the church. The mass witnessed a large turnout of people. It was held at an open ground at the headquarters of the Enugu

Diocese, the Holy Ghost Cathedral. Although Ojukwu’s body was not brought to the service, his widow, Bianca and other dignitaries were there. The dignitaries include Anambra State Governor Peter Obi and his wife, the deputy governor of Enugu state, Sunday Onyebuchi, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chairman Victor Umeh, Prof. A. B. C. Nwosu, Prof. Ukwu I. Ukwu and Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Eugene Odoh. Also at the mass were the Anglican Bishop of Enugu, Emmanuel Chukwuma, the Methodist Archbishop of Enugu, Bishop Samuel Uche and the leader of the Pentecostal churches in Enugu, Obi Onubogu. At the service was a big crowd of Biafran War veterans aged between 70 and 90 years. They performed some military manouvres and rendered some war-time Biafran songs. The Diocesan Vicar General, Monsignor Luke Obi, officiated at the mass, assisted by over 200 Catholic priests. The homily was de-

HE National Judicial Council (NJC) yesterday raised another five-man committee to resolve issues surrounding the reinstatement of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. The council suspended Justice Salami on August 18, 2011 after an emergency session. But the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher on October 14, 2011 set up a 29-member stakeholders’ Judicial Reform Committee, which was headed by a former CJN, Justice Muhammadu Uwais. The committee recommended the reinstatement of Justice Salami and reconciliation of the suspended PCA with a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu. Although the NJC met yesterday in Abuja to consider the report of the stakeholders Judicial Reform Committee, especially the reinstatement of Salami, it ended up constituting another five-man panel. The panel, headed by Justice Aloma Mukhtar (the Deputy Chairman of the NJC), includes Justice Pius Aderemi(Rtd JSC) and President of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) Joseph Bodunrin Daudu. A source, who pleaded not to be named because he is not officially permitted to speak on the matter, said: “The NJC raised the five-man committee to finally resolve all issues behind the suspension and factors delaying Justice Salami’s reinstatement. “The panel is expected to reconcile all the parties to the crisis, including Justice

Crisis brews in PDP over choice of chairman Continued from page 1

•The late Ojukwu

livered by Rev. Fr. John Nwafor, the Cathedral Administrator. Fr. Nwafor described the late Ojukwu as “a man of great ideas and philosopher, a man of intelligence and humility and a man who saw tomorrow many years back”, adding that the mass symbolised the celebration of the overthrow of evil by God’s blessings. He said the late Ojukwu dreamt of one Nigeria where there will be no oppression or subjugation. “A Nigeria where the Hausa can live peacefully in Igbo land and vice versa. A Nigeria where the Igbo man can live in Yoruba land as his home and vice versa.” Continued on page 59

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

Salami and ex-CJN KatsinaAlu. It will also look into all cases relating to the feud that has shaken the judiciary in the last one year. “If you can recall, these were the recommendations of a sub-committee of the Uwais stakeholders’ Judicial Reform Committee. The sub-committee, including Justice Mamman Nasir, Justice U. Kalgo, and Justice Bola Ajibola, had asked the CJN and the National Judicial Council to reconcile Justice Salami and Justice KatsinaAlu. It also asked the NJC to reinstate Justice Salami to his position.” Asked why another committee was necessary, the source added: “The crisis is a complicated one and members agreed that it is better for the new fiveman panel to isolate all the interwoven issues one-by-one and find final solutions. “Do not forget that the crisis has also led to many cases in court. The NJC cannot just wake up to reinstate Justice Salami without finding ways of leaving the court out of the crisis. “All I can assure you is that the NJC is in the final stage of resolving the matter.” Asked whether there was stalemate at the NJC session, the source said: “If there was a stalemate, we will not end up agreeing to the setting up of a five-man committee. “There are vested interests complicating the crisis but the Judiciary will surely survive it and we shall all be better for it.” When contacted, the Media Adviser to the CJN, Mr. Adamu Mohammed, said: “A committee has been set up on Justice Isa Ayo Salami matter.”

But most of the aspirants are insisting that they want voting. It was gathered that some of those being prevailed upon have defied the elders to open their campaign secretariats. The defiant aspirants are said to be enjoying the backing of some 2015 presidential aspirants. A source, who confided in our correspondent, said: “The elders have zeroed in on a particular aspirants in line with the tradition of the party. “If you can recall very well, the only time we have elected a national chairman was in 1999 when the late Super Permanent Secretary, Chief S.B. Awoniyi, slugged it out with Senator Barnabas Gemade. And with the backing of exPresident Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Gemade won. “That 1999 election, however, left the party so divided to the extent that we have not recovered from it till today. Our preparation for 2015 begins with the right National Working Committee. We cannot afford to falter, we must get it right. “The elders are forward looking but some of the aspirants prefer outright ballot process. All I can tell you is that the consensus process has been initiated.” Asked if the party’s consti-

tution supports emergence of a consensus candidate, the source said Article 12.87(q) and (r) empowers the National Convention to “exercise such other powers and authority not inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution as shall aid or facilitate the realisation of the objectives of the party.” Five of the 11 aspirants, who were contacted by our correspondent, kicked against consensus. One of them, who pleaded not to be named, said “Some of us have been approached by some elders to forget about the race for a man they think can do it, but we have said no. “As for me, I won’t chicken out; I prefer to lose flatly. Why should the party follow this path again? I think they said we are reforming, then we should reform democratically. Another aspirant added: “I believe it is always better and democratic, if we allow all the aspirants to seek the members’ mandate. “We have had enough of this family affair method which has left the party more divided in the last four years. The same method led to the imposition of chairmen, like Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Mr Audu Ogbeh, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and others who were later sacrificed by the powers that be.”

Continued on page 59

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Atiku describes Ojukwu as a legend of all times


ORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has described the late Dim Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu as a legend of all times. In a tribute to the National Burial Committee, Atiku said words such as “warlord,” “rebel leader,” “secessionist”, which have been used to described Ojukwu, do not really capture his achievements. He said: “Among the several stories that have been written about Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the piece I found particularly compelling was an archive interview republished after his unfortunate death on November 26, 2011. “Asked how he would like to be remembered, Ojukwu’s reply was poignant: ‘I would like to be remembered as a statesman; not just as a rebel leader. “Indeed, in a world increasingly obsessed with labels, we could so easily become defined by a single action that is by no means a true reflection of our outlook. So, it was common to find Ojukwu’s name almost always preceded by words such as “warlord,” “rebel leader,” or “secessionist.” He went on: “These words do little justice to a man who was the first Quartermaster-General of the Nigerian Army, a man who distinguished himself as a member of the Nigerian contingent to the United Nations peace-keeping effort in Congo, a man born into immense wealth and privilege but who never allowed that to dull his humanity and his appetite for service. “Those unflattering labels are products of a gross misunderstanding of the core values that define Ojukwu’s personality. The values were forged in humility, the sort that led the young Oxford alumnus to take up the job of an administrative officer in the colonial government – a rather humbling career start for the son of a millionaire! “Another value that resonates in Ojukwu’s remarkable life is the virtue of selflessness, a philosophy that recognises the imperative of service. That is the essential statesmanship; the capacity to place the common good above self, the capacity to stay dignified even in the face of adversity, the capacity for compromise and bipartisanship. “Above all, statesmanship requires an understanding that idealism and pragmatism are not mutu-

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

ally-exclusive. It is indeed difficult to say these of anyone else without tongue-in-cheek. But these values were embodied by the late Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, Dikedioramma (beloved hero of the masses). “Given the very fickle nature of humans and often unrealistic expectations, remaining a hero in the eyes of one’s people, for a lifetime, especially in our clime, is a near impossibility. It’s, however, gratifying to note that Ojukwu did not only draw accolades in death; he was just as well loved and idolised even more while he was alive. “But he didn’t achieve that feat by being eternally politically-correct. In fact, I doubt there was any conscious effort on his part to be seen as an icon; he emerged a hero by living by his convictions and demonstrating sufficient empathy for the people. “His foray into politics upon his return to the country in 1982 may have fallen short of the expectations of those who wanted him to stay out of politics, but his contributions to the rebirth of democracy and its sustenance cannot be contradicted. “His belief and commitment in the capacity of Nigerians to grow their own democracy without let and hindrance was underscored by his irritation at the military intervention that toppled the Shehu Shagari government in 1983 and led to his brief incarceration. “As a committed democrat, every single day under an un-elected government hurts me. The citizens of this country are mature enough to make their own choices, just as they have the right to make their own mistakes. “Today, the imperative of the handshake across the Niger he spoke so eloquently about still strike a resonant chord across the country. It’s a call that evidently repudiates all those hurtful stereotypes, which some tend to readily invoke when discussing the larger-than-life personality of Ojukwu. “The handshake across the Niger was a call to peace, a call to dialogue and a denunciation of hubris in all its form. We owe it as a duty to his memory to strive to enthrone those values that unite us. But, ultimately, this should not be at the expense of justice. It is a right to which we are all entitled.”

•From left: Wife of the late Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Bianca, wife of Anambra State Governor, Mrs. Margaret Obi, Southeast President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN),Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Archbishop Obi Onubogu of the Rock Family Church and Archbishop of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Enugu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dr. S.K.C. Uche, shortly after a requiem mass in honour of Ojukwu at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Ogui, Enugu…..yesterday

•General A.K Egwuagu and Chief Sunny Odogwu (left) during a symposium in honour of Ojukwu by Anioma people of Delta State at the Grand Hotel, Asaba... yesterday.

•From right: Bishop Okonkwo Gbuji, Secretary to Enugu State Government Okolo and Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly Eugene Odo…yesterday. PHOTO OBI CLETUS

•Governor Peter Obi (left), Senator Uche Chukwumerije (right) and Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu, Jnr (middle), inspecting the final phase of work at the Ojukwu Mausoleum, Nnewi... yesterday

Anambra evacuates 9,213 beggars for Ojukwu’s motorcade From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


HERE was mild drama in some streets of Awka and Nnewi as Anambra State government yesterday evacuated beggars and suspected mentally deranged people. About 9,213 beggars and suspected mad people were evacuated. Some of the beggars ran away when a combined team of the police and other security agencies with government officials stormed the streets of Awka and Nnewi. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Ego Cordelia Uzoezie, who supervised the exercise, said the raid was in accordance with the wish of the late Ojukwu. She said those evacuated would be taken to the state government rehabilitation centre at Nteje Skill Acquisition centres to acquire skills. Mrs. Uzoezie said: ‘’His Excellency, late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu did not believe in Ndigbo begging for anything and his wish was that no beggar would litter the streets of the capital city and environs on the day of his motor train to Nnewi or his state burial in Awka. Again, he believed in hard work and had encouraged our people to work hard hence we are striving to ensure his wish is carried out’. ‘’This government of Governor Peter Obi has decided that no citizen of Anambra would be a beggar and you know that Her Excellency ensured that the 21 skill acquisition centres in the 21 local government areas are working for the benefit of women and youths. Then why should anybody be a beggar? ‘’This would enable us to know our citizens who are beggars and ascertain those who are into child hawking. We would repatriate non indigenes and rehabilitate our citizens who are beggars or mentally unbalanced and others would be engaged in learning a skill or the other.’’

From left: Mr. Guy Muray-Bruce, Comrade Joseph Evah, Eze Christian Nwachukwu, Eze Nna Emeka and Igwe Sunny Obiako during a programme tagged ‘Niger Delta Mouurns Ojukwu’ organised by the Ijaw Monitoring Group in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA

•Enugu State Deputy Governor Sunday Onyebuchi, with the National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Ogui, Enugu…..yesterday. With them is: Onyebuchi’s wife, Nneka.




Lessons Ikemba taught us, by Orji


BIA State Governor Theodore Orji has said the late Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu taught the people of Nigeria that peace is everything. Orji said after the civil war, people have come to realise that peace is the back bone of every progress and even development, because, “when two people are quarreling, they normally end up by saying please, go away I do not want war but peace, it is one of the things the late Ojukwu taught us with the war.” He spoke with reporters in Umuahia. Orji said Ojukwu was a hero in the class of Nnamdi Azikiwe, even as both of them op-

From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia

erated in different circumstances and did well. The governor said the late Ojukwu taught Nigerians how to be brave and stand for their rights. Orji said: “Here is a man who after attending the great Oxford University decided to join the army when entering the army was for the never-do-well and illiterates in the society. His entrance into the army opened the door for other graduates to join the army.” He said the late Igbo leader was a straight forward man who never failed to call a spade a spade. The governor said:“This is why

the people of the state are doing what we are doing for this great Igbo man. “Let me give you an example; during the time I wanted to join his party, the APGA, I went to his house to tell him and he told me that I am free to join the party so long as I am going to join the party with the former governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.” Orji said the state will honour Ojukwu with a monument soon. He said: “We are not going to immortalise him with borehole or little things that will diminish his status. We are going to immortalise him with something that will worth is status.”

•People lined up in Enugu to pay their last respects to Ojukwu...yesterday. PHOTO: CLETUS OBI

Igbo youths promise peaceful funeral


SSOCIATION of Igbo Youths Initiative Movement (AIYIM) said that it would match force with force against the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, if it carries out its threat to bomb mourners at the burial of the late Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. The association spoke during a visit to the eldest son of the ex-Biafran warlord, Dr. Sylvester Ojukwu, in Nnewi. Anambra State coordinator of the group, Mr. Ifeanyi Chigbo, said the youths are ready to protect mourners and dignitaries, stressing that Boko Haram should restrict their attacks to the North. Chigbo, who led the over 10,000 youths on a procession with Ojukwu’s son, on the traditional icho mmadu, noted that Ojukwu, was a symbol of unity and justice and any attempt to ridicule his final passage rites will be aggressively resisted, adding that the burial of Ojukwu does not in anyway affect the agitations of the sect. He said: “We are aware of rumours of attack by Boko Haram, but we are ready for them. No person or group of persons has monopoly of violence and Igbo youths cannot be intimidated in their own fatherland.” The youth leader said he would work with security agencies to ensure the provision of adequate security during the burial. He said the association was gathering information on the movement


Onu to lead ANPP to burial Nwanosike Onu, Awka


HE National Chairman of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP),Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, will lead a delegation of the party to the final burial rite for the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu on Friday. Other members of the National Executive Council (NEC), such as the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief John Oyegun, and Deputy National Chairman (North), Dr Yusuf Musa, will also attend the ceremony in Nnewi. Anambra State chairman of the party, Chief Pat Orjiakor said: “We are fully involved in the burial, and I think Ojukwu’s death has united not only the people of the Southeast but the entire Nigeria. “Ojukwu was a hero and continues to be a hero even in death, nobody is talking about party now, but how to give one of the greatest leaders in Igbo land, Dim Emeka Ojukwu a befitting burial.” From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha

of Boko Haram and was ready to match them. Receiving the youths, Ojukwu said: “I feel encouraged that the youths have decided to join in giving my late father a befitting burial and their contribution is special to me because they are the ones that will carry on with the ideals of my late father.” He said the Ojukwu family is overwhelmed by the out pour of emotions by Ndigbo. The APGA Ambassadors Forum called on all Igbo groups to comport themselves in a manner befitting the Ikemba during the burial ceremony. In a statement by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Comrade Sylvanus Mgbechukwu, the group enjoined


Igbo to pursue Ojukwu’s political agenda of a strong political identity.

Abia ACN leader Ikonne commends Jonathan

HE leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Abia State, Prince Paul Ikonne, has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for giving the late Dim Chukwuemeka OdimegwuOjukwu a national burial. Speaking with The Nation in Umuahia, Ikonne said by giving the late Ikemba Nnewi full military burial Jonathan showed that he wanted to bury the injustice of the past. Ikonne said: “The governors and people of the Southeast will never forget this kind of unequalled

Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia

gesture Mr President has shown to our people by giving our great son this type of national burial.” He commended the two APGA governors, Peter Obi of Anambra and Rochas Okorocha. He said: “Were Ojukwu to be a life today, I am sure he would have requested that he be buried in Owerri and probably at the square named after him.” He urged other Southeast governors to emulate Okorocha.

The exit of a hero

The late Chukwumeka Ojukwu led a good life and booked a place for himself in history, writes Chief Ben Obi in this tribute


OW are the mighty fallen! Ikemba Nnewi my brother, friend, confidant and leader. The news of your death came to me as a big shock just few days after I visited you in your London Hospital on my way to the United States of America in November, 2011. On that visit, you were though not the same effervescent, forceful, and ebullient Ikemba that I had known and associated closely with for well over 25 years. I, however, saw the muscular determination in you to win the battle. Painfully, that was not to be. But, we rejoice because you transited triumphantly to the throne of Grace. Alas; the advocate of the voiceless and defender of the oppressed is no • Obi more, he has joined his ancestors. Eze-Igbo, in life you made a choice to be self-opinionated. Though born great in the Shakespeare sense, you decided to achieve greatness through hard work, pursuing your own vision about life and legacies you would want to leave behind. You demonstrated the enigmatic personality you were early in life not minding the aristocratic background you were born into, the best of Education you had in both Nigeria and England, still you opted for a Civil service job in remote communities in Nigeria, in place of managerial job in your father’s colossal business empire with all the comforts attached to the position. Not done yet, you abandoned the Civil Service and dramatically joined what turned to be the Nigerian Army, the Royal West African Frontiers Forces in 1957 as a recruit. From young age in King’s College, he made history. In England, he studied History in place of Law and upon his return to Nigeria he made history both in his civil and military professions. His contributions to the development of Nigerian Military were un-paralleled. Records hold that Ikemba was the first Nigerian graduate of a Masters degree to join Nigerian Army in 1957 as a recruit. He later converted to officer cadet, trained in Ghana, Eaton, Warminster and Haythe, all in England. Ikemba was also the first Nigerian trained Military Officer instructor at Royal West African Frontier forces Training school at Teshie Ghana, from 1958-1960 during which he trained some officers that later became Nigerian Military Leaders. He was the first Nigerian indigenous Quarter Master-General who modernised Nigeria Military Armoury by procuring modern weapons from various countries. No doubt, Ikemba, you were a unique and Quintessential Military officer and commander, an astute Civil Administrator and political leader Magnificus. As a member of constitutional conference, you were part of the group that put in place the six Geo-Political Zones as political re-engineering to ensure and enthrone equity, justice and fair-play in the way political succession take place in Nigeria. Eze-Igbo, your death now has robbed the country of one of the very few Nigerians who represent the true value of leadership and patriotism. Nigeria has lost a true patriot. Alas, the center of gravity and equilibrium of the Igbo nation in Nigerian Political Power Game is no more. We have lost a great scholar, a philosopher, great historian, a political clearing house east of the Niger, a soldiers’ soldier, the apotheosis of responsible and responsive leadership, astute administrator, and a leader Magnificus – Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu – Eze-Igbo. With the death of Ikemba, I personally feel a deep vacuum in the political landscape of Nigeria and Southeast Nigeria in particular for I see nobody in the near future that will make the sacrifice he made to unite the Igbo Nation and its people. As I write this tribute, I remember with nostalgia our struggle to recover the Vilaska Lodge from the Lagos State government when it attempted to eject you out of your father’s property; I recall our trip to Kano to present your famous book “Because I am involved”. On our way to the palace of your great friend, the Emir of Kano, as soon as the good people of Kano noticed your presence in the car, they lifted the car in which you and I were riding off the ground and landed us safely at the palace of the Emir of Kano. I also remember our visit to my maternal home in Warri, and our visit to the Olu of Warri in his palace in company of our chief host, J. O. S Ayomike - a respected Itsekiri leader. I remember our visit to Eyimba city, in which Eyimba city was shaken to its foundation, as I remember our visit to places like Jos and Ilorin, just to mention but a few. Indeed, I remember very many things most of which cannot come into this tribute. But I remember you. The man who says I am fear himself. I remember you Amuma Na Egbiligwe (Thunder and Lightning) I, therefore, mourn the exit of this great giant, an Iroko, the symbol of Igbo’s resistance and pillar hope; I mourn the transition of a great leader who personified history. I mourn a leader with irresistible aura and personal charisma, a man of great oratory, a star of our generation, a man of noble reasoning and infinite faculty. I salute the only Nigerian leader with multi-lingual potentials, in fact the only one that while he lived spoke Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba with ease and English and French in poetic style. Fare thee well great leader; fare thee well Dike Diorammandigbo. Though your death at this time was painful to us, we are reminded that your life span was well above three scores and ten after which, we fly away”. According to Ecclesiastes 3 verses 1 and 2, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die”. Alas Ikemba, your death has again confirmed the aged long biblical truism and the Shakespearian maxim which states that “Death is a necessary end, it will come when it will come” What a life? What a death? You will forever be remembered for all the efforts you made to bring the Igbos together, and the personal denials you suffered while you propagate their cause. Great leader, as you now travel to the great beyond, may the Angels of God receive you at the portals of Heaven and May the Good Lord Grant your gentle soul rest in his bosom. Amen.



NEWS Govt approves 100 rice mills •Okays N9.05b for port rehabilitation From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved the establishment of 100 large scale integrated rice mills across the country. They are to be built in the next 12 to 18 months as part of some deals recently sealed by the Federal and Chinese governments. The Federal Government recently dispatched a team led by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to China for investment discussion. Agriculture Minister Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina told reporters on the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. He spoke in the company of Information and Communications Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku and Senator Idris Umar (Transportation). Adeshina said the decision was part of the Federal Government fiscal policy of achieving self-sufficiency in rice production by 2015. Nigeria imports 2.1 million metric tons of milled rice. Adeshina said an agreement was reached with the Chinese government and investors on accessing “low interest, highly concessionary long term financing to acquire the mills which would also be private sector-driven. The mills will process 2.1 million metric tons of rice (Thai grade quality), the minister said, citing the issue of stones broken rice as the bane of local production. He said: “This will for the first time in history, allow Nigerians to have the full milling capacity for all the rice they import. Also yesterday, FEC approved the rehabilitation of Julius Berger Terminal at the Old Warri Sea Port in Delta State. Umar, who dropped the hint, said the N9.046 billion contract was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria with a completion period of 25 months. He said: “It involves a complete rehabilitation of the existing dilapidated structure at the terminal.”

Senate seeks suspension of new number plates


HE Senate yesterday took up issues with the new scheme of driver’s licence and vehicle number plates by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). It advised FRSC to suspend the implementation of the scheme. The lawmakers mandated its Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs to conduct a public hearing on it. This followed a motion by Senator Dahiru Kuta (Niger East) and 19 others entitled: “Hardship occasioned by the new number plates and driver’s licence scheme of the FRSC.” Senator Kuta urged the Senate to note that the FRSC is a creation of the Federal Road Safety Corps (Establishment, etc.) Act Cap F19, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. He said the FRSC enabling Act empowers the Corps to, primarily, prevent and minimise accidents on

•‘Motion faulty’ From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

the highways and clear obstructions on any part of the highways and educate drivers, motorists and other members of the public on the proper use of highways. He said the corps was not established principally as a revenue generating agency for the states or Federal Government. Kuta observed that the FRSC in recent times had embarked on frequent and arbitrary introduction and re-introduction of vehicle number plates and driver’s licences. He also observes that the new drivers licence which it launched last year is now issued for N6,000 up from N3000 while the new number plates has suddenly jumped from its original N5,000 price to N15,000

with those of trucks and other categories of vehicles put at between N20,000 to N40,000. The FRSC, he said, will ultimately be generating N2 billion yearly as its own share of the new scheme. Kuta said that he is aware that the agency has adduced, among other reasons for the new price regime, the need to enhance the integrity of drivers and the creation of a database that will check terrorism. “The administrative cost of the project is also one of the reasons proffered as being responsible for the high cost of the licences and number plates,” Kuta added. The lawmaker said Nigerians are financially impoverished and therefore find the amount exploitative, prohibitive and insensitive, for a population that is al-

ready facing the challenges of a harsh economic condition.” He said that he is also worried that the August 31 deadline issued by the agency for the enforcement of the new scheme is not feasible because the current demand for vehicle licence surpasses supply and thereby subjecting applicants to wait for as long as three months after payment before receiving number plates. Senate President David Mark wondered what was wrong with the existing number plate to warrant its change. Mark said: “The same road safety introduced this existing number plates, what is wrong with it and why are they changing it. “Why has revenue generation become the main function. “Nobody says they are not doing anything but the idea of generating revenue should not be their major fo-

AMCON takes over debtor firm


•Lawyers, policemen and court bailiffs taken possesion of the oil firm...yesterday PHOTO: DAVID ADEJO

HE Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) yesterday took possession of some property and assets owned by one of its debtors, Tonique Oil Services Limited. AMCON’s decision was sequel to orders for possession granted ex-parte on February 21 by Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court, Lagos. The corporation executed the said orders on Tonique Oil’s premises in Ikoyi and Gbagada, Lagos state with the assistance of law enforcement agents, lawyers and court bailiffs. The properties were pledged by Tonique Oil as security for the loan it obtained from Skye Bank Plc. Tonique is said to be owing over N200million. AMCON said it had purchased the said loan from the Skye Bank as Non-Performing Loan, the oil services firm being a defaulting

Kogi: Court joins two suits seeking Wada’s removal


N Abuja Federal High Court yesterday consolidated two suits seeking to remove Kogi State Governor Idris Wada from office. Justice Donatus Okorowo said the court is empowered under its rules to consolidate related suits when it appears that such matters have similar facts. Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Oyebode Makinde and Jibrin Echocho are urging the court to quash the swearing-in of Wada as the governor. Echocho won the governorship primary held in January, last year before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed elections in five states including Kogi. The action followed an Abuja Federal High Court’s verdict which held that the tenure of the five governors is beyond May 29, 2011 having won rerun elections. When the commission released a new date for the elec-

cus.” The FRSC criticised the Senate’s position on the new vehicle number and driver’s licence acquisition process. It absolved itself of any blame over the implementation of the new procedure. A former member of the board, who preferred not to be named, observed that the deliberation on the issue by the Senate was not originally listed. He said the matter suddenly came up. “Senator Kuta, who raised the motion visited the FRSC on November 22, last year and referred to FRSC as one of the fastest growing agencies. “It should be noted that FRSC can not stop states from selling number plates or process driver’s licence. Why castigating FRSC when it was the states that fixed prices? Why calling for public hearing after castigating FRSC? Is that not setting the public against FRSC,” he queried.

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja tion, Kogi PDP conducted fresh primary election in September in which Wada won. Wada eventually defeated the candidate of the Action Congres of Nigeria (ACN), former governor Abubakar Audu in the main election. At the last sitting, counsel to Echocho and Makinde; Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Alex Iziyon (SAN) argued in support of the consolidation while counsel to Wada, Chris Uche (SAN) objected. Citing Order 11,Rules 1 of the Federal High Court, Justice Okorowo held that matters may be consolidated suo moto. “The primary consideration is the interest of justice, the principal parties here are the same, the plaintiffs in the two suits are members of the same party from the same state. “The defendants in the two suits are almost the same, the reliefs sought arose from the Kogi governorship election

and the basis for instituting the suits is the judicial pronouncement of the Supreme Court. “It is therefore safe to say that there is a ground to consolidate the two suits,the suits are hereby consolidated”. Granting accelerated hearing, the Judge pointed out that the action is constitutional importance and “it is important that the issues be determined expeditiously. He also abridged the time for filing of processes. He ordered the Plaintiffs to file and serve, if any, other sundry and outstanding issues within three days, the defendants have seven days to respond, while the Plaintiffs have three days to reply on point of law. Justice Okorowo, also yesterday directed parties to address the court on whether it has jurisdiction to interprete the decision of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had in its January 27 Judgment upturned the decision of the Court of Appeal and declared that the tenure of five gover-

nors had expired since May 28, last year. Affected by the judgment were Governors Ibrahim Idris (Kogi), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Liyel Imoke (Cross-River), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa). Shortly after the judgment, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) issued a statement directing that the states’ Speakers should be sworn in as acting governors. Although the Kogi Speaker was sworn in as acting governor by the Chief Judge, Wada was also on the same day sworn in by the President of the Customary Court of Appeal as governor. Following intervention of the Presidency, Wada was retained as the governor while the Speaker was asked to quit as acting governor. Echocho is asking for an order setting aside Wada’s swearing in and for an order directing INEC to conduct a fresh election pursuant to the Janu-

ary 27 judgement of the Supreme court. He also wants a declaration that INEC which is an institution established by the Constitution is under a duty to obey and comply with decision of the Supreme Court delivered on January 27. The plaintiff further wants the court to declare that INEC being the appellant in appeal between INEC (as appellant) v Alhaji Ibrahim Idris(as respondent) which prayed the Supreme court to decree and declare that the term of office of the last holder of the office of Governor of Kogi state constitutionally lapsed on 28th May,2011 by the virtue of Section 180(2) of the Constitution and which appeal/ reliefs the Supreme court allowed cannot rightly and in good conscience be heard and allowed to jettison or misinterprete in any way the said judgement of the Supreme Court to again defeat the clear wordings of Section 180(2) and (2A) of the same Constitution.

By Eric Ekhilae customer of the bank. It said the court orders were granted pursuant to AMCON’s special powers under its enabling Act. It added that the AMCON Act allows the Corporation to take possession of assets of recalcitrant debtors while the recovery action is pending in the court. The ex-parte orders and mareva injunctions freezing the company’s accounts in about 21 banks are to subsist pending the determination of the substantive debt recovery suit initiated before the Federal High Court by the corporation pursuant to the special procedure prescribed under the AMCON Act against Tonique whose purported debt (in excess of N200million) remained unpaid after several demands. AMCON had earlier this year urged all its debtors and other obligors to pay up on their debts or come forward with acceptable repayment proposals. It advised debtors and other connected obligors to disabuse their minds of any erroneous notions that such debt obligations will not be vigorously pursued and enforced by the Corporation. The Corporation had noted that its primary focus last year was in assisting with financial system stability, by the recapitalisation of hitherto weak banks, and the derisking of the books of Nigerian banks in accordance with its primary functions and objects under the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act, 2010 (AMCON Act). AMCON said it now intends to focus, in 2012, on the most critical statutory imperative of recovering and realising debts owed to it in consequence of its statutory acquisition of non-performing loans from Nigerian banks. It said it has engaged 70 professional valuers to determine the appropriate values of assets and properties of borrowers transferred to it through loan-purchase agreements with banks.




‘Ex-Delta governor systematically stole public funds’

Born in Delta state, UK police believe, saying he previously lied about his age 1980s: Moved to UK 1991: Convicted of stealing from DIY shop Wickes 1992: Convicted of credit card fraud 1993-4: Allies himself to Nigeria’s then military ruler Sani Abacha 1999: Elected Delta state governor 2007: Stepped down as governor 2007: UK assets worth $35m frozen December 2007: Arrested in Nigeria on corruption charges 2009: Nigeria court dismisses charges April 2010: Ibori’s supporters attack police as they try to arrest him May 2010: Arrested in Dubai 2011: Extradited to UK 2012: Pleads guilty to moneylaundering in London court 1958:


AMES Ibori, formerly one of Nigeria’s wealthiest and most influential politicians, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, paving the way for British police to confiscate assets he stole and return them to Nigeria. On Monday, with his trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court about to begin, Ibori, 49, changed his original plea and admitted stealing money from Delta State and laundering it in London through a number of offshore companies. Ibori admitted to fraud totalling more than $79m (£50m), said to be part of total embezzlement that could exceed $250m (£157m). 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”. When he ran for the governorship of Delta State, Ibori allegedly used a false date of birth to conceal previous convictions because a criminal record would have excluded him from taking part in the election. “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,” said Wass. “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. “We will now be actively seeking the confiscation of all of his stolen assets so they can be repatriated for the benefit of the people of Delta State.” Ibori, whose address in England

• Ibori

was given as Primrose Hill in north London, was working as a cashier in a branch of a DIY store in Ruislip, Middlesex, when he moved to Nigeria and worked his way up through the political ranks to become a state governor in 1999. As governor of Delta State, Ibori 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. Once seen as one of Nigeria’s wealthiest and most influential politicians, Ibori was seized in 2010 in Dubai at the

requestion of the Metropolitan police and extradited to London last year. His wife, Theresa Ibori, sister, Christine Ibori-Idie, mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo, and London-based solicitor Bhadresh Gohil have all already been convicted of money-laundering. Their convictions could only be revealed after reporting restrictions were lifted. Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) funds the Metropolitan police’s Proceeds of Corruption Unit (POCU), which investigated the

case, at a cost of approximately £750,000 a year. The unit began investigating Ibori in 2005, working alongside Nigeria’s anti-corruption unit, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. “We are committed to rooting out corruption wherever it is undermining development, and will help bring its perpetrators like Ibori to justice and return stolen funds to help the world’s poorest,” said Andrew Mitchell, Britain’s international development secretary. “Funding investigations such as these helps to recover valuable


From Yusuf Alli Abuja

cret that the seven-year investigation against Ibori had not only cost the British taxpayer £14 million but was funded by the DfID – the Department of Foreign Development. The Proesecution then laboured hard to justify the money spent and stave off another official inquiry into the much investigated London Metropolitan Police, that have been accused often of grave misdeeds. Consequently, the London Metropolitan Police invited droves of media agencies and several statements to justify their jamborees in the sun, whereby agents visited the far-flung corners of the Earth with little to show for their efforts. They even visited Nigeria three times, and lowly policemen who had never shaken hands with their British superiors had dinner with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the deep recesses of Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja. “Some of the statements were contradictory; some totally wild and even insane. “The circus was so much in session that some British Police officials were promising that the money Ibori allegedly used in purchasing a Challenger Private jet built by the Bombadier company of Canada would soon be retuned to Nigerians. Yet, newspaper readers will easily remember that last Thursday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said in various news reports that they had just questioned a businessman, through whom Ibori allegedly laundered money in the guise of buying a jet, that was never really bought. So how on Earth could the same aircraft be at the same time bought and un-bought? Even then,

confiscation hearings will not begin till August, so why were they announcing figures even in February? Massive deception was at work! “Worst of all, several foreign media quoted the London Police list of landed properties they claimed belonged to Ibori, that they promised to confiscate. But any who has followed the cases concerning Ibori’s sister and Udoamaka Okoronkwo would have noticed that some of the same buildings featured prominently there. The truth is that what is at stake in London for now is just about three average buildings, finish. “What matters to Ibori is that all corruption charges were dropped by the London Police for lack of evidence. Any claim that any corruption charge is facing him is pure propaganda. He did not plead guilty to any corruption charge. With the corruption charges removed because they could not be proved beyond any reasonable doubt, the Police stayed with money laundering charges, to be proved by nothing but inference – the convincing of a jury of white persons. No proof, no evidence would be needed then, no documentary truths would be established. “The British and the Nigerian establishments have been driving this case to a pre-determined end, and a battle weary Ibori was advised to plead guilty, end what had promised to be a long-drawn trial, and begin to rebuild his life which had been tossed about in an ocean of legal controversy and trials because of politics - since 2003, that is nine long years ago. Also, Ibori did not want a long-drawn trial where Nigeria’s name would be bandied about in a forign court.”

•Culled from The Guardian of London

Pirates rob cargo ship, kidnap two crew

I didn’t plead guilty to corruption, says Ibori ORMER Delta State Governor James Ibori yesterday denied pleading guilty to corruption. Ibori, in a statement by his spokesman, Tony Eluemunor, said Ibori only entered a plea bargaining, saying the British court dropped the corruption charges. The statement reads: “Chief James Onanefe Ibori has advised Nigerians not to be misled by the news reports of the last court session which were twisted to insane levels by media manipulation and direct disinformation and misinformation. “The world was made to believe that Ibori’s guilty plea was a sudden turn around and not a well-deliberated act that was part of a plea bargain deal. But it is on record that several Nigerian newspapers of last Sunday published different versions of that self same story; that Ibori would plead guilty as part of a plea bargain arrangement. “Of course, that plea bargain deal would only kick in with Ibori pleading guilty; which he did this week Monday. After that plea, which had been successfully foretold by Nigerian newspapers, both the Prosecution and the Defence Counsel were to return on April 16 and 17 to make their needed statements. Unfortunately, while Ibori’s lead counsel stayed true to this time-tested legal procedure, the Prosecution Counsel went rogue and began to make wild and unfounded statements aimed at nothing but self-glorification and Ibori’s demonisation. What was not clear to Nigerians was that the Prosecution lawyers were labouring at damage control as the publication in several Nigerian newspapers of last Sunday had leaked out the se-

stolen funds which can be returned to Nigeria to be used for development. Doing this is making a major contribution to Nigeria’s development, on a scale far in excess of the cost of the investigation itself. It is good value for Nigeria and for the British taxpayer.” DfID said Ibori systematically stole funds from the public purse, depositing them in bank accounts across the world. A major breakthrough came when officers from Scotland Yard found two computer hard drives that revealed the extent of his crimes. Ibori will be sentenced at Southwark crown court on April 16 and 17.



RMED pirates robbed a cargo ship at anchor in a Nigerian port and kidnapped at least two crew members in the latest of several attacks off Africa’s west coast, an international maritime watchdog said yesterday. The International Maritime Bureau echoed a warning this week by the United Nations that pirate attacks off West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea are becoming more rampant and violent. In the latest attack Tuesday, eight pirates armed with machine guns fired at a Curacao-flagged vessel anchored at Port-Harcourt before boarding the ship, said Noel Choong, who heads the bureau’s piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur. The pirates robbed the crew before fleeing in a small speedboat with the ship’s captain and chief engineer, he said. One crew member was injured and another was reported missing, Choong said. He added that it was unclear whether the missing crew member also had been kidnapped. The Dutch-owned vessel laden

with refrigerated cargo has 14 crew members from Russia, Ukraine and the Philippines, he said. He did not say which country or countries the kidnapped crew members are from. Nigerian authorities are investigating, he added. Over the last year, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea — which follows Africa’s southward curve from Liberia to Gabon — has escalated from low-level armed robberies to hijackings and cargo thefts. There have already been seven attacks this year off the coast of Nigeria alone, and there are believed to be many other cases that have gone unreported, Choong said. “We urge ships to be vigilant at all times. Please go for direct berthing at port instead of anchoring, or stay very far away from coast,” he said. In August, London-based Lloyd’s Market Association, an umbrella group of insurers, listed Nigeria, neighboring Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia in East Africa, where two decades of war and anarchy have allowed piracy to flourish. Two weeks ago, pirates killed the captain of another cargo ship off Nigeria. The maritime bureau said the ship’s chief engineer tried to escape and died of a fall during the raid, and was not shot dead as it reported earlier. The United Nations has called on Gulf of Guinea countries to jointly develop an anti-piracy strategy. Some West African states, particularly Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Senegal, are taking steps to police their waters, but officials said most do not have sufficient maritime capability beyond 100 nautical miles off the coast.



NEWS Pensioners seek prompt payment of entitlement


OCAL government pensioners in Ondo State yesterday urged the State Government to review the mode of payment of their monthly entitlement. Speaking with reporters in Akure, the state capital, the senior citizens said their pensions are always delayed till the 12 or 17 of the following month. Chairman, Local Government Pensioners, Chief Femi Alewi said many of his colleagues are on medication

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

and urged the authorities to credit their account before holding the monthly Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) meeting. Alewi said: “We urge Governor Olusegun Mimiko to provide money to the Local Government Staff Pensions Board so that our colleagues would be paid the arrears of the six and 15 per cent increment like their counterparts at the primary school level.”

Ondo poll: ACN begins grassroots sensitisation T

HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has started grassroots sensitisation in preparation for the governorship election in Ondo State. The programme kicked off at Ijare, Ifedore Local Government Area. The electorate interacted with leaders of the party and told them their needs. A governorship aspirant, Chief Jamiu Ekungba, said the people at the grassroots are very important and the programme would enable aspirants serve them better

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

when elected. The former banker said the Labour Party (LP) administration has taken the state backward, particularly rural communities, and should not be allowed a second term. Ekungba said: “It saddens my heart that Ondo State is not being ruled by a pro-

gressive party. If you trace the history of progressivism, it started in Owo. For this reason, it is bad that among the five states in the Southwest, we are the only one controlled by agents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You all know that the PDP brought poverty to the people of the Southwest. “The late Adekunle Ajasin was a progressive leader and we all know the great

impact he made in the lives of the masses, through job creation, among others. For this reason, ACN should be allowed to rule this state.” ACN State Chairman Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose said the party would visit other rural communities to sensitise them on the need to vote for its candidate during the governorship election. Former Commissioners for Finance, Chief Tayo Alasoadura and Mr. Wale Akinterinwa; Chief Adu Akerele and other party chieftains were at the event.

Man ‘kills’ farmer over yam tubers From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


55-YEAR-old man, Ajogbeje Ejide, was yesterday arraigned at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, for allegedly killing a farmer, Ajana Joshua. Police Prosecutor Caleb Leramo said Ejide shot and killed Joshua at Aso Farm Settlement in Ikere-Ekiti and stole 15 yam tubers belonging to the deceased. Ejide had no legal representation. Magistrate S.I. Ojo remanded the accused in prison custody and adjourned the case till April 2.

Magazine award


HE maiden edition of the Facts and Potential Magazine Award will hold today at the Eko Multi-Purpose Hall, Ikeja, Lagos. Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola; Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; National President, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu; and former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia Segun Olusola are expected at the

By Adeola Ogunlade

event. The Editor in Chief, Facts and Potential Magazine, Mrs. Kikelomo Oyenuga, said the award is aimed at celebrating individuals who have contributed to the growth of their community and the nation. She said awards would be given to the Best Governor of the Year, Man of the Year, Most Promising Lady of the Year and Outstanding Representative of the Year, among others.

Osun PDP urged on fair congress


EADERS of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State have been advised to ensure that the forthcoming congress of the party is transparent Chairman, Osun PDP Positive Initiative Forum, Prince Diran Odeyemi spoke in Osogbo. He was reacting to rumours that there was an attempt to impose some candidate on members. Odeyemi, a governorship aspirant in the last election, said it would be in the PDP’s interest to sponsor popular candidates. He said the congress should be free, fair and transparent, so that the outcome would be accepted by members of the party.

Aluko for burial on Saturday


HE remains of foremost economist Prof. Samuel Aluko will be interred on Saturday at OdeEkiti, Ekiti State. The lying-in-state will hold today between 3 and 5pm at the deceased’s home in Ijapo Estate, Akure, the Ondo State capital. It will be followed by an Evening of Songs between 5 and 7pm at the same venue. A commendation service will hold tomorrow by 10am

at the Archbishop Vining Anglican Church, Chapel of Annunciation, Akure. On Saturday, the body will lie-in-state at the deceased’s country home in Ode-Ekiti, between 10 and 11:30am. The funeral service will hold at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Ode-Ekiti, by 2pm. Interment follows immediately at the church premises. Guests will be entertained at St. Mary’s Primary School grounds, Ode-Ekiti.

Awo Memorial Lecture for March 9


HE 2012 Memorial Lecture of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, organised by the Ìbaf¹mi AwolÍwÍ Foundation will hold on March 9 at NECA House, Alausa, Ikeja. The guest lecturer is Prof. Toyin Falola, a distinguished Professor of African History at the University of Texas, Austin, and the author and editor of over 100 books, including: AwolÍwÍ: The End of an Era? Falola will speak on: ‘Power Politics or Welfare Politics?: Chief Ìbaf¹mi AwolÍwÍ in the History of African Nationalist Political Thought.’ The Chairman of the occasion is former Kaduna State Governor Balarabe Musa. Royal fathers and eminent Nigerians are expected at the lecture.

•Fayemi flanked by Mrs. Olayinka (left) and Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Ganiyu Owolabi... yesterday

‘New Ekiti website’ll improve accountability’


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has said the creation of a new website for the state will encourage accountability, transparency and participatory governance. Fayemi spoke yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, during the inauguration of the website at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office. His deputy, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, and top government functionaries were also at the ceremony. Restating his administration’s determination to turn the state into an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) haven, the governor said efforts are ongoing to make the Ekiti State University (EKSU) one of the best ICT

•State’s IGR hits N617m monthly By Adline Atili and Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

compliant universities in Nigeria. He said: “This is not the state’s first outing on the web. We have had a presence, at least, in the last 12 months of this administration. But this is a government that seeks to improve regularly, because we believe our best is yet to come. “As such, we learn new things at every opportunity. At the risk of sounding immodest, this is the best state website in this country. My aim is to make the plans, processes and programmes of the government accessible to the people.

“In the attempts to improve ICT in the state, I have instituted the process of laying cyberoptic cables in the hope that one day, Ekiti will become the Bangalore of Nigeria. “The website is a tiny portion of the state’s array of ICT programmes. We deployed ICT in the areas of biometric payroll system and e-payment system, and it has boosted the state’s Internally Generated revenue (IGR) from N109 million to N617 million monthly.” Fayemi said his administration would provide solar laptops to pupils in public secondary schools and the first batch would be distributed this month.

The project consultant for the website, Dr. Anderson Uvie-Emegbo, said: “Ekiti is making giant strides in ICT, which would rub off positively on the economy. We have created a set of integrated, multimedia, digital, media channels-online, social media and mobile media-backed by a strong governance strategy. It is the first of its kind in the public sector in Nigeria.” The new website,, is linked to Facebook, slideshare, google plus, Twitter, flickr and YouTube, as well as mobile applications for android and Blackberry devices. Nokia and iPhone versions would be released within a month. Ekiti is the first state to have Quick Reference (QR) Codes integrated into its website.

Lagos ACN hails Fayemi on court victory


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos State has congratulated Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi on his victory at the tribunal. The tribunal was set up to review the case that brought Fayemi into power in October, 2010, following a petition by ousted Governor Segun Oni. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, ACN said: “We berate Oni for attempting to drag the name of the judiciary into the mud, just because he felt he should not have been divested of the stolen mandate he was wielding. “We salute the courage of the review panel in the refusal to resurrect a settled and thoroughly exhausted case.

‘Oni must learn to live with the fact that there is no mandate to steal again and that will help his rehabilitation process, rather than concocting lies and inanities to build a worthless case’ We are surprised that someone who should be in jail for the abuse of the electoral system is being allowed to embark on a mission to ridicule the judiciary and is even getting hearings from the system. “We are baffled that our system has not seen the need to prosecute perpetrators of electoral fraud, even when such treasonable acts have been found out and legally proven, as is the case of Oni.

“These people are allowed to go scot-free to, not only continue infesting the polity with their negative values, but also try to ridicule the judiciary as Oni just did. “We are surprised that our legal and electoral systems make provisions for debasing actions, such as seeking to turn the judiciary into a comic show where cases are reversed at will without convincing and compelling reasons. “We salute the panel for dis-

missing Oni’s puerile case and urge the ousted governor to accept the fact that power can only be accessed through the approval of the people, and not through the dubious short cuts he took when he stole Fayemi’s mandate. “Oni must learn to live with the fact that there is no mandate to steal again and that will help his rehabilitation process, rather than concocting lies and inanities to build a worthless case. “We congratulate Fayemi on his victory and urge him to remain focused and undaunted as he is trying to right the many years of maladministration in Ekiti. We also demand that his political opponents desist from constituting meaningless distractions on his path.”




Jonathan warns ministers, others on service delivery S

HOW more commitment in the discharge of your responsibilities, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday urged ministers and heads of departments and agencies. The President gave the officials the wakeup call at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC). He said the administration would be measured by the volume of work and satisfaction derived by Nigerians. The President spoke after the council had been briefed by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Service Delivery/National Coordinator, Service Compact with all Nigerians (Servicom), Sylbriks Obriki. Information and Communications Minister Labaran Maku told reporters after the

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

meeting that the council has constituted a committee to look at the things that needs to be done. Maku, who was accompanied by his Agriculture and Transportation colleagues, Akinwunmi Adesina and Idris Umar said: “The President emphasised the need for all of us to be proactive. “And all government officials must do their work because the work we do will be measured by the results the citizens get. “It was agreed that service delivery in government can only be measured by the contentment of citizens. “The report says we need

to improve on our services. There is need to re-energise the servicom in government. “A council committee was constituted to ensure that from next quarter, we see better quality of services being delivered to the public.” Obriki said: “Service delivery is a Nigerian question and we want every Nigerian to understand that it is their constitutional right to demand services and it is the obligation of those who are employed by government to deliver services.” He said one of the immediate assignment of the agency is to sensitise the

people that “every department is a service window and every Nigerian represents service window. “If you don’t come and ask for service, then, there is a problem because if there is any service failure we have to challenge that person who gave you that unsatisfactory service. “It is your right to challenge service failure. “The truth is that service delivery in this country is everybody’s problem. “We are going to make sure that good services are delivered to our citizens. “And we are very happy that Mr. President allowed us to come and do the presentation and government is ready to do one or two things to see that SERVICOM comes to run.”

'Baggage handler not Akwa Ibom govt official'


HE Akwa Ibom State Government has denied that the baggage handler, who allegedly stole N1.5million at the Ibom International Airport, works with Governor Godswill Akpabio's protocol unit. A statement by Akpabio's Chief Press Secretary Aniete Ukpe reads:”The governor’s Chief Protocol Officer is not Ekabakasi Etuk and we do not know anyone at all in the Government House or in the Governor's Protocol Team with such a name. “At the time of the report, the Chief Protocol Officer, Aniekpeno Mkpanang, was in Lagos. He was in Lagos from February 24 till February 26. “The Commissioner of Police, Solomon Arase, confirmed the incident and said it was a passenger's luggage. It doesn't have anything to do with the governor. “The governor was given The Sun Man of the Year Award on February 25. He is yet to return to the state after the event. “The money was said to have been stolen when the said Ekabakasi Etuk retuned with the governor's luggage. "The question is why would anyone return with the governor's luggage and leave the governor in Lagos?"

Repairs to cost N158m, says UNICAL VC


HE Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof James Epoke, has said the university would need N158 million to replace property damaged by students last year. On August 26 and 27, students protested the deadline given by the VC for the payment of school fees. This led to the closure of the institution until January 6. Students were asked to pay N10, 000 each for the damage they caused. This, the VC said, would not be enough to take care of the repairs. Epoke said the Federal Oshiomhole (right) greeting the Isekhure of Benin, Nosakhare Isekhure, at the expo…yesterday. With them is T.T Mba, representing the NABTEB Executive Secretary

Oshiomhole signs Public Procurement Bill into law Oshiomhole said mere DO State Governor •Swears in two judges rhetoric without right Adams Oshiomhole investment in technical yesterday signed the education would not help the state Public Procurement Bill •'Invest in technical education'


into law. He re-affirmed his commitment to due process and accountability in governance. Speaking at the ceremony yesterday, Oshiomhole said: “The essence of the law is to consolidate and institutionalise transparency, accountability, due process and above all to ensure that tax payers get value for money. “Under the law, we are expected to publish government contracts, we are obliged to ensure truly competitive bidding,. “We are obliged to ensure that contracts are properly scrutinised and the overall objective is that government business and procurement would be more transparent.”

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

He explained that the purpose of the law is to remove the discretion in the hands of the executive and anyone making procurement in Edo State in any arm of government. The governor swore in two judges. They are Justices James Oyomire and Stephen Omonua. Oshiomhole, while performing the swearing in , said Nigerians are waiting for the judiciary to correct the imperfection within the system. He commended the nation’s judiciary for sustaining the nation’s democracy as well as warning that merits should not be compromised in appointments into the judiciary.

“Even when the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice was detained on the order of a Federal High court judge, we were never in a position to intervene and our intervention would not have made any difference,” he said. Oshiomhole and the Registrar of the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), Dr. Olatunde Aworanti, have canvassed investment in technical education if Nigeria is to realise its Vision 20:2020. They spoke in Auchi at the opening of the 16th Polytechnics Exposition, with the theme: “Technical Education - A toll for actualising Vision 20:2020.”

realisation of Vision 20:2020. The governor also called for a strategic policy to be made for the development of the middle manpower. Aworanti said lack of interest in technical education would hinder Nigeria's quest to attaining Vision 20:2020. He said any nation which desires to rise must employ technical education as veritable vehicle for its transformation. The NABTEB boss listed challenges facing technical education to include lack of standardisation and development of non-formal technical and vocational education and training; dearth of qualified and competent technical and vocational education teachers.

SSANU threatens strike over retirement age


HE alleged refusal of President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the Retirement Age Bill into law may disrupt academic activities in universities. The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has declared its intention to begin another round of strike over the matter. The association blamed the President for his refusal to extend the retirement age of the university workers to 65 years. The National Vice-President of the Southwest, Alfred Jimoh, told reporters yesterday that some union mem-

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

bers who were 60 have been retired. Jimoh said in the last one month, six members have been retired and “ told to join their children who have graduated from the universities with no jobs.” The SSANU chief blamed the trend on the President ,who has refused to accent the bill on the 65 year-retirement age for members of the association. The bill, he noted, was passed by the National Assembly as part of the 2009 agreement entered into by the Federal Government

with the association. He spoke with reporters at the end of the 40th quarterly meeting of the Western Zonal Executive Council of the association held at the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti. Reiterating the association’s decision not to serve the government any notice, Jimoh said the nonimplementation of the retirement age law had led to the premature retirement of his colleagues. “Council in session however advises the Implementation Monitoring Committee of the SSANU/ FGN 2009 Agreement to

speedily ensure the harmonisation of the 65 years retirement age passed by both chambers of the National Assembly with a view to removing the extraneous condition of 35 years in service. “Continued delay in the legislative process and nonremoval of that clause will further deepen the already strained relationship between government and the union.” The association, however, commended the Federal Government for the reinstatement of the Governing Councils of federal varsities.

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

Government gave the institution N30 million. He spoke while addressing reporters on the 26th convocation, which commences today. The conovocation lecture, 21st Century higher education in Nigeria and skills acquisition: The issue of curriculum, will be delivered by Prof Pai Obanya today. Tomorrow, certificates would be awarded for first degrees and diplomas. On Saturday, certificates would be awarded for post graduate diplomas, masters and doctorate degrees.

Cross River ACN condemns election From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Cross River State has described as a farce last Saturday's governorship election in the state. It said it would seek its nullification in court. The Chairman, Hilliard Eta, told The Nation in Calabar yesterday that it was for this reason the party did not campaign. His words: “The farce that passed for the February 25 election is Prof Attahiru Jega's election. “When the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is ready to conduct the election for Cross River State it would give us a proper date. “We are not going to court to ask if Imoke won the election because there was no election. Where we would seek redress is for the court to tell us if Jega can set dates for elections regardless of what the Electoral Act says.”

Rivers to build refinery


HE Rivers State Government is to build a modular refinery at Ikpokiri in Ogu/Bolo Local Government. The Commissioner for Energy, Okey Amadi, said setting up a refinery is a long term measure aimed at cushioning the effects of scarcity of petroleum products.

From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

The refinery, Amadi said, would be built in conjunction with a foreign investor, Omega-Butter Refineries Ltd. He said the project,would commence as soon as the licence is issued by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) .

Sapele power project shut


From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri

HE National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), Ogorode, Sapele, in Delta State has been shut for shortage of gas. It was learnt that the plants were suddenly shut on Monday when gas supply to the power station fell below capacity. The Sapele power plant is one of the 10 ongoing power projects under the NIPP. The workers said the plant was shut due to inadequate gas supply and that it would not be operational until normal supply is resumed. It was gathered that this development might affect steady supply of electricity across the country as a result of the shortfall in megawatts supplied to the National Grid. The Site Manager, I. Okpala could not be reached for comments.




Sultan: Islam not in support of Almajiri

Two judges, six registrars dismissed for certificate forgery

From: Gbenga Omokhunu, Sokoto

From Duku JOEL, Damaturu


WO judges in the Sharia Court Division of Yobe State and six registrars have been dismissed for certificate forgery. The Nation learnt that the new Chief Judge, Justice Garba Musa, who is also the Chairman of the Judicial Commission, had taken measures to reform the judiciary, which resulted in the uncovering of the certificate scam. Allkali Mohammed M. Sale, one of the dismissed judges from Gumsa Division in Gaidam Local Government, is due to retire next month, having served for 35 years, while Alkali Abubakar Mohammed Arjali from Gujba Division in Gujba Council has spent 14 years. Four of the six dismissed registrars are from the High Court, while the remaining two are from the Sharia Court Division. The affected registrars are Bamai Lawan, Audi A. Audi, Mohammed K. Ibrahim and Aliyu Sale Sarki. Two women, Fatsuma Abubakar Tamana and Yagana Kaumi Shettima of the Sharia Court Division were also sacked. The Secretary of the Yobe State Judicial Service Commission, Musa Kyari Kachalla, said the committee, which was chaired by the Chief Registrar of the High Court, Lau Lawan, sat two weeks ago and submitted report on February 23.

Dakingari promises dividends of democracy


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the governorship poll this month in Kebbi State, Alhaji Saidu Dakingari, said yesterday that he would deliver dividends of democracy if elected. Dakingari, who spoke after being presented by the Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru, on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan, said he was ready for the election and urged his sup-

From Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi porters to be law-abiding. He added: “There is no going back in the race. I’m ready for the poll. I appreciate the support I’ve received. I will not disappoint the electorate.” Haliru described Dakingari, a former governor of the state, as an honest politician and enjoined the electorate to vote him into office again.

•Sultan Abubakar


HE Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has decried Almajiri in the North, saying Islam is never in support of Almajiri. Speaking in Sokoto when the Minister of State for Edu-

cation, Nyesom Wike, visited him before inspecting the ongoing Almajiri building project in the state, Abubakar III said it is an issue that must be resolved. He said: “What the ministry is doing is what we have always thought of and what we believe must be done. Education is very important because this Sokoto Caliphate was founded on knowledge. Our great grandfathers established this caliphate based on knowledge. It is now our responsibility to foster this knowledge. Without education, you cannot even practise your religion. “I want to assure the minister and the Federal Government of our continued support on issues and policies affecting the education of our

children. The Almajiri issue has been a problem to all of us because people hid behind religion in the past. We should handle the Almajiri issue more seriously. “But we believe we have to educate people that Islam was never in support of Almajiri. Islam was never in support of begging. Islam is a religion that believes that an individual must get up and work for himself and be a better person and not depend on anybody. “Issues of Almajiri and others must be eradicated and it can only be eradicated through knowledge. We want to commend the Federal Government for the initiative. I have always thought about this kind of school before you even came up with the idea.” Minister of State for Education, Wike, said that the Federal Government

through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) would build and handover 400 Almajiri schools within four years to states in the northern part of the country and assured that by June, the Federal Government would complete and handover that of Sokoto to the government. Almajiri issue, Wike said, has been a source of concern to President Goodluck Jonathan. He said according to statistics, out of the 10 million children roaming the streets, nine million are Almajiris. The only way to eradicate the Almajiri syndrome, Wike said, is to build schools for the children, adding that Sokoto State would be one of the states that would receive the first hundred of the schools that have been built.

Boko Haram injures soldier in Maiduguri


UNMEN suspected to be members of the Boko Haram bombed a kiosk at Abaganaram, Maiduguri yesterday morning, injuring a soldier. The incident caused panic as residents who had prepared to go to work ran back home. The bomb blast occurred about 7.30 am. The injured soldier was rushed to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) by the Joint Task Force (JTF)patrol vehicle and

From Joseph Abiodun, Maiduguri

admitted at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital about 9.35am. Five vehicles and six tricycles were destroyed in the incident. Confirming the blast, spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Hassan Mohammed, said: “About 7.30am today (yesterday), around the Customs Bridge area of Maiduguri, gunmen suspected to be

members of the Boko Haram detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in a kiosk. The explosion destroyed cars. However, no life was lost.” The JTF spokesman said security is a collective responsibility of the residents and government, adding that they should cooperate with security agencies to restore peace in Borno State. Threats by the Boko Haram sect to attack the Government House, police headquarters and two prison fa-

cilities in Minna, Niger State, have led to the strengthening up of security. Armed soldiers have taken strategic positions around the Government House as a measure to forestall attacks. All roads leading to the places have been cordoned off as motorcycles and cars are not allowed entry. Only those who can show proper identification and explain their mission in the Government House are allowed access to the place.





Naira falls on rising forex demand


HE naira weakened against the United States ‘ dollar yesterday on a resurgence of dollar demand at the interbank market, but it remained unchanged at the official foreign exchange window. The naira closed at N157.78 to the dollar on the interbank market, weaker than the N157.65 it closed at on Tuesday. Traders said increased dollar demand linked to the relative strength of the naira in the past three weeks was draining liquidity in the market, putting pressure on the local currency. Traders said a unit of ExxonMobil sold about $58 milion to some banks, but failed to provide support for the naira. On the official window, the Central Bank sold $150 million at 155.90 to the dollar, compared with $138.70 million sold at 155.90 to the dollar on Monday. “We see the naira gradually depreciating toward the N158 mark this week unless we have more dollar inflows into the market from offshore investors or some oil multinational companies,” a dealer said. The naira has sustained strength against the dollar in the last four weeks because of an increase in dollar inflows from oil multinational companies and offshore investors in local debt instruments. It also gained because most petrol importers have cut back on buying dollars to buy imported fuel pending a paliamentary investigation into corruption surrounding government fuel subsidies.

If we do have an expansionary budget plus the fuel subsidy removal, I think the likelihood is more for an increase in interest rates than a cut. -Lamido Sanusi, CBN Governor

S&P: Nigerian banks now supportive, bigger G A

625mw lost to gas disruption

FTER more than two years of reform, Nige rian banks are now fewer, larger and supporting the economy, foremost rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, has said. In a report published yesterday, entitled: Strong regulatory action proves its worth for the Nigerian banking system, the rating firm noted: “After more than two years of Central Bank support, Nigeria’s commercial banks are again engaging with the domestic economy. Nigeria now has fewer, but larger, banks, with better corporate governance and regulatory oversight.” The report, which examined the progress of the country’s overhaul of its banking system, however, said the sector needs a longer regulatory track record before we stop considering corporate governance and regulatory oversight to be among its key risks. The Central Bank had in 2009 sacked the managements of eight banks – Afribank,

• Price surge doesn’t mean higher rates, says CBN By Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor

FinBank,Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank and Union Bank. Others are Equitorial Trust Bank, Springbank and BankPHB – over the huge nonperforming loans of their banks and other alleged financial abuses. The apex bank injected over N620 billion into them, saying lax governance had left the these banks dangerously undercapitalised. It responded strongly, removing executive teams from failed banks, fully guaranteeing the interbank market, and setting up the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to purchase a large proportion of non-performing loans from banks. It also set

up sizable intervention funds to support credits to the real economy. The banking watchdog is also facilitating a series of mergers between failed banks and their stronger competitors. S&P, which totally endorsed the banking reform, noted that the industry and its regulation have improved significantly. “In our view, long-term success for Nigerian banks will chiefly depend on them enhancing their risk management, improving their governance, diversifying their loan portfolios, and securing their funding profiles.” Commenting on S&P’s endorsement of its reform, spokesman of the CBN Abdulahi Mohammed, said: “We are satisfied with the

report, which confirmed the gains of the reforms embarked upon by the CBN. We will continue to sustain our efforts to improve corporate governance and risk management in the industry, while we build on the gains achieved so far.” Meanwhile, the CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi said the surge in inflation last month was in line with policy makers’ expectations and doesn’t require an interest rate response. “We front-loaded most of the tightening in anticipation of these policies and thus can afford to hold so long as inflation behaves in line with our forecast,” Sanusi told Bloomberg news in an e-mailed response to questions on Tuesday.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$123.6/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -10.3% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -14.7% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $33.01b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 245 $ 156.4 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 241 RIYAL 40.472

• From right: Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; former EFCC boss and Chairman, Task Force on Petroleum, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and member of the Task Force, Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), during the inuaguration the the Task force in Abuja....yesterday.

AS supply to the Escravos-Lagos Pipe line System (ELPS), which provides natural gas to key thermal power stations in the country, has declined by over 180 million standard cubic feet per day (mscf/d) in the last few days. This development has led to a big loss of electricity and power rationing nationwide. A statement by the Ministry of Power said the Oben gas facility in Delta State supplying gas to the Western axis was yesterday shut at the instance of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to carry out a leakage repair on the Ughelli-Rapele line. Consequently, 1200mscf of gas from Seplat, an indigenous upstream operator, is now stranded. This development came on the heels of the ongoing maintenance on the Chevron compressor in Escravos, Delta State, which began last week and has caused a loss of 30mscf. Minister of Power Prof. Barth Nnaji, said: “The total loss of natural gas supply in the wake of both the routine maintenance and the leakage repair has meant a loss of 625 megawatts, an awful loss, indeed, for a nation which used to generate 3,800 MW by last May and now produces 4,400MW.” He said the power plants affected by the gas cutback include Egbin in Lagos, Sapele, Ughelli in Delta State, Geregu in Kogi State, Omotosho in Ondo State and Olorunsogo (Phase2) in Ogun State. Nnaji apologised to Nigerians for the decline in electricity and assured that normal power supply would be restored within five days. He said some steps have been taken to minimise the impact on electricity supply when routine maintenance is carried out on gas pipelines, saying that henceforth all international oil companies must inform the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources at least 90 days ahead of schedule.

Fed Govt empowers states to enhance power supply


HE National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has given state governments the power to increase access to electricity by their citizens. It also wants them to enter agreements with electricity distribution companies close to them and contribute to the funds required to rehabilitate or expand the network in their states. The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) spokesman, Mr Chukwuma Nwokoh, in a statement yesterday, said the capital contribution would be secured and repaid on terms agreed with the distribution companies. He noted that the assets thus acquired would become the property of the distribution companies but would be

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

utilised within and for the benefit of the citizens of the relevant states. NCP said: “The states will receive compensation within the ambit of the extant tariff methodology. Excess capital costs, if any, will be borne by the state government. Any investment by the state will not attract any interest payments by the distribution companies.” He noted that at its first meeting for 2012, which was held on February 27 at the Presidential Villa, NCP also endorsed that the percentage of equity that state governments hold in a distribution company will be determined through independent

valuation of actual investments by the respective states in the distribution network. He said: “The valuation will be determined by an independent agency jointly appointed by the state governments and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). Given the economic unviability of redelineating the distribution companies along state boundaries, the NCP approved that the present privatisation framework of 11 distribution companies created from the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) should be maintained. “NCP approved that 60 percent of the shares of a distribution company be sold

to core investors to allow state governments to participate in the bidding consortia but limit the overall federal and state government shares to 49 per cent. Nonetheless, the NCP approved the federal and state governments would not play any role in the management of the privatised successor companies. “It was also endorsed that the workers’allotment would not exceed a maximum of two per cent of the overall shares or 10 per cent of the Federal Government shares in each distribution company; whichever is lower. “NCP also approved that shareholders’ agreements will be signed between the governments and core inves-

tors in each distribution company that will explicitly provide for automatic dilution of any government shareholding where there is a failure to meet payment deadlines. “It also approved that the states may provide counterguarantees to the distribution companies to cover shortfalls in payments due from the distribution companies for energy supplied to customers within the territorial boundaries of the respective states.” He noted that the NCP also approved that state governments through reaching an agreement with the relevant distribution company should be allowed to increase access to electricity to their citizens.



BUSINESS NEWS Flight Schedule

BOA agric disbursement in Niger Delta hits N14.7b

MONDAY - FRIDAY LAGOS – ABUJA Departure Arrival 1. Aero 06.50 08.10 2. Associated 07.00 09.30 3. Air Nigeria 07.00 08.20 4. IRS 07.00 08.20 5. Dana 07.02 08.22 6. Arik 07.15 08.15 7. Chanchangi 07.15 8. Air Nigeria 08.15 09.35 9. Dana 08.10 09.20 10. Aero 08.45 10.05 11. Arik 09.15 10.15 12. Chanchangi 10.00 11.00 13. IRS 11.15 12.35 14. Dana 12.06 12.26 15. Aero 12.20 13.30 16. Air Nigeria 13.25 14.45 17. Chanchangi 13.30 14.30 18. Arik 13.45 14.45 19. IRS 14.00 15.20 20. Aero 14.10 15.30 21. Air Nigeria 14.50 16.10 22. Dana 15.30 16.50 23. Chanchangi 15.30 16.30 24. Arik 15.50 16.50 25. Aero 16.00 17.20 26. IRS 16.30 17.50 27. Arik 16.50 17.50 28. Dana 17.10 18.30 29. Chanchangi 17.30 18.30 30. Air Nigeria 17.35 18.55 31. Air Nigeria (T/TH) 18.30 19.50 32. Arik 18.45 19.45 33. Aero 19.20 20.40 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

LAGOS – BENIN Arik 07.30 Associated 08.30 Aero 10.50 Arik 11.45 Associated 13.00 Aero 14.25 Arik 15.30 Associated 16.00

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

1. Arik 2. Aero 1. 2. 3. 4.

LAGOS – CALABAR 07.30 11.20 12.50 16.00 LAGOS – JOS 10.55 11.15

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40 08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20 12.15 12.45 09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

LAGOS – PORT HARCOURT (CIVIL) 1. Aero 07.15 08.35 2. Arik 07.15 08.35 3. Arik 09.00 10.20 4. Dana 09.27 10.40 5. Aero 10.50 12.30 6. Arik 11.40 13.00 7. Air Nigeria 12.00 13.10 8. IRS 13.30 15.00 9. Arik 14.00 15.20 10. Dana 15.03 16.20 11. Air Nigeria 16.00 17.10 12. Arik 16.10 17.30 13. Aero 16.15 17.30 14. Arik 17.10 18.30 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

LAGOS – OWERRI Aero 07.30 Arik 07.30 Air Nigeria 13.40 Arik 14.00 Arik 16.30

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

LAGOS – KANO Air Nigeria 07.10 IRS 08.00 Dana 08.10 Arik 12.20 IRS 14.00 IRS 18.15

08.50 09.45 09.40 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

LAGOS – UYO 10.35


1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik 1. Dana

LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30

08.00 18.00

LAGOS – ABUJA SAT/SUN Arik 7.15; 10.20; 2.20; 5.20pm – 7.30; 9.15; 10.20; 2.20; 4.50; 6.45 Aero 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 – 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 Air Nigeria 08.15; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30 – 08.15; 13.30; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30

From Olugbenga Adanikin and Adebowale Adenike, Abuja


• Globacom Ambassador, Mrs Ego Ogbar (middle) displaying the new quatro oil made by Conoil Plc. With her Mr Pius Aimah (right) and Mr Akinola Akeem, duirng the launch of Quatro oil at Conoil filling station on the LagosIbadan Expressway ... yesterday. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

FBN Capital MD Osifo is dead


HE financial sector yesterday lost one of the best brains in the industry with the death of the Managing Director of FBN Capital, Osaze Osifo. Aged 45, Osifo, who was on an official visit to Abuja, was said to have died in his sleep yesterday morning at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel. Described as a top class professional, Osifo was hired by FirstBank of Nigeria in 2010, to manage all the bank’s investment banking and asset management businesses across the different subsidiaries. These include FBN Capital, First Trustees, First Funds and its global custody business. He joined FirstBank from Travant Capital, an investment and advisory firm, which he co-founded and led from inception in January 2007. He has led some advisory mandates at Travant and managed the fund raising and partial deployment of a $107million private equity fund focused on West and Central Africa. Osifo started his career in 1990 at HSBC Investment Bank, UK, where he initially worked as a trader in the capital markets business on dif-

By Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor

ferent products including money market instruments, derivatives, foreign exchange and fixed income securities for eight years. He moved across to the investment banking division as a corporate financier in the Mergers and Acquisition, and Telecoms departments. He had two Masters, one in Finance from the London Business School, and the other in Management Science and Operational Research from the University of Warwick. He also had a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Lagos. Commenting on Osifo’s demise, the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives, Bismarck Rewane, said it was a big loss to the financial sector. “The banking industry and the markets have lost one of the greatest minds and thinkers in modern finance in Nigeria. “He was never short of ideas and was always willing to execute them. He was practical and pragmatic. The gap he is creating will be very difficult to fill not just for FirstBank, but for the industry as a

• Osifo

whole,” he said. One of his colleagues, who opted not to be quoted because he is not authorised to do so, said: “It is unfortunate that he has passed on. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We lost a very bright mind. He has just transformed FBN Capital. He was always full of ideas. We are really going to miss him,” he said.

African central bank governors collaborate to protect job A

FRICAN Central Bank gov ernors have condemned the undeserving removal of their colleagues in some of the African countries and have called for collaboration to stem the development. Dr Perks Ligoya, governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi and chairman of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB), made the call yesterday in Abuja at the first ordinary meeting of the Bureau of the Association of African Central Banks. Ligoya told his fellow central bank governors “to take time to think out what is happening in some African countries, such as Egypt, Libya, South Sudan, Madagascar and the rest of the world and to link that to the relevance of the institution.”

From Nduka Chiejina, Asst. Editor

He asked if the members of the association follow happenings in these countries and what role they play. He said for example in Zambia, there has been a change of government and their colleague was unceremoniously dismissed and against the very terms he was employed. “There is something happening now in Madagascar. The governor has been sacked and the general manager has been asked to take over. The governor in South Sudan who started the South Sudan central bank you know what happened? Somebody else is there,” he added. In his address, the Governor of

the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi noted that the global financial crisis has impacted adversely on member economies since late 2007, stressing the ECOWAS Monetary Co-operation Programme (EMCP), one critical pillar of the African Monetary Cooperation Programme (AMCP) that was adopted by some governments in 1987 has remained stagnant in 2011. The number of member countries that met the prescribed targets he disclosed “fell for all primary criteria, except the criterion on financing of the budget deficit by the Central Bank. Public finance continued to deteriorate generally and the public deficit criterion was met by six countries against seven in the first half of 2010.”

NSE’s demutualisation must protect national interest, its findings to SEC. HAIRMAN of the Securities says Udoma The adoption of a demutualised and Exchange Commission


(SEC), Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, yesterday stressed that the demutualisation of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) must be in accordance with Nigeria’s national interest. He said it must conform to the economic transformation programme of the Federal Government. In addition, the Chairman of the SEC Technical Committee on the demutualisation of NSE, Mr Asue

From Nduka Chiejina, Abuja

Ighodalo, warned that demutualisation models of other countries should not be adopted for Nigeria and that the demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) will not be done by magic. This is the position of a technical committee set up on the demututalisation of the NSE yesterday in Abuja when it presented

structure by a securities and exchange commission the committee said has the potential to fast-track the development of the exchange and deepen the capital market. Chairman of the committee, Mr Asue Ighodalo, whiole presenting the report, said the committee considered the input from stakeholders and the public as well as the demutualisation experiences from developed and emerging markets.

HE Managing Director of Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Dr. Mohammed Santuraki, has said the bank’s agricultural disbursement support in the Niger Delta region has reached N14.7 billion within the last few years. He said the financial institution has also assisted 21,000 people in its Small and Medium Entrepreneurship (SME) programme, thereby creating 46,000 jobs in the region. Santuraki stated this yesterday during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Goodsday Orubebe, in Abuja, adding that there was need to partner the ministry in supporting its mandate to develop and secure the region in food sufficiency and employment. He said plans have reached its final stage to partner with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to alleviate poverty in the region through agriculture. Santuraki said: “The total disbursement in the Niger Delta is about N4.7 billion but like I said, this is just a tip of the iceberg because right now the collaboration with the Niger Delta Development Commission is about to take off and in the next two years we can hold and double that investment. “Although the region has oil, through agriculture we can create jobs because part of the challenge is employment generation and food security. The oil is polluting most of the area, fish production is challenged, and crop production is challenged, so we need to support agricultural production.” However, Santuraki attributed poor marketing and inadequate linkages with commodity brands as few of the factors affecting agricultural growth in the country.

Pass PIB into law now, Shell’s MD urges National Assembly From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt


HE Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Develop ment Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Limited, Mr Mutiu Sunmonu, has called on the members of the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law now. He noted that the persistent delay in the passage of the PIB by the federal lawmakers could stall the execution of some of the major projects of the Anglo/Dutch oil giant. Sunmonu stated these yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, at a workshop on the Nigerian Content Agenda, organised by SPDC, in collaboration with the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN). He pointed out that most Nigerians and friends of the country wanted the PIB passed into law, without further delay. Sunmonu declared that the nonpassage of the PIB into law was creating uncertainty in the oil industry, stressing that Nigeria and the oil industry would tremendously benefit from the passage of the essential bill. The Shell’s Managing Director, who was represented by the oil giant’s Project Manager, Mr Toyin Olagunju, also described the local content policy of the Federal Government as a great opportunity for indigenous firms in operation and others coming. He stated that investments in the oil industry would not be for onetime, but would go on for a life time.













Before last Saturday, it was not clear who the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State would present to confront the charismatic Comrade Adams Oshiomhole at the July 14 governorship election. General Charles Airhiavbere has been handed the ticket. OSAGIE OTABOR reviews the process that threw him up and the dust thus raised.


DO State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is perhaps now prepared for a tough governorship election battle on July 14. Now, it has a candidate for the election as a former Commander, Corps of Army Finance and Accounts, Major-General Charles Airhiavbere now has the backing of the party to fight the battle. For the party, this is an unusual governorship poll as it is contesting for the first time as an opposition party. It is considered a must-win by Chairman of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Tony Anenih, who wants to prove that he remaines in charge of Edo State politics. The emergence of Airhiavbere as PDP candidate was greeted with protest by some PDP members and aspirants who felt the process was skewed in his favour. It might be a surprise to other aspirants that contested against him, but it was actually a worked out plan that began about two years ago. This has caused disquiet that may hurt the party at the poll. Before he retired from the military in 2010, General Airhiavbere, speculations were rife taht he was being groomed to become the next governor of the state on PDP ticket. The PDP whose image was already battered by 10 years of non-performance was in search of a candidate that could stand against Governor Adams Oshiomhole in elections, financially and ethnically. One major move the PDP had planned to win forthcoming elections was to pick a candidate from Edo South Senatorial district which commands almost 60 percent of votes in the state. But the party leadership had insisted that it had not zoned the governorship slot to any senatorial district. It is not clear if this would help the party given the popularity of Oshiomhole in Benin City. In preparation for a political career, Airhiavbere formed a non-governmental organisation, CACO which later came to be known as Charles Airhiavbere Campaign Organisation. Through CACO, Airhiavbere secretly penetrated the soul of PDP in the state by making donations to victims of natural disasters and giving soft loans to market women. When Airhiavbere declared intention to run for governor, other persons who had earlier shown interest in the race




How Airhiavbere emerged Edo PDP candidate like Mr. Kenneth Imasuangbon, were jolted. To douse tension generated by Airhiavbere’s declaration, the PDP leadership in the state told aspirants that the state ticket was not zoned and promised them that free and fair primaries would be organised. Nine persons initially declared intention to run for the ticket but only five paid N5.5 million to pick the nomination form. Others who dropped their ambition said they were doing so to support Airhiavbere. The five aspirants, including Airhiavbere, were former Special Adviser on Project Monitoring to former President Obasanjo, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, Mr. Kenneth Imansuangbon, former governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor and former member of the Edo State House of Assembly, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen. A PDP leader told The Nation that pressure on some of the aspirants to step down for Airhiavbere was resisted as they insisted on going on with the contest despite glaring proof that they would not win. Of the five aspirants, only Imasuangbon and Airhiavbere were seen as main contenders. They both spent much on television advertorials and were said to have reach out to the delegates and party leaders. Imasuangbon had earlier did not hide his fears for Airhiavbere during one of PDP tour of wards. Just like Airhiavbere, Imasuangbon

also began wooing party members in 2008 through distribution of rice every December which earned him the nickname, “The Rice Man”. Imasuangbon was a governorship aspirant of the ACN in 2007 but joined the PDP in 2008 during which he attempted to settle warring factions in the PDP led by Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia and Chief Tony Anenih. Despite his financial muscle, Imasuangbon’s loss at the primaries, according to PDP sources, was that the PDP believed that fielding a candidate from Edo Central with less than 20 per cent of the voting population would give Oshiomhole easy victory at the polls. Imasuangbon won in only two local councils in Edo South, securing 178 votes for a distant second position. Prof. Osunbor, a former governor who was sacked by a judgment of the Court of Appeal, had supporters who felt his brief stint as a governor would sway votes for him. What they did not realise was that the PDP had not forgiven him for causing its political woes. Iduoriyikemwen, a former member of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission and two-time member of the State House of Assembly, was the last to join the race and was rumoured to be President Goodluck Jonathan favourite to win. He, however, cleared votes from Ikpoba-Okha and lost in other 17 local councils. For Prof. Ihonvbere, many said he wouldn’t have declared intention to

‘Prof. Osunbor, a former governor who was sacked by a judgment of the Court of Appeal, had supporters who felt his brief stint as a governor would sway votes for him. What they did not realise was that the PDP had not forgiven him for causing its political woes’

run as he could not secure any victory even in his local council, Owan East. He had only 24 votes. This was different from the political clout he commanded in 2007 when he contested against Prof Osunbor. It was the steeping down of Senator Odion Ugbesia that gave Osunbor victory over Ihonvbere. However, of the 735 delegates, made up of 159 statutory delegates and 576 elected delegates expected to vote at the special congress, only 725 delegates were accredited for the exercise. Those who did not turn-up included former Governor Lucky Igbinedion and former deputy governor, Rev. Peter Obadan. Airhiavbere’s victory was met with protest from some PDP members who said the party leadership did not reward those that laboured for the party. Other aspirants that lost left without congratulating the winner. Many members left immediately after voting while those that waited used harsh words to describe the party’s leadership. Imasuangbon simply told journalists that “We don’t have a process”, and he is considering the option of going to court to stop Airhiavbere from being allowed to contest the election. Chairman of the electoral panel, Mr. Newson Nwike, congratulated the aspirants, saying the voting process would lead to PDP winning the July 14 governorship election. For some, Oshiomhole would have been in festive mood if Osunbor or other aspirants had emerged. They opined that Oshiomhole now needs more political deft to overcome campaign that was whipped up against Prof. Ambrose Alli. That, they said was responsible for the emergence of Airhiavbere. However, Oshiomhole has proved a master tactician. He has his performance in office, too, to speak for him. Besides, his visits to the defeated PDP aspirants show him as a man prepared for the battle ahead. Now, it is Oshiomhole versus Airhiavbere.



POLITICS Senator Emmanuel Paulker was chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) in the sixth Senate. He is chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) in the current Senate. In this interview, the Bayelsa State born lawmaker explains why reforms in the oil industry are necessary and why the upper legislative chamber cannot afford to compromise the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Assistant Editor ONYEDI OJIABOR was at the briefing.

Nobody can hijack the PIB, says Paulker Y OU were chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) in the sixth Senate. You were also appointed Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) in the current Senate. Is the Petroleum Industry Bill actually dead as Nigerians have been made to believe? That the PIB is not in the National Assembly does not mean the Bill is dead. We are hopeful that it would be re-introduced very soon. As the Chairman of the Petroleum Resources (Upstream) Committee, I’m aware that sooner than later, each committee would work with similar committees and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to see that the Bill is re-introduced. Therefore, it will be wrong to say that the Bill is dead. What may account for the delay in re-introducing the Bill considering its importance to the petroleum industry. The question you should ask is how long ago were the committees constituted in the Senate? The committees just came into operation in the National Assembly some months ago. Let us use the Petroleum Upstream Committee as an example. We have started interactive sessions with the Petroleum Ministry, the International Oil Companies (IOC’s), and other relevant bodies and parastatals under the committee. I don’t think the PIB is being delayed because the PIB is a very important Bill for the oil sector. Moreso, the composition of all the committees in the Senate have changed. So, they need some time to galvanize on the PIB. No doubt the PIB has been very controversial obviously due to conflicting interests. Are you surprised that it attracted such huge controversies trailing it? I don’t think I would agree that the Bill is controversial. There are differences in stakeholders’ thinking on the PIB, especially with the fiscal regime which borders on money. If one party is saying you should take more money, the other party may say that the amount of money you are talking about is too much for me to part with. That doesn’t make it controversial. You could see it when we were doing the Third Reading of the PIB in the last Senate, when we were doing the clause by clause consideration, there was no

controversy whatsoever. You could say that maybe there were some areas of disagreements between the International Oil Companies (IOC’s) and maybe government and some representatives of some people in the National Assembly. But there was no controversy as far as the Bill was concerned. Are there fresh consultations now? As I mentioned earlier, the PIB is an executive bill. Definitely, in any system, when you are introducing any bill, there must be consultations among the stakeholders. You just can’t throw in a bill into the waters and keep it like that. There must be consultations and I think that that would take place soonest because it necessary to do so Some stakeholders fear that it may be hijacked. What will be the effect of such a development? That cannot happen. Nobody can hijack the PIB. I was a close participant in the processes that the PIB passed through in the sixth Senate. I can assure you that no group can hijack the bill and being a reporter in the National Assembly yourself, you know that when a bill gets to the Second Reading stage, it’s open for debate. It would pass through thorough scrutiny. It would even go to public hearing where Nigerians would make inputs. So, no group can hijack that type of bill. I see no possibility of any group hijacking that bill, definitely not the PIB. Look, the PIB is critical to the economy of this country, very critical at this stage and everybody has shown interest and maybe that is the more reason why, owing to the vast interests shown by legislators, people took their time in addressing all the issues that arose from that bill. There were some contentious areas, even among ourselves during the consideration of the bill. I have explained that the PIB borders on fiscal regime. The fiscal regime, which is the tax regime, the bill tends to address the fiscal regime, tries to say, look, yes, maybe the oil majors have been paying one kobo, so to say, this is our feeling that this law has been in existence over the years and there is need for a review and if you are reviewing a law that borders on taxes for the past 10 years, there is the tendency that taxes would be increased and if you are the person paying, nothing stops you

•Senator Paulker

from saying that what you are proposing is just too high for me to pay and nothing stops the other benefiting party from saying let’s know how much you can pay. That’s normal. That does not amount to hijack. You appear confident that the Bill will scale through this time around? Definitely, this time around, the bill will scale through. Some IOCs are said to be moving out of Nigeria . Is that the true position. That is a misnomer, a misrepresentation of facts. The IOCs are not moving out of Nigeria. It is only Shell that is divesting and not moving out of Nigeria as some reports put it. What happened was that through our interaction with them through the committee, we got the true position of Shell. Yes, Shell told us that they did some divestments of their investments in Nigeria which implies that they wanted to cede out part of their investments to local operators, more to local operators because they feel that maybe a marginal field is too small for them to manage and they are going into the deep waters, so, let them divest some of their investments and allow local operators to come and own them. They did explain, during our interactive session that that doesn’t mean they are leaving the

country. In fact, they are even investing more in Nigeria . They explained to us that Shell is not ready to leave the country. Is your committee interested in addressing the cost of doing business in the oil industry? Yes, let me state two major issues which our committee shall pay serious attention to. The first is the issue of industry cost. My committee is aware that over time, the cost of doing business in our petroleum industry has grown to become one of the highest around the whole world. This is in spite of the fact that the factors often cited to justify such higher costs are no longer in existence. The committee is aware that the industry is traditionally considered to be opaque, secretive and guarded. This is so especially with regard to the operations of the policy and regulatory agencies as well as even major oil companies both foreign and indigenous. The committee will, therefore, urge everyone charged with regulatory, policy or operational responsibility to cooperate fully with our committee in the discharge of it’s functions. Let us wave goodbye to hide and seek, to disobedience to lawful requests for information and invitations and to such other irritable attitudes that often generate rancor and acrimony. Then, the legislative framework… On legislative framework to guide oil sector, let me state categorically that unlike any other time, the Nigerian petroleum industry is presently at a crossroad. As the backbone of the Nigerian economy, the industry is expected to not only generate the vast proportion of government revenue through the provision of adequate power supply and employment of our teeming population of youths. However, the challenges facing the industry today are enormous. Some of them are: widespread uncertainty about the state of the ongoing reforms in the industry with the non-passage of the PIB; slow-down of investment in virtually all aspects of the industry; impediments to the vigorous implementation of the Nigerian Content Act; low growth of our oil and gas reserves; confusion surrounding the renewal of leases held by some oil companies; problems surrounding divestment of assets to Nigerian companies as well as environmental and community issues. All these constitute major challenges to the smooth operation of the industry and the delivery of expected dividends to our country. But let me quickly add that the Senate is ready to partner with the oil sector operators if they are also willing to collaborate with the National Assembly in effecting reforms in the industry.


Rule of law triumphs in Ekiti


HE desperate battle by Mr. Olusegun Oni to be restored as governor of Ekiti State was lost on Monday as the Justice Tijani Abdullahi-led panel of Appeal Court justices dismissed his application for lacking merit. Before the verdict, there had been tension on the political landscape as there were speculations that politicians might have moved round to back the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2007 governorship election. Oni, who had lost the battle earlier at the Ilorin division of the court, prayed through his counsel, Chief Ladi Williams (SAN), that the case be reviewed because a National Judicial Council (NJC) panel had purportedly established conviviality between the judges and the Kayode Fayemi team. Williams argued that, that should be considered sufficient ground to reopen the matter. But, John Baiyeshea (SAN) who argued the Fayemi bid dismissed the application as frivolous and sheer waste of the court’s time. He prayed that it be dismissed as no ground could be found to support it. The judges agreed. They scolded Oni’s lawyers for attempting what could be regarded as the ridiculous. Many informed observers heaved a sigh of relief when the verdict was delivered as it showed that the judiciary, expected to be free of partisan influence and be a strictly professional arm of government, could still be trusted to adjudicate sensitive disputes.

By Bolade Omonijo, Group Political Editor

Fayemi has triumphed, but it is beyond the narrow confines of Ekiti political scene, what was on trial was the rule of law and the integrity of the judiciary. Within the context of recent developments under the leadership of Justice Alloysius Katsina-Alu, many progressive lawyers had argued that the glorious days of the judiciary were over. The circumstances under which the NJC got Justice Isa Salami suspended as President of the Appeal Court suggested that principles and timetested values were under violent assault in the temple of justice. In another but similar matter, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, had frustrated moves by the Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dalhatu Adamu to get a review of an earlier judgment by the court’s division in Enugu. Senator Andy Uba who had held the Anambra South senatorial seat since last year’s election, was sacked and a rerun ordered. He lost to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate Chief Chuma Nzeribe. Acting on the order, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fixed the rerun for February 15, but it was put on hold following the reconstitution of another panel, headed by Justice Denton West, to look into Uba’s petition. The rot in the judiciary has caught the at-



tention of the government. A panel headed by fearless Justice Kayode Eso had, in the early days of the Obasanjo administration, confirmed that many of their lordships had soiled their hands and ought to be weeded out. Consequently, Justice Egbo Egbo and Stanley Nnaji were sent packing. Also, after the 2003 polls, Justices Okwuchukwu Opene and David Adeniji who sat on the election involving Senator Ugochukwu Uba were

sacked for receiving gratification. It was against this background that many began to suggest that, as former Chief of Army Staff Salihu Ibrahim once described the Army as “anything goes”, standards had been suborned. In Ekiti, Fayemi and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have triumphed. So have the rule of law, democracy and political development.





Contracting sovereignty •President Jonathan’s decision to allow World Bank officials vet our contracts is a surrender both to corruption and of national pride


HE rate at which the Federal Government is delegating responsibilities, (some people call it outsourcing), it would not be long before the entire government machinery is outsourced and we would be wondering why we have to continue to spend huge amounts to oil the inept and corrupt system. Early this year, the government handed over the responsibility of implementing its social safety initiative, the Subsidy Reinvestment (SURE) programme to a committee headed by Dr Christopher Kolade. Our finance ministry is firmly in the hands of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is also the coordinating minister for the economy. Now, President Goodluck Jonathan has come out with another fanciful idea, which

‘How on earth can the president feel that by handing the job of contract vetting to some World Bank officials, corruption in the procurement system would be checked? Are World Bank officials angels? The president has apparently forgotten that corruption has assumed a proportion where even angels could be compromised if sent to Nigeria to tame it’

is to bring in World Bank officials into the Presidency to vet Federal Government contracts. The president, who disclosed this in an interview with TELL magazine said the aim is to reduce corruption in the system. “The process of procurement in the MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) is also another area we have corruption. We have set up various committees to look into it. We have the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, but that has not completely stopped corruption in procurement. We still hear stories. Not long ago, I had to redeploy some directors. We are doing everything to reduce corruption. “Very soon we will get people from the World Bank to be at my office. For every contract we want to award, irrespective of the structures we have on the ground, they will assess it, so that if a job is supposed to cost N10,000 and it’s awarded for N10,000, the likelihood of that contractor bribing anybody will be reduced. Even if he wants to do public relations, it will be minimal. It will not be like the scandalous thing we have now,” Jonathan said. Pray, what has happened to the Nigerian industry, integrity and (especially) honesty which was seen as the best policy in years past? What has happened to our sovereignty? What has befallen our sense of national pride? Have things gone so bad such that we don’t have any sense of shame again? Perhaps the depth to which the country has sunk is not surprising to those who have been following the progressive deterioration of things. For instance, a president who would not mind being introduced in the comity of nations

as the leader of a country which imports a substantial quantity of the fuel his people consume, despite being a major producer of crude oil, is less likely to contemplate anything as absurd. Again, what the president is doing is merely feigning concern about corruption. Many people have lost hope in the ability of the present government to fight corruption. How on earth can the president feel that by handing the job of contract vetting to some World Bank officials, corruption in the procurement system would be checked? Are World Bank officials angels? The president has apparently forgotten that corruption has assumed a proportion where even angels could be compromised if sent to Nigeria to tame it. The fact is that the government can only be chasing shadows if this is the way it wants to tackle corruption. In the TELL interview, for instance, the president said he has had to redeploy some directors and that he is “doing everything to reduce corruption”. This does not show seriousness. Do you deploy people found to have engaged in unwholesome practices? The proposed measure by the Federal Government is unnecessary and diversionary; and it cannot check corruption. What is needed is the political will on the part of the Jonathan administration to face the monster squarely. Perhaps the fear in government circles is that many top shots of the ruling party will have to go with the anticorruption war because many of them have their hands and necks deep in many iniquitous practices.

Tanker drivers’ menace •The drivers and their tankers had their comeuppance from the Lagos State Government


ET again, the Lagos State government was forced to read the riot act to tanker drivers in what has now become a recurrent battle to end their reign of outlawry on the roads in the metropolis. It came in the form of 72-hour ultimatum handed those operating and parking along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway to evacuate their vehicles from the highway or risk stern sanctions. At the expiration of the ultimatum, 120 vehicles were reportedly ejected from the highway in an operation supervised by the transportation commissioner, Kayode Opeifa. The trigger for the latest action was penultimate Saturday’s accident involving a petroleum tanker during which three people were killed and 36 vehicles razed when a tanker

‘The state government must insist at all times that the drivers operate within the bounds of the law. No amount of blackmail should suffice to get the government to back off from the course. Moreover, we consider the action of the state government as both timely and necessary, given that the issue borders on security, safety of the public and the need to safeguard the environment’

exploded at the Mile 2 area. The accident, which contained all elements of criminal negligence started when the tanker driver allegedly ignored all entreaties to stop, after losing one of the back tyres. Apparently, the tanker burst into flames after an impact with a stationary object. The accident is certainly regrettable as it stemmed from what appears to be a case of criminal negligence on the part of the tanker driver. Unfortunately, such acts on the highways, rather than being exceptions, have since become the rule. The story of how the tanker drivers have turned the highways into jungles in which they are lords unto themselves is a familiar one. On the highways, the drivers operate as if they are answerable to no one. In the cities, they are a major nuisance to everyone – as they park indiscriminately along major roads and lay-bys, further choking the narrow traffic corridors. Obviously, they consider themselves as being above municipal authorities, hence their penchant to deploy the blackmail weapon to force the hand of government even when they are in the wrong. The all-powerful union – the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union clearly has become one union that can do no wrong. That of course is wrong. No matter how essential the tanker drivers consider their duties to be, they are expected to be subject to the rules and regulations of the states and Federal Government. The

alternative is anarchy. The state government must insist at all times that the drivers operate within the bounds of the law. No amount of blackmail should suffice to get the government to back off from the course. Moreover, we consider the action of the state government as both timely and necessary, given that the issue borders on security, safety of the public and the need to safeguard the environment. We must remind the owners of the tankers that it is primarily their responsibility to provide places of parking for their vehicles. Indeed, given the challenges of municipal transportation facing Lagos at the moment, tanker owners, as entrepreneurs, should consider alternative tanker parks outside the metropolis. The idea that their employees could park anyhow because the government has failed to provide parking places for them is untenable; it is also wrong. Given the eyesore that the ApapaOshodi highway has become largely because of the menace of tanker drivers, it is about time the Federal Government woke up to its responsibility to fix the petroleum distribution pipeline network to relieve the road of the additional pressure of moving fuel products. Need we remind the government of the importance of the road as the main artery linking the ports with the rest of the country? The road obviously deserves more than the attention that it is presently getting from the Federal Government.

A million jobs


HE American economy was terrifyingly close to the brink in 2008 and 2009, and the impending collapse of General Motors and Chrysler threatened to be the final push. When the companies begged the federal government to save them from financial catastrophe, President George W. Bush and later President Obama ignored strong Republican objections, saving a signature American industry and the whole country from an even deeper crash. Four years later, there are 1.45 million people who are working as a direct result of the $80 billion bailout, according to the nonpartisan Center for Automotive Research, both at the carmakers and associated businesses downstream in the economy. Michigan’s unemployment level is at its lowest level in three years. G.M. is again the world’s biggest automaker, and both companies are reporting substantial profits. And yet Mitt Romney, along with the other Republican presidential candidates, has spent the days before the Michigan primary denouncing the bailout that has rescued his native state. Mr. Romney has been especially vociferous in his insistence that he would have allowed the carmakers to go bankrupt, and said he believes they could somehow have clawed their way back to profitability without a dollar of federal assistance. “The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse,” he wrote recently in The Detroit News. “I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.” This critique is detached from reality. Steven Rattner, who was Mr. Obama’s lead auto adviser, wrote in The Times on Friday that not a single dollar of private capital could be found to prop up the companies, despite desperate efforts, and he challenged Mr. Romney to name one investor who might differ. The Detroit News, which otherwise enthusiastically endorsed Mr. Romney in the primary, said he was dead wrong about the bailout. Only the government was in a position to save the auto industry from “the darkest hour of its history,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote. Mr. Romney slid into this quicksand in 2008 with an Op-Ed essay in The Times arguing against government help for Detroit. It included the memorable prediction that if the bailout were granted, “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.” Having been criticized for his inconsistency on so many other issues, he apparently feels he cannot back away from this one — no matter that his argument has proved so wrong. These days he has added a new trope: union-bashing. He is now calling the bailout “crony capitalism” because it was designed to save union jobs. He charges that Mr. Obama used the Treasury to help his political allies. “While a lot of workers and investors got the short end of the stick, Obama’s union allies — and his major campaign contributors — reaped reward upon reward, all on the taxpayer’s dime,” he wrote earlier this month. High labor costs were undeniably part of Detroit’s problems. But his claim that the government did not do nearly enough to drive those costs down in the bailout is just flat-out wrong. Labor made substantial concessions. After earlier agreeing to let newly hired workers make half the wage of current employees, unions consented in the bailout deal to give up cost-of-living increases, dental coverage, and some vacation benefits and work rules. Unions also took the gamble of accepting a company stock fund to pay for their health benefits, instead of cash. Mr. Romney is oblivious to those givebacks, expressing anger that a health care fund for nearly half a million United Automobile Workers retirees (“union-boss controlled”) got a higher priority in the bailout than lenders to Chrysler. In a speech on Friday, he continued to insist that the U.A.W. and federal fuel-economy standards were somehow imperiling the future of the industry, even though neither seems to have halted the carmakers’ current success. Neither Mr. Romney nor any of the Republican candidates are able to admit that sometimes only the government can rescue a major sector of the economy. Any autoworker, however, can explain it to them. – New York Times

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IR: The recent failed attempt of Engr Segun Oni, to return to power in Ekiti, had had one significance; it helped to paint to the world, the horror the Ekiti people had passed through under his misrule. Brazen misuse of power, often fired by desperation, was the trade mark of the PDP in Ekiti State during Oni’s tenure, such that, rather than witness development, the state was a pitiable victim of the whims and caprices of the PDP leadership. It was either the ‘governor’ was leading the party by the nose or the Bola Olu Ojo-led party was sycophantically urging him on, against decorum and against all purposes of good governance. Oni had obdurately taken off on a parochial note, by tarring the township roads of Ifaki, his home town. He awarded the dualisation of Ado-Ifaki road contract next and proceeded to formulate a policy that was going to relocate the College of Education


Segun Oni and his Ekiti PDP desperadoes from Ikere to Ifaki while announcing that a University of Education would replace it only to set controversy raging, to the embarrassment of the state. He ended up establishing a University of Science and Technology, a General Hospital and a housing estate at Ifaki while he nominally started or merely promised various road projects all over the state to placate the other Ekiti communities. From the way he singled out Ifaki for attention, it was clear that the state had a non- listening ‘governor’ in place, a dictator who

would rather be deified than be advised. Of course, he failed to deliver outside Ifaki; even the most outstanding of his projects, the AdoIfaki dualised road, could hardly be achieved up to one-third of projection. The state radio and television service was grounded for months while the state university which he inherited had to increase his fees astronomically to survive before governance was rescued from Oni through legal process. Now, if a man had pursued a case to the final appellate court and lost, isn’t it rational for him to accept defeat? Not with the likes of Segun

Oni and Chief Bola Olu-Ojo who believe in irrational use of force, in the brazen misuse of power and had benefitted from these repeatedly in the past, particularly during elections. One doubts if the PDP slogan is corrupted more in any other state of the federation than it is in Ekiti. It has always been “Power”, “Power”, “Power” in Ekiti State and never “Power to the people”. If Segun Oni had caused the acting president of the Appeal Court to constitute a panel to review his ouster and the National Judicial Commission had called him to

Edo ‘guber’ and PDP’s ‘virile’ Bini candidate


IR: A press release from a pseudo group, the Benin Youth Council, titled “Assessment of Adams Oshiomhole’s three years in office” published in the newspapers recently made an unequivocal demand for the return of the seat of Edo governor to a virile Bini (sic) governorship candidate. The press release, signed by one Comrade Ambrose E. Ehiozuwa, is clearly the hand of Esau, but the voice of Jacob. It goes to show the desperation of the panic-stricken Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State to create wrong impressions about the giant strides of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the July 14 re-election date draws close. The author of the release and the backers anchored their anger on a press release by Association of Enigies endorsing Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for a second term in office and claims that “one of the causes of communal unrest in Nigeria is the manner with which traditional rulers betray their people by publicly endorsing ‘unpopular’ political office holders in an election year after collecting Greek gifts like sports Utility vans, Land, and brown envelops.” In this part of the world it is easy to accuse people of corruption or

wrong doing, but the onus of proof lies with a man who alleges. Where are the proofs of all these allegations? In Edo South, Enigies are those who hold the land in custody for the Oba and they have vast expanse of land in their control. Can a performing governor now use land to bribe someone who is a custodian of vast expanse of land in his dukedom? Enigies in Benin Kingdom are not poor people. If Enigies sell just a small parcel of land they can buy any sports utility van of their choice. Do they need the governor to buy them cars? The Enigies could be blamed if they truly support an unpopular governor, but they are supporting a very popular governor. PDP is only being jittery over the fate that lies ahead of them and are already crying wolf where there is none. Let’s face it; among Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, Mathew Iduoriyekemwen and Solomon Edebiri who is more popular? In terms of development of Edo South, who among the four has contributed the largest? With the possible exception of God and our revered Oba, nobody loves Edo South more than Oshiomhole! If an association of Enigies are convinced that a governor is living up to their expectations and feel that

the only way their subjects would have continued development as never witnessed in their domains, is to openly support the ruling governor, why not? After all, democracy is about popular participation. The truth of the matter is that majority of Edo South citizens, both natives and nonnatives alike are quite impressed with the performance of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and are enlarging their voices on a daily basis that they would want him to continue in office. The Enigies merely echoed what their subjects are saying. The message is clear. There is no vacancy in Osadebey Avenue! It is important to note that for over three decades, Edo South has not witnessed the level of physical development as witnessed these past three years under the leadership of Oshiomhole. When PDP misruled the state for over 10 of the 30 years, where was Ehiozuwa? The year three anniversary brochure itemized all projects executed by the ACN government in the various communities of Edo State. No senatorial zone was marginalized in the execution of projects, all three senatorial zones have been benefitting from the massive development programme

of the state government. That is why all well meaning citizens in the three senatorial zones want Oshiomhole to continue in office. • Dan Owegie Publicity Secretary, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Edo State.

order, should he have proceeded to further press the “buttons” for another panel after the NJC had cleared the suspended Appeal Court President, Justice Ayo Salami, of wrong-doings in the judgment? It did not matter to him whether the judiciary was being abused, whether the judiciary was being ridiculed, whether federal power too was being abused and being openly, dangerously exercised, whether he was going to return to power decently or indecently. If you would mildly call all these resilience, what would you call his decision to appeal the latest unanimous verdict of five Justices of the Appeal Court, Ado-Ekiti, of Feb. 27 which said his case was lacking merit? Tenacity? Come off it! There is no where you find resilience, tenacity or the like that you don’t easily locate rationality! Just as Segun Oni was forcing the Ekitis to accept him as their governor while he had reduced himself to Governor of Ifaki, so he is trying today to force the judiciary to change his ouster verdict; and, in his usual manner, you should expect him to go to any length. Off he goes now, to the Supreme Court. It is hoped he would stop there! • Jide Oguntoye Oye, Ekiti State.

Oyo palace needs attention


IR: The Alaafin’s palace in Oyo town, built around 1840, is one of the oldest palaces in Yorubaland and, had been serving the royalty in Oyo since the period of Alaafin Atiba. Although, the people of Oyo have not been able to come together to build a modern palace since then, it is prudent to build a befitting modern palaces for our traditional ruler. Though, in the absence of a modern palace, the rehabilitation of the old one was regularly being carried out by the Oba himself but the entrance gate and the surrounding walls are begging for attention urgently. From the front of the palace, down to Olori-Eru area then coming to Ogba-Kooko need beautification and the removal of all the refuse dumps or nylons that have piled up there and are making the entire area an eye sore to passersbye and visitors as well. It is imperative to say that the entrance

of the palace is too old with its bad roofing sheets and this does not befit the palace as it is presently. It will be nice, if a new design can be made and be constructed in no distant future. Let us move with the modern trends as it is applicable in Ijebu-Ode especially where a beautiful palace was built for the Awujale. I am using this medium, to appeal to the care-taker chairman of Atiba Local Government to please come to the rescue of the palace. An urgent arrangement should be made to clear all the surrounding opposite Aselebe House, plant good flowers to beautify the place and rebuild the old entrance gate that has been standing there since 1840 with its dilapidated roofing sheets and make it a modern entrance gate with a very bold inscription: Alaafin’s palace. Iku Baba Yeye. Prince Adewumi Agunloye Satellite Town, Lagos.




Survey of Nigeria’s foreign policy - 6


IGERIA must attempt at being the Japan of Africa, a symbol which will forever shatter the image of failure associated with the black man. Once we have the economic foundation at home we must integrate our economy with that of ECOWAS. The present structure of ECOWAS requires an overhaul for the present organisation is not realizing its full potential and aim. There is need to develop a common ECOWAS currency and this is why one would like to suggest that Nigeria should break down the ‘Berlin Wall’ between herself and the Ivory Coast, the two economies in West Africa which can provide the catalyst for a West Africa Monetary Union (WAMU). Nigeria also needs to build appropriate and overlapping mechanism to relate to her immediate neighbours of Chad, Benin, Cameroons and Equatorial Guinea. This is necessary to guarantee peace at our borders. It is a truism in international relations that the most secure borders is the undefended borders. We must raise the level of our economic and political relations with our immediate neighbours so that we can open borders with them. One will like again to suggest strengthening of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, restricted to Benin, Nigeria, The Cameroons, Equatorial Guinea and possibly Gabon for joint development of the Gulf of Guinea where overlapping territorial claims could lead to war. The recent commercial exploitation of crude petroleum in Equatorial Guinea calls for our attention so that there is no clash of interest over rival claims to oil fields. We should also pursue the realization of the Abuja Charter of Economic Integration of Africa in the long haul. But we must begin from the realistic level of first taking care of Nigeria’s interest, then that of our neighbours, and then ECOWAS, before burning our energy on a visionary hope of continental union. We cannot do everything in one or two generations, but let us realize that the journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first steps. Let us therefore begin at home by honestly building a country where there is equality of opportunities and where all government actions conform with justice, equity, fairness and virtue. We must also realize that while there is equality of all states in the international system and particularly in our orbit in Africa, nevertheless some states such as South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and possibly Algeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Ghana require more attention from us. Whatever leadership aspirations Nigeria has would have to receive the support of these states before they can be realized. The possibility of an African seat in the Security Council of the United Nations would require all the diplomatic skill our country can muster and also progress on domestic front. Right now our chances are slim but not hopeless if we can conquer the demon of disunity. Finally, every student of diplomacy and international

relations knows that when diplomacy fails, force becomes the ultimate sanction in international affairs. This is why we must develop highly mobile and efficient armed forces. This will be very expensive, but this is predicated on a strong economy as we have indicated. We need to pay special attention to the navy and air force. This is because in the past, navies have been very useful instruments of diplomacy. Naval demonstration at the coast of potential or truculent enemies has been very effective in conveying diplomatic message without outright war. Naval courtesy visits in peace time can be very useful in demonstrating ability to project power to friends and foes alike. The role of the Nigerian Navy in Liberia and Sierra Leone underscores this point I am trying to make. Modern wars can hardly be fought without an efficient air force. One is also aware of the fact that there is no replacement for foot soldiers, because somebody has to mop up after successful bombing raids. What is being suggested is that an efficient and manoeuvrable air force is not only strategically and logistically useful, it is also a useful tool of diplomacy. We need a highly mechanized army that can be deployed rapidly in whatever theatre of operation. We must establish our priority between a large inefficient and immobile army and a small rapid deployment force. Building strong armed forces does not necessarily mean one is advocating a policy of jingoism. Armies exist all over the world to deter potential enemies and to help maintain peace when called upon by civilian or domestic political authorities. Nigeria does not have a potential enemy that could threaten her existence in her region, but this does not mean that her neighbours would always have pacific feeling towards her. Our aspiration for a big role in the international system also demands that we have strong armed forces that may be called upon for peacekeeping or peace enforcement, as we have previously done in several parts of the world including Bosnia, the Congo, Lebanon, Namibia, Tanzania, Angola and the armistice line between Israel and Egypt, Liberia, Sierra Leone and so on. In conclusion, we have had a panoramic view of Nigeria’s foreign policy from its genesis to the present, highlighting the ebbs and flows of events. We have also suggested that Nigeria has played an important part in world affairs since she entered the stage while still under colonial rule. This importance she carried to the period of post independence. We have also suggested in line with the theory of the impact of dominant personalities in history that Nigeria’s foreign policy has been shaped by the will of whoever was head of state or government at a specific time of our history. This does not mean that there was no conjuncture of events

pushing whoever was at the driver’s seat of state of affairs at that time. Internal events as well as responses to external situations usually proved decisive in shaping our foreign policy. We are now at this democratic juncture of our history when our foreign policy, unlike in the years of military rule, has to respond to democratic forces of different interests Jide usually manifesting ethno-religious Osuntokun sentiments. Luckily our current leaders are or should be familiar with the various nuances of internal and international pressures affecting the course and direction of our foreign policy. • Concluded

‘But we must begin from the realistic level of first taking care of Nigeria’s interest, then that of our neighbours, and then ECOWAS, before burning our energy on a visionary hope of continental union. We cannot do everything in one or two generations, but let us realize that the journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first steps’

As Ojukwu goes home T

HOSE who love him do so with passion, those who hate him also hate him with passion. That was the cross he bore until he died in London in November, last year. Hate him or love him, Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu`was a man who followed his own path no matter what others thought about him. Ojukwu had his own mind and he never failed to express that mind. What people of my age know about the early life of Ojukwu we learnt mostly from history books. Here I am talking about the civil war and the crisis that preceded it. Ojukwu did what he had to do, no doubt, in order to save his people many of whom were being killed in a part of the country then. Being in the position he was as governor of the defunct Eastern Region, the mantle of leadership naturally fell on him. To his glory, he rose to the occasion and came to the rescue of his people. Much has been said about Biafra, the territory which he created out of Nigeria to drive home the point that his people could stand alone if push came to shove. There is no way we will talk about Ojukwu without mentioning Biafra because they are intertwined. Without Ojukwu, there may have

been no Biafra. Is that really so? We may not really know, but chances are that another person might have risen to lead the Easterners then, if Ojukwu had demurred. If that had happened, he would have been worst for it today. Not only him but his children's children would have become stigmatised by such an action. If he had toed that line many would have seen it as an act of cowardice and Ojukwu would have lost face forever. Worse, he would have been on the wrong side of history. Today, history is remembering him for good because of that singular act of rising up for his people at a time it mattered most. Biafra as I have always said was an accident of history. Biafra was bound to happen when it did and if Ojukwu had not stepped forward to lead the territory another person would have done so. It was this fear of what history will say about him that gingered him into action. Part of this history unveiled itself before Ojukwu's death. Eventhough it is still being written, history may be kind and not harsh on him. From the look of things his place is assured in history. Nothing else attests to this fact than the effusive tributes being

‘NJC has an opportunity to right the wrong done Justice Salami. It cannot continue to merry-go-round over this issue six months after its unjust action. It is expected to uphold what is just and should not be seen to support injustice’

poured on him by Nigerians since his death. Although he was pardoned about 30 years ago by former President Shehu Shagari, his rehabilitation and reintegration into the Nigerian system were completed after his death. With this, other ex-Biafrans are also assured of their places in history. Who would have thought that Ojukwu would be buried with full military honours by a country that he waged war against? When Biafra happened in 1967, not a few would have called for Ojukwu's head, especially among his colleagues in the military then. Can we really blame such people? No, we can't because by virtue of martial law, what happened was an act of treason, which carries the maximum penalty. Ojukwu survived the war and lived long enough to see Nigeria grow from strength to stength. His contibutions to the growth of his fatherland after he returned from exile showed that he truly loved Nigeria. HE love he showed for the country is proof that he was forced by circumstances to declare the sovereign state of Biafra in 1967. Thank God that all is now behind us. It is also good that the country did not hold this against him when he died. Even before his death, the country repaid his love by joining hands with the Anambra State government in taking care of him while in London. In death, the country did not forsake him as President Goodluck Jonathan directed that he be buried with full military honours. It was in line with this directive that Ojukwu's remains were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Monday on arrival from London.


The president was represented at the ceremony by Vice President Namadi Sambo. In attendance were the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and Senate President David Mark, among others. Ojukwu's casket was borne by military officers, thereby burying forever the ghost of Biafra and reemphasising the fact that we are one indivisible nation. Our unity lies in our collective strength. For instance, the Soviet Union was impregnable as the Union of Socialist Soviet Republic (USSR); but since its break-up, it has become a shadow of itself. I don't think that is the kind of Nigeria we want. Even Ojukwu would not have gone for such a Nigeria. After the botched attempt to break up the country in 1967, we all owe it a duty to ensure that Nigeria remains intact, indivisible and united. This is a task that must be done as Ojukwu's remains are interred in Nnewi-Otolo, Anambra State, tomorrow.

Still on Salami


ESTERDAY, the National Ju dicial Council (NJC) rose from a meeting in Abuja, resolving to raise a panel to “negotiate the reinstatement of justice Isa Ayo Salami”. What does that mean? Justice Salami was suspended as President of the Court of Appeal (PCA) in August, last year, for no just reason. The Judicial Reform Panel raised by Chief Justice Dahiru Musdapher has since recommended his return to his post. Every rational Nigerian expected the NJC to ratify the panel’s recommendation, but alas, it decided to bury its head in the sand like ostrich. Why is NJC

Lawal Ogienagbon

footdragging over the reinstatement of Justice Salami? It shows that NJC was not impartial in its handling of the feud between former Chief Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and Justice Salami. It sided with Justice Katsina-Alu and got Justice Salami suspended to satisfy certain political interests. It is all too obvious now. By dabbling into political matters, NJC shot itself on the foot. By so doing, it boxed itself into a corner. NJC knows in its heart of hearts that justice demands that Justice Salami be reinstated because he was not treated justly at all. NJC still has an opportunity to right the wrong done Justice Salami. It cannot continue to merry-go-round over this issue six months after its unjust action. As a body expected to be impartial in all it does, it is unethical for NJC to continue to perpetuate injustice against an innocent man. NJC is expected to uphold what is just and should not be seen to support or perpetuate injustice. It is high time the Salami saga was brought to an end. SMS ONLY: 08056504763





OVERNOR Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, the ‘chief servant’ of Niger State has been going through severe strains in recent days. This is not unconnected to his linking the tragedy of Niger State, unarguably one of the most backward in the federation to what he sees as a discriminatory revenue formula against the state and the north. Aliyu in my view has every constitutional right to call attention to the underdevelopment of his state. This is a state where despite having produced two former Heads of state, an array of retired military Generals and other national leaders still harbours ill informed and irreligious illiterates that remorselessly murder innocent youth corpers deployed to liberate them from ignorance, and bombed innocent worshippers inside churches . Before Aliyu, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had also linked Boko Haram’s spilling of blood of innocent people to grinding poverty in Kano, Yola and Maiduguri. And Only just this Monday, the northern caucus of the Lower Hose, submitted a 252-page document titled “Regional Analysis of Capital Allocation in 2012 Draft Budget” to query a distribution formula which “Upon the exclusion of the centrally allocated amounts, gave the South-south 29.65% as against the South-east 12.52%, North-central 16.27%, North-east 10.40%, North-west 14.50% and Southwest 16.67%. Aliyu’s declaration that ‘the north today is in a very grave situation where illiteracy, poverty, and general backwardness are on the rise in the face of unfavourable federal allocation structure in which the northern states are at a great disadvantage ’ in my view was only stating the obvious. His claim that his 4.1million people receive between N4.1 and

‘Our tragedy is that our self-serving political elite as represented by Aliyu, are quite conscious of the bane of our society but will rather perpetuate the suffering of our people by elevating revenue allocation as a divisive issue of Nigerian politics so that they can continue to appropriate the wealth of the nation for themselves’


HE ‘contriman’ enjoys a peculiar sophistication and this was visibly displayed on Friday, February 14, when the newly elected Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, supported by his Deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha, mounted the rostrum to deliver his inaugural address after being administered the oath of office. The address heralded the dawn of a new of restoration. And it is fitting to describe the new helmsman as a contriman because of his deep-rooted involvement with the people of the state in very fundamental ways over the years. In his thoughts, ideas and focus, it is true that things are looking up in Bayelsa State. Now, Governor Dickson is further entrenching this history of commitment with his people as a new, promising order has emerged, giving rise to renewed hopes and aspirations in respect of democratic governance. There is a new sense of unanimity that the new vision crafted by the restoration team holds promise for the rapid development of Bayelsa State.Setting his agenda for the new order, Governor Dickson reminded the people that “in the course of our campaigns, we promised change and restoration of our lost glory. Today that change has come. This is fundamental indeed and reassuring because without such bold attempt at redefining quality leadership with its attendant benefit to the people, development is stunted. Agreed, a good government remains the greatest of human blessings and every nation or community should strive to enjoy it. Yes, in the particular case of Bayelsa, government can actually be the solution, effectively serving the cause of the people.In the opinion of Governor Dickson, “If Bayelsa fails, the Ijaw nation also fails and so will the Niger Delta with grave consequences for national stability. This, we cannot allow to happen. We will therefore take the necessary decisions and actions, however difficult, however painful, however controversial those decisions and actions may be”.

Governor Aliyu and politics of revenue allocation N4.5 annually out of which N2.1 billion is expended on salaries and wages with only N2 billion left to be spent on social services, hospital and road construction, reflects the true position of other states of the federation. The states behave as adjuncts to the federal government when they are in fact expected to be co-ordinates with neither exhibiting any form of superiority. Outside politics of revenue allocation, Aliyu like Sanusi, a seasoned bureaucrat, a former Director (Maritime services), a former federal Permanent Secretary and governor since 2007 has at different public outings identified the reasons why the north lags behind in all Human Development Indices such as education, access to healthcare, women education etc. This is in spite of huge budgetary allocation to the states since 1979. He is on record as having insisted that ‘the major problem of Nigeria is leadership (the north has ruled Nigeria for the greater part of Nigerian independence); that poverty in the northern states stems from the fact that emphasis is placed on politics as a profession by the elites of the north and that over 90% of Nigerian politicians have criminal intentions, and self serving rather than to serve the public’. He had also accused traditional rulers in the north of ‘corruption and of supporting corruption’, a situation which he claims has ‘contributed to their loss or respect and the moral authority to correct their subjects’. And for Boko Haram and their sponsors, he has warned there is “no special place in heaven for suicide bombers”. He also suggested that religious and traditional leaders in Borno be used to negotiate with Boko

Haram, noting “nothing happens in the village or community without the knowledge of the traditional rulers”. Finally he has reminded his Muslim brothers that “polygamy is not compulsory or encouraged by the Koran”. He has also advocated for the ‘Child Rights Act, that the Girl-child can grow into a complete woman in the north because he believes cultural subjugation of women has contributed to the grinding poverty. It is obvious therefore that Aliyu like, the typical member of the northern political elite, the major beneficiaries of our unwieldy, unviable and unworkable federal arrangement has spoken only in the spirit of unending war over revenue allocation. He spoke only as a representative of selfish dominant northern elite group engaged in politics of revenue allocation since the end of the civil war against their equally selfish Igbo and Yoruba political elite. Various commissions set up before independence beginning with Phillpson(1946) , and Hicks-(1951) emphasised derivation and even development which guaranteed that each unit could only receive from the central pool an equal proportion of what it has contributed . This was the situation until 1968 when the selfish political elites of the dominant groups supported the inauguration of the Dina committee by General Gowon to address what they described as “problem of uneven development”. The battle over revenue allocation by representatives of the major dominant ethnic groups ably aided by “vultures” from the oil producing areas have since become more vicious, threatening even the survival of the nation. The billions of petro-naira shared in

A ‘contriman’ reports for duty By Daniel Iworiso-Markson Also, one of the deliverables of financial transparency is government’s commitment to announce and publish all revenues accruing to the state. Bayelsans generally believe that when this policy is implemented, it would mean a radical departure from the past regime of operating governmental businesses without involving the people. For all intent and purposes, the Seriake Dickson administration is poised to entrench a regime of transparency where no one conducts governmental businesses in the dark. This is also reassuring, as it will rebuild the hitherto lack of confidence of the people in government and the process of governance. So far, Governor Dickson is matching words with action, conscious of promises made by the Restoration Team to inject massive investment in education, critical infrastructure, agriculture, health, as well as peace and security. Says he “Yes, the development of human capital is our most compelling and urgent need. The governor has accordingly announced the take-off of free and compulsory education at primary and secondary school levels across Bayelsa State. The rebuilding of educational infrastructure commenced with a well articulated new curriculum already being hailed as the most holistic approach to educational development ever taken by any governor of Bayelsa State since its creation 15 years ago. While government has promised to give entrepreneurship a pride of place, there is a resolve on the part of the administration to construct roads and other infrastructure to link the people and fast track comprehensive development. Peace and security are a sine qua non in this regard which implies zero tolerance for criminality and insecurity. The new administration promised to make

all the necessary investment to create and sustain a secure society governed by the rule of law. Governor Dickson declared, just as he also sought partnership with the transnational corporations to enable the state maintain the highest standards of responsible corporate citizenship. To attract Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, the Dickson administration is planning a comprehensive review of the institutional framework for promoting investments with the active collaboration of the private sector. This will make Bayelsa State a welcome destination for genuine investors in oil and gas, agriculture and tourism. Realising that vision alone, like an architectural drawing, no matter how beautiful, has never built anything without the labour of many skilled, semi-skilled and even unskilled hands, the governor stated: “We have cast a beautiful vision of restoration for our beloved Bayelsa, the Glory of all lands. Now we must labour to make it happen and it is to this labour we now summon every man, woman and child – Hear the clarion call – To thy work oh Bayelsans– Let the Glory of all lands be restored again!” With these policy standpoints,, Governor Dickson is seen by many individuals and professional bodies to have re-defined the meaning of politics and governance in Bayelsa State. Indeed Bayelsans are persuaded that the restoration agenda is anchored on sound policies, which are budget-driven and peopleoriented. This implies that government will take budget implementation very seriously, based on the priorities of the people. The new administration will also include expenditure reforms to block areas of financial leakages. This underscores the strict enforcement of all anti-graft laws to cleanse

the last 40 years have not reflected positively on the lives of the people but merely increased the gap between the rich and the poor. By contrast, Nigerians enjoyed a better quality of life when groups were encouraged to work, take pride either as rubber tapper, cocoa farmer, groundnut/cotton farmer or producer of hides and skin. The bulk of what went as revenue allocation from oil which now constitute 95% of our foreign earnings were shared by the political elite from all the geo political zones. We all know the state is the source of resources for the unbridled consumption of the political elite and the resources deployed towards buying off our national patrimony. While they lead a life of leisure and opulence, the poor people of Kano, Yobe and Maiduguiri and their counter parts in Osun, Edo, or Awka, where poverty strikes any visitor on the face share a common fate. The poor of the oil producing areas suffer worse form of deprivations. Their waters, polluted, land devastated and their children are malnourished while their largely uneducated youths like their counter parts in Yobe, Kano and Maiduguri take to crime. What are the sources of resources for the massive importation of petroleum products, agricultural products, and all other substandard goods dumped on Nigeria? We know it is the state because many of these political and emergency economic elite are not known to own industries. This perhaps partly explains why all we have to show for the huge portions of the annual budget cornered by the federal government, the states, the local government are collapsed federal roads, decayed infrastructure and many parts of the nation that look like war ravaged areas. Our tragedy is that our self-serving political elite as represented by Aliyu, are quite conscious of the bane of our society but will rather perpetuate the suffering of our people by elevating revenue allocation as a divisive issue of Nigerian politics so that they can continue to appropriate the wealth of the nation for themselves. But as it has been argued by many patriotic Nigerians, this vicious cycle is likely going to continue unless we – instead of the current unviable, self serving military arrangement which allows unproductive federal government to steal from productive states –reorganize ourselves into viable federal units with a revenue allocation formula that will emphasise baking rather than sharing of cake. Or, as Bola Tinubu put it early this week, “Let us practice true federalism and remove the hands of the federal government from our pockets.’ the mess of the previous administration. The restoration agenda is essentially a total package of restoration of the decrepit infrastructure and reformation of the institutions of good governance. Barry Goldwater said some time ago “that a government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away”, but the Restoration regime in Bayelsa State has pledged to give all and impose a responsibility on all to sustain our rights within the ambit of the rule of law. The Dickson administration will also flourish on the basis of strong institutions, virile, implementable policies and people with the capacity to run with the vision. Already, stakeholders are happy with the declaration of free education at the foundational levels. The task is seemingly daunting but the government’s resolve is geared towards the provision of good governance, promoting human capital development. The Governor is acutely aware that as human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world but that of being able to remake ourselves. • Iworiso-Markson is Senior Special Assistant on Media & Public Affairs to Governor of Bayelsa State.

‘The task is seemingly daunting but the government’s resolve is geared towards the provision of good governance, promoting human capital development. The Governor is acutely aware that as human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world but that of being able to remake ourselves’







Years of neglect - in funding and quality assurance - have taken a toll on the education sector. Down are literacy and numeracy skills of pupils. The government of Lagos State and some others have launched the battle to improve service delivery, KOFOWOROLA BELOOSAGIE reports that it may take years to undo the errors of the past.

Have public schools derailed? T

HE task was simple: take a miniature ball out of the bucket, unfold the paper within to reveal the name of a participating school and announce the name to those gathered to witness the draws for the Principals Cup Football Competition. The exercise, held in the conference room of the Lagos State Education Resource Centre on February 2, went smoothly as dignitary after dignitary, including the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye; Permanent Secretary GTBank’s Mrs Omolara Erogbogbo and Mrs Lola Odedina, read out names. But, when the pupils representing the 24 male and female football teams were given the same task, the difficulty they had pronouncing the names made dignitaries and teachers to shift uncomfortably in their seats. They could not pronounce names, such as Army Cantonment Boys Senior Secondary School, Angus Memorial Senior Secondary School, Ogunmodede Senior College, Epe, and Gaskiya Senior College. They had to be helped by the adults. One teacher seated next to this reporter, referring to the pupils, said to himself: "You people cannot read English and you cannot also read Yoruba as well." This is not peculiar to secondary schools alone. There are many primary school pupils who can barely read or write. Nasimat Ibikunle (not real name), a 10-year-old primary five pupil of a public school under Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Education Authority is one of them. She knows her letters but cannot string them together to make words, not to talk of sentences. She cannot read simple sentences, even those designed for beginners. When asked to read a story book, Brume the Class Captain, published by Lantern Books for readers between ages eight and 12, Nasimat could not. The book opens with the sentence: "The family set back on the long journey to Lagos on a Saturday morning while the sun was yet to rise." Neither could she read a sentence in the book, The Fox and the Stork, a foreign story published by Usborne Publishing Ltd, United Kingdom, for children learning to read. The book, which is in the Level One of the firm's series for young readers, opens with the sentence: "Fox and Stork were friends, but Fox loved playing tricks." Rather, Nasimat resorted to spelling out the words. However, the young girl has devised a method of surviving in school: she copies class work from her classmates - including wrong spellings. In other subjects, she copies what is written on the black-

board by the teacher. Her hand writing is bad, and she has no knowledge of how to use punctuation marks. Surprisingly, her exercise books bear the red ink markings of 'seen', evidence that a teacher saw through her notes. When asked about it, Nasimat responded: "The teacher does not mark herself. A boy in my class goes round and writes 'seen' in our books." Nasimat became a pupil in the school this session. In her former school, she said teachers were hardly stayed in school to teach. "They used to leave us in class and go out. Sometimes, they write on the board and tell us to copy," she said. Nasimat’s is not an isolated case. Two primary five pupils attending other public primary schools The Nation visited could not also read the sentence: "To Harry, who taught me, among other things, to believe in myself" - part of the dedication page of a utility book. Several primary two and three pupils attending another school selected randomly could not read the Usborne series for beginners. When asked what he could read after he failed to read the Usborne text, a primary two pupil said: "I cannot read it. I only know Queen's Premier, 'I go up'". When asked to write it, the boy could not write 'up' appropriately. Another girl, in primary two, who could not also read the Usborne series, was asked to attempt writing "This is a cat." She could not write it from memory. However, she succeeded in writing 'cat' alone. A privately-educated secondary school pupil interviewed by The Nation said she used Queen's Premier as a text in nursery school. "Queen's Premier is what I used to learn reading in Nursery one and two. In Nursery one, I used the Book One to learn two-letter words, vowels and consonants. In Nursery two, I used the Book Two to learn threefour letter words. It is in the book that you have "I go up'," she said. The problem of poor learning in primary schools is over 16 years. At a training in Lagos, Dr Gboyega Ilusanya, team leader of the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), a DFID initiative to intervene in quality education delivery in primary schools, said researches by UNICEF and Nigeria as far back as 1996 and 2003 proved this. He added that recent research conducted when ESSPIN started its programme in 2009 showed the problem had not abated. "Learning outcomes in Nigeria has been indisputably poor. Researches conducted by Nigeria and UNICEF in 1996 and 2003 made it clear. The latest survey conducted by ESSPIN has not shown there is

• Nasimat’s English exercise book

any difference," he said. He added: "If you want to do reform, you've got to understand where to start. How are teachers teaching and how are pupils learning? Teachers need assessment; monitoring learning achievements

of the pupils which benchmarks their performance against the curriculum is important. Children are underperforming; our assessment shows teachers are poor, and use teacher-centred methods." Many teachers, however, fault the

mass promotion policy for poor learning outcomes. One of them said: "There was a time the government said the children must not repeat so they were moved from class to class whether they passed or not." • Continued on page 26




EDUCATION • Continued from page 25

A Head Teacher, Mrs A. Afolabi, said the abolition of common entrance examinations by primary school pupils transiting into secondary schools contributed to the problem. When admitted into secondary schools, they are barely able to read or write. An English teacher told The Nation that teachers find it difficult to transfer knowledge to them. She spoke of teaching in a junior secondary school where the principal created a special class for very bad pupils to start learning English from the alphabets in JSS1. She said such poor foundation contributes to mass failure in the Senior School Certificate Examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO). To prepare the current SS3 class she takes for the 2012 WASSCE, she said she started from the rudiments of English grammar - Parts of Speech. "When the foundation is so poor, we struggle and struggle to teach them when they get to secondary school," she said. "Yet, the government expects them to pass WASSCE. My students could not tell me the meaning of an adverb so when we started team teaching for WASSCE, I had to start teaching them parts of speech because a pupil that does not know what an adverb is cannot identify an adverbial clause," she said. But Mrs Oladunjoye said mass promotion has been dumped. At the beginning of the 2011/2012 academic session, she told parents that their children would no longer be promoted automatically without passing end-of-session examinations, a statement she reiterated at an event last week. The state, she said, was working on re-introducing a form of common entrance screening for those transiting from primary to secondary schools. The common entrance examination was stopped nationwide in 2005 when the Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme began. The argument was that pupils must get nine years of free and compulsory basic education (six years of primary, and three years of junior secondary) so there should be no hindrance to their transition from primary to junior secondary level. Mrs Afolabi lauds the plan to reintroduce entrance exams, saying pupils would be forced to be serious. "I am happy the commissioner said they are re-introducing common entrance. By the time they stopped it, that was what finished education.

• Neither Nasimat nor the other pupils could read the above texts

Have public schools derailed? My pupils could not tell me the meaning of an adverb so when we started team teaching for WASSCE, I had to start teaching them parts of speech because a pupil that does not know what an adverb is cannot identify an adverbial clause But now that they want to re-introduce it, pupils will sit up," she said. The Lagos State government is aware of the problem of poor learning outcomes and has initiated programmes to address poor teaching and learning in public primary schools. On February 13, the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LSUBEB) flagged off the training of 122 seasoned educators designated School Improvement Officers (SIO) who will carry out continuous training for head teachers, assistants and teachers in 500 public primary schools. The programme, which is being funded with N100 million from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) teachers' professional development grant allocated to the state, in addition to N80 million from state coffers, is to scale up ESSPIN's intervention in 100 schools since 2009. The aim is basically to improve teacher quality to be able to deliver the cur-

riculum. Through regular training and retraining, the skills of poor teachers are built up to acceptable standard while regular follow-up visits are made to ensure they use their new skills. Mrs Gbolahan Daodu, the LSUBEB Chairman, said the board decided to expand ESSPIN's intervention to 500 schools because it had noticed successes in the 100 pilot schools ESSPIN has been supporting with teacher training, direct funding and community support. "In those 100 schools, we have noticed that learning is child-centred and the children can learn on their own. Teachers are able to transfer knowledge better while head teachers have been trained to manage their schools. The initiative also carries the host communities of the schools along through the School Based Management Committees (SBMC) so the schools get support and monitoring from the community," she said.

•Alumni of Queens School, Ede, during the Diamond Jubilee anniversary of the school. From right: Dr Nike Akande, former Minister and Director, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc; Mrs C. F. Oredugba, former Principal, Queen’s School; Prof Adeyinka Falusi of the University of Ibadan (Standing); Mrs Felicia Omoyeni Bello, National President, Queens School Alunmi Association; Mrs Foluke Onasanya, Vice-President; Yeye Gbemi Soyemi-Beecroft, officer; and Mrs Abimbola Dada, Secretary, Lagos Chapter

Mrs Gbolahan added that the board would also extend direct funding to the schools, like ESSPIN does, to meet minor needs such as rehabilitation of buildings, provision of boreholes and toilets, provision of teaching aids, and the like. Under the ESSPIN initiative, 22 educationists were trained for almost one year and co-opted into the State School Improvement Team (SSIT). They were assigned schools which they visit regularly to monitor implementation of training they carry out for head teachers, their assistants, and teachers. The SSIT is involved in the training of the 122 SIOs LSUBEB inaugurated penultimate week. Mrs Folashade Alajiki, one of the SSIT members attached to Agege Local Government Education Authority (LGEA), said the SIOs are being trained in literacy, numeracy, phonics, how to produce instructional materials from local resources, how to make pupils more interested in learning through songs and group work, and the like. Though ESSPIN is yet to release results of its survey on the impact of its intervention, Mrs Alajiki said the positive outcomes have already resulted in increased enrolment in ESSPIN schools and self-esteem for the pupils and teachers. "With this programme, we have been able to change the mindset of teachers. Teaching has become more participatory and less stressful as the teacher stands back and allows the pupils to learn. "The impact is obvious because parents started withdrawing their wards from private to public schools where ESSPIN programme is run-

ning. The children now enjoy coming to school. They have self esteem because teachers no longer call them names. Parents tell us that their children who could not read before, now help them to write letters," she said. Her colleagues, Mrs Eniola Olatunde and Mrs Oluwadamilola Adekoje added that the programme is effective because SSIT/SIOs go to schools with the aim of improving them, not to witch hunt. "They are called critical friends of the school. They are attached to five or six schools which they visit up to 30 times in a term. When they visit, they don't witch hunt or do like inspectors. Rather, if they observe any problem, they liaise with the school managers and teachers on how to solve them," they said. In the near future, Mrs Daodu said the initiative would be extended to the remaining 401 primary schools in the state. She said there were also plans to publish the learning outcomes pupils should achieve after completing every level. This, she explained, will enable parents to monitor whether their wards are actually learning in school and, hopefully, put an end to the poor numeracy and literacy skills of school-aged children. However, until then, what help is available for children like Nasimat whose progress through school without learning is uncertain. Mrs Daodu admits that the rot in the system will take years to correct and urged all stakeholders to join hands with the government to address the problem. "These problems will not go away in a very short time. It will take a long time to fix the schools. The question is: are you part of the problem or the solution?" she asked.

”But please, no more ’poly high schools’ and ‘secondary-varsities’!”



EDUCATION Lufthansa rewards essayists

WAEC sensitises pupils on exam fraud OW do the exam questions leak to candidates? Do tutorial centres collaborate with candidates to commit malpractices during exams? And who approves special centres for candidates? These were the questions that dominated the discussion at a seminar organised by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in Lagos last Friday. The event was part of the measures taken by the examination body to sensitise pupils on the need to ensure the upcoming West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) slated for May is not marred by malpractices. Parents, teachers, principals and education stakeholders, who attended the event from all districts in Lagos State, engaged WAEC officials on controversial issues affecting the credibility of the examinations conducted by the body. They were unanimous in their assertion that the special centres pose a threat to the future of education in the country. In her paper entitled: Ethical considerations in dealing with examination malpractice cases in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the Deputy Registrar and the Acting Head of Research Division at WAEC, Lagos Headquarters, Dr Modupe Oke, described examination malpractice as "any act of omission or commission made by person who in anticipation of, before, during or after any examination fraudulently secure any unfair advantage for himself or herself or any other person in such a manner that contravenes the rules and regulations to the extent of undermining the validity, reli-

From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja



•Sarah Nejo, a pupil of Ojora Memorial Senior Secondary School, Lagos asking a question By Wale Ajetunmobi

ability, authenticity of the examinations and ultimately the integrity of the certificates issued." She highlighted malpractice to include bringing foreign materials, such as textbooks into the examination hall; irregular activities inside or outside the examination hall, sending information by agents and touts to candidates in the examination hall; syndicated cheating involving candidates, supervisor and officials; impersonation; leakage of question papers; mass cheating and the use of gadgets such as phones and programmable calculators. The parents at the seminar wondered why the population of pupils in private schools always increases whenever the May/June WASSCE is to be conducted. "Imagine a class that started with 50 pupils from SSS 1 suddenly becomes a class of about 500 students when WAEC exams are about to commence in June," said Mrs. Fatimah Usman, a parent, adding that this is

one of the ways malpractice in exams is carried out. However, Mrs Olayinka Ajibade, a Deputy Registrar in Test Development Division, WAEC, debunked the claim that it was the examination body that approved the special centres, noting that the responsibility of the body was to conduct exams for students across the country. She said: "WAEC does not have schools neither does it have any tutorial centres for candidates who write our exams." Mrs Ajibade added that the body had methods to detect irregularities in its exam, saying "if any candidate goes against the rules and regulation of the body during the period of exam, such person will be caught either at the marking of the scripts or results collation point or at the time when certificates are to be issued." Mrs Ajibade told the students that WASSCE questions were not meant for geniuses rather, "for average students who must study hard to pass the papers."

She advised parents to stop engaging themselves in examination malpractice by contracting mercenaries to write exams for their wards. She also urged teachers to prepare the pupils for the WASSCE and desist from giving them 'microchips' to pass exams. She said the body had developed a mechanism that would ensure that innocent candidates' results are not withheld with those of offending students. "If you are not involved in examination malpractice, nobody will withhold your results because we have our ways of detecting malpractice at every stage before the results are released," she said. A teacher from Alternative High School for Girls, Agboju, Mrs Mary Cummings, urged WAEC officials to block the loopholes through which exam questions leak, while advising the body to start publishing the faces and names of people caught for malpractices and paste in all schools, to deter others who may want to involve themselves in the act.

GERMAN airline operator, Lufthansa, has rewarded 10 students with cash and other prizes for their outstanding performances in the maiden edition of the Lufthansa Educational Talent Competition. General Manager of the airline in Abuja, Mr John Okpara, said the competition was organised to promote readership among secondary school pupils. He said: "We at Lufthansa were looking for a special way to recognise young talents in Nigeria. As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we wanted to give back to the society in a creative way." The winner of the contest, Miss Nneoma Ike-Njoku of Loyola Jesuit College, Gidan Mangoro, addressed the issue of economic recession and job creation while discussing the topic, "Aviation industry and global economic crises". Nneoma, who said she was inspired by God, mourned the death of her school mates who lost their lives during the Sosoliso plane crash of 2005. She said: "It is still God. Even while writing it, it was all experiences because a couple of years ago, my school lost a couple of students to a plane crash so it is a kind of reaction to it in my mind. Before this, there was also a similar essay on air disaster in Nigeria which I did as well." For her effort, she was rewarded with an all-expenses paid trip to Frankfurt, Germany to visit the Goethe House. She was also given a laptop including one night lounge with her parents at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja. Second placed Miss Omayeli Arenyeka from International Community School got N100, 000 and a laptop while the second runner-up, Miss Adesuwa Ero from Premiere Academy won N50, 000 and a laptop.

Senator tantalises students with cash, laptops


NTIL last weekend, he was an unknown Law School student. Now, thanks to iBOLD Students Challenge, an initiative of Senator Babafemi Ojudu, representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District of Ekiti State, Abiodun Adeyanju has become a star. He won the star prize of N500,000 and a laptop. It was all at the Adetiloye Hall, Ado-Ekiti. At the ceremony were dignitaries, including Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, represented by Special Assistant in Governor's Office, Chief Biodun Akin Fasae; Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Ganiyu Owolabi; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Yemi Adaramodu and Oba Olu Adeyemo, Alara of Aramoko. Others were Chief S.B. Falegan; Prof. Francisca Aladejana, Provost College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti; Dr. Yemisi Afolabibi, who represented the governor’s wife; Bishop Felix Ajakaye; Commissioner for Arts and Tourism, Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu and a host of others. The event equally witnessed presentation of prizes to the winners One, two, three, by the time the event kicked off about 8 pm, the nearly 500-seater capacity hall had been packed with the high and mighty from within Ado Ekiti and elsewhere It all started with all the trappings of a well designed business as there was an announcement in the national dailies and the electronic media, invitng entries from all Ekiti indigenes in tertiary institu-

By Salawudeen Olaide

tions. No institution was exempted. Apart from universities and polytechnics, schools of nursing and colleges of education were included. All that mattered and needed was a demontration of sufficient grasp of the use of English and masterful handling of the topic - "Turning Ekiti Around: A New Generation Agenda.” Eventually, the 20 entrants who scaled the hurdle from a pack of over 1,000 were made to write another on-the--spot essay on "Effects of fuel subsidy removal". This last 20 produced the five eventual winners who clinched various prizes. The first prize of a laptop and cash gift of N500,000 went to Adeyanju Abiodun; second prize of a laptop and cash gift of N350,000 went to Ayedun Oluwaseun Taiwo and the third prize of a laptop and N150,000 went to Ajisafe Oke Stephen. While the fourth and fifth winners equally got new laptops each without a cash gift; sixth to 15th place winners got consolation prizes of N20,000. In his speech entitled: Nurturing youths for a better tomorrow, Ojudu condemned the attitude of the wealthy class towards the less privileged people, particularly the youths. He said the perennial failure and lack of achievement of youths on the wealthy class is evidence of this absence of care for the less privileged The Senator said the rich which

• Senator Ojudu(left) presenting a prize to Adeyanju, with the help of Oba Oni Adeyemi, the Alara of Aramoko.

he called 'wealthy few' who control the 'commonwealth' of the majority had refused to 'give back' to society and people. He said although everyone shares in the blame for the problem, the 'privileged few' were particularly blameworthy for the developement. He said: "As much as I would want to say that everyone shares in the blame for the not-so-impressive performance of our youths, I want to say there is a class that has often been overlooked and sometime

ignorantly excused from the share of blames. "This class I call the 'privileged few'. These people are found in business, government, politics, churches, mosques and in almost all life's endeavours. "Before we jump to conclusions by solely blaming our youths, let us endeavour to ask everybody that holds a portion of Nigeria's wealth that at what percentage do they give back to the people whose resources they control.” He warned the wealthy of consequences of caring only for their bio-

logical children, noting that 'those ones neglected' will not let those taken care of enjoy a life of security and comfort. He explained that iBOLD, which means Initiative of Babafemi Ojudu for Leadership Development, would be a yearly event, which will feature more than an essay competition. He disclosed his plan to open a leadership centre and secretariat in Ekiti, adding that they would be run by the best adminnistrators and equipped to offer opportunities for the youth to realise their talents.




College resumes THE ADEYEMI College of Education (ACE), Ondo State, will resume academic work on March 5 for new and returning students. A statement by its Public Affairs Department stated that the new students will go through a five-day orientation between March 5 and 10 while registration and lectures will start on the 12. During the event, students will be exposed to college rules governing course registration and assessment procedure, lectures, continuous assessment, exam regulations and discipline, prizes and awards and malpractice/prostitution. Others topics for the programme include financial transactions, Health Centre and its facilities, the host community, study guide for students, religious activities on campus, student organisations, accident prevention and safety measures, use of library, sporting activities and guidance and counseling.

SSUCOEN elects officers THE Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education in Nigeria (SSUCOEN) ACE chapter has elected new officers to steer its affairs. Mr Olufemi Ladenika emerged as the chairman; Mrs. Mojisola Isijola, vice chairman, and Mr Ade Adegbesan as secretary. Other members of the new executive are Mr Taiwo Akinola (assistant secretary); Mr Gbenga Akindoyeni (treasurer); Akinkuoroye Ajibola (financial secretary) and Mr George Bolaji (public relations officer).

Provost praises studentsleaders THE Provost of the College, Prof Adeyemi Idowu, has commended the members of the outgoing students union executive for exhibiting high level of responsibility during their tenure. He said the students body led by Mr Sa'adu Toafiq, cooperated with the management and completed the students union building. He said besides returning the union bus, which the management donated to them intact, the union also presented an audited account of their finances. In appreciation for their exemplary leadership style, the management presented certificates and gifts to each member of the executives. The students also returned the gesture by presenting parting gifts to some members of the college community who assisted the union during their tenure.

AUCHIPOLY's ‘success is based on commitment’ The Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, is ranked among the best in West Africa. A Webometric report ranking on world universities and other tertiary institutions has confirmed it. In this interview with GBENGA ADERANTI, Dr Philipa Idogho, the Rector, explains efforts the school has been making in the last four years to remain on top.


E understand that you are moving to another campus. What informed this? I am an advocate of good environment for students. We decided to move the School of Science and Technology from the main campus to Campus II because the main campus which was established in 1973 could not contain the students again. Webometric report has ranked Auchi Polytechnic twice among the universities in the last four years. How did the school get to this height? The magic is in the pursuing of the vision. If you have a written vision and mission and you are focused, no matter the delay, you will discover that you will succeed. The standard here is high. I think it has to do with the scholarship attainment of our lecturers. We sponsor lecturers for seminars. We also sponsored them for computer skill acquisition such that when they are doing their presentations they know what to do. We make sure that we keep them busy always by ensuring that they go for foreign studies.

We have moved from the era of sitting to keeping busy. How would you assess the polytechnic in the last four years? We've done very well four years down the lane. We've brought Auchi Polytechnic to an enviable height. In 2011 Webometrics rating, the polytechnic emerged the Best Polytechnic in Nigeria and West Africa and we came 11th in the ranking among the universities in Nigeria. It was the first and the only polytechnic ranked in this category. We have improved from the 11th position in 2011 to emerge 10th this year. The polytechnic has also distinguished in the areas of fabrication designs and art. It has won three times consecutively, the NUXART competition in art involving universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. In the last four years, the polytechnic has had the distinction of being one of the eight polytechnics in Africa, and the only one in Nigeria to be designated by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) as a centre for flexible skills development and Community Learning.

The polytechnic has been in existence for a while, but one would notice some very new buildings and ongoing constructions.What informed this? When I assumed office, I discovered that many students were hanging out to receive lectures. What would a student gain from that? I was a student here. We were comfortably seated in the classrooms. Today, the number of students who want to access education is increasing everyday and infrastructural facilities cannot cater for them. I had to embark on infrastructural development. A block of one-storey building and workshop facilities for the centre of entrepreneurial development; a storey building of six classrooms;

• Dr Idogho

200-capacity e-learning centre, are some of the efforts I'm making to make sure that students learn in a conducive environment. Mind you, we are not stopping at that, we have started work on another lecture theatre that would be able to take 100 students during lecture. We have done a lot in providing facilities for students in the last four years and are still doing more. We are not just embarking on infrastructural development. We've also embarked on human development. The first thing I did when I assumed office was human development by ensuring that students and staff became computer literate. With that, you can achieve so many things.

If you have a written vision and mission and you are focused, no matter the delay, you will discover that you will succeed. The standard here is high

Also, if you take the statistics today, in the last four years, we have a total of 95 members of staff who are pursuing various Msc. and PhD programmes in various parts of the world. Where do you get funds to do your projects? Managing resources is an ability you have to acquire and reaching out to other organisations is an art you have to cultivate. I reach out to people whether you're young or old. I use the resources we have internally maximally. I tell people to come and see what we have done and let them see the areas they could be of assistance to us. How do you manage criticisms? There will be criticisms even when you are doing well. I take criticisms in good faith. Criticism is good, it helps you to move on. What you should not do is to allow criticisms to distract you from your path. A leader must remain focused. My training as Secretary has really helped me. Whether I 'm under stress or not, I remain calm. The challenge has been people who feel the status quo must remain. The way it was, let it continue. People are not adaptable to change. But I have a role to play in Auchi Poly, irrespective of what they say, I will remain focused. The grace of God has been helping me. I always tell God every morning to send His angel to help me. I don't sit down until I dedicate the day to God. I have a stable home, when there is any challenge; I have a good husband to lean on. I also have a good team; I don't see myself as a boss.

Nine-year basic education subjects reduced


ARELY three years into the implementation of the nine-year Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) in primary and junior secondary schools, stakeholders have agreed to reduce the number of subjects being offered to seven. The subjects are: English Studies, mathematics, one Nigerian language, basic science and technology, pre-vocational studies, religions and values education and cultural and creative arts. There is also Arabic Language which is optional. The implementation will begin in September. The forum for the formulation of a new structure for the curriculum took place in Abuja at the instance of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) during which educationists, commissioners of education and chairmen of State Universal Basic Education Boards across the country as well as representatives of state ministries of education, key parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Edu-

cation and private school owners brainstormed for two days. At the end of deliberations, the number of subjects offered at the basic education level was reduced after some of the subjects were compressed. Prof Godswill Obioma, the Executive Secretary of NERDC, who is also the chairman of the High Level Policy Committee meeting and the National Stakeholders forum for the review of the curriculum, explained the rationale for the exercise. "Recent feedback on the implementation of BEC suggests curricula overload in terms of subject offerings at the primary and JSS levels. This issue was reiterated at the Presidential Summit on the state of education in Nigeria which held in October 2010. "Consequently, delegates at the summit called for immediate action to compress the curricula offerings at all levels of basic education. It was, therefore, recommended at the summit that the number of subjects offered at this level should be reduced to between six and 13, in line with international best practices," he said. Since September 2008, when the implementation of BEC began in primary and junior secondary schools nationwide, learners have been contending with 20 subjects listed in

the curriculum, which have been found too laborious for them. Pupils in primary one to three were expected to offer 10 compulsory subjects, including English studies, mathematics, one Nigerian language, basic science and technology, physical and health education, religious studies (Christian religious knowledge and Islamic Studies), social studies, civic education, cultural and creative arts and computer studies/ ICT. In addition, they are to offer at least one elective subject from agriculture, home economics and Arabic Language. The review panel succeeded in reducing the number of subjects to only seven after

bringing computer studies/ ICT and physical and health education under basic science and technology while religious studies, civic education and social studies were also compressed as themes under religions and values education. Security Education has been added as one of the themes under the subject. Agriculture, home economics and entrepreneurship have also been compressed as themes under pre-vocational studies subject. The subjects listed for pupils in primary four to six are the same with the ones for primary one to three. The only difference is that from primary four, pupils are to offer French Language because it's Nigeria's

second official language. The subject listings for JSS one to three are the same but Business Studies, which was an optional subject, has been made compulsory for junior secondary school students. Obioma explains the reason for the elevation of Business Studies. "The essence of the BEC is to offer pupils and students a well-rounded education in terms of knowledge, skills, techniques and values needed to produce self-reliant individuals who can compete favourably anywhere in the world. This is the reason the impartation of entrepreneurship education is being emphasised in the new curriculum."

•Primary one pupils of Noble Vine Nursery and Primary School, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos during an excursion


Suswam’s unusual visitors

Without fanfare Page 31

Page 34



CAMPUS LIFE 0805-450-3104 email: THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2012



A students’ protest against ‘hike’ in fees at the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, was foiled by security operatives. SEGUN ADEGBENRO and OLATUNJI AWE (200-Level Political Science) trace the origin of the crisis.

•Ekiti State University students demonstrating against increment in tuition fee.


OU can’t believe what I’m seeing! We are heading for trouble in this school”. That was a student screaming at a cyber café. Instantly, he became the centre of attraction. He was pointing at his computer screen which showed the Ekiti State University (EKSU), formerly University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD), website. The institution had just uploaded a new fee regime. It was Thursday, February 16 and time was 6pm. The news spread like wild fire as students began to print and make copies of the new fee regime. The next day, their fears were confirmed following an advert in The Nation and Tribune. It was signed by the Registrar, Dr Omojola Awosusi. Last Monday, trouble was averted as the students’ planned protest against the hike was aborted.News of their plan leaked to the authorities which called in armed security men, who arrived on the campus as early

A strike that never was

as 7am. In a telephone chat with CAMPUSLIFE, the Ekiti State Police spokesman, Mr. Muhammed Jimoh, defended the action of his men, saying it was to ensure there was no breakdown of order. He said: “The action was taken upon prior information given to the command by those residing near the university. Obviously, the students have not been known to engage in

peaceful protests in the past, thus the residents called us to come and nip it in the bud. The action was not to intimidate the students but to maintain peace and order in the state and on campus for workers and other students who may not want to join.” In the advertisement, the new fee regime will take effect from the current session. For the Faculty of Engineering, some of the sundry fees introduced include Examination,

N2,500; Library, N1,500; Sports, N5,000; Health Centre, N7,500; GST, N1,500; ID card, N1,500; Caution, N2,500; Verification, N2,500; Matriculation, N2,000; Convocation, N2,000. Others are: IT supervision N10,000; M.I.S, N2,000; Lab Workshop, N5,000; Professional fee, N10,000; and Equipment, N5,000. Education students and three departments in Social Sciences are the least payers, with N73,000. They are followed by Management Science students, N83,000; Law and Science students, N93,000; Engineering and three departments in Sciences, N103,000; Medical students, pay N191,500. Meanwhile, new students are to pay between N92,000 and N150,000 including a compulsory acceptance fee of N32,000. Those exempted from the new fees are 400-Level and 500-Level students. Reacting, Governor Kayode Fayemi, •Continued on page 31

•Corps member dies after fetching water - P32 • Govt donates buses to students - P33




These rising fees


N the last couple of weeks at least, news of students of different institutions demonstrating over increased fees have virtually taken over the airwaves. Though these hikes and the same reactions to them did not start today, they have become even commonplace in the last three years. Management officials of our higher institutions have advanced reasons for the increases as well as the introduction of new fees. Meanwhile, in more cases than one cares to mention, the old services are rarely improved while the new ones are simply not there. A couple of years back, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), was shut for weeks after a violent demonstration by the students while protesting an increase in their fees. Last year, the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, and the University of Calabar (UNICAL) led the pack of those shut for months (five months in the case of UNICAL, though other factors contributed) for the same reason. In all cases, the same pattern is followed: the institution announces a new fee, or simply introduces a new payable service which is made compulsory for every student. Sometimes, this introduction is surreptitiously uploaded on the institution’s website first. The students see it, print and distribute copies. There is always a paragraph at the end of such leaflets calling fellow students to “fight for our rights and not allow this injustice to stand”, or something near it. Then the rage starts. At the end, everyone is filled with regrets, the students mainly. But the new fees remain, if slightly reduced. Little changes in facilities are seen. One, two, three years down, the same cycle is repeated. By this time, those who participated actively in the last protest are either graduated or in their final year so would not want anything to delay them fur-

Pushing Out

Fayemi of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) who reduced the fees to a uniform N50,000 (from a range of between N119,000 and N200,000). Those who already paid the hiked fee were promised that it would be rolled over for them in subsequent sessions. That promise was not kept. Last year, with another protest was staged when the authorities forced the students to pay another fee. This led to the dissolution of the Student Union body. At the end, 08054503104 the students had to pay. It is a new ses(SMS only) sion and not only have the students been • asked to pay another fee, sundry charges have been added raising the total to • between N73,000 and N110,000. It is this ther (remember, they have equally been delayed latest addition that the students wanted to proby an average of three ASUU strikes – warnings test against last week when mobile policemen were sent in to ensure the event never took off. and actual). About four weeks back, history was made by A master stroke for the authorities. But for how students of Ajayi Crowther University (ACU), long? Indeed, how long do we have to go this route Oyo, when they became the first private varsity to stage a violent protest that led to the closure in our education? I agree with the argument that education reof the institution. Though they were directly reacting to the death of one of them, purport- quires money; qualitative education does not edly as a result of the refusal of staff of the health come cheap anywhere in the world. All the same, centre to put on the generating set that could I have made the point severally in this column power the oxygen the young man needed to that the per capita income of the average parent breathe. Checks, however, revealed that the stu- in this country cannot afford to pay the fees dents were irked that a recent increase of close charged by our higher institutions. Government to N200,000 in their fees this session has brought at all levels – led by the Federal Government no tangible improvement in the quality of fa- must be able to work out a plan that would make it possible for a considerable number of cilities they have. Last week, it was the turn of students at the our children to attain a post-secondary educaEkiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti. Some- tion easily, if not a full university degree. Yes, it is a fact that the average parent cannot how, the management learnt of their plan early and was able to check it. This Monday, those at pay for a university education through sincere the Institute of Management and Technology means, but in neighbouring Ghana, the same (IMT), Enugu, succeeded in staging a peaceful reality exists. But Ghana is faring better; in fact so much better that Nigerian parents who can protest to the Government House. It is noteworthy to mention that the crisis at afford it are sending their children to study in EKSU has been on for over three years. The fees Ghanaian schools (as “foreigners”) – secondary were increased in 2009, when Segun Oni of the and university. What are they doing right that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was governor. we are not? Ghana’s population is almost the same as that The students kicked; nothing happened. It remained a cat and mouse game until Oni was of Lagos, less than 30 percent of Nigeria’s total, ousted by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, but who says we cannot find out what they and the Kwara State capital. In 2010, in came Kayode others like Mauritius (another smaller African

Ngozi Agbo

nation) are doing right education-wise and use them as springboards for our own homegrown solution? I call for an emergency solution to our education challenges because I see a time-bomb waiting to explode. The ignorance in the land is overwhelming. We see it in our semi-literate leaders who do not know their left from their right when it comes to leadership. Last week I wrote on “The price of ignorance”. Drive on our roads and you are left wondering if many motorists ever went to school. It is not in the certificates we parade; it is in the values we allow to guide our actions and decisions. Meanwhile, in many rural areas the stark ignorance is only rivaled by the moral decadence. Young girls between 14 and 20 are competing to breed children (in and outside of marriage), HIV/AIDS prevalence is rising and no one seems to think anything is wrong. Indeed, I am reminded of Asa’s song “Fire on the mountain”. Like that prophetic singer puts it, it’s not just that there is fire right there on the mountain top (where it is most glaring that even the blind can see it), the worry is that “no one is a-running”! In other words, among those who should provide the leadership and chart the way forward, no one seems bothered. That is the tragedy. In our story on the EKSU fee war, a freshman Medical student whose parents told to forfeit the admission due to lack of money swore that he would not do so. Rather, he said, he would do anything and everything to raise the money. On the face of it, this seems like good old determination; but not to me. I see raw desperation here. And that is where we have pushed most of our young to (that is, those who even see the need). But it does not have to be so. Nigeria is ruled today by men and women mainly between 45 and 65. This is the generation that has mostly benefitted from this country in terms of free access to quality education and what comes with it. Is it too much for the same generation to bend over backwards if need be just to provide the same to their children? Is it? Ciao

‘Acting fulfils me’

Eniwake Orogun, a 500-Level student of Soil Science at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), is the president of the Students’ Union Government. He told GILBERT ALASA (300-Level Foreign Languages) how he has been adding value to students’ life on campus.

‘I’ll walk the talk’


S it correct to call Eniwake Orogun a politician? I think I will say yes, because, to a large extent, the love for politics has got the best of me over the last few years. But, above all, I am a social crusader. What leadership positions have you held prior to becoming the SUG president? As a 100-level student, I became a parliamentarian at the Faculty of Agriculture. Later, I rose to become the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Association of Agriculture Students (UNIBEN chapter). I became the president of the same body in 2010. In 2011, I was the Electoral Commissioner representing Isoko students at the National Association of Delta State Students (NADESSU) and, of course, in the sa,e year I became the president of the Students’ Union Government. Many students appreciate your oratorical prowess. Do you think that’s enough for your administration to be successful? Not exactly. But, at the same time, the content of your brain is a reflection of how much you have poured in overtime. Leadership is a combination of charisma and intelligence. And competence comes from your knowledge base. For me, I think I have all it takes to bring changes to UNIBEN students. Time, of course, shall tell better. What would you like to be remembered for, at end of your tenure? I want my administration to be remembered for walking the talk. When I came into office, expectations were high and so, I don’t want to be a disappointment. During my campaign, I assured students of practical entrepreneurial initiatives that would put money in their pockets. Presently, the UNIBEN-SUG Entrepreneurial Week is underway and opportunities would be given to students to become selfreliant. We have entered into partnership with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) in our quest to improve the allround competence of our students and


rid the society of white-collar job mentality. Again, we just got a boost from the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to construct a 1000seater multi-purpose hall. This provides a conducive atmosphere for students to learn. All these are geared towards giving students value and a sense of belonging. Surely, I will walk the talk. And I believe my results will speak for me when the curtain falls on my administration. Your election was credited to have spurred ethnic rivalry between Edo and Delta students at the here in UNIBEN. What really happened? Politics is a game of interest. It was that interest that motivated political leaders in UNIBEN to give me their votes. While it is true that I enjoyed massive support from Delta State students, Edo students equally stood behind me. As much as tribal sentiments cannot be taken away, I won the election because the entire students saw reasons to throw their weight behind me. That’s why in my appreciation message just after the election, I made it clear that whatever happened during that election

was strictly political and should not be taken personal. I represent the Edo people as much as the Deltans and other ethnic groups in the university. It is said that unionism has lost its charm and has become a façade for self-aggrandisement. Do you agree with this notion? No, I don’t. We must understand that the challenges that befell unionism then are not the same as those we currently face. In the past, unionism required some traits of militancy for results to be achieved. Then, physical combat or force was required to achieve certain ends. Now, we have a democracy and union leaders have had to resort to the 3C’s of achieving results: consultation, consolidation and confrontation. From my experience, authorities do not allow things to get to the confrontation stage. This is because, when it gets to that stage, things go awry. But while we must admit that some union leaders are self-serving, it is not correct to say that the objective of the struggle has been lost. How do you think staff union strikes can be best averted in our universities? Strikes are products of breaches in agreements between parties. The Federal Government must make concerted efforts to respect agreements it enters into. It is better not to agree ab inito than to agree and disagree later. Such action erodes public trust. And without it, there can be no collaboration to achieve results. The foundation of every institution is trust. If the government had realised how crucial education is, the issue of broken promises would not arise in the first place. However, I believe government cannot do everything alone. Consequently, this demands that private organisations invest in education because there is return on capital (ROI) as the graduates contribute to the economy in the long run.



HY are you into acting? Acting is part of me and I will continue to act till the end of my life. This profession is a noble one. Looking at our environment, rural and urban areas are full of troubles, such us kidnapping, religious and political crises and others. As a crusader actor who really wants changes in the country, I see it as a call to brace up to call for sufficient redress. How long have you been acting? I can trace it back to when my father fell in l ove with my mother; it was acting. Even when I was born, it was a drama. So, jokes apart, I can say that was when it started with me. What assurances do you have that you will excel in the highly competitive entertainment world? When I started here in this university, some expressed doubts, wondering what someone from the sciences was doing acting. But I resolved not to allow my talent to waste or lie fallow because of the criticism. Truth is that acting comes naturally to me; it makes me happy and fulfilled. Sometimes people do see it as if is distracting me from my academics but my classmates can testify to whether I am lagging behind or not. You sing and crack jokes as well. Many see you as a complete act. How do you manage that? Like I already told you, this is a gift from God. But the idea of comedy manifested from my primary school days particularly when we were having end of the year social activities then.

Wisdom Odinaka is a 300-Level student of Botany at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu State. But beyond his course of study, he is popular as an actor. He told OLADELE OGE (300Level Mass Communication) that his eyes are on the movie industry. I used to crack jokes to liven up the events. What would you tell people like you who are gifted but are doing nothing about it? First and foremost, there is the need for proper training; this helps one to have a better understanding of whatever one is doing. Acting is not easy, some are forcing themselves to act because they don’t have the talents in the first place; they are simply drawn by the lure of the profession. The most difficult thing is to start by discovering your talents, how can you know what is in you? I started like a joke but today I am making something tangible with what I have been given by God. Everyone must start from somewhere. Do not be lazy and also do not fold your arms waiting for the big names to come and discover you. In two years’ time, you’d be graduating. What area are you going to major in? It could be comedy, could be play, could be anything - local or international. As I said earlier, I want to start with addressing the challenges facing Nigeria at this point. My aim is to correct our leaders as well as ordinary Nigerians so that we will start to uphold the right values and thus do things well.




A strike that never was •Continued from page 29

through his Commissioner of Education, Dr Eniola Ajayi, denied knowledge of the new fees. He emphasised the government’s commitment to making education affordable. The statement reads: “In as much as the state government respects university autonomy, the EKSU management should also be mindful of government’s promise to provide affordable education to its students and their parents. The state has, therefore, ordered a thorough investigation into the basis of the said publication to properly review the list for the benefit of our students”. Besides, a source said there would not have been any crisis, but for the seeming naivity of the authorities. “All the fees were being paid at the faculty level. What they have now done is to centralise the payment. There are no new fees,” the source said. What to pay as fees has been mired in controversy since 2009, during the days of former Governor Segun Oni. The students paid between N91,750 and N200,750. In October, 2010, the Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin declared Dr Kayode Fayemi as the elected Governor of Ekiti State. On October 16, at his inauguration, Fayemi had ordered the reversal of the school fees to not more than N50,000. The students jubilated, especially as those who paid the initial fee were told that that would be carried over for two sessions. Trouble began in 2011 when they were asked to pay another school fees as the roll-over no longer had effect. Those students affected were the 2009/2010 matriculating students. CAMPUSLIFE learnt that while most of them had already told their parents that they won’t have to pay another school fees in 200Level, others had collected money which they squandered on electronics, Blackberry phones and

birthday parties. Having been caught napping, the students boiled and threatened a show down with the management and government for reneging on their word. The first protest against this was in July 2011, when the 200-Level students were not cleared for the first semester examination because of they could not provide the school fee receipt. They trooped out in large numbers singing anti-management and antigovernment songs in front of the school administrative building. The then Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dada Adelowo, addressed the students. After weeks of deliberation and exam postponement, they were allowed to write the examination. Upon resumption of second semester, the students began from where they stopped, saying they were not going to pay the roll-over school fees. There was a series of meetings between the Students’ Union executive, the management and the state government, but no agreement was reached. The students protested again in October. They barricaded the Ado – Ifaki Road, leaving commuters on the ever-busy highway stranded for hours. After about six hours, armed mobile policemen forcefully dispersed the students with teargas and arrested some of them. This was followed by the dissolution of the Students’ Union, led by Olalekan Shittu. Eventually, most of the students had to pay the fee. While some sold their personal property, others managed to lobby their parents to provide the money. Thereafter, the ASUU strike forced everyone to sit at home for two months. With the suspension of the strike, many of the affected students, now mainly in 200 and 300-Levels, hurriedly returned to school, hoping to write the postponed previous session’s General Studies (GST) examination which was slated for February 13 and 14. But the examination was rescheduled and resumption

•The protesting students being stopped by policemen

We don’t know who to believe between the government and the management; we have refused to be fooled by anyone. slated for February 20. A few left school. Population in the school rose drastically as a result of the merger of University of Science and Technology students who numbered over 2,000 and students from The University of Education, Ikere Ekiti numbering over 3,000. This led to increase in house rent and other services in the school environs. This was not helped by the news of the hike in fees by the university. Tempers were already at boiling point. Lasisi Adegboyega is in 300-Level Agric Economics. He said: “We don’t know who to believe between the

government and the management; we have refused to be fooled by anyone. This is no different to the imposed fees that we kicked against during Segun Oni and Prof Dipo Kolawole leadership. EKSU students are not intimidated by the number of policemen on patrol; we shall revisit the case, if nothing is done. We cannot continue to suffer and be in hardship for nothing; the security of students is not guaranteed, no water, no electricity to read at night. Most of our laboratories are not well equipped. We are sick of this poor management agenda and if the idea to proscribe our union is a plan to

shut us up, they have missed it”. The Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ajibade Olubunmi, has urged the students to adhere strictly to the new fees. He said the new fees schedules are now available at all faculties’ and Students’ Union notice boards. He urged students to visit their departments and the school web-site for details. Reacting to the development, the newly elected NANS/JCC Chairman in Ekiti, Agbonton Nunayon, pleaded with Fayemi to hasten the investigation and ensure that the fees are “drastically reduced”. A 100-Level medical student who does not want his name in print said: “My parents told me to forfeit my admission because they cannot pay the new fee. But I’m not ready to do that; I will do anything to raise the money because it is my childhood dream to study Medicine and I can’t let money stop me now”.

The passing out parade of the 2011 Batch ‘A’ Corps members in Anambra State took place a fortnight ago. The ceremony was low-key because of the prevailing security challenges, reports BUSAYOUR DADA.

Without fanfare


HE passing out parade of Batch A corps members in Anambra State, like in many other states, was without fanfare. Rather than gather in Awka, the state capital, corps members had passing out parades at their individual zonal headquarters. In Onitsha Zone, which comprises Onitsha South, Onitsha North, Idemili South, Idemilii North and Ogbaru local councils, the event held at the palace of the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe. The corps members from the zone were seated before 9am, waiting anxiously for officials of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). It was apparent that they were mainly eager to collect their NYSC discharge certificate which would signify the successful end of their service year. The Zonal Inspector, Mr. John Olugbade, and his entourage soon arrived. With him were Mr. N. Nwocho, the NYSC Head of Inspectorates (HI) in Anambra State; Mrs. Ethel Kwazu, the Onitsha North Local Government inspector. There were other local government inspectors within the

•Outgoing corps members in Onitsha during the ceremony.

zone. Olugbade welcomed the corps members and wished them well in their future endeavours. He said: “I congratulate you today for the success of your NYSC exercise. You have finished serving your fa-

therland; I am wishing you the best. Make sure you remain of good behaviour that you have demonstrated through your service year. Be law-abiding citizens and always be your brother’s keeper. May you be favoured in the labour market.”

The last part of his speech was welcomed with a thunderous “Amen!” from the youths. Thereafter, it was the turn of Nwocho to deliver the message of the State Coordinator, Mr. Solomon Ochim. He urged the graduating

corps members to make good use of what they have been taught as well as experiences garnered in the course of the 12-month service year. He added: “As I congratulate you on your successful passing out today, I also wish you the best in life after the NYSC. You are well behaved as corps members, so continue with that good behaviour after service. “On the issue of security, let us all remember that we have no other country which we can call our own except Nigeria. In that light, we must learn to live with and tolerate people from different backgrounds and beliefs. As you pass out of the NYSC, remember this: patience and focus will always get you to the top,” he concluded. Some corps members who spoke with CAMPUSLIFE said they were somewhat disappointed with the fact that they passed out at the zonal headquarters. They said they had expected to go to Awka and be able to see some friends they met at the orientation camp but had not managed to see again in the course of the service year. However, all were happy that their service year ended on a peaceful note. Abdulljelili Hammed who served with Arch Consults, an engineering firm in Onitsha, summed his colleagues’ opinions thus: “Through the POP was low-key, I thank God that the journey ended well. I wish every graduating corps member the best in life”.



CAMPUS LIFE Corps member dies after fetching water


•Igbo students during the rally to mourn Ojukwu.

Igbo students mourn Ojukwu


GBO students, under the aegis of Federation of Igbo Students (FIS), have joined Igbo people to mourn the death of Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu. In its meeting which was held at Cultural Centre, Calabar, the students turned out en mass for a street rally to mark the event. Speaking at the rally, FIS national president, Prince Nkoroh described the late Ojukwu as one of those whose efforts led to the independence of Nigeria. Students from various higher institutions filed out with customised polo shirts, singing dirges in honour of the late Ikemba. Nkoroh said: “The fifth

From Emmanuel Shebbs and Isaac Mensah UNICAL

and sixth lines of the National Anthem say the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain. This is the reason of our gathering here today. We have heard about this great man since we were kids in this land. We have heard of his principled stance against oppression in this country. This is why we have come here to show him the respect.” One of the participants, Chidi Kalu, who came from the University of Jos (UNIJOS) said: “Ojukwu’s

demise has united Indi Igbo more than anything.” Another student, Michael Njoku from Imo State University (IMSU) said: “Though, we mourn the death of our respected father, as you can see, we are not crying. We are only giving him the respect he deserved from us.” Nkoroh told the gathering that he would mobilise Igbo students nationwide for the burial ceremony. He said: “We shall attend the burial in our numbers. The rally is a sign of greater gathering over there. I want to appeal to our fathers to support us in best way they can to ensure we attend the ceremony.”

HIS past February was a month of sorrow for corps members serving in Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra State. One of them, Mary Joseph, died two weeks after contracting what was described as an “unknown illness.” Her colleagues gathered at the palace of the Igwe of Onitsha to mourn Mary, who hailed from Akwa Ibom State. Mary, who graduated from the University of Calabar (UNICAL), died on the morning of February 5, two weeks after going into a coma. On January 22, she was said to be fetching water during which she complained of weakness. According to an eyewitness, she collapsed soon after and was immediately taken to Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha. When Mary’s condition did not improve, she was transferred to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, where she was placed on life support machine. “On January 30, Mary was taken to another hospital, where her brain was scanned to unravel the source of the ailment but all to no

Sierra Leone students elect leaders


HE National Association of Sierra Leonne Students in Nigeria has elected officers to oversee the affairs of the association. The election took place last Thursday at the basement of University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) auditorium. The election was coordinated by Issa Kamara and produced

•The late Mary From Busayour Dada NYSC ONITSHA

avail,” said one of her colleagues. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) inspector for Onitsha Zone, Mr John Olugbade, described Mary’s death as painful. He said: “I am short of words. It is painful to lose such a promising young citizen. We tried our best to save her, but our effort was fruitless. May God protect the remaining corps members and put a stop to the untimely death of youths, who we see as tomorrow’s leaders. I pray God gives her family the fortitude to bear the loss.” Mary’s colleagues said she was easy going. Her remains were buried in Lagos last Thursday. From Michael Adebayo UNILORIN

Abdul Koroma, a student of UNILORIN, as the president. Others elected included Muhammed Aruma, of Ahamadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Vice President; Suleman Tofana, of University of Lagos (UNILAG), General Secretary; Alimomi Bangura of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Financial Secretary; Sandra Musujusu, of Federal University of Technology, Yola (FUTY), Treasurer and Muhammed Lolleh of ABU Zaria as the Public Relations Officer.

Freshers undergo orientation


•Some of the beneficiaries of the scholarship.

Delta awards indigenes scholarship HEN, in 2011, the Delta State Government awarded Local Undergraduate Scholarship to indigent students and promised to continue same until their graduation, many people may have thought it was a political statement to garner support for the re-election of the governor. However, last Thursday the government kept to its promise when it paid N100,000 to 367 undergraduates, who have a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.5 and above in their course of study.


From Philip Okorodudu DELSU

Smiles adorned the faces of the beneficiaries, who urged the government to continue the scheme to encourage excellence and hard work. Emmanuel Olele, 400-Level Petroleum and Gas Engineering, Delta State University (DELSU), expressed joy, saying “one obvious achievement of the government in Delta State is in the education sector, which the governor has promoted to ensure academic excellence through the award of various scholarships.”

Handsel Nzekwe, 400-Level Mathematics, University of Benin (UNIBEN), said the scholarship has made him to work hard in his study so as to be benefiting from the scheme. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, in his address, enjoined the students to always be in their best behaviour, while describing them as worthy ambassadors of the state. The award of scholarship was witnessed by top government functionaries including the speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly.

HE Head of Mathematics and Statistics Department at the Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUT MINNA), Prof Yomi Aiyesimi, has advised freshers in the department to shun examination malpractices. He was speaking at the orientation programme organised for the fresh students by the 2011/2012 executive council of the National Association of Mathematical Science Students (NAMSS), FUT MINNA chapter. The orientation with the theme Mathematical applications to real world Problems was held at the New Lecture Hall 1, Bosso campus. Prof Aiyesimi said if the students put in their best in academic work, they would surely come out in flying colours. A senior lecturer in the department, Dr Yusuph Yahaya, who spoke on

From Faith Olaniran FUT MINNA

how students can apply mathematics processes in solving the problem in the real world, said the students needed to set goals for themselves in realising and achieving their dreams. Quoting Mavis Beacon’s word, Dr Yahaya said: “Anything you command on yourself, set time for it and you will achieve it.” NAMSS president, Stanley Udeh, said the ceremony was to inform the new students about the department and make them aware of what was expected of them to achieve better grades. Moses Eneche, a 200-Level student, said such event always help freshers to understand the department better. Solomon Igbokwe, 100-Level, said he had been enlightened by the seminar.



CAMPUS LIFE Alumni awards pioneers


HE alumni of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, chose February 23 to appreciate the role played by the founding principal officers of the university. Past Vice- Chancellors were honoured in the maiden Alumni Role Model Awards. Honoured were the first VC, Prof Olusegun Oke (1990-1997); his successor, Prof A. M. Salau (1997-2005). The pioneer dean of Student Affairs, the Public Relations Officer and Registrar were awarded during the ceremony. Prof A. A. Adedibu and Prof O. P. Faboya of the Urban and Regional Planning and Chemistry departments were equally honoured. Former Students’ Union leaders Bankole Kazeem,

From Oluwaseun Oke LAUTECH

Nurudeen Adigun, Ayo Adeyemo and Mr Sikiru Owonikoko received awards for their contributions to the school’s progress. The chairman of the occasion, who is the Acting VC of the institution, Prof A. S. Gbadegesin, praised the alumni body for deeming it fit to recognise the era of the pioneers of the institution and for bringing the former Vice-Chancellors together. The body donated books to the central library of the institution. The national president of the Alumni body, Dr Tunde Olabiyisi, assured the management of the alumni’s support.

•A cross section of the audience at the quiz competition.

Corps members hold quiz for pupils


EMBERS of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) under the aegis of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Community Service Integrity Group, in the Akoko South-West Local Government Area of Ondo State, have held an inter-secondary schools quiz completion for pupils in the local government. According to the Schedule Officer of the group, Charles Adanri, the competition was part of the NYSC programmes for secondary schools to organise pupils into integrity group and sensitise them on the EFCC integrity anti-corruption manual, and subsequently organise quiz, debate and sports competitions for them.”

From Hannah Ojo NYSC AKURE

Earlier, the outgone President of the CD Integrity group, Chidinma Igweze, a 2011 Batch “A” corps member, encouraged the participating pupils to avoid distractions, just as the incumbent Vice-President, Oluwaseyi Oluwalade, a 2011 Batch “B” corps member, who was the quiz master, reeled out the rules guiding the competition. The competition took place in the African Church Grammar School, Oka-Akoko and featured eight participants drawn from four secondary schools in the area. The schools are Oroke High School, Akungba-Akoko; Ojomirin High School, Oka-Akoko; the Community Comprehensive High School,

Akungba-Akoko and African Church Grammar School, OkaAkoko. At the end of the competition, Fausat Shaibu of Oroke High School came first, while Sarah Akinwunmi and Sadiat Abubakar both of the African Church Secondary School came second and third respectively. The three pupils will represent the local government in the grand finale, which comes up later in the the month. Fausat thanked God for her victory and expressed optimism to repeat the feat at the final stage. Serah and Sadiat said they were afraid at the start of the competition but thanked God for their success. They expressed confidence to win the final competition.

•The Alumni members presenting gifts to former principal officers of LAUTECH.

Poly matriculates freshers HE Federal Polytechnic, Offa (OFFA POLY) has held its 19th matriculation for fresh students admitted for the 2010/2011 academic session. Also, various projects were inaugurated as part of the programmes marking the ceremony. The Rector of the institution, Dr Mufutau Olatinwo, congratulated the new students, stating that “statistics shows that over 100,000 applicants applied for various programmes in the polytechnic this academic session but we could only admit less than two percent of the number.” The Rector re-emphasised the commitment of the management to deliver quality training so as to produce graduates that could fit into the developmental agenda of the government and the aspirations of the society. He urged the students not to relent in their primary assignment on the campus, saying “the Academic Board of the polytechnic will


Govt donates buses to students •Some of the physically challenged pupils displaying their gifts.

Students share love with the physically challenged O

N February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, when many people were involved in romantic activities, the Nigerian Medical Students’ Association (NiMSA) visited the home of the physically-challenged students to donate gifts. The venue was St. Mary’s Rehabilitation and Development Centre, Ipetumodu, Osun State. The home has a considerable number of children with disability, some of whom could not speak while others’ sight and hearing organs were malfunctioning. The NiMSA president, Omobude Eilojie, observed that the visit was informed by the first visit of the association to the home. He said: “We were challenged by

From Samson Ademola OAU

the experience we had when we first visited this place. Every child was handled based on his or her unique. We recognise that many of these children are not exposed to the kind of opportunities we enjoy out there, so we consider it necessary to come and share love with them on a day like this.” Anuri Emeh, the Media Relations Officer of the group told CAMPUSLIFE: “This is a pretty good stunt. St. Mary’s Resource and Development Centre is giving these children another chance for

life.” The children sang and danced to some Christian songs to appreciate the gesture of the medical students. The NiMSA donated clothes, food items and writing materials to the children. Representing the coordinator of the centre, Sis Rosemary Etim appreciated NiMSA for contributing “meaningful materials” to the centre. She said: “On behalf of the coordinator, Sister Elizabeth Kehinde, the Bishop of Osogbo Diocese, Gabriel Abegunrin, I want to appreciate you. We have nothing to offer you, but God will reward your labour of love.”


O cushion the effect of the high cost of transportation following the removal of subsidy on fuel, Ekiti State has donated three buses to students of Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti.After subsidy removal, the students face problem of transporting themselves to the campus. The fare from Ado to campus was N50

From Akinola Oluyi OFFA POLY

not hesitate to withdraw any student who performs below expectation in his or her academic work.” Dignitaries included Deans of faculties, heads of department, members of governing council, lecturers and invited guests. Speaking to CAMPUSLIFE after the ceremony, the Dean of Student Affairs (DSA), Adeyinka Adeyemi, advised students to approach his office if any has a complaint, saying lawlessness would not be condoned. Hammed Abiodun, admitted to study Computer Science, expressed gratitude to God for his admission into the polytechnic. After the matriculation ceremony, the Campus Radio and Love Garden Recreational Centre built by the Students Union Government (SUG) were inaugurated by the Rector. Answering questions from CAMPUSLIFE Mr. Adebanjo Davies, a staff in Student Affairs unit, said the SUG officials were dynamic. He urged students to cooperate with the school management and the SUG to move the polytechnic to a greater height. From Olanrewaju Awe EKSU

before the subsidy removal but it was increased to N100 later. Ayomide Oguntoyinbo, 200-Level Philosophy, said: “When I actually came back from home, I was planning to stay with one of my friends, but with these new buses, I am not squatting with my friends again.” Michael Imole said the government surprised the students by providing them buses that would take them to their various destinations at a reduced price. Mayowa Adegun, a 200-Level student, said it was a good development for the school.



CAMPUS LIFE Governor Gabriel Suswam received unscheduled visitors last Wednesday. Angry medical students from the Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi, stormed his office over the non-completion of the university’s teaching hospital. MSONTER ANZAA (200-Level Medicine) was there.

Suswam’s unusual visitors


AST Wednesday, students of the College of Health Sciences, Benue State University (BSU), occupied the Government House. They are aggrieved over the non-completion of the University Teaching Hospital and the non-accreditation of their programme. The students, numbering about 172 and dressed in their laboratory coats, came in many buses. They were led by Innocent Abah, a 400-Level student and president of the Benue State University Medical Students Association (BESUMSA). The delegation was stopped by security operatives as it advanced towards the gates of the Government House. The Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the governor, who met the students later, said Suswam had gone to Abuja. He advised the students to return to the college and leave their contacts so that he would notify them whenever the Governor returned. The students however refused and said since they were not in a hurry, they would wait at the gates for as long as it would take the Governor to return. As they said so, they camped around the gates, sitting on the pavement of the street leading into the Government House. Much later, the CSO returned and led the students into the Banquet Hall of the Government House where the Deputy Governor, Chief Steven Lawani, met them on behalf of Governor Gabriel Suswam. Relaying to the Deputy Governor why they were there, Innocent said his delegation consisted of the most “depressed, unfocused and frustrated students” of the university. He said after nine years in the institution, they had “simply become hopeless and needed to go to the Governor and find out if there was any plan at all for us”. He reminded the Deputy Governor that since the inception of the medical school in 2003 and the beginning of work on the University Teaching Hospital in 2005, the only accreditation granted was for the pre-clinical programme. He further complained that in spite of various take-off dates given

•Cross-section of medical students sitting at Benue government house.

•The students marching to the government house.

almost every year since 2006, no date materialized; a development which made the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council, NMDC, threaten to close down the college in 2011 if it was not invited for accreditation. Chief Lawani was also told that the college management had written the NMDC to come for the accreditation, but wondered what kind of invitation that was, that made the NMDC not to even set a date almost a month after; “some-

thing it usually does two weeks from the date of invitation”. According to the BESUMSA president, nine years was enough time for the students to complete any basic degree programme, obtain a masters and be pursuing a doctorate. In conclusion, he said: “We are tired of sitting and watching our future and that of health in Benue waste away”. Replying to the issues raised, the Deputy Governor said he and the Governor appreciated the students’ predicament and understood where

they were coming from. Chief Lawani told the students that the government was aware of what could happen if the teaching hospital was not ready on time and had therefore given more attention to the project in the last 30 days than it has ever done. He said no one was more anxious for the hospital to be completed than Governor Suswam. He admitted that if the government had pursued the project with the aggression it was doing so now, the work would have been completed,

but said he was more interested in what could be done henceforth. Chief Lawani assured the students that government would not rest until the hospital was completed as it was in touch with the organs concerned to ensure everything worked on schedule. A 400-Level student, John Idiku, then delivered an emotive prayer that made the delegation weep loud and long before the Deputy Governor and his team. Comrade Idiku lamented that nine years after, some of them watched their parents die without benefiting from the costly investment the parents were making in them. He said most painfully, the students watched their parents die without being able to offer them basic health care. A 400-Level student and former President of BESUMSA, Comrade Terfa Asue, remarked that he had spent seven years in the transition between 300Level and 400-Level alone, and said the situation was simply intolerable. The meeting took a dramatic turn when the students refused to leave after the Deputy Governor left. They said they were not satisfied with the answers given since no date had been given. Some of them who spoke said the Banquet Hall was a very comfortable place to sit and wait for the University Teaching Hospital to be completed, since they “do not even have anything to do in school”. They were however prevailed upon by the Commissioner of Health, the CSO and other security operatives in the hall through a long process of negotiation that lasted about an hour. They agreed to leave, but promised they were not going far and could be back if things do not work as expected. The Deputy Governor gave them N500,000 to use to offset their transport cost from and back to the college. It would be recalled that the noncompletion of the teaching hospital has caused the college difficulty in running its programmes. The result is that the students cannot go beyond 400-Level, no matter how many years they have spent in the college. At present, there are five 400-Level classes, one 300-Level class, three 200-Level classes and no 100-Level class, since the college stopped admitting new students in 2011. A visit to the University Teaching Hospital revealed that work seemed at an advanced stage, as most structures were complete, painted and locked. What were left, CAMPUSLIFE learnt, were finishing touches, installation of equipment, furniture, running water and a waste disposal system.

Restoring education standard The standard of education, it is generally believed, has dropped. As part of measures to revamp the sector, an Education Summit was held in Lagos last week. WALE AJETUNMOBI was there.


DUCATION is central to the realisation of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. But the snag is our educational institutions are said to be producing half-baked graduates. Experts added that standards have fallen - from primary to tertiary institutions. According to them, the failure to arrest the slide could lead to more fundamental problem. This among other reasons is why Mides Global Associates, an educational body, organised the maiden Education Summit and Prize for Ex-

cellence. It is aimed at offering fresh impetus towards reforming the sector. The summit took place last Thursday at Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. According to the organisers, the yearly conference will serve as a roundtable where problems bedeviling the sector, from primary to higher institutions, will be discussed by stakeholders, whose recommendations will then be forwarded to the necessary quarters for action. Guest speaker at the event was Prof Constance Nwosu from Babcock

•From left: Mr Onoja; Rev Sister Mary; Josiah Akhigbe; Mrs Chidimma Aham-Chiabuotu and Mrs Mae Solomon.

University. There was the former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Sarah Sosan, who was represented by her husband, Commander Oluseyi

Sosan. Others were the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Julius Okojie, who was represented by Director of

Lagos office of NUC, Barr Victor Onuoha; representatives of Rivers State Commissioner for Education •Continued on page 36




My view on professors’ retirement age U

NTIL recently, the issue of the retirement age of lecturers in Nigerian universities has been a contentious one. There has been the radical insistence in some quarters, especially from the academia, that retiring the university teachers at 65 is a callous waste of the nation’s manpower. Some argued 65 years is too early to retire a lecturer still bubbling with physical energy and mental vigour, saying should experienced university teachers be retired at that “prime” age, then whatever remains of the glory of university education in Nigeria would decline irreversibly. As rational as this point of view may seem, one thing is clear: it hinted at a parochial interest. The argument portrays young lecturers as tenderfoot in the job of the academic. The proponents of 70 years retirement age fear that

vacuum that would be created if experienced teachers leave the ivory tower after meritorious services may not be filled by these budding lecturers. If this argument is worthwhile, then it shows that these seemingly indispensable professors have failed. For, a good leader should be able to raise a worthy successor even before he retires. In the present case, these professors, in my own opinion, have the responsibility of raising dependable successors who would take over from them. But it appears this is not the case. This perhaps explains why the call for raising retirement age was vociferous. But how do we want the young lecturers to grow and fill the positions left by the aging professors? This is not good, because in most universities, the positions of heads of departments and deans are exclusively reserved for professors.

Our young lecturers should be encouraged to aspire to the pinnacle of their career. This cannot be achieved if there are no vacancies for them to fill, a situation that may discourage some of the agile lecturers to look elsewhere since they are denied the opportunity to excel. Therefore, the exit of these young teachers from the academia would not equally augur well for our education system. It was James Garfield who noted that “next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be maintained.” T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), one of the most celebrated English poets, was more concerned about the functionality of education when he noted: “It is, in fact, a part of the function of education to help us to escape, not from our own time – for we are bound by that – but from the intellectual and emotional

limitations of our time.” But Kevin Rudd seems to weave Garfield’s and Eliot’s views and arrived at a single position, which ultimately captured the importance of education, especially in the modern era. He said: “Education is a tool of social justice as well as a fundamental driver of economic development.” It bleeds my heart that among all the challenges that our university system is experiencing, the 70 years retirement Bill for university teachers was passed into law on January 18, 2012 ahead of other problems bedeviling the sector. I make bold to say that the law will be a threat to the educational system. People who have attained the age of 60 to 65 can no longer be counted as those capable of handling students effectively in academic activities. One believes that at that age, they should retire and

By Betty Ubani

be given all the benefits and entitlements that would make them to exclaim: “thank God that I have retired after raising those who will fit into my position.” Betty, is a student of Dramatic Art, OAU, Ile-Ife

Campuses should be included in anti-corruption war


ORRUPTION, the virus that has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigerian life, is now looking like a Pandora’s Box that cannot be closed again. Corruption is manifesting itself in the lives of both young and old, king and his chiefs, chairmen of companies and the subordinates, school managements and students. Even, with the setting-up of antigraft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC), corruption is waxing stronger every day. Yet our leaders pretend not to see its manifestation in our national life. Even when they do, they prefer using a stick and carrot approach in combating this growing menace.

By Akindotun Akintomide

Every Nigerian has continued to point accusing finger at the top, I would not say they are wrong. But, do they also know that corruption happens in our homes, private offices and higher institutions of learning. The corrupt practice witnessed on campus is just a small model of what is obtainable in larger structure of the government. Many students usually contest for various positions in sundry associations on campus, not because of genuine interest and authentic vision; they contest for positions in schools to chop of our contributed money we pay as dues, which are meant to serve us a purpose. Too bad. Last session, in Petroleum Training Institute, Effurum, corruption al-

legations were levied against some executive members in the Students’ Union Government (SUG) and this may delay their graduation, if they are found guilty. My point is: if the SUG executive officials on campus could mismanage funds that was gathered from the little stipend given to us by parents, there is no doubt they would steal billions of naira when they get to office as high as Nigeria’s presidency if they are opportune. The students of today would later become presidents, governors, senators, ministers, heads of various public and private parastatals in years to come. If corruption continues to thrive in the campus without anybody or agency stopping it, there is no doubt that future is dim for this country. We need many messiahs that would redeem our country’s image among the league of nations, to im-

about the future of this country. We must keep our eyes gazed at SUGs and other student associations on campus to monitor the hanky-panky games being played by the so-called tomorrow’s leaders. In doing this, we must not be indifferent but rather proactive to remove corruption out of our campuses. If campus is overlooked in the battle against corruption, then the future looks dicey for Nigeria, the land of our common destiny. If taken as a sole task, I believe we can all find a solution to this problem. I heard someone softly saying it is impossible. Always be positive. It begins with you, it begins from campus. Akindotun, HND 1 Welding and Fabrication Engineering Technology, PTI

One course every student offers

Misnomer called Valentine’s Day



HE Saint Valentine’ Day is such a memorable day many people look forward to. Its approach makes people, especially the young, to feel nervous. Millions of people ask: from whom will I get a gift? Who will be my Val? A lady who has many boyfriends chooses one to be her Val and a guy with many girlfriends chooses the most beautiful among the flock to go out with. What should I buy for my lover? If I get expensive gift, for how long will I pay off my debt? These are some of the questions that always come to the mind of people who religiously observe the lovers’ day. Despite these concerns, Valentine’s Day remains very popular, especially among the youths. In fact, the commemoration of the day has become festival of sort, in which period many red colour adorns everywhere as though Christmas is around the corner. One begins to wonder: how does unjust death of an Italian saint become a festival that promotes immoral behaviour in a black society? Many readers may, perhaps, disagree with the point of view being expressed here. But if we collectively look at the issue dispassionately, it will be discovered that the disadvantage is more than the gain. First, St. Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest that lived in third century. He was killed by the Roman pagan authority of the time for his belief in Christianity. Years later, precisely 496, Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14 to be the feast day to celebrate this martyr. Valentine’s murder had nothing to do with courtship and there was no particular day on record on which he was killed. Moreover, St. Valentine was a Catholic adherent, who, by norm, was expected not to marry nor have any sexual affair with a woman. However, today’s celebrants of Valentine’s Day claim that it promoted love, unity and harmony in the society, hence they commemorate the day with orgy sexual activities. Meanwhile, should married couples choose a

prove our fallen standard of education, fight against poverty at the grassroots level, tackle the problem of insecurity and political instability among others in other to have a formidable Nigeria where everything works. The question is: Even with the level of corruption on campus, how can we become messiahs and solve all this generational problems? It is obvious that our leaders have failed us and have also succeeded in sowing the seed of corruption into the minds of the present generation of youths. If Nigeria must work, the mind of the youths must be freed from the virus of corruption. This will not happen if we begin to preach sweet words but to enforce the war against corruption on the campuses and prosecute offenders. This is a clarion call to all concerned

By Kehinde Saka particular day to declare love for one another? Also, if the priest (St. Valentine, that is) were to be alive today, he would not have approved of premarital sex as is being done by unmarried lovers who observe the day. No doubt, the celebration has made the cases of HIV/AIDS increase, with many losing their lives as a result of alcohol intake on the day. Yet, there is no verse in the Holy Qur’an and Bible that supports such immoral feast. According to a recent research, it is estimated that during Valentine’s Day, 7.5 million condoms are used within a minute in the United States. It is 2.5 million here in Nigeria and it is certain that majority of the people that use the condoms are not married. Now, how does a celebration that promotes premarital sex be of benefit to our society? Whether we are Christians or Muslims, it is a must that we show love to our neighbours and spouse every day. There should not be a baseless festival to vow our fidelity to our lovers. My message to fellow Nigerian students is that we must abstain totally from decadence that is fast becoming way the norm here. Don’t let us push our enjoyment beyond the regulations of the Almighty God that created us. Let us all say no to immoral activities on Valentine’s Day. Kehinde, 300-Level Zoology, UNILORIN

ROM my very first semester in higher institution in 2007, I have come to appreciate the way the school arranges itself through effective curriculum and corresponding time tables for every faculty, department and organisation, to help define her academic calendar. By the time I got to 300-Level, I had observations regarding the curriculum and timetable. This is what I want to share with readers and I will hit the nail on the head. Schools under the umbrella of Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria have never failed to incorporate in their curriculum, the course we have come to know as “ASUU Strike” and it has become a compulsory course that every student must take at one point in time or the other, sometimes repeatedly, as the case may be. It is noteworthy that it has become very obvious that virtually no academic session goes by without the course being recommended for students to study. There is no exact time for the course, because schools fix in the course on their calendars when the need arises. What informed this uncertainty is that lecturers must convene a meeting where timing will be adopted. The occurrence has become so frequent that one has lost count of periods students have been made to take this otherwise compulsory course. In 2007, the course was taken for three months. In May 2008, we experienced oneweek tutorial (warning strikes) on the course twice, the cause of which was as a result of a range of demands, including an improved salary scheme and reinstatement of 49 lecturers who were dismissed in University of Ilorin many years ago. In June 2009, it was an indefinite arrangement which was as a result of disagreement between ASUU and the Federal Government on an agreement they reached about two and half years ago. After another three months of

By Ugbochukwu Egwumba

going through the course, the government signed a pact in October 2009 with ASUU and the course ended. Now, I considered this one most frustrating for me: schools in Southeastern part of Nigeria (my school inclusive) went for another round of strike. It was six months of “carry over” course, sorry strike, as if we have not had enough of it. This was in 2010 into 2011. As we sat down to resume normal work after the Southeast strike was called off, ASUU announced another warning strike and later indefinite action. It started from December 5, 2011 to February 2, 2012. Some schools, like my school, even extended the resumption date beyond the ASUU date. This course has become so monotonous over time and is no longer funny to students. And we know that in no distant time, we will have to offer it again against our will and this makes people like me to hate the country in which I have found myself today. Does this have to continue as a trend? Can’t ASUU lock an agreement with the government and stop its agitations once and for all? Is the government of the day not willing to see to a better Nigeria by ensuring that the educational system is taken more seriously and given priority attention? Or do we have a “cabal” that holds the future of this country to ransom? Does the country derive joy to see leaders of tomorrow (which I happen to be one) sitting at home when they are supposed to be studying? I am tired of going through this course all over again. Something should be done about this. The education sector must be saved from unprofitable strikes such as the ones ASUU always embark on whenever it is feeling being cheated by the government. Ugochukwu, 500-Level Electrical and Electronics Engineering, IMSU




Across borders The University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) has hosted some foreign students from Commonwealth nations studying across the country. MICHAEL ADEBAYO (200-Level Computer Science) reports that it was a revealing week.


T was first of its kind. The programme, a concept of the Centre for International Education (CIE), University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), in collaboration with the Federal Scholarship Board (FSB), is designed as an annual event to orientate foreigners studying in Nigeria on its cultural heritage and value systems. In attendance were foreign scholars in from various institutions in the country. The theme was: “Orientation and Acculturation Programme for Commonwealth and Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) Scholars”. The Commonwealth and Bilateral Education agreement scholarship scheme allows citizens of Commonwealth nations to enjoy full scholarship in other nations of the organisation. Beneficiaries are known as foreign scholars. Participants of this maiden edition included citizen of Romania, Cuba, China, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Republic of Benin, Republic of Niger and Gambia who are studying in Nigerian universities like University of Calabar (UNICAL), Federal University of Technology, Yola (FUT Yola), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and the host institution, UNILORIN. About 30 of them participated, with 10 coming from UNILORIN. Though the ongoing semester examination was on during the period, it was nonetheless fulfilling for the visitors as they utilised their time to explore the “state of harmony”. There were five lecture presentations which spanned two days. These are “Nigerian history and cultural heritage,” by Prof Bolade Eyinla; “Social interactions and engagements as a visiting scholar in Nigeria,” by Prof Kolade Ayorinde; “Security and safety measures while studying in Nigeria,” by CSP Yomi Samuel, who represented the Kwara State Commissioner of Police; “Immigration requirements for foreign scholars,” by Mr. T. J. Esan, Kwara State Comptroller-General of Immigration Services; “Major tourist attractions in Nigeria,” by Mr. P. S. Usman, the Curator of Ilorin Museum. The participants visited the Network Operating Centre (NOC), Computer-Based Test (CBT) Centre, Library, Zoo, Sports Arena, Dam and

On and Off Campus

•Group of the participants with some members of staff ofUNILORIN after the event.

FM station all located within the institution. In order for them to have a feel of the Nigerian family system, the Home Stay Programme (HSP) was adopted. Through this, a foreign scholar is assigned to a fostering parent among staff members who will took such home as his or her adopted child throughout the programme period. Through this method, a Sierra Leonean studying Biotechnology at FUT Yola, Sandra Musujusu was christened “Oluwatomilayo” by the families of Prof Olugbenga Mokunolu, the Director for Centre for International Education. When asked by CAMPUSLIFE if she knew the meaning of her new name, she replied yes and went ahead to say it: “God is my overall joy.” On Wednesday, the scholars visited the Owu Falls where they had thrilling moments under the natural spring. The same day, they had dinner with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ishaq Oloyed,e at his lodge where they were served exotic Nigerian cuisines. The high points of the event were the separate courtesy calls on the Emir of Ilorin, HRH Ibraheem Sulu Gambari and the governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed. While receiving them, the Emir said they were August visitors whom he rarely sees in his palace. He said he was a Commonwealth product as he recalled how he bagged three different degrees from reputable institutions in England. He urged them to be focused and determined. The governor, on his part, praised the management of UNILORIN for what he called the innovative move. He implored the participants to see Kwara and Nigeria as safe havens. CAMPUSLIFE spoke with Prof Mokunolu, whose centre facilitated the programme. He said: “We saw the dire need for our foreign scholars to be well acquainted with the culture and happenings in Nigeria rather than for them to experiment by themselves and end up in a mess.

By Solomon Izekor 08061522600

That is why we sold the idea to FSB. I thank God for the success of the programme”. Mr. Rotimi Akinyele is a Director at FSB. He confirmed Mokunolu’s assertion, adding: “UNILORIN has set the pace and the programme will continue. Other hosting varsities will see this as a challenge to beat the feat.” Friday, the end of the weeklong programme, was time for farewells. Expectedly, it was an emotional moment. Florin, a Roman, who is studying in

UNILAG, said: “Ilorin is a place to be. I will surely revisit this town.” Alimomi Bangura, a Sierra Leonean studying at FUNAAB, had this to say: “I have unforgettable moments in Ilorin, thanks to the organisers of this programme. I now know what I did not know”. For another native of Sierra Leone, who simply gave her name as Lalai studying Electrical Electronics Engineering at FUT Yola, this is her conclusion: “Generally, Nigerians are accommodating but Kwara is exceptional in this regard”.

•Mrs. Chinyere Ekeh (second left) after her graduation from the University of Lagos. Left is her husband, Mr Desmond Ekeh and (right) Mrs. Yemisi Mbaka and Mr. Deola Odunowo, all of Synthesis Communications.

Restoring education standard •Continued from page 34

and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria (UNN), Mrs. Mae Solomon and Prof Uchenna Nzewi respectively; a member of The Nation Editorial Board, Mr. Olakunle Abimbola, and students from different institutions. The Project Coordinator Mr. Michael Onoja, said the standard of education was falling daily because nobody paid attention to attitude, “which is the underlying tenet of education.” He said: “The Amaechis, Fasholas and Okorochas of this world may build schools, provide standard facilities, re-train teachers and even declare free education at all levels, but these efforts will eventually drown in the sea of apathy if we do not change our value system”. Onoja wondered why the society condemned failure when it had not encouraged excellence. He quizzed: “What is the attitude of the society to exceptional students, teachers and administrators? If excellence means nothing, why condemn failure and mediocrity in the system?” In her analysis of issues affecting education Nigeria, Prof Nwosu decried “policy summersault” on the part of government, saying policies had been personalised by public office holders manning the ministries of education. To prevent policy summersault, the don called for national manifesto on education to which every government would subscribe. Barr Onuoha, who told the gathering that NUC has been sanitising the universities, said one of the controversial issues before the Commission was the case of ad-joint lecturing, which simply means lecturers teaching at different departments within a particular institution. He said the idea of ad-joint lecturers was being bastardised by universities across the country, citing a federal institution in Lagos. “Imagine a lecturer teach-

ing students of different universities that are far away from one other and the management of schools saying this is ad-joint lecturing. No, this not the true meaning of the word but NUC is still looking into the issue and it will come up with recommendations soon.” The Rivers State Education Commissioner, Dame Alice Lawrence-Newi, who was represented by Mrs. Solomon, urged parents to desist from forcing their children to study courses they do not have passion for, saying “for instance, if a student has flair for Biochemistry, he should be allowed to study what he desires rather than be forced to study a course he cannot cope with.” The highlight of the programme was recognition of educational bodies and individuals that have achieved and promoted excellence. With a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.98, Josiah Akhigbe made history as the best graduating student in Nigeria. He read Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and graduated in 2011. He was recognised together with the best graduating student from UNN, Reverend Sister Maria Onyido, who red Mathematics and Mrs. Chidimma Aham-Chiabuotu, who made First Class in Public Health at Babcock University. The Dan Agbese Education Prize for Exceptional Education Commentary went to the head of The Nation Education Desk, Miss Kofoworola Belo-Osagie. The New Era Foundation was given an award for discovering brainy children in public schools through its Spelling Bee competition. There was also the Babs Fafunwa Academic Excellence Award which went to the Rivers State government for its achievement in primary education. Former Lagos Deputy Governor, Mrs. Sosan, was recognised for her stride in Lagos public schools.




Adeleke Varsity promises low tuition fees


NEW entrant into the league of private universities in the country, Adeleke University (AU) at Ede, Osun State, has promised its piooner students a reduction in tutition fees. They will pay N350,000. According to its Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ayandiji Daniel Aina, the figure is the least amount charged by any private university in the country today. "And we are not doing this to attract students into our university. The initiative (tuition), which we hope to sustain, is to reaffirm our drive to offer highest quality education service that is affordable in accordance with the ProChancellor's desire to give back to the society through sound education," he said. Aina added that beyond academics, the university would also offer other values that would help its products in the labour market. He said: "What we noticed is that what is missing in Nigerian universities and which we are bringing is personal touch. Here, we factor in value-based education. This university intends to move quickly and consolidate on (ICT) Information and Communication Technology, entrepreneurship, and energy. We intend to graduate a total person whose achievements will be limitless and those who can make Nigeria proud." Aina added that the varsity has a scholarship facility for students to access, noting that it is devoid of any ethnic or religious discrimination. He said a beneficiary would continue to

• The students after their matriculation By Adegunle Olugbamila

enjoy the largesse provided his or her Grade Point Average (GPA) does not go below second class lower. The fully residential university with its multi-billion naira facility, he stressed, was erected borrowing no kobo from any bank. The new students, are spread across the three faculties of the university: Arts and Education; Management and Social Sciences;

and Science and Technology. Founder of the university, Dr Adedeji Adeleke, said AU is an offspring of Springtime Development Foundation, an NGO he set up 16 years ago to empower the youth in education. He said despite that over 4,000 students have so far enjoyed scholarship through the foundation, AU is ready to consolidate if not offer free education. Also speaking, Governor Rauf

Aregbesola of Osun State harped on quality education as an instrument of societal liberation. "Knowledge that is properly cultured is a tool of socialisation. It is the intrinsic goodness towards all things that all must eternally comply with learning and education, otherwise one perishes in the bottomless pit of shame and poverty. The addition of the varsity increases the number of private universities in the country to 50.

VC calls for caution on TASUED merging


HE Vice-Chancellor, Babcock University, IlishanRemo, Prof Kayode Makinde, has said the merging of the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) cannot be condemned because the fact available to the government is not known to others. He said the Ogun State government, its proprietor, must have discovered something that made it take the decision. He said this while addressing reporters in his office on an Adventist Leadership Conference at the school.

By Medinat Kanabe

He said: "Maybe if I were the governor, I would have done the same. Initially, it was a college of education, then suddenly there was an announcement that it has become a university. Some people said it was political. So, right now that another government has come to say it is going back to be a college of education, I still say, we don't have the facts that they have." He appealed to every succeeding government that whatever decisions they take, should be

beneficial to everybody, in the interest of people and not to settle scores. President, West Central, Africa Division, Adventist Church and Chancellor, Babcock University, Dr. Gilbert Wari, said it is high time the education system met with the 21st century, because the style of the 60s cannot work today. He added that servant leadership style is what is needed in Nigeria adding that Jesus Christ said, ‘the son of man has come not to be served, not to serve himself but to serve the people.’


From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

beneficiaries of the bilateral scholarship scheme because of its stable academic calendar. "In 2003, the government of Nigeria promised to train 100 Sierra Leoneans in middle manpower. Since then we have started the programme and we are almost getting to end of it. We have them spread all over the institutions in Nigeria and UNILORIN is having the highest (45)." "When you talk about regularity of session in the Nigerian universities, UNILORIN has no break and when you are bringing international students in a bilateral agreement they should be able to work and complete their course within stipulated time. “As everything is tied to finance and time, if you are extending time government is also paying extra money. Apart from that, the Vice- Chancellor of UNILORIN, Prof Is-haq Oloyede, has been very helpful to us. The idea itself was first mooted by Prof Oloyede after discussing the problems we encountered in the last few years," she said. In paper entitled: Social

interactions and engagement as a visiting scholar in Nigeria, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) of UNILORIN, Prof Albert Olayemi, advised the scholars to interact socially with fellow students and staff of their host institutions. His words: "Let me for a few minutes advise you on how you can enjoy or maximise your stay in this country and your various institutions by interacting and

VC seeks unions' support STAFF unions in various tertiary institutions in Nigeria have been called upon to partner with their institution's management. Vice-Chancellor of Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, Prof. Patrick Oladipo Aina, made the appeal while declaring open the Zonal meeting of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), in the Odua Hall of the institution. He said universities can only develop in a peaceful atmosphere, adding that EKSU has been enjoying the co-operation of the various staff unions, particularly SSANU. "The vision of Ekiti State University to become a world class university would become a reality very soon with the present cordial relationship between the unions and the management of the institution," he said. He added that he was happy to give an impressive scorecard of a very cordial relationship between his administration and SSANU, whose leadership has demonstrated a high level of institutional commitment, integrity, transparency, honesty and hard work. Earlier, the Chairman of the EKSU chapter of SSANU, Mr Kolawole Falade, urged the EKSU management to look into the issue of stagnation of some members of grade level 13 and grade level 8 as well as expedite action on establishment of directorates in the registry of the University.

NAAT gets new leaders THE National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) EKSU branch, has held its biennial conference. At the event, new officers were elected to run the affairs of the union. They are: Mr O. Awogbemi (chairman), Mr D. O. Akinola (vice-chairman); Mr. G. S. Ojebode (secretary); Mr S. S. Ajayi (assistant secretary); Mrs. O. M. Adeosun (treasurer); Mr M. P. Akomolafe (public relations officer); and Mr J. I. Asaolu (ex-officio).

•Prof Makinde

Politicians urged to endow scholarships HE Federal Scholarship Board (FSB) has urged politicians to endow scholarship in universities. Director/Secretary, FSB, Mrs Hindatu Abdullahi, told participants in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital during the Orientation/Acculturation for the Nigerian Commonwealth and Bilateral Education Agreement Scholars that such initiative would help youths to be more productive. Mrs Abdullahi said: "We will advise that the issue of scholarship should be public-private driven whereby private companies and individuals can come to the assistance of the federal scholarship board. Politicians should not only use the youths only for campaigns during election, they should, as part of their constituency projects, endow scholarships in various fields in the Nigerian universities. This is one of the ways of assisting the youths in the country." Abdullahi, who was represented by the spokesperson of the board, Mr Rotimi Akinyele, said it organised the programme, with the University of Ilorin Centre for International Education. She explained that the institution is hosting the highest number of


engaging socially in such a way that you will derive maximum benefits from your scholarship or exchange programme. "Coming from different countries and continents, there is bound to be culture shock. There will be psychological needs, emotional needs, communication problems, inadequate resources, contradicting value systems, periods of loneliness and missing home during your stay."

Banks urged on beautification BANKS operating at the Ekiti State University (EKSU) have been given two weeks ultimatum to start the beautification and landscaping of their environment in line with the new vision of the university. Vice-Chancellor, Prof Aina told the managers at a meeting that the university would begin massive beautification of the campus and that they should be partners in progress. He urged them to open their banks early to allow students pay their fees. The managers promised to expedite action on the directive of the university.

Rector bags award From Damisi Ojo, Akure

•Prof Ajibefun


HE Rector, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic (RUGIPO) Owo in Ondo State, Prof Igbekele Ajibefun, has bagged an award of excellence as the "Best

Performing Rector" in 2011. The award was organised by Baseline Global Ventures (BGV), Kaduna, in Kaduna State and held at the Banquet hall of the Arewa House in Kaduna. Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Alico Mungika, said the award was in recognition of achievement of the awardee in his career and service to humanity. Alhaji Mungika, who is also the Chairman, Arewa Consultative Council (ACC), added that the honour was also meant to

encourage the Rector to do more. He challenged others to emulate him. The recipient, Prof. Ajibefun, expressed his gratitude to BVC for the recognition of his selfless service to humanity. According to him, the award was a morale booster aimed at preparing him to do more. Ajibefun, who was represented on the occasion by the Chairman, Committee of Deans in RUGIPO, Owo, Mr. A. F. Akinyoyenu, a Town Planner, said the award was not for him alone but for the polytechnic.




FUTA FILE Group honours retirees THE National Association of Professional Secretarial Staff of Nigeria (NAPSSON), Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) branch, has honoured its retired members for their support while in service. Speaking at a get together organised by the association, the President, Mrs Victoria Adamolekun, appreciated the university management for its contributions and support towards the continued existence of the association. She explained that when a person has done well, he deserves a pat on the back. He said it was for this that the outstanding members are being honoured. Earlier, the former Vice-Chancellor, Prof Adebisi Balogun, described the event as special. Balogun, who was represented by the Registrar, Dr Modupe Ajayi, said the occasion was to motivate outstanding members of the group and encourage others to work hard.

Varsity ranking improves THE FUTA has emerged one of the best universities in Nigeria and Africa, according to Scimago Institutitons Rankings (SIR) World Report for 2011. FUTA is ranked eight, only behind the first generation universities in Nigeria and 49th in Africa. According to the report, the university's scientific impact, thematic specialisation, output size and international collaboration networks placed it in contention with the world's best universities. The report shows that FUTA has published over 100 scientific documents such as articles, reviews, short reviews, letters and conference papers within the period reviewed for the ranking, making it one of the 3,042 institutions responsible for more than 80 per cent of worldwide scientific output since 2005. It would be noted that only 62 universities, including research Institutes, were ranked in Africa in this latest exercise. In July, 2011, FUTA ranked 14th in Nigeria.

Head teacher praises new PTA building THE Head teacher of the FUTA Staff School, Mrs Angelina Babarinsa, has lauded the university management for the newly erected PTA building in the school. Mrs. Babarinsa, who at the project inauguration, praised the efforts of the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebisi Balogun and the Management towards the provision of the edifice, appealed to Balogun to release one of the university's shuttle buses to offset the problem of transportation facing the school. The Chairman, PTA, Prof. Kunle Amoo, lauded the management for releasing funds for the completion of the building. Balogun also praised the PTA for donating the building which he described as an addition to the creation of opportunities for the school to compete with the revolving national and international educational standards, especially the on-going Mega School being constructed by the Ondo State government. The PTA building contains six classrooms, one office, three stores, five toilets and a sick bay.

APPROACHING DEADLINES UK Commonwealth Scholarships for Masters Degree Courses 2012 * UNCF Scholarships Program 2012 - United Negro College Fund * Studying Abroad: an Enriching Experience December 23, 2011 Scholarship Title: 2012 Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme. Commonwealth Shared Scholarships in UK are for taught Master's courses only. Open for International Students: Yes Scholarship Donor: Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom Level of Study: Masters Degree Courses (UK) Courses: Various, Please check the prospectus below for the list of courses offered. What it Covers? Full costs of an award holder's study in UK, including the air fares to and from the UK. Maintenance Grant of £1,091 per month for scholars based in London and £882 per month for the rest of the UK. (This figure is based on July 2011 data) Duration of Award: One year Who can apply? Be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) a developing Commonwealth country, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country.

Brief Scholarship Description: The aim of the scheme is to assist students from developing Commonwealth countries who are of excellent academic calibre but for financial reasons would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the UK. The scheme allows them to benefit from postgraduate study at a university in the UK which will help them to contribute toward the development of their home countries. List of Countries: Commonwealth Countries, Please check the prospectus below for complete list of eligible countries. How to Apply? IMPORTANT: There are two options to apply for Shared Commonwealth Scholarships for Masters Courses in 2012. Most students will for scholarships directly to the university and others will apply via COMMONWEALTH SCHOLARSHIP COMMISSION's (CSC) Electronic Application System (EAS). Option 1 to Apply: Apply directly to University. Universities have their own application deadlines. Please comment below to ask about University application deadlines and application procedure. Our career advisers will try to help you in finding individual university information. Option 2 to Apply: Apply to Universities via Commonwealth Scholarship Commission [If you missed the deadline in option 1 then you may apply via CSE and deadline for that is May 17, 2012 at the latest. All applications should reached to CSC by no later than May 31, 2012 using the EAS] Read more: UK Commonwealth Scholarships for Masters Degree Courses 2012 : College Scholarships, PhD Scholarships, Postdoctoral, Graduate International Scholarships Fellowships

Ex- FUTA VC advises successor


HE immediate past ViceChancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Prof Adebisi Balogun, is not the kind who easily gives in to challenges. As he signed off from the university after successful five year tenure, he identified financial constraint as one his biggest headaches, offering advice to his successor on how to scale the hurdle. The professor of Fish Nutrition said in an interview with The Nation that through an aggressive fund-raiser, which took him from Akure to Lagos, he was able to convince stakeholders to key into his dream to improve facilities in the institution. His effort resulted in the construction of a hostel, power plant, water production plant, central research laboratory named after the National Universities Commission (NUC) Executive Secretary, Prof Julius Okojie; a 2,500-capacity auditorium and a lodge each for the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, a befitting entrance gate, among others, have added more aesthetics to the university ambience. He recalled:"I started a programme called Capital Campaign Project (CCP) aimed at fungeneration. We planned series of activities to raise funds for many of the projects we planned for execution. In 2008, we had the CCP in

• A new Central Research Laboratory. Inset: Prof Balogun By Adegunle Olugbamila

Lagos. We had a number of people who came to our rescue, so we were able to generate some resources at that time. As an aside, we also used the platform to popularise the university." Aside building the first postgraduate hostel in the 32-year-old institution, and achieving full accreditation of its programmes by the NUC, Balogun's greatest joy was putting the university's name on the world map through the internationalisation of the student population. "For the first in the history of FUTA, we built a Postgraduate hos-

tel. As a university of technology that is pushing ahead in international recognition, this was part of vision that FUTA must be a Postgraduate university of technology. So, we built an imposing self-contain Postgraduate hostel and the students are there. What gladdens my heart is that the vision of the university in internatinalisation of FUTA is gradually crystalising. We have students from West African countries such as Mali, Cote De Voure, Niger, Togo, Ghana and Sierra Leone on this campus on a PG programme on Climate Change. The history of that is that we wrote a highly competitive proposal for WASCA which we went

Plateau council bemoans lack of trained teachers


HE Management Committee Chairman of Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State, Mr Sam Audu, has decried the decline in the number of trained teachers from the area. In a statement signed by the council's Information Officer, Mr Yohanna Gyang, the Chairman said he would take urgent steps to address the situation and give children in the council the chance of competing favourably with their contem-

From Marie-Therese Peter, Jos

poraries from other parts of the state. According to the statement, "Riyom is the only local government area in the state, which has the least number of primary school teachers. The local government has 722 teachers and religious instructors out of which 37 are NCE holders, 34 are

B.Ed holders. Some of these teachers have the potential to be developed while a large chunk does not. "Considering the whopping cost of primary education shouldered by the local government, we, at the council, would ensure we remedy the situation by training the teachers and ensuring that they impart relevant knowledge to the pupils". Audu urged parents not to be deterred but rather ensure their wards attend school.

to defend it in Ghana and won," he said. Although he praised the Federal Government for prompt payment of salaries, he argued that his experience in the saddle opened his eyes to how capital intensive it is to run a university of technology. He said: "First, a university of technology is a capital-intensive university. In 2009, we submitted a budget of N3 billion just for capital funding alone, but we got N800 million, which was also slashed by 46 per cent. Eventually, we got about N200 million. So, if you are talking about capital development of a university in terms of infrastructure, and funding, there is no way a university will not need about N10 billion. I'm not talking of UI (University of Ibadan or UNILAG (University of Lagos) that are even bigger in terms of quantum of resources that will be needed. We have not talked about personnel and overhead. "The overhead cost of FUTA in 2007 was N31 million monthly. But by 2010, it rose to about N100 million. But the component of the overhead cost is what we should look at. If our overhead, for instance, is to take care of electricity bill, and we pay about N3 million for electricity monthly apart from the about N4.5 million to buy diesel monthly, that is almost N8 million, multiply that by 12 months.”




School awards scholarship to indigent pupils


HERE is one activity that Mrs Tokunbo Edun, Administrator of Grace Schools, Gbagada, Lagos looks forward to yearly and that is the Indigent student's scholarship scheme. It is used to select two or three brilliant pupils who have completed their junior secondary education in public schools for full scholarship at Grace for the remaining part of their secondary education. The scholarship, worth over N1million per session, covers tuition, books, uniforms, boarding fees and pocket money and even extends to their university education afterwards. Mrs Edun, who presented the beneficiaries for 2011/ 2012 session - Abraham Ibeyeng and Oluwasikemi Kosoko - to reporters at an interactive session last Tuesday, said the scheme is in honour of her mother and founder of the school, the late Deaconess Grace Oshinowo, who because of poverty could not start school until she was 12.

By Kofoworola BeloOsagie

"I am passionate about the scheme because I know what poverty is like. My mother was so poor that they couldn't afford palm in their soup. Instead of processing garri to remove the cyanide, her family used to fry it straight away because they could not afford to wait. When she had to go to school, her brother out of excitement bought two left legs and that was how she used the sandal," she said. Each session, Mrs Edun said Grace School sends scholarship application forms to public schools in Lagos and beyond to present their best candidates for a written examination. The best male and female pupils in the examination are shortlisted for the scholarship, which they are awarded once she establishes that they are really from indigent backgrounds. "I visit their homes to know whether they are really indigent or that their parents are not interested in investing in their education. For those we have given the

• Mrs Edun (middle) flanked by Ibeyeng and Oluwasikemi, winners of the indigent scholarship, Mr Cilliers (left) and Madhusri Saha, Head Teacher of Grace Children School

scholarship, we prove that they are really indigent. There was one I visited whose family lived in a house made of corrugated iron sheets. I wept that day," she said. In a situation where the best two pupils in the examination are male, Mrs Edun said the best female is selected to make the number of recipients three. She desires an expansion of

•Miss Adeduntan Oyelade (middle), with her parents, Prince Dotun and Funmi Oyelade during her graduation from Birmingham City University Business School, United Kingdom where she obtained an MSc in Business Administration.

Abuja school proprietors decry multiple taxes


ROPRIETORS of private schools from the five area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) rose from an emergency meeting in Abuja with a plea to the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, to reconsider the recent tax/year dues legislation okayed by the capital teritory administration. In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, which took place at Government Secondary School, Jabi, the President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Dr Bukola Dosumu, pleaded with the minister to review the levies. Shee said they increase the burden of various agencies in FCT on private school operators. She decried the duplicity of the tax structure. She cited tenement rates, ground rent rates, business premises levy and operation levy which are

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

premise-based taxation. Dosumu also said the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS) collects school taxes in addition to school proprietors levy and PAYE staff levies, adding: "Other levies that are payable within the same accounting year include Area Council (especially AMAC) Development Control levies, Abuja Environmental Protection Board annual dues, Proprietors levies, school bus mobile advert chargeable per bus owned by the school, loading and offloading taxes, stationary advert taxes, radio taxes, gaseous emission taxes are forced on private school proprietors. These are tantamount to an avoidable burden. She warned that the tax regime imposed will have a ripple effect on educational development.

"The unfavourable cost of running business in FCT as usual will translate into high tuition fees. This tax administration is a travesty of the aims clause of tax administration, which is a tool for constructive development of all sectors of the economy and not isolated levies that is a total travesty of national educational development policy. Proprietors of private schools need to be encouraged by the government, as partners, by ensuring that the environment is favorable for our operation," she added. Dosunmu stressed that school administration both in the public and private sectors is a social service that should be exempted from unnecessary taxation if qualitative, well-structured and articulated educational curriculum delivery is to be within the reach of the FCT citizens.

the scheme to give more children the opportunity to enjoy the quality education that Grace offers. Mrs Edun, who boasts that the school can compete with any she has visited in many parts of the world, however, expressed disappointment that it is yet to receive the desired attention from high net worth individuals and companies. "We have tried to get people to buy into it. People like Dangote, Mike Adenuga can support us. Some women, what they spend on jewelry is enough to sponsor a child," she said. Principal of Grace High

School, Mr Richard Cilliers, said the beneficiaries of the scheme over the years not only adapt well but also distinguish themselves academically and in leadership. "Every indigent student I have been involved with, I discover that they have all been made prefects. The present head boy we have came in from the indigent scholarship scheme," he said. Speaking on the benefit of studying in Grace, Ibeyeng, a Ghanaian born in Nigeria, said he finds learning more challenging. The former pupil of Obele Community

Junior High School, Surulere, said: "Since coming here I have been able to cope. Some things I didn't know I am learning. In JSS, we were taught very simple subjects but now there are more challenging subjects," he said. On her part, Oluwasikemi, who attended Ajumoni Secondary School, Mushin, said she now learns more. "Grace is a very good school. The environment is very conducive for learning. Here, the teachers really teach you unlike my former school where they just give notes," she said.





Addressing foundational challenges T is becoming clearer to me why mass failure persists in public examinations. It is not like fresh facts have emerged that have sudKofoworola denly shed new light on the problem. On the contrary, factors that I have ignored in the past are now making more sense as pointers to 08054503077 (SMS only) poor performance. If in the past 10 years results have been poor, what is responsible for the poor performance is even 10 years older. Therefore, it may take another 12 years of funding, intense monitoring and supervision, as well as commitment to the ultimate goal of improving performance with the highest regard for quality and integrity before we can achieve close to 50 percent pass in public examinations. I have never believed that examining bodies mark candidates down. Neither do I think they should lower standards because of the outcry against poor performance yearly. Instead, I have repeatedly advocated for concerted efforts to be made to ensure quality education delivery in both public and private schools. I commend efforts by various levels of governments in recent years in this regard. I commend the federal government for intervening in basic education through the UBE scheme; and I praise various states that have introduced one programme or the other to improve teaching and learning in schools. However, more than ever before, I now realise that the results will not be dramatic. The system needs to go through due process to heal. Last year, while Bolaji Abdulahi was Kwara State Commissioner for Education, he launched efforts to ginger SS3 candidates sitting for the examination in public schools and their parents to work towards better performance. He wanted to reverse the six per cent pass in the examination. How far he succeeded in that task is not certain. The Lagos State government also introduced the Eko Project, a World Bank- assisted initiative that gives grants directly to schools to provide infrastructure and training two years ago. There have been high hopes about the effect of the intervention on performance of the pupils in the WASSCE. However, though performance improved last year, the government was unsatisfied by the small margin of improvement. I too shared the Lagos State government’s dissatisfaction. Though I do not know the performance in Kwara, I am not sure the margin was very impressive either. As disappointing as it may sound, we should not expect dramatic changes in performance because of interventions that are two just about two-years old. This is because the pupils we are depending upon to deliver these results have had defective primary education. Now I understand what it means to have a defective foundation. It is what I saw in a 10-year old primary five pupil that inspired my column of February 2 (Illiteracy woes in public schools). In six years time, when the girl should be in SS3 – if she is moved from class to class without recourse to whether she learns or not – it would be foolhardy to expect her to make credits in five subjects in the WASSCE. That is why despite government’s best intentions presently little can be done to get results overnight. If the federal and all state governments are interested in improving results in public examinations, they should start from the beginning – the early child care education development classes. They should ensure that teachers responsible for teaching literacy and numeracy skills at this foundation stage are literate themselves and can deliver knowledge to the pupils. Beyond having superior teaching skills, relevant agencies should also ensure that they are committed to doing their jobs and not delegating responsibility to pupils. As this becomes the case from year to year, the pupils we will be grooming on the average will no doubt be better than those who did not learn well enough to read or write because they were not taught. Meanwhile, we must not stop intervention for those who have missed out on quality education in those key years. There must be remedial programmes to bring them up to the level they ought to be. In this regard, the intervention we require is beyond what government can provide. Educated people who have children in this category as relatives, neighbours or friends should pitch in and help them become better educated. We all we gain from such intervention. Like Governor Babatunde Fashola said at a programme last week, an investment in the children of today is an intelligent investment in our own future because they will be the ones to take care of us in our old age. If we don’t train them now, they will torment us later.



• Grace High School Principal, Mr Richard Cilliers (second right) and pupils receiving their awards from RongJiang (right).

Grace Schools top Chinese contest


RACE Schools, Gbagada Estate, Lagos has won the final stage of both the primary and secondary categories of the Chinese Bridge Competition held at the Afe Babalola Auditorium in the University of Lagos (UNILAG). The competition, which was organised by the Confucius Institute, UNILAG, witnessed reporters from across Nigeria and China as well as representatives of many Chinese companies. Grace Schools led in the primary category with 28.8 per cent, followed closely by Women Society Nursery and Primary School UNILAG with 26.7 per cent, while AJC Nursery and Primary School, Isolo with 24 per cent. Grace High school also proved its mettle topping the senior cadre with 28.8 per cent. It was followed by Topmost International Comprehensive Secondary School and Fountain Heights Secondary School all in Lagos with 27.6 per cent and 26.4 per cent. The competition was divided into quiz, which had greeting, calculation, culture and dialogue. Other categories were dance and singing as the participants were judged on their fluency, pronunciation, creativity, facial expression, body expression, stage usage, idioms, projection and costume. Co-Director Confucius Institute, Prof Li RongJiang, said China is

By Medinat Kanabe

today, one of the most influential countries in the world and people all over the world, necessitating other people’s desire to learn Mandarin, the country’s official language. She said it is an opportunity to know the Chinese culture and communicate with them in their language. “The Chinese Bridge is the spirit bridge for the middle school children to know each other and for them to be prepared for the life in future; and this bridge is the first in Nigeria and it is significant because it is laying the foundation for them to be well prepared for the global Chinese bridge that involves the college students and the middle school. “If they win they will be chosen to go to China to have the final round of the competition and the winner of the final will be given scholarship to study in China. The winner will attend the global preliminary competition,” she added. Jiang said the organiser for the first time, took the competition which had been in existence for over 10 years, to Nigeria. She said 100 and 1,000 of mandarin learners participate in the competition and the winner will be going to Beijing,China for the final competition. According to her, many Nigerians

They (Chinese) want their culture to be known to other people and I don’t think it’s a way of colonising us if we embrace it in a positive manner

are learning Chinese just to have an edge over their counterparts and can utilise same to serve Nigeria better. She said the challenges the organiser had was mainly with the language because the kids are young. “We used three months to teach them for the competition because there was no time, she said,” The outfit’s Deputy Director, Dele Orimoogunje, said the competition is meant to bridge one culture to another as its name implies a bridge that will be crossed from one culture to another as he added that the children are embracing the culture. “They (Chinese) want their culture to be known to other people and I don’t think it’s a way of colonising us if we embrace it in a positive manner,” he said. Asked if there is a plan to make it part of the schools curriculum, he said its being brought in, the federal government has not included it in the curriculum and that is why most pupils and students are from private schools. Vice-Principal Topmost Schools, MrsTolaAjibiowu, said: “There is a need for the students to know what is happening globally from this age. It will expose them well. Since the competition started, they have had a good relationship with their tutors.” Grace School went away with two Startime decoders, 21’ TV and a decoder. The Women Society went home with a Startime decoder with two months subscription. Similarly, AJC poached a Startime decoder with one- month subscription. Topmost also won a Startimedecoder with two- month subscription, while Fountain Heights was also presented with with a Startime decoder and onemonth subscription.

UBEC praises schools’ projects


HE Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Abuja, has lauded some schools for the self-help projects it has executed with the School Based Management Committees (SBMC). Flaging-off the training of Project Implementation Committee (PIC) members of SBMCs for last year’s UBE Community Initiated SelfHelp Projects at SUBEB office in Maryland, Lagos, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Dr Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed, said UBEC has found the initiative rewarding in providing the requisite infrastructure and stimulate community support for schools. Under the initiative, UBEC provides 90 per cent funding for a project identified by the SBMC,

while the community sources the balance and implements the project. The funding is payable in two instalments. Modibbo, who was represented by Mrs Olanike Adams, said the initiative has also instituted transparency and accountability in resource management. "The UBE Community Initiated Self-Help Projects, a key component of the UBE programme implementation is adopted as a globally accepted strategy for involving the local community and beneficiaries of a designated project in the provision of critical input, administration and implementation of such projects. "This collaborative strategy between the government and commu-

nity people has become very necessary because of the growing realisation that basic education and its attendant responsibilities and functions cannot be left solely in the hands of government," he said. Under the funding arrangement, Modibbo said a total of N5.3 billion would be distributed to 5,326 school/communities in the country. Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs. Gbolahan Daodu, who was represented by Ahaji Babatunde Olaoluwa, a board member, urged members to be committed and ensure that projects embarked upon are of priority to the schools. She said further that Lagos State will get funding for 68 projects for last year, compared to the 57 for 2010.

From My Inbox Kofo, I always read your column. They are fantastic. From 08030452— Re: OOU/TASUED fusion: Matters arising Kofo, I read your comment on the proposed merger of OOU, TASUED. Nice. But your idea of a university of education like TASUED seems narrow. It is supposed to produce teachers not only for senior secondary level of education but also tertiary levels. Don’t forget those who teach Mass Communication, Petroleum Science and other courses you considered to be outside the focus of a university of education are teachers. There is a sharp difference between having knowledge and being able to impart it. You need to have better information about TASUED. Idowu.





CLINIC DAY The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Research Institute of Traditional and Alternative Medicines (RITAM), Dr Johnson Idowu, writes on causes, prevention and treatment of stroke. Chief Executive Officer, Ayodele Slimmers and Naturopathic Clinic, Dr Isaac Ayodele, writes on cancer and its management, while Mayo Clinic answers question three.

Herbal treatment for stroke

QUESTION (1) I have been having difficulty, of late, moving my arms. Is there any possibility that I have come down with stroke? How do I handle this? - Mrs Chinwe Maduagwu, Enugu State. (2) The doctor tumour diagnosis showed I have a malignant (cancer). I hear scary stories about orthodox medicine treatment. How do I manage the disease naturally? - Betty James, Abuja. (3) Lately, I have been having uncontrollable pains in my joints. I suspect it may be arthritis. Please, what do I do to be free from this disease? - Adekunle Ibrahim, Akure, Ondo State.

Causes, prevention, management of cancer • Idowu • Mistletoe

stroke is one of the killer ailments. It is known as the aliment of the old, but today young people below 40 are susceptible to it. With adequate herbs patients’ high blood pressure can be controlled and so that the patient can enjoy good health again. A stroke is an accident that occurred in the brain’s blood vessels. The blood vessels in the brain rupture as a result of the accident, thereby causing a stroke. This is thrombosis. It means something has blocked the blood supply to the brain, so that part of the brain will be deficient in blood supply and by extension oxygen.


Treatment There are various traditional medicine treatment modes for strokes. Sometimes we prepare herbs from mistletoe (lorantus begwensis), epin (ficus exasperata), garlic (alium sativum), and cayenne pepper known as ata ijosi in Yoruba and ginger among others for patients and this usually bring healing to the sick. As part of the treatment, we cleanse their colon because they find it hard to use the lavatory. We, traditional healers, also help to reduce the patients’ body weight to allow mobility. We also ensure that they eat fruits and vegetables to stimulate their body because organic foods have active ingredients to cleanse and repair the system naturally. Also, we make incisions on their body to make the blood thin. This is because the blood of a stroke patient is traditionally believed to be thick. We also massage the affected parts. This is a form of physical therapy to enable the patient’s blood to flow freely. Other methods are electric fish shock and bee sting. We usually tell patients to put their feet if water where electric fish can sting them. Also, similarly we may put the arm on an affected person in a bag having bees so that he or she can be stung by them. These therapies help to reignite life in those dead parts of the body.

Causes The major cause of stroke is uncontrolled high blood pressure (HBP) also known as

• Garlic

side of the body will experience paralysis. This is because the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. For a normal or healthy adult the systolic pressure should be between 100 and 140mmHg. When the person has a sustained blood pressure, which is above 140/ 90mmHg, then the person is hypertensive.

Natural or alternative treatment of cancer is better than that of the conventional medicine. A patient who was to die within six months according to doctors in Europe has been enjoying her life as the verdict was overturned by natural medicine. By this evidence, alternative medicine offers a better way to treat cancer. The disease can be treated without using orthodox medicine. The conventional medical treatment on cancer has not improved the health of cancer patients better than those on non-orthodox medicine. Despite billions of dollars invested yearly on cancer treatment, the disease is growing at the speed of light worse than the much orchestrated HIV/AIDS, and nobody seems to care on the best way to save the patients even when it is evident that those who refused medical procedures of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery had a lower mortality rate than those who submitted. There is no big deal about cancer. It is not a death sentence but an ordinary name invented by man to impose fear on the patience. The fear from cancer has killed more patients than the ailment. Everybody has cancer cells. The intake of the foods and drinks of the modern man are largely responsible for the proliferation of the cancer cells to a full blown cancer. This can be reversed by eating and drinking natural foods, drinks and medication. Cancer patients should include alternative remedies in their treatment by improving on their immunity, avoiding sugar, junk and fatty foods while eating more of raw foods, drinks and natural medication.

Symptoms Some symptoms experienced by a stroke patient as dizziness, headache, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), pain, and insomnia. There can also be chest pain and sometimes there are no symptoms to suggest that somebody had a stroke. As traditionalists, we believe that some come down with strokes through metaphysical ways. Some can also be biological while others are by no known origin.

Recommendation • Cayenne pepper

hypertension. The brain is divided into four parts but for easy comprehension I will say two parts. If a rupture takes place in the left hemisphere (side) of the brain, the right

Patients must reduce their salt intake. Also, they should not be eating foods that have cholesterol such as red meat, eggs, milk and saturated oils. Stroke patients’ diet should include fruits and vegetables. Organic foods have active ingredients to ensure body regeneration.





Causes, treatment of rheumatoid arthritis R

HEUMATOID arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in your hands and feet. Unlike the wearand-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. In addition to causing joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect your whole body with fevers and fatigue. Rheumatoid arthritis is much more common in women than in men and generally occurs between the ages of 40 and 60. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and preventing joint damage. Symptoms Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include: tender, warm, swollen joints Also, morning stiffness that may last for hours, firm bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms (rheumatoid nodules), fatigue, fever and weight loss. Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first — particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet. As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the knees, ankles,

elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body. Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity, called flares, alternate with periods of relative remission — when the swelling and pain fade or disappear. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place. When to see a doctor Make an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent discomfort and swelling in your joints. Causes Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks the synovium — the lining of the membranes that surround your joints. The resulting inflammation thickens the synovium, which can eventually invade and destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint. The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together weaken and stretch. Gradually, the joint loses its shape and alignment. Doctors don’t know what starts this process, although a genetic component appears likely. While your genes don’t actually cause rheumatoid arthritis, they can make you more susceptible to environmental factors — such as infection with certain viruses and bacteria — that may trigger the dis-

ease. Risk factor Factors that may increase your risk of rheumatoid arthritis include: Your sex Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men are. Age Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, but it most commonly begins between the ages of 40 and 60. Family history If a member of your family has rheumatoid arthritis, you may have an increased risk of the disease. Smoking Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in some people. Quitting can reduce your risk. Complications Rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of developing: Osteoporosis Rheumatoid arthritis itself, along with some medications used for rheumatoid arthritis, can increase your risk of osteoporosis — a condition that weakens your bones and makes them more prone to fracture. Carpal tunnel syndrome If rheumatoid arthritis affects your wrists, the inflammation can compress the nerve that serves most of your hand and fingers.

Heart problems Rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of hardened and blocked arteries, as well as inflammation of

the sac that encloses your heart. Lung disease People with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased

risk of inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues, which can lead to progressive shortness of breath.




What should a woman wear… Skirts or trousers (2)?


Neck. (6) Forehead. (7) Above the head. A chakra is like an electricity transformer. It steps down energy from the indwelling spirit to the voltage the body can tolerate, very much like municipal electricity transformers. Where a municipal electricity transformer breaks down, all areas in the neighbourhood it supplies electricity are plunged into a blackout. That's what occurs in the body, say energy medicine exponents. Our emotions recharge the chakras, when positive and exhaust them when negative. Energy medicine practitioners say a woman develops breast problems, including cancer, when her heart is filled with hatred, often after a love affair goes awry. Dr. Norman says it takes about 18 months to develop breast cancer in this area. God is Love. Human spirits, as sparks from out of the Radiations of God, are split parts of this Love. Therefore, they must love and be loved in return. Love may be for a man or woman, child, country, cause or work. That's why people who give of themselves are radiant in spirit and in bodily health. Those who don't shrivel. When a woman hates a man pathologically simply because he breaks up a relationship, justifiably or not, she undos or unhinges her system. The fourth chakra is blocked from the spirit. Energy supply to the heart, lungs and breast, all organs situated in the fourth chakra region, get less and less energy and dwindle in health. Dr. Norman found that, by getting women so afflicted to genuinely forgive the subjects of their hatred, their breast cancers resolved themselves even without medication. We can conclude from this phenombody. enon, which some doctors call spontaneous healing, that The feature of Dr. Northrup's book, WOMAN'S BODIES, the fourth chakra was unblocked and energy was flowing WOMAN'S WISDOM. again from the spirit to these organs. So, if the heart's arAST week lifted a veil off her venture into energy medi teries are blocked, causing angina pectoris, hypertension cine. She acknowledges Dr. Norman and Carolyn Myss and even heart attacks, for which alternative medicine recas her guides. Maybe because she is a woman, there is a ommends things such as Cayenne, Nattokiness, Lecithin, feminine touch to her description of the subject which made Hawthorn, CoQ10, mega b vitamin complex, vitamin E or it much easier for me to appreciate, without any detour from Wheat Germ Oil, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) such as Flax the basic principle. I didn't see in Dr. Norman's CREATION Seed Oil, Udo's Oil and all that, we should remember these OF HEALTH any reference the mode of dressing as imporare only physical outcomes of non-physical events in the tant to the health of the genders. The closest I'd got to that mind, the prototype or archetype of what we are observcomes from The Grail Message. Man and woman are inwardly ing. different consistuencies meant for different complementing The first chakra is all about "Groundedness" or feeling of activities. When a male inclines towards female activities safety on earth, people who feel insecure, who say that and vice versa, the radiations of these consistencies change in there is no one for them, that they are alone and unsafe, consonance with those needed for the new activities. Thus, a who have fears of personal security often blow up their woman inclining towards manliness would discover, sooner first chakras. Dr. Northrup says it is "Affected by how (well) than later, that the radiations of a woman required to mainconnected" we are to the Earth and the process of the Earth". tain her female organs have been replaced by those coarse or Problems which may arise from dysfunctions of this chakra denser radiations of man requires to maintain and further often involve the spine (lower back pain), the rectum (conthe male organs. It may well happen that, even in this earth stipation, cancer), hip joint (arthritis, fracture) the blood life, these female organs get so transformed into male organs and the immune system. to warrant a surgical sex change which seems so much of a HEN I hear of women with health problems of the miracle to many people today. Yet this and many possibilireproductive organs (vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus ties, including gay and lesbian feelings, have been explained and the ovaries), I think of the second chakra. These in The Grail Message about 90 years ago. If Europe and organs are located in this region. The second chakra, folAmerica are going gay and lesbian and reporting sex change lowing groundedness on earth, has to do with how we after sex change, aren't the reasons clear.? And although we pursue our wants, servile or aggressive, "Inhibited or unin this part of the world resist attempts to drag us into the inhibited." Even among men, it would appear that people morass, wouldn't it be only a question of time before we hop who seek to dominate or control other people to get what along? Our women are now into boxing, wrestling and play they want, but cannot do so and grieve over their incapacfootball. There are women in armed robbery gangs. My faity or loss of territory are people who suffer most in this ther sent back to wherever she was coming from, any woman region… low sperm count, erectile dysfunction, testicular who stayed out beyond 7:00 p.m. In the 1970's when hot pants hernia etc. For women, think of vaginal candidiasis, ovarand trousers joined the league of women's fashion, no woman ian cysts, uterine fibroids, menstrual difficulties. As Dr. dare wear either to downtown Shomolu in Lagos where I Northrup describes people with this chakra dysfunction: grew up. She would be stoned. Today, women wear trousers "A person with a second chakra issue might often say or right into the church and priests dare not send them home to think… 'I don't feel heard by you; "you never come to visit' change from fear of losing member of the congregation to a He doesn't write, he doesn't call, no one ill ever love me, more permissive church. Thus, decay and dwellers from the you're never there for me. I often wonder; why we always principalities have sneaked even into the church want other people within our orbit, at our beck and call, Dr Northrup believes human beings are bundles of energy why we would rather not give of ourselves, when we've sustained by energy. I differ, however, from her conclusions been taught it is better to give than to receive, when lopwhen she says: "We know from quantum physics that, at the sided receiving breaches the laws of nature? Why we don't subatomic level, matter and energy which can also be called learn from the Earth which takes water from rainfall and spirit are interchangeable." In my spiritual understanding, give it back through evaporation? This principle is meant spirit and matter are different entities. Spirit is a living spark to have universal application in nature. All parts of the from out of the Radiations of God. Matter is dead substance. body give and take in healthy balance. Look at the Red Sea. There are many gradations of this voltage. In the spiritual It takes but doesn't give, and so is foul. Nations that take world, that is Paradise, or a world where the energy voltage but don't give are unhealthy. Even within nations, the givis so high that one day there compares with 1000 years on ing parts are healthier than those which take. Earth as the Bible says. The highest gradation of energy I'd like to mention the third chakra quickly. It has to do formed the human spirit seeds which are to flower on earth with self-esteem after groundedness and co-operation and as developed human spirits, and then return to Paradise. Other sharing as opposed to exploitation and domination. Are gradations form rivers, mountains, seas prototypes or we self-confided or feel inferior? There are kings who, inarchitypes for everything on earth, though in a finer, more wardly, shiver before heir servants. Dr Northrup asks: "Do we energetic forms. Only those human spirits who have so deknow how to win and lose with grace? How do we balance gains veloped that their vibrations can survive those of paradise and losses?". She says the first three chakras in a woman are, in can live there. That's the Final Judgment every religion her words. affected by teaches in differed pictorial forms. It is not a question of reli• Any and all angry feelings gion, but of understanding Creation and the laws which gov• Resentments and feelings of rejection ern it in the Will of God, and unconditionally adapting to • Wanting to have a relationship but fearing the financial them. The person who does so will grow in knowledge, and consequence the inward changes which this brings will set him spiritually • Shame of one's body aglow. As the spirit glows through the body, the physical • Shame about one’s husband and status body will become healthier. It is lifeless, being matter held • Being either a child abuser or an abused child together by spirit motes which are glowed through by the • Guilt over an abortion human spirit. If we are in any doubt, we only need to remem• Inability to conceive ber that splitting the atom releases tremendous amounts of • Inability to launch one's creations energy which held together particles of the split matter. All I'd have loved to mention the fifth chakra, in the throat region, this is by the way. seat of the thyroid, which gives many women problems, includThe heart of the matter is that the spirit dwelling in the ing palpitations of the heart, goiter, obesity. It is the seat of physical body, which speaks of my hand, my head or my creativity. Restrictions on creativity dam the energy in this rebody, passes energy into the body through seven points gion and create health problems given all sort of names. How known in Eastern medical philosophy as the chakras. These I wish we could go on. We've set our hands on the plough, are seven chakras, one in the following regions (1) Base of and will not fail to give consideration to energy medicine the spine. (2) Around the navel area. (3) Upper abdomen, in the future as we search for natural remedies for sound below the diaphragm. (4) Chest, around the breast area. (5) body and mind. e-mail: or Tel: 08034004247, 07025077303

ITH women, you cannot always easily call it a day when the music is sweet. So, today, we return to Dr. Christine Northrup, M.D., the American gynaecologist and New York Times best-seller author who featured in this column last week. She is one of the new apostles of energy medicine who, in my view, are leading medicine in the Western world back to its natural origins. I learned of energy medicine about 30 years ago through a book I have misplaced and whose author I do not remember. It was about happenings in Bahamas which, at that time, could be easily put down to voodoo or occult practices. I mentioned it briefly in 1999 when this column features Dr. Sheally Norman, a Neurosurgeon, and Carolyne Myss, a journalist, spiritualist and medical intuitive. In that book, Dr. Norman concluded that man is not that physical body which walks up and down the street, or drives a car. That physical body is nothing but a tool or vessel or cloak in which man sojourns in a strange environment. As far as I can recall, he did not stretch the question of the indweller beyond the point that he is the power of the physical human body which often falls ill, most times without the doctor understanding the reason. But he said he hoped that, in the 2000s, medical science would recognise that the human spirit, indeed, exists, and that world change the face of medicine. I can imagine the doctor of that time wondering in amazement why his predecessor practised medicine the way they do today, prescribing chemical drugs to their patients and putting them to sleep with anesthesia before surgically cutting them up. Today, aren't we shocked or do we not marvel that man once lived in caves or on tree tops and, for a car, drove grotesque dense metal vehicles? In the Bahamas of the 1980s, there were what one may call psychic surgeons and psychic doctors. The psychic surgeon and the psychic doctor see radiations of the indwelling man, just as, physically, we see sunlight as radiation of light from the sun, or candlelight as an emanation from a lit candle. That's what Caroline Myss does. Dr Norman, who works with her, doesn't have that gift. He sends her photographs of patients. Carolyn Myss looks at them and sees where the radiations or emanations are weakest. And Dr Norman agrees the organs she refers to correspond in about 98 per cent with his own diagnoses. If the there is such gallbladder duct blockage or kidney stones that require surgery to remove, Dr Norman, like any present day surgeon, may put the person to sleep, open him or her up with the knife so he can remove the barrier to circulation and health in that region. But the psychic surgeon would not do that. He would lay the patient on the operation table, no doubt, but he would not touch the physical body. He would hold a physical surgical knife alright, but it is the non-physical form of that knife or its ethereal form formed from its radiations he would apply on the ethereal form of the physical body. We would understand energy medicine better if we appreciate that there is an etheric, invincible archetype, or prototype after which it formed. People who say arrows and guns were fired at them in their dreams and woke up to find the areas where they were shot paining them or developing disease should appreciate that it was the archetypes of their physical bodies which were attacked and the pain or poisoning passed on to the physical body because there is a living connection between these two bodies. EMYOR Kirllian taught the modern man about physi cals and their prototypes. He was a Russian photogra pher experimenting with a new photographic technique. To his surprise, when he developed the photographic plates, he obtained two images, not one. One image was clear typical photographic image. The other was subsumed beneath. He picked a leaf and tore it into two, and photographed each. The half leaf photographed showed on the plate as a clear, normal photographic half leaf. But beneath it was a subsumed leaf. This led him to conclude that everything physical is a denser reflection of something nonphysical or etheric. Scientists took it from there to hypothesise that the soul may exist, afterall. For medical doctors, it offered a new explanation for ghost pains. Ghost pains are pains felt where no limbs existed. Imagine a man whose leg was damaged in a car accident and amputated from the knee. Often he feels pains in the foot. Doctors may see him as a psychiatric case. But, from the stand point of energy medicine, his ethereal leg and foot are still intact and functioning, and the pain is etheric with a physical expression. Semyor Kirllian's work has helped to put a scientific garb on the Abiku or Ogbanje phenomenon in this part of the world. The Yoruba's call it Abiku, the Igbo's call it Ogbanje. Both terms refer to a conscious, dark soul who is born in a family from a dark power centre in the cosmos the Christians call "Principalities." They come (incarnate) to the earth in groups. They may come to torment their families for whatever reasons. Maybe a woman once aborted an Abiku foetus and that soul decided to make her childless. One woman may have snatched her husband from a friend who died of the grief of her loss, and decided to torment her boyfriend with childlessness. There are a thousand and one possibilities. Where I am heading is that, most Yorubas and Igbos belong to the traditional African society where the bodies of Abikus and Ogbanjes are burnt or multilated to teach them a lesson. Sometimes, the bodies are dumped on refuse dumps to humiliate these souls. But what does discarded human bodies mean to souls which willfully threw them away like old socs? They have come to an appreciation of some of the principles of creation and misuses them outside the principle of supportive love which is pleasing to Creation. To cut a long story short, the abiku or ogbanje returns to wreck more vendetta, and is immediately recognised at birth through marks inflicted by burning or deep lacerations or amputation on the ogbanje baby long buried. The parents immediately know that they have to gird their loins, that this is an old soul in a new






NEWS Unfulfilled dream of Gringory Akabogu •Left behind manuscripts of a book on drama •Funeral on April 28 By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)

•The late Iroha


HE late James Iroha, who acted Gringory in the popular but rested soap opera, New Masquerade in the 1970s and 1980s died almost unfulfilled. Reason? He left behind manuscripts of his book, Book Of Sensible Nonsense, which chronicles some drama series as well as perennial issues in the society. The late actor has been working on the book before he fell ill and died on Tuesday. He was 69. One of his sons, Uche said the family is considering how to get the book published in the future. “The book is one of my father’s unfinished projects. And it is very dear to his heart. We have the manuscripts of the book and the family is planning on how it will be published. The book contains chapters on short drama series and other topical issues in the society. It is half done but we are considering including photography in the entire book,” Uche said. He recalled that his late father who passed on at a private hospital at Onitsha held Nigeria dearly in everything he did, noting that his comic

acting in New Masquerade was the surface part of his passion to use theatre to reform the nation. “In fact, till his death, Nigeria was dear to my father. He found the drama as a medium to shape and reform the nation, highlighting some of the topical issues plaguing the country. Again, he was always happy about the phenomenal growth in the Nollywood and the prospects that came with it. I would say, ‘I am glad I was part of the development,’ Uche said. He said April 28 has been fixed for burial while the family is working in partnership with stakeholders in the entertainment industry on the funeral. According to him, the Segun Arinze-led Actors Guild of Nigeria and Kanayo O. Kanayo are some of the stakeholders that have indicated interest in organising a befitting burial for the late veteran actor. “The actors are saying our father until his death was a father figure in the industry, and as such, they must be part of those giving him a befitting burial. So, we will take all of them along in our plans. For now, the family is yet to hear from Abia State government on the burial programme. His son, Akwari , in a post on Facebook confirmed his

passing. The post reads: “Sept 1942- Feb 2012. Not long ago, a man we have all come to love, a man that has made us laugh, a friend to all but will always be dad to my little sister Ugonma, my brothers Chiemela, Uche, Kelechi and me passed on. “Chief James Udensi Akwari Iroha OON has passed on. May his cheerful soul rest in the Lord, Akwari wrote on behalf of the family. Until his death, Gringory had played a prominent role in the New Masquerade which was immensely popular and had become a household name. He was reported to be suffering from an eye ailment and had cried repeatedly for help. None came. Other departed members of the cast are Christy Essien-Igbokwe (Apena) and Claude Ake (Jegede Sokoya).The veteran actor who was a shadow of himself before he died was battling a prolonged illness which rendered him partially blind. Arinze said he received the news with so much sorrow. “The news came to me as a rude shock. I spoke with his son who confirmed his death. He was 69 years old and the movie community will miss him a great deal. We at AGN commiserate with his family. May God grant him eternal rest and his family the fortitude to bear this great loss,” Arinze added.

•Advertisement Manager, The Nation, Mr Robinson Osirike (second left) presenting a copy of the newspaper to the Chief Executive Officer in-charge of West, East and Central Africa, TNS RMS, a research and marketing service company when The Nation team visited the company in Lagos…yesterday. With them are Special Projects Manager (The Nation), Mr Dan Ailemen (left), Mrs Mariam Fagbemi of TNS RMS and Kennedy Idabor (The Nation)

•Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed signing the Appropriation Bill into law in Ilorin...on Tuesday. With him are Deputy Governor Peter Kisra (left), Speaker Rasaq Atunwa and his Deputy Mohammed Gana Yisa

Ogun PDP crisis: Court orders arrest of ‘party leaders’ FEDERAL High Court in Lagos yesterday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of six chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State over alleged acts of contempt. They are Senator Monsurudeen Babatunde Osholake, David Salako, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, Prince Dele Ajayi, Waliu Taiwo and Olalekan Ojo - members of a group purporting to constitute the party’s leadership in the state. The order by Justice Charles Achibong, was informed by their refusal to honour an earlier summons directing them to appear in court yesterday. This is the second time the court will be ordering their arrest over the crisis in the party. Before the issuance of the bench warrant yesterday, defence lawyers, Gani Bello and Dr. O. Oke tried to justify the absence of the politicians in court and drew the court’s attention to media reports of a news conference addressed by the PDP chieftains, complaining about the judge’s conduct and sought the transfer of the case. Justice Achibong discountenanced the lawyer’s arguments, wondering if the media was the appropriate venue where litigants and their lawyers could express their displeasure about the conduct of a court. He denied knowledge of such complaints.


By Eric Ikhilae

The judge consequently ordered that the Inspector Gen. of Police, through the state Police Commissioner should arrest the six PDP chieftains and produce them in court on April 26. Two others – Tunde Oladunjoye and Segun Otayemi - named with the six as alleged contemnors in a committal proceedings initiated against them, were excluded from the arrest warrant following information by their lawyer that they were indisposed. A medical report was presented to the court in respect of Otayemi while Oladunjoye was said to have been suffering from the shock he experienced following an attack on his vehicle a day earlier. The contempt proceedings was initiated by the Dayo Soremi-led management committee of the party through their lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede. They are accusing the alleged contemnors of disobeying an earlier judgment of the court in which it held that the Soremi-led executive is the authentic management body for the party and restrained any member from hindering the operations of the committee. Osholake, Salako, Oladunjoye, Akinwonmi, Otayemi, Ajayi, Taiwo and Ojo were accused of acting in contempt

of the January 27 judgment by allegedly constituting themselves into a separate management committee. They were said to have, despite the January 27 judgment, obtained an interim injuction from a High Court against the plaintiffs and went about taking decisions on behalf of the party, a development, the plaintiffs’ claimed amounted to a disobedience of the court’s judgment. They were also accused of misrepresenting facts and hiding information from the Ilaro court by failing to inform it about the existence of the January 27 judgment before obtaining the said injunctions. On January 27, the court also ordered the arrest of the acting National Chairman of the party, Abubakar Baraje, the National Vice Chairman in Southwest, Tajudeen Oladipo; National Legal Adviser, Olusola Oke and the National Organising Secretary, Unche Secondus. Others are Jimoh Adigun, Mustapha Olabode, Titus Eweje, Fasiu Bakene, Gbenga Shobowale, Dipo Odujirin, Michael Fasinu, Dayo Adebayo, Iyabo Apampa, Segun Showunmi and Lekan Mustapha. They are to be produced before the court on April 26. They were accused of violating an order of the court in a suit over the crisis rocking the Ogun State chapter of the party.

•Ambassador of Kuwait to Nigeria, Mr. Saad Al Asousi (second left) assisted by his wife, Muna and the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri to cut the 51st National Day and the 21st Liberation Day of the State of Kuwait at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja...on Tuesday. With them are Mohammed Alsine (left) and Khaled Alfaman PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

•From left: Representative of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr David Okello (left); representative of UNODC, Mrs Mariam Sissoko; Director-General, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr Paul Orhii, and Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Alhaji Ahmadu Giade at the launch of the International Narcotics Control Board report 2011 in Abuja...on Tuesday


47 CHANGE OF NAME EFFIONG I was Formerly Known as Miss Effiong Uwen, Now to be known as Mrs. Aisha Abdulraman Idris. All former documents remains valid. General public should take note.


CHANGE OF NAME AGADA I was Formerly Known as Mrs. Agada Angela Nkeiruka, Now to be known as Mrs. Achinike Angela Agada Nkeiruka. All former documents remains valid. General public should take note.

This is to inform the general public of the loss of Original Title of Certificate of Occupancy with No: 43/43/2010K of the property located on Oluodo Family Land along Faniyi Street, Igbogbo, Ikorodu Area of Lagos State belonging to Mr. Waheed Abiodun Badmus of No. 5, Oradulu Street, Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State. Area Of The Land: 729.725SQMTS dated April 22, 2010. All effort made to trace it proved abortive. If found please contact Mr. Waheed A. Badmus at the above address or the nearest Police Station.


I,formerly known and addressed as Miss Fatima Ladidi Abdulsalam, now wish to be known and be addressed as Mrs Fatima Abdulsalam-Afolabi. All former documents remains valid. The and general public should take note.


I,formerly known and addressed as Folashade Olaribigbe, now wish to be known and be addressed as Folashade Ademola Taiwo. All former documents remains valid. The and general public should take note.

LOSS OF INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT I, Mr. Abdul Razzak Mohamad of Lebanese Nationality, holding Passport No RL 1225631, lost my passport on 20th February 2012 along Kingsway Road Enugu. If found please return to Lebanese Embassy in Abuja or the following address: GREY LINES INT’L LTD klm 2 New Town Layout, Emene Enugu, or call 08134443334; 08036602900


WARE HOUSE FOR SALE Warehouse for sale measuring 100 x 50ft with C of O and a lot of space at No 12 Osisioma Road, Aba Abia State. Price N100 million Contact: L. C. Anukwo Esq 07065398387; 08036460896 PUBLIC NOTICE WATERWAYS TRANSPORTERS ASSOCIATION This is to inform the general public that the named association has applied under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Decree No 1 of 1990. THE TRUSTEES OF THE ASSOCIATION ARE: 1. PRINCE ADELEKE EMORUA CHAIRMAN 2. OBINNA OKEAFOR SEC.GEN 3. GOYEA WALE FIN.SEC 4. KABIRU OLATOKE PRO 5. FAMAKIN IBUKUN MEMBER Any objection to this registration of the association should be forwarded to the Corporate Affairs Commission, P.M.B. 198, Area II, Garki, Abuja within 28 days of this publication.





Ministry initiates measures for enhancing trade T

HE Ministry of Trade and Investment has come up with measures on how to eliminate multiple taxation, streamline the operations of agencies at the ports and also address the issue of tariff and non-tariff barriers to ensure a transparent and competitive trade regime. Speaking at a one-day workshop, the Director of Trade in the Ministry, David Adejuwon, said the process in developing an action plan was characterised by joint assessment and prioritisation, strategic sequencing of projects. “Our short-term plan consists of quick sensitisation and awareness raising, e-trade portal and validation of Nigerian Custom CEMA Act), which should be delivered in six months starting with a pilot in Lagos sea ports, airport and Seme border with the Republic of Benin and the Lagos – Abidjan Transit Corridor.” Adejuwon also noted that the objective of the scheme was to create an inclusive forum through the task force that effectively engaged all stakeholders and interact effectively with the development partners.

Stories by Toba Agboola

“We need to proactively direct and link wider Development Partners programme of support to short, medium and longer term national action plan in accordance with the Paris Declaration and ACCRA Accord on Aid Effectiveness. “We also need to ensure more compliance with Nigeria’s obligations under the multilateral trading system, deepening of ECOWAS regional economic integration and embracing accelerated trade liberalisation at our own pace.” He also stressed the need to consolidate and publicise existing work on the identification and prioritisation of trade facilitation bottlenecks in Nigeria, including the Trade Facilitation Needs Assessments. “In doing all these, we need to provide a forum for discussion to help build private sector capacity in trade facilitation and logistics.” Adejuwon pointed out that as part of achieving the Vision 20:2020 in terms of documentation, the

workplan seeks to ensure that the number of documents for export reduced from 10 to 4; time for export reduced from 25 days to five days; cost to export reduced from $1, 179 to $1, 000 per container; document for import reduced from nine to four; total time for import reduced to between 48 hours to five days; and cost to import reduced from $1, 306 to $1, 000. In a related event, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment has introduced new procedure for the issuance of petroleum products Export Clearance Permit which will take effect from the second quarter of 2012. This was made known by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mr Dauda Kigbu during a stakeholders meeting on the review of the procedure

for issuance of export clearance permit held at the Ministry’s conference room in Abuja. In his address, Kigbu stated that after due assessment of the current procedure, the Ministry observed quite a number of anomalies which include avoidable delays in the form of bureaucratic bottlenecks and willful abuse of due process. According to him, to remedy the situation, the Ministry resolved that the process should be completely overhauled to enable it conform to global best practices. Kigbu pointed out that the new procedure was not intended to frustrate oil/gas exporters and their businesses but to improve the process at issuance of export Permit in Nigeria. “The new process is expected to usher in a faster, better and more transparent method in issuance of

these permits to deserving exporters” he said. He stated that the government was conscious of the complexity of the oil export business environment and was making efforts to ensure that all obstacles were removed. Kigbu urged stakeholders to adhere strictly to the new guidelines in order to reposition the issuance of export clearance permit procedure for the oil and gas sub sector of the economy. In his welcome address, the Director of Commodities and Products, Mr Julius Apanisile urged stakeholders in the oil and gas sub sector to cooperate and support the new guideline in order to facilitate efficient and effective issuance of export clearance permit addingthat the Ministry was willing to work with them to facilitate smooth operation of their business.

UNIDO supports industrial sector HE United Nations Induswith N4.65b trial Development


Organisation (UNIDO) said it has spent over $30 million (about N4.6 billion) in the last few years on various projects in Nigeria. The organisation also said it is set to partner the Ministry of Trade and Investment to establish a direction in the development of agri-business industry. UNIDO Country Representative in Nigeria, Patrick Kormawa made the remarks in Abuja when the visiting Deputy Director General of UNIDO, Tiazo Nishikwa met with the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr Samuel Ortom. He said: “We have been assisting

this country with workable policies, because without policies, you cannot develop your industries. “We have also helped in the area of institutional capacity building, which means, helping even the federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to train people in specific areas that are necessary to support the implementation of those programmes. At the state level, we have implemented certain programmes to help the young people train in ICT and businesses who are now setting up their own businesses and employing people,” Kormawa said.

NAPEP earmarks N1.2b for 27 states


HE National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has said it will disburse N1.2 billion in its conditional cash transfer (CCT) project otherwise called In Care of the People (COPE) to the poor in 27 states of the federation. Speaking in Abuja during a one day training on CCT, the Director, Coordination and Programmes Department, Godiya Bitrus Yohana said the programme would target about 19,000 people from 27 states. She said the money was given to NAPEP by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) office to implement the COPE programme. “The MDGs office gave NAPEP N1.2 billion to implement COPE.

That is in the 27 states of the federation because MDGs give directly to 10 states. They gave us the funds to bridge the gap between what they are doing in the 10 states and in the remaining 27 states,” she said. Senior Special Assistant to the President and National Coordinator of NAPEP, Alhaji Mukhtar Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, said the training was meant to educate the participants on the slight changes in the COPE programme. “We decided to adopt world best practices in terms of implementation of the CCT and that is why we are training the staff today. There is a slight change, we are still doing part of what they were doing before but not all,” he said.

•From left: Executive Director, Upstream International Shell, Mr Malcom Brinded , Nimota and other participants at the symposium.

Envoy canvasses for FDI from Netherlands N

IGERIAN Ambassador to Netherlands, Dr Nimota Akanbi, has urged investors in the Netherlands to begin to see Nigeria as one of the most lucrative destinations for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Speaking at the Shell Nigeria Day Symposium in Hague, Netherlands, Ambassador Akanbi said President Goodluck Jonathan is working most assiduously to expand and consolidate his administration’s achievements on the economy particularly in ensuring that Nigeria attains accelerated economic growth. The envoy seeks for more collaboration between Shell , adding

By Toba Agboola

that it is time for the company to be quoted in the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE). She said the government is doing everything possible to ensure conducive environment for the operations of the oil giant in the country. According to her, the transformation agenda of the government is aimed at removing all barriers to increased productivity, stressing that there is emphasis on expansion and development of the downstream sector of the oil and gas in-

‘Our major challenge is to meet expectation’


ANAGING Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CHI Limited, makers of Chivita, Mr Vipul Chander Beri, has said the major challenge facing the company is to meet people’s expectation by continually producing quality products. He said people’s expectation is very high as they know CHI produces quality products. and they must live up to expectation so as not to disappoint consumers. He said this in Lagos during the launch of the new 750ml Chivita juice. Beri pointed out that the crave to capture youths that are in the majority was the reason for the introduction of the new pack in Lagos. He said the pack was launched so as to satisfy customers, and youths wanted a pack to be identified with and ‘we have given them this pack which is a new phenomenon as re-

By Ajose Sehindemi

search shows that youths, that make up about 64 per cent of the estimated 154 million population are out going and love to make friends as friends are everything, hence the brand has come up with the name ‘Friendship pack’, to satisfy the yearnings of the enormous market.” He said: “Over 2,200 people participated in the research carried out in the formation of the new pack production with 10 Nigerian campuses visited in the process. Chivita was introduced into the market about 15 years ago, packaged in a 20-litre keg and the decision to introduce the 750ml,he said, is as a result of consistent demands by customers and with it, a customer does not have too much to consume and too little to share. He said the company has invested

in research and innovation in order to deliver what the youths want,emphasising that the company has been in the fore of innovation and has scored many firsts especially in packaging, as they moved from Tetra slim to Tetra pack and now, Gemina pack, which is the latest technology in the market, hence they are the only one with it in Africa Beri said the response so far has been tremendous as he is yet to see any company that will have three brands of its products, 250ml, 500ml, 1 litre and yet come out with another, 750ml, which is selling fast. On standard maintenance, he said: “It is not easy but over the years we have trained our workforce in Nigeria and abroad and have spent a lot of money in training them so that they must have world class standard, hygienic standard, and good business


practice. It is education, educating them in our business ethics and that’s why we are growing. We are known for our hygienic products and we are largest producer of Hollandia yourghout in Nigeria, CHI is 32 years and Chivita is 15 years.’

dustry that would provide one million jobs for Nigerians while the continued expansion of the production capacity in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry would earn more revenue through increased crude oil exports. She said the focus of the government is on the promotion of private sector investment in the upstream and downstream activities, deregulation of the industry as well as promotion of environmental– friendly oil and gas exploration and exploitation techniques. She said: “It also includes strengthening capacity building programmes, especially in core technical areas as well as provision of funding mechanisms for pre-bidding geo-sciences and surveys of deep- water offshore. “It further envisages reduction of gas flaring and it’s concomitant pollutions as well as increase in the supply of these petroleum products for domestic use and power generation, including local content development.” Akanbi observed that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would further lead to the diversification of the sector’s capacity to generate more jobs, adding that government has already put in place implementable programmes, to transform the country from an importer of petroleum products to a regional hub for exportation of value – added petroleum and petro-chemical products. She said with the good economic policy of the government and an estimated population of about 168 million ,Nigerians should be the investment destination of Dutch investors and other investors across the world.







e-Business Lack of effective regulatory framework and stakeholders collaboration are among issues impeding implementation of mobile payment. Experts proffer way out, ADLINE ATILI reports.

Making mobile payment work I

N the past, mobile phones were used basically for voice services. Today, we now have phones for data, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video and a lot of other amazing services, that experts say, have come to make the harsh realities of living more manageable. However, mobile payment, which is an advancement of the use of mobile devices, is set to change the face of commerce across the world. Mobile payment (or mobile wallet) is an alternative payment method. Instead of paying with cash or cheque, a consumer can use a mobile device to pay for goods and services. The mobile device could also be used to store monetary value, especially for those without access to banking services. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), mobile payments have very exciting potentials within Nigeria given the low infrastructure requirements and rapidly increasing mobile phone penetration. The market for mobile payments is expected to grow significantly in the next several years, reaching $618 billion by 2016, according to a report by consulting firm, Edgar, Dunn & Co. and sponsored by the electronic payments processing firm, MasterCard. The development of mobile payment solutions in Nigeria, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to ensure financial inclusion of the un-banked and under-served and to reduce the presence of cash in the economy, by making electronic payment channels available; riding on proliferation of mobile telecommunications technology and wide use of mobile phones. Varieties of competing business sectors — from telecoms to financial institutions to mobile payment operators — are launching pilots of new technology they hope will replace consumer reliance on cards and cash. Over the past months, CBN had begun to move closer to a tipping point that will lead to the popularisation of mobile payments in the country. But the snag is that with all the hype surrounding the new payment method expected to usher the economy into an era of less reliance on cash, the mobile payment initiative is yet to go full-scale due to some implementation barriers; especially from mobile telephone subscribers who would form the bulk of the users of the mobile money platform. Stakeholders say these barriers that may impede success of the exercise must be removed. They argue that in removing the barriers, a functional mobile money model should be created, adding that effective policies should be formulated and strictly implemented for the scheme to thrive. Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Eugene Juwah, stressed the importance of integrity of end-to-end transmission during a payment transaction session. He said that of all the mobile applications, mobile payment is the one in which security is of paramount importance because of the financial value at stake, adding that the integrity of the telecoms systems underpins other underlying technology.

He said: “The chain of transactions must be secure from initiation to authentication. Therefore, confidentiality and integrity of the data transmission are critical factors in mobile payment.” He added that the cost of the service should not be prohibitive to users and unsustainable to operators. He advocated increased consumer awareness and minimal charges for every electronic payment through the mobile phone, with no hidden charges to foster confidence and usage of the mobile payments system. He disclosed that the NCC is working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CBN to ensure a seamless operation of the mobile payment scheme. President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Dr Chris Uwaje, at a mobile payment forum in Lagos, asserted that good policy and strategy instruments are needed to drive a successful mobile money scheme. “We need them. We always find ourselves running without equipment, we need to equip ourselves with what we need to run with. “Essentially, this is a country where etransactions are happening without e-law or e-legislations; where e-transactions are happening without e-policy; e-transactions are happening without adequate protection of critical information infrastructure. We believe this is very fundamental to the success of what we want to achieve. How do we build the trust for mobile money? “People will find mobile money interesting if they know that trust has been built, if they know that their dealings have been protected and of course if they know it is sustainable.” Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Corporation (NSPMC), Mr Ehi Okoyomon, said for the CBN’s cash-less policy to be effective and make desired impact, there is need for formulation of strategies that would push the initiative across the country. Speaking on Fast tracking e-Payment Growth in Nigeria at a workshop in Lagos, the NSPMC boss stressed that for the cashless scheme to be successful, stakeholders including the CBN, banks, service providers and others must work in collaboration with the government for the scheme to be successful. He said going forward; Nigeria must get its infrastructure right if the policy must succeed, “There must be enlightenment, publicity, education and there must be infrastructure upgrade and above all, the security must be perfect,” he said. On the challenges in the implementation

• Mrs Johnson

•CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

of the initiative, Okoyomon flayed the way policies are formulated, saying, “Many of the issues being raised today should have been addressed before the policy was formulated.” He said issues relating to infrastructure, fraud, communication and costs of transaction should be effectively addressed before extensive implementation of the policy. CBN’s Deputy Governor, Operations, Mr Tunde Lemo, said the apex bank had set up an office dedicated to policy implementation, which is aimed at ensuring that operators work according to the tenets of the policy. He added that the CBN was working to ensure that awareness of the scheme gets to the grass roots, saying the bank was in talks with operators to bring down transaction costs. “More public enlightenment is still our focus. We also believe that there is need for effective regulatory framework,” he said. Additionally, Director of Banking and Payment Systems Operations at the CBN, Abayomi Atoloye, assured that the Payment System Oversight office of the CBN will intensify efforts in monitoring compliance to guidelines and regulations on payments system. He said: “Like in most parts of the world, payments system in Nigeria is not free from risks and other challenges. Nonetheless, the CBN has take necessary steps in forms of guidelines, rules and regulations, circulars, initiatives and infrastructural development to address all the payments system issues. The Payment System Oversight office will intensify efforts in monitoring compliance to guidelines and regulations on payments system.” Director of Lagos Business School, Prof. Pat Utomi, highlighted good governance on the part the regulatory bodies, building of consumer confidence through adequate security and enlightenment, cooperation among the e-payment players and effective infrastructure, as issues that should be looked into for a successful e-payment policy. He said: “The policy is about reducing costs of transactions and making payment more effective for Nigerians as part of our plan to compete with the rest of the world. “The key to success beyond cooperation, however, is provision of infrastructure, education, building confidence in the system through communication and governance

structure. Government should ensure that confidence is built. “The level of confidence can drop if people perceive the system as not working. People tend to trust the system that is working for them. As such, all the itemised challenges need to be addressed for us to get our e-payment system right once and for all.” Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank PLC, Mr Segun Oloketuyi, cautioned CBN on policy summersault in the system to protect investment and well-coordinated epayment growth. He said to grow mobile payment, correct regulatory framework, greater collaboration between banks and mobile operators, orientation of the public to the possibilities provided by mobile payment, strategic rethinking by the banks and other e-payment operators are salient issues that need to be addressed. He noted that: “One major challenge in growth of e-payment is regulation. For instance, ATMs were at first banned in offsite locations. This led to decline in the number of ATMs deployed. Later, the CBN rescinded the decision. By then, we had lost ground.” To the Vice President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Remi Bello, low level of literacy was a challenge. He said even though majority of Nigerians possess mobile, most of the subscribers could not perform some of the basic operations of the mobile unaided. “Yes, phones are with us but majority of phone users still say, ‘Please help me dial this number…Check who is calling for me, please…’ How would such people handle the complexity of mobile payment? “Then the level of confidence and trust should be addressed. People no longer have confidence in the banking system. Then sanctions should be put in place to check misdemeanour. This is the only country where issuers of dud cheques are not punished,” he said. Inadequate distribution and agency network is also an impediment to full-scale deployment of mobile payment services, if not properly addressed. The CBN identified lack of an efficient agency network to drive uptake of mobile payment services. The apex bank has, however, assured it would leverage the infrastructure of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) to provide the required agency network. Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, however, said NIPOST faces substantial competition from private sector operators in the postal sector, as well as international and local courier and transport companies. She said: “NIPOST’s extensive network penetration into rural areas and the variety of services the agency offers have enabled it to serve as a tool for the promotion of social, financial and digital inclusion. It, however, faces substantial competition from private sector operators in the postal sector.”

‘Yes, phones are with us but majority of phone users still say, ‘Please help me dial this number…Check who is calling for me, please…’ How would such people handle the complexity of mobile payment?’



e-Business Video will generate 71% of Broadband infrastructure data traffic by 2016 to cost N600b, says Ovia M


HE wireless infrastructure that would drive uptake of broadband services would be worth at least N600billion, Chairman of Visafone, Mr Jim Ovia, has said. Ovia said the rapid growth in the number of Internet users would lead to corresponding economic growth of the nation. This growth, according to him, would be made possible by expansion of broadband infrastructure. At the fourth anniversary celebration of Visafone in Lagos, , Ovia said: “Riding the waves of explosion of Internet and social networking, Nigeria is catching up with the global trends and has 46million Internet users as we speak. “The Internet users are estimated to grow to 70 million by 2015 and Nigeria would be using wireless broadband services worth N600billion. I believe the aggressive Internet penetration will lead to the economic growth of Nigeria and is the future.” As part of measures to contribute

to the nation’s development through broadband, Visafone has put plans in place to deepen penetration by expanding its voice and data networks. The company said it would invest billions of naira on mobile broadband infrastructure as well as deploy the Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to keep the nation at par with global technology trends of a networked society. Ovia said that as the nation moves towards electronic payment, mobile broadband would be integral in delivering quality service to consumers. He said Visafone would play a leading role in this drive by introducing innovative solutions, infrastructure upgrade and affordable tablets and smartphones to support the initiative. He said: “Visafone is confident of delivering a superlative mobile broadband experience to customers and offer exciting times during the year as mobile money,

cash-less Nigeria and thrust on broadband penetration are slated to encompass our lives. “Visafone is challenge-ready to take leadership positions in all of these. I must add that going forward, enterprise business will be a key focus area for growth and Visafone shall aspire to pioneer innovative solutions in this segment. You will also find new and exciting devices launched in our network, including tablets and affordable smartphones.” To kick-start the drive, the company announced it is investing $20million to boost capacity of its broadband network in Lagos. To commemorate its celebrations, the Nigerian Communications Commission has declared the Telco, the nation’s number one network on the Quality of Service Key Performance Indicators among all mobile networks. Visafone emerged first in the defined Parameters of Service: CSSR (Call Set up Success Rate) TCHCon (Traffic Channel Congestion) and CCR (Call Completion Rate).

OBILE data traffic is expected to increase 18-fold over the next five years, tripling fixed data traffic by 2016, with video accounting for 71 per cent of all mobile data during the same period, according to a new forecast issued by networking firm, Cisco Systems in its Visual Networking Index. The forecast anticipates the number of mobile Web-connected devices would eclipse the number of people on earth. Cisco projects an annual run rate of 130 exabytes of mobile data traffic by 2016, a number equivalent to 33 billion DVDs, 4.3 quadrillion MP3 files or 813 quadrillion text messages. An exabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one quintillion bytes. The Middle East and Africa will experience the highest regional mobile data traffic growth rate, growing 36-fold between 2012 and 2016 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 104 per cent, according to the forecasts.

The forecast predicted that mobile cloud traffic would also increase, expanding 28-fold between 2011 and 2016 at a CAGR of 95 per cent. Mobile network connection speeds is also expected to surge in conjunction with consumer demand, increasing nine-fold during the forecast period. In a statement, Cisco Vice President, Products and Solutions Marketing, Suraj Shetty, said: “By 2016, 60 per cent of mobile users, that is about three billion people worldwide, will belong to the ‘Gigabyte Club,’ each generating more than one gigabyte of mobile data traffic per month. “By contrast, in 2011, only one-half per cent of mobile users qualified. This impressive growth in mobile traffic will be driven by more powerful devices, notably smartphones and tablets, using faster networks, such as 4G and WiFi, to access more applications, particularly data-intensive video.”

Ministry to hold forum on ICT policy


HE Ministry of Communications Technology will hold a stakeholder’s forum on the draft Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy on March 9, in Lagos. In a statement, the ministry said the draft policy has received suggestions, comments and inputs from industry groups, organisations and stakeholders both in Nigeria and abroad, since release in January. The forum is expected to provide a veritable platform for the ministry to engage stakeholders in robust discussions on the suggestions and comments on the policy. Minister of Communications Tech-

nology, Mrs Omobola Johnson said: ‘’We have had various policies covering the IT and the communications industry but the convergence of technologies and the industry have dictated the need for an integrated policy document, hence, the need to harmonise all the existing policies to reflect new realities.” She said the policy document was a “statement of intent” for the ministry, stressing that once there was an agreement, a country ICT master plan would be developed that will include an implementation plan with detailed implementation activities, timelines, milestones and funding requirements as well as funding options.

HP launches workstation


P has introduced an all-in-one workstation with a 68.6 cm (27”) diagonal display. A workstation is a high-end computer designed for technical or scientific applications. The display of the new HP Z1 Workstation snaps open so users can easily swap out parts and make upgrades without any tools required. HP Workstation Category Manager, Fulvio Dona, explained that the HP Z1 combines a sleek industrial design with accelerated performance featuring Intel Xeon processors, NVIDIA Quadro graphics, support for more than one billion colours, as well as HP’s world-class reliability.

“The HP Z1 Workstation is built for computer-aided design, digital media, entertainment, architects, education and independent professionals. It provides blazingly fast rendering and performance, offers a full range of workstation-class graphics cards and processors and is tested and certified to work with today’s leading industry applications. “Whether it’s an engineer creating three dimensional components, an architect designing buildings, a videographer editing event footage or photographer finishing photo shots, the HP Z1 gives creative professionals the power they need to bring ideas to life faster.”

Embrace CSR, Telecom chiefs tell organisations

C •Mr Tomisin Fashina (left) and General Manager, Gboyega Adelowore, at a media briefing in Lagos.

Yookos set to challenge Facebook


SOCIAL networking site which would be to Africa what Facebook is to America has been launched. The site, Yookos, according to the promoters, would rivet upon education, entertainment and interaction. The site, unveiled in Lagos, is raring to grab the hearts and minds of Africans at home and in Diaspora by offering a values-based platform that addresses African issues. It has users in Nigeria, United Kingdom, South Africa, United States, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Canada. Chief Executive Officer of Yookos, with six million users already, Mr Tomisin Fashina, said that there was a huge need for an African networking site that could help Africans interact, socialise, share information and access entertainment relevant to them, regardless of location. He said social media penetration remains low in many African countries because of the lack of local relevance, saying Yookos would play a vital role in breaking digital barriers, making the continent social

media-savvy and providing social relevance in a networked environment. “Our early experience suggests there’s a huge need for a quintessentially African social network that helps Africans interact, socialise, share information and access entertainment that is relevant to them, whether they’re in London, New York or a remote village in Nigeria. “For us, Africa’s challenges are its opportunities. Our emphasis is on social development. Our biggest challenge in the continent is illiteracy, and we’ll be looking to find ways to be part of the

‘Our early experience suggests there’s a huge need for a quintessentially African social network that helps Africans interact, socialise, share information and access entertainment that is relevant to them, whether they’re in London, New York or a remote village in Nigeria’

solution. We care about Africa and uplifting the people, whether that’s through giving students access to educational materials or putting families in contact with their loved ones on the other side of the world.” He explained that the site, which has multi-language support, was born as an online platform for Christ Embassy Head Pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, to share prayer points with believers. He said the site was expanded to reach out to all Africans, regardless of religion, politics, gender or locations when the potentials were discovered. Fashina stated that plans are in place to put the school certificate syllabuses and other study materials on the site to aid scholarship. He added that Yookos’ positioning as a values-based platform would be attractive to many Africans put off by more liberal Western platforms: “We don’t want pornography, foul language or violence. This is a place where people are comfortable to come and talk about everything from football to music in a comfortable environment,” he said.

HIEF Executive Officer of Etisalat, Mr Steven Evans, has urged organisations to embrace Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), saying if properly implemented, has potential to aid business growth, reduce risks as well as enhance business reputation. He assured that Etisalat would act as a catalyst in developing a CSR agenda for the socioeconomic de-

velopment of the nation. According to Evans, to give verve to the development of effective CSR in Nigeria, the company had set up a CSR Centre at the Lagos Business School of Pan-African University. He made this known in Lagos at the opening of a two-day international CSR conference, organised by the Telco in partnership with the institution.

Bharti Airtel unaware of Econet Wireless damages claim


HARTI Airtel Ltd, the Indianbased parent company of Airtel Nigeria, has said it isn’t aware of a reported $3.1billion damages claim by Econet Wireless Ltd in a dispute over ownership of the India Telco’s Nigerian unit. The comments came after Nigerian media cited court documents to report that Econet Wireless has claimed damages from Bharti Airtel after a local court decision in late January. The court said Bharti’s purchase of the Nigeria unit--now called Airtel Nigeria-from Mobile Telecommunications Co. in 2010 was “null and void” because Econet wasn’t consulted on the deal. Econet officials couldn’t be reached for comment, but media reports cited the company as saying that its five per cent stake in the unit was unfairly cancelled when Zain took over the

Nigerian company in 2005. It also claimed that any subsequent change in ownership, including Bharti’s deal with Zain, should be declared null and void. The court upheld Econet’s claim, but Bharti has challenged the order. Bharti said that Econet’s comments are “grossly spurious and misleading.” Econet Wireless’s disputed five per cent stake in Airtel Nigeria hasn’t “been cancelled but has been set aside since 2006, pending final resolution of the ongoing litigation on this matter,” said Bharti, India’s largest and the world’s fifth-largest mobile phone company by subscribers. “The partial award has also not determined any damages,” it said, referring to the January court order, adding that it expects a hearing on its appeal shortly.






Austin Laz lists shares on NSE


USTIN Laz and Company Plc, an indigenous cooling system manufacturing company, yesterday listed 1.079 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N2.00 per share by way of introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Speaking during the listing in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer, Austin Laz Plc, Dr. Austin Asimonye said that the company products were purely made in Nigeria and specifically crafted to suit the Nigerian climate and people. He said the listing would enhance the growth of the company and enable to further project Nigeria’s technological and engineering expertise. He noted that the future of the company is driven largely by the very ambitious expansion plan it has drawn to consolidate on it existing market as well as strengthen its diversification strategy. Specifically, he said, the company is expanding its production factory for the ice-making machine and refrigeration equipment manufacturing. “It is also increasing its capacity in the area of UPVC smart roof and PVC ceiling tiles production with the construction of a new plant at Asaba, Delta State. The Company has concluded plans to enhance its marketing capacity to ensure a delivery process that will translate to increased earnings and

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

better stakeholder rewards,” he added. He stressed further that the company started its business operations primarily as a refrigeration company with the sales and service of air conditioners and refrigerators before going into the manufacture of ice block machines. “To further the company’s objective to expand, it is complimenting its mono product lines(Ice block machines) which are industrial grade equipment with the local manufacture of domestic equipment including air conditioners and refrigerators,” he said. He pointed out that the major factor driving the strategic objective is the demand from current clients, customers and the market research proven external demand for the company’s products. The company is the first to list its shares on the Exchange this year. The Chief Executive Officer of the NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said that with the listing of an indigenous company, more are still coming to take part in the opportunity in the capital market. The Managing Director of First Atlantic Securities Limited, Mr. Sam Adeyemi noted that the diversification of the company will bring good earnings to investors. Meanwhile, major market indicators at the NSE continued on the downward as market capitalisation re-

duced by N4 billion or 0.06 per cent to close at N6.342 trillion while the All-ShareIndex dropped by 14.00 points or 0.07 per cent to close at 20,123.51 points respectively. Although, some mid capitalised stocks recorded price increase with a corresponding high volume but could not pull the key indicators through to the green side. The pull by some others in the blue chip region were stronger with the high volume of transsaction but with price reduction in value. United Bank for Africa still retaining its lead position in terms of volume of transaction also has continued to remain on the gainers table. The stock traded 172.247 million shares and improved its value by N0.12 to close at N2.71. N.E.M followed with 50.748 million shares to close flat while Zenith Bank and Access Bank which occupied the forth and sixth positions traded 29.671 million shares and 15.500 respectively recorded price appreciation. Analysing the day’s performances, market operators were of the opinion that the bearish trend maintained by the market in the last three days can be attributed to the short term traders sustained profit bookings on modest stocks that had appreciated in value during previous week’s upward rally. NSE statistics revealed that more of mid-capitalised stocks are in the losing bracket. They further explained that though, there appeared an intra-day resistance on the downward syndrome but Zenith Bank, Unilever, UBA, ETI and Access Bank impacted on activities log positively, while marginal dip by Dangote Cement halted this momentum.






ESPITE all the challenges that face the Nigerian banking sector, the sector remains stronger with a brighter outlook in 2012, Renaissance Capital (RenCap), an investment and research firm has said. The firm admitted that many investors are both weary and wary of the Nigerian banking sector after some challenging years. It said share-price performance has been dismal and non-performing loans and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) write-offs continued throughout 2011. RenCap said that reported loan growth for some banks was disappointing and the expected recovery in returns and profitability did not fully materialise last year. Despite all the above, the research from said the banks should expect a whole new day that will be driven by asset quality and capital issues.

RenCap: Banking sector stronger, outlook better •Nigeria to drive Ecobank’s earnings

By Collins Nweze

credit could easily grow at 25 to 30 per cent this year. Beyond that, banking penetration in Nigeria remains well below other emerging market and even some frontier market peers. The sector has achieved average credit growth of 33 per cent over the past decade, to yield a loans/ Gross Domestic Product ratio of 32 per cent, even after accounting for sales to AMCON over the past two years. It said mergers and acquisitions are never easy and that forecasts for scale benefits and cost synergies are likely to take longer to come through than managements envision. Meanwhile, RenCap added that Ecobank Transnational Incorporated’s (ETI) goal is to be

RenCap said the pressing question on most investors’ minds is whether the loan books of the banks are clean but after examining the size of write-offs taken Guaranty Trust Bank, Stanbic IBTC and Zenith Bank have the better quality books, while Diamond Bank and Fidelity Bank face challenges on this front. Besides, given the scope of sector write-offs, it examined the impact on banks’ capital bases and capital adequacy ratios (CAR) and discovered that most of the banks covers are overcapitalised, and most are positioned to absorb losses without requiring emergency capital injections. On the outlook for loan growth, RenCap said that private sector

the leading bank in Middle Africa. The research firm said Nigeria will be the main driver of earnings over the next few years for the bank and that it expects the non-performing loan ratio to be maintained around 5.5 per cent, with Nigeria remain-

StanChart’s earnings rise 10% to $17.6b


TANDARD Chartered Bank has earned $17.64 billion for the year ended December 2011. This represents a 10 per cent rise even as profit soared by 11 per cent to $6.78 billion. Customer loans went up by nine per cent to $269 billion and customer deposits up 11 per cent to $352 billion. A statement from the bank said consumer banking profits went up by 26 per cent while wholesale banking exceeded $5 billion for the first time. The bank said its continued performance is underpinned by strong capital and liquidity, adding that there are multiple sources of income across the faster-growing markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. “The Group now has 24 markets generating income and 14 producing profits of more than $100 million. The diversity of different businesses and geographic markets

CBN to sanction banks on non-compliance with HE Central Bank of Nigeria not-on-us transactions is to be dis(CBN) has said it will sanc- ATM operations played to card holder for accep-


tion banks that fail to comply with its modalities for Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Operations. The apex bank in a circular signed by its Acting Director, Banking and Payment System Department, Gaius Emokpae, expressed its disappointment on banks’ continued violation of its

tance before the transaction is consummated. The bank also observed that banks that use Visa cards always breach this rule. It said that such action is discriminately and does not align with the objective of accepting all cards and ensuring equal service level offering.

rules on ATM usage. The circular addressed to all deposit money banks advised the banks to ensure that all various cards used in the country are treated equally on their ATMs. The regulator advised the banks to ensure that a N100 fee charged for

ing at five per cent or below. It said the bank’s focus is shifting from expansion to reaping scale benefits. It said that as the Group comes to the end of its expansion phase, the focus is moving increasingly to developing scale and integrating the network.

gives the bank resilient income momentum and enables it to grow even when some markets have a difficult year,” it said. The bank said it has a policy of maintaining a strong capital and liquidity position, which enables it to stay open for business and take market share through the economic cycle in core areas of business such as trade finance. Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered said the result demonstrates the power of the bank’s strategy and the resilience of its businesses. “Our capital and funding strength allows us to remain open for business and win more market share. We see huge opportunities in our core markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, both within individual markets, and in facilitating the explosive growth of trade and investment flows within the emerging world,” he said.

FirstBank unveils strategic business academy


IRSTBANK of Nigeria has established FirstAcademy, a strategic business academy that is designed to raise manpower development in the bank to new heights. The firm, an affiliate of Global Association of Corporate Universities and Academics and the World Institute of Action Learning (WIAL) is expected to combine the tenets of

The acdemy is also meant to hone banking skills and build domain expertise within the organisation, equipping staff to compete favourably with global contemporaries and offer a formal and systematic mechanism for harvesting the process-specific knowledge and experiences embedded in, and reflective of the rich heritage of the bank.

signed to achieve several objectives set out for the academy. It is expected to provide framework for a structured competencybased Learning and Development system in the bank. It will equally achieve worldclass curricula in areas that are congruent with the requirements to achieving the Bank’s strategic pillars.

corporate training with the intellectual discipline and rigour that underpin academic learning in the bank. A statement from the bank said the academy is structured into Foundation School, Treasury, Operational and Credit Schools which is the second level; Management School and Leadership School. These schools are carefully de-

Commenting on the project, FirstBank’s Head of Human Capital Management and Development, Mrs Ayodele Jaiyesimi said the idea of the academy was conceived as a result of the need to maintain a high-performance workforce that connects with the imperatives of the bank’s vision and corporate strategies.


Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

19-05-2014 18-05-2016 19-05-2016


MANAGED FUNDS Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00


Current Market 5495.33 N552.20

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

7.9-10% 10-11%

PRIMARY MARKET AUCTION (T-BILLS) Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 5-02-2012 “ 6-02-2012


O/PRICE 55.00 7.04 22.16 1.03 0.83 2.36 2.59 1.34 3.83 1.38

C/PRI CE 57.75 7.39 23.261 1.08 0.87 2.47 2.71 1.40 4.00 1.44


O/PRICE 20.90 7.05 10.30 10.93 8.76 24.70 5.80 1.26 6.80 3.80

C/PRICE 19.86 6.70 9.79 10.39 8.33 23.50 5.52 1.20 6.50 3.65


Sold ($)

Rate (N)


















Current Before

Current After

CUV Start %





















(S/N) Bureau de Change











27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37

28-10-11 N6.617tr 20,903.16

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


(S/N) CHANGE 2.75 0.35 1.10 0.05 0.04 0.11 0.12 0.06 0.17 0.06


EXHANGE RATE 26-08-11 Currency


Amount Demanded ($)

Offered ($)

Parallel Market


July ’11

Dec ’11





Standing Lending Rate ,, Deposit Rate ,, Liquidity Ratio Cash Return Rate Inflation Rate

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 10.3%

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 1,177.37 99.76 0.76 1.04 0.88 1,666.70 8.24 1.39 1.87 7,137.57 193.00

9.08 1.00 1,160.06 99.49 0.73 1.04 0.87 1,663.73 7.84 1.33 1.80 6,953.84 191.08


CHANGE 1.04 0.35 0.51 0.54 0.43 1.20 0.28 0.06 0.30 0.15


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 23 Dec 2011 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 24, Dec, 2011 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%




04 July, 2011

07, Dec, 2011












NEWS Prisons gets new Comptroller-General From Gbenga Omokhunu, Olugbenga Adanikin and Adebowale Adenike, Abuja


HE new Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Mr. Zakari Ibrahim, was sworn in yesterday. He was sworn in at the NPS Headquarters, Abuja, during a pulling-out parade held in honour of his predecessor, Mr. Olushola Ogundipe. Ibrahim said: “One of our problems is the instability of policies occasioned by the incessant change in leadership. I intend to build on the existing legacies. I will focus on discipline, security, welfare and the legacies Ogundipe left behind.” Ogundipe said: “Correctional facilities are the most modern means of dealing with crime and criminals to protect the society. No modern state can, therefore, afford to neglect these facilities. “They are central to national security and socio-economic transformation.” He thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for the opportunity given to him to serve the nation and urged the officers to remain committed to their duties. Ogundipe said his administration partnered the National Open University (NOUN) on the establishment of study centres in some prisons. Minister of Interior Abba Moro, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Sheidu Osiji, described Ogundipe as “a dedicated officer who initiated new developments in the service.” He urged Ibrahim to improve on Ogundipe’s achievements.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar (right); Minister of State for Education Ezenwo Nyesom Wike (second left); and the Permanent Secretary of Sokoto State Ministry of Education, Alhaji Bello Sifawa (left) during the minister’s visit to the Sultan...on Tuesday.

ANPP candidate appeals tribunal’s judgment

Robbers attack Ogun banks


ESS than 24 hours after his petition was struck out by the Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Mohammed Halima, Prof. Daniel Saror of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) has filed a Notice of Appeal. The appeal was filed at the Court of Appeal challenging the tribunal’s decision that it lacks the jurisdiction to entertain Saror’s petition. Saror is contesting Governor Gabriel Suswam’s election on the grounds that the 180-days recommended for hearing on the matter had expired.

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

In the appeal, Saror’s counsel Mr. Christopher Orpin argued that the tribunal’s grounds for dismissal have resulted in a miscarriage of justice. He said the decision of the tribunal was at variance with the order of the Court of Appeal on September 29, 2011, and that of the Supreme Court on November 28, 2011, which restored the petition and ordered it to be heard. Saror is seeking an order compelling the tribunal to deliver the judgment reserved since February 9.


UNMEN attacked two banks in Babcock University, Ilishan, Ogun State, yesterday. The insident occurred 24 hours to the retirement of Police Commissioner Nicholas Daaru Nkemdeme. It was gathered that the robbers forced their way into a second-generation bank at

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

2:20pm and stole an undisclosed amount of money. The hoodlums attempted to invade a new generation bank, but were repelled by security operatives. For over 20 minutes, guns boomed and people ran for safety.

It was gathered that former Ekiti State Deputy Governor Abiodun Aluko was within the vicinity of the attack. Sources said the robbers escaped in the direction of Odogbolu. After inspecting the crime scene, Nkemdeme said three students have been arrested in connection with the rob-

bery. He assured the public that the culprits would be apprehended. Nkemdeme, who has attained retirement age, will be sent forth with a parade today at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, by noon. It will be followed by a party at the Police Officers’ Mess.

Lagos uncovers N82m fraud in local govts


HE Lagos State Government has uncovered N82 million fraud in the Local Governments (LGs), Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs).

By Miriam Ndikanwu

The fraud was disguised as payment to ghost workers and deceased pensioners for 2010 and 2011. The Permanent Secretary/ Auditor-General of Local Governments, Mr. Mohammed Hassan, spoke with reporters yesterday. He said over 100 ghost workers and impersonators of deceased pensioners have been exposed, and over N82 million recovered. Hassan said: “We have also


successfully completed the statutory reports on the accounts and projects executed in the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs for the year 2010, and it has been considered by the House of Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee on Local Governments. “The performances of the 57 LGs and LCDAs were appraised to ensure that funds are spent judiciously and to foster accountability and transparency.” To curb corruption, the Of-

fice of the Auditor-General for Local Governments would inspect projects executed by the councils and LCDAs between March 6 and 30. The inspection will focus on projects executed between July, 2010, and December, 2011. It would be supervised by audit teams and engineers from the Ministries of Housing; Urban and Regional Development; Physical Planning and Development; and the State Materials Testing Laboratory.

Okorocha, Ohakim await Supreme Court MO State residents are judgment tomorrow anxiously awaiting the

Supreme Court’s judgment in the case between Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and former Governor Ikedi Ohakim of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The judgment will be delivered tomorrow. The matter was adjudicated upon by the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and the Appeal Court, and Okorocha’s election was upheld, but the PDP

From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri

went further to the Supreme. PDP is praying the court to nullify the supplementary election conducted on May 6, 2011. A political scientist, Mr. Chris Ezeh, said: “The election result was so glaring that Ohakim acknowledged his defeat in a state-wide broadcast, where he said ‘Imo people have spoken in

very clear terms.’ “It is a surprise that Ohakim and the PDP are now want to reclaim what they lost through the backdoor of judicial maneuvering as it is being speculated. Ohakim’s aide, Dr. Elthbert Okere, said: “The issues are very clear and we have made our position explicit. The citizens are enlightened and they know the truth; the truth will prevail at the end of the day”

NGO flags off nursing training


NON-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Emergency Response International (ERI), will flag off Basic Life Support training in Nigerian Nursing Schools and Nursing Services today in Abuja.

Its Chairman, Dr. Nnamdi Nwauwa, said the training was initiated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN). The Minister of Health is expected to open the programme.




Akingbola loses bid to use proceedings of another court to argue case at high court

Friends, colleagues mourn Gringory


RIENDS and colleagues of the late James Iroha, popularly known as “Gringory” in the popular New Masquerade comedy, who died on Tuesday, have continued to express grief over his death. In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia, Abia State, they said that although they were aware of his ill-health, they had hoped that he would survive. They described Iroha as “an amiable fellow and a friend of everybody,” adding that he would be greatly missed. Mr Ifeanyi Onwuneme, the deceased’s friend for more than three decades and a veteran journalist, said: “His death was very painful. “He was a very humorous man and was a man of pleasant conduct, who did not like to hurt anybody. “He was very friendly and would be quick to say ‘I’m sorry’ if he offended you.” He regretted that the principal actors in Masquerade, which later metamorphosed to the New Masquerade, a regular weekly comedy show on the Nigerian Television Authority, were steadily passing on. The friend recalled the painful death of Claude Eke (Jegede), Christie Essien Igbokwe (Akpeno) and now Iroha, who, he noted, acted with “a passion to entertain rather than to make money as is the case today.” Similarly, Mr Hyacinth Okoli, the deceased’s colleague at Broadcasting Corporation of Abia, where Iroha retired as Director, Television Services, said that “James was a wonderful man. “He was a man that naturally wished to make everybody happy. He was quite unassuming and down-toearth and meant well for humanity.’’ He explained that contrary to public knowledge, “Gringory as the brain behind the Masquerade.” Okoli further remarked that Iroha showed no discrimination against his juniors in office but saw himself as equal with everybody in the office senior, intermediate and junior. “James was on Grade Level 13 when I was on level 8 but both of us would always drink together at the bar. “His death was very painful but one German philosopher rightly noted that “ Death is what gives life its full meaning.”

USTICE Hakeem Abiru of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja yesterday dismissed attempts by former managing director of Intercontinental Bank plc (now Access Bank Plc) Erastus Akingbola to use documents containing part of the proceedings of a Federal High Court suit against him to cross examine one of the witnesses brought by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). Akingbola, through his counsel, Mr. Deji Sasegbon (SAN) also wanted the documents to be admitted as exhibits. But Justice Abiru, in a ruling, rejected the documents and refused to admit them as exhibit.


By Adebisi Onanuga

He also rejected and disallowed another attempt by the defence counsel, Sasegbon, to use a part of the document to cross examine the EFCC witness, Mr. Abdulraheem Jimoh and for same to be admitted as exhibit. The judge ruled that the defence has not shown the relevance of the documents to the suit at hand. He also held that the defence cannot use proceedings in a suit against his client in another court as evidence and for cross examination of witnesses in his court. Justice Abiru, rejecting a part of the document the defence wanted to use to cross examine the EFCC witness

the second time held that “before such document could be tendered, there must have been contradictions in the statement and cross examination of the witness. “The document is hereby rejected and cannot be tendered as evidence”, he said. Earlier, Sasegbon, cross examining Mr. Jimoh, cited certain sections of the Evidence Act to buttress his argument that documents filed at the Federal High Court as proof of evidence are public documents. He said the documents which are part of the documents filed and proceedings of a suit in which the parties are the” Federal Government versus Erastus

Akingbola” at the Federal High Court are relevant to the particular case in the High Court. But counsel to the EFCC, Mr. E.C. Ukala (SAN) opposed the use of the documents for cross examination and for it to be tendered as exhibit. Ukala argued that for any document to be used for cross examination, it must have first been tendered in court as evidence and admitted as exhibits. Citing provisions of the Evidence Act, Ukala said the only condition for using such documents for cross examination is if it has been tendered in court long before the witness is put in the witness box and not in the middle of

proceedings. “Besides they are address of proceedings in another suit in another court and the law is very clear on the extent to which you can use such proceedings in another court. “Before you can use proceedings in another case, you have to lay the foundation for it. Unless the conditions for wanting to use it are established, they would not be relevant to the case at hand”, he submitted. Akingbola and an associate, Bayo Dada are standing trial on alleged theft of N47.1 billion belonging to the bank brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Hearing will continue today in the matter.

Immigration to hand over Boko Haram member From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja


•Director-General, Lagos State Archival and Records Bureau (LASRAB), Alhaji Bolaji Uthman, explaining a point to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) during the opening of LASRAB Building in Magodo... on Tuesday. With them is Deputy Governor Mrs. Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire

Senate declares operations of BPP illegal


HE Senate yesterday asked President Goodluck Jonathan to appoint and inaugurate the National Council on Public Procurement (NCPP) without delay as provided for in Section 1(4) of the Public Procurement Act 2007. It also urged Jonathan to constitute the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as provided for in Sections 7(1) and 8(1) in order to establish a legal, formidable and effective institution able to effectively exercise its powers and mandate as specified in Section 6(1) of the Public Procurement Act. This followed a motion on “Appointment and inauguration of National Council on Public Procurement (NCPP), sponsored by Senator Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) and 16 others. Most Senators who contributed to the motion described the non-composition of the NCPP over five years after the Public Procurement Act was enacted as a fragrant abuse of due process and an act of illegality. Lawan urged Senate to note that the Public Procurement Act 2007 took effect from June 2007 and it establishes the NCPP and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as the regu-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor tor the prices of tendered items and keep a and Sanni Onogu, Abuja national database of standard prices, pre-

latory agencies responsible for the monitoring and oversight of public procurement. He said the Act also harmonised the existing government procedures and practices by regulating, setting standards and developing the legal framework and professional capacity for public procurement in Nigeria. He noted that he is aware that under the Act the NCPP among other things, is to consider and approve policies on public procurement, approve the appointment of the directors of the BPP and approve changes in the procurement process to adapt to improvements in modern technology. The lawmaker also said that he is aware that the BPP is among others to formulate the general policies and guidelines relating to public sector procurement for approval of the council, subject to thresholds as may be set by the council, certify federal procurement prior to the award of contract, supervise the implementation of established procurement policies, moni-

pare and update standard biding and contract documents and prevent fraudulent and unfair procurement and where necessary apply administrative sanctions. Lawan said the public procurement practice before the enactment of the Public Procurement Act 2007, was unprofessional, inefficient, and ineffective as it was based on out dated treasury circular which provided only guidelines on public expenditure management. He said that he is further aware that the Federal Government is yet to constitute the NCPP, as provided for in sections 1(1) and 1(4) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 respectively. The Yobe State born lawmaker added that he is worried that the non-appointment and non-inauguration of the NCPP has invariably rendered the execution of the Public Procurement Act 2007 ineffective, since the BPP is not legislated and designed to function alone, as the directors of BPP shall be appointed by NCP as provided in section 2(c) of the Act.

HE Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) yesterday vowed not to spare any suspected member of Boko Haram caught. Such a person, NIS said will be handed over to the State Security Service (SSS) for appropriate action. According to a statement by NIS Spokesman, Joachim Olumba, the almost 11,000 immigrants recently repatriated and refused admission by the Immigration are not connected with the notorious sect. The statement reads: “This clarification has become very necessary following speculations that those affected by the exercise were members of the infamous Boko Haram group. Perhaps, it is proper to emphasize that any immigrant identified by Nigeria Immigration Service as a member of the dreaded religious sect would be handed over to the State Security Service or other relevant security agencies for appropriate action before deportation. “Therefore, we wish to categorically state that the Nigeria Immigration Service never eased out any immigrant from the country on the ground of his or her membership of the Boko Haram sect. All the immigrants either refused entry or repatriated recently had no valid travel documents or any visible means of livelihood. A number of those who were refused admission had no contact addresses in Nigeria while some of their counterparts who were repatriated were merely squatters in uncompleted buildings without proper addresses.”

‘Condition of police stations, barracks in Lagos deplorable’


HE Presidential Committee on Police Reform yesterday described the condition of police barracks and stations in Lagos as deplorable and unacceptable. Retired Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Casmir Akagbosu, a member of the committee, gave the assessment while answering questions from reporters before going into an interactive ses-

sion with inspectors and the rank and file, at the state headquarters of police command. “Yesterday (February 28), we only inspected two police divisions, today we are going on to see more facilities,” Akagbosu, who led seven of the nine members of the committee on the visit, disclosed. “But what we saw at the stations were deplorable, they were congested and out of it.

“At the barracks, we also saw congested barracks with broken down facilities. “It, therefore, means that the Force has to do something urgently in building model stations, divisions and offices, equipped with generators in case of power failure, and computers with proper communication rooms,” he said. Akagbosu said the police authorities needed to do

something about congestion in the barracks, which resulted in deplorable facilities. According to him, the Lagos State Command is the first to be visited by the committee out of the 36 state commands and the FCT, adding that the committee would hear from all of them before coming out with its recommendations. Akagbosu said that the

committee would also look into recommendations made by previous committees to find out those that were not implemented and possibly bring them up in their report for necessary action. He said the committee would continue to hear from the rank and file directly as this would help it to have first hand information that would enable it to give proper suggestions and recommenda-

tions. Akagbosu said that the committee welcomed memoranda from the public, including serving police officers. He said that they had three months to complete their assignment. Akagbosu said that the government was determined to address the problems of the Force for better policing in the country.



NEWS Electronic voting likely in 2015, says Jega Continued from page 2

“If there is any evidence, up till now, nobody has produced it. If I had that evidence, I would take it to Mr President for whatever it is worth.” Jega said though he supported the recommendation that INEC members be appointed by an independent body outside the executive, he accepted the job, convinced he would do his best. “Now I have been asked to come and chair INEC under a procedure that is different from what I supported; I accepted to do it because I know I can do it to the best of my ability without any compromise. “I can do it on a non-partisan basis. I can do it impartially. I can do it by creating a levelplaying field for everybody to the best of my ability. Obviously, I expect everybody on the commission to do the same. “As far as I am concerned, I am the Jega that I have been before I came into INEC. I am not about to change. I have not changed. The day I realise I can’t do this job, I will leave it. “I have done so before in other assignments I have taken; I can do it again. But I don’t run away from responsibilities. The challenges are there; that’s what life is all about. You have to face them frontally and do your best under the circumstances.” Jega’s dream is to ensure that in 2015, there is a more technologically-enhanced electoral process. “We are doing massive restructuring in INEC, and by 2015, we want INEC to be the best election management body in Africa,” Jega said.

Robbers attack bank with dynamite in Port Harcourt


O fewer than 10 armed robbers, about 8 pm yesterday, used dynamite to force open the safe of a first generation bank opposite the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Choba, Port Harcourt in Rivers State. The casualty figure could not be ascertained at press time, but witnesses said many people died. Innocent persons were also said to have been injured in the confusion. Witnesses, who pleaded anonymity, said the armed robbers operated unchallenged for almost one hour and later escaped, while policemen arrived on the scene two minutes after the hood-

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

lums had left. It was learnt that immediately the armed robbers arrived at the bank, they started shooting sporadically to scare passersby on the busy Choba-NTA Road. The road is still being dualised by the Rotimi Amaechi administration, which causes regular traffic jam, coupled with another huge traffic at the nearby UNIPORT junction on the everbusy East-West Road, also being dualised by the Federal Government. When the hoodlums’ gunshots became unbearable, pedestrians and motorists

scampered for safety, causing pandemonium, with many persons injured and vehicles abandoned on the road. With the heavy gunshots frightening the people, making them to run away from the area. The armed robbers had a field day. They shot security personnel on duty, resulting in heavy casualty. Some of them ran away. Some unlucky passersby and motorists were, however, hit by stray bullets, with some of the witnesses presuming that members of the Boko Haram were on the rampage. With the bank’s security guards overpowered, the armed robbers used the

pus. Wodi, a lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, added that he was almost caught in the crossfire, as he was attending a function on the campus, and got close to the scene while the armed robbers were still operating. The Rivers Police spokesman, Ben Ugwuegbulam, in a telephone interview at 10:01 pm, confirmed the robbery, but said men of the command reacted swiftly and moved to the scene and confronted the hoodlums. He said policemen were on the trail of the armed robbers, expressing optimism that they would soon be arrested.

Crisis brews in PDP over choice of chairman Continued from page 2

•Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs.Titi Laoye-Tomori (representing Governor Rauf Aregbesola) cutting the tape to inaugurate the Ipetu-Ijesa 33KV Feeder Line and Onikoko Rural Electrification Project in Oriade Local Government...on Tuesday. With her are a member, Osun State House of Assembly, Muhammed Ibrahim (left) and Chairman, Oriade Local; Government, Taiwo Fatiregun

‘How to deal with Boko Haram’ THE Federal Government has been urged to study the techniques and strategies used by the Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wammako to check the Boko Haram sect. The Executive Director of the Conference on Security, Development and Democracy in Nigeria (CSDDN), Mr. Olufemi Aduwo, said this yesterday in a statement. Aduwo, who is also the National Coordinator of the Rights Monitoring Groups (RMG), enjoined Governor Wamakko to share his experience with the Federal Government to tackle the carnage perpetrated by the sect on a daily basis. The statement reads: “The Boko Haram sect is a threat to our national unity. We, however, make bold to say that it is not intractable albeit we are saddened by the fact that lives are being lost everyday. We are using this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to take a cue from Governor Wamakko. “Sokoto State has been very peaceful and all thanks to the governor. He is a strategist and an administrator par excellence. He was a local government chairman, a deputy governor and a governor for the second term running. He has brought his wealth of experience to bear in the handling of the Boko Haram insurgency. He established Islamic and western schools to accommodate all.”

SMGs, AK-47 rifles and dynamite to destroy the security door at the bank’s main entrance and moved straight to the safe, which they forced open and carted away cash. The witnesses said some employees of the bank, especially those balancing their accounts, were still in the hall when the hoodlums arrived. Some of them were injured and made to lie face down on the floor. Having successfully operated and with huge cash in their kitty, the robbers disappeared amid sporadic gunshots. UNIPORT’s spokesman Dr. Williams Wodi, in a telephone chat at 9:52 pm said the robbery led to confusion, but it took place outside the cam-

•Oyo State Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Alake-Adeyemo administering eye treatment on the Onigbeti of Igbeti, Oba Emmanuel Oyebisi during the flag-off of the second phase of the Free Health Mission in Igbeti...yesterday

Jonathan, Rawlings, Soyinka, others for Continued from page 2 Ojukwu’s funeral The late Ojukwu, he said, lived with the conviction of an egalitarian society where everybody is equal and a level - playing ground where everyone could attain his or her life aspiration. The clergy said throughout his life time, the late Biafran leader was never accused of corruption. He challenged anybody who thought otherwise to come forward. He reminded the people that the late Ojukwu was wrongly being accused of fighting a war of secession. According to him, he fought a war to protect his people from extinction. “He did not lead Igbo to war but he led Igbo in war for self defence,” he said. Governor Obi said the late Ojukwu’s life was a challenge

to Nigerians, especially those holding public trust on the virtues of being selfless in service. He spoke during a symposium in honour of Ojukwu by Anioma people of Delta State at the Grand Hotel, Asaba. Obi travelled to Asaba from Enugu with Senator Uche Chukwumerije and Prof. ABC Nwosu and left for Nnewi to inspect the final work at the Ojukwu Mausoleum. The governor said he was overwhelmed by the type of honour Nigerians had accorded Ojukwu. Insisting that Ojukwu’s name has become a byword for justice, he asked rhetorically how many Nigerians today would support such an ideal without asking what material benefit would come

out of it? Chairman of the occasion Chief Sunny Odogwu said the late Ojukwu was admired by everybody, including his military colleagues for his courage and gallantry. He urged Nigerians, especially the leaders, to correct what he called “structural deficiencies and social injustices” against which the late Ojukwu fought. The lecturer, Prof. BIC Ijeomah, described the late Ojukwu as “the only nationalist”. As Governor of Eastern Region, he had the responsibility to protect his people. That was not a rebellion, he said. Ijeomah decried as ‘unacceptable’, a situation where Igbo would always be made the sacrificial lamb for Nigeria’s unity.

The third aspirant said: “I think it is too early to talk of the direction the party elders are going. You know in PDP, the game can change 24 hours to the national convention. “These elders may be proposing; the intrigues may force the party to tread a different path. I think we have three weeks to go.” Another aspirant said: “I have not been contacted by anyone, but I have a ready made answer not to accept such a deal at all. I am not in the race to negotiate.” The fifth aspirant merely said: “That will be too bad; we want to lose at the convention not through the back door.” State Security Service (SSS) officials yesterday stopped Senator Ali Ndume (PDP, Borno) from attending the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting. President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President, Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, Senator Wilson Ake, Senator Hosea Agboola were at the meeting. Ndume, who was linked to the deadly Boko Haram sect, was arrested on November 22, last year and charged to court as an alleged sponsor of the group. Ndume, who arrived at the PDP National Secretariat around 1.46 p.m after the closed-door NEC meeting had started, through was turned back at the gate, which was manned by SSS officials. They told him his name was not on the list of invitees. Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Dickson, who arrived around 2.10p.m, and other members of the NEC who came after the meeting had started, were allowed in by the SSS officials at the three check points leading to the venue. The NEC approved zoning of the offices for the NWC. It also set up a committee to have a second look at the report of its Constitution Review Committee. Reading the resolutions at the end of the 59th meeting, the National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Ahmed Rufai Alkali, said: “NEC passed a special resolution commending the National Working Committee for successfully piloting the affairs of the Party

even in turbulent times within the last four years.” “As a prelude to the smooth conduct of the forthcoming National Convention and in line with the provisions of the PDP Constitution, NEC approved the zoning of offices for the National Working Committee as follows: North East Zone - National Chairman, South South Zone - Deputy National Chairman and National Financial Secretary, South West Zone - National Secretary and National Auditor, South East Zone - National Publicity Secretary, Deputy National Secretary and National Woman Leader, North West Zone - National Organising Secretary and National Treasurer, North Central Zone National Legal Adviser and National Youth Leader.” On the amendment of the party’s constitution, Alkali said: “NEC also received a proposal for the amendment of the PDP Constitution. NEC commended the Constitution Review Committee for a job well done and referred the report to a Special Committee comprising the President, the Vice President, governors, six members of the National Assembly, three former chairmen of the party, former chairmen of the Board of Trustees and six members of the National Working Committee.” “The Committee shall examine the Constitutional Amendment proposal and present a roadmap for the way forward.” Speaking at the beginning of the meeting, President Goodluck Jonathan urged party members to remain united even as the congresses and national convention of the party will hold from 3rd to 24th of this month. He said: “What holds us together is unity. As a party, we have to unite and that is what has made us a strong party. Here, we disagree to agree and that makes us stronger.” The outgoing Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, noting that the NEC will be the last in his tenure, thanked the party members for the opportunity he got to serve. According to him, the party witnessed improved internal democracy, successful conduct of the 2011 general election, improved working relationship between the executive and the legislature under his tenure.




FOREIGN NEWS ‘2010 midterm defeats should galvanise Democrats to re-elect Obama’

Lesotho’s PM Mosisili resigns from ruling party LESOTHO’s prime minister has resigned from the political party he has led for 15 years - saying he could no longer stop it from “falling apart”. Pakalitha Mosisili’s departure comes after two years of factional squabbles in the Lesotho Congress for Democracy. He has joined a new movement, which now has a slim parliamentary majority as 45 MPs went with him. Lesotho - a tiny mountainous kingdom surrounded by South Africa has a history of coups and political unrest. Mr Mosisili remains prime minister and becomes the deputy head of the newly formed Democratic Congress. Observers say the LCD party, which now becomes the main opposition, may be reduced to a shell ahead of general elections due in May. “For the past two years I have tried every effort to save LCD from falling apart, but all in vain,” Mr Mosisili said. He said that he would not sack ministers who had not defected with him, saying “it is up to their conscience to resign or remain in cabinet”. Mr Mosisili first became prime minister in 1998. In 2009, he survived unhurt an apparent assassination attempt in the capital, Maseru, after several gunmen opened fire on the his official residence.

‘Pray for us’, say Syrian rebels as army closes in HEAVY fighting raged near Baba Amro in Homs yesterday after elite Syrian troops attacked the rebelheld bastion that has endured 25 days of siege and fierce bombardment, activists said. “Pray for the Free Syrian Army. Do not be miserly in your prayers for them,” opponents of President Bashar al-Assad said in a statement, as diplomats spoke of his brother’s feared 4th Armoured Division mounting a drive to “finish off” the rebels. The motley band of army deserters and desperate insurgents who call themselves the Farouq Brigade of the Free Syrian Army have sworn to fight to the last man, one activist from Baba Amro told Reuters. Others, though, said some of the unit’s leaders had already made their escape from the shattered neighborhood. The 4th Armoured Division commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s younger brother, has a reputation for ruthlessness burnished during the past year of revolt and forged in history. Drawn from the Alawite sect to whom the Assads belong, it is hated by many in the Sunni majority who recall the role its predecessor units played in massacring many thousands of Sunni Islamists at Hama in 1982 on the orders of Assad’s father Hafez.


•Damaged property…yesterday

US Midwest storm leaves nine dead, dozens injured A T least nine people have been killed by a storm system in the United States Midwest that brought devastation to parts of Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. Six died in Harrisburg, Illinois, and another died near Buffalo, Missouri, while more than 30 were hurt. US officials earlier reported 13 deaths, before revising down the death toll. Rescue workers are searching for survivors trapped in wrecked homes, including a

trailer park near Buffalo. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has declared a state of emergency. In downtown Branson, Missouri, a country music hub, debris and scattered road signs littered the streets. One witness, John Moore, who owns a diner that was damaged in the storm, said a twister rampaged down the main street, appearing to “jump side to side”.

“The theatre next to me kind of exploded. It went everywhere. The hotels on the two sides of me lost their roofs. Power lines are down. Windows are blown out,” he added. “There’s major, major destruction. There has to be millions dollars of damage all down the strip.” The tornadoes are said to have been generated by a cold storm moving down from the

Rocky mountains that hit a warm front as it moved east, said Corey Mead, lead forecaster at the US Storm Prediction Center, Oklahoma. Sixteen twisters were sighted in the US states of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky. Tornado season begins in March, but correspondents say twisters are not unusual earlier in the year. In May 2011 a deadly tornado ripped through the nearby town of Joplin, Missouri, killing 142 people.

‘Senegal’s runoff: Wade’s defeat imminent’


HE defeat of President Abdoulaye Wade in the scheduled presidential runoff in Senegal is imminent, a Nigerian scholar in International Relations Dr David Aworawo has predicted. Aworawo of the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos (UNILAG) told our correspondent yesterday that the result of the first round has shown clearly that the Senegalese people are tired of Wade and they have asked him to go. The fact that he (Wade) could not use the power of incumbency to garner more than 50 per cent to emerge as winner in the last Sunday election is a manifestation of his

By Leke Salaudeen

dwindling popularity among the electorate, the don said. Aworawo said: “It would be very difficult for the old man to emerge winner in the runoff because the opposition parties had earlier agreed to support the party among them with the highest number of votes if the need arises for second ballot. It is an open secret that the other 12 opposition parties will rally round Macky Sall who is to face Wade in the runoff.” He said the fear is that if Wade lost out, we may experience post election crisis in Senegal which will be similar to that of Ivory Coast post-election crisis in 2010 when the defeated President Laurent

‘Desperate as he is, he may likely muzzle the opposition to win the election which will lead to unprecedented crisis in a country that has the history of political stability’ Gbagbo rejected the election results and refused to cede power to the winner. According to Aworawo, if an old man like Wade at 85 is

still clamouring for power after two terms in office, then he will do everything possible to perpetuate himself in office. “Desperate as he is, he may likely muzzle the opposition to win the election which will lead to unprecedented crisis in a country that has the history of political stability. His inordinate ambition may set Senegal on fire. That would be too sad,” he added. Senegal’s Election Commission is yet to release provisional results. But the results announced by the local media show that Wade scored 32 per cent while his closest rival Sall won 25 per cent of the total votes. The rerun is scheduled for March 18.

Mitt Romney wins in Michigan, Arizona

S the Romney campaign chieftains looked at the path to the Republican nomination last year, they never envisioned a struggle to win the candidate’s home state of Michigan. However, a battle plan and the realities of war are rarely in concert with one another. Few successful presidential nominees in the modern era have gotten to be the party’s standard bearer without facing down a significant and potentially mortal threat. Mitt Romney did just on Tuesday night. But it wasn’t pretty. “We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough. And that’s all that counts,” Romney told a room full of supporters Tuesday night in Novi, Mich., celebrating his dual victories in Arizona and Michigan. Romney continues to rack


up the delegates needed to secure the nomination, but he has done little to put to rest the concerns within his party that the process has not been kind to his standing with the American electorate, specifically the independent voters who will decide the election in November. But what Romney did accomplish on Tuesday night is significant. His victories will invite more money into his campaign coffers, more establishment Republicans to endorse him, and a lot more questions about his opponents’ abilities to deny him the nomination. Most important, the Romney victories on Tuesday will significantly dampen the increasingly loud chatter of late that the

Republican Party might need a white knight (Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush) to come in and save the day. Romney’s weaknesses become clear with each passing primary night. In Michigan, the only income group he won was among voters earning more than $100,000 per year. He still can’t get the heart and soul of the Republican Party — the very conservative voters — to warm to his candidacy. And evangelical Christians remain unenthused. Despite those holes in the support of his base, Romney made clear tonight he is going to keep his eye on November with a more broadly appealing economic message. “More jobs, less debt, smaller government — we’re going to hear that day

• Romney

in and day out,” he said. “I stand ready to lead our party to victory and our nation back to prosperity.” And Romney wasn’t the only candidate signaling a decision to move away from the recently dominant campaign trail talk on issues like contraception, abortion, and the separation of church and state.

HE Democratic Party’s brutal defeat in the 2010 midterms should galvanise members to re-elect President Barack Obama in November. That was part of the argument former Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland made to scores of volunteers as Obama’s re-election campaign opened a campaign office in Athens, Ohio, on Tuesday. “We took a beating in 2010,” she said in one of the base’s sparsely furnished rooms, urging the upbeat crowd to work hard enough to ensure “no more losses like that.” “Losses like that” included husband and former Ohio governor Ted Strickland’s defeat at the hands of Republican former representative John Kasich, who hung the ugly U.S. economy around the incumbent’s neck in a 49-47 victory. In a subsequent interview with Yahoo News, Frances Strickland said that painful political setback was helping to energize Democrats in the critical battleground state. “I really think that Ted’s loss of 2010 is making it a whole lot easier for us to gin up the energy level that’s going to be needed to get through this,” she said.

Egypt’s polls hold in May


GYPT’s first presidential election since an uprising forced Hosni Mubarak to resign will begin in May, the head of the electoral commission has said. Farouk Sultan told reporters that the first round would be held over two days on 23 and 24 May, while a run-off would take place on 16 June and 17 June. Final results are expected on 21 June. The ruling military council, which assumed Mr Mubarak’s powers last year, has said it will hand over power to a civilian administration afterwards. On Saturday, the lower and upper houses of parliament will convene to select a 100member panel to draft a new constitution. Only once it has been approved in a referendum can the presidential election be held. However, Mr Sultan was sufficiently confident that the constitution would be written on time to announce that the presidential election commission would accept candidates’ applications between 10 March and 8 April, and that the list of hopefuls would be published on 26 April. Campaigning would run between 30 April and 29 May, four days before the first round, Mr Sultan told a news conference in Cairo. He added that there would be no international monitoring of the poll. The commission had been expected to confirm the dates on 19 February, but officials said there was a problem organising the expatriate vote.





‘Under the law, we are expected to publish government contracts, we are obliged to ensure that contracts are scrutinised and the overall objective is that government business and procurement would be more transparent’


VOL. 7, NO.2051



NCREASED terrorist activities by Boko Haram have deepened concerns about public safety in the North. A disturbing dimension of these concerns is the growing displacement of a large number of Southerners who are being forced by the widespread violence to leave the North for their own safety. It is estimated by human rights and church organisations that nearly a thousand people, mostly Southerners, have been killed by Boko Haram insurgents since 2009. Many more have been severely injured and are receiving medical attention in various hospitals. Almost daily we receive media reports that Boko Haram attacks on the security forces, churches and Southerners have continued unabated. Despite their best efforts, the security agencies have not yet got a handle on the terrorists. They are every where but not visible. A few months ago, I was in Jos to deliver a paper at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Bukuru, near Jos. I had wanted to go round and visit Jos, a city that I love and had not been able to visit for sometime. But my hosts at Kuru warned me that it was not safe for me or any guests to step out of the Institute which was heavily guarded and barricaded. The staff told me that, for security reasons, they hardly venture out of the Institute except when they have to go to the Jos Airport to take a flight out. Many Southerners and foreigners have been forced by Boko Haram attacks to leave this once beautiful and agreeable city. The situation in Jos is still tense and pathetic, but it is much worse in other parts of the North on account of the indiscriminate terror attacks of Boko Haram on innocent citizens, mostly non-indigenes and members of the security forces. In recent months, I have had to cancel two speaking engagements in Kaduna and Kano because of the increasing violence there. The North is being increasingly cut off from the rest of the country. For Southerners the North is becoming a no go area. I regret this as I have always liked to go to the North where I have made many friends over the years, including my former colleagues in the Foreign Service, some of whom are now retired and reside in the North. Besides, the North needs the presence of skilled artisans, teachers, nurses, professionals, and traders from everywhere including the South. Without them, the North which is comparatively more backward and more deficient in trained manpower would be more backward and poorer than the South. But now many Southerners who have lived for generations in Northern Nigeria are being forced to return to their homeland in the South for reasons of their own safety. A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail message from a Southerner who said he and his family had lived in Sokoto for over 40 years. He said, for the first time ever, he and his family feel really threatened by the wanton Boko Haram killings all over the North. He asked me for advice as to whether or not he should quit the North and return to the South. I thought about the matter carefully for two days and then told him that this was a personal decision he had to make, and that not knowing what the exact security situation was in Sokoto, I could neither ask him to stay nor leave. I wish I could have asked him to stay, but I could not in good conscience and in the


The whole country STINKS...especially ABUJA



Boko Haram: To leave or stay in the North

•The late Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf

prevailing violent situation in Sokoto offer him that advice. The man called again and said he had acquired some physical assets in Sokoto where he had lived for over forty years, had brought up his children there, and had thought of it as home, but that painfully he had decided to leave Sokoto now to ensure the safety of himself and his family. I could see that he was not happy about quitting the North after forty years there. I felt really sorry for him that he and his family had to abandon a place that they had known as home for so long. He and his family had been made foreigners in their own country simply because they are Southerners living in the North. Even foreigners in other countries, including African countries, are treated better than Southerners are being treated in most of the North today. The process of national integration, which this country needs very badly, has suffered a terrible set back as a result of the violence and attacks on innocent Southerners unleashed by Boko Haram. This is a challenge that we must face squarely. We must not allow Boko Haram to prevail, or succeed in driving away Southerners who are doing their legitimate business in the North. For the thousands of Southern families who find themselves in this cruel dilemma of having to stay or leave the North where they had lived for generations, it must be traumatic

and heartbreaking. But this is not the first time that Southerners have been forced to flee the North. In May, 1966, after the counter coup against the Ironsi military regime, many Igbo people living in the North were brutally attacked by the Hausa/Fulani and fled back to the East. Col. Ojukwu, who was then the military governor of the Eastern Region, ordered the fleeing Igbo back to the North. Again many of those who returned to the North were cruelly massacred in an orgy of unprecedented violence in Nigeria. This tragic incident eventually led to the attempted secession of Biafra and the bloody civil war that was fought between 1967 and 1970 in the country. Many more people died on both sides of the civil war than the casualties suffered in the attacks on Igbo in 1966. The war did not resolve the underlying problems of Nigeria. The issues over which the war was fought have remained with us. The response of Igbo leaders to the unfolding violence in the North has been very courageous. Mostly, from the comfort of their homes, they have urged their people not to flee the North but to stay back and fight. Even the Anglican Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, was reported recently as asking Christians in the North, who have suffered terribly from the Boko Haram violence, not to flee, but to stay and defend themselves. I believe this advice to be in the national interest as no one should be made to flee any part of his own country. For over 100 years, Nigerians have lived and worked together peacefully and should not be forced by sectarian violence to abandon their homes. But it is advice that those who are confronted by the immediate realities of the bloodletting in the North by Boko Haram are not likely to heed. Many will remember the genocide in Rwanda where over one million Tutsi were slaughtered in the conflict with the Hutus. Only theTutsis who fled to Rwanda’s neighbouring countries in Kenya, Uganda, and the Congo escaped death. The Nigerian situation is not yet on the same scale as that of Rwanda, but the potential for it to develop into a full scale intra-ethnic conflict on the Rwandese scale is always there and is increasing. The Nigerian State has not yet shown the capacity to end the widespread



ESTERDAY, the Senate ordered the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to stop issuing the new driver’s licence and vehicle plate number. It marks the second time in recent months the National Assembly will be intervening in the controversy over the new licence. In November 2011, the House of Representatives had ordered the FRSC to discontinue the implementation of the new scheme which the commission claimed would help the government track road traffic offences and drivers’ behaviour. The FRSC ignored the Reps and pressed ahead with the implementation of the new scheme. It is not known whether this time the commission would also ignore the Senate. The National Assembly argues that the commission is exceeding its powers by turning itself into a revenue generating agency instead of concentrating on curbing road offences. The


killings in the North. It is not able to protect and defend its citizens wherever they may be in Nigeria carrying out their legitimate business, the first duty of a government in a civilised country. In all this, most of the Northern leaders have not responded to the situation with much candour, sincerity, and a due sense of responsibility. True, some of them have condemned Boko Haram’s murderous activities in the North. But there can be no doubt as we now know that some of them support Boko Haram secretly and are assisting them financially. In fact, Boko Haram is being used by the Northern elite to divert attention from their failure of leadership in the North.The Northern elite are so wealthy that they have lost touch with the grassroots. They do not even think that the poor in the North deserve better. The society is still largely feudal. A recent official statement by some Northern governors and politicians equating Boko Haram with MASSOB and MEND is really very disturbing and disappointing. The anger of MASSOB and MEND is not wholly directed against non-indigenes living in the East. It is directed against the massive corruption of the federal authorities. While Boko Haram is clearly xenophobic and wants all Southerners to leave the North, that is not the case with MASSOB or MEND whose objectives, though questionable, are not as subversive and dangerous as those of Boko Haram. Equally, it is absurd for these furtive Northern leaders to claim that Christians were disguising themselves as Moslems in the North to attack churches there. This simply does not make any sense. No one would believe this absurdity. Northern leaders must bear a heavy responsibility for the spiraling violence of Boko Haram against all non-indigenes in the North. The anger of Boko Haram is an amalgam of complex factors, including the mass poverty in the North, the direct consequence of decades of neglect of their own people by the Northern leaders. Boko Haram is fighting the mass poverty, social injustice, and deprivation inflicted on the people by their Northern leaders. Attacks on Southerners by Boko Haram merely reflect their desperation and ignorance as to the real sources of their poverty. Northern leaders are blinded by their own self interests leading to the neglect of their own people, the poorest and most exploited in Nigeria. Boko Haram supporters, regrettably, regard Southerners in the North as their enemies who are there to exploit them. But their real anger should be directed against their leaders who have continued to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the mass of people in the North. By denying them education these leaders have not allowed their own people to take full advantage of the vast economic opportunities that exist in Northern Nigeria. The country is now being made to pay a heavy price, both physically and materially, for this lapse on the part of the Northern leaders. The situation in the North, in terms of the prevailing poverty and ignorance, must be addressed as a national challenge. • For comments, send SMS to 08054503031

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Back and forth on driver’s licence parliament was probably prompted to intervene in the controversy because of what it summarised was the exorbitant cost of procuring the licence and plate numbers. The driver’s licence used to cost N3,000, and plate number N5,000. Both now cost N6,000 and N15,000 respectively. The commission had failed to persuade the public why it was necessary to raise the cost so steeply. The FRSC has not fully explained why it ignored the Reps in November. All it has done is to explain the additional features in the new licence and plate numbers, how they are now interlinked, and personalised to every vehicle owner. In view of current events, particularly terrorist activities, there is no doubt that the additional features would help government track road offences and driv-

er’s behaviour. But the question is why vehicle owners must be punished for features that ought to have been integrated into the licence right from the beginning. And if those features must now be included, the commission has still failed to answer why it must be at such a high cost. Besides, argues the Senate, it is necessary for the commission to answer whether the Act that set it up empowers it to issue plate numbers. It was wrong for the FRSC to press ahead with the new policy in spite of the objections of the Reps. We must hope the commission will not also ignore the Senate. If it does, the National Assembly must take steps to impress it on the minds of the FRSC and other agencies why it is unacceptable and even dangerous to defy the parliament in a democracy.

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The Nation March 1, 2012  

The Nation March 1, 2012

The Nation March 1, 2012  

The Nation March 1, 2012