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(1930 - 2013)




World mourns as Chinua Achebe dies at 82


NE of the best known Nigerians ever , and c e l e b r a t e d author,Chinua Achebe, died on Thursday night throwing the international community into mourning. Prof.Achebe, 82,passed on in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America (USA) following a brief illness,according to his agent Andrew Wylie. Details about how the literary giant died were unavailable by press time last night, but his family confirmed the death yesterday,saying he died “following a brief illness.” It added in a brief statement: “One of the great literary voices of his time, he was also a beloved husband, father, uncle and grandfather, whose wisdom and courage are an inspiration to all who knew him. Professor Achebe’s family requests privacy at this time.” The family gave no further details. Achebe is credited with giving literary birth to modern Africa with Things Fall Apart and continued for decades to rewrite and reclaim the history of his native country. His last book,There Was a Country,his personal account of the Nigerian Civil War,was published only last September. Until his death, Prof. Achebe was a David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. “He was also a beloved husband, father, uncle and grandfather, whose wisdom and courage are an inspiration to all who knew him,” Wylie said. His eminence worldwide was rivalled only by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison and a handful of others. Achebe was a moral and literary model for countless Africans and a profound influence on such American writers as Morrison, Ha Jin and Junot Diaz. As a Nigerian, Achebe lived through and helped define revolutionary change in his country,

from independence to dictatorship to the disastrous war between Nigeria and the breakaway country of Biafra in the late 1960s. He knew both the prestige of serving on government commissions and the fear of being declared an enemy of the state. He spent much of his adult life in the United States, but never stopped calling for democracy in Nigeria or resisting literary honors from a government he refused to accept. His public life began in his mid-20s. He was a resident of London when he completed his hand-written manuscript for Things Fall Apart, a short novel about a Nigerian tribesman’s downfall at the hands of British colonialists. Turned down by several publishers, the book was finally accepted by Heinemann and released in 1958 with a first printing of 2,000. Its initial review in The New York Times ran less than 500 words, but the novel soon became among the most important books of the 20th century, a universally acknowledged starting point for postcolonial, indigenous African fiction, the prophetic union of British letters and African oral culture. “It would be impossible to say how Things Fall Apart influenced African writing,” the African scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah once observed. “It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians. Achebe didn’t only play the game, he invented it.” Things Fall Apart has sold more than eight million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 50 languages. It was recently named one of the 50 Most Influential Books of the last 50 years. Achebe also was a forceful critic of Western literature about Africa, especially Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, standard reading for millions, but in Achebe’s opinion, a defining example of how even a

great Western mind could reduce a foreign civilisation to barbarism and menace. “Now, I grew up among very eloquent elders. In the village, or even in the church, which my father made sure we attended, there were eloquent speakers. So if you reduce that eloquence which I encountered to eight words ... it’s going to be very different,” Achebe told The Associated Press in 2008. “You know that it’s going to be a battle to turn it around, to say to people, ‘That’s not the way my people respond in this situation, by unintelligible grunts, and so on; they would speak.’ And it is that speech that I knew I wanted to be written down.” His first novel was intended as a trilogy and the author continued its story in A Man of the People and Arrow of God. He also wrote short stories, poems, children’s stories and a political satire, The Anthills of Savannah, a

1987 release that was the last fulllength fiction to come out in his lifetime. Wheelchair- bound in his latter years, he would cite his physical problems and displacement from home as stifling to his imaginative powers. Achebe never did win the Nobel Prize, which many believed he deserved, but in 2007, he did receive the Man Booker International Prize, a $120,000 honour for lifetime achievement. Achebe, paralysed from the waist down since a 1990 auto accident, lived for years in a cottage built for him on the campus of Bard College, a leading liberal arts school north of New York City where he was a faculty member. He joined Brown University in 2009 as a professor of languages and literature. Achebe, a native of Ogidi,Anambra State, regarded his life as a bartering between conflicting cultures. He spoke of the “two types of music” running through his mind— Ibo

Between Achebe and Soyinka


HE mutual respect and suspicion between Prof. Chinua Achebe and Prof. Wole Soyinka was as a result of the profound ideas that the two of them tried to interpret and understand differently. Soyinka’s criticism of Achebe’s best novel, The Arrow of God, was contained in his book, Myth, Literature and the African World. In his review of Arrow of God, Soyinka talked about the priest, who is the protagonist in the book. While describing the priest, Soyinka said: ‘The priest’s dogged secularisation of the profoundly mystical.’ Of course, what Soyinka was saying here is that a priest who is supposed to be mystical is already secularised. He then went on to say that Achebe’s novels: The Arrow of God, Things Fall Apart and other books by Achebe are similar, and that Achebe writes the same way. He also expressed reservations about Achebe’s literary sensibilities when he accused him of having a penchant for “unrelieved competence”. As a matter of fact, what Soyinka was saying here is: Why is Achebe writing the same way all the time? However, it must be understood here too that Soyinka was younger during this period. But he was also a man who really


understood African literature. His books were like reading the books of Salman Rushdie, Matin Amin and Tony Morrison’s commentary on literature. These are people who have a deep understanding of literature in the same way as Wole Soyinka. It was in this context that he was criticising Achebe, implying that they were supposed to be very creative. Achebe did not take long to respond. His response to these comments by Soyinka was that Soyinka must be suffering from ‘unrelieved incompetence’. In doing this, some people said Achebe was playing to the gallery. To a large extent, some people here would rather read Achebe than taking time to read Soyinka. So Achebe may have been saying that, yes it is true that you are popular, but people are reading me more than they are reading you. But rather than look at the spats between the two literary giants as something negative, it is indeed a positive thing for the growth of literature. The exchanges between the two were not really what some people may want to tag as a roforofo fight. It was a fight that had all the potentials for the

growth of our literature. It must also be noted that when writers engage in this type of fight, they expand the frontiers of literature. Therefore, the type of fight between Soyinka and Achebe that people always talked about is what every student of literature should look forward to. The sparks from this type of fight can generate literature of profound quality. For example, Salman Rushdie recently released his fatwa memoir, which he called Joseph Anton. While everybody was praising him for a job welldone, a woman in the New York Review of Books, came out smoking like hell to criticise Rushdie. But of course, Rushdie cleverly refused to respond to her, while people in the literary world were eagerly waiting for a spat. It is also wrong to say Achebe and Soyinka had a hate-love relationship. Their story is akin to that of people who work in the same terrain. Whether these two liked it or not, people will go to them to tell them stories of how much they prefer their books and all those kinds of stories. Though there could be some elements of envy, but it is not as bad as people may want to put it. A look into the way the two

writers approached issues of national life, issues of literary articles in their books will prove to you who is deeper. It is clear that Soyinka had tremendous respect and love for Achebe. For instance, during the controversy generated by Achebe’s last book, There Was a Country, and he was being criticised from all corners, Soyinka’s response was that those criticising Achebe should go and write their own books. The truth is that they both enjoyed a healthy rivalry.‘

legends and the prose of Dickens. He was also exposed to different faiths. His father worked in a local missionary and was among the first in their village to convert to Christianity. In There Was a Country, he wrote that his “whole artistic career was probably sparked by this tension between the Christian religion” of his parents and the “retreating, older religion” of his ancestors. He would observe the conflicts between his father and great uncle and ponder “the essence, the meaning, the worldview of both religions.” For much of his life, he had a sense that he was a person of special gifts who was part of an historic generation. Achebe was so avid a reader as a young man that his nickname was “Dictionary.” At Government College, Umuahia, he read Shakespeare, Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jonathan Swift, among others. He placed his name alongside an extraordinary range of alumni — government and artistic leaders from Jaja Wachukwa, a future ambassador to the United Nations; to future Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka; Achebe’s future wife (and mother of their four children) Christine Okoli; and the poet Christopher Okigbo, a close friend of Achebe’s who was killed during the Biafra war. After graduating from the University College of Ibadan, in 1953, Achebe was a radio producer at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, then moved to London and worked at the British Broadcasting Corporation. He was writing stories in college and called Things Fall Apart an act of “atonement” for what he said was the abandonment of traditional culture. The book’s title was taken from poet William Butler Yeats’ The Second Coming, which includes the widely quoted line, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” His novel was nearly lost before ever seen by the public. When Achebe finished his manuscript, he sent it to a London typing service, which misplaced the package and left it lying in an office for months. The proposed book was received coolly by London publishers, who doubted the appeal of fiction from Africa. Finally, an educational adviser at Heinemann who had recently travelled to West Africa had a look and declared: “This is the best novel I

have read since the war.” The opening sentence was as simple, declarative and revolutionary as a line out of Hemingway: “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond.” Africans, Achebe had announced, had their own history, their own celebrities and reputations. In mockery of all the Western books about Africa, Achebe ended with a colonial official observing Okonkwo’s fate and imagining the book he will write: “The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.” Achebe’s novel was the opening of a long argument on his country’s behalf. “Literature is always badly served when an author’s artistic insight yields to stereotype and malice,” Achebe said during a 1998 lecture at Harvard University that cited Joyce Cary’s “Mister Johnson” as a special offender. “And it becomes doubly offensive when such a work is arrogantly proffered to you as your story. Some people may wonder if, perhaps, we were not too touchy, if we were not oversensitive. We really were not.” Achebe could be just as critical of his own country. The novels A Man of the People and No Longer at Ease were stories of corruption and collapse that anticipated the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70 and the years of mismanagement that followed. He not only supported Biafra , but was a government envoy and a member of a committee that was to write up the new and short-lived country’s constitution. He fled Nigeria and returned many times and in 2004 refused the country’s secondhighest award, the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic, in protest over social conditions under President Olusegun Obasanjo. “For some time now, I have watched events in Nigeria with alarm and dismay,” he said in a letter to the president, referring to allegations of corruption and lawlessness in Achebe’s Anambra State. “A small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom. ... I had a strong belief that we would outgrow our shortcomings under leaders committed to uniting our diverse peoples.” Besides his own writing, Achebe served for years as editor of Heinemann’s “African Writer Series,” which published works by Nadine Gordimer, Stephen Biko and others. He also edited numerous anthologies of African stories, poems and essays. In There Was a Country, he considered the role of the modern African writer. “What I can say is that it was clear to many of us that an indigenous African literary renaissance was overdue,” he wrote. “A major objective was to challenge stereotypes, myths, and the image of ourselves and our continent, and to recast them through stories — prose, poetry, essays, and books for our children. That was my overall goal.” South African writer and Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer called him the “father of modern African literature” in 2007 when she was among the judges to award him the Man Booker International Prize in honour of his literary career. He is survived by his wife, four children and grandchildren.






CHINUA ACHEBE (1930 – 2013)... CHINUA ACHEBE (1930 - 2013)...CHINUA ACHEBE (1930 - 2013)...

A warrior goes to sleep



he irony is inevitable. Chinua Achebe flew onto international acclaim by the written. By the written word, his death spread around the world. Whether by press releases, on facebook, twitter, email, blogs and any other form of electronic wizardry, many who knew the bard were sad to see him go. He was always in the news in the past five decades. Students pored over him. Critics warred over him. Politicians drew swords. In every instance when sparks flew, it was because of the words that Achebe wrought. He was a writer as detonator. But readers, whether students, pundits, politicians invited him gleefully to their homes. Achebe was the warrior, but not the sort of warrior you saw in his literary rival Wole Soyinka. He was not the sort to cross a border to the labyrinth of battle. But he was an ambassador in the service of a defiant Biafra. He had a soft voice but he appeared in the United States Congress to testify against the disgraceful tyrannies of Abacha. His language was not direct in his novels, especially Things Fall Apart, but he riled Western critics who felt blindsided in his barb against a member of the pantheons of their art, namely Joseph Conrad. He wrote a novel as rejoinder, and built a life-long fame on the ferocity of its simple prose and characters. Achebe loved his principles, and did not care for what many called compromises. By his own admissions, he would never forgive Nigeria for the civil war, for turning his quiet, cosy existence in the febrile joy of Lagos into an illusion. He had to run away from the city he had come to love and cherish to his home in Igboland, with all the turbulence, dislocations of his family, death of his mother, paralysis of his muse, killing of his dear friend and poet Christopher Okigbo. The war ended, with all the body count, the charred building, the psychological traumas, the skeletons as humans, the grim prospect to accept as fellow compatriots those who pointed guns at his people and those his people countered with the primitive ingenuity of the ogbunigwe. He left the country, to England, to Connecticut and Massachusetts, but he returned only to leave again. Nigeria had become the home that could not be home again. The memories jarred. After his novelistic outing of the 1960’s, he waited about 20 years to rekindle the fictional muse with Anthills of the Savanna, a novel of anomie and moral savagery in a politics of postindependence ennui. As gentle as he was, he did not seem like one who relished controversy, but he was not himself without one. If he wrote a novel to counter the white man’s stereotypes about the African culture, he also was no sparing about his own people, the Africans. When Soyinka bagged the Nobel Prize in 1986, we did not get the kind of celebratory Achebe we anticipated. He lashed out as though against the Nobel Prize: he said the fact that Soyinka won a European prize did not make him the Asiwaju of African literature. But Soyinka, who was a dramatist with a sense of the satiric, quipped back: “It was not my intention to be the Ogbuefi of African literature.” But those who did not know began to understand that a cold war simmered between these two figures, role models, titans of the word. Interestingly, Achebe who was known for broadsides was accused of being a cagy genius, a writer who could not break out of the popular mould, not an experimenter but a follower of familiar perfections. Hence, Soyinka described him as laboring under “unrelieved competence,” which meant that Achebe did not have the skill to challenge existing patterns and tropes of narratives. Hence the New York Times referred to what critics said of his writings: that they were powered more by ideology than “narrative interest.” Of course Achebe fought back, saying that Soyinka suffered from “relieved incompetence,” meaning that Soyinka pushed boundaries but without competence. Yet, in the past decades, both men have shown great maturity in dealing with each other with Soyinka writing a tribute to Achebe in a special by Time magazine. Achebe who had refrained from public acknowledgment of Soyinka’s genius, gave much praise to the author of Death and King’s Horseman in his twilight years, inviting him to his colloquium and praising him lavishly in his work. IN his last book, There Was a Country, Soyinka came off like a saint. Some have argued that it was because Soyinka favoured Biafra, but Achebe was not coerced. It was heartfelt. It was probably fitting that the man, who fought from the first word, should go fighting. And that was what he did, stirring controversy, jabbing Awo and the Yoruba and showing the superiority of his own Igbo race. That did not bring much love from others, but Achebe could not be Achebe if he did not say it the way he felt it.

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has described the late renowned author Prof Chinua Achebe as "Nigeria's globally acclaimed writer, scholar, tutor, cultural icon, nationalist and artist of the very first rank." According to a statement, Jonathan said while Achebe would be greatly missed, he would live on in the minds of present and future generations through his great works. He added that Achebe's "frank, truthful and fearless interventions in national affairs will be greatly missed at home ... because while others may have disagreed with his views, most Nigerians never doubted his immense patriotism and sincere commitment to the building of a greater, more united and prosperous nation that all Africans and the entire black race could be proud of." Achebe’s publishers, Penguin Books' Twitter feed said: "Chinua Achebe: a brilliant writer, and a giant of African literature. Former South African president, Nelson Mandela said he 'brought Africa to the rest of the world'. RIP." Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, paid tribute to Achebe as "a brilliant novelist, story-teller, and eloquent voice from the opposite side of Joseph Conrad, with respect to the relationship of the West to



...With Soyinka

...With Mandela

n Ozolua UHAKHEME n Assistant Editor (Arts) ENOWNED scholar and author of the controversial memoir, There Was A Country, Prof Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was born in Ogidi in Anambra State, on November 16, 1930 and attended Government College, Umuahia and the University of Ibadan. Twenty-eight years later, he published his groundbreaking novel, Things Fall Apart which has sold over 12 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages. The famous novel centers on the cultural clash between native African culture and the traditional white culture of missionaries and the colonial government in place in Nigeria. An unflinching look at the discord, the book was a startling success and has become required reading in many schools across the world. Until his death on Thursday night, Achebe was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and Bard College in New York, US. Earlier, Achebe taught briefly before joining the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as director of external broadcasting (1961–1966). But, the 1960s proved to be a creatively fertile period for Achebe, and he wrote the novels No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964) and A Man of the People (1966), all of which address the issue of traditional ways of life coming into conflict with new, often colonial, points of view. Anthills of the Savannah (1987) took on a similar theme.) In 1967, Chinua Achebe and


...With Sarpong Anzu

•From left: Prof. Joyce Ashuntantang, Columnist Okey Ndibe, publisher Omoyele Sowore, Africa-Relatedʼs Oyiza Ada & Prof Achebe (seated)



CHINUA ACHEBE (1930 – 2013)... CHINUA ACHEBE (1930 – 2013)...CHINUA ACHEBE (1930 – 2013)...

Achebe: End of an era n Ozolua UHAKHEME n and Evelyn OSAGIE Africa." He also highlighted Achebe's "extraordinary generosity of time and spirit" during more than 20 years as a member of the Bard College community, adding that he will be deeply missed. "For many, he was considered the father of African literature, and for many of his students, he introduced them to an extraordinary literary tradition," Botstein said. "His importance to literature, and to those he taught and knew personally, will never be forgotten." The late Achebe’s schoolmate, contemporary and fellow author, Eze Prof Chukwuemeka Ike, Ikelionwu XI, has described the death of Achebe as devastating. He recalled that he grew up together with the late Achebe from secondary school days till the university. He said: “We grew up together from Government College, Umuahia till the university years when there were no Nigerian novels. “His exemplary works will remain relevant in Nigerian and world literature. In fact, he was a pioneer in terms of quality literature output. That

encouraged many Nigerians to follow his footsteps.” Ace writer, Odia Ofeimun, who was ANA General Secretary under Achebe said even in death Achebe stories are eternal landmarks that would span many generations. He said: “As a writer, it is painful that he dies when we are learning to argue and debate with him. Even when he was in his twenties, he was taken as a wise old man. He did not get the kind of tackle that challenged many in his age grade. The happy thing is that he wrote stories that will last. He will be remembered for as long as stories are told.” Ace playwright and former ANA President Prof Femi Osofisan, said the news came as a shock. “It is still a shock even though, he was old enough. Achebe was one of the truly great minds of his generation, who could be both grandly right and grandiosely wrong! That’s perhaps why he has ended amidst a burning controversy, for such is always the paradox of genius. Only the small stars die without a noise. I am convinced that Achebe will continue to speak to us, perhaps even louder now, from the grave,” he said. The news came as pang to members of ANA. The ANA National General Secretary,

Baba Muhammad Dzukogi, who spoke on behalf of the president said: “It is with deep sense of loss and emptiness that I received the shocking news of Achebe’s departure. Having crafted so much about death and heroism, Pa Achebe has now been overwhelmed by the powerful force too – the terminus of every man. Like the characters of his creations who had to bear great pains of the dead ones in his great works, we, his little children of his irregular country are now left fatherless, forever. If that death; that sweeping phenomenon that just took away Achebe is that powerful enough, let it take away the eternal verse of his creations. Once this done, the rest of us shall surrender to it earnestly; otherwise, Achebe lives on, forever. And we do too. Shame on the Swedish Academy for their eyelessness! And shame to Nigeria’s Federal Government for their unconcerned attitude to Nigerian writers. Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclay Ayakoroma said: “The death of Chinua Achebe is a very big blow, but we are consoled by the fact that he had put Nigeria on the global literary map. He will continue to be a reference point in many years to come.”

•From left, Library staff members Eve Ferguson, Mary-Jane Deeb, Marieta Harper, Charles Stanhope, Abdulahi Ahmed and Angel Batiste (seated) join in honoring Chinua Achebe, center.

The Man Achebe the late Christopher Okigbo, a renowned poet, cofounded a publishing company, the Citadel Press, which they intended to run as an outlet for a new kind of African-oriented children’s books. Two years later, Achebe toured the United States with Gabriel Okara and Cyprian Ekwensi, fellow writers, giving lectures at various universities. The 1960s also marked Achebe’s wedding to Christie Chinwe Okoli in 1961, and they went on to have four children. Achebe served with the Biafran Ministry of Information and represented Biafra on diplomatic and fund-raising missions before the civil war came to an end after two and a half years. When he returned to Nigeria from the United States, Achebe became a research fellow and later a professor of English (1976–1981) at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. During this time he also served as director of two Nigerian publishing houses, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. and

Nwankwo-Ifejika Ltd. On the writing front, the 1970s proved equally productive, and Achebe published several collections of short stories and a children’s book, How the Leopard Got His Claws (1973). Also coming out at this time were Beware, SoulBrother (1971) and Christmas in Biafra (1973), both poetry collections, and Achebe’s first book of essays, Morning Yet on Creation Day (1975). While back in the United States in 1975, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Achebe gave a lecture titled An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, in which Achebe asserted that Conrad's famous novel dehumanises Africans. The work referred to Conrad as a “thoroughgoing racist,” and, when published in essay form, it went on to become a seminal postcolonial African work. An author of more than 20 books, his honors included the 2007 Man Booker International Prize for Fiction. He was also accorded Nigeria’s highest

award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award. In an interview for the Paris Review of books in 1994, Achebe spoke of how his early love of stories led him to realize that they reflected only the point of view of the white man. That spurred him to write himself. "There is that great proverb -- that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. ... Once I realized that, I had to be a writer. I had to be that historian," he said. "It's not one man's job. It's not one person's job. But it is something we have to do, so that the story of the hunt will also reflect the agony, the travail -- the bravery, even, of the lions." In 2011, he presented a lecture at the annual Garden City Literary Festival in Port Harcourt, River State. He was however represented by his son, who delivered the paper via video conference.

...With AliMazrui

...Being entertained at a function

His death a great loss to literary world- Fashola AGOS State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday expressed grief at the passage of literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe, describing his death as a great loss, not only to the literary world but to humanity. Governor Fashola, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, recalled his meeting with Prof. Achebe last December at Brown University, Providence in Rhodes Island, United States, where he had gone to deliver a keynote Paper at the 2012 Achebe Colloquium on Africa,


•Governor Fashola

saying he was particularly saddened by the fact that there was nothing that indicated that the meeting would be the last. “I am particularly saddened by the fact that when I met him at Brown University last December, I never realised it would be my last with him. It is, indeed a great loss and given the great contribution he has made in shaping the course of African Literature, he will be sorely missed, especially by the literary world,” Governor Fashola said. Describing the literary icon as the “Father of modern African

Literature”, Governor Fashola declared that, “he is a towering African figure whose personality transcends the walls of ethnicity and religion and whose literary prowess has taken Nigeria and, indeed, the African Continent to the pinnacle of international recognition.” Fashola, who noted that he read the famous Things Fall Apart, as a Literature student in secondary school, stated, “I must say, without any reservation, that Professor Achebe’s ingenuity as a writer and the power behind his words influenced my

generation to no small extent and opened our eyes to the rich culture, tradition and belief of our people. “And here, perhaps, lies his greatest contribution to the black race; for through such world classics as Things Fall Apart, Professor Achebe was able to keep our culture, tradition and belief alive in spite of the onslaught of other cultures. “Indeed, Professor Achebe has left an indelible print in all our hearts, especially, all literature lovers globally. He will continually live in our

hearts as one who shaped and influenced African Literature and one who passed one of integrity’s truest tests, a constant abiding with principle,” the governor said. Condoling with the Achebe family and praying for the repose of the soul of the deceased, Governor Fashola enjoined his widow and other members of his family, the people of Anambra State and Nigerians in general, to take solace in the rich legacy of integrity, dignity and honour which he bequeathed to Nigeria, the African continent and to the international human community through his literary ingenuity.

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OVERNORS yesterday mourned the late Prof. Chinua Achebe. Governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) described the late literary icon as a man who was dedicated to the country. Okorocha, in a statement by his Commissioner of Information Mr. Chinedu Offor, Okorocha said: “I am shocked by the death of our literary icon. I pray for the repose of his soul and the fortitude of entire Ndigbo to bear the irreparable loss.” Chime described the death of Prof. Achebe as a huge loss to mankind. The Enugu State governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Chukwudi Achife, said the world has not only lost one of its most renowned and celebrated literary icons but one whose works and efforts towards the advancement of the human race would continue to be acknowledged and respected. He said Nigeria would miss a patriot, a worthy ambassador and a role model. Aregbesola, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said the loss of the late Achebe was monumental. Aregbesola said his writings contributed immensely towards putting Nigeria on the global map of literature. The Osun governor said: “Through his writing, he carried the Nigerian cultural values to the whole world and with the translation of his works into several languages across the world, the history and culture of our people, especially those of the Igbo extraction have been etched permanently on the psyche of the world. There is no doubt that the place of the likes of Achebe will be hard to fill as he promoted a genre of writing that was uniquely his own.” Ajimobi, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, said the late Achebe told the Nigerian/African story and showed the world African’s rich cultural heritage. He said: “Through his

Okorocha, Aregbesola, Chime, Amo Okodili NDIDI, Owerri, Chris OJI, Enugu and Augustine EHIKIOYA, Abuja story-telling, which he did with a baffling mastery and simplicity, Achebe told our own story with arresting simplicity, thus arresting the slide of negative perception of Africans as devoid of a worthwhile historical past. He showcased our rich history, culture and language, thereby changing Western historians’ wrong perspectives about Africa and Africans as a people without history.” Ajimobi said through A man of the People, which was written before the first military coup, the late Achebe demonstrated that the writer could be a seer as the book predicted the military coup. The governor said through other books, such as Things Fall Apart, Chike and the River and There Was a Country, the late Achebe navigated between re-telling the stories told by Africans as moonlight tales to revealing the writer as a historian who sought to put on record critical historical moments of the nation’s life. Amosun condoled with the government and people of Anambra State and the world literary community. In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Funmi Wakama, Amosun described the death of Achebe as a great loss to Nigeria. He said: “Professor Achebe was a scholar of first magnitude and one of the pioneers of modern African literature. Through such works like A Man of The People and The Trouble With Nigeria, Achebe deployed his literary gifts to mirror the ills of our society with a view to building a better and prosperous Nigeria.” The governor urged the new generation of Nigerian writers to imbibe the sterling qualities of the erudite scholar and produce interesting works that would help revive the culture of reading among the youths.

Achebe was an Iroko of integrity, says Atiku ORMER Vice-President F Atiku Abubakar has described the late Prof. Chinua

•The late Achebe

We’ll miss the great author, says Jonathan RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday PJonathan mourned the late Prof. Chinua Achebe. said he received news of the

globally acclaimed writer with immense sadness. According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President joined other Nigerians to mourn the legendary author. He said that he was consoled by the knowledge that the late Prof. Achebe would live forever in the hearts and minds of present and future generations through his great works. The statement reads: “The President believes that Prof. Achebe’s frank, truthful and fearless interventions in national affairs will be greatly missed at home in Nigeria because while others may have disagreed with his views, most Nigerians never doubted his immense patriotism and sincere commitment to the building of a greater, more united and prosperous nation that all Africans and the entire black race could be proud of. “He recalls that with maturity and global stature, Prof. Achebe fearlessly spoke the truth as he saw it and became, as he advanced in age, a much revered national icon and conscience of the nation who will be eternally honoured for his contributions to national discourse as well as the immense fame and glory he brought to his fatherland. “On behalf of himself, his family, the

The President believes that Prof. Achebe’s frank, truthful and fearless interventions in national affairs will be greatly missed at home in Nigeria because while others may have disagreed with his views, most Nigerians never doubted his immense patriotism and sincere commitment to the building of a greater, more united and prosperous nation

Federal Government and all Nigerians, President Jonathan extends heartfelt condolences to Prof Achebe’s family.” “He prays that God Almighty will receive Prof. Achebe’s great soul and grant him eternal rest from his outstanding earthly labours.”

Achebe as an icon of unmatched integrity and conviction. In a tribute to the late professor and author of the famous Things Fall Apart, the former Vice- President recalled how Achebe condemned the July 2004 political crisis in Anambra State during, which thugs attempted to remove a democratically-elected governor. Atiku said the late professor rejected a national honour conferred on him by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan administrations on principle. According to the former Vice-President, few Nigerians would have followed the courage of their conviction and reject national honours because of the fear of losing favour from those in power. On the literary front, Atiku Abubakar paid glowing tribute to the late Achebe’s unquantifiable contributions to African literature. He said Things Fall Apart would remain the late Achebe’s everlasting legacy to literature. In Atiku’s words, “the translation of Things Fall Apart into more than one hundred languages of the world had put not only Nigeria but also Africa on the map, thanks to Achebe’s literary prowess.” The former Vice-President also praised the lucidity of Prof. Achebe’s writing style, which he said, made him one of the most readable and popular authors of the world.

PDP urges Fed Govt to immortalise Things Fall Apart author


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday urged the Federal Government to immortalise the late Prof. Chinua Achebe. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the late Achebe would be greatly remembered for his unwavering anti-corruption stand; his efforts towards promoting high moral values in the country as well as his contributions toward national development. Metuh said: “Achebe was a rare gift to the nation. He was a hero and a great patriot who used his intellectual and physical energies to wage an unrelenting war against corruption and championed the inculcation of true moral values and social integrity in our polity. “Achebe’s contribution to national human capital development using his books is unprecedented. His works stood out in projecting Afri-

•Buhari, Amaechi, Imoke, Obi mourn Gbade OGUNWALE Abuja and Nicholas KALU, Calabar

can cultural and social values. “ He used them to instill and sustain national pride and the spirit of patriotism and nationalism in contemporary Nigerians in particular and Africans in general.” The PDP urged the Federal Government to honour Achebe’s numerous contributions to the nation by immediately commencing works on the rehabilitation of Enugu-Ogidi-Onitsha road, which passes through his home town, Ogidi in Anambra State. Former Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari said the late Achebe was a patriotic Nigerian. He said the late author stood for what he believed in.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Rotimi Amaechi, Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke and his Anambra State counterpart, Peter Obi, are mourning the renowned writer. Amaechi, who is also the River State governor, said he is saddened by the development. The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. David Iyofor, described the late Achebe as one of Nigeria’s and Africa’s finest literary giants whose works speak volumes. Amaechi said: “I love and have read A man of the people over and over again, mostly because of its portrayal of leadership as it is in Africa. I have also commissioned that a movie be made out of it for the benefit of more people, especially our youths who are the leaders of tomorrow.

It is such a shock to me that our dearly beloved Achebe, the man who gave us several notable works of literature is gone.” “I still have fond memories of the time I spent with Prof. Achebe at his home in Providence, Rhodes Island and when I was invited as a keynote speaker to his annual African Colloquim at Brown’s University. His intelligence still motivated me. I remember his kind words, his fatherly advice and encouragement. Achebe is a man that will be greatly missed not only by Nigerians and Africans, but the world. “As the nation mourns this irreparable loss, I pray that God grants his family the strength to bear this great loss, and to all of us, I say find solace in the fact that Achebe impacted our world

positively. He lived a fulfilled life fighting for change in the political landscape of our great nation and Africa, using his pen and voice, and has left behind an array of literary works that are indeed most remarkable.” In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita, Imoke said the late Achebe was not just an iconic writer but also a moral compass for Nigeria and Africa. The governor said: “His literary offerings made name for Nigeria, while his moral interventions ignited and deepened national discuss on several key issues in the country. “Nigeria and Africa has lost her most iconic cultural figure! A writer of whom Nelson Mandela said that ‘in his company, the prison walls came crashing down.” Obi said: " I speak with the Chinua Achebe family every week. This morning, upon

my arrival at the Akanu Ibian Airport , Enugu, I received a telephone call from his son to the effect that the Iroko has fallen. "The world has lost a giant, Africa has lost a rare gem, may his erudite soul rest in peace.” A former Governor of Enugu State and former National Chairman of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, described the death of Prof. Achebe as shocking. Nwodo, in statement in Abuja, said inspite of his being bound in wheelchair, the late Prof. Achebe cut out the image of immortality. He said: "I grew up to know Prof. Achebe through his book Things Fall Apart, and have come to believe that any day we wake up, Achebe will be there with something new and exciting for us to read. He was undoubtedly Africa's greatest literary mind."

News 7



Amosun, Ajimobi mourn a role model

•Mark, Ekweremadu, Saraki: his life worthy of emulation


ENATE President David Mark, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and the Chairman Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Dr. Bukola Saraki, have described the late Prof. Chinua Achebe as a great author and scholar. Mark, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja, described said the literary giant would be missed. The Senate President, who is in Ouito, Ecuador, described the late Achebe as an accomplished writer and a globally celebrated author who lived a life worthy of emulation. Mark said the late Achebe “was a patriotic Nigerian who used his literary prowess to seek a better society for our nation. We shall all miss him.” The Senate President urged


Fayemi: his works have immortalised him


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has de scribed the death of literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe as a great loss to Nigeria and Africa. Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, said the late Achebe has immortalised himself through his literary works, which attained global importance and acceptance. He said the late Achebe used his novels to positively project the image of Nigeria in the international community and advocated a better society through his works. Fayemi, however, urged Nigerian authorities to address the problems afflicting the country which made Achebe to reject the national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 2004 and 2011. He described the late Achebe as the Father of Modern African Writing, an activist who spoke against injustice and corruption, a role model to generations of writers whose works inspired the younger ones and paved the

way for the emergence of a vibrant literary community. The governor said the late Achebe’s books, such as Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, Man of the People and Anthills of the Savanna defined the literary world and announced Nigeria’s arrival on the global literary stage. The late Achebe’s literary prowess, according to Fayemi, traversed novels, short stories, poetry, essays, criticisms, nonfiction, political commentary and children books. Fayemi noted that the late Achebe shone brightly in the literary world which made him to receive over 30 honorary degrees from universities in England, Scotland, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria and the United States. The governor said the late Achebe also excelled in broadcasting and rose to the pinnacle of the profession as the Director of External Broadcasting of the then Nigeria Broadcasting Service (NBS) . He advised activists and other followers of Achebe not to relent in their quest for a better Nigeria.

bution of the great author and scholar. He described him as an embodiment of wisdom transmitted into written literature for the emancipation of Nigeria and Africa at large. Saraki said: “Indeed, Professor Achebe’s death is an immeasurable intellectual and moral loss to Nigeria and Africa. “From the library shelves, to the lecture room topics; from the conference discussions, to our public and personal lives, the themes of integrity, equity, rule of law and social justice for all which are salient philosophies in Achebe’s works keep guiding us even at various points as a nation since they also serve as important models for others to emulate. “I am deeply saddened by the news of Professor Achebe’s death because his

intellectual wealth is a treasure we may never find as a nation- all his articles, books and interviews released are kept on the most treasured side of my personal library and I visit and reflect on them for guidance on various issues from time to time. “In moments like this, we should come together as a nation, irrespective of the tribe, religion and social status, critically examine together in oneness the progressive ideologies of a an icon like Professor Achebe and thoroughly inject them into our political, economic, educational and social culture, never to let his effort on Nigeria be in vain. “On behalf of good people of my constituency and Senate Committee on Environment, I send my sincere condolence message to the families of the late professor Achebe and Nigerians.”

Prominent Nigerians mourn the literary Iroko

ROMINENT Nigerians and groups yesterday described the late Chinua Achebe as an outstanding man of letters who towered above many of his peers. Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala mourned the respected author and condoled with his family. Former Governor of old Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife and the leader of the Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike described Achebe’s passage as shocking and irreparable loss to Ndigbo and the country. Uwazuruike, in a condolence massage to the Achebe’s family, described the late author as, “an outstanding patriot who rejected several national honours for the sake of his

•The late Achebe as a young man

the present generation of youths to emulate the steadfastness and determination to succeed which the late Achebe stood for. He said: “Our younger generation should rise up and be counted in their various careers.” Ekweremadu expressed sadness over the death of the late Prof. Achebe. Ekweremadu, in a statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, said: "This is a very sad development given that Achebe employed his writing prowess to paint Nigeria proudly on the global map of fame, and as a social critic, he was very courageous and spoke his mind according to his conviction without fear or favour." Saraki said the story of Nigeria’s journey as a nation cannot be told without mentioning the enormous contri-

Okodili NDIDI, Owerri, Chris ORJI, Enugu people”. Ezeife said: “We must all die. He was yielded to the truth. The lesson we can get from his life time is that fact stands all test. Achebe’s life was that of truth and fact.” A former President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dozie Ikedife, said the late Achebe gave his best. He thanked God that the literary icon led a good life. He said: “I am in tears. It is like an eagle on Iroko that suddenly took ill and died. I thank God that he led a good life and left solid foot prints in the sands of time. He will be remembered like other great writers like William Shakespeare.” Respected playwright and poet, John Pepper Clark, said:

"Before I too go my way, my wife and I will always remember Chinua with fondness. Our thoughts are with Christie and the children. So let him rest." The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Dakuku Peterside, said the late literary icon was the conscience of the nation. He said: “My heart is broken with the news of Chinua Achebe’s exit. Achebe was a man of the world and Africa’s leading novelist and commentator. My condolences, therefore, go to his immediate family in Ogidi, Anambra State, the arts community and to those who love fine prose. This is indeed a great loss to literature. “As a boy, I read Achebe’s Chike and the River and fell in love with the written word. The book was indeed my first real contact with literature and

the experience made remarkable impact on me. Like other school children across Nigeria, I grew up to later encounter Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah among others. “Over the years, Achebe has also become our nation’s conscience, boldly commenting on national issues and disagreeing with policies that do not serve common good. We shall therefore miss his interventions during these difficult times in our country.” The president of a pan-Igbo group, C21, Senator Annie Okonkwo, said the country had lost a leader. He said: “Achebe was a moral tower of excellence. He is Africa’s most decorated literary giant. He was an honest mirror of the country. Our soul is gone and the flesh will decompose further.”

ACF, Ohaneze, Northern governors: he’ll live on


HE pan northern sociopolitical organisation, Arewa Consultative Form (ACF), the Ohaneze Ndigbo and Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) have said the late Prof. Chinua Achebe will live on. The Forum, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, said Nigerians need no tombstone to remind them of the legacies left behind by the late Achebe. It said: “There is nothing we can say beyond the usual platitude that God should give the people and government of Nigeria the fortitude to endure what cannot be changed, since death is an inevitable end for all mortals. “The Prof is gone in flesh. But in many ways, he is very much around, considering he needs no tombstone to remind us of his legacies. “We can imagine his body lying in peace and in pains: the peace associated with death and the pains of what he has left behind that are still begging for attention. And so, one way of remembering Prof Chinua Achebe is live up his legacies. “Yet, however we feel the

Tony AKOWE, Kaduna and Jide ORINTUNSIN, Minna loss of the Prof, we may not trade places with those who did not share the sentiments of what he stood for in life. May his soul rest in peace.” NSGF said the death of the literary icon and elder statesman marked the end of a glorious era. Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, said the late Achebe was a literary giant who lived a purposeful life of dedication to the cause of founding and development of African literature. The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi Ndayebo, said: ‘’Thanks to the sacrifices and commitment of Professor Achebe, and his contemporaries whose writings have become leading lights in our country’s literary constellation.’’ The forum expressed the hope that the generation of writers who benefited from the immense knowledge and professional competence of the late Achebe would keep

the flag flying by continuing to raise the bar. The forum said the best tribute that Nigerians can pay to the late writer and nationalist is to re-dedicate themselves to the ethos of nationalism, nation building, and respect for citizens’ rights which the late literary icon preached and practiced. The forum condoled with members of Achebe’s family and prayed that God will give them the fortitude to bear the irredeemable loss, while also granting the departed eternal rest. Aliyu urged the Federal Government to honour the memory of the great Nigerian, to serve as an inspiration to the younger generation of Nigerians. The pan-Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze, said the late Achebe’s death was a big shock. Its deputy president general, Chief O. A. U. Onyema, in a statement, said the world has lost a The statement reads: “The news of the death of our nobel laureate Prof Chinua Achebe came to us as a shock few minutes ago. The Igbo race, Nigeria and indeed the entire

world have lost an icon. At 82, Prof Achebe was one of Africa’s best known authors. Well known for one of his very old books written in 1958 called Things Fall Apart. “I wonder whose legs can match the shoes he just left behind in the novel industry. While I commiserate with his immediate family and our Nation; I urge the growing ones in the field of literature to work harder, as we will like to see many from of our people attain the status of Achebe. “I’m aware that he survived a car crash in 1990, which got him to be moving with wheel chair; however that never deter him from writing. While on the wheelchair, he manifested further great intellect in his book There was a Country. “Achebe’s Things Fall Apart has been translated into more than 50 languages and focuses on the traditions of Igbo society and the clash between Western and traditional values. We love him so dearly for this. We pray that many more sons of Igbo extraction will tow his footpath.”



ALBERT CHINUA ACHEBE (1930-2013) CHINUA ACHEBE IN WORDS Oh, the most important thing about myself is that my life has been full of changes. Therefore, when I observe the world, I don’t expect to see it just like I was seeing the fellow who lives in the next room. —Chinua Achebe Words made him great and what is peculiar about Chinua Achebe, novelist and social crusader, is that he lived by his words. To those following him would have realised why he rejected national honours twice. After all, he said, ‘One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.’ In his lifetime, whether you liked him or not, one thing that couldn’t be taken away from Achebe was that he stood for what he believed in. After fighting on the Biafran side and even, out with a latest book, There Was A Country, those following Achebe must have been aware of the scorn he had for Nigerian leaders. In a quote, he had said, ‘Nigeria is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be.’ Achebe also obviously believed that followers must be cautious in choosing their leaders, for he said, ‘The problem with leaderless uprisings taking over is that you don’t always know what you get at the other end. If you are not careful, you could replace a bad government with one much worse!’ Probably reflecting on the necessity of acting promptly, Achebe was also quoted as saying, ‘People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that’s the time to do something about it, not when it’s around your neck.’ However, as the artist, Achebe was prolific. And since writing Things Fall Apart, he wrote throughout his life. To him, ‘Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different reality from that which is given to him.’ He also knew that Things fall Apart proved a frontrunner to understanding Nigeria’s colonialism. Hear him, ‘Nigeria has had a complicated colonial history. My work has examined that part of our story extensively.’ While alive, Chinua Achebe had a fiery personality. He often times never let a chance pass by without shooting verbal missiles. A man known not to veil his feelings, Achebe himself knew talking had earned him bad names in some quarters. He acknowledged thus, ‘ I’ve had trouble now and again in Nigeria because I have spoken up about the mistreatment of factions in the country because of difference in religion. These are things we should put behind us.’

THE LITERARY ICON IN QUOTES ‘When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.’ ‘A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.’ ‘The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.’ ‘When old people speak, it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.’ ‘The damage done in one year can sometimes take ten or twenty years to repair.’ ‘A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership.’ ‘Democracy is not something you put away for ten years, and then in the 11th year you wake up and start practising again. We have to begin to learn to rule ourselves again.’ ‘Once a novel gets going and I know it is viable, I don’t then worry about plot or themes. These things will come in almost automatically because the characters are now pulling the story.’ ‘What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender.’ ‘An artist, in my understanding of the word, should side with the people against the Emperor that oppresses his or her people.’ ‘But I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.’ ‘I don’t care about age very much.’ ‘I tell my students, it’s not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What’s more difficult is to identify with someone you don’t see, who’s very far away, who’s a different colour, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.’ ‘I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.’ ‘I was a supporter of the desire, in my section of Nigeria, to leave the federation because it was treated very badly with something that was called genocide in those days.’


HEN Prof. Chinua Achebe released his last controversial book, There Was a Country: A Personal history of Biafra”, sometime in October 2012, little did he know that barely five months afterwards, the event of his passage Friday March 22, 2013 would dramatically offer a hint of yet a title: “There was Achebe”. Having bid the literary world his long and final goodnight, Achebe may have gone, but the world will always remember that there was and there will always be Achebe, just as there was a country and there will always be a country. Born almost 83 years ago on November 16, 1930 as Albert ChinåalåmÍgå Achebe, he grew up to be renowned as one of the world most celebrated authors. The fallen literary legend lived through and helped define radical change in Nigeria, from independence to dictatorship to the disastrous war between Nigeria and the breakaway country of Biafra in the late 1960s. As a literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe was regarded as both a moral and literary compass who charted the way for modern African literature with his magnum opus, Things Fall Apart. In the course of his literary voyage on earth, Achebe’s works and his person never ceased to court controversies. As a writer, he personally took issues with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, where he took a swipe at the racist slur contained in Conrad’s work and the portrayal of African continent as inherently evil. It was against this backdrop that some scholars had suggested that Achebe was shunned by intellectual society for criticising Conrad and traditions of racism in the West, culminating in allegedly denying him a Nobel Prize, despite his scholarly achievements and the global importance of his work. Achebe never received a Nobel Prize, which some observers viewed as unjust. From his A Man of the People, published in 1966, a bleak satire set in an unnamed African state which has just attained independence, the ending of the novel believed more as a prognosis of the civil war, had brought Achebe to the attention of military personnel, who suspected him of having foreknowledge of the coup. Upon receipt of word of his pursuit, he reportedly sent his wife (who was pregnant) and children on a squalid boat through a series of unseen creeks to the Igbo stronghold of Port Harcourt. They arrived safely, but Christie suffered a miscarriage at the journey’s end. Achebe rejoined them soon afterwards in Ogidi. And then to last but not least of his work, There Was a Country: A personal history of Biafra”, Achebe masterfully recounted his experience, both as he lived it and how he came to understand it. He began his narratives with Nigeria’s birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that the world might come to understand the country’s promise, which turned to horror when the scorching winds of hatred began to stir. There Was a Country is a powerful reminder of what the fallen literary legend had always advocated during his time- that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. According to Achebe, “All artists, should be

…his controversies Linus OBOGO, Assistant Editor committed writers— they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people.” “There Was a Country”, is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. In it, Achebe marries history and memoir, poetry and prose, wise, humane, and authoritative. But in his literary construct of the Nigerian/Biafran war, Achebe was accused of gross distortion of fact, a confluence of historical embellishment, inaccuracies and infelicities and ultimately, a mowing down of individual in the characterisation of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and General Yakubu Gowon (rtd). An excerpt from the book stirred the soul of not only the Yoruba nation, some Nigerian across the country who felt Achebe’s account of Awolowo’s role in the 30 month old war was not only a historical travesty but an outright ‘desecration’ of Awo soon took up the gauntlet. Achebe accused late Chief Obafemi Awolowo of masterminding the policy of starvation of the Igbo during the Nigeria civil war. Awolowo was the Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council. In the book, the late literary Iroko had alleged: “The wartime cabinet of General Gowon, the military ruler, it should also be remembered, was full of intellectuals like Chief Obafemi Awolowo

among others who came up with a boatload of infamous and regrettable policies. A statement credited to Awolowo and echoed by his cohorts is the most callous and unfortunate: all is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder. “It is my impression that Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition for power, for himself and for his Yoruba people. There is, on the surface at least, nothing wrong with those aspirations. “However, Awolowo saw the dominant Igbo at the time as the obstacles to that goal, and when the opportunity arose – the Nigeria-Biafra War – his ambition drove him into a frenzy to go to every length to achieve his dreams. “In the Biafran case, it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation – eliminating over two million people, mainly members of future generations.” And the battle line was drawn, Yoruba versus Igbo. Intellectuals, politicians, the media, with none willing to sit on the fence. It was a war of supports versus condemnations. Virtual commentators from the two divides deployed sumptuous invectives in defence of their ‘hero’. Throughout his time, Achebe did not conceal his revulsion for tendencies that militated against Nigeria’s march towards greatness. He demon-

strated much of his angst through writings and protestations. According to him “We, the intellectuals, were deeply disillusioned by the ineptitude of Nigeria’s ruling elite and by what we saw taking place in our young nation. As far as their relationship with the masses was concerned, Nigerian politicians, we felt, had slowly transformed themselves into the personification of the wasp—a notorious predator from the insect kingdom, Wasps, African children learn during story time, greet unsuspecting prey with a painful, paralysing sting; then lay eggs on their body, which then proceed to “eat the victim alive.” In 2004, Achebe rejected the award of Nigeria’s highest honours offered to him by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. At the time, Achebe said his decision was intended to serve as a “wake-up” call and he hoped that “change” would be achieved through protests. He was most scathing about •Continued on Page 57



Global housekeeping – Values and issues W

E take on housekeeping and cleaning chores today as we attempt to discuss and clear out some old is sues that resurface this last week like stubborn cobwebs that have dogged global diplomacy for years. There are really quite a number of them and some have turned up in quite different apparels this time around. The first surprise was in Turkey where the leader of the PKK the well known Kurdish terrorist organization has, unbelievably, called for a cease fire. The second was at the installation of the Archbishop of Canterbury - Justin Welby - where a female Archdeacon installed the Archbishop whereas just four months ago the Church of England Synod voted against the ordination of women as priests. The third is Cyprus where in asking for a bailout fund of 10m euros from the IMF and EU, Cyprus is finding it difficult to raise its contribution of 7 bn euros before Monday and has attracted the attention of Russia whose citizens own about two thirds of bank deposits in that nation. The fourth is Kenya which had its presidential election recently and where the there have been petitions against the elections results and the pre trial sessions will commence in Nairobi next Monday. The fifth was the visit of the US President Barak Obama to Israel and the West Bank where he paid the usual US policy lip service to the two state solution to the Palestinian problem even as Israel continues its policy of building on occupied territories on the west bank. The news from Turkey reminded me of the way the news broke about the release of Nelson Mandela and his initial negotiations with the apartheid de Klerk regime in S. Africa. Even ANC representatives scoffed at the news as apartheid and racist propaganda and misinformation then. But then, it turned out to be true. I have the same hunch on this Abdullah Ocalan declaration that PKK fighters should drop their arms in Turkey. According to reports on the internet Ocalan said the struggle has entered a new phase of democratic struggle and an era of ideas and negotiations requiring different strategy and weaponry. Most Kurds and Turks are said to be relieved and happy at the news and the Turkish government should be happy with itself in achieving an important political coup that past military governments which regarded the military as the guardian of Turkey’s secular democracy, have found elusive. Although there have been reports that some elements of the PKK are against what they perceive as a capitulation of their leader under duress and in captivity, those close to Ocalan say that he has acted on his own volition. Any way it is up to the government in Ankarra to keep the peace momentum going to sustain the new peace in Turkey by giving the much sought autonomy to the Kurds for which PKK fought for so long and for which so many people have died in terrorist acts for decades. The Ocalan peace deal may even advance Turkey’s pursuit of what its government and people covet most, which is membership of the EU. This is because persecution of Kurds has always been a stigma used against Turkey in this regard, and this new peace deal should give the Turks immense opportunity to remedy this and boost their EU potential membership credentials and prospects. The installation of the new Archbishop of Canterbury was dogged in controversy coming from the era of his predecessor. The issue of enthronement of gay bishops was one that the African Anglican Communion had always opposed, albeit to no effect, with the British government and leadership of the Anglican Church of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is the Spiritual leader. The hope in Africa and Nigeria is

that the new Archbishop will respect African values because he has worked in Nigeria as an oil worker and as a priest prior to his present great assignment. But already, he too has faced challenges at home as he voted just a month ago, against what the English Synod approved on the ordination of women priests. On equal rights for gay couples he is uncertain as he endorsed biblical marriage between man and woman but has said he has seen same sex couples capable of the same love as a man and a woman. More importantly, the Conservative – Liberal Party government that appointed him, led by PM David Cameron is determined to enforce gay marriages and equal rights for same sex marriage in Britain and sooner than later, this new Archbishop will play ball and I wonder what the African Anglican Communion will do then. We have seen on the internet that African Anglican Primates attended the ceremony but we were told they will not attend a meeting to be called by the new Archbishop later. Really, the African Primates have my sympathy because they have the problem of legitimacy, authority loyalty to face as these flow from the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury to all parts of the global Anglican Communion. Yet, these Primates must brace themselves for hard knocks at home and abroad if they play ball with this new Archbishop. The way out is to stand for African values like former Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola did, till he retired and his successor Nicholas Okoh has been doing since. Which in effect means inevitable confrontation or schism in the global Anglican community. If however the umbilical cord is too hard to break, for whatever reason, a confederation of Anglican Communions will be more honorable for Africans than a global Anglican Communion led by an Archbishop at the beck and call of a British government committed to enforcing gay rights and same sex marriages. Really there should be mutual respect for cultural values even in matters of state and religion as in this particular instance. On Cyprus I am fascinated by the speed with which the Lenders are about to throw the baby away with the bath tub given the Monday ultimatum they are giving Cyprus to perform or get its banking system blown away. The Russian PM Medvedev is reported to have said that the EU and IMF are behaving like a bull in a China shop and that is quite interesting in the light of some information I picked up on Cyprus

If however the umbilical cord is too hard to break, for whatever reason, a confederation of Anglican Communions will be more honorable for Africans than a global Anglican Communion led by an Archbishop at the beck and call of a British government committed to enforcing gay rights and same sex marriages. Really there should be mutual respect for cultural values even in matters of state and religion as in this particular instance

in a book in my library. The book - The Sink - written by Jeffry Robinson is on money laundering and how money from offshore banking is being used globally to finance, terrorism narcotics and crime and has some information on Cyprus that I want to share with readers. The book says in part –In Cyprus, Russian criminal organizations control a huge percentage of the 48000 shell companies registered there, 47000 of which have no physical presence whatsoever - no roof, no phone number not even a post box . I found this amazing when I first read the book some time ago. Now given Cyprus’plight and the on- going financial and banking reforms in Europe, perhaps the EU is doing serious house cleaning starting with shell companies and tax havens like Cyprus, and is sending a signal to criminal gangs this time from Russia and banks that back them that the era of dirty money and offshore illegality is about to come to an end, starting from Cyprus. We are watching. On Monday, the pre trial session of the petition against the election results that declared Uhuru Kenyatta winner will begin in Kenya. The Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has asked that the press should not comment on the issue once the trial, which will be publicized, starts. The petition include charges of rigging and figures manipulation. Again the personality of the CJ may be more fascinating than the case itself. He wears an ear ring which he said allows him to communicate with his ancestors and is a gay rights activist, although he says he is not gay. He has divorce case pending against him in a Kenyan court and has been a Catholic, Anglican and Muslim at various times. The petitioner Rahoula Odinga’s late father Oginga Odinga was his hero and he is a friend to the son. The new CJ has however assured all and sundry that he will be fair and just and handle the case according to the constitution of Kenya . Again , we are watching. Lastly we look at Obama’s three day tour of Israel and the West Bank and see how it has lived up to its billing which was that the status quo will be maintained. Well to me it has, somewhat and I really don’t like that. The status quo was a stalled peace process because the Palestinians said there would be no peace talks unless the Israelis stop building on occupied territories. Obama seemed to have supported that, till he said the contrary on this visit, which is really unfortunate. The only good thing out of the visit was Obama confirming he was for the Israelis and the US is as such. However his kowtowing to Israeli hawks like PM Benjamin Netanyahu and asking the Palestinians not to use building on occupied territory as condition for peace is unfortunate and very unfair to the Palestinians. Again I want to see how that will move the peace process forward in the area. Such capitulation, most unexpected, sure to send a strong signal to Palestinians and indeed all Arabs that the US is not to be trusted where Israel is concerned and that creates a mirage for peace in the Middle East and as is often the case, the entire world. Which also is a great pity indeed.



Shocking fallout from Alamieyeseigha’s pardon roll and juice!” But the worse fallout came from a fraudster who sent a text message to my phone after reading my piece on the pardon saga last Saturday and introduced himself as Dr. Reuben Abati, Senior Special Assistant to President Jonathan on Media. Buoyed apparently by state pardon the Jonathan administration granted a fugitive and convicted pilferer of the public purse, the fellow has been carrying on with the boldness of a lion, bombarding me with calls and text messages from his telephone number 08027456324. He said my name was being considered for a board appointment, and that to ensure that this came into fruition, I should send the sum of N250,000 into the UBA account of his CSO whose name he gave as Mumuni Kadiri with telephone number 07058881113. Sensing that the impostor was doing a great disservice to the name and reputation of Dr. Reuben Abati, I sent the President’s spokesman a mail, drawing his attention to the development I saw as a clear and present danger. But Abati’s response was anything but urgent. It took almost 24 hours before his terse reply hit my phone, with nothing in it to show that he was angry or worried. “That is not my number. Someone has been using my name. Beware of 419,” he wrote. Now certain that Abati had nothing to do with the fellow, I sent him a text message and tried to drive fear into him. I told him that he would rot in jail because I had alerted Abati about his antics and SSS officials were already on his trail. But I was disarmed by the temerity contained in his response. “Hahahaha, I return that to you,” he wrote back, boasting that his CSO would buy “two cartons of moet rose drink and clear drinks with SSS into the Villa (sic).” At this point, it struck me that the apparent impunity with which the Boko Haram sect has operated for two years might have rubbed off on fraudsters and could soon extend to other antisocial elements around the country. Clearly, there is anarchy on the horizon. Such grim prospects were responsible for the public outrage that greeted the Alamieyeseigha pardon, including the following responses to my piece on the subject last week, in spite of Abati’s tirade:


did not realise how immensely Nigerians had profited from the public lecture the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati, delivered on clemency and pardon last week until an experience I had with my wife and her housemaid last Saturday. Abati had described the widespread criticism that trailed the pardon President Goodluck Jonathan granted former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepriye Alamieyeseigha, as “sophisticated ignorance” and took time to educate those who described the pardon granted the likes of the late Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Gen. Oladipo Diya and Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju as superfluous. He insisted that what the former military henchmen got from the Abdulsalami administration was mere clemency and not pardon which was why many of them had not received their entitlements. Seeing that our six-year-old son failed to do his homework on the excuse that there was no public power and our generator failed to work, my wife decided to suspend the daily menu of sausage roll and juice the lad used to take to school. I pleaded with her not to make good her threat, particularly because it was the first time he would do such a thing in a long while. But I was surprised that the following morning, he cried to my room and complained that mum had withheld his fruit juice and gave him only a sausage roll. I called my wife and asked why she still had not forgiven the poor boy in spite of my earlier intervention. “Of course, I have forgiven him,” she said. “I would not have given him the sausage roll if I hadn’t forgiven him. But his forgiveness was only a clemency. Tomorrow, I will turn his clemency into pardon and then he will have both the sausage

At this point, it struck me that the apparent impunity with which the Boko Haram sect has operated for two years might have rubbed off on fraudsters and could soon extend to other anti-social elements around the country. Clearly, there is anarchy on the horizon

•Your article every Saturday is like the fresh palm wine we used to enjoy in the village many years ago. Please tell me, when will Nigeria return to democracy and do away with this criminal arrangement that has made life worse than hell for the masses? For how long must we allow these outdated political godfathers to continue to toy with our collective survival in the name of politics? Today, Nigerians are calling fraud democracy and paying duly for it. Alamieyeseigha was not alone when he stole Bayelsa blind. Somebody deputised him, and that person cannot claim ignorance of what was going on then. Today, if that person decides to help his partner who is down, why should anybody tongue-lash him. Don’t birds of a feather flock together anymore? A young man got married. He did not wait for a child to arrive in the family before he hurriedly bought a dog and named it Paul. After 15 years of barrenness, he took his wife to a native doctor for spiritual solution. To his shock, the traditional doctor told him that his trouble started when he a domestic animal the name of a human being, and that unless he killed the dog, he would not hear the cry of a human being in his house. Ifeanyi O. Ifeanyichukwu. Can someone tell the President that he forgot to include on his posthumous pardon list the likes of Oyenusi, Anini and the extra-judicially killed Boko

Shall we tell President?


ODAY, I’m shooting straight from the hip. There should never be any apologies for consistently drumming the right words into the unresponsive ears of those ruling us. Why should I when our land has been turned into a canvas of blood under their ignoble watch? We had thought the raging madness was subsiding, going by the frenetic pace of political mediations playing out. But we were damn wrong. Those baying for the blood of the innocent have not had their fill; they are still on the rampage. And to demonstrate their desire to set the country on fire, they struck again at the popular New Road Motor Park, Sabon Gari, Kano State, sending scores of lives to early graves. Over 60 others who escaped the suicide bombers’ terror attack are said to be hanging between life and death in various hospitals. These were ordinary Nigerians who struggle daily to get some crumbs for survival. Their crime? They were just unlucky to be at the right place at the wrong time. They were the latest victims of the senseless killings pervading the land. Sad enough, there is no comprehensible official figure regarding the number of citizens that have been wiped off by these agents of terror in the last three years. Like many others that happened before it, the Kano motor park attack left more than a sour taste in the mouth. Here we speak not of the pall of gloom that enveloped the country as charred remains of the victims were piled in body bags. We do not refer to the scary images that confronted us as the plume of flames darkened the heavens. No, this is not just about the anguished lamentations of those caught in the explosion. It is something deeper than that. There are questions we need to ask. What kind of force pushes a man to the precipice such that he offers himself as a willing tool of mass destruction, a human bomb? What is the motive for the attacks and where is this violent anger coming from? What grievous sin has humanity committed against these alien forces that cannot be brought before the table for peaceful discussion and resolution? How do the mass murder and killings of innocent lives redress the presumed injustice? Of course, there were stories of lucky escape and divine intervention—the survivor who recounted how he packed his intestines with his cloth; the one who lost a nose and confessed that death could come knocking any time soon; and the one who had a brief conversation with the suicide bomber before he ended it all in total damnation. Gone with the bomb explosions of that dark Monday was someone’s father, mother, uncle, brother, sister or aunt. Gone eternally too, is many families’ dream of actualising hopes for a good life in a sad country. There was that heart-rending account of a family of six that was consumed in the blaze of terror, crushed beyond recognition, burnt to ashes. Breadwinners can no longer fend for loved ones.


Haram leader. What about Cecilia Ibru. In fact, he forgot all the convicted corrupt felons. Long live corruption in the land of the giant of Africa. And who says we don’t deserve this? Of course, we deserve the nonsense we voted for on sentiment grounds and for exhibiting total lack of wisdom despite the handwriting on the wall to the effect that we were voting for a candidate from a party that had heaped misery on us for 12 years. Have we learnt anything yet? 080642867.. •Whether or not President Jonathan changes guards by recruiting OBJ’s sworn enemies into his government his winning another term in 2015 is not yet guaranteed. He will definitely need OBJ. The sympathy votes of 2011 are gone. Many things have changed in all the six geo-political regions, particularly in the South West. Granting Alamieyeseigha state pardon was and remains an economic and transparency error. The nation’s image has been brought down! Lanre Oseni. •The presidential pardon granted Alamieyeseigha is an embarrassment to Nigerians and an avenue to encourage corruption in governance. While it is in our constitution to grant pardons, it is not in cases of corruption. Other countries are busy fighting against corruption in governance. Gordon Chika Nnorom.


Wives have become widows; husbands have transformed into widowers, children into orphans. Dreams forever deferred. Laughter stopped abruptly and endless wailing has left many with bloodshot eyes

Children can only hold on to memories of good times they once shared with their parents. Wives have become widows; husbands have transformed into widowers, children into orphans. Dreams forever deferred. Laughter stopped abruptly and endless wailing has left many with bloodshot eyes. Today, we mourn the dead, conscious of the reality of our own vulnerability in the next harvest of bombs and bullets as the official lethargy in tackling the menace fluctuates between the outright mundane and sheer folly. That is what official dithering is inflicting on our collective psyche daily. No, I am not saying the government is sitting on its hands, rubbing raw pepper on our festering wounds. In fact, going by Aso Rock’s timely response to the Kano harvest of death, it is obvious that it has re-energised its condolence letter drafting unit. Howling like the bird with the broken beak and with a dint of self-adulation to boot, the government hollered: “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has condemned in strong terms, today’s bomb blasts in Kano. The President said the barbaric incident will not deter the Federal Government from its strong-willed determination to overcome those who do not mean well for this nation. He said the Federal Government will not be stampeded, for any reason whatsoever, into abandoning its unrelenting war against terrorists in the country. “President Jonathan reassured Nigerians and foreigners in the country that the Nigerian Government will continue to do all that is required to ensure the safety of lives and property, including continued collaboration with local and international partners and stakeholders to check the menace of terrorism. President Jonathan commiserated with the victims of the Kano explosions, their families and friends, and assured the Kano State government of the Federal Government’s continued support.” As expected, it did not take long before many important personalities in the polity joined the platitude crafting train. From David Bonaventure Mark to all manner of party thugs, it was the


Yomi Odunuga E-mail:yomi.odunuga SMS only: 07028006913

same old story of regrets and empty fulminations. Hey, doesn’t this ring a familiar bell? How many more reassurances should we expect from the “Oga at the top” before we begin to experience the concrete manifestation of this “strong-willed determination to rein in terror”? And who the hell is stampeding Jonathan into taking a long overdue action? Don’t get it twisted. We do know that the government’s official town criers have never been found wanting in the outpouring of sophisticated imbecility to cover up cluelessness. We know it is the responsibility of some persons to continue to defend the indefensible by whatever means possible. We also know that, on this matter, it is quite difficult to accept defeat and throw in the towel when, in spite of the bloodletting and violence, one’s bread is being buttered on that other side, daily. But, for posterity sake, can someone tell the President that Nigerians are getting tired of the empty nattering of a determination to battle a monster that has continued to grow bigger by the day, inflicting the most grievous pain and glibly pissing on our wounded hearts? Who among the belching gang of praise singers in the corridors of power would summon the courage to tell the President the home truth—that he has failed woefully in protecting lives and property, a responsibility which the Constitution placed squarely on his desk? Since one of his moneybag friends has told us that ‘Oga at the top’ was divinely instructed by God to pardon his former boss, the great Alams, shall we then tell the President that the subjects he swore to protect with the last ounce of the blood flowing in his veins are, impatiently so, waiting for him to tell us when the gods would show him a clearer picture on what to do with a menace that continues to send shivers down our spines? How long shall he wait for Godot before he comes to the ultimate reality that cluelessness cannot be a virtue in this lingering atmosphere of parlous gloom? Could the overfed court jesters please tell the President the ungarnished truth, just this time?



Obliterating the essence of our mortality


have watched many crime shows and horror movies, mostly because I struggle to understand what could possibly possess someone to commit atrocities against another human being. The trail of death and violence that has characterized several communities in the north and last weekend’s massacres in Maidguri and Kano are so shockingly unimaginable one is almost lost for thought when trying to contemplate what could possibly be running through the minds of people who decide to slaughter others so brazenly. The memorials of the slain that now sully several Northern towns provide only small glimpses into the collective insanity that has gripped the society. It deeply saddens one to think of the horror and pain the victims and the families of these spates of violence have gone through. As for the people who can easily take another’s life, and be so pompous to think that that life had no value or light in this world, and that their existence was worth destroying are an abomination of our species. With all these suicide bombings and mass murder, it is almost impossible to imagine how the perpetrators, who are no better than barbarians, could have turned into such cold blooded butchers. There is no doubt that a fragment of our society has completely lost its humanity. That loss happened the moment we stopped fighting foreach other and started fighting witheach other. And within that fight, came the madness that we see unfolding before our very eyes. For how much longer are we supposed to take this violence that has submerged our society? How long can we take the things that we are not supposed to take? Northern Nigeria today has become like the body of a chronic substance abuser. The body is not naturally made or prepared to take any external, toxic substances. It is not natural and is against natural justice. And as the substances and drugs continue to be forced into the body; that body will eventually stop to function properly and the mind will give way to madness. Sooner or later what the body would be left with will be the shadow of a junkie; a mad man aimlessly roaming shoddily on a winding road to nowhere. Yes, our reality is as simple as that! You see, the simplicity of madness is this; There is good in the world and there is evil. There is light and there is darkness. There is hope and there is despair. And we all get to decide where to stand. The barbarians within us that tread the road of malevolence and wickedness choose to stand on the side of evil, darkness and despair. They choose to slaughter and main other people’s children, wives, husbands, fathers and mothers despite the fact that they have children, wives, husbands, fathers and mothers of their own that they wish to keep safe. They choose to indict reasonable minded, objective and innocent people in the community because of the association of guilt that Nigerian ignorance attaches to tribe, ethnicity and religion. The barbarians chose the dark side and as a result obliterate the essence of our mortality. From neighborhood communities, to social networks, to communal gathering, our lives have become ravaged by crimes against humanity, overtaken by fighting against the evil chain of hatred. We don’t all have to stand exactly the same. We can stand in different ways, with varying opinions. But we should stand

Ogochukwu Ikeje 08084235961 (SMS only)


HEN a native English speaker ex claims: “I beg your pardon!” he is seek ing clarification on what he heard, or expressing one of two possible emotions. An example is: “Where did you say you were going?” One of the emotions which the phrase conveys is surprise. Another is anger. As news broke last week that former Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha had been pardoned for his corruption offences, I found myself seeking clarification. As the matter developed first from rumour to denial and finally to certainty, I shuddered with surprise and then anger. A Nigerian, though, I felt justified to explode: I beg your pardon! In mid 2000s, DSP Alamieseigha was the news. If it wasn’t of his arrest in London for fraud allegations, it was certainly of his mysterious escape and appearance in Nigeria allegedly disguised as a woman, an allegation he has repeatedly denied. And if the media were not awash with news of his arrest in the country and prosecution by then Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led EFCC, everyone was talking about his swift release from jail after being in detention for two years. In those days, Alamieyeseigha was the lead story. The allegations against him were weighty. He was, and perhaps, still is, a very influential figure in the Ijaw nation and was generally hailed the Governor-General of the

Every day we speak about the lack of justice in Nigeria, breach of rights, corruption, rigged elections and the cost of living. But how can we even talk about rights, democracy, politics, aesthetics and philosophy when we are murdering our neighbours’ children and training our children to kill our neighbours?

against the hatred that is ripping our societies apart. At this point, Nigerians no longer have a choice but to take that stance so we can show the barbarians within us where the majority of us stand. Even for those who do not ascribe themselves to the violence enacted against fellow Nigerians, as long as they are part of keeping the chain of hatred strong, then they are part of the problem, because hatred is where it all starts. In the movie ‘StarWars’, one of the characters, Yoda, in advising his pupil against fear, anger and hatred said, “Fear leads to anger, Anger leads to hate, Hate leads to Suffering”. He was correct because when one has fear, there’s the instinct of fight or flight. When they choose to fight, it manifests itself in a form of anger; anger then leads to hate in some form. Hate turns to suffering very quickly and when one has all these emotions running high, they suffer or strive to make someone else suffer. Hating one thing could easily turn into hating many other things and that’s the vicious circle within which the barbarians and extremists within our society exist. That’s the vicious circle that those within us will find ourselves as long as we continue to nurse hatred against each other. So long as we have a desire to salvage what little strain of humanity we have left, the choice of the overwhelming majority must be one where we break the hatred chain and stand together against this madness. Every day we speak about the lack of justice in Nigeria, breach of rights, corruption, rigged elections and the cost of living. But how can we even talk about rights, democracy, politics, aesthetics and philosophy when we are murdering our neighbours’ children and training our children to kill our neighbours? The hatred we preach and the violence under any circumstances is unjustified and impure. It reduces us to something less than human; puts us on a slippery slope to the pit of destruction and damnation. More worrying is the lingering effect that the present activities will have on the next generation who will invariably be the product of a civilization which produced and dwelled in violence, hatred and destruction. That generation will be molded with a consciousness of partial rationality and twisted morali-

ties. What is happening today in Nigeria is indicative of the fact that we have lost control of our lives and we have traded on the road of self-destruction. As the cost of living in Nigeria continues to rise to something that is beyond the reach of the ordinary Nigerian, the cost of life plummets to absolutely nothing. The mass death of our neighbors and kin is now such a daily occurrence; it has become the natural order of our present existence. And as the insane and barbaric murderers continue to be guilty of mass murder, let the rest of us not be guilty of murdering rationality, liberty, equality, morality, natural justice, understanding and purpose. We must give way for our conscience and mortality to get back that purpose of humanity that we were all created with. Our children are yearning for peace, looking for peace, and are in desperate need of peace. Yet, we cannot have peace while our communities are in pieces, shattered and battered. The violence has got to stop! It is totally unacceptable, it is an obscenity and completely out of order. It has become the grave evil of our time and all good people in Nigeria have a duty to be rational, understand and work together in order to eradicate it. No matter what one community has done to another, there can be no justification for violence in any form. Responsible and respectful communities handle their disagreements with understanding and patience, not rage and violence and that is what we have to strive to get back to. The leaders in the affected communities, especially in Northern Nigeria have to provide a common ground where all identifiable factions of any communal clash can share their opinions and needs in a civil exchange that can ultimately lead to an acceptable outcome for all. At the very least, the communities involved should keep in mind that compromise and understanding is necessary to make their community a place worth living in. The kind of terrorism we have just witnessed in Kano and Maiduguri is unforgivable, extremely despicable & vicious. One feels strong resentment. And as one lends their thoughts & prayers to the families & friends of those killed & injured in the bomb explosions in Kano, Maiduguri & all over Nigeria, one prays for God to punish & roast the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. I have watched the scariest and goriest horror movies imaginable and I still don’t have an understanding as to what could possibly possess one human being to commit terrible atrocities against another human being. And even though many of us will never be able to understand the way the deformed mind of murdering barbarians operate; we each have a duty not to allow ourselves to be part of the vicious circle that leads to the obliteration of the essence of our mortality.

I beg your pardon! ethnic group. Again, not everyone lost sight of the fact that he was at odds with then President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and for that reason, many thought his troubles were essentially political persecution. For these reasons, DSP was a big item on the news desk. Still, his state pardon was shocking and distressing. Reports said the National Council of State, a group of ex-presidents, state governors and other bigwigs headed by the President, approved Alamieseigha’s amnesty. A former bank chief convicted of fraud was also pardoned, as were several ex-military officers, a few posthumously. Many are shocked and distressed, from the opposition to legal circles to students to civil society to even the ruling party, the PDP, of which President Goodluck Jonathan is national leader. A PDP leader who reportedly spoke anonymously expressed his surprise at the state pardon, wondering what message it would send to the corrupt or to those fighting them. Some lawyers even question the legality of the Council of State granting such pardons, wondering if the council’s role is not essentially advisory. Alamieseigha’s pardon surprises and angers me for some other reasons? One of them is the manner the President’s spokesmen have defended it. One of those aides, Dr Doyin Okupe, said the pardon was proper because Alamieseigha was remorseful. Okupe also waxed philosophical, reaching deep into Yoruba adages to point out the futility of further punishing a surrendered thief. After chasing down a rogue and forcing him to give up what he stole, why continue the chase? he asked. Okupe also sought to tarnish the image of anyone who disapproved of the pardon, saying the President is like a parent whose decisions and actions should not be questioned by the

children even if those decisions and actions may not always favour the children. Okupe does not say what he means by Alamieseigha’s remorse or to whom he expressed it, whether to President Jonathan or the Ijaw nation or the Nigerian people. In one breath, this medical doctor who speaks for the President tries to rationalise his principal’s action; in another, he labours to absolve him of blame, saying the pardon was indeed granted by the Council of State, not the President per se. When Okupe suggests that Nigerians should accept everything the President says and does without flinching, he does not

Many are shocked and distressed, from the opposition to legal circles to students to civil society to even the ruling party, the PDP, of which President Goodluck Jonathan is national leader. A PDP leader who reportedly spoke anonymously expressed his surprise at the state pardon, wondering what message it would send to the corrupt or to those fighting them.

•A material entitled, “Governor Orji politically transforming housing policy in Abia State,” appeared on this column last week due to production mix-up. The piece above was the material that ought to have been run on the page. We apologise to you, esteemed readers, and lovers of this column for the mix-up —Editor.

say by what democratic standards or precedence his postulation is based. He is even insinuating that every critic is an enemy. I am also disturbed by the report that members of the Council of State were not thoroughly briefed on the agenda of the penultimate Tuesday session and that many of them got the memo at the meeting, not before. What will people make of that, if it is true? I am equally disturbed by the report that the real reason Alamieseigha was pardoned was to enhance Jonathan’s rumoured 2015 ambition. The President’s approval rating among ex-militants in his home state, Bayelsa, is said to be low and that he intends to improve it using the immense clout of the Governor-General who is reckoned to be quite close to the former combatants. Such reports, if true, do the President little good, not because it is unlawful for him to run but because people will perceive him as scheming for power. Okupe, who has been busy speaking to foreign and local media since the pardon, said Nigerians should respect national institutions, referring to the Council of State. But he seems to have forgotten that critics of the pardon are worried because national institutions are also being undermined. Take the EFCC which tried and jailed Alamieseigha. Like the National Council of State, it too was created by our laws. The Presidency, itself a creation of the law, should not be perceived or seen to be undermining the spirit and letter of the nation’s institutions. Like plea bargain, this state pardon emboldens fraudsters. They get the idea that if caught, they will be pardoned sooner or later. It hurts and makes you wonder if you heard aright. Correction In the closing paragraph of the penultimate Saturday’s piece entitled “Why Kwara police commissioner’s killing matters,” I mistakenly said Mr Chinweike Asadu was killed on January 2. The crime took place on March 2.



Dangerous game When ‘bad medicine’ happens to ‘good people’ •Pages 16-19

‘How I cheated death four times’ •Pages 44&45



Communit y where petrol smuggling is big business

The buyers who came on several motorcycles had ropes around their motorbikes to tie the jerry cans together. It was gathered that about 500 litres of fuel make just one trip. It was also gathered that while a liter of petrol goes for N100 in the community, it is sold in jerry cans to transborder buyers between N110 to N112.The buyers in turn sell at exorbitant amount in their home country


Olatunji OLOLADE, Assistant Editor


20 mate is a consum lected i im k I m o se Chief T cian. He wa efunct ti li o p d n a t architec an of the d RC), m ir a h C l a first Nation blican Convention (N e pu th National Re two political parties in was one of the epublic in 1990. Ikimi te, dr Sta botched thir er to the late Head of 994 is 1 Special Adv i Abacha in February om General San ign Affairs Minister fr ing d re and later Fo 98. He was also a foun e th 19 1995 to July of Trustees member of and Board oples Party (APP); and e then All Pe e-registeration from th ent is d following h o-founded the Movem f c PDP, Ikimi toration and Defence o rm s e tf ying pla o for the R ll a r a ), D D of (MR Democracy e alleged third term bid jo on which th ent Olusegun Obasan ke o id former Pres ped in the bud. He sp , GO nip was swiftly nt Editor, LINUS OBO with Assista scue mission of the All EC on the re C); why IN t P (A s s e r g n s Co mus Progressive rofessor Atahiru Jega, eing P b Chairman, us minefield rpts: io v b o e th f e steer clear o ath ahead of 2015. Exc laid in his p

Let’s not allow things to get worse than they are now –Ikimi

HERE appears already, what could be regarded as a bump in the way of the yet to be registered All Progressives Congress (APC) with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) claiming that some groups have approached it for registration with similar acronym, APC. Would you say this is a mere coincidence or part of what is now appearing like an attempt by the PDP - led government to frustrate the take off of your new party, the APC? The emergence of the APC on February 6, 2013, when the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and a major section of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), decided to merge to form a mega alternative party in Nigeria has created a major stir in the Nigerian political firmament. The successful merger of such large opposition parties would instantly African Peoples Congress. transform the country into a two I watched the shameful television major party state as is the case in display on Thursday evening of other major successful democracies 14 of a hired crowd, clearly The anxiety for change across March in the world. This prospect which recruited from nearby markets, the country is palpable to serves notice of the end of tenure to streets and bushes, assembled in a the PDP, has shaken the very first floor flat in a building in Apo such an extent that foundation of the PDP which over Village - Abuja, hurriedly provided everywhere one turns today, the past several years has operated by their handlers, purporting to be across the country with reckless there is an overwhelming the promoters of this charade. impunity. The option of a strong Nigeria, in my view, has moved yearning for a rescue mission. alternative party has been away from this kind of disgraceful There has never been a overwhelmingly welcomed by the gimmicks well known to be generality of our people. associated with some of the expired political party merger in any We are reliably informed of the of PDP now surviving on form in our country's history. barons roles of some highly placed persons emergency heavy doses of Abuja in the establishment currently This is the first of its kind. oxygen. The revelations of the past financing willing political jobbers couple of days provide irrefutable Apart from the four parties and agents provocateurs whose evidence that the series of fake APCs advertised as those now in assignment it is to cause mischief, is a PDP official project. I certainly precipitate chaos, mess up the hope that Professor Atahiru Jega's the merger arrangement, democratic space in a manner would steer clear from this there are several other parties INEC reminiscent of the Arthur Nzeribe's obvious minefield. notorious Association for Better as well as groups, civil society The process of merger is quite Nigeria (ABN) which in 1993 different from the procedure of organisations and succeeded to irredeemably truncate registration of new parties. Merging individuals who have freely the IBB transition programme. parties being already registered Since February 6, 2013, when we political parties do not need to obtain approached us to join the addressed a World Press Conference and fill any forms! We are therefore merger. We are definitely on announcing the decision of our diligently proceeding with the parties to merge and adopted the an urgent rescue mission merger process. I understand that the name All Progressives Congress young lawyer, one Nwokorie Samuel (APC), the name and acronym not Chinedu, deceived and recruited to only became our Intellectual make the application to INEC, now Property but has since received very bitterly regrets his role in the plot. wide publicity in the print and The so-called African People's electronic media. INEC has acknowledged this through its Congress has not scaled through the first basic hurdle for spokesperson several times in the press, received our registration as a political party and has no place in the correspondences on the matter long before some paid busy prevailing political atmosphere when more serious groups bodies approached it on February 28, some 22 days after we are being deregistered. The show of shame they put up that announced our name to seek the registration of the so-called Thursday brandishing forged INEC documents is serious



•Chief Ikimi


enough for our nation's security agencies to descend on these criminals and save our country from further corruption of the democratic process. What could anyone be afraid of about a group that is yet to be registered as a party which seems to be causing the PDP or its agents and government insomnia to the level of frenzied desperation by the government in power? Since 1999 when the departing military government officially installed General Obasanjo and the PDP, OBJ who was the beneficiary, proceeded to decimate the opposition with the sole purpose of establishing a one-party state. I happened to have been a founding member of the APP and one of the main reasons I left the party was because I could not understand how and why after the bitterly fought general election, our National Chairman, the late Mahmoud Waziri, would abandon his party with nine state governors to take office as Political Adviser in the government that defeated him. OBJ who successfully lured him in order to weaken the APP, went further to organise the registration of over 60 other parties to be in the opposition, most of them not worth more than their registration certificates. A good number of them were, for a small fee, always willing to play one role or the other for the PDP against the opposition. The role they played was always crucial in ensuring the perpetuation in power of the PDP. OR the past several years, desperate efforts have been made by concerned members of the opposition to unify the opposition parties in order, not only to provide an alternative viable platform for Nigerians but to make the PDP more accountable. Those efforts failed for various reasons, including personality interests, PDP's successful manipulations, the activities of moles and bad timing. It is now, however, clear to the PDP and the establishment that our current effort is well calculated, being systematically well pursued in the national interest and backed by the overwhelming people's support, pointing towards the inevitable change of baton which many of them have difficulty in contemplating. That is their fear. The PDP has held the country hostage and plundered it since 1999. They have ruled with impunity, established massive corruption as a way of life and so the fear of stepping down


THE NATION, SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 2013 jobless while the educational system, where available, is receding into the Stone Age level, forcing those who could afford it to send their children to Ghana and other neighbouring countries or elsewhere to seek higher quality education. The anxiety for change across the country is palpable to such an extent that everywhere one turns today, there is an overwhelming yearning for a rescue mission. There has never been a political party merger in any form in our country's history. This is the first of its kind. Apart from the four parties advertised as those now in the merger arrangement, there are several other parties as well as groups, civil society organisations and individuals who have freely approached us to join the merger. We are definitely on an urgent rescue mission. So far, I have heard not a whisper from any individual in the merger arrangement suggesting any personal interest in one position or the other. I am convinced that it will not be business as usual There have been calls for the granting of amnesty for the violent Islamic sect, the Boko Haram, regarded as a faceless group. As former Foreign Affairs Minister, would you advise the government to negotiate with a group likened to terrorists and is the amnesty call in sync? HE activities of Boko Haram have turned out to be one of the most serious security problems in the country today. It has been responsible for the loss of hundreds of innocent lives in parts of the country, including the Federal Capital, Abuja and its environs. One of my saddest days was the Christmas day bombing of a Catholic Church! Apart from rendering some states in the northern part of Nigeria, particularly Bornu and Yobe states, virtually no go areas, the Boko Haram insurgency has portrayed our country to the world as an unsafe destination for tourists and business people. Anyone fortunate to be the ultimate leader in the country must see it as a priority to find a lasting solution to the security situation. I have heard that some reckless individuals in the corridor of power utter careless comments to the effect that Boko Haram is a northern problem which should be left to the northerners to solve. The problem has not only advanced to the Federal Capital but is creeping southwards with vigour. Even if it has not crept down South yet, is the North not part of Nigeria? It was indeed a welcome development that the President decided to pay a visit to Yobe and Bornu two weeks ago after the Progressive Governors' visit. His visit was the first since 2009 when the problem began. There are several examples of such insurgency problem that has occurred in other parts of the world from which those who advise Mr President can draw lessons. I recall the RUF, Revolution United Front that foisted terror on Sierra Leone during my time as Foreign Minister. Its leader, Foday Sanko took refuge with his faceless terrorists in the deep jungle of Sierra Leone. We approached the resolution of the menace by a method of the carrot and stick. Eventually we persuaded Foday Sankor to come out and we brought him to Abuja. Negotiations became more effective. I believe the Foreign Ministry has good records. HE Sultan of Sokoto's call for amnesty for Boko Haram should not be disregarded or taken lightly. The sultan's high standing in the country, particularly in Northern Nigeria and in Islam supports this view. He must be in custody of information that could be helpful in the direction of his suggestion. The security agencies have in their custody several individuals they have arrested as the sect members. OBJ visited Bornu State sometime back and had discussions with persons reported to be leaders of the sect. The press has published photographs of various


individuals named as Boko Haram leaders. The immediate past governor of Bornu State is reported to have had some interaction with the sect during his tenure. I am therefore a bit concerned with the President's statement during his recent visit in Bornu State declaring that he was not prepared to engage "ghosts". As it was possible to send high level contacts to the creeks in the Niger Delta to engage the militants there, I believe a similar engagement with Boko Haram is possible and necessary. What do you make of the recent statement by the former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida to the effect that Obasanjo's 1999 presidency saved Nigeria from break-up? It is not unusual for leaders to sit down from time to time and in their quiet moments, reflect and look at matters with hindsight. Sometimes, they may beat their chest with a satisfying smile for their past actions, but it is not unusual for them to harbour some regrets. It is a well known fact that General Ibrahim Babangida was one of the authors of Obasanjo's 1999 candidacy and ascendance to the presidency. Only IBB can testify today whether or not his decision was the right one. It is also a fact that the poor handling of the events leading to the June 12, 1993 presidential elections as well as its aftermath are issues that should engage IBB's reflection for a long time to come. There are many things I dare say he should have done differently. The reaction of South West Nigeria to those events in the aftermath of June 12, particularly their various political wings including the very powerful National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), needed an appropriate response. Following devine intervention, IBB, aided by a handful of others, seized the moment and chose a former military colleague from the South West. Nigeria would not have broken up as the South West leaders know the history of "Biafra", but Nigeria would have been in continuous political stress. General Obasanjo was not a South-West’s choice, with the loss of his ward in the elections, but being a Yoruba man, the general temperature in that region was substantially brought down with his ascendancy to the presidency. That high temperature has now shifted to another region. Even though Nigeria did not break up then, is the country not much worse and almost heading for a break up now than the period IBB spoke about, given the current charged political atmosphere? IBB and most of the core individuals who plotted and executed the coronation of OBJ lost control of the man almost as soon as he ascended the presidency in1999. The PDP became more or less OBJ's private property and he was responsible for initiating the aberration that the President was the leader of the party. The independence of the political party has since been compromised. OBJ, having failed to secure a third term presidency, and being the anointed head of the ruling party, he proceeded to interfere with the internal party democratic process for selecting his successor which led to the emergence of the late President Umaru Yar Aduah and eventually President Goodluck Jonathan. Needless to say, the outcome of all that is the unbearable heat pervading the nation today. All that might have taken a back burner if the government now in power was performing well. But that is clearly not the case. Consequently, we are now in a situation in which the agitation for change has become nationwide. The PDP has displayed a total lack of consistency in its affairs and seems to have no qualms in moving the goal post in serious decisions left, right and centre all the time. The revelation by the Governor of Niger State which he holds tenaciously to, that an agreement exists between the PDP Governors and President Jonathan to end his presidency in 2015 is a


is real. One of their past National Chairmen governments from local government to the openly boasted that the PDP was to rule Federal Government. We will not entertain Nigeria for one whole century. Those at the ridiculous jokes of personal point agendas by helm of affairs today believe that nonsense any head of government at any level. They and so are operating recklessly. The day to must all faithfully execute the party account for their stewardship is knocking at manifesto which constitutes the solemn pact the door! that we make with our people who vote us The parties coming together to form a into power. Consequently the party will merger have been rather focused on ousting subject its various executives from the local the PDP from power. But beyond that, what government to the presidency to regular is likely to change after you would have periodic open conferences succeeded in banishing the party from to discuss their power? performance and In 2006 I was compliance with our among the 23 manifesto. In this regard, leaders who our core commitments to broke away education, eradication of from the PDP on corruption, the same day to uninterrupted power link up with supply, full and gainful some others from employment, affordable the AD to found local fuel price, health the ACN. Some of care delivery, abundant my colleagues who food supply, industrial left with me then growth, efficient included the late transportation, Abubakar Rimi, housing etc. will be Chief Audu Ogbeh, watched closely by Gali Na’Aba, Alhaji the party. This Lawal Keita etc. I process does not went down to Edo exist in the PDP State in 2006 to link up that has "captured" with a number of Nigeria for the others to establish the past 14 years! ACN there. I dare say Unfortunately, we have been successful what we have in uprooting the PDP, witnessed in which ran that state these past 14 aground. Edo years is the State happens enthronement of to be the home monumental corruption at of some of their the very highest level of most boastful government. Today, leaders. We people of questionable established there character are celebrated an ACN with National Awards government that while a few who are has been highly unfortunate to be successful. The convicted are granted first ACN state pardon. That is government in the the level to which country was that of Nigeria has His Excellency, descended. Governor Babatunde Critics of the APC Fashola of Lagos insist that there is State whose brilliant nothing new in the performance has been convergence of a benchmark in the those behind the country. His colleagues party, maintaining of other ACN states that it is same of refer to him as class the same, a prefect. In summary, conclave of the present power-hungry people governors of merely angling for a the opposition piece of the action. How are progressives right are they? who are leading Nothing can be farther progressive from the truth. I already governments with drew your attention to clearly distinctive the sterling qualities of achievements. A the governors of the change of baton at states controlled by the the centre and the opposition parties; I enthronement of a have also given you liberal democracy an insight into the with clear vision painstaking would ensure the processes that have positive refocusing of gone into the our nation state. production of the The APC will be a party Constitution totally new party. The and Manifesto. first draft of the What we offer Constitution and Nigerians is a Manifesto has just been blueprint that is i im k presented for our borne out of a I f e i •Ch discussion and vetting. clear vision with Among other things, the the will to drive the Constitution will establish process by the enthronement of a an acceptable level of focused and well grounded government as party supremacy, will against the clueless and visionless apology ensure the creation of a broad-based political now offered by the PDP. party whose membership will cut across all Frankly, the situation in our country must strata of our society permitting equality of not be allowed to get worse than it is today. membership of all Nigerians willing to join National infrastructure has suffered a and who will enjoy the full measure of calamity of a colossal decay which includes internal party democracy. A transparent the disastrous condition of the roads, a method of congresses and conventions will demise of the railway system, virtually nonopen up the democratic space for all to aspire existent power supply; the health care system to any level of their God's given personal has so deteriorated that plane loads of ability. The enthronement of discipline in our Nigerians depart every day to far away India society must commence from our party and and other similar destinations to seek basic so proper safeguards for discipline is being healthcare. The issue of insecurity has enshrined in our new constitution with a gripped the country and thrown 155 million guarantee for adequate access to justice by all citizens into perpetual fear, while unbridled members without prejudice. Confidence in corruption has brought the nation to its politicians and the political system needs to knees. The once pleasant environment be urgently restored. enjoyed just before and after Independence A detailed and robust manifesto will soon has vanished! Millions of Nigerian youths are be published which will guide all our


I am a bit concerned with the President's statement during his recent visit to Bornu State declaring that he was not prepared to engage "ghosts". As it was possible to send high level contacts to the creeks in the Niger Delta to engage the militants there, I believe a similar engagement with Boko Haram is possible and necessary



Continued on page 45



Omowumi on hospital bed

The sore



Edited by: VICTOR AKANDE Tel: 08051101822 E-mail:

Why we make sex look real in our movies

—Ghanaian actress

Yvonne Okoro Yvonne Okoro wormed herself into the hearts of movie lovers in 2002. The actress who recently premiered her first production Contract featuring Hlomla Dandala at the Silverbird Cinema, Ikeja got a lot of approval from friends and colleagues for a beautiful outing. In this interview with DUPE AYINLAOLASUKANMI, the petite actress talks about her new ground with AMAA, why she is still single amongst other issues. •CONTINUED ON PAGES 28 & 37







E-mail: Tel: 08051101822 (SMS only)




nt part of An importa s of any the succes is its civilisation late the mu ability to e t led to the a factors th f other success o s.—Eric civilisation rt Reine

Nollywood: Exuberance @ 20 (3)


O say that Nollywood @ 20 is capable of being run in sequels, seemingly unending as a season movie, would not be a hyperbole. In 20 years that the phenomenon called Nollywood has been with us, the rights could be said to be moving in arithmetic progression, while the wrongs are geometric. Reasons are not farfetched: Nigerian government has not been meticulous, and this is talking about all the sectors. But perhaps the entertainment industry is among the worst hit. Entertainment from time immemorial has been largely regarded as a 'play thing'. Nigerian parents, in the early days of musical and theatrical evolution didn't want their children to take up entertainment as a career. Children who chose to toe that line were regarded as outcasts of a sort. The singers were not considered better than town criers. Same for members of the moving theatres who survived by entertaining kings while living on the generosities of the clapping crowd at village squares. Parents may love to be entertained, but they'd rather watch the children of others mount the stage. This brings to my mind, a Yoruba proverb that states that “a madman's folly excites, but not when the madman is your child.” Our parents, some of whom were government people carried this sentiment into public office. They never saw entertainment as business. No matter how you want them to look at it, entertainment is leisure, it is relaxation, it is playtime event; it is not work, it is not a serious thing, and so should not be taken seriously. It is supposed to be a service rendered freely by those who don't work, to those who work. Entertainment to the ignorant is that massage that a full-time house wife gives to her husband after a hard day's job. But the one who renders these services cannot continue to be a low life. Even housewives today have become breadwinners. This is the ugly picture that we reflect as Nigerians as far as art and entertainment is concerned. The situation may be better than in times past, but our strides are slow. Our parents' attitudes are merely changing passively; so is government's attitude to entertainment. Its entire phenomenon remains 'play' which is what entertainment is in English; 'Wasa' that it is in Hausa, 'Ere' that it is in Yoruba and 'Egwuregwu' in Igbo. I am worried that our independence from the colonial masters was not total. We just knew that we wanted to rule ourselves; we were not moved by the passion to develop and give ourselves the self esteem that we thought the white man denied us. You would recall that the medium

The singers were not considered better than town criers. Same for members of the moving theatres who survived by entertaining kings and living on the generosities of the clapping crowd at the village square. Parents may love to be entertained, but they'd rather watch the children of others mount the stage of film was a propaganda tool for the colonial masters. It was a medium of mass education on government policies. And that perhaps, is the reason that by accident, the film industry still remains under the Information Ministry where propaganda strives. But after the liberalization of the mass media, it appears that government is still struggling with its defeat, that it does not think that the film industry should be evacuated from its fortuitous spot. They look at the film industry from one perspective; a tool for international diplomacy, forgetting that on the flip side of the coin, Nollywood, is also a vehicle of cultural exportation. I have thought of two major reasons why the film industry cannot function effectively under the Information Ministry. One; 'Information' is such a large sector that endears the Ministry to areas of quick fund, like the telecommunications sector and other private media establishments that give government direct revenue. Two; the Information Minister, in our usual political complexity is too busy defending government's wrongdoings, to have quality time for the entertainment industry. Yet, they have refused to let the industry go

And that perhaps, is the reason that by accident, the film industry still remains under the Information Ministry where propaganda strives. But after the liberalization of the mass media, it appears that government is still struggling with its defeat, that it does not think that the film industry should be evacuated from its fortuitous spot


to where it may find succor. A strong but subtle statement was made about who the real 'parent' of the entertainment industry is, when recently, President Goodluck Jonathan announced a proposed grant of N3 billion naira for Nollywood, putting the fund under the management of Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The fund, which Mr. President said will be unveiled in the first week of April, is in solidarity with the industry which was said to have clocked 20 this year, judging from the acclaimed first video film production in Nigeria called Living in Bondage. If this is a gradual method of making the 'parent' get familiar with a child in shelter, say to the child, “I'm sorry for abandoning you as a kid,” and evolve strategies to bring him back home, to this, I say, kudos to Mr. President. But perhaps for the sake of emphasis, we need to knock ourselves real hard. The motion picture industry is the only sector in Art, Culture and Entertainment that is under the Federal Ministry of Information and Communication. In other civilizations, most of which we emulate as a country, the entertainment sectors are put under the Ministry of Culture. The situation, as it is in Nigeria, has caused a major disconnect between the movie industry and other sectors in the art. Apart from the fact that honchos at the Information Ministry are not by calling, trained to understand the heartbeat of a people's culture wholesomely, their 'unholy alliance' with the entertainment industry is the reason for its stunted growth. One among which is the fact that only the Ministry of Culture is empowered to sign international treaties which are very needed for the continued growth of the industry. Of what use therefore is a father, who cannot contribute positively to his child, especially when it has to do with deciding the child's promising future. Let the Information Ministry, a surrogate parent, who merely took custody of the child from an accidental scene created by the colonial masters relinquish the child to its original parent; the Culture and Tourism Ministry. But if this is a riddle, let's see how government intends to solve it: let's see what the composition of the committee on the N3 billion will look like. Will the agencies dedicated to the film industry, even though they run the mandate of Information Minister, be coopted into the scheme by the Culture and Tourism Ministry? Or will they be made to watch the game from the sideline?

Do you watch Nollywood movies? What do you think of the Nigerian motion picture industry? Send your review of any movie or short essay on any topic of your choice about the film industry in not more than 200 words. Send entries by e-mail to: or SMS your short comments to 07029013958

Anita Joseph answers God's call


OLLYWOOD actress and singer, Anita Joseph has exclusively revealed that she is ready to dump secular music for gospel music. Anita who has not released an album since she ventured into music says she is putting finishing touches to her first and only circular music album she has tagged Super Woman. The Anambra state born actress says once this album is released; she will say good bye to circular music and embrace gospel music. What is the reason behind this switch we inquired? “Life is totally controlled by the spiritual and I have been given a lot of revelations by different men of God that for me to make an impact in my career I must embrace the gospel of Christ and that is the reason why I am leaving circular music for gospel music” Meanwhile, the curvy actress who worships with Chris Oyakhilome's led Christ Embassy has replaced her stolen Toyota FJ Cruiser with a Murano.

et Nse made me cry on s —Kalu Ikeagwu


N recent times Nse Ikpe Etim has been in the news for good reasons. She headline Mr. and Mrs. dazzled in Phone Swap and got married to her heartthrob, Mr. Clifford Sule. She is once again in the news as the lead act in new emotive movie, Broken. In Broken, Nse plays the role of a woman who tries to buried her past, move on in life and pretends that the past never exist. But as always, a dirty past has a way of rearing its ugly head;

the two children she left in the past surface and turns her 'perfect' life to •Kalu Ikeagwu a living hell in double proportion. Nse is not the only act with 'living and troubling' past in the movie, Bimbo Manuel who plays the role of Nse's husband is the father of the house girl, a secret he desperately wants to keep away from Nse. Kalu Ikeagwu, the philandering corper had a 'bushmeat' in the village girl that proves too strong to devour and digest. One way or the other, the lives of the three had a meeting point where sanity, life, happiness and silence got broken. Broken is from Bright Wonder. The movie will premiere on

Thursday, March 28 at Silverbird Cinema, Abuja. Bright Wonder produced the mildly popular movie of Away and Beyond. Speaking on the experience, Kalu Ikeagwu said Broken is one movie he can't seems to forget in a hurry. 'At a point I was crying watching Nse act. It was like a real life scene to me. The storyline is touching. I've never worked on a movie like this'.




















Wedding bells for Nike Bush and Jide Subair?

Muyiwa Adejobi on the high


Omolewa Ahmed's changing looks

Ike Ekweremadu's new moves



Dating your friend’s ex-boyfriend

This past week was really busy for me. We had to move from one house to the other and that was a big deal for me considering the fact that there was much work to be done in the office. I had to juggle between packing, fixing things in the new home and generally settling in on one hand and getting some work done on the other hand. In the midst of all that, two of my friends were going for each other’s jugular over a big matter – boyfriend snatching. Not exactly like that, but something similar. Anyway, they wouldn’t let me concentrate on the tasks before me except I played the judge. Hmm…Let me try to put it straight. Madam A had this boyfriend she was not comfortable with because they were operating on different frequencies. To her, he was just a boyfriendin-transit until she found somebody she considered to be a real man. It was easy to understand her non-committal stance then because in actual fact, she and the bobo (Mansur) were miles apart in the way they were doing things. She was brought up as an ajebutter – prim and proper. She is the kind of lady that would say ‘thank you’ for everything given to her even if the thing belongs to her. She would take an excuse to answer phone calls in the midst of a conversation and no matter how long you have known her as a friend, she wouldn’t open your fridge except you wanted her to. Meanwhile, Mansur on the other hand has always been a carefree person. He would try to open your door without knocking. He would go to your kitchen and dish out food without asking if he was permitted to do that. And the bit that I never liked in their relationship was the fact that he would take her money if he needed without asking. He once took some money that she was supposed to help me get some stuff with. He just assumed that it was hers and so, it was his. Of course, it wasn’t funny then because the stuff was urgent and had a timeframe and I was out of town. Our small circle of friends knew that the relationship was going to run its course and end and so, we encouraged her to take things easy as Mansur was not going to change. Now, Ms. B was one of our friends and although she was also well brought up, she could laugh in the midst of a storm. Ms. B has always taken things as they come and would shrug and move on if something she didn’t like happened. The difference between Madam A and Ms. B has been their attitudes towards matters. While Madam A would fret and sulk and withdraw into her shell, Ms. B would see the funny side of things and take them as they come. Well, Madam A soon found an ajebutter like herself and before we even got to meet the guy, they had fixed a wedding date. We all had important roles at the wedding and it was fun. Everybody soon forgot about Masur… or so we thought. Last week, it turned out that Mansur posted some new pictures on his Facebook page and it turned out that the new woman in his life is Ms. B! Somebody saw the pictures and alerted Madam A and Shakespeare’s quote on women and hell had to be requoted and debated “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Madam A called Ms. B who confirmed the story and even went on to say a date has been fixed for their wedding. Madam A has been on the phone calling every one of us not to attend the wedding and of course, she wanted my verdict on the issue. The problem with me is that I have to be neutral. So, in order not to further damage an already bad situation, I sought help from my ever dependable site, iVillage and this is what I got about dating rules for one friend dating friend’s ex-boyfriends. Enjoy! Dating a friend’s ex-boyfriend isn’t just playing with fire - it’s a bomb that can implode your whole social circle. Your friendship may not survive, and if it does, it will never be the same. ‘That sounds so ominous, but your day-to-day dynamic and the context of what you share with each other will be different,’ says dating expert Natasha Burton, co-author of The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags. ‘I’d caution women to take stock of their friendship and ask ‘Is this guy really worth it?’’ Ask yourself, ‘Are you drawn to the excitement of plucking forbidden fruit? Or is there an authentic connection that you can see going the distance? ‘ There has to be more than the thrill of the drama because eventually that will fizzle out,’ says Lisa Paz, Ph.D., a marriage, family and sex therapist in Miami.

Question his motives

Even mind-blowing sex ultimately isn’t worth sacrificing a friendship, so make sure you and Mr. Ex both see the relation-

ship heading in the same direction and that his motivations are on the up and up. After all, it’s one thing if he was your friend’s college flame and you bump into him 10 years later in an Italian cooking class and bond over lasagna. It’s quite another if he dumped her last weekend and wants to hook up with you now. ‘It’s a red flag if a guy wants to date you right after he broke up with your best friend, especially if they were serious,’ warns Burton. ‘If he’s flirting with you a few weeks later, it’s probably more to make her upset and show he can get a girl who’s supposed to be off-limits, than any genuine interest in you.’

Take it slow!

If your conscience gives you the green light to pursue Mr. Ex, still take things slow, even more slowly than you normally might with any other guy. Though the temptation will be incredibly strong, ‘don’t jump right into bed with this guy,’ counsels dating expert Hayley Quinn. ‘Build your relationship in a more public way, with daytime activities, coffee dates, lunches. That’s safer because you’re less likely to get carried away and end up in bed. Going slowly also gives you time to exit if it looks like it’s not going anywhere.’ (And, Quinn notes, if the relationship is a non-starter, you can easily explain away a few coffees and lunches, and no one needs to know a thing about it).

‘Fess up to your friend fast If you may have something special with

Mr. Ex, your friend needs to know. And she needs to hear the news from you. Dating experts differ on when’s best to speak up. Burton thinks anything less than full-disclosure on first contact could be seen as ‘sneaky’. Others say wait unit there’s something to report. ‘Once you’ve had that first kiss and feel like your relationship could be more than casual, then you need to tell, and certainly if you’ve already been to bed,’ says relationship and dating expert Julie Spira, founder of Since there’s no universe in which this will be a pleasant, or even easy, conversation to have, keep it short, simple and honest: I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I don’t want to hide this from you either. I’ve been going out with Mr. Ex.

Prepare for the backlash

If telling your friend you’re dating her ex was hard, this next part may be harder. Once everything’s out in the open, you’ve got to sit still with your mouth shut and brace yourself for the emotional backlash. ‘Expect a very angry, jealous response,’ predicts Yahoo’s mental health expert Rob Dobrenski, Ph.D., author of Crazy: Notes On and Off the Couch.’Don’t go in with the idea of defending what you did because that says to your friend ‘You’re not allowed to feel what you’re feeling right now.’ But if you let your friend have her say, she may come around at some point.’

Follow y o u r friend’s lead As the wounded party in this situation, your pal (if she remains one) gets

to set the tone for how friendly she wants to still be with you… and how much she wants to see and hear about you as a couple. ‘If you’re breaking this taboo, you’re going to have to acquiesce to your friend’s comfort level to try to salvage your friendship,’ says Paz. That said, the best way to show that you still want to be a friend is to spend time with her one-on-one and continue to include her in group gatherings even if her ex, your new beau, will be there, too. ‘She can always say she’s busy if she’s uncomfortable, but at least you’ve done the right thing by inviting her,’ says Spira. ‘I see too many women dumping friends for men and then if that relationship ends, they’ve lost a friend.’

Be prepared to lose your friend If you date a friend’s ex, be prepared for her to wash her hands of you. ‘You’re going to feel sad, but you’re just going to have to deal with it,’ explains Dobrenski. Still, it’s possible that after some time has passed, you may be able to heal the rift. ‘I’ve had clients who’ve reconnected with friends, sometimes weeks, sometimes years, after the dust has settled.’ But you’re going to have to be patient. ‘Don’t push it. That’s doubly unfair to your friend who’s lost both her ex and you.’

Don’t spread the news on Facebook

Naturally, you want to tell everyone your new relationship status, but resist doing it on Facebook, cautions Dobrenski. Assuming you’re still Facebook friends with your pal, you should be especially sensitive about posting updates and photos that could potentially hurt her feelings. ‘You don’t know who will see that and it could lead to some nasty postings on your wall,’ he says. Instead, personally tell a few close friends and then let the grapevine do its work. ‘Depending on how your friend reacted to the news, I would say no posting pictures of the two of you on Facebook for six months to a year,’ says Paz. ‘Take the high road where your friend is concerned rather than trying to assert your new position as Girlfriend.’

Ease into your social life as a couple When you and your girlfriend move in the same social circle, presenting her ex-boyfriend as your new man requires some delicate maneuvering. ‘The crowd reaction can be a lot more hostile because a pack mentality takes over,’ explains Quinn. ‘If you have one outspoken friend who’s vehemently opposed to your new relationship, she can affect how everyone else in the group responds, even if they might have been fine with it.’ You may get a better (less judgmental) reception if you plan small get-togethers with just a few friends at a time. ‘Do it at your place, on your turf, and it won’t feel like you’re imposing your new status on the group,’ says Paz. Don’t push and the crowd will likely welcome

you back in time. But if you continue to feel frozen out, spend time with friends who support you and seek out some new friends who don’t know your backstory. Don’t share relationship details with her You may have shared the minutiae of your past relationships with your gal pal, from the weird way the last guy you dated chewed his food to that thing he did with his hips that drove you wild. But when it comes to her ex, silence on matters both sexual and not really is golden. ‘Even in the best case scenario where you get your friend’s bless-

ing, tread really lightly on how much you share,’ advises Paz. ‘Even if we’re over someone, we can still be a little territorial and competitive, so something as minor as you getting along well with his mother if she never did can really sting.’ Be patient In situations like these, time really is on your side. Although your relationship with your friend’s ex may start out a little bumpy, if you behave gracefully and honestly and the relationship remains strong, your guy will eventually come to be known as your boyfriend rather than your pal’s ex. ‘These things get forgotten as your relationship becomes more serious,’ says Quinn. ‘People will eventually see this wasn’t just some fling, and that you made the right choice.’

Water is coming out of my private part after I used a contraceptive Well done ma, I am H from Kwara State. I was raped

•Michael Dahunsi (Otunba) in the Osun State Police Command (middle), being decorated with his new rank of the Supritendent of Police (SP) at the state Police Headquarters, Oke-Fia, Osogbo, Osun State by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tijani Baba with them is State Commissioner of Police, Dorothy Gimba.

when I was 12 years old, since then I never had sex with anybody. I’m 20 now and I have a boyfriend who I had sex with. After the sex I took a pill called Postinor after that I started bleeding. I’m no longer bleeding but water is coming out of my virginal. What is happening to me and what can i do? I know that Postinor is one of the most popular contraceptives in this part of the world but since I’m not a medical doctor, I sought for answers for you on your particular needs and below are some explanations about the drug you used without seeking for a doctor’s opinion: Misleading language threatening informed consent Postinor-2 is being promoted as an “emergency contraceptive” drug - implying that it prevents conception, ie. the union of sperm and ovum, creating a new human life, rather than induces an abortion. This is misleading

to women who will be offered the drug. They will be denied facts about the way the drug works. They will not have the opportunity for counseling. Women using the morning-after pill will not know whether the pill has prevented a child from being conceived or whether it has caused an abortion. How it works The morning after pill consists of hormones which must be taken in two doses. The first dose should be taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse and the second dose should be taken 12 hours after the first one.(5) The manufacturer of Postinor-2, the drug company Schering, acknowledges that the morning-after pill “… prevents the implantation of a fertilized ovum in the lining of the uterus”. Side effects Schering says that “irregular bleeding, breast tenderness and nausea are the most

common side-effects” of the morning-after pill. Schering also states that the morning after pill is not suitable for regular use. The World Health Organization has warned that: •“… repeated use of emergency contraceptive pills in any month can expose women to higher doses of steroids than those recommended during one cycle”; •“… there may be a higher percentage of ectopic pregnancies among emergency contraceptive pill failure cases than among a normal pregnant population”; and, •morning-after pills “… are not recommended for routine use, because of the higher possibility of failure compared to regular contraceptives and the increased risk of side effects”. I wouldn’t know why you’re having watery discharge, but I will strongly advise that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Good luck.


The contract (4)

You have no idea what I’ve been going through. My husband provides everything for me and I live in the lap of luxury. But I have realised that money is not everything. What’s the point of having money without peace of mind? And I can’t even have a child of my own to love and cherish



GOT frightened by the fury in his eyes for a moment. But I was not ready to back down. So, moving closer to him, I said in a cajoling tone: “Bennie darling, relax. I know you want me too. We are married so why can’t we sleep together like other couples do?” He shook his head. “That can’t be. You knew the terms when you agreed to marry me,” he pointed out. “That was then. Now I want to be a proper wife, for you to hold me in your arms and make love to me. To have your child, a little boy that will look just like you,” I told him.

“That’s impossible, Amanda. So, put such foolish thoughts out of your mind and go to your room,” he ordered again. “Please, Bennie. Let me stay with you. Just this night,” I pleaded, reaching for his hand. But he flung my hand away and picking up his laptop, hurriedly left the room. I stood there for a minute, then collapsed on the bed, weeping tears of bitterness and regret. When I woke up the following morning, a Saturday, Bennie had left the house. He left a note for me, stating he was traveling out of the country on business and would be away for a

while. “I will ignore what happened last night and consider it a momentary weakness on your part. But this must not happen again. We have a contract. Learn to stick with it...” I flung the note angrily away, feelings of frustration washing over me as I recollected the previous night’s incident. I checked the time on my mobile. Normally, I would be getting ready to go to the shop as Saturdays were always busy days there. But feeling sad and depressed and not in the mood for work, I called my manager at the store telling her I was not well and would be

resting at home. Later in the afternoon, Max called. “Just wanted to see how you are doing,” he stated. “I’m cool,” I replied, though I wasn’t feeling fine at all. “You don’t sound it. Is there anything the matter?” he queried. She sighed. “I’m ok. Don’t worry about me. I just feel a little bit under the weather,” I stated. “Maybe you need a break from work. To rest and chill out,” he advised. I smiled wryly to myself. If only it was that simple, I thought. We spoke for a while about his daughter, Lola and

before hanging up, I stated: “I will like to see you. There’s something I need to discuss with you. Can I come over to your place?” “I’m at the office right now. But I will be leaving in another hour or so. I will let you know once I’m through here,” he said. “You are welcome to my home,” Max stated when I got to his house some time later. He was alone as his maid had taken Lola to a birthday party of a school-mate. “Nice place you have here,” I said as I took the drink he offered me. We chatted for a while and I felt so relaxed with him that I decided to open up to him about what was going on in my marriage. He remained silent while I spoke, about meeting and working with Bennie and the marriage proposal and all the strings attached to it. “I feel bad that you’ve been going through all this all this while,” he said quietly when I finished speaking. “You have no idea what I’ve been going through. My husband provides everything for me and I live in the lap of luxury. But I have realised that money is not everything. What’s the point of having money without peace of mind? And I can’t even have a child of my own to love and cherish. Honestly, Max, I’ve realized what a big mistake I made. I regret marrying Bennie. And I ‘m so confused, I don’t know what to do!” I said. I felt so sorry for myself that I broke down and started weeping. Max held me close and consoled me. “Don’t cry, Amanda. Everything will be alright. I

47 hate to see you so sad,” he said. Later, after Lola returned from her outing, I made dinner for everyone. “Auntie, this rice tastes so nice. Will you be coming to cook for Daddy and me everyday?” she asked. Before I could say anything, Max stated: “Auntie is too busy for that. She has her business to run.” Seeing the downcast look on her little face, I quickly said: “Don’t worry. I can come at weekends to prepare food for you if that’s what you want.” “Thank you, Auntie!” she stated happily. That day, I did not return home but spent the night at Max’s place. After that day, I knew I could no longer stay with Bennie. Our marriage was a sham and I could no longer continue with such an arrangement, pretending that all was well. It’s been nearly two months now since my husband travelled. In that period, Max and I have grown very close. We spend a lot of time together and I sleep over at his place most nights. I don’t care if my husband finds out about my affair with Max as I have made up my mind to leave him. I know I will be losing a lot financially if I leave him before the seven year period stated in the contract. I don’t care. Besides, I’ve made a lot of money from my business so my family and I will not suffer. Max has promised to marry me once I’m free from Bennie. So, the first thing I will do when he returns from his trip is serve him divorce papers. I want my freedom so I can be with a man who loves me and I can have children with. I can no longer remain in a marriage that exists in name only, just for the sake of money... •Concluded •Did Amanda do the right thing by ending her marriage to Bennie? Readers reactions are welcome. •Send comments/advice to 08023201831(sms only) or

Patience Edirin Saduwa As corruption kills Nigeria slowly and surely



08023201831 (sms only)



HE extent to which corruption has wrecked havoc on our dear nation was made glaring with the recently released figures by the U.S- based agency, Global Financial Integrity. In its report, the agency stated that a total sum of $182 billion dollars was looted from the national coffers and laundered in foreign banks between 2000 and 2009. Such an amount in any currency is huge and any country in the world that is unfortunate enough to suffer from such massive capital flight will surely face dire consequences. Now, you understand why nothing works in the country despite the mind-boggling amount of money Nigeria earns yearly. Imagine what could have been achieved with that kind of money if

judiciously utilised in infrastructural development. The power sector would have been fixed by now and we won’t be contending with blackouts all the time. Our roads, hospitals, schools and other sectors would have benefited as well. Yet looters, many of whom need psychiatric tests as their mental state is questionable, would rather steal our money and take it to countries that are already developed and don’t need these funds. By all accounts, this is a very rich country with many valuable resources that the world needs. Yet the paradox is that it’s also one of the poorest in the world with over 70 percent poverty rate among the populace. With the GFI figures of the stolen loot in just ten years, you don’t

need to be a rocket scientist or have the brain of Albert Einstein to understand why a rich country like this should have such a high poverty rate, a stagnant unproductive economy and among the least developed countries in the world. It’s simple logic. If a man for instance, earns a big salary yet squanders it each month on frivolities instead of using his earnings to take care of his family, that family will surely suffer hardships. Same for Nigeria. What we earn does not translate to a better quality of life for the people because the irresponsible persons at the helm of affairs, public officials (either elected or otherwise) and their clique see the nation’s wealth as their birthright, to be used to satiate their insatiable greed for unearned wealth. And the more they steal, the more money they hanker after. Like a bottomless pit, these degenerates with no conscience and with wicked hearts that will make the devil look like a choir boy, are never satisfied. Worse, the system encourages such corrupt practices. Till date, no known

looter that has been caught by the EFCC has gone to jail for any length of time. Most walk away free with most of their loot intact with such dubious arrangements like plea bargains. Then, there are the state pardons for convicted looters like the recent case of the former governor of Bayelsa State, Deprieye Alameisegha. While ruling over a state that is one of the least developed in the SouthSouth region, this governor helped himself to a large part of the resources meant to implement programmes that will improve the lot of the people. Today, he has received a presidential pardon that is generating a lot of controversy and throws a huge question mark on this administration’s much touted claim of fighting corruption in the country. How do you fight corruption by encouraging it? You now understand why most young people these days see crime as the only route to success. From the examples they’ve seen from some thieving elders who should be good role models, crime pays in Nigeria. Afterall, as the

saying goes, when the mother hen is eating, the chicks are watching her mouth. So, the next generation of looters have already been born and are just waiting in the wings to take over from their fathers when they leave the stage. So, how do we stop the rapacious looting that is killing the country slowly? Corruption is a global phenomenon, not restricted to Nigeria alone. It’s how each country choose methods to deal with it, to reduce it to a minimum that matters. China, for instance has the death penalty for those who steal public funds. In the UK, a minister or member of Parliament can go to jail for an amount as little as £2000. It will be difficult to reduce corruption in this country because those in positions to enact laws to effectively checkmate it are deeply enmeshed in it. Besides, other enabling structures like an independent and strong judiciary, well trained Police and other law enforcement agencies are just not there. Who will bell the cat, then? Will a government of progressives save our dear country from drowning

under the weight of corruption? I’m in support of any means that will stop our commonwealth from flying across the borders by those who claim to love the country but hate it with a passion. You can’t say you love something and contribute actively to its destruction as these looters do. Their actions show they hate the country and its people. They even hate themselves as well. A person who loves and is at peace with himself, will want to see others happy too. But a sad, miserable person loves to see misery in others. These looters, who steal money they don’t need and whose actions bring pain and misery to millions of the nation’s citizens are sadists who derive joy from seeing their fellow countrymen dying from hunger and avoidable poverty. Nigerians have suffered enough. The real battle against corruption is yet to start. Maybe, 2015 will determine whether it will start at all or Nigeria will finally disintegrate under the corruption ‘stench’ that has enveloped it, making it stink to the high heavens...



•Oba performing a special function


EBI Epe festival is an annual traditional celebration held in Epe,Lagos State. It is a festival in which Epe people celebrate a common history. During this period of festivities that runs into weeks, Epe people use the opportunity to showcase their culture and educate the youths on their rich history through re-enactment of historical events in the life of the town. It is a period when their experience is relived, and, in the process,the bonds that unite the people together are celebrated. According to the history of Epe, during the early part of the 17th century, the activities of the slave traders were at their peak along the West African coast. Epe, as

a littoral settlement, was a major slave raiding post and suffered immensely from the hands of slave raiders, mainly from Ijaw and Mahin tribes. The Ijaw and Mahin warriors were in the habit of constantly raiding the people of Epe, capturing their men, women and children and selling them into slavery or, in some cases, using them to sacrifice to their deities. At a stage, the people of Epe relocated from the lagoon end of the settlement to the hilly side (now known as Oke Epe) to escape being easily captured and sold into slavery. Even at their new place of abode on the hilly side of the settlement, the people could not put on naked light to illu-

minate their homestead at night. This was to camouflage the exact location of their homestead from the slave raiders who usually came in the night to raid them. At times, the raiders would attack at night whenever they saw smoke

from the fire made by the people for cooking. The belligerence of the Ijaw and Mahin slave raiders came to an end during the reign of Oba Oloja Olumade (1825 – 1893). During this period, a new traditional age group sys-

tem called Egbe Motukoya (1828 – 1831) decided to call the bluff of the raiders by converting the erstwhile social age group system in Ijebu land to a community army. The name, Motukoya, literally means “I am of age to defend myself”.

Entertaining on water

This group of patriots trained and acquired all necessary skills and instruments of war to confront the slave raiders. It did not stop there. The Egbe Motukoya mobilized the next lower age group that would take over from it after the expiration of the group’s mandatory three-year tenure that the local tradition allowed. However, tradition did not and still does not permit the incoming age group to take a name before it comes of age. For the purpose of nomenclature and continuity, the senior group was given the appellation of Ipana Agba. This was the group that went to war or in pursuit of the slave raiders. The intermediate group called the Ipana Arin would be mobilized to defend the town in the absence of their seniors. After the Ipana Arin comes the junior group known as the Ipana Kekere. This group was saddled with the responsibility of learning the rudiments of war, spying on the slave raiders, preparation for war and taking food items and other war essentials to the senior group at their sentry posts or war fronts. Thus the Epe people started a compulsory military service to defend their settlement against slave raiders who were sponsored and financed by foreign (white) people. The age group system was transformed into a military force for the people. Hence many battles were fought against the slave raiders and other attacking forces. At the last confrontation with the Ijaw and Mahin slave raiders, their commanding officer called Akalajolu was captured along with some of his soldiers. Ever since the capture of Akalajolu, the slave raiders did not venture to attack or terrorize the Epe people.

Tourism News


HE Nigerian Tourism Development Corpora tion (NTDC) and Daarsat, the cable television communication arm of the Daar Communication limited, will be partnering to promote Nigeria as the preferred tourism destination in Africa. This was disclosed during a recent visit of the Chairman of Daar Communications Limited, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, and his team to the NTDC boss, Otunba Segun Runsewe, at the Tourism Village. Speaking on Daarsat, the Managing Director of the cable company said the return of the cable company means Nigeria could tell and showcase its experience to the outside. He said the channel had more than 250 channels to do this and had also dedicated about 27 platforms to educa-

NTDC, Daarsat partner to promote tourism

ICAO, UNWTO to co-o

tion. He said his organisation was asking the NTDC to prescribe the cable television for Nigerian hotels. He said the platform would offer the opportunity for visitors and tourists to Nigeria to have a feel of the Nigerian experience rather than the current situation whereby most of the hotels show foreign cable televisions that are poor in their Ngerian content. Responding, the NTDC boss said he was proud of the achievements of Chief Dokpesi, most especially on his doggedness to promote the country by showcasing the Nigerian experience to the rest of the world. He said through the devotion of multiple channels to promote education in Nigeria, Daarsat would help in turning around the educa-

HE International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and UNWTO have signed a special joint statement on aviation and tourism, acknowledging the intention of the two UN agencies to begin cooperating more closely on issues of common priority. The statement was signed by ICAO Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin, and UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, on the occasion of the official opening of the ICAO Sixth Worldwide Air Transport Conference (ATConf/6). Visa facilitation, taxation, the modernization of aviation regulations and the development of convergent rules for traveller and enterprise protection were stressed in the statement as key areas for improved collaboration. “Separate sectorial policies on air transport and tourism result in a fundamental, and too often even conflicting disconnect which constitutes a severe constraint on the development of travel and tourism. “The signing of this statement, therefore, represents a defining moment – one

•Chief Dokpesi (right) receiving a plague from Otunba Runsewe during the visit tional fortune of the country. Runsewe said he would not only partner the cable station, but would do his best to make sure the Nigerian hospitality industry embrace the

channel. He also asked for a dedicated channel that will showcase the vast tourism assets and culture of the country as a means of attracting tourists

to Nigeria. This was granted by Chief Dokpesi. Speaking further on the re-emergence of Daarsat after a few years of absence, Chief Dokpesi said Daarsat was back for good and even better and that he would continue to thrive in the promotion of Nigerian experience. He said Daarsat had signed an agreement with Spacecom, the operator of the AMOS satellite fleet to provide high definition visuals for Nigerians and the African continent.




•Masquerades At his capture, Akalajolu was paraded throughout the nooks and crannies of Epe. Young men, women and children came out to shower abusive words on him before he was made to pay the supreme price for the atrocities he and his people committed against the people of Epe. To commemorate this victory, a masquerade called Kilajolu is dressed up annually and made to parade the entire Epe town, flogging everyone on sight while the people call him various derogatory and abusive names. One could see that the

Okosi age group system is very important in the life of the Epe people as it is the compulsory military service that was evolved to liberate and defend the people from external aggressors. The modern day Okosi age group system is similar to the one of the olden days except that the groups do not go to war again; rather they engage in the demonstration of warlike entertainment during the Eebi Epe festival. The Okosi age group system is a three-stage system. A new recruit enters the system at the Ipana Kekere stage and serves for three years before graduating to the

next stage which is the Ipana Arin. He serves another three years at this intermediate stage before graduating to the senior stage which is the Ipana Agba. At every stage, an Ifa priest will be called upon to consult the oracle to pick the leader of the group. The chosen leader is called Giwa Egbe. Each stage of the system has about 23 chieftaincy slots with the Giwa Egbe as the head chief. The Okosi age group also has female members except that the females do not go to war. They have their own age group chieftaincy hierarchy with the Giwa Obinrin as their head chief.

•People celebrating

o-operate on aviation which can set air transport and tourism on a common path on matters of shared concern with considerable mutual benefit,”Mr Rifai said. More than one billion tourists crossed international borders during 2012, over half of who travelled by air to their destinations. The total number of international tourists, which includes both business and leisure travellers, is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030. “Based on ICAO’s latest forecasts, aircraft departures are forecast to grow from 30 million to 60 million by 2030,” noted ICAO’s Benjamin. “These figures support the UNWTO’s tourism projections and highlight how important it is that our organizations continue to address air transport system capacity and related challenges today, in order to

maximize the economic development aspects of air transport and tourism tomorrow,”Benjamin said. Additional areas outlined for future cooperation by ICAO and the UNWTO included air passenger flow management at airports, air capacity for least developed countries and the continued reduction of environmental impacts resulting from international air travel and tourism. Due consideration will be maintained on the importance of air transport to tourism development in longhaul destinations and landlocked or island states. Benjamin and Rifai concluded their ceremony by jointly highlighting the considerable contributions of aviation and tourism to raise employment, fuel economic growth and social development.

At the annual festival, part of what tourists to Epe experience is the water regatta in which the boats are decorated. On each of the boats on display on water are singers and dancers. They paddle to and fro on the water close to the bank singing, dancing and generally entertaining people. Here, certain rites are performed at the bank of the river by the age groups. They come in, dressed in their age group attire to perform the rites on water. Another important aspect of the festival is the traditional cleansing. During this aspect of the festival, the king picks a burning log of firewood from the shrine and heads for the lagoon bank. His subjects do the same. Together the town heads for river, carrying smoking logs of firewood. Prayers are offered and the smoking logs thrown into the lagoon. The high point of Eebi Epe is the appearance of the Kilajolu masquerade , fearsome masquerades accompanied by whip-wielding young men. Most women take to their heels on sighting the masquerades. Epe people cherish their tradition. In no place is this tradition better displayed than during the annual Eebi Epe festival. That makes a must visit for those interested in knowing more about the culture and history of the Epe people.

Bombardier, Ethiopian Airlines on intra-Africa travel


IERRE Beaudoin, Group President and Chief Ex ecutive Officer of Bombardier Inc., held extensive discussions with Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and other senior executive management members regarding Ethiopian successful Q400 NextGen aircraft operations. The two companies are working to enhance their already strong and mutually beneficial relationship, in view of the expected high growth of regional intra-Africa travel in the coming years. With its fleet of 13 Q400 NextGen aircraft, Ethiopian is the largest operator of the Bombardier-manufactured Q400 aircraft in Africa, deploying the aircraft in domestic and regional operations. The airline recently phasedin five new Q400 NextGen aircraft that were the first outfitted with a dual-class configuration on Bombardier’s production line. With seven fully dedicated business class seats, a second lavatory and hot meal capability, Ethiopian is able to offer more services to its customers. Ethiopian plans to reconfigure its existing fleet of Q400 aircraft with a fully dedicated business class. “We are very happy with the performance of the Q400 NextGen aircraft in our domestic and regional operations. “The regional intra-Africa travel is set to boom in the coming years and we see a bright future for our relationship with Bombardier. In line with our Vision 2025 strategic roadmap, we will need more regional aircraft, not just to cater for our own fast-growing domestic and regional network, but also to realize our multi-hub strategy in Africa. Already, we have a strong regional partner in West Africa ASKY, which is also using the Q400 aircraft. We plan to build similar strong regional hubs in Southern and Central Africa,”said Mr Tewolde. “Having the right fleet with commonality, optimal range, load and passenger comfort will be critical to be competitive in this market. We look forward to working with Bombardier to expand our mutually beneficial relationship in the coming years,” added Mr. Gebremariam. “Africa has significant growth potential over the next 20 years and is an important part of Bombardier’s globalization strategy. “We are excited about the opportunities for expanding business and commercial aviation in the region and look forward to working with leading carriers like Ethiopian to develop the market fully,”Mr Beaudoin said.

Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel fetes customers Gambian Roots festival OUTHERN Sun Ikoyi Ho holds in May tel, Ikoyi is putting to


gether a special Easter package for its guests-individuals, couples and families. According to the hotel, the essence of the special Easter package is to offer its guests the opportunity to experience a pleasant stay at discounted rates without compromising the usual high quality service rendered. The package would run from March 29 to April 1 . Mark Loxley, the hotel’s General Manager, said: “For all our in-house guests who love sea food, the Friday sea food dinner buffet would come with a 20% discount. Not forgetting the 20% discount that comes with the popular Special Easter Sun-


day brunch with in-house guests enjoying priority table reservation’’. He further added that guests could upgrade to executive rooms as well as enjoy early check- in and late check- out privileges upon availability. “Guests who stay within that period are also automatically entitled to the hotel’s frequent hotel loyalty programme,” he said.

HE 11th edition of the Interna tional Roots Festival holds in Gambia from May 30 to June 7. The historical, cultural and educational event honours the links between Africa and its diaspora. During the period of the festival, tourists have the opportunity to visit places like Juffureh (the late Alex Haley’s ancestral home), Fort James Island and Georgetown (now Janjanbureh). They will also have the opportunity to establish cultural ties, attend international musical concerts and attend cultural jamborees. They will visit a traditional African batik factory and experience traditional African cuisine, hairstyles, fashions and jewellery. Roots 2013 commemorates the enforced enslavement and transportation of millions of Africans to the Americas and the Caribbean Islands.




Marriage: A divine origin (3) D

Dear Reader, You are welcome to this wonderful time in God’s presence. I started this teaching by unveiling to you, marriage as a divine origin. Last week, I taught on, companionship. This week, I will be examining, The Obligations of Husband’s in Marriage. The man is the principal figure in the family unit. Bishop David Oyedepo often says, “Anything that has two heads is a monster.” The same principle is applied to every other human institution. There is one head for an institution, who takes responsibility for the happenings per time. God designed marriage in the same way. Man – The Head: The husband is the head in every God-ordained marriage. This position is not debatable. The Bible puts it this way: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body (Ephesians 5:23). God reckons with his position as head of the home, and holds him responsible for any mishap that occurs there. For instance, when things went wrong in the Garden of Eden, God did not question the woman, rather, Adam was the one held responsible. The man is the principal actor in every home. Until the

husband accepts his responsibility as head, there can be nothing like success in that family. I am not referring only to men who are married to Christian wives, but also to those who are married to unbelieving ones (they probably got married before they got born again). If the men accept God’s instructions and do them, their homes will be very successful. But what is the master key to making the home successful? Love The love responsibility is the master key. Love is the instrument a man uses to make his wife a glorious woman, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Therefore, the making of any wife is in the hands of her husband. Do you want a glorious wife without spot or wrinkle, holy and pure? Then, love your wife as your own body! By so doing, you would have created a glorious wife. Love is the price you pay for a glorious home. Giving Giving is the practical expression of love. John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. One of the ways a husband should express his love for his wife is by giving. A husband should willingly and joyfully give gifts to his wife. How much (quality) is given is not the issue. He should rather accept his responsibility, by joyfully giving his wife gifts. That is what counts. It is the man’s responsibility to provide for the home. When a man stops looking after his household, his life becomes worse than that of an unbeliever. No matter how much tithe and offering he gives, God says he has denied the faith and will suffer the same fate as an unbeliever.

Silent killer diseases A silent killer is a disease that a person lives with for some time not knowing he or she has it until the disease has hurt enough to kill. There are many silent killers and the likelihood of everyone falling victim to at least one of them is very high in this our present world. That is why I like that Nigerian expression: “God forbid bad thing! Who knows all the bad things that are lurking around us and even inside us. OGK - only God knows.Annual medical check-ups are useful for saving oneself from silent killers. Silent killers include: hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, obstructive sleep apnoea, heart disease, breast Virus cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma, colon cancer, and rectal cancer. Hypertension can be a silent killer. A person with high blood pressure may not have any symptoms or discomforts but the high blood pressure may be slowly damaging vital organs such as the heart and kidney until a major incapacitation occurs. If any symptom occurs at an early stage it may be in the form of headache which the victim may easily attribute to other causes. Delicate blood vessels may burst under high pressure leading to such thing as nose bleeds, uterine bleeding, blindness, stroke, etc. Some other symptoms that may be observed include: tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, confusion, fatigue,Mouth shortness of breath, etc. Many cancer adults (as many as 25% in the US) may have high blood pressure. Early detection can keep it under control

•Rough environment

through therapy and lifestyle changes. Blood pressure tends to increase with age therefore your doctor will let you know what is beyond limit for you. High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia) is another silent killer. The victim may observe no symptoms until the disease precipitates heart disease, stroke, or heart attack. One noticeable symptom is xanthoma, a collection of cholesterol under the skin producing yellow discoloration. There may be yellowish patches round eyelids (in Caucasians), and whitish edges of the cornea of the eyes. However, high cholesterol is usually found by blood tests. Diabetes symptoms can vary by type of diabetes and may include excessive thirst, excessive urination, fatigue, slow healing wounds, blurred vision, and weight loss. Virus Type 2 diabetes generally results from prediabetes in older adults and takes a long time to develop. Symptoms may not emerge or be noticeable for years. Gestational diabetes in pregnant women may also lack symptoms other than excessive thirst and excessive urination. Type 1 diabetes develops quickly, often in children, and symptoms are obvious. Having annual medical examinations helps us catch the disease. Diabetes can be detected from a fasting blood glucose test using blood samples and by analysis of the urine for excess sugar. Left untreated, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can lead to serious long-term complications such as kidney failure, blindness, serious skin infections, worsening of acne, gangrene, cardiovascular disease, disability, diabetic neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, disability, sexual problems, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, premature menopause, birth defects, bed wetting in children. Complications of untreated gestational diabetes in pregnant women include the development of preeclampsia in the mother. The baby may have developmental problems, excessive growth and may be born with respiratory distress syn-

Communication Love is also expressed in communication. I call it seasoned communication. Ephesians 5:26 says: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. You are expected to cleanse your wife by the washing of water by the Word. That implies that every word of your mouth must be seasoned with sail, giving grace to the hearer (Col. 4:6) God has given you control as the head of the home; be a smart driver, otherwise that family is heading for an accident. For instance, if you notice that your wife is downcast, you should ask her what the matter is. You must not open up your home to malice or discord. You can prevail over them all by knowledge. For you to successfully carry out your obligation as the head in your marriage, you need the grace from above. The right place to begin from is a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. If you want to start this relationship right now, you can say this prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I come to You today, I am a sinner. I believe You died and rose on the third day for my sins. I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Make me a child of God today. Congratulations! You are now born again! Till I come your way next time, please call or write, and share your testimonies with me through: E-mail:; Tel. No: 234-1-7747546-8; 07026385437; 07094254102 For more insight, these books authored by Pastor Faith Oyedepo are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all the Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian bookstores: Marriage Covenant, Making Marriage Work and Building a Successful Family. drome. Severe life-threatening complications of high blood sugars (hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS), diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)) require emergency treatment. Heart disease includes angina which manifests as chest discomfort, chest pain, brief pain episodes of about 2-5 minutes, worsening of the pain with exercise, and relief of the pain by resting.Shortness of breath is a condition that

•Smoking to death

is associated with symptoms such as indigestion, palpitations, chest pain, arrhythmias (irregular heart beats), light-headedness, and fainting. Depression is another silent killer disease. Whatever precipitates the depression: loss, failure, trauma, physical pain, psychological suffering, social events, etc., depression results in loss of ability to enjoy life and living. Work and family life, good food, sex, hobbies, and other normally cherished and enjoyable aspects oflife lose their values and effects on the victim. Extreme depression can turn a person into a “living dead”, unable to appreciate life and make progress in life. Depression can be managed through good counselling and therapy if it is not curable. The silent killers above are common diseases but knowing about them helps us avoid them, fight them, overcome them, or cope with them. Nobody prays to have such diseases. Knowing about them also helps us to be good to those who avoidably or unavoidable end up with such diseases, especially members of our own families. Dr. ’Bola John is a biomedical scientist based in Nigeria and in the USA. For any comments or questions on this column, please Email or call 07028338910.

Diagrams of a normal prion protein, left and the disease casuing abnormally shaped version, right









Nigeria’s squandered opportunity


UST outside President Goodluck Jonathan’s office sat 17 ambulances, just in case he or one of his aides fell ill. They were seldom if ever used. No actual health-care facility nationwide had as many, and in fact a few still have none at all. But as soon as a Nigerian newspaper took a photo of the ambulances and published a story about them, they suddenly disappeared — probably to an underground garage. Jonathan is president of Nigeria, which should be among the world’s most prosperous nations. After all, it produces an estimated 2.4 million barrels of oil each and every day. With oil now selling at $93.61 a barrel, that’s $224 million in income daily. And yet many hospitals can’t afford to buy an ambulance. The reason, in my view: Nigeria is the most corrupt nation on earth. Sure, Transparency International lists almost three dozen states as more corrupt — Chad, Haiti, Laos, Yemen, Cambodia and the like. But are any of those nations as wealthy as Nigeria — taking in $81 billion annually, just from the sale of oil? No, not even one of them. So Nigeria steals and squanders more money than any other nation, making it the world’s most corrupt, by that measure. Nigerian journalist Musikilu Mojeed finds all this so discouraging. “With its geopolitical power, economic resources and middle class,” he laments, “no country (with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia and Egypt) has the power to change the course of black/African civilization like Nigeria.” After all, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous state — and large, twice the size of California. So Nigerians are living an opportunity squandered — particularly now. Egypt is in turmoil. In just the last few days, in fact, many Egyptians have been calling for a military coup — anything to rid the state of its widely despised Muslim Brotherhood government. And a new report by the World Economic Forum ranked Egypt the least safe and secure tourist destination among 140 tourist nations evaluated. Egypt has lost its place as the Arab/African worlds’ leader, and Saudi Arabia never had it. So for Nigeria, the time is ripe. But its leaders seem interested only in stealing the state’s money to make themselves rich beyond imaging. Think about it: $81 billion a year just from the oil, while most every local government official still tells his people the nation just doesn’t have enough money to fix the roads, schools or hospitals. (Roads are in such terrible shape that government officials generally travel any distance by helicopter.) And Nigeria’s people — well, they are as mistreated as any on earth. In only nine nations — among them Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia — do more mothers die during childbirth. And in only 10 states, including Chad, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, is the average life expectancy lower. Right now the average Nigerian’s average life span ends at 52. That may be why the median


Joel BRINKLEY age of Nigerians is just 18. A few months ago, the Economist Intelligence Unit published an evaluation of the best places for babies to born in 2013, given their probable welfare as children and the chance for a safe, comfortable, prosperous life. Switzerland, Australia and Norway were the top three. The United States came in at 16th, largely because “babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation.” Dead last: Nigeria. “It is the worst place for a baby to enter the world in 2013,” the report said. Even with all that wealth, only just over half the population has access to clean drinking water, and one-third to a toilet, UNICEF says. Twothirds live below the poverty line. Only one child in four who contracts pneumonia is given antibiotics, and only about half the population is literate. The CIA also cites endemic “soil degradation; rapid

deforestation; urban air and water pollution.” All this in a county whose gross domestic product stands at $236 billion a year, in the same league as Denmark, Chile, Israel and the United Arab Emirates — prosperous, successful states to be envied. Goodluck Jonathan is certainly aware of all of this. After all, taking the oath of office, he swore to “devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.” Well, just last week he demonstrated who he really is and what he stands for when he pardoned a former state governor who’d been convicted of embezzling state funds and laundering the money. That pardon triggered a broad, angry uproar. Good luck, Mr. Jonathan. It’s time you were impeached. (Joel Brinkley is the Hearst professional in residence at Stanford University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning former correspondent for The New York Times.)

News 57



Achebe’s passing personal — Clark, Soyinka


ROFESSOR Chinua Achebe’s closest soulmates, Professors Wole Soyinka and John Pepper Clark, were almost lost for words yesterday in reacting to his passage. The duo, in a four-paragraph joint statement, called his death intensely personal. Their words: “For us, the

loss of Chinua Achebe is, above all else, intensely personal. We have lost a brother, a colleague, a trailblazer and a doughty fighter. Of the “pioneer quartet” of contemporary Nigerian literature, two voices have been silenced – one, of the poet Christopher Okigbo, and now, the novelist Chinua Achebe.

“It is perhaps difficult for outsiders of that intimate circle to appreciate this sense of depletion, but we take consolation in the young generation of writers to whom the baton has been passed, those who have already creatively ensured that there is no break

in the continuum of the literary vocation. “We need to stress this at a critical time of Nigerian history, where the forces of darkness appear to overshadow the illumination of existence that literature represents. These are forces that arro-

He was a colossus, says Zuma


RESIDENT Jacob Zuma of South Africa described Achebe as a “colossus of African writing.” He expressed sadness at his death. Nelson Mandela, who read Achebe’s work in jail, has called him a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down.” Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” published in 1958, told of his Igbo ethnic group’s fatal brush with British colonizers in the 1800s - the first time the story of Euro of South Africa pean colonialism had been told from an African viewpoint to an international audience. The book was translated into 50 languages and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. He later turned his sights on the devastation wrought to Nigeria and Africa by military coups and entrenched dictatorship. “Anthills of the Savannah,” published in 1987, is set after a coup in a fictional African country, where power has corrupted and state brutality silenced all but the most courageous. The pain at Achebe’s death was felt across Nigeria. Through tears, former government minister and friend Dora Akunyili said Achebe’s death “leaves a void in Nigeria, Africa and globally.” South African novelist and friend Nadine Gordimer

said, "Chinua Achebe's early work made him the father of modern African literature as an integral part of world literature.’ Upon learning of his death, Gordimer offered this advice: “read, read, read all his works, from ‘Things Fall Apart' to his last work.” In Africa, many leaders remembered Achebe as a man whose works helped define the African spirit. Nelson Mandela said that during his time in prison, Achebe was a writer "in whose company the prison walls fell down.” “We have lost a great son and the 'Father of African Literature,” said Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga Simon Winder, publishing director at Penguin in the U.K., called Achebe an “utterly remarkable man.” “Chinua Achebe is the greatest of African writers and we are all desolate to hear of his death,” he said.


tained him so many years after his crippling accident. “No matter the reality, after the initial shock, and a sense of abandonment, we confidently assert that Chinua lives. His works provide their enduring testimony to the domination of the human spirit over the forces of repression, bigotry, and retrogression.”

…his controversies •Continued from Page 8

•The late Achebe as a young man

We have lost a great man — Ribadu

ALLAM Nuhu Ribadu has de scribed Professor Chinua Achebe as “the pillar of African literature and perhaps the most attentive and painstaking missioner of African culture in the face of a global doubt in the immediate years after the independence wave of the sixties.”

gantly pride themselves implacable and brutal enemies of what Chinua and his pen represented, not merely for the African continent, but for humanity. Indeed, we cannot help wondering if the recent insensate massacre of Chinua’s people in Kano, only a few days ago, hastened the fatal undermining of that resilient will that had sus-

Mallam Ribadu further said: “By this passage we have lost a great man, a moral centre and a brave commentator who always spoke loudly and clearly what most believe but are too timid or shy to utter. “May his death bring a nobler challenge to the Nige-

rian dream and our vision of a just homeland. “I also wish to extend my sincere condolences to the Achebe family, the government and people of Anambra State and all Nigerians on this great loss. “I pray that God give us all the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”

the situation in his home state of Anambra in the southeast, adding then that “A small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom.” Seven years later, while rejecting similar award by President Goodluck Jonathan, Achebe reiterated his earlier stance in snubbing the national honour: “The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed, let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again.” In 2004, in the letter in which he rejected the same honour, Achebe sent to President Olusegun Obasanjo the following, longer letter: “I write this letter with a very heavy heart. For some time now I have watched events in Nigeria with alarm and dismay. I have watched particularly the chaos in my own state of Anambra where a small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom. I am appalled by the brazenness of this clique and the silence, if not connivance, of the Presidency. “Forty three years ago, at the first anniversary of Nigeria’s independence, I was given the first Nigerian National Trophy for Literature. In 1979, I received two further honours – the Nigerian National Order of Merit and the Order of the Federal Republic – and in 1999 the first National Creativity Award. “I accepted all these honours fully aware that Nigeria was not perfect; but I had a strong belief that we would outgrow our shortcomings under leaders committed to uniting our diverse peoples. Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours List.” Those were some of the late literary icon’s strong positions on the listlessness of leadership, endemic corruption which had rendered the country prostrate. As he bade Nigeria and the indeed, the literary world his long and final goodnight yesterday, the late Achebe will be remembered by many for his strident moral voice, for penning the world most translated work, Things Fall Apart, for his integrity and for reminding his people, amidst controversy that There Was a Country. Indeed, he may have, but one fact remains poignant: there was Achebe and there will always be Achebe, and with his rich literary works, things will never fall apart for his vast concourse of his audience.

Achebe: The literal politician


N the pantheon of great Nigerian politicians and political activists, Chinua Achebe would not be given a pride of place. He was no Azikiwe, Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello or even Wole Soyinka in the realm of activism. He was a literal politician, a straight, unbending figure he chose to play tangential roles; the bit parts of a detached commentator, a bystander overawed by the wild affray. But he was damn good commentator who laid it thick. He was a spirit of order. He seemed to desire a politic that would run a gamut from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ – smooth, unhindered and untroubled. But neither life nor politics works in that fashion. Even his writings were criticized for not being rich in profound complexities but won awards for their sumptuously creative narratives. Achebe never showed any delight in the politics of Nigeria’s independence struggle nor did he play much role in the political morass that seized the immediate postindependence era which continues to hold it in thrall till today. Even in the ensuing Nigeria-Biafra civil war which inexorably threw him in the Odumegwu Ojukwu end of the divide, he never played the real politic of the war. Not like his contemporary, Wole Soyinka’s getting in the dugout and bloodying his nose. Achebe played the ambassador, the mediator and chronicler of the crises. Indeed, Achebe played the higher politics of articulating the politics of his time. His 1966 epic political satire was sent off to his London publishers only a few days before Nigeria’s first military coup d’etat of January 1966. That book, A Man of the People, also ended with a military coup. He was almost arrested as an accomplice. But he had no pre-knowledge of the coup, he was only prescient in recording the politics of his time. His closest brush with politics was his teaming up with


Malam Aminu Kano to found the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP. At the height of his glory in the late 70s, Achebe could have found a more copious space and station in the burgeoning National Peoples Party, NPN or the Zik’s regional Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP. Instead, he chose a deeply ideological party built around an iconic Malam. A party that made all the impression but would never win a national election. Such was Achebe’s politics; played rather half-heartedly. He was not even one to make political comments at critical moments in the manner of the irrepressible Wole Soyinka whose political activism is almost as remarkable as his literary works. Achebe seemed to prefer to speak with his books. In the mid-80s he released Anthills of the Savannah, a telling spike on the backs of rampaging military rulers in the country during that period. In the mid-90s, Achebe also gave Nigerians a little powerful pamphlet, The Trouble with Nigeria, which he posited is myopic leadership. That book is among the most referenced today in the political discourse of Nigeria. While Achebe criticized for being too reserved, aloof and even rather passive in his interventions in periods of dire political crises and policy indiscretions, he seemed, from hindsight, to have bided his time. Twice, he threw back Nigeria’s national honours to two different presidents. The first was President Olusegun Obasanjo and in 2011, it was President Goodluck Jonathan. Obasanjo had awarded him the country’s national honours in 2004 shortly after the Anambra crisis in which the position of the sitting governor was usurped and arson and destruction were rampant. Achebe had politely written to Obasanjo declining the award and reminding that he could not be seen to be receiving awards from a president who had set his home state in turmoil. In

the same refrain, he had told President Jonathan that the conditions for which he turned down the award seven years earlier had persisted therefore he would likewise decline once again. Throwing back awards would have been his most telling political statements but for his civil war memoir, There was a Country…, published last year. It was to be Achebe’s final farewell to Nigeria and her politics which seemed to have offered him nothing but life-long anguish. The book particularly gave him the opportunity to vent his torment which the Biafran war was to his simple soul and the role played by some prominent compatriots. He particularly seemed to have unburdened his mind at the role of Chief Obafemi Awolowo whom he thought allowed so much injustice and war atrocities to be meted out to Igbo people. He quoted Chief Awolowo to have advised the war cabinet of which he was Deputy Chairman that, “All was fair in war and starvation was one of the weapons of war.” This became the most focal point of this last book raising a whirlwind of controversy, which has raged even till Achebe’s death early yesterday. Achebe was not a great politician. In politics he ironically, seemed to have typified character, Okonkwo in his epic first novel, Things Fall Apart. Like Okonkwo,` Achebe could be regarded a tragic hero in his politics – he could not play in the rough and tumble of it so he stayed away. And providence seemed to have conspired to keep him away too. On one of his trips to Nigeria in the late 90s, Achebe who was then already living in the United States was involved in an accident which left him on the wheelchair and kept him abroad since then. This is how come Achebe, a literary giant, only played literal role in Nigeria’s politics. Perhaps, it is just as well.

News 58



HE Federal Government is reaching out to countries with history of insurgency with a view to changing its strategy against the Boko Haram sect. Those being contacted include Turkey, Algeria and some European and Latin American countries. Nigeria is keen to learn how those countries tackled terrorism, sources said yesterday. It was also gathered that some of the arms being used by Boko Haram are “strayed weapons” from Libya, Egypt and other countries which have experienced the Arab Spring. The resurgence of terror attacks, sources told The Nation, forced the Federal Government and security agencies to go back to the

FG to change strategy on Boko Haram •Reaches out to Turkey, Algeria, others Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation drawing board. It was gathered that the government opted to “restrategise” to check further threats to the nation’s unity and democracy. A new strategy document has already been formulated One source said: “There is likely to be a change of strategy as soon as the President approves the new counter-terrorism measures. “A strategy document, which has been formulated, is awaiting the President’s approval.

“I think the new strategy is a mixture of force, bait and engagement. It is becoming obvious that allround force will not solve the problem of Boko Haram. “The more force is used against Boko Haram, the more it has been coming out forcefully. The government is doing a lot but it appears it is losing the battle. “So, a new strategy will take care of past efforts and how to move forward.” Responding to a question, the source added: “We are suspecting that Boko Haram struck again in

•Why Boko Haram struck again

Kano following recent forceful clampdown on them by the military and security agencies. “The government has made up its mind to review its strategy for optimal results. And the good thing is that public opinion favours a change of strategy.” As at press time, findings revealed that the government is understudying methods used by some countries to curb “similar insurgency” that Nigeria is going through. Another source said: “For quite some time, Nigeria has been reaching out to countries with the same ex-

perience. These are countries like Turkey, Algeria, European countries and American nations. “Some designated officers across security agencies have been travelling to these nations to compare notes on strategies.” Meanwhile, there were signs that Boko Haram leaders might have relocated from Mali to Algeria and other Northern African countries. “Intelligence reports have confirmed that Boko

Extend pardon to other coup convicts, Diya urges Jonathan


•Vice President Namadi Sambo (right) in a handsake with the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Prof. Amos Utuama during the National Integrated Power Project meeting at the Presidential Villa Abuja yesterday, while the Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswan, watches. PHOTO: Akin OLADOKUN

Dickson signs N304bn appropriation bill into law


AYELSA State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, on Friday signed into law the 2013 appropriation bill of N304.05 billion, made up of N142.1 billion recurrent expenditure and N161.9bn capital expenditure. The governor had in December last year presented a budgetary proposal of N285.9bn to the state’s House of Assembly for approval. However, after sectoral review, the Assembly increased the budget by N19 billion before passing it into law. Signing the bill into law, the governor attributed the delay in its presentation to last year’s

flooding that ravaged the entire communities in the state and the ill-fated helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the former National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi, and late Governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Yakowa. Commending the efforts of the state’s lawmakers for their commitment to the actualisation of his administration’s Restoration Agenda, the governor said his Economic Team would soon commence the preparation of the 2014 Appropriation bill to ensure its early presentation and passage in line with the

Fiscal Responsibility Law. “We are not only going to partner with the House of Assembly as we have always done but also specifically on this issue of appropriation work to ensure that by the Grace of God, we comply with the fiscal responsibility law which obliges us to submit an appropriation bill earlier than we did last year,” he said. On the implementation of the newly signed appropriation bill, the governor said: ‘”On our part, we intend to follow this budget scrupulously. We intend to implement it to the letter. Where there are difficulties and shortfalls or any area

we need to work with the Assembly, we will not hesitate to bring that to your notice because a budget is only a statement of intent; it is a broad policy financial document. I want to request you and members of the House (Assembly) to also support government as you have always done by exercising the full ambit of your oversight powers over all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, so that we can all work together to ensure that set goals and targets are achieved to enable us bring prosperity, development and security to the good people of this state.”.

Obasanjo blames agric woes on Yar’Adua administration


ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has blamed the dwindling growth in the nation’s agriculture sector on the administration of the late President Umar Yar’dua. Speaking at the 16th Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) annual lecture in Ilorin on Thursday, Obasanjo said the sector had witnessed about 7 per cent growth between 2003 and 2007, adding that cocoa production, for instance, increased from 150,000 metric tonnes to 400, 000 metric tonnes. He said: “For some time after 1979 when almost all the gains in agriculture in

•Decries $4b post-harvest losses Olugbenga ADANIKIN, Ilorin Nigeria seemed to have been destroyed through indiscriminate importation and dumping, I was skeptical if we could ever make it in the area of agriculture. “But the progress we made during 2003 and 2007 when Nigeria grew its agricultural production by an average of 7 per cent per annum enhanced my optimism and enthusiasm. “For instance, cocoa production increased from 150, 000 mt to 400, 000 mt; cassava production from 30 million mt to 50 million mt. We started being self

sufficient in vegetable oil production... Then the successor administration put things in reverse gear. Startstop policy does not help agric business,” Obasanjo said. However, the former Head of State described the current Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) as commendable and a step in the right direction. Stressing the need for reorientation of farmers, he placed post and pre-harvest losses in the Sub-Saharan Africa at about $4 billion. He also said there was a need for a mechanism that would address unemployment in the country. In his remarks, the Minister

of Agriculture and Rural Development pledged to make the country relevant in global market through agriculture. He said the Fedral Government had commenced registration of five million farmers who he said would benefit from the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme. Speaking on cassava bread, the minister noted that 20 per cent substitute of cassava flour for bread will contribute about N127 billion to the economy. The Acting Executive Director at ARMTI, Samuel Afolayan, said the institute was committed to enhancing better management of the sector.

Haram leaders are relocating from Mali to Algeria and far northern countries. “A thorough analysis of the arms and ammunition being controlled by the sect showed that these are “stray weapons” from Libya and Egypt and other nations where Arab Spring occurred. “We are trying to clarify allegations that Boko Haram gets support from some groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia too.”

ORMER Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya ( rtd), yesterday called for the extension of the presidential pardon recently granted him to others convicted for planning coup during the Abacha regime. He also asked the Federal Government to publish and implement the report of the Oputa Panel set up by the Obasanjo administration. Diya spoke yesterday in Ikeja to express gratitude to government for its gesture to him. But he said his joy would be incomplete until other people convicted for the same offence for which he was sentenced to death are pardoned. He said: “ It is no gainsaying that both officers and civilians sentenced on the incident must benefit from this federal government‘s benevolence, otherwise, it will become a selective state pardon, which will put to question the fate of

Sam EGBURONU Associate Editor others not so pardoned and are involved in the saga.” On why the federal government must implement the Oputa Panel report, the former second-in-command under the military regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha said: “This was a panel set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria with state funds and a report was submitted on it. “A lot of findings and recommendations were made, most especially on the phantom coups of 1995 and 1997. A similar panel called the Truth and Reconciliation Committee was set up in the Republic of South Africa. The implementation of that committee in South Africa has contributed tremendously in stabilising and putting the country through the path of growth.”

Alamieyeseigha: Youths seek review of 1999 Constitution •Call for exclusion of economic, financial criminals from state pardon


AULTING the granting of state pardon to the former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the Coalition of Youth Civil Society Organization (CYCSO) yesterday pushed for the amendment of Section 175 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution to prevent economic and financial criminals from enjoying state pardon. The National Council of States (NCS) presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan had endorsed state pardon for Alamieyeseigha, former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya; Major Bello Magaji; Mohammed Lima Biu; Maj.-Gen. Abdulkareem Adisa (posthumous); Major Seun Fadipe and former head of the Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama. But addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the Secretary of CYCSO, Barrister Cynthia Mbamalu, and Deputy Coordinator of CYCSO, Bukhari Jega, said that state pardons should only be granted to those who were convicted in questionable circumstances and young exconvicts who have demonstrated ability to lead crime-free lives. Barrister Mbamalu said: “We are concerned that the pardon recently granted to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is an indirect endorsement of the looting of the public treasury by public officials. We call for

restraint in the granting of state pardon in order to prevent corruption with impunity and also to avoid sending the wrong signals to current office holders. “In the light of the government’s presupposed commitment to anti-corruption fight, this grant of pardon is unacceptable, insensitive and dishonorable.” She went on: “Considering that our laws are not infallible, we therefore demand the following: An amendment of Section 175 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution as amended to include a proviso excluding the power to grant pardon on persons indicted or convicted of economic and financial crime while acting in an official capacity. “An amendment to Section 175 (2) of the 1999 Constitution to include the following paragraphs: (a) The president shall in consultation with the Council of State forward the list of persons who have applied for pardon to the National Judicial Council and National Assembly for confirmation and approval.” “(b) The National Judicial Council shall among other things determine if the applicant has become remorseful and of good conduct.” “(c) Powers of the President to grant pardon shall be exercised on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council and confirmation by the National Assembly.”

59 News


Our ordeal, by Nigerian seafarers abducted by Somalian pirates


WO Nigerian seafarers, Messrs Parson Gladdey and Kings Okoye, yesterday recounted how they were tortured by Somalian pirates who held them hostage in the high seas after hijacking their vessel , MT Grace, between Pakistani and Somalian waters. The pirates, according to the seafarers, accused them of carrying offensive chemicals and drugs; an allegation they denied. The pirates, they said, threatened to kill them if they failed to cooperate and encourage the vessel owner to pay as much as $25 million as ransom. The seafarers described as inhuman the treatment meted out to them, which led to the death of their third colleague

from shock as the pirates continuously pointed gun at them, shooting sporadically to intimidate them. The seafarers arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, after they were rescued by the Spanish European Union war ship. The seafarers said they were sailing from Fujairah Port in Dubai with a vessel billed to arrive Apapa Port in Lagos, Nigeria, when the heavily

armed Somalian pirates hijacked their vessel , which was 900 nautical miles from Somalian waters, shooting sporadically, until they surrendered and were held in captivity. They explained that other nationals including Indians, and other Asians on board the vessel were freed by the pirates, who insisted that the Nigerians should be tortured until the vessel owner paid a ransom. They explained that it is har-

rowing to sail from the Middle East , via Kenya or Somalia to Nigeria, because of the activities of pirates. They said as the vessel took off from the Fujarah Port in Dubai, they anticipated a smooth sail until they were some nautical miles between Pakistani and Somalian waters, when gun wielding pirates blocked their vessel and hijacked them. They said: ”As we set sail, we noticed some pirates and they

started shooting and suddenly they surrounded our vessel and took us into their vessel. “They alleged that we were carrying drugs, offensive chemicals and others things, which we denied. “They threatened to kill us and throw us into the water if we failed to convince the owner to pay as much as $25 million as ransom. “We told them that if the owner of the vessel had so much money, he would have

Fear of terrorism in Lagos: Police arrest 600 Ebele BONIFACE


HE Lagos State Police Command on Thursday began a general raid on criminals’ hideouts in Lagos. The raid, which spilled over to Friday, resulted in the arrest of about 600 suspects who were taken to the premises of the Lagos State Police Command for screening. Many of them, including Nigerien and Beninoise nationals who were found to be law abiding were released immediately. The National Coordinator Arewa United and National Vice Chairman Arewa Youth Development Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Ado Shuaibu Dansulu, commended the police for the exercise, saying it is good for the nation’s security. He said nobody is happy about what is happening in the country, adding: “Even in the Sunday motor park bombing in Kano, majority of the victims were Hausa people who wanted to go to Lagos from Kano on business on that fateful day. He called on the Federal Government to grant amnesty to those who are clamouring for it so that it would be in a position to challenge anybody who makes trouble thereafter. “Two of my friends, children died in the bus bombing while two others sustained injuries,” he said. Commenting on the raid, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, said it was a normal general raid on criminal hideouts for crime prevention, adding that it had nothing to do with the Boko Haram issue. “It involves all the police divisional areas in Lagos State,” he said.

Kidnapped Onitsha High Chief released

A •Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (2nd left) and the General Overseer of The Reedemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Bishop Mike Okonkwo (2nd right), during a courtesy call the latter paid to the governor at the Government House, Yenagoa. With them are Dickson’s deputy, retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (left) and the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kombowei Benson. PHOTO: Lucky FRANCIS

Mainstreet Bank, ex-staff agree on 100% gratuity AINSTREET Bank at the weekend demonstrated its commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) as the management of the bank undertook to pay 100 per cent gratuity to former staff of the defunct Afribank Nigeria Plc. The agreement between the management of Mainstreet Bank, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), National Union of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity would see the staff of former Afribank Nigeria Plc who were in the employment of the defunct bank as at August 5, 2011 receiving 100 per



Taofik SALAKO cent of their gratuity, according to a statement from the management of the bank. The Purchase and Assumption Agreement that led to the emergence of Mainstreet Bank Limited did not move the staff gratuity liabilities of the defunct Afribank Nigeria Plc to Mainstreet Bank Limited. Therefore, Mainstreet Bank Limited was not legally obligated to pay the gratuity of the staff of the defunct Afribank. The management of Mainstreet Bank, however, said it decided to put human face to the whole bridge mechanism, which had seen National Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) taken over the delinquent Afribank, following the

revocation of its banking licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Mainstreet Bank commended the contributions of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), noting that the agreement was reached after months of negotiation brokered by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity between the bank and the labour unions. AMCON is the beneficial owner of Mainstreet Bank. “We wish to express our appreciation to the Federal Ministry, AMCON and the officials of the unions for their efforts in resolving the labour issue,” the bank stated. It reiterated its commitment


to providing excellent services to its numerous customers, assuring that the bank has been repositioned to compete effectively in terms of technology and innovative products.

•Faith Tuedor-Matthews, MD, Mainstreet Bank

N Onitsha High Chief, Albert Ibekwe, who was kidnapped on Thursday has regained freedom from his abductors. Chief Albert Ibekwe, who was kidnapped on his way from Awka at 3-3 in Nkwelle community, was dropped by his abductors at the Nkwelle junction, few metres away from the place he was kidnapped. Chief Ibekwe (Omodi Daike) told journalists on the phone that he was released early in the hours of yesterday, adding that he was hale and hearty but could not disclose if any ransom was paid for his release. He also confirmed that he was in good health, while he commended security agencies for their role in his release. The Onitsha Area Commander, Mr. Benjamin Wordu, confirmed the release of the victim and said the police would continue to hunt for the kidnappers in and around the state.

Group faults police autopsy report on Oyerinde

HE quest for justice by friends and associates of Olaitan Oyerinde, the slain Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, continued yesterday with the Conference of NonGovernmental Organisations (CONGOS) in Edo State rejecting the autopsy report released in a newspaper by the police recently. A statement by the President

Osemwengie OGBEMUDIA, Benin of CONGOS, Jude Obasanmi, which was made available to journalists in Benin City, said it feared that the said report might have been quickly put together by the police because of the queries it got during a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives on the killing of Oyerinde on how it did not include the said

autopsy reports in its submissions. The statement reads in part: “The autopsy report which many expected would unravel the details of the dastardly murder and real killers of the late comrade seems to be causing more confusion than ever. “The credibility of the autopsy report is highly questionable as it is coming out to the public after the Police was asked during the

Ado-Odo/Ota Chair presents N2.47bn budget to council

HE Chairman of AdoOdo/Ota Local Government Area, Comrade Rotimi Rahmon has presented a total budget of N2.47 billion to the legislative council of the local government for the 2013 fiscal year. The sum, according to the council boss, is made up of

bought a brand new vessel. “They locked us in one of the rooms in the vessel and pointed gun at us, even when we went to the toilet. “They threatened that if we did not cooperate, they would kill us and throw our body into the sea. “It was when they pointed gun at us and were shooting that our other colleague died from shock..” They lamented the the shoddy way the vessel owner handled the matter, as he only engaged the International Police (INTERPOL) in London, which negotiated with the pirates, who then handed them over to the Spanish European Union Warship, which took then to Oman for treatment, from where their return to Nigeria was facilitated. The freed seafarers were received on arrival at the Lagos International Airport, by Ms Funmi Folorunso, representing African Shippers Association, and Rear Admiral Godwill Ombo (rtd). They said they were delighted to be back home to reunite with their families.

N945, 401,100 for capital projects and N1,537,308,384 for recurrent expenditure. Rahmon said the budget proposal was targeted at achieving the five cardinal programmes of his administration, namely qualitative and affordable education; quality health care delivery

system and clean environment; provision of social amenities; empwerment programmes for women, youth and aged and agriculture, commerce and economic development. The Leader of the Legislative Council, Hon. Babatunde Paul Julius, said the budget

proposal was an evidence of the commitment of the Rahmon administration to transforming the local government. He pledged that the legislative council would scrutinise the budget and come up with constructive recommendations and approval

public hearing by the House Committee on Public Petition why the autopsy report was not included in the police investigation report. “It is shameful that the autopsy report was not included in the police report sent to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), neither was it contained in the report sent to the National Assembly Committee investigating the matter. This is a further proof that the police is up to some game.” The statement also claimed that contrary to claims by the police that a Consultant Pathologist, Dr. W. O Akhhiwu, conducted the autopsy, Akhiwu is an Assistant Commissioner of Police still in the service of the Nigeria Police Force. “How could he be said to be a consultant?” The statement noted that

CONGO had accused the Nigeria Police Force of complicity in bungling of investigations, asking: “How could a reliable autopsy be obtained from such an institution that sets out ab initio to bungle the investigation as they have been proven to do with the frame-up of rights activist, Rev. David Ugolor? “The report, from its contents, lacks the details of a best practice autopsy, particularly given a controversial situation the murder has assumed. “In particular, whereas the police claim Oyerinde was shot at close range with a short gun, the State Security Service says he was killed with a pump action. More details as to the type and number of pellets or bullets extracted from his body is absent in the report. Who manufactured the bullets and so on and so forth? Not the rice and beans that the late man ate.”



Truck kills groom, bride a day to wedding EVEN persons were crushed to death yesterday at Ibese community in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State when a truck carrying cement products ran over them. Among the dead were a groom and his bride who were billed to solemnize their wedding today (Saturday). The Nation learnt that the accident, which involved three trucks, was caused by reckless driving by the driver of one of the trucks. He was said to have lost control of the vehicle, crushing the victims who were riding on motorcycles. The commander of the Itori unit of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Fatai Bakare, who confirmed accident to reporters, said two motorbikes, each carrying three passengers, were


… five others n Ernest NWOKOLO, Abeokuta n crushed by the trailer. He confirmed that the accident sparked off a protest by angry youths in the town who set fire to two trailers believed to be owned by a cement company. According to Bakare, “It was an accident involving three trucks belonging to a cement company. But before we got there, the number plates of the trucks were already removed. “Seven people died in the accident, including a man and woman who were billed to get

married on Saturday. They were riding on a bike. The victims were six males and a female. The corpses have been deposited at the Ilaro general hospital morgue. As expected, people reacted angrily and burnt down two trucks of the cement company. “The accident was a result of recklessness on the part of the truck driver who lost control of the vehicle and ran into the victims. Truck drivers along that route are generally reckless and FRSC is doing all that is necessary to put the situation under control.” Also, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said no fewer than 50 armed policemen had been deployed to Ibese community to restore law and order. Olumuyiwa said: “Since yesterday, the

commissioner of police has been holding meeting with the traditional ruler, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, and all the stakeholders in the area on how best to manage the situation. “Ogun State police command has drafted over 50 policemen which included both mobile and conventional policemen to maintain law and order in the area.” Reacting to the tragedy, Dangote Cement Plc said none of its fleet of trucks was involved in an accident in Ibese, and described the accident as unfortunate. In a statement made available to newsmen, Dangote Cement Plc said: “it has learnt of a sad and unfortunate incident involving a cement dealer's truck (not Dangote truck) resulting in loss of lives at Ibese, near Ilaro, Ogun State.”

Septuagenarian hails Fashola, IG for upholding justice septuagenarian, Alhaji Nureni Adegbite has hailed the governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola and the Inspector General of Police (IG) M. D. Abubakar for their role in upholding justice. Alhaji Adegbite, 70, who made the statement while speaking with newsmen shortly after taking possession of his parcel of land, after a protracted legal battle that lasted 16 years, said the two men displayed an uncommon trait of standing by truth and justice in the matter. The Ibadan-based man said he bought the 10-acre land in 1977. But shortly after he purchased the land, located in Adegbo, Olowoira, near Isheri along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the family that sold it to him began to encroach into it, leading the legal battle. “I bought the land in 1977. But I was shocked when I came the following year and saw that a part of the land had been taken over by unknown people. I lodged a complaint at the police station, after which the people who encroached into the land were arrested.” But it soon dawned on him that his problems might take some more time and the grace of God to come to an end. He would later realize that the family that sold the land to him also sold part of it to other people. Alhaji Adegbite said he


•L-R: Guest lecturer and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; chairman of the event, Mr. Bola Akingbade; and keynote speaker, Mr. Udeme Ufot, during the Verdant Zeal Lecture Series, tagged “Beyond branding: Building lasting values for Nigeriaʼs growth, in Lagos…yesterday.

5,000 Osun farmers to benefit from agric extension services n Adesoji ADENIYI, Osogbo n BOUT 5,000 farmers in 450 co-operative societies in Osun State have been selected to benefit from the state government's agricultural extension services. Speaking with newsmen after a meeting with directors of agricultural services for 30 local governments and an area offices in Osun State, the Coordinator of the state Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP), Mr. Dele Ogundipe, said the programme was designed to boost food production in the state. The QIIP boss noted that farmers are central to the Aregbesola administration's policy on food security. According to him, the essence of the collaboration between QIIP and the directors of agriculture in the state was to ensure that farmers across the state access information about new techniques of farming. He disclosed that with 116 agriculture extension services officers, the state has the highest number of experts in the south west to guide the farmers. Ogundipe said: "With the meeting, we have mapped out an effective and efficient agriculture services programme that will reach the grassroots in the state. We are also updating the current list of our agriculture extension officers to make them accessible to the farmers.”


Ex-speaker Masari blames security lapses on leadership failure X-SPEAKER of the House of Representatives Alhaji Aminu Masari has blamed the security situation in parts of the country on leadership failure. Masari made the remark while speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, and lamented the huge loss of lives and property to the Boko Haram menace. He said that: “It is very sad that people are being killed and properties are being destroyed, this should not be the case. The failure of security is a failure of leadership because it is part of the responsibilities of leaders to provide security for lives and properties. If you fail to do


n Adekunle JIMOH, Ilorin n that, you have failed. “There is no excuse for this failure because the government has all the resources, both human and material to tackle this problem. So it is up to the government to say that our strategy is not working so let us use another strategy. “The government is liable if there is failure of security and we are also responsible if there is failure of security. The security problem can be tackled if there is a will on the part those who are in authority.” , the former speaker said. Masari, who was in Ilorin for a three-day legislative workshop, added that, “those

of us who are not in authority should help by providing information that will assist the authorities to stop this violence. We should make sure that they do not succeed because allowing them to succeed is a defeatist approach.” Also speaking, the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Najeem Salam, canvassed complete autonomy for the legislature. According to Najeem, “The strong back bone of democracy is the legislature. The legislature must be given a complete autonomy so that it will be able to checkmate the recklessness of the executives and other arms of government.”

CFAO equipment launched in Nigeria FAO group has launched in Lagos, its subsidiary, CFAO Equipment Nigeria Ltd, a member of a dedicated network already present in eight countries in Africa. CFAO Equipment Nigeria Ltd is active in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and across the country through 16 outstations. Partner of renowned brands, CFAO Equipment offers, in a business-to-business approach, a wide range of construction equipment, handling material, agricultural machinery, power generators, water treatment solutions and elevators. In order to enlarge its range of products, CFAO Equipment Ltd, announced the signature of two strong partnerships with world leading brands: First Doosan with its heavy equipment line for which CFAO Equipment Nigeria was already the authorized distributor of Doosan compact line BOBCAT and now completes its offer with each moving, quarry and mining heavy


equipment. Second, Culligan, a world leader in water treatment solutions. With this strong partner CFAO equipment aims to play a major role in the Nigerian water sector with an all-inclusive offer from pumping storage to treatment. Due to CFAO’s good will in and long association with Nigeria, others partnerships are expected in the near future and will enable CFAO Equipment to propose even more products and services to its partners. CFAO Equipment addresses local and international stakeholders involved in construction, agriculture, energy, logistics and transportation activities. “By dedicating a specific network to support the construction and development of infrastructures over the African continent, CFAO group confirms its willingness to facilitate the sustainable growth of the countries in which it operates” stated Francis SAGET, Managing Director of CFAO Equipment Nigeria Ltd.

later instituted a legal action after the family failed to respond to the several invitations sent to them by the police. He instituted a case at a Lagos High Court, presided over by Justice O. A. Williams, who ruled in his favour on October 4, 2002. “After I noticed that they were not responding to the invitations, I went to a Lagos High Court to seek resolution of the matter. The court, presided over by Justice O. A. Williams ruled in my favour and ordered everybody to vacate the land.” But despite the ruling the people remained adamant and refused to vacate the land. He then instituted another case at the court to take possession. He went back to court the third time to obtain a warrant of possession. However, he did not stop there, as he also sent a petition, dated March 12, 2013, to the Inspector General of Police. The IG assigned the Commissioner of Police ‘D’ Department to investigate the matter, after which he assigned some policemen to assist the old man to retake his land. Adegbite said: “I want to thank the Inspector General of Police for his stand on this matter. His intervention made it possible for me to regain my land. Also, Governor Fashola proved that he is a man of justice because the people wanted to scare me away by telling that the government had taken over the land.”

Gunmen kidnap Ondo journalist journalist with the Nigerian Television Authority, Akure, Mrs. Olubunmi Oke, was on Thursday abducted by gunmen. Sources said she was abducted by four gunmen along Oba-Ile road in Akure while on her way home from work. Mrs. Oke, a nursing mother, was abducted shortly after she read the news on NTA that evening and was with her child and housemaid when she was abducted and driven away in her car. The baby and maid were later dropped from the car, while she was driven away to an unknown destination. Her car has since been


n Damisi OJO, Akure n

recovered along Igbara-Oke road at the outskirt of Akure, leading to the suspicion that she may have been taken outside the state to an unknown destination. Meanwhile, the Ondo State chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists [NUJ] has expressed its shock over the incident. In a statement, Mr. Ebenezer Adeniyan, NUJ state secretary, said: ''We condemn this barbaric act in its totality and we therefore seek the support of the security agencies and the government in securing her release from the den of the kidnappers.




HE Nigerian Comm u n i c a t i o n Commission (NCC), has announced a new interconnectivity rate for the country. The new rates which represents a downward review takes effect from 1st April, 2013. The new set of interconnection rates determination for voice services for the c o u n t r y ’ s telecommunications industry which is as low as N4.90k is expected to be in operation for the next three years until further review by the Commission. Meanwhile, MTN telecommunication has been fined N90 million for failing to meet up with the industry key performance indicators. The company has up to April 3rd, 2013 to pay the fine. Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communication Commission made the disclosure on Friday during public enquiry on the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) regulations. Number portability enables telephone users retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile operator to another. Though this is implemented in different ways across the globe. Speaking on the new set of interconnection rates, Ojobo said the decision was arrived at after comprehensive consultations with various stakeholders.

Police intercept 6,300 live ammunition Osagie OTABOR, Benin


EVEN boxes containing 6,300 live ammunition including 114 AK 47 rifles magazines have been recovered by men of the Edo State Police Command. State Police Commissioner, Adebanjo Folusho said the recovery was made through intelligence network of the police. He was, however, silent on where and how the recovery was made because the matter was still under investigation. The state police boss also paraded 18 persons arrested for various offences including rape, armed robbery, kidnapping and car snatching. Adebanjo said one Samson Koma was arrested while attempting to collect N500,000 ransom for a female victim identified as Grace Agbonkpolor who was later rescued unhurt. He said six suspects were arrested for violent crimes in the state within the last two months. Items recovered from the suspects included one pump action gun, one locally made single barrel gun, one Audi car, one locally made SMG machine gun and GSM handsets. He said he had warned criminals to relocate from the state or turn a new, leaf while promising to make the state safe for residents.

NCC announces new rates for GSM operators

Vincent IKUOMOLA, Abuja He also said that they were informed by the depth of competition in the industry, while taking into consideration the position of New Entrants and Small Operators. The Termination Rates for voice services provided by New Entrants and Small Operators in Nigeria, irrespective of the originating network shall be: N6.40 (six naira forty kobo) from April 1st, 2013; N5.20 (five naira twenty

•Fines MTN N90 million kobo) from April 1st 2014; and N3. 90 (three naira ninety kobo) from 1st April, 2015. Ojobo noted that the review was a sign to show that the Commission was a sensitive regulator and has been listening to the yearnings of the people. He also announced that the planned emergency centers will soon kick off with two pilot centers in Minna, Niger State, which is targetted to serve the

northern part of the country and the Akwa, Anambra States centres meant to serve the southern part of the country. Both are to serve as a learning curve as more centres are to be opened afterwards. He gave the emergency number as 112. He also explained that the initiative which is expected to come up soon is being delayed by the issue of management. Speaking earlier on the

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) regulations, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC Dr. Eugene Juwah said the service was being introduced into the Nigerian telecommunication market to act as an incentive for service providers to improve quality of service and customer satisfaction. He further added that “these regulations will in addition create a harmonious level playing field for all operators. The draft MNP regula-

tions, he said were aimed at providing a regulatory framework for the implementation and operation of mobile number portability in Nigeria, which according to him, “will foster and strengthen the relationship between service providers in the country.”

We’re safe in Enugu —Northerners •We can’t vouch for their safety -Ohanaeze Chris OJI, Enugu


•From left: Chief Financial Officer ,Mrs. Aissatou Diouf; Deputy Managing Director . CFAO Group ,Mr. Jean Marc Bosse; Managing Director, CFAO Equipment, Mr. Francois Saget;, Country Manager,CFAO Group, Mr. Steve Faderin, during the official launch of DOOSAN and CULLIGAN by CFAO Equipment in Lagos...Friday -

Amaechi completes Rivers ultra-modern waste plant


N his administration’s determination to recycle waste and have a cleaner environment, Rivers State governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has completed the construction of a 71,000 cubic metre sewage plant that will treat and process waste in the state to make it useful and re-useable. Located in Oroworukwo community in the Eagle Island area of the state, the pilot waste treatment and processing plant, when commissioned, will turn wastes into fertilizer and methane gas for agricultural and domestic use. The waste treatment and

processing plant provides jobs to people around the facility areas and will also offer employment to electrical, mechanical and waste management engineers. Speaking during an inspection tour of the facility with journalists, Governor Amaechi’s Special Assistant on Sewage Management, Dr Ogu Emejuru said apart from producing fertilizer and methane gas, the waste treatment and processing plant was also being constructed to check the spread of diseases that comes with indiscriminate dumping of sewage in the state. “About four years ago, the

governor had a vision to have a sewage plant because of the issues of dumping sewage in the creeks and in the gutters. You know, when sewage is dumped indiscriminately, the issue will be about malaria, diseases and typhoid, so the governor had the vision that we should have a sewage plant where sewage will be dumped and processed into re-useable materials like fertilizer, methane gas etc,” he said. “We employ a lot of citizens here from Eagle Island. The actual employment now will be for engineers - mechanical, electrical, waste

management engineers. That is when we commission. We are in that process now of trying to work with them. Even students from universities, they have come here to see how they can understudy the process of sewage treatment and deriving benefits from sewage.” Emejuru said the waste treatment and processing plant will process about 1,000 cubic metre of sewage per day or 20 truckloads of sewage daily, disclosing that talks were already on with sewage contractors in the state to bring truck loads of sewage to the plant for treatment and processing.”

Cross River lawmakers summon council chairmen HE Cross River State House of Assembly has directed Chairmen of the 18 local government councils to appear before it on their refusal and neglect to submit statements of income and expenditure for the past 14 months. This directive which is contained in a resolution of the House stated that the chairmen were expected to offer public explanation on Wednesday 27th March, 2013. The House also resolved that the chairmen should on Wednesday, submit all outstanding returns to the House or face sanctions. Making their inputs on the matter, members said chairmen of councils must be


Nicholas KALU, Calabar seen to conduct their affairs in accordance with the provision of the law. Members observed that the Assembly had a duty to protect the state and that the legislature must take urgent steps to save the lack of commitment and financial indiscipline of council leadership. Deputy Speaker, Itaya Nyong who presided over the sitting, said from members’ contributions, it was evident that councils were not faring well. Statistics of Returns so far made by councils show that Abi, Akamkpa, Akpabuyo, Bakassi and Bekwarra have not submitted any income

and expenditure statement from January 2012 to date. Biase and Etung have submitted for five months each, while Calabar Municipality has submitted for 10 months. Ikom submitted for eight months, Obudu for three months, while Yala has only submitted for four months. All the councils recorded nil for the period 2013. Rounding off the debate, the deputy speaker stated that any council that fails to appear on the said date will be sanctioned severely. Member representing Boki II State Constituency, Jacob Otu Enyia said the only way councils could show justifications for funds received is by submitting statements of income and expenditure.

Enyia stated that the Assembly had enormous powers to check the excesses of the councils which can be exercised without necessarily having to amend the local government laws. He said it was for the lawmakers to have the political will to put into practice, the powers the law has accorded them. According to him, the government would not tolerate acts of indiscipline and dereliction of duty as exhibited by the councils. He said nowhere either in the Financial Regulation, Civil Service Rules Financial Memorandum, Local Government Guidelines is such attitude by the chairmen of councils ever allowed.

ORTHERNERS residing in Enugu said at the weekend that they were safe and going about their business without any fear of attack or molestation. The confirmation came againsty the background of Tuesday attack on the Igbo in Kano State. But the usual piece which existed between the Igbo and their northern guests in areas heavily populated by the Hausa was noticeable as it was business as usual. Usman Gindigi, a cobbler who said he had been doing his business for the past four years in Enugu added that he had nothing to fear, even as he was being accommodated by an Igbo man free of charge in his boys quarters. “I don’t see any sign of attack coming from Igbo people here in Enugu. They know we are not the ones that threw the bomb in Kano. Instead of fearing revenge attack from Igbo people, I fear the attack of Boko Haram people,” Usman spoke in Hausa. A biscuit and sweets seller at a get of a secondary school, simply known as ‘Baba’ by the pupils, said even if there was such a counter attack by the people of Enugu, he will be well protected by his Igbo friends whom he had struck a brotherly relationship with. “I don’t fear anything like that,” he said. But apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo warned in a statement that keeping the restive Igbo youths calm against reprisal attacks had been an onerous job for the umbrella organisation. The Secretary-General of the organisation, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, who signed the statement, emphasised that “we can no longer guarantee the civil response of our people in a country that has become one huge slaughter house.” “Ndigbo cannot continue to bear this unnecessary and unprovoked loss of Igbo blood. These Islamist fundamentalists murderers must be tackled with the same ruthlessness with which they destroy innocent lives. The Federal Government must convince the people, especially Ndigbo that they were safe in Nigeria.” Warning that no tribe was essentially completely made up of cowards and that Ndigbo are certainly no cowards, Ohanaeze pointed said: “We remind the murderers that no ethnic group has the monopoly of violence. Meanwhile, a coalition of pressure groups in a joint press conference, called for a state of emergency to be declared in Kano State and other Boko Haram infested states. Led by its cordinator, Chuks Ibegbu, the group said the Kano State Government as well as the Federal Government should pick the burial bills of the dead victims.





Obuh prefers Congo victory as birthday gift

We must play like champions


UPER EAGLES’ boss, Stephen Keshi is one master of the mind game, especially as it concerns team selection in the Super Eagles which he presides over as Head Coach. On Thursday during the national team’s training at the UJ Esuene Stadium, he did what many thought was a sold out to the media by picking a strike force of Obafemi Martins and Brown Ideye. Victor Moses by then was to struggle for a starting shirt with Ahmed Musa on the wings. Babatunde Michael and Benjamin Francis were neck-deep in the battle for the out-side left position or so it seemed. The media was awash with these possibilities until the following day at the training session when nothing, absolutely nothing seem to have been agreed by Keshi and his crew. Suddenly, John Ogu, the Academica of Portugal middle man was featuring in the scheme of things, Gabriel Reuben was firing from the middle and Kano Pillars’ Gambo Mohammed was the man given the task to fire shots into the opponents’ nets. Vincent Enyeama was not near the post, as Austin Ejide and Chigozie Agbim, were the more preferred to receive

fire from strikers. At the end of the training session that was fortunately or otherwise closed to the media, all officials apart from Keshi and his crew were left bemused at those who may or may not start Saturday’s game. As if reading the minds of his staff, Keshi gave an inspiring message at the end of the training session after prayers have been said by Ogu. “Gentlemen, I want us to play as champions of Africa. Yes, we were champions at the last Nations Cup in South Africa, but that is gone and gone forever. We want to play at the Brazil 2014 World Cup, with the semi final as our target and who says we cannot win the World Cup. But it has to start with a win against Harambee Stars tonight.” Keshi added that the Kenyans have nothing to fight for in the World Cup qualifier but only to come and act as spoilers but the Eagles have everything, especially their integrity to fight for as champions of the continent and he was sure they will not let the nation down. Team Skipper, Vincent Enyeama said later that the team has not been more motivated for any encounter that the game against Kenya. “We have since forgotten about the Nations Cup

victory in South Africa, what we are thinking about now is to qualify for the World Cup and do very well at the championship in Brazil”,




•Security agents bar journalists, spectators •Fans climb poles, fences to watch Eagles train By Uchenna Ajah and Tunde Liadi in Calabar reasons. “Please the decision not to allow journalists and fans access to the stadium was to allow the team to focus well on the challenges on Saturday. It is a directive we had to respect,” he added. Interestingly, most of the fans who failed to catch a glimpse of the AFCON 2013 heroes decided to make do with poles and fences surrounding the stadium arena. “I had no choice but to climb the pole to see my Eagles train,” a fan who simply gave his name


LYING Eagles’ coach John Obuh has told his players the best birthday gift he desires is for the team to beat DR Congo tonight in the final group game of the African Youth Championship. Obuh celebrated his birthday last Thursday after the team’s 1-0 win over Gabon, but he has demanded more from his players. The Nigeria Football Federation hailed Obuh, describing him as an achiever who could reach the apex of his career, and In a moving response, Obuh appreciated the NFF while he challenged the Flying Eagles Class of 2013 to

make his joy complete by going all the way to qualifying for the World Cup in Turkey and successfully defending the AYC crown. “I want you to make my joy complete by first qualifying for the World Cup on Saturday by beating DR Congo in our final group game and then going on to successfully defend our title here in Algeria,” Obuh enjoined. The Flying Eagles are second in Group B with three points and need only a draw tonight against DR Congo to book their World Cup ticket and also reach the semi-finals of the AYC.

Black marketers take over ESS than 24 hours to 2014 World Cup ticket sales qualifying match

Eagles in closed-door training HEAD of today’s 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Kenya’s Harambee Stars, Nigeria’s Super Eagles observed a closed-door training session at the U.J.Esuene Stadium, Calabar on Friday morning. The session which commenced before the scheduled 8.00 am kick- off time, saw the gates leading into the main bowl locked with stern looking security agents on guard. This did not go well with most journalists alongside football lovers in the Cross River state capital after they were turned back at the gate. Reacting to the lock out of journalists, Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Ben Alaiya told NatioSport that it was for tactical

declared the man who has been generally adjudged as Africa’s best goalkeeper of the 21st century.

as James told NationSport. Meanwhile, after the day’s session, it was a herculean task for Chelsea duo of John Obi

Mikel and Victor Moses to get into the team’s bus as the fans hailed: “Victor! Victor!! Victor Moses!!!….Mikel! Mikel!!, Mikel!!! Some even went as far as calling him Obi-Ke-re-ren-ke. While Mikel strolled past without acknowledging the fans, Moses waved back before boarding the bus.

between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Kenya’s Harambee Stars billed for the U.J.Esuene Stadium, Calabar, black marketers have taken over tickets sales within the stadium vicinity. NationSport sources gathered that the most visible tickets currently on sale are for the popular side that was originally sold for N1000 now selling for between N1300 and N1500 depending on your bargaining prower. However, those of the Covered Stands that were earmarked for N3000 now goes for N4000 but are only provided to the would buyer on special condition on advance payment. “I tried to get the match ticket from a sales vendor

From Uchenna Ajah and Tunde Liadi in Calabar

outside the stadium and he demanded for N1000 but he threw back my money demanding for N500 extra which I rejected,” a fan who simply gave his name as Jacob told NationSport. Interestingly, Super Eagles Security Officer, ACP Gideon Akinsola has advised fans against buying tickets from non-listed “It is at your own risk to go to buy tickets from non-approved sales outlets as sales points have already been listed. I would like to advise those fans without ticket to please remain at home as they will not be allowed into the stadium,” the police chief told NationSport.


No bottles, cans for Eagles/Harambee clash


OOTBALL fans wishing to watch today’s 2014 World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Kenya’s Harambee Stars live at the U.J.Esuene Stadium, Calabar have been banned from bringing in beverages and drinks sealed in bottles and cans to the match

By Uchenna Ajah and Tunde Liadi in Calabar venue. Head of Eagles’ security, Gideon Akinsola told NatioSport that this was is in line with FIFA’s directives in ensuring a hitch-free atmosphere during matches.

“We are not going to allow fans and other football stakeholders come into the stadium with drinks in bottles and cans. It is not in line with the World’s football governing body’s directives,” he warned, even as he noted that all arrangement to ensure that spectators enjoy themselves

during the encounter has already been put in place. “We are mindful of all security challenges in this part of the country. We want to assure all fans coming to watch the match that by the special grace of God we have put in place before, during and after the match.

Code of conduct for Eagles •Continued from back page concerning the Eagles with sentiments for as long as they are doing well. This Mikel act is despicable because he was clearly speaking for himself. As a top player in the Barclays English Premier League, he should know better how such demands are made. Would he have confronted his compatriot in Chelsea, Michael Emenalo, if his club had delayed in paying his winning bonus? To begin with, does he even have access to Emenalo, despite that the man is also a Nigerian? Mikel knows that such untoward conduct is hardly condoned in Chelsea- and elsewhere in Europe. The truth of the matter is that our players are so uneducated and so unenlightened to know the right approach to issues. And this is where their European colleagues are years ahead of them. There is no way you will find a European player badmouthing his coach or employer, no matter the circumstance. Elsewhere, the skipper of the team would subtly remind the federation about their outstanding entitlements and get commitments. He would do this through their coaches. It is from their coaches that the players would be told the next line of action. Is anyone angry that Mikel chose to deal directly with the NFF? I no know book o! He certainly didn’t carry his coaches along. Like the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti sang in one of his albums, ODOO, overtake don overtake overtake, ye yea… Going to the South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, the NFF’s budget for players’ match bonuses was graduated from $10,000 for the preliminary games, $15,000 and then $20,000. Eagles’ first two matches were convulsive. Indeed, the Sports Minister, in his wisdom – perhaps to further motivate the players, directed that the full winning bonus of $15,000 be paid for the drawn game against Zambia. This writer applauded the decision which was at grave cost to the NFF’s working plan of $10,000. Looking back, it was worth it because we broke a 19-year-old jinx. Our people felt like one and it opened a new vista for us as a country. People’s perception of Nigeria changed. The bonuses overshot the federation’s budget. The players didn’t really bother about the final game, having clinched the trophy. A labourer deserves his wages, but such demands should be done with wisdom. One expected to read that the NFF reneged on earlier promises in Mikel’s text. He didn’t reflect it. Emenike and Mikel have thrown potshots at the system? Whose turn is it next? We are watching. Ajimobi’s heart of gold Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi is the man of the moment. He is not known to be an avid supporter of football. Yet he has given the family of ailing Nigeria international Jossy lad N850,000, in two tranches of N350,000 and N500,000. Jossy Lad has been diagnosed of a heart ailment. He needs help. The Oyo Government’s prompt response to a man who gave his life to Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) as a player, coach and administrator is commendable. The government has promised more. We need to assist our heroes when they are distressed. Jossy Lad is a good man and deserves all the financial assistance he needs to stay alive. This is the time to assist him and not when he is gone (God forbid). Come on folks! Join Ajimobi in getting Jossy Lad back on his feet. Jossy Lad must not be allowed to die.




Cadbury, Berger Paints declare N1.7b dividends


ADBURY Nigeria Plc and Berger Paints Plc will distribute about N1.72 billion as cash dividends to shareholders for the year ended December 31, 2012, the boards of the companies announced yesterday. Reports by the boards of the firms indicated that Cadbury Nigeria will break its long waiting period for dividends with distribution of N1.57 billion to shareholders. Cadbury Nigeria’s last dividend was for the 2005 business year. Berger Paints, a paints and chemical company, would distribute N152.2 million to shareholders, in what represented a substantial return to shareholders. Breakdown of the dividend recommendations indicated that shareholders of Cadbury Nigeria would receive a dividend per share of 50 kobo for

•Equities rally By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

each ordinary share of 50 kobo held as at April 12, 2013. The dividend however, represented a dividend yield of 1.43 per cent at current market price. Berger Paints will distribute a dividend per share of 70 kobo for each ordinary share of 50 kobo held as at April 19, 2013. This represented a dividend yield of 6.7 per cent. However, the audited reports and accounts of the two companies are still being awaited. Investors responded to the dividend recommendations with considerable rallies for the stocks. Cadbury Nigeria’s share price rose by 75 kobo to close at N34.95 per share. Berger Paints chalked up 49 kobo to close at N10.45 per share. Dangote Cement provided

the main boost for the market as the most capitalised stock rallied N5 to close at N155. Okomu Oil Palm rose by N2 to close at N61. International Breweries added 55 kobo to close at N21.85. Airlines Services and Logistics rose by 39 kobo to close at N5 while Ashaka Cement gained 37 kobo to close at N23.91. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities increased to N10.721 trillion as against its opening value of N10.676 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the main index that tracks changes in prices of all quoted equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), improved from 33,361.96 points to 33,506.88 points. Total turnover stood at 296.26 million shares worth N3.09 billion in 4,567 deals.

Ecobank absolves self from margin loan fraud


HE management of Ecobank Nigeria Plc absolved the bank from any complicity and connivance in the fraudulent conversion of a margin-loan shares collateral that led to suspension of a fund-manager client of the bank, Arian Capital Management Limited. In a statement made available to The Nation, the bank that it was suspended by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from being a

Taofik Salako receiving bank due to inability of Arian Capital Managementto provide shareholder’s consent required by SEC, which Arian Capital had assured the bank it had before Ecobank granted the shares-backed margin loan to the fund manager. According to the lender, sometime in 2007, the bank granted a margin loan facility to Arian Capital Manage-

ment Limited for on-lending, secured by quoted shares. The shares were to be in the Central Securities and Clearing System (CSCS) account in the joint names of Arian Capital and Ecobank. The margin loan to Arian Capital became delinquent and the debt was sold to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON)together with the collateral. Part of the collaterals used by Arian on the CSCS account were shares in the joint name of Avil Services-Arian Capital, which Arian moved to the joint account in the name of Arian Capital-Ecobank and which Ecobank transferred to AMCON.




The federal government needs to provide leadership for a national conference on how to keep the country united, rather than waxing eloquent on the dogma of indivisibility of the nation —Ropo Sekoni


HE fashionable thing would be for this column to join the bandwagon of those who have been castigating President Goodluck Jonathan for recently exercising his power to forgive some persons found guilty and convicted of gross crimes against the Nigerian state and people. Thanks to the presidential prerogative of mercy, these persons now have a clean bill of health. They are born again and can enjoy the full benefits of Nigerian citizenship. Most of the critics have no grouse with the pardon of those military officers implicated and convicted in the phantom coup plots against the regime of the late General Sani Abacha. They had always been perceived anyway as victims of a sinister power game and the allegations against them pure fiction. The main point of contention has been the pardon granted Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Governor of Bayelsa State, President Jonathan’s former boss and the self-styled Governor-General of the Ijaw nation. Alamieyeseigha had been found culpable and convicted of massive corruption, money laundering and stealing. As Governor, he acquired property across the world on an obscene scale at the expense of the poverty-stricken people of Bayelsa State. In 2005, he jumped bail in Britain, mysteriously found his way back to Nigeria, was subsequently impeached by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, tried in a court of law and duly convicted. Those who support the President’s action in pardoning his former boss and continuing mentor contend that Alamieyeseigha had made sufficient atonement for his sins. He had suffered considerable psychological torture. He had worn the stigma of a convict. He had forfeited considerable sums of money and sizable property to the state. In any case, no one has argued that the President lacked the legal powers to exercise the right of pardon the way he did. And to further strengthen the President’s hand, he had acted in concert with the National Council of State (NCS), the highest advisory body in the land. Rather than joining in crying over spilt milk, this column considers it more useful to reflect on what the Alamieyeseigha pardon tells us about state, society, power and politics in contemporary Nigeria. We will dwell on our existential realities as they are and not as we think they ought to be. The first thing that comes to mind, an issue frequently raised in this space are the phenomenal powers of the Nigerian presidency. Patterned after the American presidential system, Nigeria’s presidency wields enormous powers and privileges without the institutional, moral and societal restraints that largely circumscribe the conduct of his American counterpart. This is probably why the NCS simply acted as a rubber stamp on the Alamieyeseigha issue. Some critics have accused Jonathan of being largely motivated

Alamieyeseigha’s pardon : Beyond emotions

•Alamieyeseigha by self-interest, particularly considerations of the 2015 elections in pardoning his former boss. The calculation, it is suggested, is that Alamieyeseigha may be offered a powerful ministerial post, possibly the Niger Delta Ministry, that will enable him warehouse substantial funds and act as the President’s ‘Mr Fix-it’ in the South-South come the critical 2015 elections. Well, all this still lies within the realm of conjecture. However, I find it difficult to fault Jonathan who has already clearly begun his permutations to stay in office beyond 2015. This is simply the norm in Nigerian politics. Anyone who, in these climes, opts for the famous ‘Mandela option’ of staying just one term in office would be considered a mad man. Here, calculations for a second term begin almost immediately after the swearing in for the first term. This seems to be an iron law of Nigerian politics. It applies at all levels from the local governments to the presidency. Not even General Olusegun Obasanjo could defy this iron law of perpetuation in office. During his first coming as military Head of State, OBJ won world-

Yet, what was the reaction in Bayelsa State at the announcement of his pardon? There was widespread jubilation! Who then are you and I to question Jonathan’s judgement on a pardon that the people of Bayelsa Statethe victims of the massive corruption – have enthusiastically and wholeheartedly endorsed?

wide plaudits for voluntarily quitting office and handing over to an elected civilian government in 1979. In his second coming as elected President, OBJ had grown much ‘wiser’. He tried in futility to have the constitution amended to enable him enjoy a third term in office. But then, there is something baffling about the way Jonathan is going about his ambitions for 2015. Here is a man who rode to power on the wings of a much trumpeted ‘Transformation Agenda’. Yet, midway into his tenure, there is little to show on ground in terms of concrete performance. Can the expected electoral abracadabra of the likes of Tony Anenih and Alamieyeseigha make up for this deficiency in terms of measurable achievements especially in the face of a determined opposition? Time will tell. However, a more serious question is why would Jonathan consider a man convicted of massive corruption like Alamieyeseigha a veri-

table political asset towards 2015? Should he not in a normal society be a grave liability that an incumbent President would want to keep at arms-length? And this is where we must transcend emotions in analysing this issue. Alamieyeseigha may have been a criminal in the eyes of the Nigerian state. But to his beloved people in the Niger Delta, he remains a hero and role model. This is the same thing with James Ibori who is currently serving a jail term in Britain for corrupt practices. If Ibori returns home tomorrow, he will definitely be accorded a hero’s welcome by ‘his people’. The huge outcry against Alamieyeseigha’s pardon has come really from a small band of social critics, human rights activists, radical academics and Non-Governmental organizations supported by the international community particularly the United States. Does this outcry represent the Nigerian society’s sense of moral outrage at the gargantuan scale of corruption that hobbles the land? I do not think so. Most Nigerians are simply going about their businesses absolutely unperturbed about the pardon and its implications. In other climes, the people would be out in their numbers protesting this kind of moral outrage on the streets. Why then must outsiders cry louder than the bereaved on this matter? Just think about it. Alamieyeseigha did not still money belonging to the United States. The money he stole did not even belong to the totality of the Nigerian people. It was the money allocated to Bayelsa state from the Federation Account during his tenure as Governor that he criminally privatised. Yet, what was the reaction in Bayelsa State at the announcement of his pardon? There was widespread jubilation! Who then are you and I to question Jonathan’s judgement on a pardon that the people of Bayelsa State- the victims of the massive corruption – have enthusiastically and wholeheartedly endorsed? This is not a matter on which we can afford to be emotional. We should face the facts realistically in order to be able to come up with effective guide posts towards a corruption-free Nigeria. For the majority of Nigerians, the Nigerian state at all levels remains an alien entity whose resources can be legitimately plundered at will. Those who have access to state resources and maintain a saintly, ‘holier than thou’ attitude are held in utter derision. Those ‘wise’ ones who utilise state power to ‘eat’ ravenously on behalf of their people are held in the highest esteem. They are offered chieftaincy titles and the most prominent places in churches and mosques. In other words, Alamieyeseigha may have acted illegally in the eyes of the law, but he remained morally untainted by the ethical canons of his local milieu. That is a major obstacle to scale before we can fight any meaningful anti-corruption war in Nigeria.

Ade Ojeikere on Saturday

Code of conduct for Eagles


UCCESS intoxicates. It has an uncanny way of making people walk on thin air. Decorum is thrown into the bin. For the media, bad news is good news. Newsmen look for such scoops to sell their platforms. Will anyone blame them, especially in our case where a man bites a dog and people are not stunned? They have seen worse things. Indeed, the poor conduct of the top actors of the South Africa 2013 cup heroes reached its uncharitable and uncomplimentary heights last week Friday when Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike fouled the air with scathing comments about his coach and eggheads of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The words Emenike chose were awful. They showed a high level of indiscipline, such that this writer kept wondering if a Nigerian could pour such invectives on his club’s management and coaches. Even though his reasons for anger were germane, he ought to have known that he could one day return to the squad to meet these people

he tried to paint as irresponsible in the international media. Granted the failure to contact Emenike should elicit such angst from the player, yet he should have told us the attempts he made to reach the coaches and the NFF. This perspective has become expedient following the revelation that Emenike changed his telephone lines. He wouldn’t have expected the coaches to know about his change of contact, except he told them so. How does Emenike hope to curry the coaches’ favour in future, if he is a borderline case with another player for the list of those to be dropped? What Emenike’s rant means is that our coaches should urge the players to register in their Blackberry group where everyone’s movement can be checked? Emenike didn’t want the coaches or/and the NFF to visit him in Turkey. All he demanded was a telephone call (s) to find out how he was faring. Emenike’s demand wasn’t a difficult one, especially as he sustained the injury playing for Nigeria at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations held in South Africa. Interestingly, the coach behaved maturely,

with his stoic silence. He has learnt from the Osaze Odemwingie saga. The need for a code of conduct becomes expedient when the story of John Mikel Obi’s text message to the General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Musa Amadu, broke. The impunity of having to send a text message to the administrative head of the federation underscores how our players regard people in position of authority. Would anyone blame him when the NFF President was ordered out of the stage by the announcer at the presidential reception organised for the Eagles? Could Mikel have had the guts to do that to the smallest administrator in Chelsea? It is easy to say that they won’t owe their players. Yet there are better ways to demand for the cash than pushing out an audacious text message. Mikel’s message read thus: “Sec pls, I just want to let u know that if we do not get our match bonus for winning the Nations Cup, we are not playing this game ok.” Had Mikel been the Eagles’ captain, one would have said that he was speaking for the others. In what capacity was he sending that message?

What was the hurry in sending the message when he was coming to Nigeria for the game? Couldn’t he have been more courteous to call Amadu, instead of the threatening text message? Would Nigeria seize to be a sovereign nation, if we don’t play a World Cup game? Did the world stop when Nigeria wasn’t at the 2006 World Cup held in Germany? Or are we back to the era of the mafia who held our football hostage with this irritating arm-twisting tactics? Or did Mikel hear that the cash had been given to Amadu? Our players should exercise decorum some when demanding their rights. The joke of the Mikel text saga is that it is being swept aside on the altar of whom it was sent to? Was it sent to the NFF SecretaryGeneral or the team’s secretary? Little wonder Mikel laughed his naughty stunt off because he knew nothing would come out of it. Mikel didn’t deny that he sent it, but those desirous to debunk the story failed to ask the Chelsea star who he sent the text to? One won’t be surprised if Mikel goes unpunished for this act. We treat issues

•Continued on Page 62

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