Page 1

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

DHQ: Shekau’s aide found dead

News S/Court Justice’s wife freed P59 Sports Eagles target World Cup 2014 P63 Business IMF: Nigeria needs better SEC P59


•Boko Haram men held Page 2

VOL. 8, NO. 2500 WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, 2013



Amaechi to Abuja: I’m not scared of impeachment Southsouth governor leads plot against Rivers governor

Even if I am removed tomorrow, I am satisfied that this state, this country and history will recognise and remember me…let Abuja know that you can stand for your right —Amaechi



MID a grand plot to impeach him, Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi spoke yesterday on his travails, saying he will have no regrets if he leaves office. A Southsouth governor is said to have been directed by some forces in the Presidency to fund the plot under which seven lawmakers are to be induced to join the anti-Amaechi camp. Of the Assembly’s 32 members, five are against Amaechi. But Amaechi said: “Indeed,

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja and Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

it is only the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has the guts to suspend a governor without a reason. I leave them to God and to you (the people).... We must come together to defend Rivers State. It’s not about me; I have served eight years as Speaker, nearly six years as governor. Even if I am removed tomorrow, I am satisfied that this state, this country and history will recognise

I believe truth must be upheld, fairness must be justified and accepted and those who think that it is enough to conspire against truth have to be exposed — Justice Karibi-Whyte

and remember me.” “If there is no history that I have made, the one God has helped me to make is the one that I stood out and fought for my right and became a governor. You voted on my behalf and the Supreme Court confirmed that when you people were voting, you were voting for me. But you also need to make your own history and that history is that let Abuja know that you can stand for your right, whether you belong to PDP or APC or any other

party.” Amaechi, who was re-elected Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) last Friday, has been suspended from the PDP – a dimension he insists was unfair. He said the people’s votes must count in the choice of who becomes governor of the state in 2015. The governor was addressing an inter-party summit with the theme “Cohesive inter-party relations as a panacea for peace and sustainable development in Rivers State” in Port

Harcourt, the state capital. He noted that any government which could not attribute its victory to the people’s votes would not be responsible to the people, adding that governments at all levels become transparent and accountable only when they fear they could be voted out for poor performance. Amaechi recalled his speech at a youths forum on Monday. Continued on page 2

Video shows how Jang lost NGF poll By Olukorede Yishau, Asst. Editor News


IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi won last Friday’s election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) with 19 votes , an amateur footage of the election released yesterday has proved. Amaechi was reelected chairman after he defeated his only challenger, Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang , who had 16 votes. Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola captured most of the proceedings of the election on his mobile phone, it was learnt. When the arrowhead of the opposition Continued on page 2

Reps stop Jonathan

•‘Don’t spend Borno, Yobe, Adamawa cash’ From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


HE House of Representatives is insisting that President Goodluck Jonathan has no constitutional right to spend the funds of local governments under the state of emergency. The lawmakers are disappointed that their Continued on page 2

•New judges taking the oath of office at the Lagos State Government Secretariat in Alausa...yesterday. From right: Mrs. Folashade Janet Bankole-Oki, Mr. Michael Akintunde Savage, Mrs. Oyindamola Ogala, Mr. Ganiyu Safari, Mrs. Sedoten Ogunsanya and Mr. Wasiu Animashaun

Fashola urges judges to be fearless






NEWS Boko Haram leader Shekau’s associate found dead, says Defence Hqtrs


•President Goodluck Jonathan grreting the Emir of Kontagora, Alhaji Sa’idu Namaska, during the ground breaking of the 700MW capacity Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant. With them is Niger State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu.

N2.94tr pension fund cash in danger, says Senate


ENATE President David Mark yesterday lamented that about N2.94trillion that has accrued to the pension fund was not yielding any direct benefit to the nation’s economy due to poor management. The followed the second reading of a bill to Repeal the Pensions Reform Act 2004 and enact the Pension Reform Act 2013 in the Senate in Abuja. In the proposed law, employees contribution will be reviewed upwards. The Federal Government’s and the Federal Capital Territory’s contribution would be

charged on the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federation and that of the FCT respectively. Mark noted that the present administration of the nation’s pension fund, was superintended over by people without the requisite experiences. He said, “I think the problem we have is that we have all sorts of rookies, people who have no idea about managing funds, let alone very huge pensions fund, going to manage our pension fund; and I think it is a very spe-

cialised area where you cannot just wake up tomorrow morning and be appointed to manage the pension fund, you will mismanage it. “That is what I suspect has happened. The national budget is N4.9trillion; and we have money in the pension fund up to N2.9trillion; so you can imagine the amount of money at the disposal of few individuals who are not properly supervised, who had no training in the management, and who dipped their hands into it as and when they feel like. “I think the essence of this re-

that he would stop. At a point in the video, one of the governors complained about the air-conditioning system. Another wondered what some women in an adjacent room were doing there and he was told they were staff of the NGF. It also showed Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha battling with cold and taking a piece of toilet roll to clean his nose. The video showed the intense maneuvering by the governors

on both sides, documenting how the 35 governors voted, the counting of votes and the declaration of result by the DirectorGeneral of the Forum and Presiding Officer, Asishana Okauru. There was so much noise at a point. Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi stood and said: “DG, can you start counting.” The recording is the first documentary evidence of a transparent process in which Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

form is to make sure that people who are properly trained are put in charge of the pension fund and properly managed. There is hardly any pensioner in this country who is not going through hell. “He makes all his contributions, when it is time for him to receive his pensions, then they don’t recognise him anymore. When he was paying the contributions he is a very lovely boy or girl, he is a welcome person, everybody is petting him until he retires and when he should now enjoy his pension, then the Continued on page 10

Video shows how Jang lost Governors’ Forum poll Continued from page 1

against Amaechi, Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio realised the proceedings were being taped, he charged angrily at Aregbesola. The Osun State governor asked Akpabio to stay away from the camera if he did not like it. Kwara State Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed also tried dodging the camera. Despite the protest, Aregbesola found a way to continue the recording, even after promising

played the role of the Presiding Officer. He was standing by Okauru all through the sorting and counting of the votes and giving instruction to the DG on how to handle the ballots. He went back to his seat after the counting showed that Amaechi had won. After the exercise, Okauru declared Amaechi the winner — to the disappointment of the proJang governors.

HE Defence Headquarters yesterday said an unnamed associate of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has been found dead. Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade said the alleged terror agent was found dead by the Special Forces in the vicinity of Lake Chad. There is however no independent confirmation of the claim as reporters have no access to the battle front. Brig.-Gen. Olukolade added that two other suspected terrorists who were found at the scene were arrested. They are currently in the custody of the Multinational Joint Task Force. He said the three suspects were confirmed to have operated in Baga, one of the Boko Haram operational bases in Borno State. According to the military, the terrorists were in the process of crossing the border to Niger Republic when they met their ill fate. Brig.-Gen. Olukolade stated

He said: “If you listened to me yesterday (Monday) when I was addressing Rivers youths, I told them ‘all those from 18 and above should please get up’ and they got up. I asked them to sit down, they did and I asked again, ‘all those that have voter cards should please get up’ and a lot of them did and I said we shall punish irresponsible politicians with our cards. So what I expect from all of you whether you belong to APC, CPC, where ever you belong to, start now to mobilise the state for one man, one vote. We will not allow them intimidate us with police or anything. Instead, we shall intimidate them with our votes.” He stressed the need for a free and fair election. “Any government formed without the people’s votes cannot be responsible to the people,” the governor said, adding: “The only way government or governors or presidents or whoever can stop corruption, can stop mal-administration is when that government is put in place by you (the people) and they know that if


that more troops of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force have joined the operations by the Special Forces, as more towns are being secured in the operations to rid the nation of terrorist activities. “A terrorist believed to be a close associate of insurgents’ leader, Abubakar Shekau has been found dead as he ran errand for the leadership. The other two fellow terrorists, one of which is confirmed to be a Nigerien, are now in the custody of the Multinational Joint Task Force. “The three were in the process of crossing the border to the neighbouring Niger Republic through the Lake Chad. The three have been confirmed to have operated in Baga and participated in perpetrating arson and other atrocities around the vicinity of the town. “They have been relocating from place to place since they left Baga last month”, the statement added.

Reps stop Jonathan Continued from page 1

May 21 resolution on the utilisation of the funds of the affected states and local governments was overruled at the conference Committee of the two chambers. The lower chamber completely deleted Section 3 (e) of the transmitted Emergency Powers (General) Regulations. Consequently, the lawmakers, at a plenary attended by 197 members, which surpassed the 188-member majority, resolved to delete and revoke completely Section 3 (2) (e) of the harmonised, adopted and approved Emergency Powers (General) Regulations, 2013 by both Houses of the National Assembly. In addition, the lower chamber urged its Senate counterpart to concur and adopt its new resolution. The mover of the motion, Ibrahim El-Sudi (PDP, Taraba), pointed out that the matter was Constitutional and that by virtue of Section 305 of the constitution as amended, the President was empowered to declare a State of emergency in any part of the country. He, however, noted that in considering the details sent to

Amaechi to Abuja: I’m not scared of impeachment Continued from page 1

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

the National Assembly, the House of Representatives resolved at the Committee of the whole and appointed a six-member conference committee to meet with the Senate’s five-member team to harmonise differences if there were any. According to him, when the Conference Committee of both chambers met on May 22, to consider areas of differences, the Committee adopted the Senate version on the Proclamation order. El-Sudi said: “The Committee also adopted clauses 3 (c) and (4) of the Senate’s version of the Emergency Powers (General) Regulations 2013. The Committee further adopted the addition of the words ‘in Public Order, Peace and Security’ and included the House version of clauses 1, 2, 3 and 5 (c) of the Emergency Powers along with the Explanatory Note. “Aware of the fact that Section 3 (e) of the transmitted Emergency Powers (General) Regulations 2013 which provides, ‘Provides for the utilisation of any funds of any State or Local Government in the Emergency area’ was Continued on page 10

Plot to remove Rivers governor thickens

HE civil war in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be spreading. There is a huge plot to get Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi out of office, but some founding fathers of the party are backing him. The party stalwarts have decided to pitch their tent with democracy and rule of law, instead of arbitrary clampdown by the party leadership. Some forces in the Presidency still met on Monday night on how to secure the support of “seven to 10 more members” of the Rivers State House of Assembly to impeach Amaechi. Five of the 32 members of the House of Assembly are against Amaechi; they are loyalists of Minister of State (Education) Nyesom Wike. According to sources, some PDP founding fathers and heavyweights are backing Amaechi because of their belief in preserving the nation’s democracy.

they don’t govern well, you (the people) will vote them out. So your first demand should be that all governments must be responsible enough to allow for a free and fair election.” The keynote speaker and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe, urged politicians to preserve

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

They are of the opinion that the Presidency was wrong in intervening in the internal affairs of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF). They have also faulted the approach adopted by the PDP leadership in addressing the challenge facing the party in Rivers State. Some of these stalwarts are ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-military President Ibrahim Babangida, House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, 12 ex-PDP governors and NEC members. It was gathered that some of the stalwarts had prevailed on the governors who voted for Amaechi to do so to avert any attempt to derail democracy. A source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “Most of our respected leaders, especially the founding fathers, are displeased with the ‘politics of ambush’ and desperation going on in PDP.

and not destroy Rivers State by their actions. He lamented the lack of participatory democracy among political parties and the sole desire by parties to acquire and retain political power for selfish interests. Abe said: “In Nigeria, the evolution of our party politics has been less than satisfactory.

“Some of these leaders actually asked governors, who are their political godsons, to vote for Amaechi in the interest of the nation’s democracy.” The leaders are said to be angry with the PDP leadership, led by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, “for adopting coercion” in managing the party. “Their position is that it would not be in the interest of the party’s electoral fortunes in 2015 to invest in divisive tendency in any of the 23 states it is controlling, the source said. Since the suspension of Amaechi was announced, some of these leaders have been sending messages of solidarity to the governor. But some forces in the Presidency are believed to be planning how to secure the support of seven more members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to impeach Amaechi. If they succeed in wooing the seven to

I say this because our country today is deeply divided along ethnic, religious and cultural lines. The main challenge facing our country has been the development of national political parties that will promote issue and idea-based contest for power. In other words, the contest for power will be a contest of ideas. The parties in Ni-

Continued on page 10

geria have evolved into vehicles strictly for the acquisition and retention of political power. In this evolution, our political parties have lost one of the key attributes of participatory democracy, that leadership should be a contest, not of persons, but of ideas.” The chairman of the occasion and retired Justice of the Su-

•Gen. Babangida

preme Court, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, urged political parties to believe and mean well for the country they serve. He urged politicians to upContinued on page 10

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678






‘There is A

• Chairman, Lafarge Wapco Nigeria Plc Chief Olusegun Osunkeye (middle) speaking at the company’s 54th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos...yesterday. With him are Managing Director/CEO Mr. Joseph Hudson (left) and the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser Ms Uzoma Uja . PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU

•Managing Director, First Bank Nigeria Plc Capital Mr Kayode Akinkugbe (left), Head of Origination and Client Service, Mr. Sanmi Fayumide and Maketing and Corporate Communication Officer Lolade Balogun at the company’s roundtable series in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: BOLA OMILABU

•From left: Guest Speaker and Senior Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), Africa Department Ms. Gravette Brown; Nigerian Institute of Managemet (NIM) President Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole and Executive Director, Mainstreet Bank Roger Woodbridge discussing at the Corporate Leaders Breakfast Forum organised by the Institute in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: NNEKA NWANERI

• Managing Director/ CEO Health plus Pharmacy Nigeria Mrs. Bukky George; President Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Olumide Akintayo and Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG) Prof. Udoma Mendie, at the 38th Annual National Convention of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students at UNILAG, Akoka...yesterday.


CTIVISTS, lawyers and politicians yesterday spoke on the suspension of Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF). The National Chairman of the deregistered Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, said the suspension arose from cumulative actions. He told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that there was more to the suspension than what the PDP made the public to believe. He said the suspension carried more malice than just winning the chairmanship of the NGF. Balarabe said the PDP with their action was sending a dangerous signal to the nation towards the 2015 elections, adding that the party must be checked. He said: “The suspension of Amaechi was a desperate action. I am not talking as an opposition, but as a politician with greater interest in the democratic dispensation of the country. PDP has a big problem and as a ruling party, they have to show good example, rather than heating up the system all the time.“ He said because of the political future of Nigeria, every politician must see the action as a warning signal which must not be handled with sentiments. The conception of NGF, he said, was a good idea if its ideals were well exercised without external interference. He said during the Second Republic, there was a similar forum named, “The Progressive Governors Forum”. Balarabe said the Progressive Forum was partisan then because it only took care of the progressive parties. “But, NGF was based on the national interest as it comprised all the governors irrespective of their political parties,” he said. He said the PDP should not interfere in the affairs of the forum because it was not a PDP Forum or affiliate. He said the Forum should be independent of any political party for it to survive. A member of the House of Representatives, Innocent Tirsel, (PDP Shendam/Mikang Federal Constituency of Plateau State) called on stakeholders to reconcile their differences in the interest of “Nigeria and Nigerians”. Tirsel said: “In the interest of peace I would advise that the governors, as partners in progress, should be able to deal with this issue squarely, while the Federal Government should also look for a way out in addressing it.’’ He advised the Presidency to parley with all the governors as a way of finding a lasting solution to the problem. The lawmaker said the interest of the country was paramount, adding that it should be considered before any other thing. The Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum yesterday condemned the antiAmaechi governors for refusing to accept defeat. In a statement by its General Secretary, Mr. Akin Malaolu, the group hailed Amaechi. It said: “We are filled with joy that in spite of the attacks on Amaechi, he still won the election. We are happy to see him appear not only in very high spirits, but also radiating hope and confidence.” Another House member, Peter Edeh (ANPP, Ezza/North/Ishielu


Federal Constituency) of Ebonyi State said the controversy surrounding the NGF election was “all about the 2015 elections”. Amaechi’s plan to seek redress in court, he said, would depend on evidence at his disposal. He said Amaechi had “always” survived through the courts adding, “this is maybe another time to go and test the courts”. Deputy House Leader Leo Ogor called for amicable settlement between the two factions in the just concluded election.Ogor (PDPDelta) said: “We must try as much as we can to be democratic in our electoral process because two people can not win in an election at same time.” The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr Victor Umeh, in Abuja called for the scrapping of the NGF. Umeh said “the existence of NGF has no constitutional basis’’. The APGA chairman, who spoke on the sidelines of the launching of a book titled: “The making of an oracle’’, said the Forum was threatening democracy and peace in the country. He accused the governors of losing touch with the realities in their respective states partly because of their insatiable crave for power both in their states and at the federal level. Umeh said the excesses of the 36 governors should be checkmated by proscribing the forum before it causes further harm to the polity. He said: “We are tired of the activities of these 36 men who are tearing this whole country apart. “The NGF has no place in the Constitution and should therefore not be allowed to tear us apart. Let the Forum be scrapped for peace to reign in this country.’’ Umeh said the governors, through the Forum, wielded so much power to the extent of abandoning their primary responsibilities to their constituents. He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to go beyond the forum and engage with Nigerians directly, rather than relating with them (Nigerians) through the 36 governors. Umeh urged Jonathan to free himself from NGF’s stranglehold and concentrate on the mandate given to him to lead the nation.




more to Amaechi’s suspension’ ‘

The suspension of Amaechi was a desperate action. I am not talking as an opposition, but as a politician with greater interest in the democratic dispensation of the country. PDP has a big problem

‘ I’m not at war with Jonathan, says Aliyu •Ogor



•‘NGF election crisis a grave threat to democracy, security’

HAIRMAN, Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) and Niger State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu has said he is not at war with President Goodluck Jonathan. Speaking for the first time after the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) election at the ground breaking ceremony of the Zungeru Hydro-electric Power Project, Aliyu said he was loyal to the president. He said: “Those thinking that there is war between the Niger State government and governor and the president should swallow their spit. “We are one; we recognise that the people of Nigeria elected him and we respect that. If we do not respect and follow you (Mr. President), God will ask us. So we are saying, Mr. President that we are for you.” Aliyu said his criticism of the president’s policies and programmes were not a show of disloyalty but a deliberate move to attract more projects and attention to his state. The governor said: “If you hear a lot of criticism, it is not because we do not love you (president) but because we want you to do more. Regardless of the noise, I know PDP shall make it, because we are one and we all are in one party. “We are with you and I hereby pledge my government and people’s loyalty and support to you. I am saying this because in our culture and religion if you don’t respect your leader, Allah will not be happy with you.” The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam

Danladi Ndayebo, denied planning to dump the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) for another party. Aliyu said the reports were being planted by those who are seeking to disintegrate the PDP. “The story of planned defection of Governor Aliyu is a figment of the imagination of persons who are either threatened by the successes the party has made in the last 14 years or are afraid of squaring up with the party in the 2015 general elections,” the statement said. Aliyu said he was embarrassed “by the orchestrated attempt to impugn his hard earned integrity”. The Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) and the Lagos State House of Assembly have said the controversy trailing the election of Governor Rotimi Amaechi as the Chairman of the NGF poses a grave threat to democracy and security. AANI made its position known during a meet-the-press session in Abuja on Monday night. AANI, in a speech read by its President, Maj.-Gen. Lawrence Onoja, cautioned the feuding parties to be mindful of the danger in overheating the polity. Describing the NGF as an informal forum, Onoja advised the 36 governors to shelve the game plans for 2015 and focus on the challenges


•Gen. Onoja

of 2013. He said: “The recent unfortunate outcome of NGF’s election in which 36 governors could not count 36 votes is a setback for democratic process. Indeed the incident that characterised the election of Nigeria Governors Forum deeply saddened AANI. We strongly condemn the incident and wish to call the governors to immediately put their house in order and refrain from any action that may threaten our collective security.

“We, therefore, advise our leaders at all levels that the contestations as good as they are, the ultimate remains public welfare and unity of Nigeria. So contestation must also go hand in hand with cooperation. The NGF should emulate the internal democracy of AANI. With over 1500 members, there was a free and fair election towards a better Nigeria. “We also recommend that governors have refresher leadership course in NIPSS, Kuru in Jos to en-

He said: “I think the president is paying too much attention to the governors. They leave their jobs and come to Abuja to hold the president by the jugular and I think this is not right. What Jonathan should do is to ignore this set of people and free himself from their grip, if he wants to re-contest in 2015. He should seek the support of Nigerians and

not the governors. They are only 36 out of over 150 million Nigerians. Let him ignore them and continue with his job.’’ Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Chibudom Nwuche condemned what he described as "the unnecessary attention being given to the election of a Chairman for the

NGF". He described the NGF as a voluntary club whose chairmanship was not in any way the most pressing problem of Rivers State or the Southsouth region. In a statement yesterday, the former lawmaker said: "The people of the Southsouth are among the poorest in the country. And this is because

in some states in the region, the governors, for fear of being exposed, prefer to deal with persons from outside the region who act as fronts and assist them to fritter away funds accruing to the states, representing a clear case of internal capital flight from where it is needed most. "The Forum has seen some gover-

From Jide Orintunsin, Minna, Oziegbe Okoeki, Faith Yahaya and Adenike Adebowale, Abuja.

hance capacity and broaden their patriotic national outlook.” He advised the governors to cooperate with the president in rebuilding the country. Onoja said the country’s experience has shown that democracy has its own challenges but the alternative “which is military rule will be certainly worse”. The Lagos Assembly, through its Chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity, Segun Olulade, said the anti-Amaechi governors acted in subversion of the ideals of democracy. Olulade said: “It is very disheartening and misleading to the upcoming generation of Nigerians that 35 astute politicians and chief executive officers of states of the federation could not manage an election among themselves, to the extent that some of them could not even adhere with the result of the election conducted where they were physically present and voted without duress. “The alleged collection of signatures of some governors before the conduct of the election that reproduced Amaechi and the allegation of foul play after the said election speaks volume of the culture of treachery and rigging that characterises the PDP since most of the governors who perpetrated the act were PDP governors who must have rigged themselves into office during the 2011 general elections.’’

nors abandon their core duties and responsibilities for incessant flights to Abuja, Lagos and all over the country where they profligately expend the resources of their states, in flagrant disdain for the hopes and aspirations of those who elected them into power to lead them to the path of progress and development."





Atiku decries poverty, unemployment

ORMER Vice President Atiku Abubakar has decried the abject poverty and mass unemployment in the land. He described both as the greatest challenges facing the nation’s democracy. Appealing to political leaders at all levels to tackle the problems, the former Vice President also advised Nigerians to always hold their leaders accountable to halt their seeming indifference to good governance. In a message yesterday by his media office in Abuja, Atiku urged elected leaders to

From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

stop giving excuses for their failure and focus on how to transform the lives of the people in line with their mandates. He noted that the worsening state of poverty, unemployment and uncertainty are factors that feed the cauldron of pervasive insecurity in the country. Atiku said he felt embar-

rassed each time he was confronted by the pathetic level of poverty, unemployment, hunger and disease in the land, despite the huge resources available to the leaders to improve the living standards of the people. He said: “The success of democracy cannot be measured in terms of how well the leaders live but by how well the voters are doing economically, socially and materially. “There is a limit to which leaders can convince the peo-

NMA calls for efficient health care system



ple to remain patient, especially at a time the lifestyles of leaders create an island of opulence surrounded by a sea of alarming poverty.”

Ikuforiji praises Lagosians for standing by ACN


AGOS State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji has hailed the residents for standing firmly by the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the implementation of its peopleoriented programmes since the return to democracy 14 years ago. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Adebayo, the Speaker said: “As

By Oziegbe Okoeki

we commemorate the 14th year anniversary of our nation’s return to participatory democracy, let me say a ‘Big Thank You’ to all Lagosians for standing firmly by our party since our great nation, Nigeria, returned to the path of popular democracy 14 years ago. “As we all know, our state, Lagos, has continued to live up

to its name, as the Centre of Excellence, since 1999, when our great leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was overwhelmingly voted in as the second civilian governor under the umbrella of our former party, the Alliance for Democracy (AD). Till today, Lagos State has become the Mecca for other Nigerians in other parts of our great country. “All through Asiwaju Tinu-

bu’s eight years in office, Lagosians remained highly supportive of the three arms of government in our State of Aquatic Splendour. It is a thing of great joy that successive arms of government in the state have continued to enjoy undiluted support of Lagos residents till date, despite the fact that we have had to change our party’s name along the line.

No alternative to democracy, says Mark


ENATE President David Mark yesterday took stock of the democratic journey so far and submitted that there is no alternative to democracy as a system of government. In a goodwill message to Nigerians on this year’s Democracy Day, Mark noted that “irrespective of some short comings, Nigerians have, by choice and design, accepted the democratic culture”. In a statement in Abuja by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, the Senate President said: “We had the initial birth pain of this democratic arrangement. Fourteen years after, I can submit that we have matured; we are consolidating and moving on. “Differences of political affiliations, or religions, notwithstanding, no Nigerian can deny the fact that democracy is now the way of life.” eputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu yesterday con-

• Ekweremadu hails Jonathan, Nigerians •Saraki seeks defence of democracy From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

gratulated President Goodluck Jonathan on his successful attainment of two years in office. He also praised Nigerians for sustaining democracy in the last 14 years. Also, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Bukola Saraki, urged Nigerians to defend democracy. Ekweremadu, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Review of 1999 Constitution, assured that the amendment of the national document would deepen democracy and strengthen federalism. In a goodwill message to Nigerians on this year’s Democracy Day, the Deputy Sen-

ate President described Nigeria’s 14 years of uninterrupted democracy as “challenging but historic and rewarding”. The senator noted that democracy is not an event but a process that would continue to mature over time through collective efforts and determination of the citizens. He said: “While we may not be where we want to be in our democratic experience, it is good news that we are certainly not where we used to be before May 29, 1999. “We have made progress, especially in the areas of freedom, electoral processes and the independence of federal legislature. I have no doubt that the current constitution review will deepen our democracy and strengthen the nation’s federal system.” Saraki said: “Today, we cel-

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

HE Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged governments at all levels to provide effective health care to Nigerians. It advised political office holders to patronise health care services in the country. The association decried the poor health conditions of majority of the people in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, where the Federal Government recently declared state of emergency. The NMA said the security situation in those states has made it difficult for health care to be given to the victims of insurgence and security operations. Addressing reporters yesterday in Benin, the Edo State capital, ahead of today’s Democracy Day celebration, NMA’s National President Osahon Enabulele noted that the security situation in parts of the North has also led to exodus of medical doctors from the areas.

Fasehun to Jonathan: immortalise heroes of democracy By Augustine Avwode


OUNDER of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to immortalise the heroes of democracy, whom he said paid a high price for the civil rule being enjoyed today. Fasehun, in a statement to mark the Democracy Day, said the sacrifices of the martyrs and heroes of Nigeria’s democracy have been rubbished by politicians. He listed some of the foremost martyrs who paid the supreme price to include the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Bashorun Moshood Abiola; his wife, Kudirat; the late Chief Anthony Enahoro; the late Gen. Musa Shehu Yar’Adua; the late Chief Alfred Rewane; the late Bagauda Kaltho; the late Chief Abraham Adesanya; the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi; the late Dr Beko Ransom Kuti and the late Chima Ubani. He said: “Chief Abiola, especially, would be disappointed at how the democracy he sacrificed his life for has turned out. Many of those who have been in power since 1999 were either minding their private businesses or hobnobbing with General Ibrahim Babangida and General Sani Abacha while the struggle for democracy lasted.”

Minister urges Nigerians to fight insecurity

M •Mark

ebrate the 14th year of uninterrupted democratic rule in Nigeria, marking the beginning of a leadership that is inclusive and represents the interest of every Nigerian. “In every corner of our country, this special day reminds us of the valour, vision and dream of passionate Nigerians from all parts of the country; those who came together in unity of purpose to ensure a well deserved democratic rule after a long and tough military rule.”

INISTER of Interior Abba Moro yesterday advised Nigerians to support the present administration to tackle the current security challenges. The minister spoke in Abuja ahead of today’s Democracy Day celebrations. He noted that the day is not only for celebration, “it is also a time to reflect on the challenges that face us as a nation and a people”. Mor added: “It is a period when we have to collectively appraise our democratic progress in the areas of economic, social, political and security of our fatherland. “It is, therefore, important to say that as Nigeria marks yet another Democracy Day, political leaders should not use the period to begin to apportion blames for things done and those left undone with a mind to cause political tension in the country.”


Glo salutes Nigerians

LOBACOM, Nigeria’s national operator, has felicitated with Nigerians on today’s Democratic Day celebration. In a statement yesterday in Lagos, the company’s Group Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mohamed Jameel, congratulated the government and people of Nigeria on the special occasion. He noted that despite some challenges facing the country, there is so much to celebrate. Jameel said: “Every young democracy will experience developmental challenges in certain aspects of life. We are happy that, despite such challenges, Nigeria has in the last few years made appreciable progress in its journey to nationhood.” The Glo chief said he was proud of the ability of Nigerians to weather the storm and remain a united country, notwithstanding some temporary security issues.

Akume calls for sober reflction


•From left: Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade; Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar; Chairman, Board of Directors, NRC, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje; Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Nebolisa Emordi and other members, during the inauguration of the board in Abuja...yesterday. PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE

ENATE Minority Leader George Akume yesterday urged Nigerians to celebrate today’s Democracy Day with sober reflection. In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Constituency, Mrs Beckie Orpin, the senator said: “It is a thing of joy that we are celebrating the anniversary of Nigeria’s return to democracy today. This year’s celebration is most significant because it comes at a time when we, as a country, are consolidating on the democratic gains that have accrued to us since the foundation was laid on May 29, 1999. “This year’s celebration should be a time for stock-taking by the leaders and the led. Beyond the merriment, we should recognise that a time has come for us all to evaluate our contributions to the development of this great nation as individuals and as collective entities. To me, there will be no better opportunity for us to do this onerous task than now. “As a progressive, it is always needful to emphasise that democracy is the only option we have as a people. It is true that the freedom democracy avails us is being misapplied by a few bad eggs. Nevertheless, there is no gainsaying that the gains we, as citizens and as a government, have made since we returned to democratic rule in 1999 cannot compare with these bad patches that I regard as temporary...”




Alleged libel: Omisore lacks integrity, court told


USTICE Adebisi Ogunlade of the Osogbo High Court in Osun State has adjourned till July 4, a suit between former Senator Iyiola Omisore and Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation. The adjournment followed a petition accusing the judge of bias. Mr. Justice Ogunlade said he received a letter from the Chief Judge, asking him to respond to the petition within one week. He said the petitioner alleged that he might not get justice because of the judge’s association with a former governor of the state, Chief Bisi Akande. The judge said he would respond to the petition within two days, hinting that he may no longer preside over the case. Editor-at-Large, Mr. Segun Ayobolu and The Nation Saturday Editor, Dele Adeosun, are also defendants in the suit. At Monday’s proceedings, The Nation’s lawyer, Oludare Falana, who said his clients were ready to go on with the case, expressed regret over the petition, which he said caused a delay. He urged the court to award punitive cost against the plaintiff, but the judge declined. Mr. Justice Ogunlade said he was not beholden to any party, adding that he would not lose anything if the case was transferred to another judge. Omisore is claiming that he was defamed in an article written by Ayobolu. He said the writer insinuated that he was corrupt and lacking in integrity, adding that the article damaged his reputation in the eyes of right-thinking members of the public. In pleading privilege, the defendants, in their statement of defence, said the plaintiff granted press interviews and issued a press statement where he denied the allegations contained in the publication;

•Judge may withdraw from suit From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo and Joseph Jibueze, Lagos

therefore, Omisore did not suffer any embarrassment or damage to his reputation. The defendants added: “The comments and views expressed by the defendants are privileged. They have no cause or any reason howsoever to nurse any malice against the claimant and, as such, the publication complained of was not actuated by malice. “The defendants are duty-bound under the 1999 Constitution to disseminate ideas, opinions and information. The publication was the writer’s opinion, which comments were fair to the claimant.” The defendants further stated that the Omisore has no reputation to protect. According to them, the plaintiff, who served as Deputy Governor to Chief Akande, while being incarcerated in Agodi Prisons, Ibadan in connection with the murder of the former Attorney-General, the late Chief Bola Ige (SAN), contested and won the Osun East Senatorial seat on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) “without deposing to an affidavit before a High Court as required by the Electoral Act.” “The claimant is given notice to produce the affidavit deposed in compliance with the Electoral Act before he won the seat,” they said. The defendants also recalled that while in office as Deputy Governor, Omisore was accused of breach of oath of office and conflict of interest. He was subsequently impeached by the House of Assembly, having been found liable, the defendants said. They added that the House, on December 13, 2002, passed a resolution removing him as Deputy Governor

‘The claimant has no reputation or integrity to be damaged as he has always associated himself with abuse of office, wanton corruption and acts of hooliganism, thuggery and violence’ after the report of the investigative panel, which indicted him, was adopted. On why Omisore was impeached, the defendants recalled: “The claimant committed grave violation of the Constitution…relating to oath of office which he subscribed to by granting an interview reported in The Comet newspaper of 30th January, 2001. “The claimant in the said interview divulged the discussions and deliberations of the state executive in respect of the utilisation of the US$1.5million Water Chemical Fund, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. “The claimant as Deputy Governor of Osun State contravened Section 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers contained in Part 1, Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution by vigorously pursuing the USD$1.5 million Water Chemical Funds in a lawsuit against the state government. “Chrisore Engineering Limited, a company which the claimant as Deputy Governor then was the chairman, joined in Suit No. HOS/ 28/2001. “Whatever benefit that would have accrued to Chrisore Engineering Limited in the suit would also have accrued to the claimant as a serving Deputy Governor.” To further prove that Omisore has

no reputation to protect, the defendants said he falsely claims to be born on September 15, 1960. According to them, the plaintiff’s father, in a sworn affidavit dated January 27, 1993, indicates that Omisore’s actual date of birth is September 15, 1957. This, the defendants said, “is an indication of the claimant’s lies and inconsistencies.” Besides, they said that as Chairman of Chrisore Engineering while also serving as Deputy Governor, Omisore “accrued pecuniary interest personally to himself.” “Notice is hereby given the claimant to produce the tax clearance certificate of Chrisore Engineering Limited from 1999 to date and his personal tax clearance certificate from 1999 to date,” the defendants averred. The defendants added: “The claimant was arrested, detained and charged to court with the murder of (former Attorney-General of the Federation) Chief Bola Ige (SAN) at the High Court of Oyo State holden in Ibadan. “But the claimant was discharged and acquitted as the case was programmed by the Federal Government to fail in favour of the claimant. “One Alani Omisore, a cousin of the claimant, was identified by one Andrew Olotu (the security guard on duty the night Chief Ige was assassinated) as the leader of the assassination squad. “Muyiwa Ige, Chief Ige’s son, who was in the house on the night of the assassination, identified one Mr Pade Omisore as one of the assailants, who ordered him to lie down on a bed at gunpoint. “Forensic evidence, either finger prints or ballistic, did not feature in the investigations. “The prosecution was not pro-

‘How House of Reps awarded contracts to firms with unverifiable addresses’


FEDERAL High Court in Abuja heard yesterday that the House of Representatives under the leadership of former Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, allegedly awarded contracts to companies with unverifiable addresses. The court was also told that some of the companies supplied addresses that turned out to be false. It was at the resumed hearing in Bankole’s trial before Justice Elvis Chukwu. Bankole is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged offences bordering on abuse of process

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

in contract award and abuse of office. Yesterday, the third prosecution witness, Ibrahim Ahmed, told the court that he was part of the team that investigated a petition written against Bankole in 2010 by an ex-member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye. Led in evidence by the lead prosecution lawyer, Festus Keyamo, Ahmed told the court that upon his team’s receipt of the petition, it swung into action by obtaining documents relating to the

2008 capital budget. He said his team also wrote to the AccountantGeneral of the Federation seeking details of the releases to the National Assembly. “From the documents given to us, we identified the names and addresses of the contractors. “We did a physical verification of the addresses and discovered that some of them never existed or the contractors’ offices were never located there. “With this discovery, we wrote to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and re-

quested the corporate status of the companies. Details of the companies were given to us. “We wrote invitation letters, based on the details we got from the CAC, inviting the managing directors of these companies. “After sometime, those letters were returned to us undelivered and we were informed that some of the addresses do not exist. We were further informed that the letters were despatched by the Universal Parcel Services (UPS) and the reason they gave was that these letters were never received because the addresses never existed,” Ahmed said. The trial resumes on June 12.

vided with evidence as basic as whether finger prints on the scene of the incident matched those of any of the suspects arrested in connection with the assassination. “All the principal investigators of the case…were redeployed or otherwise taken off the investigation long before it was concluded and the suspects charged to court. “The judge before whom the claimant was initially arraigned, Hon. Justice Mashud Abass of the Oyo State High Court, withdrew from the case. “He attributed his withdrawal to untold pressure and threats from many quarters urging him to arrive at a particular decision even before he listened to the claimant, who was the accused person. “The claimant has no reputation or integrity to be damaged as he has always associated himself with abuse of office, wanton corruption and acts of hooliganism, thuggery and violence. “If the Federal Government was genuinely committed to the crusade against corruption, the claimant would not have been nominated as a member of the Senate having been impeached for corrupt practices. “The claimant’s suit is gold-digging, speculative, frivolous and vexatious.” The defendants prayed the court to dismiss the suit with substantial costs.

Sylva: Court rules tomorrow


•Kaduna State Governor Mukhtar Yero (middle), Secretary to Kaduna State Government Alhaji Ishaq Damahawayi (left) and Commissioner for Finance Mr John Ayuba, at the Joint Tax Board Regional Sensitisation Workshop in Kaduna…yesterday.


From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

USTICE Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja has scheduled ruling for tomorrow in an application by former Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva. Sylva is, by the application, seeking the court’s permission to accompany his wife on a foreign trip. Justice Bello chose the date yesterday after entertaining arguments from parties in the ongoing trial of Sylva, charged with alleged money laundering related offences. The prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), urged the court to refuse Sylva’s request because he could escape trial by refusing to return to the country. Its lawyer, John Ainetor, while arguing EFCC’s counter affidavit, said since Sylva was arraigned and granted bail in June last year, the commission has discovered fresh evidence that the ex-governor allegedly engaged in fraudulent acquisition of property through other private persons. He said the EFCC was ready to prefer charges against Sylva’s wife. Anietor further said that in view of the new discovery, it got a court order last December, freezing the new assets. EFCC said investigation was still ongoing, and it could be jeopardised should Sylva be allowed to travel.


Senate to pass PIB

HE Chairman, Senate Committee on Oil and Gas Resources, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, has said the Upper Chamber would pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the end of the legislative year. The bill has not been passed because of the fears expressed by Northerners about its contents. Senator Nwaogu, speaking with reporters in Aba, Abia State, said consultations are ongoing with senators and stakeholders from the North to address the issues that have kept the PIB from being passed into law.

From Okechukwu Nwankwo, Aba

She said: “At present, we are doing a lot of consultations with our colleagues, especially those saying the document did not address the frontier persons in the North. “I am optimistic that with the PIB before the National Assembly, it is expected that the gas sector will be unbundled. It will be more transparent. The process of entering and exiting from the gas sector will be very glaring when PIB is passed into law.”



NEWS Amosun inaugurates panel on Ado-Odo crises

Ondo gets council caretakers From Damisi Ojo, Akure



GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to look into the April 14 and 15 crises in Ado-Odo, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area. The five-man panel is chaired by Justice Elizabeth Osinuga. The Secretary is Mr. Olumuyiwa Ojo. The inauguration was held yesterday at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, the state capital. Amosun urged the panel to proffer solutions that would lead to enduring peace in the community. He said: “We must ensure that the peace enjoyed in the state permeates the nooks and crannies of every community.” Justice Osinuga said: “We will do a thorough job and complete this assignment in record time.” The panel is to establish the remote and immediate causes of the crisis; indentify individuals, groups and institutions directly or indirectly responsible for the mayhem and their roles in the crisis; and recommend appropriate sanctions. It would also ascertain the number of people that were killed; the extent of damage to property and recommend ways to avoid a recurrence.

ACN hails Aregbesola on integration


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun State has described Monday’s Oodua World Children’s Day celebration as “a landmark in the renaissance of Yoruba nationalism”. The party said the event would promote the integration of Yoruba people. In a statement by its Publicity Director, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, ACN said the event sensitised Oodua children on the need to be united and strong for the challenges of the future. It hailed Governor Rauf Aregbesola for “investing his time, brain and financial resources into promoting Yoruba integration in the last 30 months”. ACN said: “The most encouraging aspect of the celebration is the endorsement of Aregbesola by the international congregation of Yoruba spiritual leaders in the persons of over 100 obas, including the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade Okunade and the Onisabe of Sabe. “So apt and true were the praises they showered on Aregbesola. You could see the renaissance fever and the leadership acceptance of the concept of Yoruba integration, which Aregbesola has been stoutly promoting, despite the misunderstanding and misgivings of critics within and outside the Yoruba nation.”

•New Oyo State judges taking their oath of office at the State Secretariat in Ibadan...on Monday.

Alaafin attracts $15b investment to Southwest T HE Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, yesterday stressed the need to collaborate with investors to develop the Southwest. He spoke in his palace while receiving a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of the Oranmiyan Airline from a global investor, Worldwide Holdings. Oba Adeyemi said the airline would project the image of the Yoruba and enhance the Southwest’s economy. He said: “Today, we are making history. We are making similar efforts in other areas by contributing to the development of the Yoruba nation. The influence of obas should not be

•Monarch seeks roles for rulers From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

localised. The government should give traditional rulers the deserved recognition and roles to play. “The state governments in the Southwest are progressive and we hope they will consider this initiative. Our graduates are unemployed. This is an investment that will create jobs. The investors are not requesting money. They are also inaugurating the Yoruba Coalition in Dubai. “The challenge is to have the government’s endorsement. If we succeed, it would reduce the unem-

ployment rate. “The investors want to be sure that they would recoup the money invested. “They asked for three things. They said they do not want to be involved in politics; they would not give or take bribe and the Alaafin is the only person they trust to represent Yoruba interest.” The Chairman of the Yoruba Global Coalition, United Kingdom (UK), Dr. Layo Adeniyi, said: “In keeping with the agreement, the airline would soon take off. They made an agreement with Airbus to have four aircraft and they

are discussing with the International Airport Transport Association (IATA) in Canada on the way forward. “The investors have assured us that they would inaugurate the London and Dubai travel as soon as they commence operation. With this initiative, we are reviving the spirit of Oranmiyan. This is the beginning of a new life for the Yoruba. “The initiative is based on the agreement with the Alaafin. We have started the process of incorporation. We are here to present a copy of the MoU to the monarch.” Also at the palace were the Iyalaje of Oyo Kingdom, Chief Orija Adesoye; Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu (rtd.) and traditional rulers from OkeOgun.

Fashola urges judges to be fearless •Lagos gets 6 judges By Adebisi Onanuga



AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday urged judges to be upright and fearless in the discharge of their duties. Fashola spoke at the Adeyemi Bero Hall of the Lagos Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, while swearing in six judges of the state high


court. The judges are Ms. Folashade Bankole-Oki; Mr. Michael Savage; Mrs. Sedotan Ogunsanya; Mr. Wasiu Animahun; Mrs. Oyindamola Ogala and Mr. Ganiyu Safari. The governor urged judges to restore the dignity of the judiciary as the last hope of the common man. Lamenting the high level of corruption in the country, he said impunity has become the order of the day, adding that looters and electoral offenders go about unpunished. Fashola said the appointments of the judges were necessitated by the increasing

cases of crime and the need for quick dispensation of justice. He said: “This administration’s commitment to law and order remains unflinching. We will continue to tackle the growing cases of crime legally.” The Chief Judge (CJ), Justice Ayotunde Phillips, threatened to sanction corrupt judges. Advising the new judges, she said: “I urge you to take your oaths with seriousness because you are expected to be disciplined, incorruptible and express maturity in all aspects of your lives or you would be sanctioned. “You are to ensure justice and fairness to all concerned and live within the

oath of your hallowed office.” The CJ said the new judges were chosen in a transparent process and their appointments had been confirmed by the National Judicial Commission (NJC). This brings the number of judges in Lagos to 56 - 40 females and 16 males. Speaking on behalf her colleagues, Justice BankoleOki thanked the governor for finding them worthy of the appointments. She said they would dispense justice without fear or favour and uphold the good reputation of the state judiciary. The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the judges were appointed based on the NJC’s recommendation.

Lagos traders protest ‘relocation plan’

BOUT 100 traders, under the aegis of Ifesowapo Market Association, have kicked against an alleged plan to relocate them from Pelewura Market on Adeniji Adele Road, Lagos. The traders went to the House of Assembly on Monday and urged the lawmakers to intervene. In a letter to the Speaker, signed by the association’s Chairman, Joseph Olawuyi, and Secretary Bamidele Adeyemi, the traders said: “We have been at that loca-

By Oziegbe Okoeki

tion for over 20 years. Our market is an enclosure, so we neither sell by the road side nor cause traffic gridlock. “We pay our dues and taxes to the local and state government authorities, partake in environmental sanitation and observe government rules and regulations in markets. We are active participants in government activities and programmes. “So it came to us as a surprise that we shall be moved from our market to create

space for a cable car station that is being proposed by a private company. “We are not against any laudable programme of the Governor Babatunde Fashola administration to develop the state, but removing us from our market without providing an alternative market for us on Lagos Island is like giving us a death sentence. “We are entrepreneurs and we engage many youths as workers and apprentices. Pelewura Market Annex is where we eke out our livelihood. How do we survive if

we are removed without being given an alternative market space? “We all have children, families and other dependants; how do we take care of them and ourselves? Your urgent intervention in this matter will be a stitch in time to save nine.” The Chairman of the House Committee on Transport, Commerce and Industry, Bisi Yusuf, thanked the traders for conducting themselves with decorum and assured them that the Assembly would look into the matter.

NDO State Governor Olusegun Mimiko yesterday swore in new caretaker chairmen in the 18 local government areas. This followed Monday’s expiration of the tenure of the former caretaker chairmen. The new caretaker chairmen are: Lekan Bada, Akoko North East; Olusesan Kumuyi, Akoko North West; Sola Agbi, Akoko South East; Gbenga Adeniyi, Akoko Southwest; Olu Aderuku, Akure North; Michael Adeleke, Akure South; Festus Dabo, Ese-odo; Jerome Odesanmi, Idanre and Pius Adebusuyi, Ifedore. The rest are Soji Ayenuro, Ilaje; Kole Akinbolarin, Ile oluji/Okeigbo; Dele Olatunji, Irele; Felix Olatunde, Odigbo; Niyi Pirisola, Okitipupa; Wale Akinlosotu, Ondo East; Bola Makinde, Ondo West; Victor Olotu, Ose and Tunde Owadimbola, Owo. None of the former caretaker chairmen was reappointed. Mimiko warned the appointees against recruiting workers without the government’s permission. He urged them to generate revenue to implement laudable projects and to make their impacts felt at the grassroots. Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Adebusuyi said they would overhaul the local government system.

PDP, Accord members join Oyo ACN From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


EMBERS of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Accord in Oke Ogun, Oyo State, yesterday defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The defectors were from the 10 local government areas in Oke Ogun. They hinged their decision to join the ACN on the performance of the Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration. The defectors were received at the basketball pitch of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, amidst singing and dancing. Ajimobi saluted their courage to join the ACN and assured them of a level playing ground. He said: “I assure you that from today, you are not only members of the Ajimobi Movement, but bona fide members of the ACN, which is graduating to the All Progressives Congress (APC).” The governor said the administration would not engage in the “politics of bitterness, bickering and character assassination” and urged progressive-minded people to support him in developing the state. Mr. Tajudeen Badmus, who led the defectors, said within two years, Ajimobi achieved “what others failed to achieve throughout their tenures”.





Ooni, others advocate support for Aregbesola


HE Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, has urged the people

of Osun State to support Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s efforts to develop the state. He spoke in Osogbo, the state capital, at a dinner organised for Yoruba monarchs in Nigeria and Benin Republic in commemoration of the first Oodua World Children’s Day. The Ooni described the governor as “a listener and a goal getter”. He said Aregbesola has a great job ahead of him, considering the state’s limited resources, and urged the people to always discharge their civic responsibilities to the government. Oba Sijuwade said the governor has always been a friend of monarchs and refuted claims that Aregbesola

was not in good terms with some monarchs. He said: “Since assuming office over two years ago, our governor has not behaved badly to any monarch. He is always supportive and listens to us whenever we need him. He is a good person and is very humble.” Other monarchs urged the people to support Aregbesola’s vision of regional integration. The Owa Ooye of Oye-Ekiti said his closeness to Aregbesola has opened his mind to the governor’s vision for the Yoruba, including those in the Diaspora. He said Aregbesola is not in power to serve the state alone, but the race, and solicited support for him in all Yoruba states. The Onisabe of Isabe in

•From left: Ooni; Aregbesola; his wife, Sherifat and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi...on Monday.

Benin Republic, Oba Ola Oyedepo, said: “With a leader like Aregbesola in Nigeria, there is hope for suffering Yoruba people in the Diaspora, especially in Benin Republic, where they have been neglected by the gov-

ernment.” The Olowu of Owuland in Ogun State said the Yoruba and Nigerians are blessed with Aregbesola, who he said would lead the people to the Promise Land. He pledged to drum support

Three feared dead in Ondo protest


HE protest against the alleged plan to relocate the proposed Federal Polytechnic in Ile Oluji, headquarters of Ile Oluji/Okeigbo Local Government of Ondo state, entered its second day yesterday. Three persons were feared dead and four injured. On Monday, youths, commercial motorcyclists and senior citizens began a protest. They accused the town’s monarch, Oba Suulade Adedugbe, of converting money meant for the community’s development to private use. The protesters invaded


From Damisi Ojo, Akure

the palace and chased the monarch out of his home. They reassembled yesterday around 8am and went to the palace, demanding the monarch’s removal. Sources said unknown to the youths, Oba Adedugbe left the town on Monday evening. A source said policemen fired tear gas at the protesters and shot into the air to disperse them. He said: “Some youths were hit in the process. At least, three youths were

feared dead. Some of them, who were injured, were taken to the hospital.” However, another source said the protesters went to the police station to demand the release of some youths that were arrested during Monday’s protest. The source alleged that the protesters attacked some policemen and the police shot at them. Banks and other businesses abruptly closed for the day around 10am. Police spokesman Wole Ogodo said no one was killed.

He said a policeman, who was attacked by the protesters, has been hospitalised. Ogodo said armed mobile policemen have been deployed in the town to restore order and urged residents to go about their normal duties. “We are on top of the situation”, he added. It was learnt that soldiers from the 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure, have been drafted to Ile-Oluji to maintain order. The Prime Minister of the community, Lisa Akin Fagbamiye, said the monarch was safe. He said the protesters razed a building in the palace.

Police rescue abducted girl in Oyo

HE Oyo State Police Command has rescued an abducted 19year-old girl. She was found along the Iwo/Olodo road in Ibadan, the state capital. Speaking with reporters in his office yesterday, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Alakia/Adelubi Police Station, Musiliu Sogbade, said at about 8:15pm on May 15, the victim’s elder brother, Kunle Olaide, came to the station to report that his sister was missing. He said she had not returned from school. Sogbade said: “While Olaide was still filing his complaint, the kidnappers phoned him with the vic-


•Monarch flees town

•Suspected kidnappers held tim’s mobile phone, demanding that he sends them N6,000 worth of MTN recharge cards or risk having his sister used for rituals. “We asked him to play along and he sent them cards worth N3,000. They called back acknowledging it and asked him to pick his sister up on the Iwo/Olodo road. “That was when my Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) swung into action and rescued the girl around a farm at Olodo. Two boys, aged 19 and 20, were arrested. The third suspect is at large. “The girl was found un-

conscious. After medical examination, it was discovered that she was raped to a state of comma. The suspects have been arraigned for conspiracy, kidnapping, rape and stealing a Blackberry Curve 2 phone. They are being remanded at Agodi Prison.” Narrating her ordeal, the victim said she was coming back from school when she met one of the suspects, simply identified as Adebanjo, who was an exstudent of her school. The victim said Adebanjo, who happens to be her toaster, was with two of his

Ekiti pays N4b gratuity to retirees

HE Ekiti State Government has paid N3,879,844,473.63 as gratuity to retirees. The Chairman of the State Pension Commission, Chief Oluwole Ojo, said the money had been paid to 1,755 retirees across the 16 councils. Speaking with reporters in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Ojo said workers who retired between April, 2013 and January, 2014, were covered by the payment. He said: “This is the largest single gratuity payment in the state’s history. It is another point of reference for which we must

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

commend Governor Kayode Fayemi.” On the hiccups in pension payment, Ojo said: “The situation cannot be changed for now, as we must ensure that those being paid are those who actually deserve to be paid. “On-sight verification and payment of pensioners is not unique to Ekiti. We have to see those we want to pay. “There are situations where the pension of dead pensioners are being collected by their next of kins. This is wrong. Pension

is paid to only the living. “Also, the same set of personnel oversee the payment of gratuity and pension.” On the need to recruit new hands to ease the payment, he said the commission cannot recruit new hands as the process was “sensitive and complicated”. Ojo said: “We also know that pension payments have become popular lately, owing to fraud being perpetrated by some pension personnel in some states. “Even when mistakes are actual and unintentional, people are quick to read

friends. She said: “Adebanjo lied to me that his mother wanted to see me in their house, but I objected to it. Before I could say anything else, one of his friends used a charm ring on me and I did not know how I got to their house. I was gang raped by the three of them. After that, they called my family demanding for money.” The victim said since the incident, she has been bleeding from her private part. Her father, Mr. Lekan Akande, thanked the police for rescuing his daughter and urged the judiciary to punish the culprits.

for the governor’s vision when he returns to his domain and urged his colleagues to follow suit. President of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) Mr. Gani Adams urged the people to key into the gov-


meanings and raise suspicions. We therefore have to be careful about recruiting new hands.”

Oyo gets six judges

YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has sworn in six high court judges. They are Mrs. O. Olatunji; Mr. Bayo Taiwo; Mr. Lekan Owolabi; Mr. G. Sunmonu, Mrs. O. Fadeyi and Mr. E. Ajayi. This brings the number of judges in the state judiciary to 22. Speaking on Monday at the swearing-in ceremony, which was held at the State Secretariat in Ibadan, the state capital, Ajimobi urged the judges to shun corruption. He said: “The powers of a judge are a sacred trust given to him to arbitrate disputes. Be outstanding, courageous, brilliant and incorruptible judges, who always stand in defence of the truth. “Keep the fountain of justice pure at all times and refrain absolutely from subjecting it to any pollution motivated by mercenary, primordial or pecuniary considerations. “Adopt role models among great jurists and strive to be pure and incorruptible like them. Emulate the likes of Lord Denning, Cardozo, Olliver Wendell Holmes, J. I. C. Taylor, Taslim Elias, Andrew Otutu-Obaseki, Mustapha Obaseki, Augustine Nnamani, Chukwudifu Oputa, M. L. Uwais, Issa Ayo Salami, N. O. Adekola, O. A. Boade and Bunmi Oyewole, to mention a few.” Judges were last appointed into the state judiciary in 2006.

Police dislodge cultists in Abeokuta


HE Ogun State Police Command yesterday said it dislodged suspected student cultists from Abeokuta, the state capital. Police spokesman Muyiwa Adejobi told reporters that the incident happened on Monday night. He said the cultists were from various higher institutions across the country, adding that they were intercepted on their way to the venue of a ritual ceremony. Adejobi said the command acted on a tip-off, add-



ernor’s agenda, saying he has a plan to take the Yoruba race to stardom. The event was graced by over 30 monarchs from Yoruba speaking communities within and outside the country.

ing that the police laid ambush for the cultists at about 11:30pm around LafenwaRoundabout. He said the cultists abandoned their vehicles and fled on sighting the police. Adejobi said: “Items recovered from the fleeing cultists include coolers filled with food and assorted drinks meant for the ceremony.’’ Warning students against cultism, he said: “The police will not allow any anti-social group or organisation to operate in the state. “If anybody is caught, he would be made to face the full wrath of the law,”

Ogun councillors endorse Amosun for second term

OUNCILLORS, under the aegis of the Ogun State Local Government Legislative Forum (OSLGFL), have endorsed Governor Ibikunle Amosun for a second term. The 236 legislators from the 20 local government areas spoke with reporters in Abeokuta, the state capital, on the second anniversary of the Amosun administration. OSLGFL Acting Chairman Mr. Ibrahim Adeniji said the forum was satisfied with Amosun’s performance. He said: “Without mincing words, we can proudly say the Amosun administration has, in two years, developed all sectors. It has and is still touching the lives of the people positively. “The governor’s great achievements have convinced us to openly declare our support for him. His policy of ‘promise made, promise kept’ has popularised our great party in the state.”



NEWS N2.94tr pension fund cash in danger, says Senate Continued from page 2

nation forgets him.” Mark also insisted that in withdrawing funds from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation and the inclusion of states would require an amendment of the Constitution, since the National Assembly don’t make laws for the states. He stated that the said that the issue of whether employees should pay more should be left to experts in economic matters and could be addressed at the public hearing. In his lead debate, Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), said there were inadequacies in the extant law such as non-remittances of pension contributions to the pension fund administrators by ministries, departments and agencies;

delayed payment and sometimes non-payment of gratuities and pensions to retirees; under payment of retirement benefits, withdrawal of some security agencies from the scheme. According to him other challenges include, “Corruption, misappropriation and outright embezzlement of pension funds. Even the Pension Reform Task Team set up to bring some sanity to the system and ensure that pensioners received their pensions as and when due, rather worsened their plight and ended up with confounding sleaze, corruption, degeneracy and stealing so much that the ‘Team’ has become a euphemism for kleptomania.” Ndoma-Egba said the new law would cover employees of the public service of the federa-

tion, the Federal Capital Territory, states, local governments and private sector organisations with as little as three employees or less. “Such funds can be channeled into financing infrastructural projects and creating employment opportunities. As at September 2012, the estimated accumulated pension funds stood at about N2.94trillion. “One can only imagine the impact of such funds in the economy if channeled properly. Therefore, everything necessary should be done to strengthen and sustain the contributory pension scheme.” The bill which was read for the second time was committed to the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service for further legislative work.

Reps stop Jonathan

Continued from page 2

unanimously rejected and deleted by the House but retained by the Conference Committee of both chambers. “Further aware of the public outcry and outright opposition by majority of Nigerians, especially indigenes of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, on the content of the above quoted regulation. “Mindful of a near consensus of opinion of Senior Advocates of Nigeria and constitutional lawyers across the country regarding the constitutionality of the said action. “Further mindful of the provisions of Section 5 (2) of the Emergency Powers Act no. 1 of 1961 (as modified) which provides: ‘(2) Any such regulation, order or rule may, without prejudice to the validity of anything lawful done there under, at anytime be amended or revoked by resolutions passed by both Houses...” Minority Leader Femi Gbaja-

biamila (ACN, Lagos), who backed El-Sudi, said the constitution was very clear, even though the Supreme Court can reverse itself on earlier pronouncement in the light of new evidences and facts. He, however said: “But, in this case, it was clearly stated that under no circumstances can the Federal Government seize the funds of states or local governments.” Gbajabiamila also expressed the frustration of the lawmakers on how their resolution of the utilisation of funds was disregarded at the Conference Committee, saying, “I can’t understand why because the outcome totally negated all the efforts put into the document by the House.” He, however, attributed the use of language as part of the problem of the document. “On the use of Administration, if on one hand the administrator was given powers to carry out sweeping functions, what is

there for the governors of the affected areas to administer?” Gbajabiamila said. The only voice against the motion, Kingsley Chanda (PDP, Rivers), who said the situation in the affected areas was not normal as the constitution was suspended was shouted down by his colleagues. In his ruling, Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal said the adoption of the harmonised version was greeted with cries of impropriety of the document. “We should not condone any culture of constitutional arrogance. Moreover, we won’t be losing anything if we take correction and do the right thing. We should not do anything against the constitution,” he said, When Tambuwal called for the voice vote, 194 lawmakers voted in favour of the motion. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), Henry Daniel-Ofongo (PDP, Bayelsa) and Warman Ogoriba (PDP, Bayelsa) voted against.

I’m not scared of impeachment Continued from page 2

hold the truth and accept fairness: “I believe truth must be upheld, fairness must be justified and accepted and those who think that it is enough to conspire against truth have to be exposed,” Justice KaribiWhyte. He advised political office holders to work for the common good of the people who voted them to power: “We are talking about governor, the office of the governor. We admire the governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi because of his performance. We follow him because of his performance. We’ll do everything to ensure that he succeeds and the institution still carries on,” the eminent Jurist said. He criticised those plotting against Amaechi, calling them conspirators with a destructive motive: “The group, which, as all of us know, they are all conspirators. The conspiracy runs foul when it is directed towards a wrong motive. When it is a conspiracy, which is destructive, which is oppressive and which makes it difficult for the common man to admire what is going on, then there is a foreboding of anarchy.” Rivers State Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu, yesterday said the directive to obtain permit from the police before embarking on peaceful protest came from Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar. He was apparently reacting to the statement by Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi while addressing Rivers youths at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday, that he

would soon lead Rivers people to protest injustice without obtaining any permit from the police commissioner. Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), expressed shock that Mbu could lead over 10,000 ex-militants on May 22 to protest against him and his administration in Port Harcourt, after which he said the police boss hurriedly banned protests. He alleged that he had taken sides. The Rivers governor also accused the police commissioner of supporting the return to the era of militancy and insecurity, where people had to

raise their hands, while walking on the streets of Port Harcourt and its environs, which he said he tackled, when he came into office of October 26, 2007. On whether he would give the governor a permit if he wants to lead a peaceful protest, the police boss said: “Until then.” The Rivers police commissioner also declared that he was not in the state to satisfy any individual, but had great respect for Amaechi, while frowning on the attitude of the labour leaders, who he criticised for forcing the workers to join the two-day warning strike.

Plot to remove Amaechi thickens Continued from page 2

their side, there will be 12 antiAmaechi lawmakers. But they are not up to the 22/3 majority needed to remove the governor. There are 27 members in the House. A source said: “The secret meeting was convened on how to impeach Amaechi. Besides, some strategists in the presidency, a few others in attendance were a former South-South governor, a serving South-South governor, a Federal Permanent Secretary, a top member of the PDP NWC and a retired army Officer. “They drew out what they termed Ameachi’s exit programme. They plotted to move from the suspension of Rivers State Governor to expulsion. After the expulsion, the presidency’s forces will now move for the impeachment of the governor.” Although the term “lobbying” was used, there were indications

of a likely cash inducement of the lawmakers. The Southwest governor is said to have been directed to finance the plan. Contrary to the Presidency’s denial, it was gathered that Vice-President Namadi Sambo may inaugurate the secretariat of Governor Jonah Jang’s selfimposed arm of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) on Thursday. A source said: “The secretariat has been acquired in Maitama District of Abuja. Going by the tentative programme for the inauguration, Vice-President Namadi Sambo is expected to preside over the ceremony. “All PDP governors and others who are pro-Jang have been invited for the inauguration. The government may also use the ceremony to identify those rated as ‘rebel governors’ who voted against Jang. But this will, no doubt confirm the involvement of the Presidency in the NGF crisis.”





PUBLIC NOTICE TURBO KING CLUB OF NIGERIA The general public is hereby notified that the above named club has applied to the corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for registration under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. DR. EMEGHARA C. GODFREY 2. MR. OPARA C. FIDELIS 3. SIR NJOKU C. JAMES, KSM 4. CHIEF AGBAKA FIDELIS 5. HON EBERE UZOUKWA 6. MRS ONYENEKE U. BLESSING 7. MRS KORIE C. GLADYS AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: a. To foster unity among members b. To promote love and peace among members c. To extend love, peace and assistance to deserving members of the club. Any objections to the registration should be forwarded to the Registrar General Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Maitama Abuja within 28 days of this publication. Signed: Sir Njoku C. James, KSM



Govt saves N4.2tr from import N reduction

IGERIA saved about N4.2 trillion from reduction in importation of goods and services, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, has said. He told State House correspondents at the end of a meeting chaired by VicePresident, Namadi Sambo, yesterday, that total importation came down from N9.5 trillion to N5.3 trillion last year, adding that the savings have helped to increase the nation’s external reserves. He said about N300 billion was realised from stoppage of importation of cement, adding that no single import license was issued for cement by the government last year. He said imports generally have fallen by 43 per cent. Aganga stated that textile importation came down by 56 per cent, while vegetable oil importation dropped by 52 per cent He said: “There is no

•N300b realised from cement stoppage From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

shortfall in terms of supply and demand because the total capacity of all the cement factories are working in full capacity. We will have 28.6 million tones of cement. That is much higher than the demand as of today. For the first time ever, we are exporting cement outside Nigeria, so that is a major achievement. “The supply is there and that is what that policy has achieved since 2002. In 2002, we were producing two million tones of cement, today its 28.6 million. For the first time in 2012, the Federal Government did not issue any import license for cement in this country, I did not.

“In the course of that, we have saved the at least N300 billion in what would have been used and that contributed to the significant fall in imports in 2012.” He said from available data. import fell by 43 per cent compared to previous years since 2005. He explained that import fell by about N9.5 trillion to about N5.3 trillion. What that meant is that we have saved about N4.2 trillion, thereby increasing our external reserves.” He said when the industrialisation Programme is working, trade works with it as well as the economy, adding that the nation is in a position where for the first time, “we have fallen imports,” while the country is

not importing most of what we consumed anymore. That is what industrialisation is designed to achieve. We have started that process, he said. He said Nigeria is in a position where export has been on the increase since 2005, stating that export has risen by about 23 per cent on the average. In 2012 alone it rose by 15 per cent, he said. He said: When you look at the nature of the export, in 2005, the export of crude oil and gas was about 94 per cent, none oil, was six per cent. At the end of 2012, the export of crude oil and gas now represent about 69.7 per- cent, none oil export is now about 30 per cent.” Aganga said this is an indication that the economy is moving very much in the right direction. And trade goes with investment, it goes with industry. So we are seeing a big shift in the economy,” he stated.

•From left: Accountable Manager, Aero Airline, Mr. Russel Leefon, Commercial Manager, Mrs. Doyin Omoniyi-Ojo and Representative, Director of Finance, Mr. Ganiyu Rufai, during the launching of the Airline’s flight operations to Lagos-Doula, held at the company’s corporate office, Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.


Jonathan vows to end procurement of generators


R E S I D E N T Goodkluck Jonathan yesterday vowed to end a situation where citizens procure individual generators. Speaking at the flag-off of Zungeru 700mw hydroelectric power plant in Zungeru, Niger State, he stated that “we believe that our children must not live in a country where they will begin to procure individual generators.” Jonathan said that the government is totally committed to providing abundant power supply for the citizenry, a revolution, which he said, started from yesterday. He admitted that the National Assembly has passed the Hydro-Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission ( HYPPADEC) amended bill for his asset. “I have been told that the Bill for establishing HYPPADEC is ready. I have not seen it my be because of my travel. I have been reminded by the governor and immedietely I return I will send for it to look at it, “ he said. According to him, the delay was due to his engage-

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

ments outside the country but he promised to sign the bill into law as he returned to Abuja. Jonathan said besides the provision of light that the Zungeru project will bring, it will boost agriculture, it will have a multiplier effects on the economy of the State and the entire nation. He commended the states for hosting all the countries major dams. Jonathan pleaded with the traditional rulers and youth leaders from the state to provide a secured environ-

ment for the construction of the dam. On this note, he exchanged pleasantry with the security officer, Mallam Sanni Mohammed, who has guarded the project site for the past 12 .Sanni, a father of 11 children said he has lived a fulfilled life haven had a handshake with Mr. President. Besides, the Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo noted that “we have in place not just the designs, but the funding mechanism of all the major hydro schemes in the country,”

The National Economic Council, according to him, has approved $1.72 billion counterpart funding for the sector .He added that “not only Zungeru, but Mambilla dam in Taraba and Gurara II dam in Suleja will soon see the light of the day.” On Zungeru project, he said engineers and experts commenced the process of undertaking it’s studies and designs since 1982. The minister added that the take off had been encumbered by different circumstances which President Jonathan’s administration has tackled.

‘Oil and gas inhibits weights, measures’


HE major challenge of the Weight and Measure department is from the upstream oil and gas sector, THE Chief Executive Officer, Nigerco Nigeria Limited, Yabagi Sani, has said. Yabagi, who is a consultant with the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment on Weight and Measures disclosed this during the World Metrology Day in Abuja, with the theme, ‘Measurement in Daily life’ stating that there is no way

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

the oil and gas sector can succeed without the weight and measure department. He said, “Our major challenge is with the upstream oil and gas sector of the economy, their lack of compliance to the rules of the department is serious a clog in progress. The weight and measure is an international practice all over the world. “The introduction of weight and measure by President Goodluck

Jonathan’s administration is highly commendable, considering the progress being made by other developed countries, it is a way forward for the economy of the nation. “Exportation of crude oil and gas starts and ends with the department, the department will go to any length to enforce the law guiding weight and measures, the people shipping this crude oil know that no ship is allowed to sail without clarification from this department.














Ahmed urges time for children

Lawmaker to sink 120 boreholes


MEMBER of the Niger House of Assembly,Alhaji Bala Faruk, said he had concluded plans to drill 120 motorised boreholes worth N60 million in his constituency. Faruk (CPC-Bida South) told journalists on telephone that the project was aimed at alleviating the perennial water scarcity facing his constituents. “The project is solely being financed by me and I plan to deliver them within the shortest possible time,” he said. According to him, 20 boreholes will be drilled at Nasarafu, Landzun, Dokodza and Mayaki Ndajiya wards, 15 in Bariki and Umaru Majigi (B) wards while Umaru Majigi ‘A’ ward will get 10 as the first phase. “Over five years now the people in these wards have been experiencing difficulty in sourcing for potable water for their daily needs with the attendant negative consequence on their lives, a reason that led to my intervention.

•Chairman, Ojo Local Government Prince Yinka Durosinmi (middle) joined by (from left) Hon Lateef Adebayo; Olojo of Ojo Oba Galib Rufai; Osolu of Irewe Oba Abideen Durosinmi; Eze Igbo of Ojo, Eze Ikenna and others to unveil the council’s bye-law at the secretariat, Ojo, Lagos.


Plateau builds four markets

HE Plateau State government is to build four markets in Jos and Bukuru metropolis to accommodate more traders in public markets, Ms Helen Maina, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, has said. She told journalists in Jos that it had been observed that more trading activities were going on with the return of peace to the state. The commissioner stated that the two existing markets in Jos — Terminus Market and the Kabong Satellite, were found to be grossly inadequate. “We are working very diligently to bring about four additional markets into Jos-Bukuru area, comprising Rantiya, Laminga, Apavee/ New Market and Bukuru. She said the Maina market which was de-

stroyed by fire, would be rebuilt, adding that a board had been constituted to work out details of expansion. “The markets are like measuring rod of what happens in the state and whatever goes wrong in markets affects every part of the state, and we don’t want this to happen. “We are calling on the board members to ensure that nothing goes wrong,” she said. The board has Alhaji Yaro Mairake as Chairman, while Mr Pam Gyang, Mrs Mary Tanko and Mr Umaru Augo are to serve as members. Other members are Mr Gobe Bolchit, Mr Samuel Dakom, Mrs Linda Kassam and Mr Michael Shangship.


lowed to continue.He said there are several things that could be learnt from the language we speak, aside easy identification. ”If anyone travels abroad, if he or she is stranded, by the time you see anybody in Igbo attire, you will know that he or she is a Nigerian, so help will come your way quickly. A situation where a child of Yoruba parentage cannot speak Yoruba language fluently is condemnable”, he added. Children must be encouraged to speak and converse in their mother tongue as this will widen their academic horizon. The council chair added that his administration will soon introduce inter - school quiz competition on culture and tradition, where laurels ranging from cash, gifts, certificate and others will be given to pupils, teachers and pupils that excel at the competition “We want to change the knowledge of our children on culture” Adepitan added: “Parents, teachers, governments and other organisations should endeavour to train these children in order to preserve, promote and safe our culture from extinction”

•The Deputy Leader of the House,Mushin Local Government, Hon, Oluwagbemiga Shada, Hon Adepitan, Supervisor for Culture, Boundary Adjustment and Culture, Hon. Toyin Fayinka and the Chaiman House Committee on Culture and Tradition, Hon Isiaka Toriola at the event.

•Governor Aliyu Babangida

Children’s Day: Adamawa children weep over cancellation


ANY primary school pupils who showed up at the Ribadu Square, Yola, on Monday for the usual festivities on Children’s Day, wept openly when they were told to go home, as the event had been cancelled. The cancellation was announced by the Ministry for Women Affairs, citing the current state of emergency imposed on the state for the decision. Hundreds of pupils had besieged the square in anticipation of the celebration only to be told to go home, making some of them to break down in tears while others asked whether the event had been shifted

to another venue. It was reported that a lot of them were unable to comprehend the meaning of state of emergency and why it should affect their celebration. Some pupils from Nasarawo and Yelwa primary schools who could not bear the reality conducted a mock march pass before departing the parade ground. Also, some parents who brought their wards to the square complained that the cancellation was not given publicity and criticised the government for the action. “Why should they cancel this children celebration? You can see the children are

‘Promote our cultural heritage’

HE Chairman of Mushin Local Government Hon. Olatunde Babatunde Adepitan has appealed to school managers to initiate a policy geared towards promoting the culture and tradition of the society. He said this at the sensitisation and awareness programme for cultural renewal in Mushin Local Government area. According to Adepitan, “ every society has rich culture and tradition that must be cherished and sustained. There must be a policy backed by law for schools to help promote cultural values”. “Every tribe in Nigeria has a unique and identifiable way they speak, greet, dance, get married, give names to their children, do house warming, sweep, safe money and other things.As a responsible people, despite the era of modernisation, we must not allow anything to erode these values”. Speaking further, he said language and cloth distinguish one from other people, but it is regrettable these days that parents do not allow their children to speak their mother tongue, and this attitude should not be al-



“It is unfortunate that Bida and its environs are facing water supply problem despite the state government yearly pronouncement on the problem; it then becomes imperative that I have to intervene,” he said. The lawmaker promised to resolve the problem of water scarcity in his constituency to free his people of water borne diseases. “Water is life and it is also a key to the socioeconomic development of the people; and all will be done to see that the people enjoy regular water supply,” he said. Faruk also disclosed that he had purchased two 500KVA transformers for installation at Banyagi and Esozhi areas at the cost of over N4 million to boost electricity supply in the affected communities.

•Chairman Ayobo Ipaja Local Council Development Area, Alhaji Shairu Yusuf Adisa presenting a gift to Adepelumi Esther and Luwa Olamiposi, students of SVF College during the council's Children's Day celebration.

Cleric urges youth empowerment


HE Founder, Christ Glorious End-title Evangelical Church, Pastor Layi Bamidele, has urged leaders to organise life-changing programmes in health and education with the aim of eradicating poverty in the society. He charged leaders to always give and develop the society by em powering the youth. He spoke during the N100million Church Building Fund-raising ceremony in the church auditorium at Abule-Egba in Lagos. He said that theword of God can never go in vain without fulfilling its purpose or promise. “For leaders to be loved by God, they have to be cheerful givers,” adding the problem of leaders and Christmas is the attitude of giving. According to the cleric, building a befitting church cathederal takes the quick response of people through giving. He said the church is is presently using a rented apartment which is inadequate for fellowship . According to the man of God the building is too small for God to operate mightily. The Lord told Pastor to expand within six months. In obedience to that instruction,he called on Christians to be partakers of God’s blessings by contributing to the building

fund. The Cleric said it was gratifying to note that people responded to the call by coming out in large numbers to support the work of God. in terms of blessings and protection. “It is a big challenge for Christians to take bold step in giving to develop the church project. It is only a child of God that gives with happiness”, he said. According to him, Solomon became the richest king because of his attitude towards giving He enjoined Christians to give as God will perfect His will in their lives, saiying that God raised him from grass and set him on high through his obedience the His commandments. •Pastor Bamidele


sad on a day they are supposed to be happy. “The state of emergency did not seriously affect normal activities in Yola, particularly from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. “So I wonder why they cancel a children event that is supposed to take place from 10 a.m to 12 p.m,”, Malam Abdu Musa, a parent said.

WARA State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has called on parents and guardians to devote more time for the training and well-being of their children and wards. Ahmed made the call in a statement in Ilorin signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, on the occasion of the 2013 Children’s Day celebration. He said parents and guardians should show greater concern for the training of their children and wards in order to complement governments’ policies and initiatives to nurture them into good citizens. The governor noted that it was necessary that all stakeholders in children’s upbringing to rally round to restore cultural values in the children. He added that parents should also ensure the inculcation of moral values in children at


HE Jigawa State government has voted N3 billion to provide additional infrastructure at its new university in KafinHausa. The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Haruna Wakili, told newsmen in Dutse that the money had been captured in the 2013 budget. Wakili said that the university would begin academic session this year , with four fac-

‘Support vocational education’

Kwara both the family and communal levels. This, he said, became necessary especially now in the face of prevailing national moral decadence and security challenges. The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to childfriendly policies and programmes that guaranteed conducive environment for physical and intellectual development. These, according to him, include maternal and child medicare, tuition-free primary and post-primary education system as well as infrastructural development in the schools. Ahmed also urged the Nigerian child to look beyond the parades and other festivities of the occasion.


Funeral THE death has been announced of Mrs Esther Oyinlola Ladipo-Ajayi at the age of 91. She was the mother of the Managing Director of LASACO Assurance Plc, Canon Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi. A statement by the Senior Manager(Corporate Affairs) , LASACO Plc, Mrs Jumoke Koleoso said Mrs Esther Oyinlola Ladipo- Ajayi passed on at the age of 91 years. “A women’s leader in the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, she slept in the Lord at her home in Ibara, Abeokuta on Monday, April 22 Until her death, she was the Iya Egbe, Egbe Aya of Bishop, St. Andrews Anglican Church, Ibara, Abeokuta. She would be buried on Friday, June 7 at the same church by 11: 00 am”, the statement added. She was survived by children, grandchildren and great – grandchildren including Canon Olusola Ladipo – Ajayi, MD, LASACO Assurance plc

He urged them to reflect on virtues that could transform them into being good leaders in the future.

Jigawa votes N3b for varsity ulties, and has a 20-year development programme. He named the faculties as those of Humanities, Education, Natural and Applied Sciences, as well as Management and Social Sciences. The commissioner added that the university would provide necessary facilities to en-

able it begin studies in medicine and pharmaceutical sciences in the next five years. “I believe that in 20 years, our university will achieve its full growth. “The law establishing the university has already been passed by the state house of assembly and the state executive council has equally approved it,”he said.

Yobe records boost in livestock production


HE Chairman of Oshodi-isolo Local Government, Hon Idris MuseAriyoh has urged the Federal Government to invest more on the MDGs projects. This, he said, will add value to vocational qualification; address the falling standard of education and the worsening unemployment situation in the country. Muse-Ariyoh made the call during the visit of the state officials from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget. He said the government alone cannot provide employment for millions of Nigerians roaming the streets, especially the youths. According to him, the UNDP vocational and skill acquisition centre domiciled in the council had in no small measure provided answers to the current problem of unemployment. “The council has provided holistic support to the centre in terms of equipment purchase like computer sets, hairdryers, barbing kits and sewing machines to graduating students to enable them start small scale businesses. Teaching and learning aids are also provided while the wages of the instructors are also being taken care of,” he said. The council boss said the sensitivity and volatile nature of Oshodi requires skill acquisition centre to reduce idleness to a manageable level.



•Members of the National Union of Lagos State students (NULASS), Kwara Poly Chapter, during their courtesy visit to Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area in Lagos


Group to hold seminar

HE Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International has called on Nigerians to take advantage of this year’s 14th edition of its annual business seminar to acquire critical skills that will enable them structure their careers and businesses for sustainability. The call was made at its office in Ilupeju, Lagos. The theme of the seminar is: Business and Career Sustenance Strategies. Speaking at the venue, the chairman, Businessmen Committee, Mr Edward Eworo, said the theme focuses on impartation of strategies that will empower participants to run their businesses and careers well. According to him, a good number of business and other service organisations start well but do not enjoy enduring success. This is because “success in business and career is not powered by zeal and hard-work alone but by the knowledge and application of the right strategies, which have been tested and proven as the success drivers in life’s endeavours.” Also speaking, Engr Charles Aladauslu said that the main focus is to draw men to God and impact our society through knowledge and application of right strategies. According to him, people have been in business for years, but not successful or without good result. They may even be changing business regularly.This annual business seminar will help and support people to create conducive environment and understand the key factors to growth and sustenance various endeavours”. Most importantly,participants will be aware of how to avoid pitfalls that limit business plans after acquiring the necessary knowledge Business seminar committee member and one of the major key speakers,Mr Fola Aguda,said government ought to give pri-

ority to meeting people’s need at the rate the labour market is saturated with job seekers . It is not difficult for politicians to impart necessary knowledge for development,saying youths should not be used for selfish purposes. He said the country is endowed with all that is necessary to build a better society. Expected at the venue to share values that can better life, enlighten and teach how to overcome challenges in business and career world included director, Lagos Business School ,Prof Pat Utomi; Pharm Lere Baale, Director Business School Netherland, and Mr Fola Aguda, Managing Partner, the Consult Oil and Gas.

HE introduction of the Livestock Development Pilot Project has boosted livestock production in Yobe State , according to the ‘Miyetti’ Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN). Alhaji Khalil Bello, the state Chairman of the association, said this in an interview with journalists in Damaturu. Bello said that following the introduction of the project, livestock production in the state increased by about 45 per cent in the last two years, in spite of the security challenges. He explained that livestock vaccination, provision of feed supplements such as wheat offal and the establishment of grazing reserves and water points, in Damaturu contributed to the development. “The campaign on animal fattening had grossly increased livestock farming and the quality of meat and dairy produced in the state. “We have recorded mass participation in livestock farming with increase in livestock population following the introduction of these programmes. “The demarcation of cattle routes by the state Livestock Development Pilot Programme, had addressed the problem of conflicts between farmers and grazers in the state. He said that the grazing reserves and cattle routes had also reduced the known tradition of moving to distant places by pastoralists in search for animal feeds. “Yobe is a leading state in terms of harmonious relationship between farmers and pastoralists in Nigeria, following the demarcation of cattle routes by the pilot development programme,” the chairman said. Khalil, however, appealed to the government to hasten the provision of feed supplements, in view of the scarcity of pasture.

• Director- General, Centre for Democratic Governance in Africa, Dr. Dafe Akpocha(left) and Executive Director, Corporate Planning, Mr. Emeka Obidike, at the world press briefing on 2013 Democratic Governanace lecture/ award in Lagos





A borrowing country •Minister Ngama’s advocacy for more loans calls for a jamboree we cannot afford


ESPITE the avalanche of reproof against the country’s mounting debt profile, the Federal Government still believes that taking more loans is in the nation’s interest. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its recent meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan declared that the nation is under-borrowed: and that the decision to go for more loans is irrevocable. Dr. Yerima Ngama, Minister of State for Finance and FEC spokesman, after the meeting reportedly declared: “We should borrow more, considering our economic activities. There is no problem with the level of our debt. The problem is the domestic debt. Interest rates are too high. Yes, we must continue to borrow. It is only poor people that do not borrow….you can borrow once you are credit worthy. America is the most indebted country in the world. Borrowing is good. The more money you have, the more money you

There is no need to further plunge the country into endemic debt trap when already collected loans have not served the essence of generating income and employment because the economy is shrinking rapidly. We deprecate the insatiable official urge to obtain new loans that will overburden future generations.

need. There is nothing like satisfaction. If we are not oil rich, nobody will lend to us. We are borrowing because we have many projects.” We are astonished that such a high government official could publicly describe the collective decision of this administration’s highest policy formulating body on the salient debt question in such theatrical manner. It is outrageous to know that this administration thinks that the country’s domestic debt, reportedly put at N6 trillion, is not considered high despite the escalating cost of servicing it. We see nothing wrong in borrowing but we doubt if the country has the discipline and focus necessary for the deployment of borrowed money for purposes that would serve the interest of the people. Already, the government is making alibi to cover up its ineptitude in this regard. The FEC played the neo-colonial game when it listed as a major factor leading to increased domestic debt the 2010 wage increase to civil servants. The FEC also revealed that domestic borrowing, in order to meet government salary obligation to workers has increased to N 3.6 trillion. More appalling is the servicing of such debts with N699 billion in 2012 alone. Unfortunately, much of these debts in reality were used to service the comfort and greed of appointed and elected public officials through dubious allowances and other unwarranted payments. Nigeria’s reserve of above $53 billion comprises a foreign reserve of $45 billion; excess crude of $7 billion and Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) of $1 billion. With this huge foreign reserve, it is quite clear that the country does not need any

domestic or foreign loan. A situation where the nation saves money in banks abroad at two per cent interest and borrows locally at 15 percent interest is bereft of any economic sense. Whose interests are the decision makers protecting - their parochial pursuits or that of the nation? In 2006, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then finance minister erroneously goaded the country into paying $12.4 billion, being questionable debts owed the Paris and London Clubs by past administrations. The motive was to get the country out of her then debt trap. Surprisingly, in 2013, under a different administration, Okonjo-Iweala, current finance minister and coordinator of the economy, in a manner that contradicted her earlier position, is at the forefront of moves to obtain more loans for the country. Unfortunately, over 80 percent of projects upon which the repaid loans were expended failed. Another jamboree under the guise of borrowing is going on at a time when the nation’s current foreign debt profile stands at a high $5billion dollars. There is no need to further plunge the country into endemic debt trap when already collected loans have not served the essence of generating income and employment because the economy is shrinking rapidly. We deprecate the insatiable official urge to obtain new loans that will overburden future generations. The situation becomes detestable considering the fact that previous loans were not committed to any meaningful infrastructural development in the country.

Maina: Not yet closed

•The allegation of N195 billion fraud is too serious to be covered up by technicalities


E was supposed to be a man on the run. After several months in hiding, Abdulrasheed Maina– erstwhile boss of the Pension Reform Task Force Team, showed up recently – not to prove his innocence or even disprove the misdemeanours linked to his name; rather, he wants to be restored to his plum civil service job as Assistant Director at the Customs, Immigration and Prison Pension Office. The suit, filed at the National Industrial Court has the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, the Senate, the Federal Civil Service Commission, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Clerk of the Senate as well as Clerk of the National Assembly as respondents. Why shouldn't he? An Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Adamu Bello had quashed the arrest warrant issued by the Senate on February 2, over his failure to appear before it in respect of his management of pension funds. The court also granted perpetual injunction restraining the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) from arresting him – having been declared wanted subsequent to the Senate’s warrant. The saga of the erstwhile boss of the Pension Reform Task Force Team, is yet another example of the many paradoxes dogging the nation. At best, it is symptomatic of the well-known impotence of our institutions in the face of alleged breaches of our laws, at worst, it is evidence of the institutional penchant to pursue shadows instead of substance. The substance here is the N195 billion

fraud allegation levelled against Maina, which appears to have been forgotten. The Senate could not get him to help clear the fog on the affair. Now, armed with Justice Bello’s ruling, which held that the Senate warrant of arrest was out of order, and a restraining order on the police, it seems unlikely that Maina would ever honour the Senate’s summon not to talk of helping to shed light on the fraud said to have taken place at the police pensions office under his watch. Of course, the whole affair is unfortunate. Clearly, had the Senate not elevated mere procedural issues over and above the substance of fraud alleged, the ensuing muddle would have been avoided. Yes, we do not deny that the issue of Maina’s non-appearance before the Senate and the weighty allegations of fraud are somewhat linked. They are however distinct and separate – and the Senate ought to have taken due care to separate them. For treating the institution with contempt, the Senate was in order to have sought to punish Maina. However, the criminal allegations ought to have been referred to the anti-graft bodies. To compound the muddle, the Senate mounted pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to determine Maina’s appointment outside of the strictures of applicable civil service rules. We see this as a grave error on their part. We do not however consider Maina’s case as closed – at least not yet. First, we find the inertia of both the Federal Civil Service Commission and the Office of the

Head of Service of the Federation in the entire affair somewhat unnerving. Why should the two institutions wait to be prodded to act in a matter of discipline of one of their own? Should the interest of their own override national interest? The fraud allegation against Maina remains an allegation, though a grave one. He deserves his day in court. He must be made to answer to the weighty charges. As nothing in the ruling of Justice Bello can be interpreted as shielding him from investigation and prosecution, we expect the anti-graft bodies to step in – except they are convinced that there are no grounds to proceed. Even at that, the nation still needs to have the full facts on the whole saga involving Abdulrasheed Maina.

‘The fraud allegation against Maina remains an allegation, though a grave one. He deserves his day in court. He must be made to answer to the weighty charges. As nothing in the ruling of Justice Bello can be interpreted as shielding him from investigation and prosecution, we expect the anti-graft bodies to step in – except they are convinced that there are no grounds to proceed’

The press must have the ability to ask questions


FREE press in a democracy demands a delicate balance. The First Amendment means the media must have the right to inquire without hindrance. The government has a legitimate interest in keeping some national security information secret. When these come into conflict, the balance often has been struck this way: The media are free to pursue secrets, but it is up to those in government to keep them. When the media come into possession of information that, if disclosed, could be damaging, the government can plead the case for secrecy — and the media generally are open to persuasion. Up to now, there have been no prosecutions of reporters under the 1917 Espionage Act, a reflection of this balance in action. The balance has been upset by an affidavit filed by the FBI in a criminal investigation into a national security leak. Special Agent Reginald B. Reyes asked a court to grant a search warrant for the e-mails of a reporter, James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent of Fox News, on grounds that Mr. Rosen is a “co-conspirator and/ or aider and abettor” of the leak of classified information. The target of the criminal probe is Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who in 2009, when the leak occurred, was a State Department arms expert with a security clearance. The leak concerned intelligence information about North Korea. What did the journalist do to become a potential criminal co-conspirator? According to the FBI agent, he “asked, solicited and encouraged” his source to disclose sensitive information. The reporter did this “by employing flattery”and playing to the “vanity and ego” of Mr. Kim. In other words, the journalist was doing what reporters do. Unfortunately, a judge signed off on this flimsy search warrant. Mr. Rosen has not been prosecuted. After the affidavit was revealed by Post reporter Ann Marimow, the Justice Department announced that no reporter has been charged and that it does not intend to bring additional charges in the case. President Obama said Thursday that “journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs.” The Obama administration already has pursued more criminal leak investigations than all of its predecessors. There is a worrisome trend here, also recently evident in the government’s pursuit of Associated Press telephone records in a different leak investigation. Yes, the government must have secrets in order to function. But overclassification is so rampant that to criminalize the disclosure of all secret information would come close to paralyzing the flow of information. Perhaps prosecutors failed to read the Justice Department’s policy on this, which declares: “Because freedom of the press can be no broader than the freedom of reporters to investigate and report the news, the prosecutorial power of the government should not be used in such a way that it impairs a reporter’s responsibility to cover as broadly as possible controversial public issues.” That statement goes back four decades. The Obama administration should recommit to its spirit. – Washington Post

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile •Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon •Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina •Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) Yomi Odunuga •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Group Business Editor Ayodele Aminu •Sport Editor Ade Ojeikere •Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu • Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •Chief Internal Auditor Toke Folorunsho •Senior Manager (sales) Akeem Shoge •Advert Manager Robinson Osirike •IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness •Press Manager Udensi Chikaodi •Manager, Corporate Marketing Hameed Odejayi • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye





IR: A recent survey by a national newspaper featured the view of a cross section of Nigerians. The respondents had been asked to comment on the federal government’s rumoured plan to scrap the National Examination Council (NECO) and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), along with many other federal agencies. “NECO should be scrapped” snapped one of the respondents. “There is no point using the same mode of examination to test the ability of students, when one of them (GCE, WAEC, and NECO) will do for the same purpose. UTME (conducted by JAMB) should be allowed to stay for testing academic ability” Another respondent was no less blunt. “UTME should be left alone”.


IR: Olakunle Abimbola’s piece in The Nation of May 21, titled “There was a Chinua” characterises Achebe’s work “There was a country” as “more censorious of Nigeria than Things fall apart was of Britain”. Why should that be a big deal? How many people in today’s Nigeria are less censorious of Nigeria and more of Britain? What Abimbola describes as “sterile controversy” between Achebe, Wole Soyinka and the Nobel Prize is still a controversy he was willing to indulge in the commentary. Anybody who knew about the comments credited to Achebe and Soyinka on the Prize know that Soyinka’s remarks were not jibes (as Achebe’s was not) but a simple statement that European perspectives cannot diminish Achebe’s contributions to African literature and those of anyone else. The two remained kindred spirits till the end. Abimbola also suggests that Achebe alludes to Igbo’s as “meek saints” in the civil strife of the 60’s. What makes war crimes, war crimes or genocide, genocide is not that the victims must be “saints”. If Achebe created Igbo characters in Things fall Apart et al who were all flawed characters who could lie, hate, cheat, be cruel and love etc. what is the logic in suggesting that Achebe alludes to his tribe as “meek saints” in his book written 40 to 50 years plus after he created


Why NECO, not JAMB, should go West African Examination Council, WAEC already performs similar functions as NECO, there was no need to establish a new body that would essentially duplicate WAEC’s roles. Even though NECO has benefited a generation of Nigerians in sundry ways since its creation, the fact still remains that it more or less duplicates WAEC’s roles.

“The only thing is for the system to be restructured so that when you do well in JAMB, schools will be the ones sending letters of admission to the students. NECO is not necessary. It is a distraction”. It is against this backdrop that this writer, like millions of other compatriots out there, strongly feel that the authorities concerned must think deeply before deciding on

which national examination body to abolish. Deep, discerning thinking or reasoning is crucial, given our tendency to coat every issue “with so much emotion,” as Dan Agbese’s eloquently stated in NEWSWATCH magazine of September 21, 1987. NECO, to be sure, has its advantage. At its conception many Nigerians had reasoned that since the

those flawed but enduring characters? Abimbola believes that Achebe “himself died not exactly a nationalist”. Achebe died being what he intended to be all along and that is as “a fearless writer”. In Nigeria’s political vocabulary the expression “nationalist” is a title that has spawn a list of recipients so long and which includes the OBJ’s, IBB’s of this country and a host of politicians and bureaucrats. Achebe in that list is not really in good company. Achebe however shares the company of eternal lights. For example in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, a canon of the West for the greatest critical essays of greatest thinkers, Achebe enjoys the company there of Plato, Aristotle, Horace etc. On the issue of Igbo elites not minding to dominate others one would expect instances (if such is

true) so one could see whether there are no parallel experiences of same with the elites of other ethnic groups. The commentary portrays Achebe as impotent in the sphere of social activism, more as an Igbo jingoist. Well, all the crises that Achebe was allegedly “muffled” about were mostly if not all rooted in symptoms already diagnosed by Achebe and berated in The Trouble with Nigeria, not to mention his role as erstwhile Deputy National Leader of PRP all before he became paraplegic. The commentary is a clear case of a commentator angling for faults with Achebe, someone asking for another book on “pan Nigerian victimhood” from Achebe afterThe Trouble with Nigeria amongst other works. Does it stem from deepseated chagrin that draws from the perception that Achebe’s work challenges Awo’s legacies? Both

Awo’s unforgettable legacies in the old western Nigeria and Achebe’s observations in There was a countryare mutually exclusive (each cannot warrant that the other is invalid). I agree with the commentary that Wole Soyinka is a wordsmith. Wole Soyinka (who is presented as being a rival to Achebe) responding to “There was a country” in an interview with the Telegraph of London on October 17, 2012 said the Igbo’s were victims of genocide during the civil war. He also said of the Igbo’s “A people who were abused, who’d undergone genocide and...therefore decided to break away and form a nation of their own”.Soyinka speaks as one, to quote Mr. Abimbola, “that takes no prisoners” not minding who served in the federal war cabinet even Awo. • Pete Morah Lagos

age Ondo person. An average Ondo person just like his cousin in Ekiti is an epitome of what is just and true. Why can’t this man dignify himself by being neutral in the whole scheme? I hope he won’t have himself to blame much much later. A University of Ife (OAU) trained medical doctor behaving this way! He it was who was quoted as saying that they almost exchanged fisticuffs during the voting exercise at the gover-

nors’ forum meeting. Many alumni of that great citadel of learning would be scandalized and disappointed. It goes to affirm all the negative things being said about him in time past about his serial betrayals and his legendary inclination to side with unjust causes. This is a big lesson for us in Ondo State. It’s therefore hoped that Ondo State people are taking notes. In any case, he doesn’t need the peoples’ votes

Re: There was a Chinua


IR: Your ‘Hardball’ of Tuesday, May 28, made a wonderful reading. In addition to General Jonah Jang and Godswill Akpabio who have been unmasked, laid bare and demystified, another person who has lent himself to be used as a cannon fodder in the whole perfidy and treachery is Dr Rahman Mimiko of Ondo State. I can’t understand why this individual is crying more than the bereaved. This is not the way of an aver-

Re: There was a Chinua

That, however, is a matter for discussion another day. Our primary concern here, like that of the respondents quoted earlier, is the need for officialdom to be cautious vis-a-vis the alleged plan to scrap JAMB or UTME in favour of NECO. Abolishing JAMB, so the argument goes, would let universities admit candidates of their choice directly, apparently using the students’ performance in NECO as a basis. Granted, that argument has some basis, but I sincerely believe that this argument raises more posers than it answers. It is like contending, for example, that because we can transact business online, the Naira or Dollar should be abolished. Buying and selling online (and, by extension, making electronic payment) may be beneficial in countless ways, but, pray, does that justify the need to abolish the Naira as a legal tender? JAMB, as an institution, is certainly not perfect. Its limitations are well documented. But as even its most unfair critic would concede, this good old examination body has been performing fairly well in recent times, particularly since the advent of electronic mail. For instance, its hitherto cumbersome registration process has been comparatively simplified. Hitherto, checking results had been a nightmare to students, but with the introduction of e – mail, all that has now become history. JAMB has despite its limitations, played veritably important, nay significant, roles in the lives of generations of Nigerian students. Scrapping it in one fell swoop would, in my view, amount to throwing away the baby with the bath water. Neither emotion nor ego should be allowed to stampede the authorities concerned into abolishing JAMB. Instead, NECO should go. • Macekho Chukwuma Lagos.

anymore since he’s no longer qualified to stand for election as governor next time. That is why he can now afford to do anything he likes including fighting a cause that doesn’t concern him. My appeal to the good people of Ondo State is that next time, they should be discerning enough to know who and which party to vote for;not just anybody and not just any political party. • Olu Ajayi, Akure.





Our Father…Deliver us from ‘K-evil’; Racism, sports violence fines?

E hoped the kidnapping ordeal of friends the Rhodes – Vivours would be over if never forgotten by now. A kidnapping is Tony a particularly maligMarinho nant form of invasion of privacy. A week is a long time in article writing and often matters such as this are settled within one or two days and comments are rapidly made out of date. But it is three weeks already. This was why I did not comment earlier. Another reason is that one should not give the criminals any opportunity to gloat or appear successful at their despicable performance as they probably have access to the print media and scour it for articles on themselves just to torment their victims -an innocent mother and daughter just going about their typical ‘Nigerian responsibility’ activities- attending a wedding in a far off place at great inconvenience and price and at huge personal sacrifice because ‘apology will not be acceptable’. Let us all, readers, families and listeners to you, follow Our Lord Jesus Christ’s advice when we pray and today say a loud and complete ‘Our Father who art in Heaven…. Deliver us [the Rhodes-Vivours and all kidnapped victims] from ‘K-evil’. Amen’. K-evil = Kidnap-Evil. O God Please Make us ‘Invisible to the Enemy’. Amen. We pray that the power of joint prayer complemented by the efforts of the police will bring them and all kidnap victims home, safe and unharmed, Amen. Once more Nigeria features prominently in an ugly side of violence. After the rich kid, fully Nigerian but trained abroad Abdulmutallab incident, which, remember, could easily have killed the over 200 airline passengers aboard, we now have the Woolwich affair in which two Nigerians, including one called Michael Adeboloja, a Nigerian by descent who has never been to Nigeria, who ran over and then barbarically killed a white British soldier Drummer Rigby, leaving blood on their hands for social media


HE Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, took off as a mere association of governors of the 36 states of the federation. At that time, many people thought they were just like any other association bonded by the desire to create a forum to discuss mutual issues concerning them personally and the states they govern. Yet there were many who thought the governors were only creating a forum for themselves for a different kind of jamboree different from the usual rollicking and frolicking that have been the characteristics of men of means and power. I belong to the last school of thought. However, events of the last five years or so, beginning with the election of the crown prince of Kwara politics, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, former two-term governor of Kwara State, as chairman of NGF, have proved cynics wrong. It was Saraki, the scion of the Saraki Dynasty of Ilorin, now a senator, who introduced glamour and candour into the group when he was chairman between 2007 and 2011. Saraki’s exit in 2011 paved the way for the emergence of Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as chairman of the forum. The constitution of the NGF provides for a vice-chairman though both Saraki and Amaechi have, through their deft political moves, overshadowed that office and made the occupants more or

‘Many of the ministers … are believed to be out of tune with the political reality on the ground in their respective states as they regard the party as the only body they owe allegiance to, and therefore, their constituencies, which is their states back home, do not matter to them’

worldwide. What possessed them? The media gives the impression that their Nigerian ancestry is to blame. They disgrace their ancestors, Africa and Nigeria. Successful children are claimed by the father, ‘My child has passed’. Failing ones are blamed on the mother, ‘Your child has failed’.Successful athletes of Nigerian descent are claimed by foreign powers like Britain. Nothing wrong with that, as they used the facilities. But bad ones are blamed on Nigeria-something wrong with that! What is it that makes a young man of Nigerian ancestry kill in a foreign land, even if he was born in that land? Drugs, religion, brainwashing, publicity, protection, paradise, bullion or what? Was it murderous madness or malicious murder? He sounded sane when distinguishing between women who could and men who could not approach the dying victim. One or two women were so spectacularly bold they should be in the Queen’s Honours List. This frightening event reminds us of Nigeria’s Plateau State ‘Civil War’ with murderous violence inflicted by Hausa Fulani herdsmen settlers on indigenous farmers apparently systematically killing 8-10 farmers per day or the regular bloody border clashes in Nigeria or the killing of ‘other’ personnel during kidnappings. The murderers of Drummer Lee Rigby have succeeded in questioning the achievements and friendship of millions of Fellow Nigerians and Africans worldwide and replacing trust with fear. There will be a new debate which will not only involve Moslems but also Christians as one of the killers started as ‘Michael’. The net of mistrust is now wider. We Africans, and particularly Nigerians, are all ‘suspect’,questionable and worth avoiding during ‘choose your friends carefully’sessions. The murderers have truly managed to ‘murder sleep’ for millions of nonNigerians moving closer to Nigerians and Africans in need or for love and friendship. The clock has been turned back. Many will cross to the other side of the road when an on-coming person is black and Nigerian. The international football organisations are taking racism and physical attacks on officials like referees and linesmen a little more seriously. Other sports including

golf should follow quickly. Punishment should be meted out for verbal and violent ‘V&V’offences on and off the field of play. It is well known that snide remarks are the bedrock of even formerly staid ‘games’ like cricket where insults are part of psychological warfare to destabilise opponents. Fines for sports‘V&V’ offences should be larger. Closure of stadia for sports ‘V&V’offences only costs the clubs money in lost income which goes to nobody. Every punishment must also compensate the victims of the racist chants, slurs, whispers and offensive gestures. Closure also results in the good being punished along with the bad by denying all the enjoyment of the game. Personal bans sound good also but may not cost the perpetrator anything as he has a contract not a daily paid job. Such bans could amount to a pre-planned holiday if the player insults someone only to get banned and thus have time off to attend a friend’s wedding. However, what happens to the fines? Government and sport governing bodies must not be the sole beneficiary. If we settled for higher fines with most, or all, of the fines going directly to enriching the offended player or victim, things will quickly correct themselves and make targeted players very rich from compensation. Racists do not want to make their victims rich. Such transfer of fine fee funds from violator to victim will solve the racist problem immediately.

‘The murderers have truly managed to ‘murder sleep’ for millions of non-Nigerians moving closer to Nigerians and Africans in need or for love and friendship. The clock has been turned back. Many will cross to the other side of the road when an on-coming person is black and Nigerian’

NGF election, ministers’ failure less lame duck vice-chairmen whose voices are hardly heard anywhere beyond the day they are elected or handpicked. Amaechi upped the ante but has so far failed to display the political diplomacy and maturity of Saraki. Several times, the forum under the leadership of Amaechi has come into headlong collision with the Presidency on various national issues, including the issue of the creation of Sovereign Wealth Fund, which has seen the forum and the Presidency in various legal tussles in the courts, among other litigations. It is also under Amaechi as chairman of the NGF that Rivers State, the state he presides over as governor, took Bayelsa State, a sister state, on over the ownership of some disputed oil wells. The neighbouring Bayelsa State was carved out of Rivers State in 1995. Perhaps, the greatest issue that is causing Amaechi headache at the moment is the forthcoming 2015 elections. Amaechi is speculated to be having a vice presidential ambition after his second and last term as governor of Rivers State in 2015. Ahead of the NGF’s election that took place last Friday, Rivers State has been engulfed in multiple political crises which many people believe are man-made problems designed to distract Amaechi and possibly stop him from pursing his agenda to return as second-term chairman of the NGF. Another issue is the grounding of Amaechi’s Bombardier aircraft by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, which has dominated the airwaves and engendered national discourse for some time now. Another matter that has attracted national attention is the sweeping-off of the PDP state executive in Rivers State and its replacement with the Felix Obuah-led group. Obuah was allegedly shot in the groins a few years ago by suspected assassins. Amaechi loyalists said it took the

grace of God and Amaechi, who flew him out of the country for treatment in South Africa, before his health stabilized. Now the same Obuah has turned round to stab his benefactor in the back through his imposition as Rivers PDP party’s chairman by a surprise court ruling. Amaechi has also been under the threat of impeachment for some time now. This impeachment moves are thought to be the handiwork of his foes, mainly some politicians in Abuja. The arrowhead of the sinister plots is said to be Nyesom Wike, the sitting minister of state for education, who is an indigene of Rivers State in the federal cabinet. Before that Godsday Orubebe, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs had traded volatile words extensively with Amaechi on the East-West Road project. Both Amaechi and Wike have since been embroiled in a titanic struggle for political power in Rivers State. The road to last Friday’s NGF election was long and tortuous. The entire nation was gripped with tension as the two camps in the contest – Amaechi and some PDP governors – made last-minute desperate attempts to ensure victory for their candidates. But Amaechi knew that it was one fight for his political life. The NGF election was postponed last March when it was earlier scheduled to take place. When the forum later met in April, the issue of election or no election never came up for discussion. Amaechi would have completed his term as NGF chairman last Monday, May 27. Apparently, it was in the desperate bid by the PDP to stop Amaechi’s candidacy that the ‘Abuja politicians’, led by Wike, have continued to mount political pressure on him by instigating the crisis that is currently rocking Rivers State politics. The aim is to pressure him out of contention for the

NGF’s chief helmsman’s job. After two major futile attempts by Bamanga Tukur, the PDP chairman, to stop Amaechi, Tukur and his clique flew a kite: it floated the PDP Governors’ Forum and made Godswill Akpabio chairman of the forum. The PDP has 26 out of the existing 36 governors in the country. The main reason for taking this road is that Tukur believes he is facing stiff opposition to his position as chairman of the party from the NGF. He has, therefore, been surreptitiously doing everything to be a cog in NGF’s wheel of progress. Tukur believes that doing just that will whittle down the powers and influence of the NGF, take the shine of it and thereby cut whoever emerges as chairman to size. All these machinations didn’t work either. When this failed, PDP drafted Ibrahim Shema, the governor of Katsina State, instead of the charismatic and much-favoured Isa Yuguda, governor of Bauchi State, into the race. At the last minute on Friday, all other contenders were persuaded to step aside and David Jonah Jang, the second-term governor of Plateau State, was put forward as the PDP candidate. Jang then approached Olusegun Mimiko, the governor of Ondo State, to be his deputy. Before the contest, Mimiko was reportedly caught in-between the two groups, which had both nominated him vice-chairman. That election ended in near deadlock with the two camps laying claim to victory. That was not the end of the matter. The seeming failure of the PDP to wield its influence at the election and swing victory to his side is largely believed to have been caused by the lacklustre performance of some ministers as PDP representatives in the states. It is true that 10 of the states are controlled by the opposition, but if the 26 states under PDP, except perhaps Rivers State, where Amaechi

Dele Agekameh calls the shots, had defaulted, what happened in the other 25 states? By the last count, only 17 PDP governors have lined up behind Jang to divide NGF into two equal haves. Many of the ministers, especially those who could not deliver their states to PDP last Friday, are believed to be out of tune with the political reality on the ground in their respective states as they regard the party as the only body they owe allegiance to and, therefore, their constituencies, which are their states back home, do not matter to them. Some are also in perpetual loggerheads with their governors because their obedience starts and ends with the PDP chairman, around whom they run rings and cringe. To those in this category, their people back home, especially their governors, do not matter. So instead of going to their respective states to consolidate and mend broken fences, at least for the NGF chairmanship election, they sat back in Abuja. Therefore, the outcome of last Friday’s NGF election portends a dangerous signal for 2015, and may sound the death knell of NGF except tact and caution are applied. Not the courts can be of any help! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)





ICE , the staple food of Nigerians, occupies an important place. According to government statistics, yearly consumption of rice is about 5.5 million tonnes of which local production accounts for about 1.8 million tonnes, thus necessitating the need for importation to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, 50 percent of these imports are smuggled into the country. It is a fact that the porous nature of Nigeria’s borders is taking its toll on farmers who invest in rice farming, as smuggling of rice into Nigeria through the land borders continue unabated. The truth is that the unscrupulous persons behind this unwholesome business are not only unrelenting, but are daily intensifying and refining their activities thereby undermining government’s policies and programmes directed at boosting local food production. It is disheartening to note that these persons connive with some bad elements in our security services to perpetrate their illicit acts. Rice stakeholders, including farmers, want the federal government to review its trade liberalisation agreement among West African states in the face of continued smuggling activities from neighbours. According to the survey, the country is loosing a whooping sum of N9.7 billion monthly as an estimated 80,000 metric tonnes of rice is smuggled into the country from Benin Republic alone. The potentials of the rice sector are being daily put at risk by the activities of these smugglers and their collaborators. The truth is that the unscrupulous persons behind this unwholesome business are not only unrelenting, but are daily intensifying and refining their activities

‘Whilst the government is trying to encourage local production of rice, thereby creating employment, income and value chain, some other people are rubbishing these noble efforts by smuggling the product into the country. For the federal government’s rice revolution to be successful, stakeholders have said that the issue of massive smuggling of rice into the country needs to be tackled headlong’


S Nigerians at home and abroad gather to mark the 14th anniversary of the nation’s return to civil rule, there are lots of reasons to celebrate. Contrary to suggestions in some quarters that we have nothing to be glad about as a nation, the fact that we have trudged on for 14 years without any interruption is enough reason to roll out the drums. Although our fledgling democracy is plagued by myriads of problems, no true Nigerian, regardless of his political inclination can deny that we are better off as a democratic nation than we were under the military. This may not be the Nigeria of our dreams, but 14 years straight years of civil rule should raise our hopes that things will get better with time. Democracy is about the people. It is about using the resources of the state to better the lives the citizens. Those who hold power in a democratic dispensation understand that the ultimate power belong to the people who gave them their mandates through votes. With such understanding, elected leaders are duty bound to use the human and material resources available to them to sate the yearnings of the people who voted him into office. If there is any governor in Nigeria today who deserves recognition based on the dividends of democracy he has delivered, it is governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State. Even though he may not be the most popular face in the media, he is one of the few leaders in the country today who have given value to our democracy with his achievements. Uduaghan is not the first governor of Delta State, but his achievements in the last six years at the helms has earned him a place in the pantheon of great leaders who have ruled the oil rich state. What he has done since he took over the reins in 2007 dwarfs everything the military and civilian leaders who held sway in the state before him did. The visible improvements in various sectors of the state under Uduaghan’s administration are sufficient testimonies to convince anyone that has indeed delivered the dividends of democracy to Deltans. In health care delivery, Delta is a model for other states. There are just a few hospitals in this country that can match the state-of-the-art facilities on ground at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH). Last year, the governor signed a memorandum of understanding to partner with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to develop a centre of excellence for kidney transplant. By virtue of that agreement, poor patients who cannot afford the high cost of treatment abroad can be hopeful of getting first class treatment within the

Menace of rice smuggling By Agboola Oloruntoba thereby undermining government’s policies and programmes directed at boosting local food production. It is disheartening to note that these persons connive with some bad elements in the security services to perpetrate their illicit acts. The problem of smuggling is much more serious than many people appreciate; it is something which is greatly affecting the food security plans of the federal government as well as the economic agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. By their actions, these smugglers also threaten the means of livelihood of genuine investors in the rice business, denying the government of tax due them. Smugglers, of course, do not pay tax, so they milk the genuine processors and millers the same way they exploit the government and the economy. Whilst the government is trying to encourage local production of rice, thereby creating employment, income and value chain, some other people are rubbishing these noble efforts by smuggling the product into the country. For the federal government’s rice revolution to be successful, stakeholders have said that the issue of massive smuggling of rice into the country needs to be tackled headlong. According to a group of local growers under the aegis of Patriotic Rice Association of Nigeria, (PRAN), smuggling of rice into Nigeria has thrown the rice industry into turmoil with severe consequences for government revenues, the economy and future plans for rice self-sufficiency. A recent statement jointly signed by the goup’s chairman Alhaji Habibu Maishinkafa, and secretary, Martins Okereke said given the free reign enjoyed by rice smugglers, the future lies bleak for local rice growers and traders legitimately involved in rice trade. They said the Nigerian rice industry seems to have been thrown into turmoil since the import tariffs were increased exponentially effective January 2013. Matters got complicated further with the reported inability of Nigeria Customs Service to control smuggling of rice across the country’s borders with Benin. In July 2012, the federal government introduced 20 percent and 25 percent increased levies on imported polished rice and husked brown rice, respectively, with the aim of encouraging home-grown rice and discouraging importation. The government also placed

a complete ban on the importation of rice through land borders. This was to ensure that the expected gains from the increase in levy and the subsequent investment in the development of Nigerian grown rice are not eroded by the activities of land border importers (smugglers). The quantum of rice being smuggled through land from the Republic of Benin is increasing daily. An estimated 30,000 metric tonnes of rice is being smuggled on a monthly basis into Nigeria. When Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria, RIMIDAN, raised these issues with the authorities, they alerted them that over 140,000 metric tonnes of parboiled rice was scheduled to arrive at the ports of the neighboring country. The implication of this is that huge amounts of money invested in rice production by genuine entrepreneurs would go down the drain and investment in the sector will become uninteresting because there are no measures to protect investors’ interest. In addition, the intention of the federal government regarding empowerment of local producers will be in jeopardy. No economy grows with this kind of counter-productive action by unscrupulous elements. There is therefore need for the federal government to strengthen its mechanisms for policing the land borders, especially the Seme Border flank, as well as other related areas, where much of these acts are being perpetrated. Countries faced with this kind of challenge go all out to increase land borders’ monitoring so as to curb the activities of smugglers. President Jonathan and his lieutenants no doubt have a good heart concerning growing the economy through the empowerment of its key components. But their efforts are regularly being threatened by a selfish few, including the rice smugglers who are entrenched in the system. They may be sophisticated and determined, but certainly they cannot match the willpower of the federal government.

‘When Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria, RIMIDAN, raised these issues with the authorities, they alerted them that over 140,000 metric tonnes of parboiled rice was scheduled to arrive at the ports of the neighboring country’

Delta and the dividends of democracy By Emmanuel Eboh shores of Nigeria. In the same year when it provide succor for victims of kidney failure, the hospital reached a milestone by becoming the first to successfully carry out a knee replacement surgery in Nigeria. Delta is perhaps the only state in Nigeria where free and quality healthcare is available for senior citizens, pregnant women and nursing mothers. The recent renovation of all government owned hospitals in the state is yet another indication of Uduaghan’s commitment to ensure quality healthcare delivery for all deltans. Educationally, Delta towers above many states in the country. There are visible improvements at all tiers of education and institutions within the state. In March, when this year’s edition of the ThisDay Annual Awards held in Abeokuta, Governor Uduaghan was rewarded for his investments in teachers, especially those in the nursery, primary and secondary sectors. The award which was presented by former American President, Bill Clinton is a befitting reward for a governor who has put in a lot to revamp education in Delta State. Delta is one of the few states in Nigeria where infrastructures in public schools can compete favorably with those in privately owned schools. It is also one of the few states where teachers rarely drop tools over unpaid wages and allowances thereby depriving innocent pupils of the education they deserve. It is only in Delta State that pupils from government owned primary schools blaze the trail in National Common Entrance and other external examination. At the moment, renovation works are ongoing in various primary and secondary schools in various parts of the state. At a time when giving scholarship to deserving student is no longer attractive to government, Uduaghan’s administration has successfully initiated and sustained an enviable scholarship scheme for students in the state. The Overseas Scholarship for first class students offers brilliant students of Delta origin an opportunity to study in some of the best institutions in the United Kingdom, United States, Sweden and other parts of the world. This scholarship scheme which is geared towards the attainment of the ‘Delta Beyond Oil’ agenda has recorded more than 135 graduates since its inception in 2010.

It is hard to talk about Uduaghan’s achievements without mentioning sport development. This is yet another area where he has performed excellently. In Delta State sports development is taken as a serious business. Right from his first tenure, Governor Uduaghan has shown an unwavering commitment towards the developing sports in the state. The results of his investments became obvious when the Delta State contingent was crowned champions of the National Sports Festival, Eko 2012 in Lagos. Team Delta’s success at the festival was borne out of many years of hard work and commitment towards discovering and nurturing young talents. It is on record that every secondary school in Delta still holds annual inter-house sports competitions where young talents are discovered and nurtured into champions by the state’s sports council. In spite of the success stories recorded in sectors, it appears that Uduaghan’s greatest achievement is in the transport sector. He has successfully connected rural and urban areas in the state with the introduction of intracity buses. From Oghara to Sapale through Eku and Agbor, Deltans navigate various parts of the state with ease. If democracy is truly about giving people values for their votes, then it can be said that Uduaghan epitomizes democracy. His achievement as a democratically elected leader is one of the reasons why Deltans and Nigerian must roll out the drums to celebrate this democracy day. • Ehoh, a public affairs consultant writes from Asaba

‘In spite of the success stories recorded in sectors, it appears that Uduaghan’s greatest achievement is in the transport sector. He has successfully connected rural and urban areas in the state with the introduction of intra-city buses. From Oghara to Sapale through Eku and Agbor, Deltans navigate various parts of the state with ease’








The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Text only: 08023058761

The centre cannot hold in Achebe’s Ogidi


UNESCO tasks Port Harcourt World Book Capital team

What makes museums tick, by Museum chief

– Page 28

– Page 37



The Midweek Magazine


Forty-eight hours after the funeral of Prof. Chinua Achebe, the people of his hometown, Ogidi in Anambra State, gathered at their Town Hall for a meeting. The meeting was marred by a row because of its sensitive nature. The people gathered to deliberate on how to pick a new ruler for the town, about 10 years after the death of the last monarch. EVELYN OSAGIE reports.

The centre cannot hold in Achebe’s Ogidi

•The chiefs of Ogidi (Ndi Ichie)


N his life time, the late Prof Chinua Achebe was a rallying point for his kinsmen. His home was their home; he settled quarrels for them and also helped in the development of the community. Despite his fame, the late Achebe never forgot his roots. But that town, which he loved so much is in dire need of a monarch. Last Saturday, the people gathered at the Ogidi Town Hall in Idimili Local Government Area of Anambra State in their search for a monarch. The council’s secretariat also houses the building of Ogidi Traditional Ruling Council. Ogidi like most Igbo towns, runs a form of kingship system, which is headed by the Igwe. He is the traditional custodian of culture, unity and oneness in the land. Unfortunately, The Nation gathered that for some time, there has been a rift over the position of the traditional ruler. Over a decade after the death of the last Igwe, the stool has remained vacant. Thus, the centre has refused to hold in Ogidi as it is yet to get another head. A regent Chief Samuel Okeke acts as ruler. Moreover, the town is not only bedeviled with problem of who would become the Igwe, the Ogidi Union that is supposed to work towards the enthronement of one is not also spared. For both parties, it has been one court case or another. “Weeks before Achebe’s burial, there were fears in some quarters over whether the crises would affect it. Fortunately, with the federal and state might that played key role in his transitional programme, it went smoothly. But the seemingly peaceful ambiance was soon broken up,” a chief, who wished to be anonymous said. An incident that took place last Saturday at the town’s hall was evident of the crises in the place. During a town’s meeting that morning, which was meant to review, among other things, the aftermath of Achebe’s transition, some policemen unjustly accosted them, stalling the town’s activity. It was later gathered that they were sent by a faction that did not want the meeting to hold because, as they put it, the executive were not meant to be presiding over the meeting given its case that is still in court. At the end, the parties involved took themselves to the police station. “You have not seen anything yet,” an observer said, “this is what we face here. This tussle in the union and the Igweship has been on for a long time now, especially after the death of the last Igwe, Igwe Walter Amanobi, an engineer, who died mysteriously. The one before him was shot dead in his clinic in Enugu.” That incident opened the can of worms and brought to the fore the crises in the place to which political chieftain and former Chairman, Ikenga-Ogidi Union, Dr Emmanuel Obianagha, said is the fallout of egocentricity and loss of value system. Despite having great minds like the late Achebe, regrettably, like most big towns typical of Ogidi, it has problem of “Igweship’’, adding that Achebe, who was a one-time president-general of Ogidi Union, had always felt sad about such happenings. In his words: “If a land has problem with its

•The Igwe-elect of Ogidi, Chief Ezegbo

AGENDA ‘’Igweship’’ who is supposed to be the unifying force of the people, then, the centre cannot hold and things may surely fall apart. People need to have an Igwe who will be able to carry people along. Things have truly fallen apart here in Ogidi and the centre can no longer hold because of greed, pride, intolerant and our tradition have been undermined. If Achebe were around, I am sure, he would have frowned at what is happening in Ogidi today. We have no Igwe in Ogidi for the past 14 or so years since the last Igwe died as a result of which a new is yet to emerge. It has been one problem to another. It was only about five years ago that we had a president-general of Ogidi Union Nigeria. And it is still having some problems with its tenure and so its case is still in court. Things have changed for the worst. In those days, elders, especially the traditional ruler and the red cap chiefs, were highly

‘If a land has problem with its ‘’Igweship’’ who suppose to be the unifying force of the people, then, the centre cannot hold and things may surely fall apart. People need to have an Igwe who will be able to carry people along. Things have truly fallen apart here in Ogidi and the centre can no longer hold because of greed, pride, intolerant and our tradition have been undermined. If Achebe were around, I am sure, he would have frowned at what is happening in Ogidi today’

revered. And they do not tell lies. “Here in Ogidi, the red cap chiefs had a place they called Erulu to wash their tongues. At that time, if they put their hands in anything evil, they’d die immediately. Then, someone with a criminal record cannot be given an Ozo title. Today, it is not the case: whether kidnappers or armed robbers as long as you have money, you’d get a title. This is not just the problem of Ogidi alone, but in most part of Igboland. But what is happening here pains my heart greatly. People have died over this Igweship and the Ogidi Union disputes,” he said. Futhermore, he explains that ‘’the situation had worsen over the years because some people think that it is their birthright to rule while others feel that everybody should be given an equal opportunity. You see, the Amanobi family have always been ruling over Ogidi for years until they were challenged by some eminent personalities in the town and the court ruled that the Igweship is not exclusively preserved for one family alone, but is open to all indigenes of Ogidi. After which Chief Obi Ezegbo contested alongside three members of the Amanobi’s family and won. But he was soon taken to court by the Amanobi’s who claim that it is their birthright. And since then, there has not been a meeting point, the situation is stalement and a regent is in place,” he said. This was over a decade ago. Yet, the battle for the seat of the Igwe rages on, as a relation of Achebe also informed that two dissatisfied factions (Chief Ezegbo and the Amanobis) clamouring for the position have continued to take themselves to court. Last December, the court ruled in favour of Chief Ezegbo, stating that any indigene of Ogidi is qualified to rule. And so, it was made open to the public. That judgment has since been contested in court by the Amanobi family. And so goes the vicious circle that is eating deep into the fragment of its cultural values. Consequently, Chinedu Eze, a member of the community said: ‘’The community is still waiting to see the outcome and pray that soon an Ezegbo be made the Igwe or new fresh but capable one will emerge.’’ Like Eze, the allegedly Igwe-elect, Chief Ezegbo, who is also Achebe’s contemporary, wants the dispute to come to an end, saying it has hampered on the community’s move to properly immortalise the late author. He said: “We hope everything is resolved soonest because we have gone to court and won. But there are always some complexities. If you are solving this problem, another problem is raising its head. Now that we have buried Chinua, we would begin again because the issue is in court and court cases don’t end overnight. If not for the problem within the Ogidi hierarchy, we were already contributing money to build a library not like the type of the present one at the council, which is political, but a massive one.” On why he had kept up the over-a-decade fight for the position, he said: “ If the wrong person gets into the throne of Ogidi kingship, I wouldn’t know what to tell Ogidi people in Diaspora when the come to ask people like me, “Why did you people allow this type of person to be our Igwe”. So that was why people like myself entered into it thinking that it would soon be over (laughs). But since 2003, it has been on.” Efforts to speak to the President-General Dr Eric Obiakor, on the problems confronting the union, which The Nation gathered are still in court; and the regent proved abortive. Meanwhile, some youths have urged the elders of Ogidi to put their acts together, “if not only for the tourist potential of the town, but also for posterity sake”.



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

He is known more as a politician. But a few days ago, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha dazzled onlookers when he appeared on the hallowed chambers of the House in the traditional regalia of Ebube Mba 1 of Aba. NNEKA NWANERI reports


Behold Ebube Mba


HE Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, is a man of many parts. He is, among others, a politician, community leader, social mobiliser and a Knight of Saint Christopher of the Anglican Church. However, one aspect of him that has received little public attention is his respect and love for culture as well as the concomitant recognition he has received from custodians of the heritage. This was the part of him the deputy speaker bared open in lavish proportions to the world last Tueday when he appeared at the National Assembly in a colourful traditional chieftaincy regalia. Ihedioha was the cynosure of all eyes as he alighted gracefully from his official flag car and sauntered majestically into main lobby of the white house building of the National Assembly. The trade mark green cap for which the deputy speaker is easily identified was missing. In its place was a high-end red cap, which identified him as a confirmed red cap chief. As he walked towards the Speaker’s office adjacent to the green chambers looking imposing in the flowing velvet black-shade flowery robe, he adorned, otherlawmakers joined him in several poises to the flashes and clicks of the ever-present paparazzi. The Ebube Mba 1 of Aba, Abia State, had arrived for work. A brisk show had just

CELEBRATION begun: the camera clicks, video filming, ‘royal’ back-slapping, loud shouts of ‘Igwe’ and broad laughter from honourable members continued well inside the chambers. It took several minutes before the House could settle down into the business of the day. The deputy speaker was on the previous day conferred with his latest title, the Ebube Mba 1 of Aba which translates to mean the courage and confidence of the people, by the council of Traditional Rulers in Aba, Abia State. Surely, the task of a presiding officer of the National Assembly with all the mammoth responsibilities that come with it requires immense courage and confidence. The monarchs, who bestowed the title definitely, were on point. Ihedioha, a lover of culture has been bestowed, with several chieftaincy titles in Imo State and beyond. These include Ezeugo of Nri, Anambra State; Ezienyi Uvuru Mbaise; Odoziobo Ngor Okpala; Udiukonamba Obinugwu; Omenkeahuruanya 1 of Mbaise and Aha Eji Aga Mba of Mbutu, all of Imo State. And now from Abia comes the conferment of Ebube Mba 1 of Aba. The feathers keep coming to deputy speaker’s cap indeed!

Lagos backs LagosPhoto festival


•From left: Nwagbogu and Sewanu

HE Lagos State Ministry of Tourism and InterGovernmental Relations has endorsed the 2013 LagosPhoto Festival organised yearly by the LagosPhoto Foundation. According to a statement by the foundation, the Director, LagosPhoto, Azu Nwagbogu, met with the Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Fadipe Ashamu Sewanu, on May 8 to finalise the endorsement deal between the Lagos State government and LagosPhoto Foundation. “This is in line with the ministry’s set vision of encouraging private sector initiatives on tourism that drive in showcasing artistic excellence in Lagos State. This milestone will enable LagosPhoto Foundation to achieve the objectives of contributing to the education of youths in Lagos and beyond and creating a distinct approach to photography and art exhibitions that reflect and pay homage to African culture,” the statement added. LagosPhoto Festival with the theme The Megacity and the Non-City ,will hold for a month commencing with a grand opening ceremony/exhibition on October 26, showcasing images depicting this year’s theme. Indoor and outdoor spaces around Lagos will be used this year, making the festival accessible to the public.


Nigerian is World Brand Congress member


HE Managing Director of TPT International, a Public Relations firm, Charles Igbinidu, has been appointed into the Global Advisory Council (WBC) of the World Brand Congress. The WBC is the largest rendezvous of best brains behind some of the world’s most successful and sought after brands. One of the key features of the Congress will be Global Brand Excellence Awards. As an advisory member, Igbinidu will help define the scope and guide the strategic content. He will also recommend professionals who may add value to the World Brand Congress. The 22nd edition of the Congress will take place from October 21- 23 at Taj Lands End, Mumbai, India. The theme for World Brand Congress is “sustainable brands”. In his letter to Igbinidu, the Global Chairman of the Congress, Dave Porter, said: “I wish to invite you to be a part of the Global Advisory Council. As an esteemed member of the Advisory Council, you will network with professionals in your community/ country. The World Brand Congress attempts to reach out to Professionals across the globe and therefore every member of the Advisory Council would help propogate the message. The World Brand Congress is a not-for-profit making aimed at professional growth and development. I am sure you would be happy to be a part of World Brand Congress 2013”. Speaking on his appointment Igbinidu said, “I am honoured to be chosen to be on the Global Advisory Council of the World Brand Congress. I am elated because it is not a position that I struggled for, It is indeed a very huge honour to be selected to be on the Council made up of some of the brightest brains in brand management in the world. • Igbinidu “I am determined to discharge my new reponsibilities creditably as I also see the appointment as an opportunity to network and learn from professionals from across industries and also share my experience” . Igbinidu is one of the public relations experts in Nigeria. He is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. A prolific writer and avid reader, Igbinidu is also the Publisher/Editor-in-chief of, an online publication that provides credible, balanced and all-inclusive information and news about Nigeria, Africa and the world.


African politicians By Sharafdin Muhib

They are liars…… They speak fire….. Sons and daughters of AFRIKA Lost shepherds of the black race A generation of dark clouded minds They sold future pride and priorities They cultivate false traditions ……… unvalued diamonds of black origin They kill genuine black leaders They mislead the continent They sustain poverty, theft and anarchy They are tyrants, cruel, nothing but EVIL ALAS!!! The black slaves of honour Black power to the Black people Selfless and determined Loyal and Committed Like Madiba, Dan Fodio, M. Ghadaffi, and Luther King ALAS!!! Black slaves of honour Come back to the BLACK RHYTHM Black power to the black people Save the continent from the accursed Who stole and run hidden in the QUEEN’s land For asylum and investments ALAS!!! Black slaves of honour Your Labour shall never be in vain Black power to the black people We’ll secure our farmlands We’ll secure our resources We’ll remain BLACKS and PATRIOTS



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

•From left: Adebayo, Kalango, Fontana and Dare

UNESCO tasks Port Harcourt World Book Capital team


HE United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has hailed Port Harcourt, Rivers State for its emergence as the first African city to serve as a World Book Capital. Port Harcourt is the 2014 World Book Capital City. UNESCO representative in Abuja Prof Hassan Alidou said the city selection was a reflection of Nigeria’s distinguished literary tradition. She said there was no doubt that Nigeria has given humanity some towering writers and cultural figures, such as the late Chinua Achebe, the late Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa, Ben Okri, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Adichie and Adebayo Faleti, among others. Mrs Alidou, represented by Programme Specialist for Culture at UNESCO, Abuja, Mr Giovani Fontana, said the implication of the honour is that Port Harcourt would hold the title of UNESCO World Book Day for a year, from April 23, 2014 to April 23, 2015. “The designation of World Book Capital City also speaks to Port Harcourt’s capacity to inspire a debate on all issues related to the development of book culture in the Nigerian, African and the wider global context. During the designated year, it undertakes to organise and run a larger number of events around books, literature and reading, she added. According to her, parts of the programmes are expected to bring together the local and national book industries and puts books and book culture into the public eye. This, she said, attracts sponsorship and extra funding for book related institutions.

By Ozolua Uhakheme,Assistant Editor (Arts)

PRESENTATION Every year, UNESCO convenes delegates from the International Publishers Association, the International Booksellers Federation (IBF) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to grant the title of UNESCO World Book Capital to one city. Prof Alidou urged the Port Harcourt World Book Capital team to promote literacy production in national languages to promote the development of a multicultural and multilingual literate environment in Nigeria. “Our relationship with books determines, to a large extent, our relationship with culture. Our world needs to understand the diversity of cultures and to develop much stronger intercultural skills in the minds of every man and woman. We need these skills in order to live together in heterogeneous societies. We need them in order to address our common challenges together,” she said. Project Director, Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014, Mrs Koko Kalango, said the project would help to foster investment in education. “Thus, we are looking for partners who can see beyond the limits within which Africa has been portrayed to the possibilities which abound in her vast un-

tapped resources. Nowhere is this more evident than in her human capital. Investing in education and knowledge wealth of the young people will have a domino effect on other sectors, meeting pressing needs in the region and helping to achieve the ideals of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals,” she added. She said the project would give opportunity to adults and youths to grow, improve reading culture among the people, as well as bring to the fore the ability and opportunity to express themselves. Deputy Manager, Nigerian Publishers Association, Mr Olawale Adebayo, who represented the Executive Secretary, said the association is glad to be a partner in the project and solicited the support of every Nigerian as ‘we will all reap the gains’. Representative of the Book Sellers Assocation, Mr Oluwatuyi Dare, described the emergence of Port Harcourt as world book capital city as a great honour to Nigeria, adding that it would give the nation a better image. “This honour will bring the world to Nigeria and Port Harcourt in particular and will contribute to the nation’s economy. Government should support the project. Many published works don’t get outside the country. If the world comes here, they will start to show interest in our books. It is a better avenue to showcase our books to the world,” he said. Port Harcourt beat 10 other cities across the globe to emerge UNESCO World Book Capital City for 2014, a year Nigeria will commemorate its 100 years of existence as a nation. Financial requirement projection for the implementation of the various programmes is put at $39.6million.

Black Passionate Art Gallery opens in Benin City


GROUP, Chidis Black Passionate Concepts (CBPK) and Black Passionate Art Gallery, has opened in Benin City, the Edo State capital. The art and fashion company, which is supported by the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria, seeks to be world class art company, providing aesthetic, functional and educational solutions through visual arts, Fashion and culture promotions. Its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chidi Ubamadu said: ‘‘We are committed to sharing our unique history, celebrating our rich cultures and preserving the African heritage through the production and sales of genuine African art works, the promotion of arts and culture among other services. We are also committed to ensure ready availability of professional quality art products and services in Benin City, in order to adequately satisfy customers’ needs locally and beyond, provide appropriate job and income opportunities for visual art practitioners and other creative minds in their appropriate fields

By Ahmed Boulor

FACILITY “We seek to contribute meaningfully to the promotion and preservation of the rich African cultural heritage, we aspire to catalyse, in our own small way the revitalisation and sustenance of Art professionalism, practice and market in Benin City as an important global art centre by providing a thoroughly professional art gallery experience as well as regular and innovative art exhibitions here in Benin City,” he added. Works displayed at the recently opened art gallery include a mixture of single media forms, mixed media and collections made from genuine African traditional materials sourced locally to keep true to the heritage and the gallery stocks. Also on display were a good range of art works based on various cultures, cutting across multiple generations of artists which also capture an interesting variety of traditional and western themes. Visitors at the launch had a rare privi-

•Some guests at the opening. lege to buy and own original works of art from some of Nigeria’s best. Some of the exhibiting artists include: Njoku Kenneth, known for his bronze works; Festus Enofe with his mesmerising wood carvings; Eddison Ekwueme, a prolific sculptor/painter; Ohiole Ohiwere,

working in bronze, brass and poly marble; Simeon Ijoye, a water colourist; Lawani Sunday, Paul Ehizelen, Femi Williams, among others from the prestigious Auchi Art school, Eugene Aghimien and Gbenga Akintunde, young masters from the Benin and Ife schools of art.





Forecasts Niger Insurance Gross Premium - N2.73b Profit after tax - N212.95m Mutual Benefits Gross Premium - N2b Profit - N885.633m Regency Alliance Gross Premium – N812.596m Profit after tax – N256.437m Learn Africa Turnover - N1.06b Profit after tax - N58.336m Total Nigeria Turnover - N46.676 b Profit after tax - N942.1m MRS Oil Nigeria Turnover - N51.20b Profit after tax - N712 m Eterna Turnover - N27.64b Profit after tax - N563.834m Okomu Oil Palm Turnover - N2.667b Profit after tax - N1.044b Stanbic/IBTC Bank Net operating income N16.805b Profit after tax - N2.737b ASL Turnover - N1.084b Profit after tax - N101.355m GT Assurance Gross Premium - N3.892b Profit after tax - N710.62m Cornerstone Insurance Gross Premium - N1.223b Profit after tax - N80.01m Oasis Insurance Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax - N79.868m African Alliance INS Gross Premium - N1.215b Profit after tax - N107.213m Berger Paints Turnover - N976.303m Profit after tax - N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover - N835.0m Profit after tax - N18.200m Dangote Sugar Refinery Turnover - N38.251b Profit after tax - N3.49b Studio Press Nig. Turnover - N3.375b Profit after tax - N20.422m Julius Berger Nig. Turnover - N80.125b Profit after tax - N2.55b Intercontinental Wapic Ins Gross Premium - N1.41b Profit after tax - N250.450m Equity Assurance Gross Premium - N2.45b Profit after tax - N287.283m Standard Alliance Insurance Gross Premium - N2.142b Profit after tax - N475.964m Continental Reinsurance Gross Premium - N6.917b Profit after tax - N805m PRESCO Turnover - N2.60b Profit after tax - N800.9m RT Briscoe Turnover - N4.553b

NLNG is one of the biggest success stories in our country. From what I am told, the company has invested $13 billion so far since inception, and has become a pacesetter in terms of revenue generation for the government. -Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga

Next marginal fields’ bid round T coming, says DPR HE Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is working on the next bid round for marginal fields, the Director, Osten Olorunsola, has said. He said if the bid rounds hold next year, it would be 10 years since the last one held, adding that the DPR was working on the process. He explained that the licence holders of the assets that would produce the marginal fields, must renew their licences and relinquish such assets as marginal. Among the things the Department is looking at, is that most of the fields that

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

probably will come out in the next round are in assets that we are still trying to renew for the licence holders. If they don’t renew the licences, there is no point going ahead with fields people don’t even have titles to, he said. He said: “Some of those fields are within leases that are going through renewal right now. You need to renew the leases first before you give out the fields

within the leases to other people as marginal fields. That’s what we are doing basically. The leases have expired. We have to do one thing first. “Some of the lease holders have applied for renewal and the government is going through the process of renewing them,” he said, explaining that it is only the President that has the statutory right to declare a field as marginal.” Besides, he said despite the challenges winners of the

2004 bid round went through; the marginal fields’ owners are doing marvelously well. He said:”They are already in the right direction. If you go to some of the marginal fields, you will be shocked by what you see. “What some of them have put on ground, will rival any international company in the world. I have been there myself. I am not talking of pictures. He said some marginal fields were recently brought on stream, while

others will come on stream soon. “If you look at the marginal fields specifically, nine out of 24 are already producing today. Another four, or five will soon start to produce. Some of the marginal fields that would came on stream, include Sogenal, while Frontier has just come on stream. They are producing, and they are all doing pretty well,” he said. He said production from marginal fields is low, noting that marginal fields are doing only 50,000 barrels daily out of 2.5 million barrels produced daily.

Operator lists hurdles against airlines By Kelvin Osa Okunbor


HE Federal Govrnment has been urged to provide domestic carriers with low cost capital to enable operators to remain in business. An indigenous operator, and the Chief Executive Officer of Overland Airways, Captain Edward Boyo, who made the call in Lagos. He explained that such initiative would not be too much a price to pay to keep domestic airlines afloat, as such funds will enable the airlines acquire aircraft at lower costs. The repayment of such funds should spread over a long period, he added. Boyo told The Nation that such initiatives have been taken by some governments across the globe with the aim of bailing their ailing airlines from imminent collapse. He described the provision of low cost capital as the best reform the government could take to prevent domestic airlines from imminent collapse, arguing that previous attempts to provide intervention funding for the carriers did not yield the desired results. He listed low capacity of funding institutions and high lending rates as among factors militating against domestic airline operators. Other factors, according to Boyo, are prohibitive maintenance costs, which have made domestic airline operators in the country to ferry aircraft abroad for major checks such as C and D, high import duties and taxes on aircraft parts, which adds to operators’ spiralling operating cost. He also listed skyrocketing price of aviation fuel, which has caused operators over 40

‘Emergency rule will not affect financial markets’ - P 31

•From left: Group Head, Commercial Banking, North, Access Bank, PLC, Speedwell Ngoka; Manager, Fifth Chukker Polo Club, Babangida Hassan; Group Head, Private Banking, Access Bank, Angela Jide-Jones; Executive Director, Personal Banking, Victor Etuokwu, and Adam Taylor, Tournament Manager, at the pre-tournament briefing in Victoria Island, Lagos on ... Monday.

‘Oil decline spells bleak future for Nigeria’


COMBINATION of continuous decline in global crude oil prices and domestic crude oil production could bring Nigerians back into austerity as the resultant gloomy macroeconomic condition reverberates across all sectors of the economy. This is the assessment of a group of independent analysts led by Mr Bismarck Rewane. In its latest bi-monthly economic and business update, Rewane’s Financial Derivatives, Company (FDC) Limited, noted that a further decline in global oil prices for as much as 17.5 basis points could further depress Nigeria’s declining economic performance. Recent report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that Nigeria’s economic output in the first quarter slipped by 0.43 per cent to 6.56 per cent in the first quarter of this year as against 6.99 per cent recorded in the previous quarter-fourth quarter of 2012. The decline was largely due to poor output in

By Taofik Salako

the oil sector, which led to a 1.05 per cent decline in the sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) to 14.75 per cent. Global oil prices had declined considerably in recent period. Nigeria’s bonny light crude trades at $107.5pb, 7.2 per cent lower than $115.3 per barrel (pb) in first quarter of the year just as Nigeria’s oil output fell to 1.94 million barrel per day (mbpd) in April. The decline in global oil prices was largely due to demand concerns and the continuous uncertainty in Europe while domestic oil output has been negatively affected by several disruptions such as pipeline vandalism, bunkering and force majeure. FDC noted that the declining price and output imply a shortfall in federal government revenue as a result of Nigeria’s ultra dependence on oil, estimating that Nigeria might have since lost some 6.8 per cent of its oil revenue of $1.85 trillion in first quarter of the year. According to analysts, a

CBN promises hitch-free cash-less banking - P31

further decline in global oil prices to $90pb will be devastating for the Nigerian economy, as the reverberations of the shocks will hamper any form of growth across all sectors of the economy. They outlined that the negative developments in the oil sector due to declining oil production could result in depletion of external reserves, exchange rate instability and increased debt and higher fiscal deficit. All these would be compounded by possible increase in the government spending in view of the military action in some Northern states, which poses potential risks to inflation and exchange rate. “Given that oil prices, notably bonny light crude, decline to $90pb, Nigeria could see a further decline in its growth rate by 1.5per cent. Also, oil revenue would immediately decline by 30 per cent or $2.4 billion per month in nominal terms. This will cause a rapid increase in

government borrowing, adding to the current total government debt of N8.7 trillion and increase the nation’s fiscal deficit beyond the current target of 2.85 per cent of GDP,” analysts noted. They pointed out that as the value of the naira falls towards N165/$ at the parallel market and the likelihood for capital flight increases, external reserves would be depleted by about $10 billion to $15 billion from the current level of $48.5 billion. The resultant $33.5 billion to $38.5 billion will only cover an average of eight months of exports, which may lead to increase in Nigeria’s borrowing. “The implications of a further decline in oil prices paint a bleak picture for the Nigerian economy,” FDC stated. Analysts, however, the stated that there was possibility of an upturn in global economy, which may also positively impact on Nigeria’s economic outlook and stave the economy from austere future.

Africa records $66.3b insurance premium income -P 31




Use experts in key posts, Sanusi C tells banks

ENTRAL Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Lamido Sanusi has advised banks to use only qualified and competent hands in key positions. Speaking at the annual risk management conference in Lagos, he said banks should start assessing their staff in key roles, especially risk managers, auditors, compliance officers, treasurers, chief finance officers and others in controlled functions in line with the CBN’s competency framework. The framework shows that the recent global financial crisis exposed the inadequacy of skills and the dearth of executive capacity in the banking industry. The skill gap, it explained, manifested in, among others, the lack of indepth knowledge of core banking functions and poor understanding of basic banking operations; poor understanding of banking regulations and poor risk management and corporate governance practices. Sanusi said the CBN would soon

Stories by Collins Nweze

send out questionnaires to banks for information on their staff competency. He advised the banks to begin to think of hiring new managers should the current ones fall below the CBN requirement. The CBN boss said this has become exigent following the regulator’s commitment to sustain the stability of Nigeria financial system. He said there is need to assess skills, qualifications, experience and competencies of staff currently occupying controlled functions in banks. This, in essence, implies that continuous strengthening of intellectual resources and capabilities must be undertaken to create a pool of talented and high calibre professionals in the banking industry. In a circular tagged: “Assess-

ment of competencies in the Nigerian banking industry” signed by Y.B Duniya for Director, Financial Policy and Regulation, the CBN said the exercise would enable the Bankers’ Committee identify at the preliminary stages, gaps that would impede the effective implementation of the Competency Framework for the banking industry being appraised by the apex bank. It said the list of controlled functions was not exhaustive as other important roles and responsibilities may be added. The framework is expected to address the competency challenges in the industry, explore growth opportunities and facilitate improvement in the quality of human capital. “Under the framework, successful banks will be those that distinguish themselves by according

high priority to continuous enhancement of human capital and lifelong learning,” the apex bank had said. The apex bank also said it will maintain a central database for approved persons. Banks are expected to update the database with details of approved persons and access it as part of their due diligence before the appointment of such persons. The framework leverages on the practices in other jurisdictions, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Dubai, which provide a useful guide and template for the banking industry.

•CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi

FITC inaugurates products for financial efficiency


HE Financial Institutions raining Centre (FITC) has launched new products meant to boost learning process and professionalism in the financial sector. The Managing Director, FITC, Mrs Lucy Newman, named the products as FITC Virtual learning, FITC E-Recruitment Portal, and FITC Virtual Library. It also developed the Nigerian version of the International Finance Corporation corporate governance and board leadership training curriculum, as well as the FITC new publications. She said the products were relevant and should help the development of the financial sector and improve bankers’ knowledge of the financial sector. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Dr Kingsley Moghalu, endorsed the products. He said there is need to improve bankers’ knowledge of operational risk. He said: “The man-

agement of operational risk needs to be improved and we know that one of the problems that affected the banking industry in the past was almost a complete failure of risk management. We must enhance the quality of banks in Nigeria through good risk management and corporate governance using proper regulatory frameworks.” The FITC said the e-recruitment portal presents saves the recruitment managers a lot of time and provides an avenue for the applicant to interact with the right employers. It said that the Virtual library was initiated to complement its other human capacity development efforts. The Virtual library also has FITC-books, which is a reporting of publications by the institute while virtual learning is a product derived from several years of intensive industry relevant, user friendly design and layers of testing by experts.

Visa backs cash-less policy

V •From left: Executive Director, Corporate Services, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Abiola Edewor; Dr Moghalu and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FITC, Lucy Newman, during the launch.

World Bank agency pledges support for SMEs’ lending


HE International Finance Corporation (IFC), an agency of the World Bank, is assisting local banks to boost lending to Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in the country. Speaking at the SME Toolkit Global Partner conference in Lagos, IFC, Nigeria Country Manager, Solomon Quaynor, said the corporation found that banks do not want the high risk transactions associated with lending to SMEs. Quaynor said the SME Toolkit would enable the entrepreneurs to manage their businesses. IFC, he said, stepped in to derisk such loans by providing financial infrastructure and developing collateral registry that will assist banks in lending to the subsector. ”We are working on getting the SMEs to use toolkit, so that

banks can be more comfortable lending to the subsector. Our focus is not about giving money to the banks to lend to SMEs. It is about building their confidence in the SMEs so that the subsector can easily obtain loans from lenders,” he said. He said the corporation spends a lot of time training the banks to understand SMEs by designing products for the subsector among other things. It is not about the money we are providing for banks, but that we are getting them to be more careful in lending to SMEs. He said the corporation is investing in broadband services to ensure that the right communication platform needed to reach more entrepreneurs across the country is made available. General Manager, IBM Africa,

Taiwo Otiti, said the SMEs tools help entrepreneurs manage their businesses properly, and in the process, making it attractive for banks to grant them loans. “The SMEs Toolkit will help entrepreneurs input their financials, making it easier for banks to understand and take lending decisions on their account positions,” he said. He said SMEs remain engine of growth for the economy, adding that they are the largest employer of labour within the economy. He said when the SMEs businesses are run well, they will have the capacity to employ more people. “Part of the SMEs teaching is how to package their businesses to attract banks’ lending. Also note that there are several types of banking in the country,” he said.

ISA, a global electronic payments company, has called for an improved use of e-payment productsby entrepreneurs within and outside the country. Speaking at the BT Africa West Africa Expo and Conference in Lagos, Country Manager for Visa West Africa, Ade Ashaye, said the firm was committed to helping the country achieve its cashless banking initiative. “Visa is committed to helping move Nigeria to a cash-less economy and share some of the benefits of secure electronic payments within the industry.” The conference was hosted in association with Future Group’s Business Traveller Africa. He said Nigeria is growing as a destination for both leisure and

business travel, adding that rise in spending is a credit to the efforts of those promoting Nigeria as a tourist destination. According to VisaVue Travel data, Nigeria’s top three source markets of spend on Visa cards were the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa. Visa cardholders from these three markets account for 60.1 per cent of total spending by international Visa cardholders in Nigeria. ”What was great to see was the various players in West African business travel coming together under one roof, debating the issues, looking for solutions and engaging with existing and potential clients,” said Dylan Rogers, of Business Traveler Africa.

Stanbic IBTC promotes early savings


TANBIC IBTC Holdings commemorated the Children’s Day by deploying its senior personnel in some schools in Lagos to teach pupils the value of financial planning and savings. In a statement, the bank said its objective was to assist the gain knowledge skills and confidence that would enable them to make responsible financial decisions on how to start saving money for future needs. sAmong issues discussed during the sessions were developing educational savings plans,

budgeting, keeping money safe, and application of mobile money solutions. The bank said the initiative, which is an integral part of the group’s corporate social investment goals, is focused on helping the students embrace financial planning and a savings culture. Participating schools where the volunteers taught were Corona School Gbagada, Methodist Girls High school, Yaba, Lagos Progressive Schools, Surulere, Kings College, Lagos, Corona School Ikoyi and Corona School, Victoria Island.




‘Emergency rule will not affect financial markets’ T

HE emergency rule in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states will not affect the money, capital and fixed-instrument segment of the financial market, the Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr Bismarck Rewane, has said. He said the emergency would not send wrong signals to investors, but only shows that the country is managing its security well. Speaking on the state of the economy vis-à-vis the performance of the financial services sector on a television programme, Rewane said the nation’s security could be managed rightly or wrongly. He said the security is being managed well, considering the case of the three states. “To do nothing is not acceptable. What the government is doing is to ring the crisis so that it will not spread to other parts of the country. So, it is neither sending bad signals to the foreign investors not affecting the activities in the various segments of the financial market. Rather, it is a good signal to investors,” he said, adding: “How many investors from the three

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

states are investing in the market? They are few. So, how would the current development send wrong signal to investors in those areas? According to him, the issue of flow of investors to the domestic market should be the major concern of the operators among other stakeholders now. “I think the question we should be asking is: “How much of the domestic investors are going into the market?” he asked. Domestic investors, he said, were the real catalyst for change, adding that they must be encouraged to participate actively in our market. He said the government, investors and households constitute a major force in any economy, adding that the environment must be made conducive for investors to create capital formation. He said the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to maintain the 12 per cent Monetary Policy Rate was expected, given the happenings in the macroeconomic environment. Rewane said CBN in deciding the

MPR looks at anticipations in the economy, and from there takes a position that is good for the industry and the economic in particular. “Inflation is a threat to oil prices. If oil price drops and the depletion of reserves occur, the apex will put in place measures to absorb the shocks that would occasion the development,” he said. The Financial Derivative boss said democratic promotion and cultures would continue to grow to support national development, arguing that the discussions on the issue of budget amendment currently with the National Assembly are part of the democratic processes. In a related development, the Managing Director, Bgl Securities Limited, Mr Sunday Adebola, said domestic participation was critical to the growth of the financial market. He said it has been proven globally that no country develops its market from outside. He said many countries have developed their market to a point before foreign investors come in to assist in one way or the other.

Body chides AMCON on sinking fund THE decision of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to increase the contributions of banks to its Debt Redemption Sinking Fund from 0.3 per cent to 0.5 per cent is not good enough, the National President, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr Sunny Nwosu, has said. Speaking in Lagos, Nwosu said the development, which has taken effect this January, will have undesirable effects on the performance of banks in the long run. He said when banks take 0.5 per cent of their total assets and put in the debt sinking fund of AMCON, the value of the assets would be impair as time goes on. According to him, the money will not only accumulate over a period of time, but would prevent the banks from using the money for more important and immediate needs. He said: “What purpose is the fund going to serve in AMCON vault?, he asked. It is going to be idle. Banks have a lot of projects to invest in on than allowing their money to be idle somewhere. Shareholders are looking for increase in their investment portfolios, and would not like a situation where by banks would be giving unnecessary excuses.”

Stallion Home, Mutual Alliance in merger talks STALLION Home savings & Loan Limited and Mutual Alliance Savings & loans Limited have started merger talks to beat the recapitalisation deadline of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). In a statement, the two mortgage banks said they recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the proposed business combinations that would result into a mega national mortgage bank. It said to actualise the proposal, a four-member steering committee, two each from both Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs), have been inaugurated and saddled with putting together necessary documentations as prescribed by the recapitalisation guidelines for submission to the CBN for approval. The committee is expected to conclude its assignment and submit the report by September 30, 2013. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Stallion Home Savings and Loan Limited, Johnson Akhidenor, said the emerging entity will be a mega national mortgage bank with over N5 billion capital base. Director of Mutual Alliance Savings & Loans Limited, James Taylor, said that the merger will strengthen both firms to enable them address the housing needs of Nigerians.

Benefits of tax revenues, by CITN boss

• From left: Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, CRC Credit Bureau, Ahmed Popoola; Chairman, Victor Etuokwu and Company Secretary Ms Ayomipo Wey during the firm’s annual general meeting in Lagos.

CBN promises hitch-free cash-less banking in Rivers, Abuja, others


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working towards making the introduction of cash-less banking in five states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on July 1, hitch-free, its spokesman, Ugochukwu Okoroafor, has said. The states are Rivers, Kano, Anambra, Ogun and Abia. Speaking with The Nation, Okoroafor said with the Lagos experience, the roll out in those states would be successful. He said more publicity and Point of Sales (PoS) terminals would be deployed when the project takes off in those states. Okoroafor said: “Part of the arrangements made so far include; increasing the number of Point of Sale (PoS) terminals in these states, making enough publicity to create awareness and the need to embrace the cash-less idea, among others. We have learnt our lessons and we do not want a repeat of what happened in Lagos when cashless was introduced early last

year. I can say that we are ready for the take off of cash-less project in the seven states.” According to him, problems that marred the exercise in Lagos have been outlined, discussed and solutions adopted to make cash-less successful. CBN, he said, was working with banks on the deployment of PoS terminals, adding that wide consultation is going on to ensure prompt and adequate delivery. “The banks have the responsibilities to deploy PoS terminals, hence the decision of the CBN to involve them strongly in the exercise. We are seriously working with them on the issue. Also, CBN, banks and the Bankers’ Committee are putting in place measures to create enough awareness by way of educating people via various channels before and after July this year.” The Chairman, National Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), Mr Emmanuel Obaigbona, said the

body was ready to ensure the success of electronic payment transactions. Obaigbona said NeFF was charged with educating and informing banks on various electronic fraud issues and trends; proactive sharing of fraud data/ information among stakeholders to ensure prompt responses and limit losses and formulation of cohesive and effective risk management strategies. The cash-less policy, whose implementation began in Lagos in January, last year, is aimed at reducing the dominance of cash in the system. The policy specifies penal charges for individuals and corporate organisations that want to withdraw or lodge cash above prescribed limits. Under the policy, the CBN pegged the daily cumulative cash withdrawal or deposit limit for individual accounts at N500,000 per day and N3 million per day for corporate accounts.

AN economy that is able to sustain its citizens must leverage on tax revenues, as the most reliable source of fund for national development and transformation, President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) John Jegede has said. Speaking at the institute’s induction in Lagos, he told the inductees that their role is to assist the government and taxpayers to plug loopholes and bring into the tax net more individuals. He said a situation where negligible percentage of taxable persons pays taxes is very disheartening, stressing that professionals must rise up to the challenge to ensure Nigeria’s economy is diversified through taxation. Jegede said the institute is determined to collaborate with various stakeholders on training of tax practitioners in various organisations and agencies. He said: “While commending stakeholders for their unalloyed support to the Institute, it is my hope that the existing mutual co-operation between governments at all levels and the Institute would go a long way to improving the effectiveness of the various states’ revenue agencies while at the same time strengthening the confidence of taxpayers in the Nigerian tax system,” he said. He said in realisation of the need for the institute to be visible in the league of professional bodies, the institute has positioned as a force to be reckoned with, locally and internationally. “We have a good working relationship with Taxation Institutes in Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali and Burkina Faso through the auspices of West Africa Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI) and Association of African Tax Institutes (AATI),” he said. However, Igho Dafinone, a tax expert, said a good tax system should be as efficient as possible to collect in terms of cost per collection. It should also be as neutral as possible so that all those in similar situations are subject to the same incidence. He said a sound tax system should also be as simple as possible to comprehend and comply.

ICAN partner London counterpart THE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has signed an agreement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales on ways of transforming ICAN’s exams, certification and audit control processes. Speaking at the Institute’s annual dinner in Lagos, ICAN President, Adedoyin Idowu Owolabi, said the partnership has the backing of the World Bank. He said there will be further collaboration between the institute and the Chartered Institute of Managements Accountants, United Kingdom, which will commence at the end of the first partnership. Owolabi also said the institute has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Babcock University, which entails the adoption of the ICAN syllabus by the school in addition to courses from other disciplines needed for a normal degree programme. He said with the MoU the varsity is meant to find a lasting solution to the dwindling performance of candidates and, ultimately, the quality of accountants being produced by the institute. He said the institute will sponsor the whistle blower’s protection bill at the National Assembly. When passed into law, such bill, he said, would promote best practices in corporate and public governance. In pursuant of this bill, the institute has launched a whistle blower’s protection fund while the draft bill is almost ready for submission at the National Assembly, he explained.




‘Level of banks’ regulation has risen’ Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Bank Limited, Mallam Ahmed Kuru, spoke to select reporters on the efforts of its shareholder - the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) - to sell the bank, which recently posted a stellar performance, to new investor; the lenders’passion for funding the real sector and other industry issues. Group Business Editor, AYODELE AMINU, was there. Excerpts.


ART of the mandate the bank’s shareholder (AMCON) gave was to run the bank as a sound financial institution and make it competitive. How were you able to achieve these? I would say we have laid a good foundation. I make bold to say this because the first thing we did was to initiate a very strong corporate governance structure and we insisted that there must be strong policies in this regard. I am sure you know that the level of regulation in the system has also gone up. This is the reason as small as we are, we have a 16-member Board of Directors. We have five Executive Directors in addition to the Managing Director and 10 Non-Executive Directors. The least among the non-executive directors was a former Executive Director in a bank. So, we brought credible people and put them on the Board so that the corporate governance structure will be strong to avoid any abuse of process and that is our strength. What that means is that everybody on the Board is an independent character. They are professional people. The Chairman of the Board, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, is the former Managing Director of Diamond Bank. He is a professional and disciplined banker. So, by this action the CBN has ensured that what happened in the past will not happen again. I always say that it is usually the abuse of process that allows banks to engage in unethical practices. In Enterprise bank now, proper and due process is followed in whatever we do. On that note, I can assure you that we have achieved our mandate to engender a strong and sound bank. However, we have not reached our destination yet. It is still work-in-progress. Have we made it competitive? Yes. Our 2012 result will attest to that. The bank is now in a position to attract very good staff from the industry, which was not the situation before we came on board. Having made the bank this attractive and given its bridged status, do you now have investors for the bank? Are they foreign or local? Who are they and when is the transaction (sale of the bank) expected to be completed? Ordinarily, I would have referred you to AMCON because our mandate did not include the sale of the bank. However, last weekend, on May 18, 2013 to be precise, the Corporation in a press statement said that there is a plan to commence the process leading to the sale of Enterprise Bank and the two other bridge banks. However, it is necessary to state that what is important to us is to continue to run the institution at full throttle. The announcement will not in any way affect the operations of the bank. The sale transaction is different from the business of running the bank, which is our responsibility. What is your plan to move the bank forward? What is important to us is to run the bank commercially, profitably and put all the structures on ground to ensure that business continues according to the mandate given to us by AMCON. We have a five-year plan, which we are implementing. This is because whoever steps in to buy Enterprise Bank at the end of the day is not com-

ing to buy just our beautiful head office or structures. The investor is coming to buy the value that we have added along the line, which includes the quality of the customers that the bank has, the balance sheet, quality of staff and infrastructure among others. Our recent declaration of a profit of N11.3 billion after our first Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a further attestation to the value addition. Those are the positive things that any buyer or investor will want to see. We have returned the bank to profitability and are concentrating our attention on sustaining and even surpassing that achievement. So our plan for the bank going forward is to have a traditional institution where only five per cent of our customers will come to the bank. We want to be a traditional institution that is leveraging innovation and technology to deliver an efficient service to all customers and stakeholders and I believe we are on track to achieving that giving the right investments we have made since we came on board. How far has the bank gone in terms of implementing the cashlite policy? What measure of success in terms of market share can you say the bank has achieved? At Enterprise Bank, we are in the forefront of the cash-lite policy implementation. Ahead of the introduction of the cash limit policy meant to enhance the Nigerian payment system, reduce the use of cash in payments for goods and services and improve the use of Electronic Payment Systems, we were already doing everything possible to reduce the risk our customers go through in handling bulk cash. We had begun strengthening our Automated Teller Machines (ATM) platforms, Point of Service (POS) terminals, mobile and internet banking channels for use across the various outlets in and outside of Lagos State. Our internet banking channel, for instance, is to ensure our customers enjoy banking transactions from the comfort of their offices and homes anywhere they may be in the world. Like I said earlier, our desire is to cut down physical visits to our banking halls down to about five per cent. However, for the customers without access to Personal Computers (PCs), we also made it possible that their mobile phones will suffice as the Enterprise e-Mobile will enable them carry on the same banking transactions. Customers on this service can check their account balance, view the last five transactions, conduct intra and interbank transfers, purchase recharge cards for self and third parties and pay for DSTV, PHCN and mobile phone post-paid bills among other transactions. Often times, it has been said that small and medium scale businesses are at the core of meaningful economic growth in economies as ours. However, the low impact of this segment on our economy has been blamed on a number of factors, such

• Mallam Kuru as the lack of funding from the banks. How has your bank fared in the area of credits to this sector? I have continually reiterated our commitment towards the support of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country, because we know as a bank that it is ‘critical’ to the development of Nigeria. Since we came on board, we realised the strategic importance of SMEs in fast-tracking the growth of the Nigerian economy and have since thrown our support to SMEs. We are a SMEs bank. Our name is Enterprise. More than 60 per cent of our book is towards SME and commercial. We have resolved strategically as a bank to be wholly a retail bank. We may opportunistically played in other areas. But we are a retail bank. We are putting more effort and emphasis in building capacity and understanding the workings of SMEs both from the providers and users of funds. It is the major challenge facing the SME space. Associations providing SMEs need to partner with banks such as Enterprise Bank. How is your bank taking advantage of the positive policy thrust in agriculture in the last few years? In our previous interactions with the media, we have always made it clear that Enterprise Bank is playing actively and will continue to explore every opportunity that are available in the agricultural sector of the economy. If you remember, the CBN disposition is to become a catalyst in economic growth through agricultural development among other key sectors of the economy. In that respect, the CBN initiated many interventions in the real sectors of the economy, particularly, in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. As a matter of fact, the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is very passionate about this. At Enterprise Bank, we have come to terms with the fact that once we as a nation have the right strategy in the agricultural sector funding, employment could be generated in an unprecedented manner, which means our teeming youth will be gainfully employed among other positive developments that will follow. Having said that, we do not need to remind anyone that the economies of major industrialised countries of the world such as the United States of America (USA), Asian and European countries are driven by agriculture. That is why Enterprise Bank is supporting agriculture and targeting the retail business. As a country too, we want to believe that we have no option than

to give agriculture and other small businesses with easy ‘points-of-entry’ priority attention. The CBN is doing a lot in this regard but banks need to, as a matter of deliberate policy, build capacity in the area of agricultural financing, which is what we are doing. In our bank, everybody is aware today that for us to move our economy forward we have to pay a lot of attention to the agro-allied industries and from what we have seen; all hands are on deck to see that we achieve this mandate. Our retail and credit products have been designed to fund opportunities and sustain the agricultural sector. Enterprise Bank posted a stellar performance for the 2012 financial year. Can tell us how and your team achieved this feat? In summary, we posted a profit-before-tax (PBT) of N11.3billion in the year ended 2012 as against a loss of N5.2 billion in the five month period ended 2011; customer deposits rose from N62.6 billion in 2011 to N208.4billion in 2012 while total assets grew from N198.5 billion as at the end of 2011 to N261.1billion in 2012. The result came as a reassurance that our efforts since we came on board have not been in vain. We feel very happy with the result although there is always room for improvement. It shows what a great team can do. When we were appointed, if you remember, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) gave us a mandate to run the bank commercially and competitively. The 2012 result that you have seen is a direct result of that effort. What has been your experience so far, given the fact that this is the first time you are running a bank as the CEO? It has been challenging and rewarding at the same time. I count myself lucky because it is a big opportunity to help build a sound financial institution as well as serve the country. When the appointment came, I saw it as a national call in addition to the capping of a long professional banking career. Building a sound bank, particularly, from the structures of the old Spring Bank meant a lot, in that; a successful bank will impact positively on many areas of our economy. It will mean creating wealth for a happy and satisfied clientele through the provision of excellent financial and advisory services; providing employment as well as grooming first rate professionals. The contribution of a well run financial institution to society in terms of corporate social responsibility is also

‘We have a five-year plan, which we are implementing. This is because whoever steps in to buy Enterprise Bank at the end of the day is not coming to buy just our beautiful head office or structures. The investor is coming to buy the value that we have added along the line, which includes the quality of the customers that the bank has, the balance sheet, quality of staff and infrastructure among others’

immense. I am equally humbled by the level of support I am receiving from my employers, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the Board of Directors, which is made up of highly experienced and very successful professionals drawn from the academia, banking and insurance industries. I am very happy to have a dynamic Executive Management team that is dedicated and hardworking. So it is a collective effort, which makes things easy and the staff are charged. I must also acknowledge the continued patient, understanding and loyalty of our customers. Altogether, the experience has been wonderful, making the daily challenges exciting. But then one cannot forget God Almighty, who keeps providing us with life and the good health to carry on with the assignment? I count myself really privileged. What kind of management style do you run? Are you democratic or autocratic? From our first interaction with all staff when we assumed office nearly two years ago, we made it clear that this administration will run an opendoor policy style of leadership. It was not just a rhetorical exercise; we backed it up with action in all our relationships with colleagues in the bank. The idea was to ensure that we run a flat structure that will make hierarchy as seamless as possible to enable people function very well. As a matter of fact, modern day leadership ideals do not encourage ‘them and us’ style of management. People function better in an environment where they see themselves as colleagues irrespective of grade, age, tribe, religion among others. In such an environment, it is easy for people to share informed knowledge that will help the organisation to grow. If you have observed, we address ourselves on first name bases so there is nothing like Oga, Mr. ‘A’ or Mrs. ‘B.’ To answer your question therefore, you will see that autocracy has no base in the bank. Finally, what would you want to be remembered for when you leave the bank? When we were appointed, AMCON’s directive was clear: to run the institution as a commercial entity. We were given the bank and a mandate to run it commercially and competitively and we think that that is what we have done in the last two years and what we will continue to do until the end of our assignment. We want to be remembered as the team that did not destroy value. We want to be remembered for systematically contributing our quota to the development of the economy by building a very strong and sound bank that creates value. But, most especially, we want to be remembered for positively touching the lives of people that we have met during our stewardship in the bank because without them, the story will not be complete. We want to create an ‘Enabling Bank.’




UACN closes on Portland Paints’ acquisition deal T HE Boards of Directors of UAC of Nigeria (UACN) Plc and Portland Paints and Products Plc have executed definitive agreements in technical finalisation of the bid by UACN to acquire majority equity stake in the latter. The Nation gathered that the execution of definitive agreements has transited the scheme of acquisition to the regulatory authorities for their final approvals. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the apex capital market regulator that oversees mergers and acquisitions, was said to be considering the scheme. The definitive agreements set out the specific details of the business combination including the size, price, payment structure, changes in shareholding structure, and share exchange ratio if any. Market sources indicated that the final approval for the acquisition might come in June, in line

Stories by Taofik Salako

with the second quarter expectation of the parties for the completion of the business combination. SEC is statutorily empowered to enforce full disclosures and transparency but it does not decide transactional details for parties to an issue. Its functions also do not include that of any anti-trust investigation, which usually could take longer review. As such, well-defined definitive agreements only require considerations of terms and agreements of the parties in the light of disclosures and regulatory filings and procedures. While UACN had concluded final phase of a similar deal for acquisition of majority equity stake in Livestock Feeds Plc last February, it received regulatory approval in March. Although the details of the definitive agreements with Portland Paints are yet to be made public,

a source said UACN would go for at least 51 per cent and the deal could be around N1billion. UACN had acquired 51 per cent equity stake in Livestock Feeds at N1.3 billion. The deal was consummated through acquisition of 11 per cent shareholdings valued at N400 million through the secondary market and 40 per cent equity stake through a private placement valued at N904 million. UACN had in July last year announced that it had signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Portland Paints with a view to acquiring substantial equity stake in the company. UACN, which holds the controlling equity stake in CAP Plc, the largest quoted paints and chemical company, is seeking to leverage on potential synergies between CAP and Portland Paints, an equally profitable niche player

with strong brands. The transaction will allow Portland Paints to leverage the relative strengths of UACN and yield considerable benefit to stakeholders in both companies. UACN has said its acquisitions were in furtherance of its strategy of building a portfolio of brands and businesses geared to the growth segments of the Nigerian economy, and partnerships that deliver long-term value to the company and its stakeholders. With their established presence in the paint industry, both UACN and Portland Paints are positioned to partner on deepening their presence in existing markets, achieve scope and scale economies in procurement, production and distribution. Portland Paints’ products include marine and protective coatings for oil and gas sector, sanitary ware, instant road repair material for re-

pairs in all weather for cracks and potholes in asphalt, concrete and landing runway areas in airports as well as its traditional decorative and industrial paints. UACN is a large group of several active companies spreading through manufacturing, services, logistics and real estate sectors of the economy, the addition of Portland Paints would further enlarge the UACN Group. The UACN Group includes three quoted subsidiaries - CAP Plc, Livestock Feeds and UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc; UAC Foods Limited, MDS Logistics Limited, Warm Spring Waters Nigeria Limited, Grand Cereals Limited, and Unico CPFA Limited. It has been divesting from some businesses as it refocuses on goodmargin businesses. UACN is owned by more than 187,000 shareholders.

Skye Bank rethinks growth strategy


KYE Bank Plc is rethinking its growth model into a more assertive and forwardlooking option that seeks to consolidate its historical value-based organic growth strategy with expansionary and competitive verve with a view to leapfrog and sustain the bank into a top tier bank within the medium to long term. Focused on internally-driven value creation, Skye Bank had raised comparatively lower capital and did not make any acquisition in the rush for large capital and acquisitions by several banks. The new growth model, according to a statement from the bank, will combine this historic growth model with a stronger competitive strides aimed at exploring all available opportunities for growth. The bank is expected to drive growth largely internally through increased capitalisation and market-facing initiatives but it would also seek to acquire value-adding commercial banking assets that could leverage its balance sheet, spread and customer base. The lender has outlined a threeyear short-term plan that is expected to double its balance sheet and customer deposits by the end of the plan in 2015. Skye Bank’s total assets opened 2013 at N1.07 trillion while customer deposit stood at N790.1 billion. The bank is also expected to significantly improve its profitability in tandem with the targets for total assets and customer deposit. A new strategy framework that emanated from a brainstorming retreat between the board and management of the bank and topflight professional advisers indicates that the bank needs to consolidate its size and expand both organically and inorganically. The retreat, meant to chart a new course for the bank, outlined several strategic initiatives to achieve a three-prong objective of continuous survival, enhanced industry ranking and improved returns to shareholders. The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has announced plan to sell its three banks- Keystone Bank, Enterprise Bank and Mainstreet Bank - starting with the sale of Enterprise Bank. AMCON indicated there were more than 20 bidders for Enterprise Bank. Shareholders of Skye Bank last Wednesday approved resolutions empowering the directors of the

bank to raise more than N81 billion in new equity and debt capital. At the annual general meeting of the bank in Lagos, shareholders approved a resolution to enable the board raise N50 billion in new equity funds and as much as $200 million in tier 2 capital, otherwise known as debt or quasidebt issuance. Shareholders also empowered the board to absorb over-subscriptions, which implies the bank could access more than face target of N81 billion. Group managing director, Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Kehinde DurosinmiEtti, last week explained that the bank would raise tier 2 capital before the end of the third quarter of 2013 and seek additional funds through tier 1 issue in the nearest future. He noted that given the way the bank has optimised its current capital base, additional capital would lead to better value creation for all stakeholders. He said the bank has been strengthening its processes and resources to improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance risk management noting that the bank is in the process of finalising the centralization of its back-office. Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of the bank for the year ended December 31, 2012 showed that profit after tax leapt to N12.64 billion in 2012, representing an increase of 872.6 per cent on N1.30 billion recorded in 2011. Profit before tax had jumped by 480.9 per cent from N2.84 billion in 2011 to N16.51 billion in 2012. The bank maintained steady top-line in 2012 with net interest income and net non-interest income of N44.50 billion and N22.60 billion. On the basis of the impressive bottom-line, it increased cash dividend per share from 25 kobo paid for 2011 business year to 50 kobo for 2012. Interim report and accounts of Skye Bank for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 also showed that gross earnings rose by 24.6 per cent to N34.69 billion in first quarter 2013 as against N27.84 billion recorded in comparable period of 2012. Interest income had grown by 18.2 per cent from N23.04 billion to N27.22 billion, underlining the increasing market share in the banking industry. Profit before tax stood at N4.63 billion as against N4.09 billion in corresponding period while profit after tax rose from N3.48 billion to N3.71 billion.

•Managing Director, Unity Bank Plc, Ado Yakubu Wanka (second left), receives PCIDSS certificate from Mrs. Adedoyin Odunfa, Managing Director, Digital Jewels Ltd. With him are Executive Director, Risk Management Division, Unity Bank Plc, Rislanudeen Muhammad and Divisional Head, Information Technology, Atiku Zuberu, of the bank.

‘Equities’ ll ride above mild corrections’


OWER-than-expected half year earnings might create a pullback in the bullish swing at the stock market, but improved monetary environment, increased foreign capital inflow and improved fundamentals in the second half could offset mild correction and set equities higher. Analysts at Bismarck Rewane’s Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited disclosed this in a report obtained by The Nation. They stated that the continuous rally at the stock market against widespread expectations of a pullback in May appears to have set the market more on an imminent corrective path, but equities could rally back in the second half to close the year on a higher note. Average year-to-date return at the Nigerian equity market opened this week at 33.02 per cent. According to analysts, there are concerns that imminent earnings reports might instill more volatility and fall below expectations, but sustained foreign capital inflow from low-rate advanced countries that still see relatively high returns in Nigeria and other emerging countries and increased capacity for several manufacturing companies could create potential upside for equities. They noted that there were already signs that earnings reports of consumer goods companies might not meet expectations as the brewery companies are showing

slowdown in sales and decline in profit due to the high finance charges. Analysts pointed out that there has also been weakness in the earnings of agricultural companies due to a sharp decline in commodity prices, especially crude palm oil. “Despite this, we expect the operating environment to ease in the second half of the year as the Central Bank loosens its monetary policy stance. The capacity increase initiative embarked on by most of the manufacturing companies will eventually come into play in the second half of the year and beyond. We believe that this is the year that many of the companies will absorb the high interest cost before the storm settles again next year. If that theory holds, then stocks might still have some upside left,” FDC stated. Locating emerging markets’ stock market bullish run in the context of global financial markets, analysts noted that foreign investors believe that interest rates are high in Nigeria and its peers compared to the advanced economies, which has seen increased foreign portfolio inflows into these developing economies that have positively affected their respective capital markets. Analysts stated that investors appeared to be increasingly tying

price to sustainable returns outlook, noting that investors’ desire for not just high but sustainable dividend yields has boosted sectors, which traditionally lag when equity markets are rising. According to analysts, the focus on sustainability explains why the correlation between dividend yield and return is appearing stronger. Besides, investors are showing interest in companies that have given them opportunity to increase their holding through bonus issues as some of the biggest gainers so far in May have been companies that offered bonus issues.

•Arunma-Oteh, DG-SEC




Transcorp’s net profit drops by 57% RANSNATIONAL Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc suffered a major reversal in its last year operations year as sluggish sales compounded high costs to shave off more than N3.3 billion from the net profit of the conglomerate. Audited report and accounts of Transcorp for the year ended December 31, 2012 showed that net profit after tax slumped by 56.8 per cent from N5.86 billion in 2011 to N2.53 billion in 2012. The decline depressed earnings per share from 7.74 kobo to 4.38 kobo. The report showed a top-down negative performance with marginal decline in sales magnified down the line by external and internal costs. Turnover dropped


Stories by Taofik Salako

slightly from N13.90 billion to N13.24 billion. Gross profit slipped from N10.44 billion to N9.77 billion while operating profit dropped from N4.59 billion to N3.76 billion. Substantial increase in interest income moderated equally significant increase in interest expense, mitigating the adverse impact of the conglomerate’s huge debt exposure. Finance income jumped from N276.67 million to N1.04 billion while finance cost rose from N261.32 million to N860.25 million. With these, profit before tax dropped from N4.61 billion in 2011 to N3.95 billion in 2012. Transcorp is seeking to recapitalise its business through a

rights issue of 12.91 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N1 per share. The rights issue, pre-allotted on the basis of one new share for every two held, is expected to close on Friday. The net proceeds of the rights issue estimated at N12.52 billion would be used mainly to refinance the loan taken to acquire its power business-Ughelli Power Plc. About 79 per cent of the net proceeds amounting to N9.84 billion would be used to refinance Ughelli Power. The conglomerate would use N1.63 billion, 13 per cent of net proceeds, for exploration and development of its oil block, Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 281.

The balance of N1.05 billion, representing 8.0 per cent of net proceeds, would be used to develop new hotels Port Harcourt and Lagos; in order to boost the conglomerate’s hospitality business in the South-South and South-West of Nigeria. Chairman, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, Mr Tony Elumelu, in the rights circular to shareholders, said the recapitalisation was in recognition of the need to reposition the company for future challenges and business opportunities. He said the company’s vision is to create sustainable value for its stakeholders in its chosen markets.

“In order to realise this longterm objectives, the company is making every effort to identify and take advantage of every investment opportunity that will complement its long-term strategic objectives. We will continue to look out for investment opportunities that will enhance value creation for our stakeholders,” Elumelu said. He urged shareholders to pick up their rights in order to continue to enjoy the full benefits of their investments pointing out that the company’s future holds plenty of interesting opportunities as it would continue to achieve progressive levels of success in all areas of its business.

UBA’s Q1 profit rises by 19% to N15.6b


NITED Bank for Africa (UBA) Group’s deposit base spiralled to N2.02 trillion in the first quarter of the year as the bank continued to win market share amidst growing customer’s confidence. First quarter report for the period ended March 31, 2013 indicated 13.5 per cent increase in deposits to a new high of N2.02 trillion, building on the 21.1 per cent growth that saw deposit base rising to N1.78 trillion in the 2012 business year. The latest report indicated that the banking group has sustained its growth momentum into the first quarter of the year. Growth in deposits is generally seen as a strong indicator of increased customer confidence in a financial institution. Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group, Phillips Oduoza, attributed the significant growth in the bank’s deposit base to a new approach to delivering products and services to customers. He said the bank was moving in the right direction to deliver on key financial projections for 2013 with a focus on maximizing value across all of the bank’s businesses. “We are pleased with our improving performance and a strong start to 2013. We see emerging opportunities to fundamentally improve our market positioning. We will continue to strategically invest in our businesses, manage our expense and leverage our competitive advantage in service and convenience to win customers and

take market share,” Oduoza said. Further analysis of the first quarter results showed that the group added additional N10.4 billion to gross earnings to N62.8 billion. The group’s operating income also rose 17.4 per cent to N44.6 billion while profit after tax closed at N15.6 per cent, representing an increase of 19.1 per cent. The bank also sustained growth in balance sheet size, indicating its increasing market share in the African banking industry. Group total assets closed the first quarter at N2.43 trillion, a 7.1 per cent increase while the bank’s total equity grew at a marginally higher rate of 8.8 per cent to N209.4 billion compared to N192.5billion in the same period of 2011. The group results also showed significant improvement in efficiency with an expansion in net interest margins from an average of 5.2 per cent to 6.0 per cent, implying an increasing efficiency in managing earning assets. The bank’s first quarter results also show a drop in costs of managing the business while average return on assets also showed an improvement.

•From left: Mallam Bello Gwandu, Director, Caverton Offshore Support Group (COSG); Mr Bashir Bakare, Director; Mr Remi Makanjuola, Chairman; and Mr Akin Kekere Ekun, Director, at the 4 th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Caverton at Southern Sun Hotel in Ikoyi, Lagos

‘Why people can’t get housing funds’


ANAGING Director, Resort Savings and Loans Plc, Mr Abimbola Olayinka, has blamed inability of people to access housing funds on lack of adequate knowledge and misconceived notions about the mortgage banking industry. According to him, many people that have not been able to benefit

from the National Housing Fund Scheme are unable because they don’t know what obtains in the mortgage banking sector. He said several people don’t know how they can get loan to build or buy their dream home and pay back this loan with ease. “Many people are simply ignorant and many still believe it is

difficult to have access to funds in the financial sector. I believe for instance that if somebody keeps a regular employment he has no reason not to own a house of his own. The modalities are simple and the funds are accessible,” Olayinka said. He, however, urged the government to extend the housing

Emerging markets seek inclusion in global regulatory reform


ECURITIES regulators in the emerging markets have called for greater reflection of the views and positions of emerging markets in the early stages of new international regulatory reforms to ensure a more inclusive and reflective global reform. At a three-day meeting of emerging market securities regulators of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) last week, the name of the group was changed from Emerging Market Committee (EMC) to Growth and Emerging Markets (GEM) Committee to better reflect the nature of the markets in which its members operate. The 86 members of GEM Committee include some of world’s fastest growing economies and 10 of the G-20 members. Emerging market regulators said they would seek to provide greater focus towards balancing growth and implementation of regulation, including looking at greater inclusiveness, strengthening channels of communication and developing greater regulatory capacity for

emerging markets. The group reinforced strong support for the establishment of the IOSCO Foundation, which will assist members in their market development and capacity building efforts. Members urged industry to support the Foundation expeditiously so that emerging markets can benefit from the overall activities relating to three pillars: research, education and training, and technical assistance noting that increased funding of these activities will be of significant benefit to emerging market members, especially at a time of growing demand for market-based financing. Also at the meeting, Chairman of the Securities Commission Malaysia, Ranjit Ajit Singh, was elected the new chairman of the GEMC while Bert Chanetsa, deputy executive officer capital markets, Financial Services Board, South Africa, was elected as the vice chairman. Singh said there was a major opportunity for emerging markets to contribute to global discussions

and for the committee to be a highly visible, effective and inclusive grouping for emerging markets. “In doing so, emerging markets must have a stronger and more inclusive voice and be supported by an efficient structure and process. The contribution to global regulatory debate must be enhanced. Market development and capacity building efforts remain critical for many emerging markets and we look forward to the establishment of the IOSCO Foundation,” Singh said. Chairman of the board of IOSCO, Greg Medcraft, who was present at the meetings, noted that emerging financial markets have a very significant role to play in global economic growth pointing out that the leadership of the EMC is critical to ensure IOSCO is seen as effective, pro-active and forward looking. “We look forward to the support from the industry to be able to launch the IOSCO Foundation soon. I look forward to working together with the new chair and vice chair of the GEMC towards

achieving these objectives,” Medcraft said. The committee also held a public conference and discussed, among other panels, the impact of global regulatory reforms on emerging securities markets. Panelists emphasised the need for better streamlining of conduct and prudential regulation, and to ensure a strong and cohesive way to communicate these views at a higher level. The panel on impact of high frequency trading and algorithmic trading on emerging markets acknowledged that HFT and algorithms are the new normal, and it is critical to have a sound regulatory framework to ensure markets continue to operate in a fair, orderly and transparent manner. IOSCO is the leading international policy forum for securities regulators and is recognised as the global standard setter for securities regulation. The organisation’s membership regulates more than 95 per cent of the world’s securities markets in more than 115 jurisdictions.

for all scheme to rural dwellers, noting that the arrangements now mostly favour those dwelling in the cities. He said the government can support the mortgage subsector to finance houses built by developers for rural dwellers so that they can have a feel of government presence, adding that the mortgage subsector should be motivated to also come up with products that can be tailored towards the rural housing scheme. He decried a situation where dwellers in rural areas do not have decent accommodation, noting that ignorance about mortgages in rural areas has created a situation where many of those who live in these places suffer from lack of decent accommodation. ‘’If there are good houses in the hinterland, people will not mind living in those places and coming to work in the urban centres through the use of buses and train. Unfortunately, most of the houses in the rural areas are not well built. Individuals just go to develop those places without following a laid down plan. The result of such is that the places turn out to be inhabitable in the future,’’ Olayinka said. While commending Federal Government’s efforts at providing housing for the average Nigerian, he urged government to encourage the construction of social houses that are highly subsidised in rural areas which can be financed by mortgage banks in order to make life better for rural dwellers.





FRICAN Insurance Organisation (AIO), the umbrella body for insurance organisations in the continent, has said the insurance market raked in premium income worth about $66.30billion in the 2011. President of the association, Mr. Hassan El Sayeed, who made this known while addressing participants at the ongoing 40th AIO Conference and General Assembly in Cairo, said the figure translates to 1.66 per cent of insurance premium raked in by operators in the world in the same year. The conference, which brought together insurance practitioners from Africa, Australia, Europe, Middle East and Asia countries, has theme as, “The role of the African insurance industry to support the eco-

Africa records $66.3b insurance premium income

By Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

nomic development of African countries”, He said the $66.30billion recorded in the year under review was against the N4.03 trillion raked in by the global market the previous year. He also said out of the continental insurance premium figure, $21.7billion was on non-life insurance business, which translates to 32.68 per cent of the total premium raked in by the market in the previous year. Chairman of the Organising Com-

mittee of the conference, Mr Abdel Raouf Kotb, noted that Africa is the continent of the future, adding that the future is looking up to it. According to him, Africa is becoming the continent of the future and the world is following and participating in its development and many have identified it as the main source of future growth, opportunities and profitability. “The African economic boom is

set to go from strength to strength with the continent outpacing the global average Gross Domestic Growth (GDP). The main challenge is to ensure that this growth reflects on the average citizens and that the riches of our countries have the direct effect of alleviating, more Africans out of poverty and tackling inequality,” Kotb said. He added that the continent should be optimistic, warning: “Let

us not underestimate the challenges before us. Our continent continues to depend on external demand making us susceptible to global economic slowdowns, particularly in China and the Eurozone.” He added: “Africa faces many domestic risks, such as youth unemployment, political upheavals, low insurance penetration and severe weather just to mention a few. The insurance and reinsurance industry has a pivotal role to play to ensure that these risks are properly identified and managed in order to ensure the sustainable development of our countries,” he said.

Brokers decry NAICOM’s registration fee


ROKERS in the industry have condemned the increase in brokers licence processing fees from N1million to N2.5million by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). The brokers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also accused the commission of frustrating them out of business. One of the brokers said insurance brokerage is one area that enables chartered insurance practitioners to practice, but with the new fee, it has become difficult for prospective brokers to practice in the field they choose to. He said: “The new licensing fee can be seen as a barrier to anybody willing to practise as a broker. This kind of fees does not abound in other professions like accountancy, law, estate surveyors, quantity surveying among others. “If the regulator wants to deepen insurance penetration and increase awareness, then we need skilled and knowledgeable people and the new fees does not encourage this.” A female broker, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said this kind of regulation can be frustrating to people wishing to take part in the profession. She noted that though the new fees do not directly affect brokers who have been practising, it affects professionals in the industry. But Assistant Director, Corporate affairs, NAICOM, Mr. Rasaaq Salami, said the new fees which took effect from January 1, this year only affects new brokers. The commission, as part of efforts aimed at effective service delivery, directed that registration of new brokers by the Commission would henceforth be done in two batches yearly. The commission said: “Consequently, operating licences to successful applicants in the first batch would be issued on June 31 of each year, while the second batch shall be issued on December 31 of the same year. “For applications falling due in the first batch, all relevant documents are expected to reach the commission not later than March 31, while those for the second batch should have been received in the Commission on or before September 30 for processing. ‘’Applications and support documents received after March 31 or September 30, shall be treated as part of the next batches for consideration in the succeeding second half of the year.’’

• From left: President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Dr. Wole Adetimehin; Managing Director, Linkage Assurance, Mr Gus Wiggle; immediate past Chairman, Nigeria Insurers Association, Mr Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi and Managing Director, Mansard Insurance, Mrs Yetunde Ilori, during the CIIN’s executives’ visit to Nigerian Insurers Association in Lagos.

‘Industry strong to combat terrorism financing, money laundering’


HE insurance industry has enhanced the country’s fight against terrorism financing and anti-money laundering because of the enforcement plan of the Nigerian Insurance Commission (NAICOM), The Nation has learnt. Earlier, the sector was described as one of the weakest link in the financial sector and lagging behind. But Managing Director, Forensic and Compliance Institute, Mr Nathaniel Cole, said the level of compliance in the sector has increased. Cole, who is a consultant for NAICOM and some insurance companies on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financial Terrorism (AML/CFT), said though the industry started the implementation after the banking industry, it has since improved. He, however, noted that there is still need for more improvement. On how the regulator has implemented the AML/CFT, Assistant Director (Inspectorate), NAICOM, Dr. Sam Onyeka, said the organisation has partnered with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to ensure full compliance with anti-money laundering laws in the insurance sector.

Onyeka said: “The idea is to sensitise the insurance companies on how to migrate to the new platform for reporting money laundering issues to the NFIU. “Basically, we have three types of reports. We report on suspicious transactions, cash/currency transaction report and foreign transaction report. Before now, the reporting system had not been uniform because while some firms were using IT platforms, others were using the hard copy versions for their reports. What the commission plans to do now, is to synchronise the system so that every firm can be on the same platform”. To make this possible, he said the NFIU had to issue a guideline. This guideline explains how to use the IT platform established for this purpose. Our expectation is that companies should be able to report using the new IT platform by NFIU and it will also improve the level of compliance,” Onyeka said. The Director, NFIU, Juliet Ibekaku, said the responsibility to take specific and timely action to prevent the financial system from reputation and legal risks rested mainly with the insurance companies in the first instance because of the nature of services and prod-

NAICOM to launch NGO on insurance June 18


• Commissioner of Insurance, Fola Daniel ucts that it offered to customers and because of the type of clientele it served. “Some of the responsibilities of the insurance companies include identification of suspicious transactions and submission of all suspicious transactions to the NFIU in a prompt and timely manner in order to aid the combat of financial crimes, control the laundering of illicit money and prevent the use of the financial systems by terrorists,” she noted.

HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is set to introduce a Non-Governmental Organisation, Transparent Protection Ltd (TPL), to mobilise citizens at the grassroots to buy insurance. TPL, according to the commission, is a revolution in the sector, which has remained relatively underdeveloped despite its huge potential. Programme Manager of TPL, Godson Ibekwe-Umelo, at a round table in Abuja, said TPL is a not-for-profit organisation. He regrettable that the industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is less than one percent while it is ranked 87th in the world in terms of penetration. “On June 18, 2013, history would be made in Abuja when the insurance industry big wigs and other stakeholders gather at International Women Development Centre for the launching of Transparent Protection Ltd (TPL),” he said. He added that TPL is poised to help reverse this trend by pro-actively mobilising citizens at the grassroots to take up insurance. Also, TPL will facilitate a platform to guarantee settlement of genuine claims.





HILIP Sunday Emeka, Chief Executive, Saphem Industries West Africa Limited, learnt his first business lessons from selling spare parts. Although he spent his early life in Cameroon, he moved to Abidjan in 2003 to start his spare parts business. He crossed over to Ghana in 2005 where he switched to hair care products. He bought herbal hair products from Nigeria and sold them in Ghana. To actualise his vision to manufacture herbal hair products, he relocated to Nigeria in 2007. Emeka, however, could not execute his dream because of the initial challenges of documentation. It was in December last year that he was able to produce his first products, after securing a place at the industrial estate at Ikorodu, Lagos. He started with N150,000. Within few months, he had made a giant leap. Today, the hair product market is growing and Emeka’s business is worth N1.5 million. He said the key to achieving success is by winning the confidence of consumers. Though he is a small operator, he has been able to employ three personal. He has many marketers. “It wasn’t easy at the beginning, but I had to take a huge leap of faith. The business is growing because there is a demand for herbal products and my company made a good product,” he added. “When a new product is good, consumers shift to it. Our products are for the middle and the lower class.”

How are the best business ideas generated? It is by identifying market needs, says Philip Emeka, an emerging entrepreneur. DANIEL ESSIET met him.

‘I took a leap of faith’ He is delighted that consumers have accepted his products though there are others in the market. Emeka said the industry is large enough to accept new entrants. For him, small entrepreneurs should not be afraid to venture out on new start-ups as he sees possibilities in the economy. Today, Emeka is happy that he has demonstrated the possibility of using small start-ups to reduce poverty. He still faces challenges of funding to expand so that he can employ more Nigerians. He said the government’s support for small and micro entrepreneurs to promote sustainable development and lift Nigerians out of poverty as important. “The government needs to support SMEs to spur industry transformation, most of the ones that are going to happen have likely already happened or are in the process of happening,” he said. Emphasising on the need to build the capacity of young people to become entrepreneurs, Emeka said the government must take up the challenges of poverty and unemployment faced by young people seriously by providing avenues and opportunities so that they can earn a sustainable livelihood through small and micro-en-

terprises. Given the high rate of youth unemployment/underemployment, he said there was no substitute for self-employment through micro and small enterprises. He said the success of SMEs is based on access to finance and expansion. According to him, the moment entrepreneurs realised that they can get access to funding, they will start to see entrepreneurship as genuinely something that is worth doing and as a risk worth-taking. He advocated a comprehensive view of the entrepreneurial system, including the demand and supply of entrepreneurs, the con-

text within which the entrepreneuril system functions, and the tax policies. He said there should be strong policies in place to promote skills for entrepreneurship. “There should be programmes that encourage self-employment. Such programmes should centre on providing financial incentives, such as offering unsecured loans to underpin self-employment start-ups. Small companies need to come up in the manufacturing space, which is where lot of lowskilled or semi-skilled jobs will get created,” he noted. He said a lot of amount of work need to be done. Apart from infrastructure, the regulatory overhead


for small businesses, particularly in manufacturing is extraordinarily high, he added. The high growth and turnover of SMEs, he noted, is evidence of how dynamic the economy is. Some constraints, Emeka further added, hold back entrepreneurs from growth.

Firms to train SMEs’ owners on IT


BUSINESS development provider Mayakorp Nigeria Limited, is collaborating with the Market Leaders Association of Nigeria to train Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) on Information Technology (IT). In a statement, the firms explained that the Annual Business Empowerment Summit will bring together over 5,000 SMEs’ traders from the automobile, telecoms, information technology, agriculture, food and beverages, building materials and household wares sectors. The Managing Director, Mayakorp Nigeria Limited, Martins Ndigwe, said the summit is geared towards resolving challenges that affect SMEs from developing capacity to realising their potentials. It will also assist in creating employment and enhancing economic growth and na-

Stories by Daniel Essiet

tional development. "At the end of the event, participants are expected to improve on their knowledge of information technology with strengthened commitment to economic reform," he said. The President of the Market Leaders Association of Nigeria, Deacon C.F.C. Obih, listed SMEs’constraints to include the inability to have access to operational knowledge; application and management of modern business information to enable them grow their businesses. He said such constraints usually lead to conflicts with the government authorities and closure of their markets. “There is, therefore, a need to provide SMEs with modern technologies and also train them on ways of growing their businesses, ”he said.

GIZ, NAPEP partner on shea butter nuts production


HE National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has reiterated its commitment toward poverty eradication through increased Shea butter nuts production. In a statement by Mr Danladi Kobi, its Chief Press Secretary, NAPEP said it agency would partner with the German Development Agency (GIZ) to sustain economic development. It added that the collaboration would boost shea butter nuts farming. It said the programme would encourage farmers to extract the butter in the nuts to get more income. The statement said: ``Shea butter nuts farming and shea butter production will greatly in-

crease farmers’ income as the two are major sources of nutritional and economic importance to many people, especially in rural areas. “Shea butter is extracted from shea nuts and it is used locally for cooking and exported as an ingredient in the food and cosmetic industries. “NAPEP is expected to create awareness about shea butter nuts production by organising workshops, seminars and training sessions for rural dwellers. “NAPEP will also engage experts to explain to the people, the many benefits of shea butter nuts cultivation and the shea butter production and will attract banks and investors into the venture,” it said.

•From left: Deputy Director, Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), Pan-Atlantic University,Lagos, Nneka Okekearu; Co-founder, Weclers Jonathan Kola; Director, EDC, Peter Bamkole and Chief Executive , Biostadt Company Limited, Prince Emma Ajayi, at a forum in Lagos.

Dangote, others for LBS confab


ASTER of Business Administration (MBA) students of the Lagos Business School are set to host one of the biggest conferences in Africa on Friday. In a statement, the students said it is the inaugural edition of the LBS Africa Business Conference, a gathering of leading entrepreneurs, investors, regulators and financiers across the continent. “As Africa gains increasing recognition as the world’s next economic frontier, there is more than ever a compelling need for emerging African businesses to be strategically positioned to face the influx of global challengers,” the statement added. The LBS Africa Business Conference aims to bridge the gap between emerging future business leaders and entrenched business leaders through a robust information exchange platform. Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, is the guest of honour. He will deliver a keynote on the conference’s theme, Breeding African lions: Imperatives for building globally competitive businesses. Also delivering a keynote address is the propagator of

‘Africapitalism’ and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu. Participants at the confab will be attending from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, the United States, China, Nigeria and other African countries. The technology panel will feature Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson; General Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Emmanuel Onyeje; Managing General Partner, EchoVC, Eghosa Omoigui and Chief Executive Officer, Infosoft Nigeria, Pius Okigbo. The panel will be speaking on the theme, Programming African software

firms for greater profit: Developing solutions for the local consumer. The power panel will be focused on “Africa's energy challenge: A private sector driven solution. The panel will host some of the biggest players in Africa’s power market. They include former Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji; Chief Executive Officer, Africa Finance Corporation, Andrew Alli, Commissioner, Market Competition and Rates, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Eyo Ekpo; Chief Executive Officer, General Electric (East, Central and West Africa) and Dr David Ladipo.

Entrepreneur’s Quote ‘Today's developer is a poor substitute for the committed entrepreneur of the last century for whom the work of architecture represented a chance to celebrate the worth of his enterprise’ Arthur Erickson



The Midweek Magazine



S we observed in the first two parts of this piece, this book posits a fundamental distinction between capitalism as a an economic system of private investment in the production of goods and services for profit and financialism as the investment of money in the multiplication of money for the limitless pursuit of profit for its own sake without an underlying base in actual concrete production. The authors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Brian Browne, argue that financialism is a monstrosity that perverts, distorts and chokes capitalism and precipitates economic collapse. In identifying an unusual and unorthodox nexus between the highly advanced American economy and the still largely underdeveloped Nigerian variant, the authors contend that the excesses of financialism are the root cause of recent economic and fiscal crises in both countries with serious negative implications for millions of their citizens. The seventh chapter of the book, which examines how ‘Financialism Trumps Capitalism’ is thus critical for understanding the text’s central thesis. Here the authors trace the history of the ascendancy of financialism and what they describe as ‘the demise of capitalism’ in America and Nigeria as well as its destructive systemic effects in both countries. In the tenth chapter of the book, the authors offer concrete policy proposals for ‘defeating financialism’ and rescuing capitalism from its feral jaws. They argue that America and Nigeria have taken different paths to arrive at the current ‘similar degeneration’ and warn that continuing on the same path of deepening financialism will limit opportunities for millions and worsen poverty even though the powerful political elites will profit enormously from the resultant collective economic misery. The challenge of America, they argue, is to tame financialism in order to revive a genuinely productive economy. They thus advocate a new industrial policy for America that will involve government support for vulnerable yet critical industries, modernization of the country’s infrastructural platform as well as substantial government subvention for research in new technologies “that promise a new wave of industrial processes and the invention of new materials and products”. To regenerate America’s productive capacity, the book also advocates detailed edu-

Financialism : Water from an empty well (3) cational, financial, fiscal and even political reforms for that country. For Nigeria, they identify the challenge as that of “shedding financialism in order to build an industrial base”. Here again, they advocate a National Industrial Policy that will protect the country’s few existing industries, markedly improve electrical power generation, focus on new ventures in light manufacturing, seek foreign direct investment that produces jobs for Nigerians while shifting from subsistence to commercial farming including the establishment of commodity exchange boards that guarantee minimum prices for farm produce. They equally advocate the remodelling of Nigeria’s educational system to place emphasis on technical skills and education as well as far reaching reforms in the financial, fiscal, land tenure, health sectors. In this regard the authors conclude that “If both nations do not take the path of reform soon, they may forever foreclose themselves to the possibility of turning their inaccurate claims of greatness into something resembling the truth”. The sections of the book that deal with economic theory and policy are largely inaccessible to the general reader and may be understood only by experts in the field. Although they claim that they write not as academics but as laymen willing to bring fresh insights into a subject that has lost touch with reality, the language is such that may be readily digested mainly by the academic and professional economic/financial elite. Perhaps many of the ideas in these specialized sections could have been more simply com-

municated to enable easy comprehension by the average reader. For the non- economist or financial expert, chapters three to five of the book are easily the most interesting and stimulating parts. These are the chapters that provide the philosophical and intellectual bases for the economic postulations and ideas advocated by the authors. The student of politics will be particularly fascinated by how the book links its caustic and unsparing critique of the Social Contract theorists – Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau – to their fundamental disagreement with the excessively individualistic and anti-state phobia that undergirds financialism. The authors question the contention of the Social Contract theorists that the state evolved as a mechanism of curbing the brutish individualism they believed characterized the ‘state of nature’. They are particularly harsh in their critique of Hobbes who perceived man as basically evil, selfish, belligerent and violent thus rendering the ‘state of nature’ short, nasty, solitary and brutish. In his own case, Locke considered the state of nature as being governed by reason but argues that increasing complexity of society led to disruptive irrational acts by individuals that necessitated the creation of government through a social contract. Even though Rousseau admitted the existence of the family in his own conception of the state of nature, the authors believe that he drained the concept of family of all emotional ties while also perceiving man as basically amoral and lacking in foresight. The authors dismiss the whole concept of

the state of nature and man’s perceived innate destructive individualism as ahistorical and entirely mythical. Man, they argue, is not just individualistic, he is more fundamentally a social animal. Rather than evolve as a solitary individual, they argue that man evolved as a member of a group, namely, the family. They detect a negative attitude towards the state by the social contract theorists who see it not necessarily as a positive construct, but as a necessary evil to curb man’s aggressive instinct and protect society from mutual self-destruction. This suspicion of the state and its role in the society, they believe, provide the philosophical underpinning of financialism with its emphasis on individualism and limited government among others. Of course, the critical reader may contend that the authors do not necessarily differ fundamentally from the social contract theorists they so strongly criticise since they equally advocate “a greater role for government in shaping and sustaining financial and economic activity” given what they describe as “the dynamic complexity of government in society”. It would appear, for instance, that the Hobbesian notion of the state of nature and the necessity of the state as ‘Leviathan’ does not differ markedly from the authors’ notion of the negative effects of excessive individualism and the need for remedial state regulation of the economy. This book argues that active government intervention and regulation of the economy is a necessary condition for the health and sustenance of capitalism. The authors argue vigorously against the ‘myth’ of human rationality and an infallible, self-regulating free market on which the whole edifice of modern economics rests. Man, they argue, does not necessarily act rationally most times and government has a responsibility to act as a safeguard against the tendency of the free market to be indulgent towards man’s natural proclivity for greedy pursuit of excessive material acquisition at the expense of the collective good. The authors are not anticapitalist. They seek to save capitalism from itself. But is financialism not a logical outcome of the profit motive that is the driving force of capitalism? Well, you must read the book and make up your own mind. But there is so much in this book to stimulate deep reflection on the human condition and the nature of society. It is worth your money and time.

The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) last Tuesday joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s International Museum Day. It hosted some activities under the theme, Museums (Memory+Creativity=Social Change), at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, reports Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME.

What makes museums tick, by Museum chief


O fewer than 17 persons and partners were honoured last week by the National Museum, Lagos for their contri-

butions to the growth of art and the museum in particular. The recipients included former SecretaryGeneral of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya; Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi; Chief Frank Okonta; Omooba Oladele Odimayo; Prince Yemisi Shyllon; Mr Sammy Olagbaju; Mr Innocent Chukwuma and Erelu Abiola Dosumu. Others were Prof. Ben Enwonwu; Chief Mrs Nike Okundaye; Mrs. Bolanle Austin-Peters; Aduke Gomez; Mrs Simi Ogunsanya; Iyabo Lawani; Ndidi Dike; Mallam Abdallah Usman and Total Nigeria PLc. The Director-Generaal (DG) of the commission, Mallam Yusuf Abdallah

HERITAGE Usman, said the strength of the museum lies in the ‘richness of our historical heritage, preserved and displayed by museums together with the inventiveness and vitality that have characterised the museums sector’s action in recent years.’ He described museums as the store house of the memory of the society encapsulated in the objects, which themselves tell the stories of the various cultures of the peoples of the world and of their natural heritage. He noted that the skills, the inventiveness, the creativity of mankind are all embedded in the material culture of the people. “As museum professionals we create an environment where these materials are properly cared for, displayed and used in educational and research purposes. By this, we are able to transmit knowledge, skills, his-

•From Left: Mrs Vicky Agili and Mrs Ogunsanya tory and memory of our heritage resources ing competition, open day and drama perto our various audiences. We also encour- formances, had the Lagos State University age creativity and inventiveness by our pro- Museum curator, Dr. Kolawole Patrick grammes through the arts clubs, outreach Gbaja as guest speaker and delivered a paprogrammes to educational institutions, per on Museum as a mirror of society. groups, etc where pupils are taught arts, Speaking on behalf of the recipients, Prof batik making, tie and dye, soap making hair Onobrakpeya said: “We are deeply moved styling and weaving among others,” he by the invitation as well as the awards given said. to us in appreciation of our contributions The DG, however, warned individuals towards creativity. The collection in the and organisations that are establishing mu- National Museum is a source of our pride.” seums to regularise the anomalies by getAunty Ayo International School, Lagos, ting in touch with the commission or close emerged the first prize winner while Isolog down such illegal museums. International School and Prestine College, The celebration which also featured paint- Surulere took second and third positions.



The Midweek Magazine Two crutches are U S A L V I better than T R A one (II)



EFORE zeroing in on the technical issues of the book, permit me to make some comments about the second book, Pleasant Dreams. A confession is in order here: Since I was not fortunate to see the actual finished product, stylistically, some of my conclusions maybe a little off-key. It is larger, compared to Soul Refreshers, and yet it is singular in its thematic pre-occupation. Simply put, it’s all about dreams. And as Onasanya is quick to note in the introduction to the 310-page collection, he chose to write this book on the backs of some bitter experiences he was “lucky” to suffer between 2003 and 2007 - in Nigeria and the UK. As you will see, challenges are not synonymous with our country. The work (in progress) dwelled on the author emotionally and physically, even up until last year (2012), which is why he says: “…That period I lost my job in 2007 was not my first ordeal. I passed through some bitter experiences in 2003…Some days, I would come out to my car and find the rear glass window smashed. Sometimes, my radio got stolen and once my car battery was stolen. Several times, I got penalty notice which I scrimped to pay. Those were tough times for me… When I moved to Lagos in July 2003, I was in severe emotional pain.… Some people who knew I was going through pain did not know the depth. Words spoken to soothe me only aggravated the pain….When all these things were occurring in 2007, nobody knew I was trying to compose a book. With all these happenings in 2007, some folks may say, “It wasn’t your year” and expect me to pour out bitter things …”. My first reaction to Pleasant Dreams - as I did not have the benefit of the finished product being launched today – was “here is long string of tiny stories of religiously advanced people in tales broken deliberately to teach some lessons”. In the format I studied, the illustrative cartoons were amateurish. How, the final copy I can now see, may God forgive me, the cartoons are of a very high quality and very appropriate.

BOOK REVIEW Title: Author:

Femi Onasanya


Femi Akintunde-Johnson



Pleasant Dreams,

Since life’s experiences, like one’s faith, are peculiar and personal; yet there is some sort of universality in the process of responding to faith matters. One, you must believe; therefore you have to be ready to disbelieve what you had hitherto believed, if it’s contrary. And in believing you must recant and verbally confess your new reality. Then you must make up your mind to remain on your new Way…irrespective of what may come to challenge or threaten your new reality. It is on this platform that Pleasant Dreams takes a special significance. The book seeks to illuminate your mind that experiences in the intangible worlds which you used to call nightmares in your unregenerated reality could actually be windows to great advancement in your new reality. Your old nightmares can now be interpreted and categorized effectively as life-saving, pleasure-giving dreams. While earlier, they

frightened and tormented you… now, with adequate prayer, fasting and counselling; they are windows of heaven throwing light into your darkness so that you can soar and fulfil your actual destiny. In a convoluted yet progressively enthusiastic manner, the book unleashes snatches of dreams and half-bodied visions…by ordinary people (whether real or imagined I cannot tell). Sometimes, as it is consistent with dreams, Pleasant Dreams appears disjointed as the author attempts to sustain readers’ interest in these 90 dreams, by constantly encouraging us to “find out from the Key” at the end of each piece - for the full impact and interpretation. Many of the dialogues are stilted and unnatural to a reader who is not steeped in Pentecostal Christianity - and therefore appear “out of synch with reality”. However, many people can see glimpses of their private experiences in some of the recorded dreams. Illuminating interpretation and seemingly “reluctant” addendum by the author at the end of each story allow us to “see” the actual real-life conclusions of the dreams. I said “reluctantly” because there are insufficient attribution, data and landmarks to persuade, beyond doubt, that these characters rendering those dreams are flesh and blood like you and I. But as earlier indicated though, Pleasant Dreams is not written for doubters and rabble-rousers. The apparent focus is on those who believe that dreams are one of God’s ways of revealing a part of Himself and His redeeming works in the affairs of men. Now to technical matters. First, I commend the level of progress attained in the over-all packaging of the books. It is a good leap from the author’s maiden book (The Missing Ingredient). The covers are very attractive; printing sharp and eye-friendly; fonts and graphic designs are attention-getting; and generally as units of visual pleasure, very satisfying. Only one suggestion though: henceforth, all of Onasanya’s new works must sufficiently advertise and highlight his old books. And this: one of Onasanya’s major achievements (another may say deficit) is his great interest in poetic rhyme scheme and rhythmic patterns. In many of his poems (in Soul Refreshers) he strives relentlessly to deepen his sometimes prosaic sentences with rhyme cadence. On many occasions, the rhymes flow

Fashola’s vision


HE book Fashola: The Historic Reconstruction of Lagos written by Emeka Anthony Odikpo, resonates with me. Any government

without vision, careful planning and intense execution will definitely not achieve much success. Of course a government that is built on crystallised vision, such as that of Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), is light years ahead of its contemporaries even before the added vigour in implementation. As Mr. Odikpo states in this work, the impact of Governor Fashola in Lagos has been phenomenal. This work has also examines the policy statements and documents behind such projects as the Eko Atlantic City project, the Light Rail project, the public transportation policies, the greening projects, the healthcare policies of the government and other areas of governance and concluded that the projects are epochal and profound. I agree with the analysts and conclusions offered by Mr Odikpo. Governor Fashola has truly had a remarkable effect on Lagos. The Light Rail project has impacted on the lives of the people of Lagos State in several ways. Thousands of jobs have been created by the project and, over the years, even more jobs will be created for the effective running of the rails. The project being on the land gateway into Nigeria, undoubtedly, adds cubits to the reputation of Nigeria amongst her West African neighbours. The positive effect on the lives of the potential users of the rail service will also be great. Mr Odikpo further states that the government’s efforts towards beautifying Lagos have been remarkable and impressive. I wholeheartedly endorse this. An overview on such projects, such as this work, brings home forcefully to you the fact that the beautification was actually the product of meticu-

Book for reading



Fashola: The Historic Reconstruction of Lagos

Author: Reviewer:

Emeka Anthony Odikpo, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

lous planning. The slumming of a big city, such as Lagos took quite some time and a lot of negative effort or lack thereof to accomplish. On the other hand, the de-slumming and beautification must have taken quite some imagination. Mr. Odikpo carefully articulates this imagination; he then proceeds to elucidate on the vigour applied by the Governor in implementing the policies. A book such as this serves the essential purpose of challenging prospective leaders. These leaders can achieve even more if they utilise their brains to their full extent, eschew corruption and be vigorous in ensuring due implementation of their policies. I have spent the better part of my life fighting for the election by our people of visionary and strong leaders. My sincere hope is that my efforts must yield dividends at the national level. This book will undoubtedly prove useful to all leaders and even followers in Nigeria desirous of accessing sagacious leaders. This book will further prove useful as a historical document. Our penchant for not documenting history is rather disturbing. In other climes the ideas behind the leaders in government, academia, business, science, sports and the society at large are regularly packaged into books. These types of biographies, or sometimes even hagiographies, are a staple by themselves. These books are more effective than reading generic motivational books that do not pertain to one individual. Books on industry figures like Lee Iacocca

well; at other times they seem contrived, and few alternate rhymes refuse to jump to his poetic prodding. Other features consistent in almost all of Onasanya’s works are fluidity of language; absence of jargon and simplicity of imagery... His poems convey images and themes in passionate ordinariness. And yet suggest depth and rich sense of correctness. His works glorify integrity, strong family ties, dependency on the Almighty and portray deep understanding of human foibles and eccentricities. There are still typographical errors that more adept proof-reading could have eliminated; they are especially more pronounced in Pleasant Dreams. The use of “Keys” as guide in tying together the dreams and riddles may be more effective if placed in-between the collection of stories and their explanations. Having to read on and on… only to realise down the road that the “Keys” are further back… can dissipate interest. The Glossary of answers on Page 229 (Soul Refreshers) should have been headlined appropriately instead of leaving it bare. And to the author, whatever his intention, never advise your readers that “one does not need to read everything. He/she may concentrate on an area of interest that makes him/her feel good”. It is not part of your office to suggest how your readers should proceed in their relationship with you. To put it mildly, that is “dangerous”. So, in the light of my opening remarks, what is Soul Refreshers really all about? What fuels its author? What perspective is this young writer motoring from? This is my conclusion: Femi Onasanya, having overcome his personal challenges; having overwhelmed his private devils, is now eaten up with a quiet but raging desire to tell all who care to listen that there are broad pastures behind debilitating obstacles - whether physical, mental or metaphysical. He is afraid to create a holier-than-thou taskmaster image in the hearts of his readers; so with deliberate and sensitive application of suasive techniques, he struggles to stretch a plank across different cultures and consciousness in the hope that his readers will look long enough into the wells of God’s indescribable love and mercy - and that all we need do is peep intelligently into those wells, at Femi Onasanya’s promptings… scoop as much as we can, and drink as long as we can. So, what are you waiting for? Get your own cups.

and Steve Jobs have proven remarkably successful across the world. Books on political leaders like Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and others have equally been successful. My sincere hope is that the art of writing and reading biographies should become a part of our culture in Nigeria. I have no doubt that this work by Emeka Odikpo will prove useful to any person interested in learning the dynamics of good governance. It will also be of immense benefit through the years as a detailed capture of historical moments in Lagos State under the watch of the inimitable Governor Fashola.

BOOK From an Orphan to a Queen by Titi Horsfall will be reviewed on Friday at the Rain Club, Port Harcourt, River State. The event will feature reading sessions that are interactive and fun-filled with a book signing session with the author. Horsfall is a novelist and poet. She works as a public relations and communication specialist in the oil and gas industry. Her first book, Reflections is an approved recommended text in some secondary schools. The book is a fiction of the Biblical heroine Esther. the author takes the reader on a historic journey of the Jewish people while in captivity and how their fate as a people comes to hinge on the obedience and courage of the young orphan girl, Esther. The Rainbow Book Club is a leading advocate in promoting the reading culture and development of libraries in Nigeria. Her monthly readings and campaigns have hosted many award winning authors, including Caine Prize winner, E. C Osondu, Oprah author, Uwem Akpan as well as role models, who have read to children, such as Governor Chibuike Amaechi, Rev Jesse Jackson, and Dr. Oby Ezekweseli, among others. Rainbow Book Club is the project managers of the Port Harcourt Book Festival, formerly known as the Garden City Literary Festival and the Implementing Partner for Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014.



The Midweek Magazine


Expert tasks Fed Govt on preservation of artefacts


CONSULTANT with the Centre for Environmental Renewable, Natural

Research,Management, Regional and Development (CEMRAD), Dr Olajide Oladipo, has called on the Federal Government to preserve the nation’s artefacts. Speaking at the World Museum Day Ceremony at the National Museum of Unity, Ibadan, Oladipo said preservation was the only way to prevent the artefacts from going into extinction. “The Federal Government should collaborate with NonGovernmental Organisations to preserve the nation’s artefacts from facing extinction,” he said. Oladipo said the need to preserve the artefacts became imperative in order to allow future generations to have access to them. He also called for the setting up of urban museums where historians, researchers, students and

heritage followers could go for knowledge acquisition. Oladipo also called for tree planting to boost colouring, saying “the nation cannot continue to rely on artificial colouring.” “A lot of children can take advantage of the trees to get colouring for their painting works In view of this fact, it is good not to abandon planted trees,” he said. Also, Mr Bode Adesina, the Curator of the museum, said Nigeria celebrated the Day to enable people to reflect on the benefits of museum. “Nigeria is joining the rest of the world to mark the Day in order to tap the benefits of museum and draw the attention of the public to it,” he said. He called on Nigerians to cash in on the theme of the event, “Memory and Creativity, ’’ saying this would help change the fortunes of museums. Present at the forum were stakeholders involved in artefact and heritage development and preservation.

Group seeks promotion of Igbo language


•An artiste performing at the Blue Roof LTV A compound, Agidigbi, Ikeja, Lagos.



‘Strive to be employers ’

HE Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, has urged youths to aspire to be self-sufficient and employers. He spoke yesterday in Abuja during the World Culture Day. Represented by Mr Chudi Nwando, Director Planning Research and Documentation in the Ministry, he said this year’s message is targeted at teaching the youth to use their hands and talent to create wealth. “My ministry working in collaboration with UNESCO has aptly designed this year’s theme to create awareness in

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

the Nigerian youth for the need to embrace creativity and innovation, using such crosscutting themes as science, technology and ICT as a catalyst for entrepreneurialship. “In this 21st century creators and innovators hold the key to the next global development agenda”, he added. The minister further said that as the biggest black nation in Africa, there is a lot to celebrate as regards our rich cultural heritage, which he said is a product of our multiplicity, diversity, multi-ethnicity and

multi-culturalism. Duke reiterated that Nigeria as a nation has made bold strides in the visual, literal and performing art by producing icons like Ben Enwonwu, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Fela anikulapo, Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Adiche, Chinua Achebe to mention a few, who he said have helped place nigeria high on the international art and entertainment map. He also said the nation’s artifacts, such as the Benin court art, Ife bronze, Igbo Ukwu and Nok Terra-cotta are very much sort after by the international world.

ORRIED by the seeming disappearance of Igbo language among the youths, a non-governmental group, the Pinacle Organisation, led by Mrs. Charity Edochie Okoli, has initiated a two-day event to revitalise the dying culture. Tagged Igbo Asoka (Igbo is sweet), will hold on September 7 at Ekwueme Square, Awka, Anambra State capital. The organisers said the event will feature talk shops, traditional dances, masquerade displays, beauty pageants, and a gala nite with participants turning out in Igbo traditional attires. Okoli said: “Globalisation has dealt a heavy blow on our culture. Events around us show that our youth are imbibing western culture faster than our indigenous culture and traditional values. They are ashamed to speak our unique dialect. To stem this negative tide and to halt the decline in Igbo language especially amongst our youths, Pinnacle Organisation has come up with this programme,” she added. According to her, the aim of the event is among others to halt the decline of Igbo language amongst youth, revitalise cultural values and correct the impression that speaking the Igbo language reduces one’s status in the society. She stressed that instead, it reinforces one’s cultural identity. “We want to help restore the usual attributes of a typical Igbo man, such as wisdom, craftsmanship,

•Mrs. Okoli By Nneka Nwaneri

integrity, zeal, determination, focus, boldness and industry. These should be etched in the minds of our youths,” she said. Continuing, she said: “We hope the event will facilitate the bonding of Igbo nation since all the Igbo states will be in attendance, and there will be a display of our rich cultural heritage; in other words, to express the ‘Igboness’ of our culture. The aim is to reawaken the traditional consciousness in our youth and getting them well informed. Igbo Asoka is a multi-million naira project that will see many corporate organisations working and pulling their resources together to make it a huge success.”

National Troupe’s competition holds Friday


O fewer than 80 schools in Lagos will participate in this year’s National Troupe of Nigeria’s dramatised storytelling competition organised in partnership with BEETA Universal Arts Foundation, holding at the Women Development Centre, Abuja on Friday. In Abuja, another set of over 50 schools will take part in the preliminary, which will climax with the grand finale, featuring six of the top primary and secondary schools that made it to the finals. Tourism, Cul-

ture and National Orientation Minister, Chief Edem Duke, will chair the grand finale. The competition is supported by Golden Penny Pasta and other arts loving organisations. However, the Lagos finals will hold at the National Theatre on June 6. Wife of the former Federal Director of Culture of the federation, Mrs. Emily Aig-Imoukhuede, will chair the finale, which will feature performances by the top five primary and secondary schools from the preliminaries.



The Midweek Magazine


Ekiti to upgrade groove to UNESCO standard


KITI State Commissioner for Culture, Arts and Tourism Chief Ronke Okusanya, has reiterated the government’s resolve to develop the Ogunnire Groove into a world class tourists’ centre. It will be raised to the United Nations Educational Scientifc Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) acceptable standard. Speaking at Ire-Ekiti during an inspection of the groove, Chief Okusanya said the Fayemi administration was determined to build up all tourist sites in the state into a world standard. She acknowledged the cooperation of the host community, saying its hospitable disposition and rich cultural heritage led to


the continuous successful celebration of the yearly festival. Noting that a “robust celebration” of the Ogun festival will open up Ire-Ekiti to tourists and investors, Mrs. Okusanya said that no stone would be left unturned in achieving that. The Onire of IreEkiti, Oba Adeleke Bobade, lauded the efforts of the Fayemi administration to develop the state. He said the community would volunteer more expanse of land for development of the area. He, however, stressed that developing the tourist attraction should not be seen as idol worshipping, saying that it is an avenue for promoting the rich cultural heritage of the community.

Omenka for presentation June 1


REPACKAGED quarterly magazine, Omenka, published by Revilo Company Limited, will be presented to the public on Saturday, at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos. Omenka, previously known as New Awakening, has been redesigned as Nigeria’s first art, business and lifestyle magazine that boasts of the latest news, insider intelligence on the African art market as well as auction reports and art transaction prices. It is divided into sections such as antennae, focus, lifestyle, market file, report and feature. According to the Editor-in-chief, Mr Oliver Enwonwu, the magazine aims at giving visibility to modern and contemporary art in Africa by providing updates on various art movements, show reviews and event schedules. The magazine’s collectors issue profiles the emerging secondary art market in Nigeria featuring articles on the rising value of Nigerian art and the top 10 highest selling works on the Nigerian market as at March this year. Also, Lagos collector, Mr. Robert Mbonu shares his passion and pet project, the Art Exchange, set up to promote art as an alternative asset class and collateral for bank loans. A report by the Director of African

•From left: Admin Officer, Goldcrest, Mrs Christy Victor; Mrs Chukwura; during a presentation to Senior Special Adviser to the governor on Primary Education, Alhaja A. O. Otun and Headteacher, Orisigun Pry School, Mr Efe Popo, at the event.

School celebrates children’s day

BY Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

contemporary art at Bonhams Mr. Giles Peppiatt predicts increasing prices for modern Nigerian art explaining why contemporary Nigerian art despite its flair does not command as much as art from South Africa. Enwonwu noted that the readership of specialised art magazine has improved tremendously adding that the feedback from subscribers of New Awakening, spurred them into repackaging of the new magazine. “This is one sure platform of lifting the art as a serious business beyond mere decoration. It also provides forum to document our art, serves as reference material for researchers and students of art. In fact, the magazine stands to engage every stakeholder in the art,” he said.


UPILS of Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State, particularly those in Orisigun Primary School have been treated to goodies in commemoration of this year’s Children’s Day. The event was hosted by the Goldcrest Family Centre, a nongovernmental organisation for widows, vulnerable families and children. According to the organisers, the choice of the school was borne out of the number of indigent pupils who don’t have enough of what it takes go to school. These pupils are characterised by poor performances be-

By Nneka Nwaneri

cause they are not well taken care of. Mrs Agatha Chukwura, convener of the event, told The Nation that the organistion has been reaching out to people in the last 10 years and that this year’s children’s day focuses on teachers and pupils. “The pupils perform better than the teachers. So, the debate competition, which was held among 10 schools, is to teach the students various subjects and career counselling, ensuring that teaching and learning are instilled in the public schools. The teachers

and their pupils were given many incentives like fridges, flat screen televisions, rugs, blenders and other educational materials,” she said. With sponsors, such as ExxonMobil and GMT Energy Resources, it shows that there are people who care for them. Mrs Chukwura said there was need to sensitise from the grassroots. “Let us start from the basic so that in 20 years time, we will have a nation where public office holders are put in their positions based on merit and not tribalism or sentiments,” she added.

Remembering Steve Rhodes


•The late Rhodes and daughter

HE Steve Rhodes Foundation is organising a threeday event to mark the Sixth Anniversary of the late music icon, Steve Rhodes. Steve Rhodes died on May 29, 2008. The event, which will begin from May 27 to 29, 2014, will feature a colloquium, an interactive music presentation, an exhibition of photos, records and memorabilia of the SR Voices, and a variety concert that would be headlined by the famous Steve Rhodes Voices and featuring past members of the Voices. Members of the foundation are Prof. Johnson Ekpere, Mr. Funmi Onabolu, Monsieur Pascal Ott, Mr Femi Odugbemi, Mrs. Elsie PayneHamman, Ms. Jeannette Rhodes and Gloria Rhodes-Nash. Recently, the foundation inaugurated a committee to co-ordinate series of programme towards the s anniversary of the exit of the late music impresario. The committee is chaired by Mrs Francesca Emanuel and has as mem-

bers Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, Ayo Bankole Jnr. Benneth Ogbeiwie, Funke Agbor, Jahman Anikulapo, Jeanette Rhodes and Ada Rhodes. The Executive Director of the Steve Rhodes Foundation, Gloria Rhodes-Nash is Secretary of the Committee. A statement by the family said this year’s anniversary would be marked today quietly remembering him and drawing strength from the legacy he has left behind. “It has been a journey in ‘self’ discovery for me and I’m honestly sure I have done a good job of it so far. It is a work in progress. Our father was a larger than-life-figure in our lives, strong, purposeful, sure, generous, and above all wise. He had a way with young people and lived his life believing that it is important to share what knowledge you have. He often mediated amongst people and groups when there were issues that seem ‘unresolvable’ and I was always in awe as to how he sorted things out,” Gloria Rhodes said.















• Right: Former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abaubakar (rtd) handing over power to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 1999.

• The late President Umaru Yar’Adua taking the oath of office in 2007 left is Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the former Vice-President.

Civil rule was restored in Nigeria on May 29, 1999, after many years of military rule. But 14 years after, the country is still far from democracy, reports Group Political Editor, EMMANUEL OLADESU.

What future for democracy?

Wasted expectation


OURTEEN years after, there is little to cheer. The economy is on its knee. The standard of living is declining. Social infrastructure is comatose. Unemployment, especially among the graduates, is soaring. Corruption in high places is alarming. Security is at a low ebb. The sanctity of the ballot box is not fully guaranteed. The ship of state, analysts warn, may hit the rock, if drastic measures to avert the catastrophe is not properly applied by the rulers. It is a story of wasted hope. Nigeria achieved civil rule, but it appears that democracy is still illusory. According to observers, the bane is poor leadership. Expectations were high in 1999, when the military bowed out, following a long and tedious pro-democracy struggle. It was evident that the military rule was old-fashioned because the soldier failed woefully in their self-imposed duty of running the affairs of the country without the people’s mandate. This pervading feeling contrasted sharply with the endorsement of the army rule in 1966, following the tension that enveloped the beleaguered country because of bad governance by the first crop of civilian rulers. But military rule also wreck worse havoc. Up to now, some critics have continued to attribute the slow journey to recovery to the prolonged military rule and its far-reaching negative effects national life.

Faulty foundation Many have also argued that the journey to the difficult future had its root in the mistake of 1914 and the crisis of nation-building it has unleashed. Putting this into perspective, a political scientist, Prof. John Rourke, pointed out that, in Europe and America, while nations generally came together first and only coalesced into states, it is different in Africa and Asia. It is an understatement. For example, Nigeria evolved from the earlier boundaries drawn by the colonial power and does not contain a single, cohesive nation. As Rourke argues, the people of this former colonial state are of different tribal and ethnic backgrounds and find little to bind them once independence was achieved and the common enemy, the colonial power, has left. “This lack of cohesion often results in civil discord and causes regime instability and the resulting internal discord often invites outside intervention and thus, becomes a source of international conflict”, he added. Instructively, the colonial edifice erected on the porous foundation has been shaking because the builders never subscribed to the building project on any agreed term. When independence day broke on October 1, 1960,

the political leaders turned up for the lowering of the British flag as ethnic barons without emotional attachment to the evolving nation-state. Nigeria, which, right from the onset, was an amalgam of the incompatible social formations, produced tribal leaders from the distraught regions in hot competition for federal power and resources. Ethnic parties; the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), Action Group (AG) and National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC); maintained their holds on the antagonistic regions, the North, West and East, thereby frustrating the development of national outlook germane to nation-building, cohesion and harmony.

Motivation for power Greed, avarice and the perception of the corridor of power as an avenue for private accumulation may have motivated many people to enter politics. This may be a simplistic and generalised view. In resolving the puzzle: ‘What motivated the members of the political elite to go into politics’, especially in the decolonising period, renowned historian, Dr. Nna Mba, posited that “some fought for the control of political power in order to have access to government funds, commercial opportunities and jobs from which they had been denied by the colonial government and firms. Although she acknowledged that some were also motivated by nationalism, power and prestige of potential government, inducement of the office as a career and ideological convictions, historical evidences suggest that they were in the minority. Mba, in the bibliography, ‘Ayo Rosiji: Man with vision’, also pointed out that, although corruption, which maniffested in the abuse of political and government office, preceded independence, Balewa Government, which took over from the British, failed to check the practice. But what became the waterloo of the first indigenous government its mishandling of the electoral process and partisan involvement in the Western Regional crisis. Although the First Republic marked the era of true federalism, which permitted the four regions; West, North, East and Midwest; to run their affairs in an atmosphere of healthy competition, political instability and tension still en-

gulfed the polity because of the recurrent conflicts between the ceremonial President and Head of Government, the lopsided balance of federal/regional power, ethnic rivalry, the crisis in the wild wild West which was fueled by the crisis of legitimacy and soaring corruption.

Crisis of legitimacy When the military came into power on January 15, 1966, the first casualty of the Unifying Decree 34, 1966, which aptly effected radical, but strange federal/regional relations and unified the civil service, was true federalism. After the death, of the first military, Head of State, Gen Moses Auguiyi Ironsi, General Yakubu Gowon who succeeded him he reneged on his administration’s promise to hand over to the civilians. He described 1973 as unrealistic, proposing to exit from power in 1976. The civilians were disillusioned. Gowon Government has also been chided for corruption and lack of clear direction. On July 29, 1975, he was toppled in a military putsch led by his cousin, Col. Joe Garba. His successor, Murtala announced a transition programme, which his successor, General Olusegun Obasanjo, implemented with tactical, strategic and partisan military guidance. This feat was described by the political scientist, Prof. Bayo Adekanye, as the liquidation of a self-acquired power. But the evidence of residual partisan interest by the departing soldiers was twofold. After the Constituent Assembly submitted its report, the military injected some clauses into it without consultation with the representatives of the people the 1979 Constitution was meant to serve. Also, the Head of State declared that the best presidential material may not get to the Presidency. Thirteen years after the first military intervention, President Sheu Shagari assumed the reins on October 1, 1979. The country had jettisoned the parliamentary system for multi-party presidential democracy. But the Second Republic was also short-lived. The Federal Government was weak and it failed to embraced the challenges of socio-economic and political development. Many politicians who featured in the earlier dis-

‘Fourteen years after, there is little to cheer. The economy is on its knee. The standard of living is declining. Social infrastructure is comatose. Unemployment, especially among the graduates, is soaring. Corruption in high places is alarming. Security is at a low ebb. The sanctity of the ballot box is not fully guaranteed. The ship of state, analysts warn, may hit the rock, if drastic measures to avert the catastrophe is not properly applied by the rulers. It is a story of wasted hope’

pensation resumed their corrupt activities. The critical sectors were down. Leaders only swarmed in opulence to the detriment of the ordinary people. Alarmed at the economic upheavals, one of the opposition leaders, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, warned that the ship of the state would soon hit the rock. Shagari was overthrowned on December 31, 1983. After him came four Heads of State; Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (1984-85), Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (198593), Chief ernest Shonekan (1993), Gen. Sani Abacha (1993-98) and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (1998-99). Between 1985 and 1999, the country was in tumoil. Crisis had escalated in the aborted Third Republic when the historic June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola was annulled by Gen. Babangida. Following Abacha’s demise, Gen. Abubakar hurriedly implemented a transition programme. But the new civilian administration had to work with a constitution that lied against itself. With the flawed 1999 Constitution as the compass, the Fourth Republic took off on a wrong note.

Tales of three Presidents The Fourth Republic started on May 29, 1999. In the last 14 years, Nigeria has produced three Presidents-Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (May 29, 1999-May 29, 2007), the late President Umaru Yar’Adua (May 29, 2007-May 6, 2010), and President Goodluck Jonathan (May 6, 2010 toll date). The military was a factor in 1999. The retired soldiers collaborated with the PDP leaders in the search for a presidential flag bearer. But for the new President, the necessary adjustment from dictatorship to popular participation was difficult. Gen. Obasanjo, has experience. But many have argued that he was ill-prepared for the challenges of civil rule and transformation required after a long years of military rule. It is debatable. On the assumption of power, he took measures to stabilise the polity. The ovation was laud. But when he was leaving office after a two term of eight years, he had mocked his antecedent as a leader who voluntarily handed over power and statesman in the post-1979 period. Under Obasanjo, the Presidency became a national burden. Assessed against the criteria of the resolution of the national question, anti-corruption war, electoral reforms, respect for the rule of law, and general democratic credential, observers would score the administration low. Early in the life of the administration, a constitution review committee was set up. •Continuedon page 46



POLITICS DEMOCRACY DAY As the country marks yet another Democracy Day, the chances of radical changes to the 1999 Constitution to allow for independent candidacy, state police and true federalism come to the fore, once again, writes OLUKOREDE YISHAU.

1999 Constitution: A wrong compass F

ROM Lagos to Sokoto, state governors are considered the chief security officers of their states. But by law, the commissioners of police in each of the 36 states do not take instructions from the governors. They take orders from the Force Headquarters at Louis Edet House, Abuja, where Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Dikko is the lord. Dikko takes his orders from the Presidency, which many have interpreted to mean that President Goodluck Jonathan is the chief security officer of both the federal and state governments. This development has overtime made governors complain that they are just puppets when it comes to having control over the police in their states. Some have cited the situation in Rivers State, where Commissioner of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu and Governor Rotimi Amaechi operate on parallel lines. Situations where governors become helpless over the police in their states have fuelled calls for state police to be included in the amendments to the 1999 Constitution, which the country has been unable to successfully amend since it was bequeathed to it by the military regime of Gen. AbdulSalami Abubakar (rtd). The fourth and fifth National Assembly tried it. Nothing meaningful came out of the efforts. The sixth National Assembly made some progress. Now, the seventh National Assembly has started again and has promised that this time around, the 1999 Constitution will be reviewed to correct some of the anomalies in it. But apart from the anomalies, many Nigerians also look forward to some radical changes, in areas other than state police. These areas include: independent candidacy, local government autonomy, state creation and rotational presidency.

The country’s constitution does not recognise the right of an individual to seek election without belonging to a political party. Unlike the practice in advanced democracies, where an individual can run for elective offices without being a member of any of the registered political parties, the 1999 Constitution makes it mandatory for a candidate to belong to a political. It also gives no room to states to have their own police. It also makes the local governments appendages of their state governments. The proponents of independent candidacy cite several reasons to back their clamour. One of the reasons is the fact that godfatherism determines who gets what in the existing political parties. Aside this, they also said the party structure makes electioneering too expensive, citing huge cost of nomination forms and other expenses the parties heap of aspirants. Analysts believe that with independent candidacy an individual, with reasons not to identify with any of the political parties, can run for office and still win. In 2009, the late President Umar Yar’Adua sent a Bill to the National Assembly seeking the inclusion of “independent candidates” in the constitution. The Bill, which was dumped by the 6th Assembly was entitled: “A Bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2009 and for other matters

• Mark

connected therewith”. The late Yar’Adua said: “I forward herewith, for your kind consideration and passage into law, the attached draft Bill for an Act to Alter the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Amendment III). Pursuant to the above, therefore, and in line with the powers vested in the National Assembly, I hereby present the said Bill for the kind consideration of the Honourable Members...’’ The late Yar’Adua’s move was informed by the Muhammed Uwais Report on Electoral Reforms. Until 1963, when the country became a republic, independent candidacy was allowed. Prominent Nigerians who had run as independent candidates are: Chief Richard Akinjide (Ibadan SouthWest) and the late Yoruba leader, Chief Abraham Adesanya, who stood for election to represent Ijebu as independent candidate in the parliament

• Tambuwal

but lost to the candidate of the defunct Action Group (AG). The late Sir. Louis Mbanefo won as an independent in Onitsha in the then Eastern Region. But it is unlikely that independent candidacy, state police and so on will see the light of the day in this era. They seem out of the agenda of the drivers of the current efforts at reforming the constitution. The Senate Committee headed by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu’s areas of concentration include: devolution of powers; recognition of the six geo-political zones in the Constitution; Local Government autonomy, especially the abolition of the Joint State Local Government Account; fiscal federalism; and the amendment of provisions relating to the amendment of the Constitution, State Creation, and Boundary Adjustment in order to remove ambiguities and make them less cumbersome.

‘The country’s constitution does not recognise the right of an individual to seek election without belonging to a political party. Unlike the practice in advanced democracies, where an individual can run for elective offices without being a member of any of the registered political parties, the 1999 Constitution makes it mandatory for a candidate to belong to a political. It also gives no room to states to have their own police’

Others are: the immunity clause, Nigerian Police (reforms and decentralisation), the Judiciary, the Executive (whether or not to revisit the term element of our executive offices, the system of government, rotation of offices), gender and special group interests, mayoral status for the Federal Capital Territory, residency and Indigene provisions. Even local government autonomy, which is on the card, has formidable enemies. The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) is against autonomy for local government. With a powerful body like this against this clamour, it is unlikely that this will see the light of the day. The Houses of Assembly have also kicked against the idea. Perhaps, with a hindsight that clamours such as local government autonomy, state police and others may not get the nod, Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has said the review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) may not satisfy the yearnings of Nigerians. “We cannot promise that after this exercise, all Nigerians will be fully satisfied with the result or that all agitations will stop. As you have all seen from the analysis of the public hearings conducted in the constituencies, there is not a single subject matter on which we have a 100 percent agreement. “However, we can promise that it will be transparent, it will be fair and it will reflect the true desires of our people. We can also promise that the Constitution we will finally present to Nigerians will be better than what we have presently.” The House of Representatives has conducted a Peoples Public Sessions, whose outcome show Nigerians sentiment for these radical changes. The Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution Review, Emeka Ihedioha, said: “The results of the Peoples Public Sessions as unveiled by the House would be subjected to proper legislative action as required by the Standing Orders of the House and by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. “There are no short-cut. This retreat will give members of the committee acting on behalf of the entire House the opportunity to brainstorm on the language of the amendments where consensus has been reached.

What future for democracy?

• Atiku •Continued from page 45

Some political leaders drawn from the different political parties were members. Their opinion was that the lopsided federal structure should be redesigned. They also called for the decentralisation of power. The committee’s work did not see the light of the day. As laudable as the setting up of the ICPC and EFCC were at their inception, the two agencies became tools of repression and oppression during Obasanjo’s second term. They were used to hunt the perceived foes, ahead of the 2007 elec-

tions. The hand of the Federal Government was also heavy on the states. For example, the creation of additional local councils by the Lagos State government was met with stiff federal opposition. For 14 months, the allocations to the Lagos local governments were seized by the President. Although the Supreme Court acknowledged the constitutional powers of the state to create councils, it noted that the new councils were incohate, until they were listed in the constitution. When the Federal Government hesitated to obey court rulings, when Odi was wiped out by soldiers and the President thundered that 2007 was a do or die affair, civilian dictatorship was let loose. Following repeated calls by the ethnic nationalities for a national conference, Obasanjo agreed to set up the Abuja Political reforms Conference in 2005. But he identified some no-go areas. For a year, the delegates were busy fashioning out a new constitution for the

country. At the end of the day, it was clear that the motivation for the conference was the alleged third term gamble. When it was introduced, the conference collapsed. The laudable efforts of many patriotic delegates were in vain. Between 2000 and 2007, it can be said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) operated in the President’s bedroom. The 2003 electoral fraud submerged the Southwest geo-political zone. In 2007, the same scenario was repeated under the leadership of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu. The electoral contest shifted to the court where the stolen mandates were later restored to the winners of the polls. When the late Yar’Adua assumed the reins, he acknowledged the rot in the electoral process. He observed that the election that brought him onto power was flawed. He proposed electoral reforms. The deceased President promised to abide by the rule of law and pursue the principles of

good governance. In furtherance of his commitment, he set up the Electoral Reforms Committee led by Justice Muhammadu Uwais to make recommendations. The President released the outstanding Lagos council allocations. He also set examples by obeying court judgments. Yar’Adua unfolded a seven-point agenda to revive the ailing sectors. However, he was slowed down by prolonged illness. He passed on in 2010. President Jonathan, who was Yar’Adua’s deputy, was immediately sworn in as the President. He inherited many challenges, especially insecurity and comatose economy. To reposition the country, he proposed a Transformation Agenda, which encompasses the infrastructure battle, provision of electricity, and protection of life and property. Dr. Jonathan was elected the President in 2011. Three years after he became the leader, there has been no significant improvement. Corruption is striving in the national life. The security of life has

‘As it was 14 years ago, the challenge is the same-lopsided federalism, insecurity, corruption, poor economy, battered judiciary, electoral challenges, Norh/South dichotomy, rotational Presidency, militancy, lack of internal democracy in the parties, and undemocratic structures in many local governments. Although Nigeria may not have become a failed state, it is already a fragile federation’

• Vice President Sambo

not been guaranteed. Foreign investors are skeptical because of the un-conducive environment. Roads are death traps. Unemployment has persisted. What seems to preoccupy the leaders are the 2015 elections. As it was 14 years ago, the challenge is the same-lopsided federalism, insecurity, corruption, poor economy, battered judiciary, electoral challenges, Norh/South dichotomy, rotational Presidency, militancy, lack of internal democracy in the parties, and undemocratic structures in many local governments. Although Nigeria may not have become a failed state, it is already a fragile federation.



We are widows. This is our daughter. We don’t have assistance from anybody but this daughter has, from time to time, assisted us in our trades. She gave money to those of us that have nothing doing to set up businesses. She has really affected and impacted our lives


OR her philanthropy, Chief Nice Aleruchi Alamieyesiegha has been honoured by the Parish Council of Catholic Women Organisation (PCCWO), Corpus Christy Cathedral in Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital. During the event, she called on wealthy individuals in the country to help the poor. She made the call shortly after being decorated with the “Royal Ladies” award. Alamieyesiegha said: “Wealth comes from God, and God instructed us to love and care for the needy to attract more of His blessings. I advise those that are wealthy to reach out to the poor and the downtrodden.” The honour was in recognition of her contributions to the growth of the women union of the church and her philanthropic activities. Reacting to the award she said: “I return all the glory and praise to God Almighty who has found me worthy of this recognition, not by any other organisation but the church where I worship God. One thing I know of this is that it is not about man but God that looks at the hearts of all men. “When I was told about it, I felt there was a mix up somewhere because I thought that this kind of honour is usually for the very mature women. My own mother was recognised by her church just four years ago. But here I am today being honoured with the title of “Royal Lady” of a Catholic parish. I am overwhelmed and grateful to God that chose me. “In every generation, God chooses leaders as it pleases Him. I thank Him for choosing me today. I reaffirm my dedication and service to Him. I pledge to contribute positively to my society, family and friends with the honour He has given me. I will use it for the glory of God.” On what the honour meant to her, she said “the church has found me worthy of emulation by other women; I reiterate my commitment to God in the defence of the privilege given me.” Her husband, Godknows Alameyeseigha said: “For my wife to be chosen and honoured among other women, I am very delighted and happy. “I never knew that she would be honoured at this age by a congregation like this. Though I know that she is a woman with a heart of gold and great dreams, I did not know that her good works have been so

•Mrs Alamieyesiegha (arrowed) with some of the widows

Honour for a philanthropist From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

visible to be recognised by the church.” Also reacting on the award, Felix E- Bonny Ayah described her as a lovely woman, mother and wife, and a God-sent to their family, adding that her honour by her church means so much to the family. He thanked God the church choosing her for the honour. Describing her as a generous giver Ayeh said: “I am aware that she is a philanthropist. She has a large heart to do good for people. I urge her not to relent in the call and work of God in her life.” Some of the beneficiaries of her kindness mainly the crippled, physically challenged and widows at the

event, commented on her philanthropy. Uche, a beggar at a supermarket along Olu Obasanjo area of Port Harcourt said: “I met Mrs. Alameyesiegha at a supermarket where I normally beg for arms. “Anytime she comes to the supermarket to buy things, we are always happy because we are sure of going home with something good. From the time I knew her some years ago, there is no festive season I don’t come here, (referring to her residence), to eat and enjoy myself like a rich person.” Abdulrahman Umar, a cripple narrated how she often gives him money anytime she passes around the Waterlines Junction of Port Harcourt. He prayed for God to grant her long life and continuous

•Love of Christ Chapel Ministries, led by the wife of the General Overseer, Mrs Grace Olowoporoku (third right) presents grinding machines to women during the church’s 2013 National Women Retreat at the Success Camp along Lagos-Ibadan expressway

prosperity. Mrs. Dominica Osuji, a widow who came from Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, hometown of the Mrs. Alameyesiegha to attend the event, explained what endeared widows in their area to the young giver. She said: “We are widows. This is our daughter. We don’t have assistance from anybody but this daughter has, from time to time, assisted us in our trades. She gave money to those of us that have nothing doing to set up businesses. She has really affected and impacted our lives,” she stated.


Showcasing the piece of clothes shared to them at the event, Mrs. Osuji said it was one out of several she has given them. She appealed to other well-meaning and wealthy people in the society to reach out to the poor and the needy to reduce the high rate of poverty in the society. Earlier, Mrs. Alamieyesiegha told Newsextra that she has been assisting people in diverse ways for several years now, even as she disclosed her plans to formally register and run a non-governmental organisation to be called “Nice Esther 0-5,” which will cater for the needy and abandoned children from ages 0 to five. She said the NGO would run in some states of the South-South, South-East and Abuja.

Female mechanics get empowerment kits

ORTY-SEVEN female mechanics that were trained under the Lady Mechanic Initiative, in collaboration with the Coca-Cola System have been provided with working tools to enable them to open their garage and train others. They were given the tools at a graduation ceremony organised for them at the premises of the NBC at Eyean in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State. Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdul-Kadir, who was represented by the Director, Youth Development Lukas Jonathan urged corporate bodies to join forces in addressing the problems of youth unemployment in the country. The minister noted that youth empowerment was a national concern that required multi-sectoral approach to stem its tide. He urged the female mechanics to use the knowledge gathered to improve the lives of their communities. First female mechanic in the country and initiator of the programme, Sandra Ekperuah-Aguebor said 30 of the graduates have already been given full employment from automobile companies across the coun-

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

try. Sandra said the initiative was to curb prostitution and encourage women to venture into jobs dominated by men folks. She said: “We have a long list of girls waiting to become mechanics. This is the best jobs in the world. So long as vehicles are manufactured daily, there is always food on the table.” Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who was represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Blessing Maigida, promised to partner with any non-governmental organisation (NGO) that wants to improve the lives of the people of the state. The governor advised the organisers to advertise the programme for more females to benefit from the programme. Head, Public Affairs and Communication of the Nigeria Bottling Company, Wanju Olomola disclosed that N75m was committed into the programme for a five-year period. She said they were happy that the first batch graduated successfully and that the females were already employed.












Lafarge Wapco assures shareholders of good returns


AFARGE Cement Wapco Nigeria Plc will continue to pursue introduction of innovative building material products that would help to deepen its reach to customers and differentiate it from competition to enhance returns to shareholders. In his address to shareholders yesterday at the company’s annual general meeting, chairman, Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria Plc, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, assured that in spite of the challenges in the operating environment, the company will continue to look for opportunities to expand its operations and markets. According to him, Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit and growing population present opportunities that the company

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

would convert to better returns to shareholders. “The deficit in urban housing stock and the urgent need by government at all levels to upgrade various road networks in the country provides growth opportunity for the cement sector and we will continue to adapt our production and commercial operations to these opportunities to the benefit of our shareholders,” Osunkeye said. Shareholders praised the company for a dividend payout of N1.20 per share for the 2012 business year, representing 60 per cent increase on 75 kobo paid for the 2011 business year. President, Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity

Association (NSSA), Mr Timothy Adesiyan, commended the dividend but urged the company to declare bonus issue next year. President, Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr. Faruk Umar, urged the company to increase its production capacity. He said that the company needed to be innovative to remain in business in a highly competitive environment such as Nigeria. He, however, commended the company for the dividend of N1.20 per share declared during the period under review. The company posted a gross income of N87.9 billion in 2012 as against N62.5 billion declared in 2011, an increase of 41 per cent. Profit after tax rose by 70 per cent to N14.7 billion from N8.6 billion in 2011. Profit before tax increased by 105 per cent to N21.3 billion compared with the N10.3 billion in the previous year.




MONEY LINK ‘Excess Crude Account drops below $6b’

IFC to finance discos, gencos •Corporation is largest investor in Nigerian banks


HE International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, will provide debt and equity capital to companies in the Nigerian power sector as it moves to build cross-sectoral momentum beyond the financial services sector. Country Director, World Bank, Marie Francois Marie-Nelly, disclosed this yesterday in Lagos at the maiden corporate breakfast forum of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM). Marie-Nelly, was represented by Senior Investment Officer, Manufacturing and Services-Africa Department, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Ms Gravette Brown. She said the institution will participate in the funding of oil majors, other Independent Power Producers, electricity distribution (discos) and generation (gencos)

By Nneka Nwaneri

companies. She said the World Bank currently has $400 million active in partial risk guarantees for gas supply while between $600 million and $800 million is being proposed as partial risk guarantee for independent power plants. She said IFC has a high probability investment pipeline in Nigeria of approximately $800 million with the power, infrastructure, agriculture, housing, and micro, small and medium enterprises development. She noted that IFC has continuously built up its investments in the Nigerian financial services industry to become the largest foreign institutional investor in the Nigerian banking sector. She outlined that IFC has a committed country portfolio of $1.1 billion in Nigeria, the largest in

Africa and eighth largest globally with projects in financial markets dominating the institution’s investments in Nigeria. According to her, the increased equity and convertible investments are meant to strengthen capital base of banks as part of IFC’s strategy to support Nigeria’s financial sector. Recent IFC investments in the financial services sector included Diamond Bank’s seven-year $70 million convertible subordinated loan issued for business expansion. Leadway Assurance Limited’s equity investment of $13.3 million. Custodian and Allied Insurance’s $12.5 million convertible debt. She however, advised Nigeria to focus on projects that would facilitate wealth creation across all segments of society, noting that Nigeria needs to consolidate gains and further advance critical infrastructure development in power

By Collins Nweze

B •Brown

and transportation networks She said Nigeria needs to remove impediments to growth in the critical agricultural sector, which is the major source of employment and has potential to improve access to cheaper more high quality food to Nigerians and the sub-region. She emphasised the importance of support for the development of the private sector through advisory programmes to the business community and clients.

Wapic Insurance shops for N3.49b


HE board of directors of Wapic Insurance Plc and its financial advisers yesterday in Lagos rose from a completion board meeting to roll out a total of 6.350,518,383 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N55 per share. About N3.49 billion is expected to be raised at the end of the Rights Issue, which is meant to beef up the insurance firm’s capital. The lead Issuing House to the Rights Issue is BGL Plc; Co-issuing

By Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor

House is Marina Securities; Marina Securities Stockbroking Services Limited is Lead Stockbroker; BGL Securities Limited is Co-Stockbroker, while Aluko & Oyebode is the solicitor. United Securities Limited is the Registrars to the issue, while Access Bank Plc is the receiving bank. Wapic Insurance, a subsidiary of Access Bank Plc has been in opera-

and special accidents; householders and money. It also provides insurance for motor and automobile; public and product liability as well as women compensation. The Insurance has a history of delivering efficient and transparent insurance solutions to its discerning clients; a culture reflective of the strength and leadership of its parent company. It has since strengthened its corporate identity and new business model.

tions for over half a century, offering a comprehensive range of insurance coverage. Established in 1958, Wapic has built a strong franchise in the largest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa and operates two subsidiaries; Wapic Life Assurance Limited and Wapic Insurance (Ghana) Limited. The products and services offered by the company includes burglary and house breaking; fidelity guarantee; fire and special perils; group



Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Current Quotation Price Market N8250.00 5495.33 N1000.00 N552.20


OBB Rate Call Rate

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 28-05-13


O/PRICE 1.72 0.66 0.55 4.31 3.01 1.60 0.80 2.98 0.55 50.00

C/PRICE 1.88 0.72 0.60 4.70 3.24 1.72 0.85 3.15 0.58 52.50

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

CHANGE 0.16 0.06 0.05 0.39 0.23 0.12 0.05 0.17 0.03 2.50

NGN USD NGN GBP NGN EUR NIGERIA INTER BANK (S/N) (S/N) Bureau de Change (S/N) Parallel Market

Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%



8.30 58.08 49.44 1.63 1.80 0.78 26.50 27.75 168.50 15.75

C/PRICE 7.47 52.28 45.00 1.50 1.66 0.72 25.01 26.26 160.00 15.16

CHANGE 0.83 5.80 4.44 0.13 0.14 0.06 1.49 1.49 8.50 0.59

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 4 Mar, 2012 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 6, Mar, 2012 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12 22-6-12



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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


LOSERS AS AT 28-05-13


ALANCE in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) has fallen below $6 billion after a drawing of $1 billion in April; FBN Capital, an investment and research firm has said. Quoting data from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), the firm explained in an emailed report obtained by The Nation that said the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) of 12 per cent for banks may have to be hiked again if the fiscal stance is not tightened. It said the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) monthly data showed an increase in net credit to the federal government from the banking system of more than N2trillion in the first four months of the year, from N1.33 trillion at ending of December to N780 billion. FBN Capital said the CBN was looking ahead to the build-up to the elections in 2015 and the very real risk of further fiscal slippage. The research firm explained that the CRR remains a powerful piece of weaponry in the CBN’s arsenal because of the disproportionate influence of the banks in the markets. “The hike in the rate in July 2012 has been the single most important step taken by the CBN to hold the line on the naira exchange rate with relative ease. The CBN’s intervention is merely the latest to draw attention to the strains between monetary and fiscal policy,” it said. The firm explained that the executive arm of the government submits its budget to the legislature for approval, as practiced in many democracies.

Offer Price

Bid Price




Bank P/Court



04 July, 2012

07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833






Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge opens today

HE newly constructed link bridge between Lekki and Ikoyi on Lagos Island, will be opened today by the state governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola. It is aimed at aiding smooth motoring in that axis of the metropolis. However, the proposal by the state government to charge tolls ranging from N100 to N400 on the bridge was yesterday faulted by lawmakers at the state House of Assembly. Except the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, about 20 lawmakers present at the plenary, raised questions on why the state government should concession and collect tolls on a bridge built with tax payers' money and fully paid for by the government. Besides, the lawmakers asked why the state government chose to present a voluminous document on terms and conditions of concessioning agreement and tolling to them for approval, some days before the commissioning of the infrastructure, billed for today. In a letter read on the floor of the Assembly on Monday, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye had on behalf of the state government, sought the "Ratification of the electronic tolling system operation, maintenance, concession terms and conditions for the Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge." The letter also sought the approval of the lawmakers on initial maximum tolls set out in the agreement. The toll rates are: N250 for saloon cars; N300 for mini vans, Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and light pickup trucks; N400 for non-commercial buses with a maximum sitting


CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

•Lagos Assembly opposes tolls on bridge

‘Ikuforiji said the House should be blamed for not raising these concerns earlier, when the state government was proposing the construction of the bridge’ By Oziegbe Okoeki

capacity of 26 persons, and N100 for motorcycles with 200 engine capacity and above. Presenting the proposal as a motion yesterday, Majority Leader, Dr Ajibayo Adeyeye, noted that the bridge was built by the state government and had been concessioned to Lagos Tolling Company, working with two technical partners. By the agreement, 73 per cent of revenue generated goes to the state government, while 27 per cent goes to the tolling company. Also, 80 per cent of all incidental activities like adverts will accrue to the state government's purse, while 20 per cent goes to the operating company. The concession agreement is for 10

Robbers attack fuji musician Pasuma

UJI artiste, Otunba Wasiu Alabi, popularly known as Pasuma, was attacked by a nineman armed robbery gang around 9pm on Monday night along LagosAbeokuta Expressway. The robbers, who were said to be heavily armed, also snatched his Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) at gunpoint. Alabi and his friend with whom he was in the vehicle, were abducted by the hoodlums for about three hours before they were eventually pushed out somewhere in Ogun State. The robbers, thereafter, zoomed off in the SUV marked MUS 830 AP. One of his back-up singers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, "The incident happened at

Ahmadiya end of the LagosAbeokuta Expressway. They took all money on him, his mobile phones and those of his friend. They were dumped in a bush in the Itele area of Ogun State at about 12 midnight. While that was on, Pasuma hid his face from them so as not to be recognised. Sympathisers later came to their aid and assisted them back home". Effort to reach the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide to comment on the issue failed as she could not be reached on telephone. However, Police sources confirmed that the case was reported at

AGOS government raised its monthly revenue from N18.9 billion in 2008 to about N29 billion in 2012, Commissioner for Finance, Adetokunbo Abiru, said yesterday. Speaking during a ministerial press briefing to mark the second year anniversary of Governor Babatunde Fashola in office in Lagos, Abiru said the difference represents a 10.7 per cent growth rate over the past five years. Abiru, who gave a comprehensive financial report of the state finances, said the state financial strategy was designed on sustainable Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) model, which also accounts for 65 per cent of the total revenue over the last five years. The commissioner said the impressive showing of the state's IGR reveals the stable nature of the state fiscal revenue as it depends more on

• The newly-constructed link road

to entertain such voluminous document on concessioning and lavished with too many technicalities. Rotimi Olowo, representing Shomolu I Constituency, suggested that the House should invite Special Adviser on PPP and Commissioner for Works to explain details of the concessioning, coupled with the prohibition of some vehicles from plying the bridge. Prohibited from the route are commercial motorcycles popularly known as okada, tricycles, commercial vehicles including Danfo and high-capacity buses, heavy duty trucks, articulated trucks and lorries among others. Reacting to the dissatisfaction raised by members, Ikuforiji said the House should be blamed for not raising these concerns earlier, when the state government was proposing the construction of the bridge. The lawmakers did not accept the blame, because, according to them,

• Alabi

the Command's Headquarters, Ikeja, adding that efforts were on to recover the vehicle and arrest the robbers.

• Ikuforiji

the government did not avail them of the details of the project. The House, however, adjourned

FRSC restates commitment to safe driving


By Jude Isiguzo, Police Affairs Correspondant

Lagos generates N29b revenue


years, with five years renewable period. Speaking on the motion, Hon Saka Fafunmi noted that the construction of the bridge was a laudable initiative, but asked: "Must we always pay toll on every project made by government?" The lawmaker added: "On this one-kilometre bridge, I'm not convinced at all, after all, we did not borrow money to have this done." Apparently in agreement with Fafunmi, Deputy Speaker Taiwo Kolawole noted that the request of the government, as claimed in the proposal, was not in line with the 2011 Public-Private Partnership (PPP) law. He said: "As far as I'm concerned, this has nothing to do with PPP law. This is not about provision of infrastructure because the bridge has already been constructed with tax payers' money. So, why should we still toll a road that we have built with our money?" "Again, this proposal is coming too late. Our consent should have been sought before the construction of tolling system or the bridge itself. They simply built it in anticipation that we would just approve it. For me, I don't want to be part of this. In deciding this, we must look at the future and what happens when we are longer on the floor of the Assembly," Kolawole said. Another lawmaker, Segun Olulade, added that the matter was of huge importance to Lagosians, but added that the timing was too short

HE Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) (RS 2.19), Oshodi, Lagos, Samuel Aderemi Ogundayo has restated the commitment of the command to continuous enlightenment of motorists on safe driving. He spoke at the Children's Day programme held by the unit at the Danjuma Hall of the Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Oshodi, as part of its corporate social responsibility to its host community. Ogundayo said commuters must observe road safety rules, adding that refusal to adhere to same had often led to fatalities. He said basic rules such as the use of seat belts, parking at safe points before making or receiving calls, nonconsumption of alcohol and strict observance of Zebra crossing signs are among ways to prevent road

By Yinka Aderibigbe

crashes. Hundreds of primary and secondary school students drawn from schools within the Oshodi and Mushin areas trooped to the event tagged: FRSC annual children's day party. Ogundayo said the FRSC was focusing on youths as change agents to spread the message of road safety and urged them to always educate their parents on the need to observe simple safety measures on the roads. He praised Golden Penny Foods and mobile communications giant, MTN, for sponsoring the event. The event was attended by officers and men of the resettlement centre, representatives of the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Oshodi, and officers of the Command.

By Seun Akioye

IGR rather than federal allocation. He said owing to the success recorded through the IGR, the state would continue to focus more on consolidating it and ensure all revenue-generating agencies of government perform at optimal capacity. He also said the state achieved 89 per cent budget performance in 2012, making it the only state in Nigeria to perform at optimal level in budget implementation. He added that the funding for 2013 budget of N499.6 billion will be vigorously pursued. "We are poised to leverage on the worthy legacies we inherited and our past experiences to ensure the realisation of the objectives of current year's budget for the ultimate consolidation of the values and virtues of excellence for which this state is known," he said.

• L-R: Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru; Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Oluseyi Williams; Permanent Secretary, Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs.Olubowale Ademola and the State AccountantGeneral, Mr. David Sunmoni, during the 2013 Ministerial Press Briefing in commemoration of the 6th year in office of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola ... in Lagos.




CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Spilled oil overruns journalists' homes


• Fashola

till tomorrow, where they hope to take a stand on the concessioning agreement and tolling.

N500m fish farm ready in UI


By Seun Akioye

HE Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole, has said that the biggest fish farm in any public institution in Africa would be completed by the university before the end of June. Adewole who spoke with The Nation in Ibadan, said the institution had also invested close to N500 million in the project called the 'Fish City,' which will also serve as a centre for research and training in Aquaculture. "The vision for the fish farm is to conduct research in fishery; we currently have a big grant on integrated farming that will incorporate fishery, piggery and rice farming. In other words, we can train farmers to combine all of these, raise eggs, maggots and produce fish. Our philosophy at the UI is anywhere there is water, we put fish there. In fact, we are building the largest fish farm compared to that in any public institution in Africa and we have invested close to N500 million in the enterprise," Adewole said. He also said the flood of 2011 which destroyed the university fish farm and zoological garden gave rise to the new project. Adewole also said: "We were actually challenged by the Oyo State governor when he visited us after the flood of 2011. He said we should move beyond research and begin to impact positively on the society. The only way to do this is to teach and train them." He said the school embarked on a channelisation project to prevent devastating flood in the future. "We have not been fully funded by the federal government; so, we went out raising money and we have been able to raise N77 million. We have also received support from Pastor Enoch Adeboye who is interested in the zoological garden," he concluded.

HE assault hits one's olfactory organs as soon as one steps into the Journalists Estate, Phase 11, Arepo, an Ogun State community. Pungent smell of petrol assaults the nose and stifles breath. From one end of the estate to the other, the stench of oil mixed with water produce the same nauseating effect. For one month, residents of the estate lived with the unhealthy effects of a devastating oil spill which leaked unabated for about a week before officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) rose to the occasion. However, when the residents thought their nightmare was over, they were wrong. Many weeks after the leakage was stopped, the NNPC officials have failed to do the needed clean-up and the residents now live with the repulsive odour from the site of the spill. "Living here in the last four weeks has been miserable for us. The smell of petrol is unsettling; we can't even sleep at night. I am pregnant and the smell is really making me uncomfortable," a resident who preferred anonymity said. The extent of the damage done by the spill is more visible towards the end of Augustine Popoola Crescent. About one acre of swampy land is now overrun with

• Part of the estate affected by the spillage ... yesterday By Seun Akioye

the oil residue. The houses around the site suffer the most. Oil remnants have slipped into their compounds and sewage systems. For them, the consequences of the inability of the NNPC to clean up the oil spill have been dire. "We can't stay in the house any longer. How long will it take them (NNPC) to do a proper job? We have children in all the houses in this area and they are most vulnerable," a man, Matthew Oriowo, said, adding: "I don't think the NNPC has maintained the pipes. When the leakage occurred, they

‘Living here in the last four weeks has been miserable for us. The smell of petrol is unsettling’ brought heavy equipment and we thought they would do a fence around the site, but they did nothing. They just left the oil all over the place." The Manager Public Affairs Department of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Imodagbe Nasir, admitted there was a spill, but said it had

Public servants get N89m housing loan


BOUT 367 workers under Lagos State government have received a total sum of N89.6million as housing loans in the last one year. Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe disclosed this yesterday at the ministerial press briefing to commemorate Governor Babatunde Fashola's sixth anniversary in office. Ogunlewe said the beneficiaries, with the loans, were able to purchase land, construct new residential buildings or renovate existing ones. He said the policy of the administration is geared towards encouraging public servants to own their buildings rather than continue to depend on the government staff quarters, and which explains the Lagos Housing Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS) initiative which the government is en-

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

couraging the civil servants to buy into through mortgage arrangement. Ogunlewe also revealed that the state government was concluding arrangements to establish special desks in all state-owned hospitals and medical facilities for elderly retired officers from the state public service. He said his office was liaising with the ministry of health to dedicate desks in state-owned hospitals for the retired elders. Ogunlewe said that the move would lessen the stress the senior citizens often undergo trying to access medical services. With this arrangement, the elderly, he said, would get prompt attention in public hospitals in the state, and won't have to queue up for turns as it is the case now. He said the government also ex-

pended about N100m on vacation jobs for secondary school pupils last year, assuring that the programme would be sustained to keep students busy during the long holidays from August. Meanwhile, the state government has directed all its ministries, departments and agencies to transact all their printing businesses with the Lagos State Printing Corporation (LSPC) as part of the new measures to ensure the sustainability of the corporation which had gone through some difficult times in the past. Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, rendering his account of stewardship in the last one year, said the directive to MDAs to patronise the printing corporation followed the upgrading of the corporation, with the purchase of two new colour printing machines.

• Leader of the Legislature, Odi-Olowo Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon Hakeem Saka, standing in for the council’s chair, Aremo Adeyemi Ali, at this year’s Children’s Day celebration at the council.


been plugged. "I do not have the full details because I have not been around; but I can tell you that there is no more oil spill. What you are talking about is the clean-up; I will follow up on that," he said. However, residents are of the fear that the promised clean-up may take eternity.

Crime fighters hold security awareness talk


By Sampson Unamka

T the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Lagos yesterday, it was not like every other Children's Day. The celebrating kids were lectured about security awareness by The Crime Fighters, producers of the popular television programme, the Police and You. It was at a conference with the theme: Security Consciousness among Children. It was witnessed by over 350 students from 25 private and public schools in the state. They were lectured on security challenges facing Nigeria and were given guidelines on how to handle them. Executive Producer of the programme, Mrs Aisha Agberebi, said the forum was organised to discuss security, the need for young children to be conscious of their actions, and shun acts that are likely to disrupt their education and future. "We believe perhaps by capturing the hearts and minds of our young people through lectures like this, we may truly dissuade them from following that narrow path of criminality, which inevitably leads to destruction," she said. She said: "While crime remains an issue of universal concern, there is a rising trend that is quite frightening. Increasingly, young people are being enticed and indoctrinated into acts of terror and other forms of criminality such as armed robbery, kidnapping, murder and cultism. "Today in Nigeria, a lot of young people hide behind the anonymity of Internet to commit offences using social media such as facebook and smart phones such as blackberry. The story of Cynthia Osokogu is also a case." The pupils were lectured on "The General Trend of Crime in Nigeria" by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, who was represented by Assistant Commissioner, Area A, Mr Imohimi Edgal, who said children should not be troubled as he assured them of improved security in the country. He also advised them "not to collect things from strangers, adhere to security tips and report advances about crime in their society." He assured that policemen had been ordered to protect children's interest and that of women.



NEWS PDP, a sinking ship, says Fani-Kayode From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

FORMER Minister of Aviation Femi FaniKayode has described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as “a sinking ship”. Fani-Kayode spoke at the Government House, Ado-Ekiti, on Monday while formally declaring for the All Progressives Congress (APC) on a visit to Governor Kayode Fayemi. He said he decided to join the APC as it “was no more honourable to belong to a party in disarray (referring to PDP).” “I am not sure that great leaders in this country have any respect for the party (PDP) again. I am not sure former President Olusegun Obasanjo and many others are identifying with the party again; so I had bid the party byebye”. Fani-Kayode said he had called it quits with the PDP and joined APC, which “remains the only hope for the country. PDP is a sinking ship that cannot be salvaged.” The former minister noted that the moves by President Goodluck Jonathan to cause divisions within the Nigeria Governors’ Forum “are making Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi a national hero.”

Rivers police parade suspected sea pirates


IVERS State Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu yesterday paraded four suspected sea pirates, including a woman. Also paraded was a robbery suspect. Over N7 million was allegedly recovered from the suspected pirates. The gang leader, he said, is at large. Mbu said: “On May 8, men of metro patrol attached to C4i, stopped a commercial taxi with seven passengers. “Immediately the vehicle stopped, two passengers fled. They were pursued and re-arrested. “A search revealed the followings: three laptops, 11 handsets, N7.87million, $1,900 and charms. “They were recovered from Alaye Adams David and Andas James, both from Nembe area of Bayelsa State. “The suspects were interrogated by men of Swift Operations Squad. “They confessed that the money and items were proceeds from robbery and sea piracy operations carried out at Bonny high sea, where a ship was robbed. “They said they stole N30 million on board the ship.

Pirates kidnap oil tanker crew


RMED pirates attacked an oil tanker and abducted an unknown number of crew, security sources said yesterday. Increasing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region, which includes Nigeria, is increasing costs for shipping firms. The MT Matrix was boarded by gunmen on Saturday about 40 nautical miles off the coast of oil-producing Bayelsa State, two security sources said. There were 12 Pakistani and five Nigerian crew aboard the vessel when it was attacked, a source said. A spokesman for ship operator, Val Oil Trading, confirmed there had been an “incident”, without giving further details. Andrew Varney, of British-based security firm Port 2 Port Maritime, said the Matrix’s low freeboard - the distance between a ship’s railings and the water - and slower speed made it vulnerable to attack. “This latest incident further highlights the ability of these criminals to attack vessels underway and the increasing migration from cargo theft to risk of kidnap for ransom,” Varney said. “The risk of offshore kidnap for ransom remains high in Bayelsa and Rivers states,” security firm AKE said. International navies have not launched counter-piracy missions in the Gulf of Guinea, leaving the many vessels that anchor off Nigeria vulnerable to attack. From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

“They made use of six AK47 rifles and ammunition supplied by the suspected kingpin of the group, Jackson Lucky. “Lucky is the owner of

Jack Bar on 42, Aba Road, Port Harcourt, who is now at large. “Following a tip-off, on May 19 at about 8 pm, operatives from C4i arrested two unidentified persons on Kaduna Street fly-over area, with a General Multi-Pur-

pose Gun (GMPG). “On interrogation, they said they were to deliver 50 AK-47 at Igbo-Etche at Chokoko, on the outskirts of Port Harcourt. “Unfortunately, men of the Swift Operation Squad were ambushed by their gang members by opening fire on the police. “In the ensuing gun battle, the two unidentified suspects were killed. “On May 26, at about 2.40 pm, a distress call was received by Diobu Division, that a Peugeot 406 was reported stolen from Silverbird Cinema. “Immediately, officers were mobilised and all other police formations were contacted. “Shortly, the stolen vehicle was sighted at Leventis Park area, Aba Road, Port Harcourt. “When the patrol team was racing to the scene of crime, they had an accident which led to the death of the team’s commander, Sgt. John Adiele. “The stolen vehicle was intercepted, the driver was arrested and the vehicle impounded.”

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


VER 20 investors from the State of Rio Grande Do Sal, Brazil, met yesterday with Edo State Government officials, expressing their interest to invest in agriculture and other economic sectors. The leader of the delegation, Luiz Fernando Mainardi, expressed their satisfaction with the business environment in the state. He said: “Edo has huge potentials for investment. “We are happy to be in the state and we intend to invest in agriculture, health, tourism and other areas of interest.” Deputy Governor Pius Odubu, who spoke for his boss, said the state has provided the conducive environment needed for investment. “We appreciate this trade visit, which we hope will blossom into a rewarding mutual business partnership,” he said.

AMCON files contempt charge against Ogboru By Joseph Jibueze


Akpabio to judges: audit cases From Kazeem Ibrahym , Uyo

AKWA Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio yesterday urged High Court judges to audit cases in their courts to ensure speedy dispensation of justice. The governor also urged the judges to work with law enforcement agents to ensure safety and security of life and property in the society. Akpabio made the call during the swearing-in of Ezekiel Enang, a former Chief Registrar and Augustine Odokwo, a former Director of Civil Litigation in the Ministry of Justice, as judges at the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s Office, Uyo. His words: “Judges in the state must always audit themselves in the handling of court cases to ensure speedy dispensation of justice. “I am worried by the incessant transfers of investigating police officers, which hampers the dispensation of justice. “The judges being sworn-in today, have been screened, selected and appointed in line with the laid down procedures for such appointments, and without any undue interference from any quarters, and in accordance with constitutional provisions.

Brazilians ready to invest in Edo

•Odubu greeting Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil Vincent Okoedion at Government House, Benin City ...yesterday. With them is Mainardi .


Reps investigate leakage of Rivers’ aircraft report

HE House of Representatives has launched an investigation into the widely reported outcome of its investigation on the circumstances surrounding the grounding of the Rivers State Government aircraft. In the report, the Ministry of Aviation was indicted; Caverton Helicopters was recommended for prosecution for providing false information to the joint committee. According to the lawmakers, the report of the committees on Justice and Aviation, which carried out the investigation, has neither been considered nor adopted by the House. As a result, the House mandated its Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate how the report got into public domain. The decision followed the adoption of a point of order raised by Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) who felt em-

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

barrassed by a back page column of a national daily (not The Nation) that claimed that the House report could not be relied upon for the truth in the matter. Saying that the writer erred in his conclusion by casting aspersions on the

lawmakers, Chinda noted the report was only laid and has not been considered. “So how can the reporter claim that the report was the decision of the whole House? “He should have waited for the House to consider the report before making his conclusions,” he added.

Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who did not allow a debate on the subject, mandated the Ethics and Privileges Committee to carry out the investigation but with a reminder that being a public document, the House would not stop the public from accessing it. “We are not a secret cult. Moreover, we are mindful of the Freedom of Information Act,” he advised the committee.

Rivers PDP crisis : Group cautions police


OLLOWING the continued police occupation of Obio/Akpor Local Government Secretariat in Rivers State, a nongovernmental organisation known as Disciples of Peace (DOP) has called on Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar to be mindful of the kind of briefs he gives to the Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu. In a statement in Port Harcourt yesterday, the group expressed concern about security of lives and property, which it noted is being jeopardised.

From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

“The police are busy fighting for and against politicians to the detriment of other residents of the state.” The statement by Johnbull Amu and Ngadia Philips, President and Secretary, noted that in “recent times, there has been an increase in crime, kidnapping has resurfaced, robbery has become rampant yet the police are looking the other way.” The group advised Mbu to be careful in giving special attention to the politicians.

HE Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has begun contempt proceedings against the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) governorship candidate in Delta State, Great Ogboru, for alleged violation of an order of the Federal High Court, Lagos. AMCON is urging the court to hold that the alleged “acts of thuggery, extreme hooliganism and outright lawlessness of the cited parties in violently breaking into all the properties in receivership in conjunction with thugs, hoodlums, area boys and all manner of street urchins, despite the subsistence of a restraining order amounts to grievous contempt of the court.” Also to face the contempt charge are directors of Ogboru’s company, Fiogret Limited, namely Turner Ogboru, Victor Agbenrien, Muibi Sunmonu, Mike Ladesuyi, Roland Ogboru and Raphael Uwhumakpor. The court had granted AMCON leave to appoint a receiver/manager, Kunle Ogunba (SAN), over the assets of Fiogret, which were used to obtain a loan from the defunct Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB). After Ogunba had taken possession of the assets based on the order, Ogboru and his officers were alleged to have used thugs and street urchins to invade the premises, overpowered the security men and carted away several truckloads of cartons of fish. AMCON alleged, in a supporting affidavit, that Ogboru threatened to “deal with the receiver/manager for executing the orders of court.” But Ogboru has filed a motion seeking stay of proceedings, pending the determination of an appeal in respect of the matter. Justice Okon Abang fixed May 30 for hearing of the motion for stay of proceedings. He said he would issue a bench ruling on the next adjourned date after the hearing.




Kidnappers free Rhodes-Vivour’s wife, daughter From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor Northern Operation


•From left: Co-launcher, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Umeh, representative of the First Lady, Senator Helen Esuene, Author Yemi Kolapo and Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Tunde Lemo, at the launching of the book, The makingof an Oracle in Abuja... yesterday PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE

Thank God, pilot tells Obi, others after scary flight


NXIETY. Relief. Smiles and thanksgiving. That was the situation yesterday at the Lagos Airport where an Arik Air flight with over 100 Lagos to Asaba passengers aboard were scared. Flight W3788, which was supposed to take off at 8:30am, was delayed in Lagos on account of bad weather. About two hours on board the plane, passengers were asked to return to the departure lounge as the plane could not leave because of what the pilot called “terribly bad weather in Asaba.”

•Bad weather keeps plane in air for hours After about three hours, the passengers, including Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, boarded the plane again because weather reports showed improvement within the internationally accepted landing standards. By this time, many passengers had cancelled their reservations. On getting to Asaba, the weather became bad again. Attempts at landing were difficult. The pilot promptly returned to Lagos.

On reaching Lagos, the weather was also bad –by aviation standard. The plane had to go round for hours amidst dwindling aviation fuel. The plane finally landed at 4:45 pm with signs of relief from the traumatised passengers, who clapped in jubilation. The pilot, Captain Sandy Miller, told the passengers to thank God for His mercies. Speaking to aviation correspondents at the domestic wing , Obi, who

travelled to South Africa on Sunday and returned yesterday to Lagos, said he was determined to make the flight to Asaba en route to Awka because he did not like staying outside Awka more than necessary. He said he had planned so many things he would have done yesterday. Obi said he had projects to inspect such as work at Upper-Iweka, the drainage challenge at Ogidi as well as the site for the construction of Agulu Lake Hotel Resort, which, according to him, would take off in a matter of days.

Nnamani still abroad despite court directive


ORMER Enugu State Governor Chimaroke Nnamani is still abroad, despite a directive that he must report in court to face trial for alleged money laundering, a Federal High Court, Lagos, heard yesterday. His absence stalled the trial as he did not return to the country after Justice Nasir Yinusa granted him permission to travel abroad for medical reasons on April 17. It was the fifth time Nnamani would be granted leave to travel. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had rearraigned Nnamani and others before Justice Yinusa on 105-count of money laundering and economic crimes involving about N4.5billion of state funds. He was charged along with his former aide, Sunday Anyaogu, and six firms - Rainbownet Nig Ltd, Hillgate Nig Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School. The crime was allegedly committed when Nnamani, also a former senator, was governor between 1999 and 2007. Trial is yet to begin in the case which has passed through four different judges due to transfers and retirements. At the last hearing, the judge had said: “The application (for permission to travel) is hereby granted. However, the applicant must ensure that he appears in court on the next adjourned date. The applicant must also file a notice of return to Nigeria. He must submit his international passport.” But when the case was called yesterday for trial to begin, Nnamani was not in court. Instead, his lawyer, Abubakar Shamshudeen, prayed the court to extend the time the defendant will stay abroad. EFCC’s lawyer Kelvin Uzozie opposed the application, but the judge said he was inclined to believe that Nnamani was still sick. He granted Shamshudeen’s prayers, adding that the lawyer must ensure that Nnamani is present in court at the next adjourned date –September

•Court adjourns till Sept 25

By Joseph Jibueze

25. EFCC had earlier opposed Nnamani’s bid to travel abroad for treatment, saying the ailments he complained about could be treated in Nigeria. Besides, the agency said allowing him to travel would further delay the trial, as that would be the fifth time he would embark on such journeys. But Justice Yinusa said it was not mandatory for Nnamani to justify his reasons for travelling. “It is very clear to me that what Nnamani is required to do is to seek for leave of court before travelling

out of Nigeria either on health grounds or any other grounds. “The emphasis is on seeking leave of court and not on providing justification for the journey. “It is therefore my opinion that the first accused/applicant has fulfilled the requirement and the conditions provided under the bail bond by seeking for leave of court before embarking on medical treatment in the United States. “The applicant was granted bail by Justice Peter Olayiwola on August 2, 2007 and one of the conditions was that the first accused/applicant shall give a written undertaking that he would not travel outside the country


without the permission of the court. “My understanding of the above bail condition is that anytime the accused/applicant intends to travel outside Nigeria, he must seek the leave of court.

SEC needs more capacity to regulate market, says IMF


HE International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday released its country assessment of securities regulation in Nigeria, underlining major deficiencies in the structure and operations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The report titled: “Detailed assessment of implementation of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) objectives and principles of securities regulation for Nigeria,” noted that though Nigeria’s securities regulatory framework has been strengthened and expanded with the enactment of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA), inherent administrative and operational deficiencies constrain the effectiveness of securities regulation in Nigeria. According to the report, while there are comprehensive legal provisions to ensure a robust governance structure for the SEC, it does not have sufficient internal policies, procedures and practices relating to its core functions, deficiencies that jeopardise the proper governance and functioning of SEC. It noted that SEC´s independence has improved with the adoption of the ISA, but certain remaining provisions and practices affect its full independence, citing the executive and leg-

•Urges increased capital for brokers By Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor,

islative influences on the decisions of the Commission. The report underlined that the mere existence of legal or practical powers on the part of Minister of Finance and the Senate has the potential to undermine the SEC´s independence, if the powers are not transparently used. “The overall level of technical expertise in the key functions of the SEC is less than optimal. The SEC has 17 departments and staff of over 630 people, of which only 30 per cent are engaged in the core regulatory and supervisory functions. “This proportion has increased over the past few years, but the SEC should focus on increasing it as soon as possible. The coordination in a large organisation such as the SEC is challenging, and the current division of responsibilities between the departments seems to create inefficiencies and overlaps. “Without sufficient written procedures to serve as guidance and the less than optimal collaboration between the departments, the SEC´s discharge of its functions falls short of expectations, mainly in the areas of inspections, investigations and enforce-

ment,” IMF stated. According to the report, while conduct of business requirements for market intermediaries are largely in place, the regulatory framework is weak in prudential and organizsational requirements, including internal control and risk management. “The inadequate regulatory requirements and limited on-site supervision of broker-dealers has the potential of introducing systemic risks to the Nigerian financial system. This was experienced during the crisis, and partially addressed through the more stringent requirements on margin lending introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the SEC. “Due to the weak financial condition of many broker-dealers and limited ongoing monitoring, new risks may arise and remain unaddressed. As in many countries, the securities settlement system is a potential source of contagion. The SEC should promptly implement a major overhaul of the capital requirements applied to broker-dealers, by raising their initial capital requirements and requiring them to maintain sufficient risk-based capital on an ongoing basis,” the report stated.

ARELY three weeks after their abduction, Mrs. Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour, the wife of a Supreme Court Justice, her daughter and a driver were released by their abductors. It was learnt that the victims were released after alleged payment of unspecified ransom. But the police are still searching for the abductors. The release resulted in jubilation at the Apex court in Abuja. The trio were abducted on May 10 while on their way to Benin, Edo State, for a wedding. According to a source, the victims were let off the hook in Benin by the kidnappers. The source said: “There is a strong suspicion that they were released after payment of ransom. But no one knows how much was paid to the kidnappers, who had demanded N200million. “From facts available to us, the victims were not freed by the police or security agencies. “I think the kidnappers were tired of holding them after collecting some paltry ransom. “Do not forget that the Supreme Court had opted for unorthodox method to rescue the victims. We are happy that they were set free and unhurt. “There has been jubilation among Supreme Court staff because the emotional trauma was too much for all to bear. The abduction slowed down the activities of the apex court. Asked of the whereabouts of the victims, the source added: “They have reunited with their family in Lagos.” The Special Adviser on Media to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Isah Ahuraka, said: “I can confirm to you that the wife of Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour and two others have been released. “The Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Sunday Olorunidahunsim has briefed the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Maryam Alooma-Mukhtar. “The victims have returned to their family in Lagos.” On September 13, last year, Rotimi, the son of Justice Rhodes-Vivour, was also abducted with a N30million ransom demand.

Orji: PDP has come to stay in Abia From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia


BIA State Governor Theodore Orji has said with the rate of work going on in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the party to beat. Orji said the PDP has come to stay in the state because of the things he has put on ground. Orji cautioned party members to steer clear of those who are trying to sneak into the party to destroy it. He said he has laid a solid foundation for the state. “So that another PDP governor coming after me will have less work to do . “

Group meets for Anambra election From Nwanosike Onu, Awka


GROUP, Odinma Anambra North, has said Anambra State Governor Peter Obi’s successor must come from Anambra North. The group met with indigenes from seven local governments to deliberate. The chairman of the group, Obiora Okafor, said Anambra North must produce Obi’s successor. According to Okafor, the person must be credible and not a mediocre. “We are calling for power shift arrangement that is based on equity, justice and fair play.”



NEWS Kwara closes poly as students prevent Ahmed from inaugurating projects


HE Kwara State Government yesterday closed down the state polytechnic, Ilorin, following the prevention of Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed from inaugurating some projects to mark his second anniversary in office. The government had slated the inauguration of some roads and other projects for yesterday and today. One of the projects billed for inauguration yesterday is the Akerebiata-Royal Valley Estate Road within Ilorin township. An eyewitness said the students chased away scores of people who had gathered for the inauguration. It was learnt that the angry students vandalised some vehicles belonging to the government near Mubo Street. The protestors were joined by their colleague from the state College of Education, Ilorin, as well as other tertiary

•Some of the vandalised vehicles...yesterday. From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

institutions. They were said to be protesting the alleged shooting of a National Diploma (ND 1) student of the polytechnic on Monday by a policeman in a bullion van. The protest lasted over five hours. It paralysed vehicular

movement and forced scores of commuters to trek long distances. The government said the school will remain closed until the return of normalcy to the school. In a statement the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, the government advised the stu-


dents to return to their homes until the reopening of the school. The government described as unfortunate the shooting of the student by a policeman. It also advised the students to maintain the peace and disallow miscreants from hijacking their peaceful protests. But the National Vice Pres-

Sagay, Utomi to Fed Govt: learn from Lagos


By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor

They are just a group of people whose only intention is just to accumulate power and accumulate resources and enjoy themselves rather than take care of the entire country. “So, this is the type of the government that we have. It is the PDP type of mentality. When you have a breakaway type of PDP governor, like (Rivers State Governor Rotimi) Amaechi, who is trying to make an impact in the lives of the people and establish some legacies of good governance, it is not in the character of the PDP. So, they have to destroy him.” The don urged Fashola to look beyond Lagos politics and contest for the presidential election in 2015, adding that the kind of transformation Lagos witnessed under his administration and under his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed, should be replicated at the centre. He noted that with the level

of commitment and modest achievements recorded by his administration in Lagos, what “is next for Governor Fashola is to offer himself to serve the people at the national level”. Utomi blamed the cancellation of the metro line project during the administration of former Governor Lateef Jakande on the military. He said the decision has led to increased traffic congestion in the state. The economist said the Lagos transformation “is a mark of commitment and continuity”. Utomi added: “This is indeed a committed administration. For long, everyone has been talking about the Second Niger Bridge. The country will definitely learn from what is happening in Lagos.” The politician hailed Fashola for sustaining the good work his predecessor left behind, adding that for the governor “to have continued to sustain the work left behind, he must have

S •Utomi

been driven with passion”. Utomi decried the abolition of the metro line, which the Jakande administration began, by the military government under the late Air Commodore Mudashiru Lawal. According to him, the metro line being built by Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when Lagos State was planning its own, has since been completed. Utomi said: “Though Lawal was a good man, one of my saddest days in life was when he stopped the metro line project. Kuala Lumpur, which started its metro line with Lagos, has since completed its. “I am happy that dream is being recreated now by the Fashola administration. Many of us will live to see that dream being fulfilled.”

Mini-bus owners, drivers protest at National Assembly


CORES of mini-bus owners and drivers yesterday a protest at the National Assembly over the proposed stoppage of their buses in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) metropolis. The FCT Transport Secretariat had expressed the intention to restrict the operations of the mini-buses to the satellite towns. The new policy, which was initially thought to have been postphoned indefinitely, is to become effective from June 3. But the protesters, under the aegis of the Owners and Drivers of Mini-Buses Association in the FCT, described the new policy as an “obnoxious policy on transport” and that it is “not mass-friendly.” The association added: “About 62,000 drivers and conductors will be denied of their

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

daily bread as a result of this inhuman government arrangement.” The protesters carried placards bearing various inscriptions, such as: “We are Nigerians, give us our right to work please”; “We are not in military regime; we are in democracy, hear our cry”; “We’re part of the organised labour, we are not touts. Live and let live”; “SOS, SOS, save our jobs, don’t throw us into starvation and death. Save our jobs”; “NASS save our families.” Others read: “We are legitimate drivers and conductors, NASS stop this impending slavery”; “Is government afraid of competition? Live and let live”; “Create jobs not joblessness.” A member of the associa-

tion, Prince Paul Omeire, explained that the objective of the protest was to make the National Assembly appeal to the FCT Transport Secretariat to change the policy. Omeire said: “We are member of the Owners and Drivers’ Association and we operate the town service. We own the buses and drive them. Our problem is with the Transport Secretariat of the FCT. “The new transport policy is that we should stop operation in the city on June 3. This means thousands of drivers and conductors as well as their families and other extension will suffer. We create jobs and we don’t know why they want to create joblessness.” On why they were protesting at the National Assembly, the union spokesman said: “We are here to see our people

ing of pension funds, political brigandage, even by the Governors’ Forum. This regime has lost focus and there is a state of anomie in the land. “We condemn the primitive shooting of the student and call for the immediate arrest and trial of the policeman who carried out this wicked act.”

Bauchi Assembly orders govt to pay teachers’ salary

•Condemns cancellation of first Lagos metro line ONTLINE constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay, and a former presidential candidate, Prof. Pat Utomi, yesterday urged the Federal Government to learn from the historic development taking place in Lagos State. The eminent Nigerians noted that the Federal Government has not made significant impact on the development of the nation. They spoke at the Freedom Park, Lagos Island, during the public presentation of a book, entitled: Fashola: The Historic Reconstruction of Lagos, written by Mr. Emeka Odikpo, a lawyer. Sagay said it is unfortunate that people currently holding political power at the centre have brought the country to shame before the comity of nations. He noted that politicians at the centre “limit everything to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)”. He added: “They have no philosophy of government.

ident, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Taiwo Otitolaye, described “the incident as one of the manifestation of a failed state”. He said: “Across all geopolitical zones, there is insecurity of life and property, kidnapping, bank robbery, Boko Haram insurgence, loot-

at the National Assembly and see if we can get the FCT Transport Secretariat to change the policy.”

Police warn vehicle owner


HE Lagos State Police Command has warned owners of accidented and abandoned vehicles parked at Area “J”, Elemoro Division, to remove them or lose them to the public through an auction after 14 days. They are Toyota Highlander (scrap), unregistered; Honda Civic, grey colour (scrap), unregistered and Mercedez Benz Jeep ML 350, metallic ashe colour (scrap), also unregistered.

From Austin Tsenzughul, Bauchi

ITTING for the first time since its resumption from a 40-day recess, the Bauchi State House of Assembly yesterday directed the state government to pay, within 14 days, the outstanding five months’ salary of primary school teachers in the state. The lawmakers conveyed the order to the government through the Commissioner for Education, Ibrahim Mohammed Aminu. They asked the Head of Civil Service, Mr Abdon Dalla Gin; the Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Boar (SUBEB), Abdullahi Dabo; the Chairman, Teachers’ Service Commission; the Chairman, Teachers’ Screening Committee and state Coordinator of the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI), to appear before them on the floor of the House.

Students’ riot: Fodiyo Varsity shut down indefinitely


From Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

ARELY a week to an examination, authorities of the Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto, yesterday closed the institution indefinitely following students’ violent demonstration on Monday night over outages. The authorities have, however, raised a committee to investigate the remote cause of the riot. Since its establishment in 1975, the university has been adjudged the most peaceful until Monday night when a group of students stormed the staff quarters to vent their grievances. The university wore a forlorn look hours after the students were ordered to vacate the campus. Several students in were seen yesterday carrying their luggage to the town. Their exodus caused a temporary traffic gridlock at the Dandima Roundabout few kilometres from the university campus.

‘Calls for SNC borne out of disillusionment’


From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

HE clamour from several quarters for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) in Nigeria is borne out of people’s disillusionment with the country, despite its vast resources, the Vice Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Prof AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, has said. The vice chancellor spoke yesterday in Malete, Moro Local Government Area of the state when he addressed reporters ahead of the university’s first convocation ceremony scheduled for Saturday this week. Na’Allah said: “People have become impatient; people see a nation that has so many resources, yet they are suffering.”


Emir of Bungudu dies at 95

HE Zamfara Government yesterday announced the death of the Emir of Bungudu, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmad. He was 95. A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Birnin-Magaji, said the monarch died yesterday at Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital, Gusau, the state capital, after a brief illness. Born in 1918, Ibrahim served as Village Head in Bungudu town between 1949 and 1980. He later became the District Head, a position he held until he succeeded his late father, Alhaji Ahmad, as a third class Emir, in 1997. In 2000, he was elevated to second class status and got the first class status in 2003.




China: Rescuers save newborn from sewer pipe


NEWBORN boy is recovering in a Chinese hospital after being rescued from a sewage pipe below a squat toilet by firefighters, who sawed off an L-shaped section and then delicately dismantled it to free the trapped baby. A tenant heard the baby’s cries in the public restroom of a residential building in Zhejiang province in eastern China on Saturday and notified authorities, according to the state-run news site Zhejiang News. A video of the two-hour rescue that followed was broadcast widely on Chinese news programs and websites late Monday and Tuesday. The child - named Baby No. 59 from the number of his hospital incubator - was reported safe in a nearby hospital, and news of the rescue prompted an outpouring from strangers who came to the hospital with diapers, baby clothes, powdered milk and offers to adopt the child. The baby weighed 2.81 kilograms (6.2 pounds) and still had his placenta attached to his body, reports said. His heart rate was low and there were grazes on his head and limbs, but he was largely unscathed, according to


•Baby number 59

Zhejiang Online, the province’s official news portal. It was not immediately clear how the baby ended up in the toilet, but police said they were treating the case as an attempted homicide. The Pujiang county police bureau said on its official microblog account that the boy’s 22year old unmarried mother

has been located and that an investigation is ongoing, but gave no further details. A duty officer at the Pujiang Public Security Bureau reached by phone late Tuesday said he had no information and that staffers involved in the investigation had left for the day. On China’s popular Twitter-like microblogs, some users expressed pity for the

child and horror at his ordeal. Most bloggers speculated that the child had been abandoned and dumped by his parents down the toilet. The landlord of the building in Pujiang county told Zhejiang News that it was unlikely the birth took place in the restroom because there was no evidence of blood and she was not aware of any recent pregnancies

Israel warns Russia against giving Syria missiles

SRAEL’s defense minister yesterday signaled that his military is prepared to strike shipments of advanced Russian weapons to Syria, in a rare implied threat to Moscow. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon issued his warning shortly after a top Russian official said his government reserves the right to provide Syria with state-of-the-art S300 air defense missiles. Israel has been lobbying Moscow to drop the sale, fearing the missiles would upset the balance of power in the region and could slip into the hands of hostile groups, including the Lebanese militant Hezbollah, a close ally of the Syrian regime. “As far as we are concerned, that is a threat,” Yaalon told reporters when asked about the S300s. “At this stage I can’t say there is an escalation. The shipments have not been sent on their way yet. And I hope that they will not be sent,” he said. But “if God forbid they do reach Syria, we will know what to do.” Since Syria’s civil war erupted in March 2011, Israel

•Russia: No plans to stop deal

has repeatedly voiced concerns that Syria’s sophisticated arsenal, including chemical weapons, could either be transferred to Hezbollah, a bitter enemy of Israel, or fall into the hands of rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad. The rebels include al-Qaida-affiliated groups that Israel believes could turn their attention toward Israel if they topple Assad. Israel has carried out several airstrikes in Syria that are believed to have destroyed weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah. Israel has not confirmed carrying out the attacks. The delivery of the Russian missiles to Syria could limit the Israeli air force’s ability to act. In Moscow, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, wouldn’t say whether Russia has shipped any of the longrange S-300 air defense missile systems, but insisted that Moscow isn’t going to aban-

don the deal despite strong Western and Israeli criticism. “We understand the concerns and signals sent to us from different capitals. We realize that many of our partners are concerned about the issue,” Ryabkov said. “We


have no reason to revise our stance.” He said the missiles could be a deterrent against foreign intervention in Syria and would not be used against Syrian rebels, who do not have an air force. He also accused the European Union of “throwing fuel on the fire” by letting its own arms embargo on Syria expire.

among her tenants. The baby was stuck in an Lshaped portion of the sewage pipe with a diameter of about 10 centimeters (3 inches). The video shows rescuers sawing off a section of the pipe along a ceiling that apparently was just below the restroom. The rescuers then rushed that section of pipe to a hospital, where firefighters and medics alternately used pliers and saws to rip apart the pipe and free the baby. Despites the offers to adopt Baby No. 59, a doctor at the hospital said the boy would be handed over to social services if his parents did not claim him, Zhejiang News said. In China, reports of babies being abandoned are common and fuel public anger against a strict one-child policy that imposes huge fines on parents who violate the rules. The policy has been blamed as a factor causing parents to abandon unwanted children, though they are usually baby girls whose parents want sons due to a traditional preference for male heirs.

Libyan MP chief resigns over ban


IBYA’s parliament chief has resigned just weeks after lawmakers passed a controversial law banning officials who served under Moammar Gadhafi from senior government posts. Mohammed al-Megarif, who was Libya’s ambassador to India in 1980 before he joined the opposition in exile, announced his resignation on Tuesday. The new law, which would effectively ban alMagarif and other experienced leaders from politics, was passed under pressure by militias. Al-Magarif’s eyes welled up as he spoke before the General National Congress in the capital, Tripoli. He decried what he described as the empowerment of some lawmakers backed by gunmen and warned of the need to eradicate Gadhafi-era schemes, including “revenge, antagonism ... and hatred” that still plague Libya.

Adebolajo’s family express ‘profound shame and distress’ over Lee’s killing


HE family of Michael Adebolajo, one of the men arrested over the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, yesterday expressed their ‘profound shame and distress’ over the ‘senseless killing’ and sent their ‘heartfelt condolence’ to the soldier’s relatives. Drummer Lee Rigby, of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was hit by a car and then ‘hacked to death’ last week by two men who got out of the vehicle and attacked him with knives and meat cleavers while shouting ‘Allah Akbar!’ - an Islamic phrase for ‘God is great’. Last night, the Adebolajo family said: ‘Nothing we can say can undo the events of last week. However, as a family, we wish to share with others our horror at the senseless killing of Lee Rigby, and express our profound shame and distress that this has brought to our family.’ ‘We send our heartfelt condolence to Lee Rigby’s family and loved ones.’ They said that they ‘wholeheartedly condemn’ terrorism, and ‘fully expect’ that Drummer Rigby’s killers will be brought to justice.

Mugabe: Regional leaders may fund polls

IMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe said regional leaders will hold a summit to discuss how to fund an election later this year in which he is seeking to extend his three-decade rule, state media reported on Tuesday. Impoverished Zimbabwe needs $132 million for the election but conditions attached to the cash have divided the already fractious unity government, whose main players will be rivals for power in the vote. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has been pushing for funding


•Riot policemen hit protestors participating in a demonstration against lawmakers’ salary demands outside the parliament buildings in the capital Nairobi, May 14, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

with as few strings as possible and withdrew a request to have the United Nations fund the poll, saying the global body was trying to interfere in domestic issues. The MDC of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is keen to attach the money to the deployment of election observers. It fears ZANU-PF, whose members are under international sanctions for suspected rigging of previous votes, will use the security forces to intimidate voters. Any repeat of violence that accompanied the last

vote in 2008 could end Zimbabwe’s fragile economic recovery and unleash another refugee crisis simi-

lar to the one five years ago when hundreds of thousands fled to neighboring South Africa.

Suu Kyi opposes 2-child limit for Myanmar minority


PPOSITION leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Islamic leaders expressed dismay over decisions by authorities in western Myanmar to restore a two-child limit on a Muslim minority group, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists and follows accusations of “ethnic cleansing.” The order makes Myanmar perhaps the only country in the world to level such a restriction against a particular religious group, and is likely to bring further criticism that Muslims are being discriminated against in the Buddhistmajority country. Some Buddhists, however, welcomed the plan for addressing their fear of a population explosion among the Muslim minority known as Rohingya.

Kenyan MPs vote to increase pay

ENYAN members of parliament, already among the best-paid legislators in the world, on Tuesday voted to increase their own salaries in defiance of plans to cut their pay as part of public spending reforms. President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won a closely fought March 4 election on an economic growth agenda, has implored lawmakers to accept pay cuts and help rein in public sector salaries to free up cash to create jobs. “We do have the requisite number and quorum to pass that motion,” Joyce Laboso, the Deputy Speaker of the assembly said, after MPs on both sides of the house voted overwhelmingly for higher pay, which has already drawn street protests. Kenyan police fired teargas and water cannon outside parliament

•Protesters hit street, as police fire tear gas yesterday to disperse about 200 people demonstrating against lawmakers’ demands for a salary 130 times the legal minimum wage. Civil rights groups organized the protest to express widespread anger that politicians are demanding a pay rise so soon after a broadly peaceful election on March 4. Protesters fed pigs’ blood to live pigs at the gates of parliament in the capital Nairobi to symbolize a political class widely regarded as greedy and corrupt. Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s new president and its richest man, said last week that holding down the state wage bill was key to directing public funds into economic development. But the appeal was lost on law-

makers, whose pay has been set at 532,000 shillings ($6,300) per month by the state’s Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC). Handouts by politicians are common in Kenya, and MPs say they need more money to help pay constituents’ school and medical expenses, as well as to reflect their stature. They are demanding basic monthly pay of about 850,000 shillings, excluding other allowances - similar to what lawmakers were paid during the last parliament. Kenyatta increased the minimum wage by 14 percent this month to 6,498 shillings ($77.54) a month - although many of the 80 percent of Kenyan workers employed in the informal sector earn less than this.



NEWS Ogun PDP warns members against using party resources to fund another party


From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State has warned members not to fall for the baits of some supposedly party leaders, who were using PDP resources to fund and build another party for their selfish interests. PDP said the motive of such double standard politicians is that if they could nurture another party to a position of reckoning, they would not only leave PDP, but also drag others along. Addressing members at the Ijebu-Igbo home of a party leader, Prince Buruji Kashamu, at the weekend, the state Chairman, Mr. Adedayo Bayo, urged people using resources gained from associating with PDP to fund another party to desist from it, saying no gainful result would come out of it. Bayo urged those who have grudges to speak out, so that their grievances can be addressed, instead of funding another party or contemplating leaving PDP for the Labour Party(LP), saying “LP is an alternative� for the people of Ogun State. He reminded them of the case of former Governor Gbenga Daniel, who he accused of floating another party - the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) - during the build up to the April, 2011, general elections, while still in PDP and herded his followers into it, but failed to achieve his ambition at the end.

PUBLIC NOTICE NEKE OGHE DEVELOPMENT UNION (NODU) We the members of Neke Oghe Development Union (NODU) in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State heartily congratulate our Sons, Chief (Barr.) Chukwuemeka Linus Ozoagu, The Hon. Chairman Ezeagu Local Government Area and his able secretary Ozo Titus Chidi Okechukwu for their selfless service in Ezeagu Local Government Area. Your activities in Local Government Area is a shining example to all of us. You are rare gift to our generation. You have indeed come to HEAL, REBUILD, DEVELOPE AND UNITE us all as a people. May God Almighty continue to bless, guide and protect you in all your endeavours. SIGNED: CHIEF JOHN OBI CHAIRMAN CHIEFNWABAURU ISRAEL ONUNMADU SECRTARY




Mexico test Flying Eagles for U-20 World Cup


HE readiness of Nigeria’s Under-20 team for next month’s World Cup in Turkey will be tested today by Toulon International Tournament defending champions Mexico. The Flying Eagles open their campaign at the Stade Perruc Hyeres in France by 5.30pm, which is 4.30 Nigerian time. This will be Nigeria’s first outing at the 46-year-old tournament and the Flying Eagles will use it to prepare for the World Cup in Turkey. Six of the 10 teams at this year’s competition will feature at the U-20 World Cup, namely Nigeria, Portugal, Colombia, France, United States of America, and South Korea. “We have a good team who have been responding to training. We will see how much they have learnt thus far,” said Flying Eagles’ German assistant coach Jurgen Press. Cote d’Ivoire have been the only African winners of this tournament, when they won it three years ago. Mexico and Nigeria last clashed at U-20 level two years ago when the CONCACAF giants defeated the Flying Eagles 4-1 in another invitational tournament in Panama preparatory to the 2011 U-20 World Cup in Colombia. Six-time African champions Nigeria will line up several players like U-17 international defender Wilfred Ndidi, Switzerland-based goalkeeper Sebastian Osigwe and new Olympiacos of

•Match kicks off 4.30pm today Greece midfielder Michael Olaitan, who are pressing to make the final 21-man squad for Turkey 2013. Enugu Rangers striker Alhaji Gero is expected to put behind the death of his younger brother this week as he aims to guarantee his place in the party to Turkey following the emergence of Dolphins striker Samuel Eduok as an attacking option for the team. Mexico are handled by the

experienced Sergio Almaguer and will parade FC Dallas of USA goalkeeper Sanchez Alcaraz along with players drawn from several of the country’s top clubs like Pachuca, Monterrey, Atlas and Cruz Azul. To qualify for the 2013 World Cup, Mexico won five matches, scored 15 goals and conceded only a goal to emerge undisputed CONCACAF champions. Meanwhile, the Organisers

announced that no fewer than 1512 full internationals have passed through this annual competition and they include the likes of David Beckham, Frank Lampard (England), Mascherano (Argentina), Kaka (Brazil), Oman Biyik (Cameroon), James Rodrigues (Colombia), Kolo Toure, Didier Zokora (Cote d’Ivoire) as well as Lilian Thuram, Didier Deschamps and Nicolas Anelka (France). It has proved to be veritable ground for clubs and scouts across the world to watch firsthand promising prospects in top-class action.

World Cup is Eagles' target, says Ambrose


FE AMBROSE has said the Super Eagles' main target is to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil and not to win the Confederations Cup. The Celtic defender, who won the league and cup double, also expressed his delight to rejoin the Super Eagles as he dedicated his Scottish Cup win to his wife and daughter. The full interview: How do you feel ending the season with league and cup double? It was a great feeling, a dream come true for me. How would you describe the past season? It was a great one. I just say thank you to God who made everything smooth and good for me all season. Who has your winner's medal for the cup triumph against Hibernian on Sunday? It is to my lovely wife and

beautiful daughter. The just concluded season was your first in Scotland, what pushed you on? It was God. Without him nothing, I could not have achieved anything. You played in Israel before Scotland, which of the leagues is better? I don't want to compare both leagues, they are all good but I prefer Scotland. There have been rumours linking you to a move away from Celtic, what can you say on this? I don't know; I believe all is well. It is normal to have speculations around a player who did well for his team or country, but I still have a running contract with Celtic. How was the reunion with Eagles in the training camp in Germany? It was good experience and nice to be back with the team. Talking about the friendly

from the Nationwide League and 12 non-League teams will be involved in the Draw. A special feature will be added to this year’s Draw, with the Draw for the Women’s Federation Cup competition also taking place alongside that of the men’s event. The women’s event will involve 22 clubs. Expected at the two-hour ceremony are NFF Executive Committee members, Ahmad Muazu Kawu (Chairman of the Nigeria Nationwide League) and Dilichukwu Onyedinma (Chairperson of the Nigeria Women’s League), alongside NFF General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu, members of NFF Management, two members of the NFF Organising Committee, and some Chairmen and Secretaries of State Fas. This year’s Federation Cup grand finale will take place at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Saturday, July 28, with the grand finale of the Women Federation Cup taking place the previous day, July 27.

Large turnout at Lagos audition

T •Efe Ambrose match against Mexico, how ready are you? I am fully ready for Mexico and that is why I am in camp now. By his grace I am looking forward to be part of the action. Nigeria have two World Cup qualifiers against Kenya and Namibia as well as the Confederations Cup, what could you say about these matches? They are all important matches, but as far as I am concerned the World Cup qualifiers are the most important, they are my priority. We need to advance to the next round of qualifiers. The Confederations Cup is also important and I won't rule us out of winning it, but the World Cup ticket is the ultimate.

EFCC arrests NFF vice-president Umeh



HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will tomorrow in Abuja hold the Draw Ceremony for this year’s 2013 Federation Cup finals. According to NFF’s Director of Competitions, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, a total of 63 clubs will be in the pot at the ceremony billed for the FIFA Technical Centre, National Stadium Complex, as from 12pm. No club from Yobe State registered for the annual glamour competition, while Ranch Bees FC of Kaduna will be disqualified from the ceremony should the club’s management fail to off-set, by Thursday morning, an outstanding debt of N200, 000 payable since last year. “The management of Ranch Bees has failed to pay this money, which is their fine for late registration for last year’s competition, despite several written undertakings to pay,” said Dr. Sanusi. All the 20 Premier League clubs in the country, plus 22 clubs from the second-tier National League, nine clubs



IGERIA'S anticorruption agency has arrested Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) vicepresident Mike Umeh on money laundering charges. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Umeh is an alleged accomplice in a multi-million-dollar operation involving a former governor of one of Nigeria's states. "Mike Umeh is an accomplice in the case of money laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of 15 billion Naira ($94.8m)," EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren told BBC Sport. "It's a case for which former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State is standing trial." Umeh, seen as one of the country's most influential

Federation Cup draw holds tomorrow

football figures, was arrested in Lagos on Monday and then transferred to Sokoto, in North West Nigeria. The top football official was expected to appear before Justice Bello Abass of the Sokoto high court yesterday. But the country's football authority say it will not comment on the arrest of one of its board members, insisting the case has nothing to do with the NFF. "The issue mentioned has nothing to do with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)," NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire told BBC Sport. "It's a very sensitive matter and the NFF cannot make a categorical statement at the moment. "The NFF is aware of the position and is continuing to monitor its progress."

HE three-day MTN Football Scholarship audition ended yesterday with no fewer than 1,000 players screened in Lagos at the National stadium, Legacy pitch, Surulere. The Programme Coordinator, MTN Football Scholar, an American soccer trainer and administrator Tom DeMiao disclosed that they were happy to see the huge turnout all round especially in Lagos. The Lagos trials bring to an end the nationwide trials which have taken the MTN Football Scholar technical team to Port Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja, Benin and Akure. In all, a minimum of 100 students will be selected based on their football skills and educational requirements. Speaking with NationSport, DeMiao said: “We are happy to see this large turnout here, things are going well. We hope to pick a bunch of kids here; not sure about the numbers, we are just looking for qualified kids, so, the more the better”. He also used the opportunity to reel out the vision of the project to the young talented players that are participating. “This programme is a platform that matches a student’s good academic background, and who is skilful in football as well. It gives the players the opportunity to gain

By Abolaji Aluko-Olokun and Jeremiah Babatunde scholarships to American Universities like Yale or Harvard or preparatory schools like Green Springs. So, what we do is we identify the talent and train them in other to meet their goals of going to the U.S.A to study. Football is just the tool; education scholarship is the focus. Football is just a bonus. We are trying to pick talents that have football skills combined with education”, Tom disclosed. Players that have excelled in the regions will be in a camp from 31st of May to 5th of June, where they will be trained by international coaches. Thereafter there will be a final soccer showcase and selection of potential finalists by international coaches from June 6th to June 10th Lagos. The students selected will be given academic coaching towards their Scholastic Aptitude Test, (SAT) Examinations scheduled for October 2013. Success in the examination will qualify the students for scholarship to American Universities. Four successful students from Season 1 are currently in various American Universities while seven young men from the same Season will be leaving in September to Universities in the US and Canada.

•Tom DeMiao (in dark glasses) with a cross section of kids at the MTN football scholar trials at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos



VOL.8 NO.2,500

‘‘The murderers have truly managed to ‘murder sleep’ for millions of non-Nigerians moving closer to Nigerians and Africans in need or for love and friendship. The clock has been turned back’



N the second part of my two-part piece on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s offer of amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents published on these pages on April 17, I was cautiously optimistic that the President will hold out firmly against the wishes of the more gung-ho of his military and security chiefs who apparently believe counter-violence was the main, if not the only, solution to the sect’s insurgency. With the President’s recent declaration of a qualified state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, it is now obvious that my optimism was misplaced. In retrospect, it seems even in my caution I was not cautious enough. First, in his initial rejection of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar’s, earlier call for amnesty for members of the sect, the President had repeated an article of faith of his administration that it couldn’t and wouldn’t dialogue with a group whose leadership was faceless, even though it is not true that the sect’s leadership is faceless. If indeed its leaders were faceless, how did the security forces get the identities of those on its wanted list of the sect’s top leaders? Second, when the President inaugurated the somewhat unwieldy – in itself perhaps a statement about the strength of his faith in amnesty as a solution to the problem - committee he set up under his Minister for Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki, to identify the grounds and possible strategies for amnesty, he said he expected it to perform a “miracle.” That was not the language of someone who sincerely believed dialogue had much of a chance in the resolution of the Boko Haram problem. Having, however, set up the Turaki panel, I, for one, expected the President to give it even the ghost of a chance to succeed. He didn’t. Instead, he found an excuse - albeit a good excuse - in the horrible massacre of nearly a hundred policemen by a hitherto little-heard-of vicious ethnic militia in Nasarawa State, and the earlier but even more devastating destruction of lives and property in Baga, a fishing town on the shores of Lake Chad in Borno State, to declare his state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. It all reminds one of a similar situation about forty seven years ago when the country’s first military head of state, Major-General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, constituted a panel under Chief F.R.A (Timi-the-Law) Williams to draft a new constitution for the country as part of his yet indeterminate programme for return to civilian rule. Before the panel could begin sitting, the general enacted his ill-advised Unification Decree which was to trigger the tragic events that eventually led to our three-year civil war which ended in 1970. The general’s anticipation of the outcome of Chief William’s panel was clearly at the behest of the more hawkish civilian advisers he had surrounded himself with whose triumphalism in their new status as the country’s new kids on the block seemed to know

RIPPLES ALAMS: Reps may strip President of powers to grant state pardon

... ‘ALARM’ don BLOW

People and Politics By


GEJ, his military chiefs, Asari-Dokubo and 2015

•Dr Jonathan no bounds. Obviously this power hungry lot did not give a damn about the predictable consequence of, in effect, imposing a unitary constitution on a country as varied and as plural as Nigeria. Of course, 2013 is not 1966. Neither is President Jonathan’s state of emergency the same as General Aguiyi-Ironsi’s unification decree in its gravity for the integrity of our political-economy. However, unless the president, as commander-in-chief, can put a tight leash on his armed forces as they battle Boko Haram, his amnesty may inexorably lead to the fulfilment of the American prophesy of several years ago that Nigeria could become a failed state in a couple of years. Unfortunately, if the record of his control over his military and security chiefs is anything to go by, the omens do not look too good. Indeed the omens look even worse when you consider the hard-to-deny fact that the

president’s men, if not the man himself, seem too obsessed with his remaining in power beyond 2015; a fact attested to by the “No President Jonathan in 2015, No Nigeria” mantra chanted by the likes of Mujahid Asari-Dokubo who apparently not only have the president’s ears but have behaved as his un-salaried attack dogs. Unfortunately for Asari-Dokubo and his ilk, but happily for Nigeria, they speak only for themselves and the charmed little circle of those who have profited immensely from the President’s amnesty for the ex-Niger Delta militants, clearly at the great expense of the ordinary people of that oil rich but pauperised region. The fact is that there are others from the same region who do not share the same enthusiasm for a Jonathan presidency beyond 2015, precisely because they believe the man, as the first president from the region, has made little or no difference to its terrible lot. The Guardian of March 3 carried interviews with four such South-Southerners, none of whom can be regarded as antiJonathan just for the hell of it. All four, Ms Ann Kio Briggs, an Ijaw activist and indeed an unapologetic Jonathan supporter; Chief Frank Kokori, who needs no introduction as a veteran trade unionist; Mr. Okpobari, national coordinator of Ogoni Solidarity Front; and Aniyakwee Nsirimovu, former chairman of the disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation sub-committee of the Technical Committee on Niger Delta, were agreed that their region has been the worse off for all the president has done - or more accurately, not done - to end its pauperisation. Yes, they all agreed, the man has poured tonnes of money into the region but then



N spite of the structural and constitutional imperfections that have become integral to civil rule in Nigeria, there is still much to rejoice about the Fourth Republic. It is of course not yet a democracy in the classical sense, and the executive arm has often behaved with the monarchical temperament of its cultural past, but civil rule has endured for 14 fairly long and surprising years, by far the longest since independence. In the First Republic, civil rule lasted for less than six agonising and desperate years. The Second Republic was even shorter – a mere four years, notwithstanding the advancement in technology, knowledge and political sophistication. Much worse was the giddy and experimental Third Republic, which endured for one crazy year and a few months before it expired under the weight of insincerity, immaturity, presumptions and societal and judicial contradictions. Seeing then that with each succeeding republic, the experiment with civil rule became more convoluted, more demanding and less successful, it was logical to fear the worst for the Fourth Republic. That that negative expectation has not been fulfilled is probably a testimony to the people’s resilience, having suffered the indescribable torment of past military governments to the point of preferring anything else but

Fourteen years of civil rule military dictatorships. For as it is well known, the people themselves have not substantially changed either in terms of the discipline required to make a fair constitution workable, or in terms of creating the right atmosphere for the emergence of a leadership with the charisma and character necessary to revivify and redirect the country. In addition, as in the other republics, particularly the Second and the Third, there was never really a constitution properly describable as the people’s constitution. The case of the controversial Third Republic was even worse. Though governors had been sworn in and the National Assembly inaugurated, there was no constitution enacted to guide the democracy it pretended to have brought into being. So, in more ways than we care to pay attention to, this republic has done the impossible by surviving for so long. It is not a democracy yet, but it is significant that it is not a democracy because those saddled with that historic responsibility of laying its foundation did a damnable job. This, in fact, is why


there has been little or nothing to show for all his efforts. The most obvious symbol of this failure, they said, has been the terrible state of the notorious East-West highway linking the region with much of the rest of the country. In spite of the huge sums voted for the construction of the road year in year out since the presidency of General Olusegun Obasanjo, Ms Briggs said in her own interview, the road “is now worse.” Anyone familiar with media reports of the state of the highway would consider her lamentation a gross understatement. Amnesty for Niger Delta, they all said, was not just about giving money to those who carried guns. Rather it was more, much more, about removing the region’s infrastructural deficit and ending its people’s abject povertyin-oil-wealth. In these objectives, they all agreed, the Jonathan presidency has been a signal failure. However, of the four none seem to have captured the frustration of Nigerians with the Jonathan presidency, especially in the face of the expectations it raised among Nigerians with his “Transformation Agenda,” than Nsirimovu. In what was as much a parody of President Jonathan’s now famous 2011 presidential campaign sound bite about growing up without shoes as it was a repudiation of the threat from the likes of Asari-Dokubo that their principal must remain president beyond 2015 regardless of his performance and whether Nigerians like it or not, Nsirimovu said, “For somebody who had no shoes... he has done poorly to relieve others who have no shoes. He has gotten shoes and does not want others to have shoes.” Nsirimovu’s words may seem terribly unkind but it is the bitter truth. However, it is a truth that the President can still do something about if, as he has often said, he does not wish to go down in History as the last president of Nigeria. It may be too late for the man to fulfil all his campaign promises, much of which was unrealistic, anyway. But if he can improve the terrible state of insecurity in the land by prevailing on his military chiefs to stop their terrible abuse of the human rights of civilians in their war against Boko Haram insurgency, and if he can also give Nigerians more electricity than he had given them so far and, not least of all, if he can begin to show by example more than by mere words that 2015 is for him not a do-or-die affair, he would have justified his undeclared but obvious wish to seek re-election in 2015, without, of course, prejudice to the constitutionality of his wish which is being tested in the courts. •For comments, send SMS to 08059100107

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above civil rule is tottering, and democracy remains far-fetched, if not a chimera. By far the most culpable in this wise is of course the irrepresible Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who still thinks that by merely midwifing a change from one president to another, he had recorded a feat. However, in spite of the weaknesses evident in the constitution, it would still have been possible to nurture real democratic government and change had Chief Obasanjo understood what the concept meant and expected of him, its philosophical and metaphysical significance, and its irreplaceability, not to talk of its proven capacity to mediate and moderate interrelationships and conflicts. The story of the past 14 years is, therefore, one frustrating and herculean effort to build a great edifice on a badly constructed foundation. Though the current leadership has made an even worse mess of governing the country than the last two presidents, and the mess is getting even messier with torrents of antidemocratic practices, it is urgent to find the right leadership able and willing to give what it has; for no leader can give what he doesn’t have, no matter how assiduously he is indoctrinated. If the republic is to be saved, and if real democracy is to be instituted, a fundamental change is required to make the republic endure, obviously shorn of the tentativeness that has afflicted the country since independence.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:01-8962807, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14, Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790. WEBSITE: E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation May 29, 2013  

The Nation May 29, 2013