Newspaper of the Year
US: Terrorists plan to attack Lagos hotel el –Page 6
Nyanya blast: Troops arrest 8 Nigerien, Cameroonian suspects Death toll now 20
Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
Vol.08, No. 2828
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
MAY 4, 2014
Abduction: Presidency, Borno in cold war Jonathan meets Gov. Shettima, others
...As Patience Jonathan threatens to lead protest in Maiduguri •Jonathan
Borno govt tackles First Lady –Page 4
From left: Comrade Issa Aremu, Vice President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Chief Oseni Elamah, Governor Adams Oshiomhole and Dr Rafiu Ladipo, President-General, Nigerian Football Supporters Club at the 2nd edition of the 10km Okpekpe race in Edo State, yesterday.
EKITI 2014: KEY FAYOSE BACKER DUMPS PDP FOR APC
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
Presbyterian Prelate condemns terror attacks
HE Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Emele Mba Uka, has described the increasing wave of Boko Haram terror attacks in the country as heinous, barbaric and inhuman . He expressed concern that various efforts by government to check the activities of the group have been largely unsuccessful. Reacting to Thursday's bomb blast at Nyanya near Abuja which claimed 19 lives, Professor Uka asked President Goodluck Jonathan to seek global assistance, particularly in the areas of intelligence and combat action to deal with the situation.
All for the Chibok girls Across the globe there is growing concern over the fate of the 276 schoolgirls snatched from their hostels in the dead of night in Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014. This weekend in Washington DC, pictured here, New York and Philadelphia, hundreds of protesters called on the Nigerian government and the international community to rescue the kidnapped children.
Abba Moro dreams up new boondoggles I
N May last year, the embattled Internal Affairs minister, Abba Moro, talked up a storm over his plans to persuade the government to build some 84 border plazas to secure Nigeria's borders. It would cost some N38 billion, he estimated, and help stem illegalities and terrorist infiltrations in those forbidden areas. To build and equip them, he added, the United States and a private Chinese company would be involved. When he first mooted the idea, many observers sneered at his suggestion, believing it to be one of those fecund schemes designed to play ducks and drakes with the country's finances. But in the light of recurring border incursions and abductions by terrorists, not the least humiliating among which was the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping of April, it does seem many could be convinced to go along jolly well with that fascinating idea if Mr Moro knew how to go for the kill. It was therefore not surprising that a few days back Mr Moro felt emboldened enough to reiterate his suggestion of multi-billion naira border plazas. With over 230 schoolgirls still kept in captivity by Boko Haram militants who stormed their dormitories to haul them into sex slavery, and with the conviction that our exceedingly porous borders were partly to blame, few would cavil at the idea of any scheme to secure the country's 84 legal borders and seal the nearly 1, 500 illegal routes through which terrorists and smugglers practise their violent art. Though there is some logic in the idea of border plazas, and even more sense in urgently devis-
ing active schemes to police them forcefully and intelligently, it is not clear why Mr Moro should feel he is qualified to make the needed reiteration. This is of course not to endorse the N38bn estimated to be the cost of the plazas, especially considering that the failed N76bn Abuja CCTV project has not yet been satisfactorily explained to the public. But Mr Moro still has the burden of the tragic recruitment exercise into the Nigerian Immigration Service weighing on his conscience. Nine applicants died in that most appallingly organised exercise, while scores
of others were injured. Not only did Mr Moro fail to accept responsibility immediately, it turned out that the exercise fetched a hefty N700 million or so for
the consultants engaged to handle the computerisation part of the scheme. In order words, the Internal Affairs ministry gave the federal government a bad name of profiting from the misery of millions of unemployed young Nigerians. Moreover, the investigations that followed the recruitment debacle blamed the ministry and Mr Moro. Rather than sack the offending minister, however, the President Goodluck Jonathan presidency has kept indiscreetly silent, while Mr Moro himself stands pat and now begins to dream up new boondoggles. The political philosophy of the Jonathan government is certainly difficult to understand, and the principles that underline his government even more arcane. That may explain why the minister, who should feel the weight of the deaths that accompanied the NIS recruitment exercise, has gone about his duties with unprepossessing sang-froid. Perhaps, in his arcane logic, he wonders why he should
feel more catholic than the Pope when his employers do not appreciate the magnitude of the excesses and corruption that accompanied the NIS exercise. Maybe the Jonathan presidency does not want to be pressured by the public to do what is right, an inclination that has prompted some writers to describe him as instinctively monarchist. But by refusing to punish his aides and ministers who transgress so openly and shockingly, President Jonathan has acquired the unflattering reputation of harbouring remorseless cabinet members whose public morality, even if it does not reflect their private morality, is no less stifling than the president's own incomprehensible, if not entirely impenetrable. Would to God they all had borrowed a little modesty from the South Korean prime minister, Chung Hong-won, who resigned his post on account of the slow response of the Korean government to the ferry disaster that was not their making, than to continue exhibiting the gargantuan imprudence which they seem to exemplify on a continental basis.
Nigeria's police democracy and the Adamawa affair
VEN though President Goodluck Jonathan has finally bowed to opposition and public pressure to shelve his (campaign) visit to Adamawa State, the fallouts from the aborted visit are still reverberating in democratic circles all over the country. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state had apparently been denied use of the commodious Ribadu Square in the state capital, Yola. Unhappy about the denial, the party had complained loudly and even made oblique reference to a breakdown of law and order if the denial was not rescinded. The state government, claiming it had nothing to do with the refusal, suggested that the square had a management committee running it, which should be blamed. Mercifully, everyone was saved embarrassment. However, the response of the
police to the controversy while it lasted leaves much to be desired. The state's police commissioner, John Abakasang, wrote an impertinent letter to the governor forcefully suggesting he reverse the denial. In tone, the letter was riling and patronising. Hear him: “…Our state is fragile and we must do all it takes to maintain its relative peace…Your Excellency, you have been known to be a man of peace and not otherwise, these steps (reversal of denial) were necessary so that disgruntled elements do not take advantage of the denial to throw the state into chaos…We believe that the refusal to allow some groups of people the use of the venue for lawful activities and granting approval to other groups to use the same venue could pose more tension than making the venue available for use by every
group.” A few days later, the IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, also warned politicians to desist from making inflammatory statements capable of worsening terrorism. But it was clear he was referring to the letter written by Adamawa governor, Murtala Nyako, to northern governors alleging genocide against the Jonathan government. The IGP and his men, it is obvious, believe their loyalty is to the president and not to the constitution. This is why they often carry on in the tradition of former military governments talking down to the political class, rather than working in the background, advising the state governments and preempting crime. Had they focused more on their constitutional duties rather than haps the anti-terror war would have imposing on governors and summon- achieved some success, and crime ing them for dressing down at will, per- would be under control.
By ADEKUNLE ADE-ADELEYE
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
Underground in my fatherland O N Thursday, 30 January, 1997, I received a plaintive letter from my sister that our mother was at the gate of final transition. For close to a decade, she had battled with various ailments, each leaving her increasingly frail and fragile-looking. But she was a tough cookie. She hung on like a proud boxer unwilling to kiss the canvas even after cruel punishment. Now judging by the tone of the letter, she was about to conclude her earthly labours. It was a cold and blustery midwinter morning in Birmingham. I had been told that after she was able to establish that I had gone into political exile with no hope of returning shortly, her health took a nosedive. She became inconsolable. She clung to life with the forlorn hope of being able to clasp her son to her withered bosom just one more time. But now, the biological clock was outpacing the clock of hope and other bodily organs. It was all a heroic gesture of maternal futility. There was a special bond between this mother and her son, forged in adversity and the relentless civil war of polygamy and its associated malignancies. But looking back, this one was a polygamy so sophisticated and subtle even at that time that it must be considered to be at the cutting edge of the industry. At the crowning point of its domestic grandeur, it came with a cook who later rose to the upper echelons of the Nigerian Customs Service. Mama had spent about two decades looking for a child. When all hopes appeared to have evaporated, the heavenly floodgate suddenly opened resulting in four births in a remarkable spate of five years. There was myself followed by a stillbirth which mama thought was the handiwork of Action Group devils, and a set of twins. One of the twins, a male child, died before he was two. One could still remember lying beside the stilled tiny corpse before they came to take the poor boy away forever. Benson was a beautiful boy. I immediately began making preparations from exile to visit Nigeria. I was determined to give the old lady a farewell hug, and nothing was going to stop me. It was the high noon of tyranny. The reigning military tyrant appeared to have struck fear into the heart of everybody, and all appeared quiet on the home front. A sullen silence presaging a fierce thunderstorm had descended on the nation. Everybody one broached the idea of going to Nigeria to thought it was either mad or suicidal or both. I was advised to perish the thought. It was just too dangerous. But I wasn’t going to have any of that. It was not mad; neither was it suicidal. It was based on some cold calculations. But in the post-colonial polity, there is always a ring of irrationality to the most rational-seeming decision. The past is not an infallible guide of the future. Based on my political hunch, I came to the conclusion that something would have to give by or before the 1st of October, 1998. If I were to be captured or abducted by state agents, I would have to be released as part of a general amnesty for political hostages and detainees by that day when Nigeria must return to full blown civilian rule. If a more terrible fate were to befall one, one would only have predeceased his mother by a matter of weeks or days. Once I came to the conclusion that neither risk was too grave to take for mama, nothing was going to stop me from going to Nigeria. I arrived in exile in November1995 in a rather recondite and th
roundabout manner. I did not choose exile. It was exile that chose me. I had left Nigeria for the US with some colleagues to participate in a USAID-sponsored International Exchange Program for Scholars. But shortly after departure, my premises were forcibly taken over by security people. It was the culmination of a tense battle of will and wits lasting almost two years. What I thought was going to be a two-week stay in America turned into 12 full years of peripatetic wandering as a migrant intellectual worker and traveling theorist in some of the metropolitan capitals of the world. Of the tense battle of wits and will with a military despotism gone haywire, three incidents stood out. In the evening of Friday, August 26th 1994 while returning from a short trip abroad, I was waylaid by armed hoodlums on my way from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport. It was about seven p-m. As the vehicle conveying me was about to negotiate the Portland Cement exit unto Ikorodu Road, a nondescript car flew past us and immediately blocked the exit. Another blocked our retreat. Just as we began wondering what was going on, three gun-toting thugs scrambled out and ordered us to lie flat on the main Ikorodu Road. My cousin ,who had come for me, and his son who was at the back of the car, jumped out and quickly obeyed. But I refused probably too disoriented by fatigue to fully comprehend what was going on and the dangers inherent in foolish heroism. The lead hoodlum yelled at me and ordered me to remove my jacket. I quickly complied. It was as if he knew where my vital documents were, because he threw the jacket at the back of the car. By now, all the approaching vehicles were quickly turning back, creating total chaos on Ikorodu Road. Within seconds, the hoodlums drove the car into a back alley and disappeared forever. All my earthly possessions and the manuscript of a new work were gone.
That was the night General Sani Abacha finally bared his fangs. It was the beginning of a reign of terror that would last another four years. By some curious coincident, another set of state hoodlums invaded Gani Fawehinmi’s Chambers across the road and mercilessly hacked down his security guards. In Yaba, Commodore Dan Suleiman’s house was firebombed the same evening. The horror movie which was to culminate in General Abacha’s mysterious passage and Abiola’s equally mysterious death in detention had commenced in earnest. For what seemed an eternity, I had stood on the Ikorodu Road, gazing at the sky and too stunned to make sense of what had just transpired. When I left London earlier that morning, it was a glorious late summer day. I had left the north London flat of a friend, Sola Fawehinmi, a.k.a Professor Jouls, full of spirit and optimism. A friend of ours, a zestful and humorous Ibo chap, had given me money and a beautiful bottle of perfume for his wife, a top immigration official. All that had disappeared together with my three suitcases in the night of tropical distemper. By now, harsh reality shocked me out of the futile reverie. I quickly realised that my cousin who would shortly thereafter become a Professor of Psychology and his son were still lying on the road. I yelled at them to get up. We began trekking towards the Yaba Police Station like some vagabond wayfarers. It took us another hour or so to arrive at the Police Station, looking thoroughly disheveled and disoriented. Time had become completely irrelevant. Every society gets its just deserts. It is the iron law of social retribution. You cannot plant cassava and expect to harvest yam. The police are human too, and they did not come from Mars. In times of universal perversity, the police become universal perverts. The entire station reeked of the foul odour of cheap tobacco, illicit gin, stale fecals and fulsome fornication. Some of the policemen looked like hardened criminals and justly so. It was hard to tell who was who. These were hard men and women, cynical and gritty to boot. In such fluid and flux circumstances where the lawful agents cannot be separated from the agents of unlawfulness, complainants suddenly become suspects and suspects suddenly become complainants. As they sized us up in a psychological battle of street stamina for which one had no energy or appetite, one was half hoping that one was not about to move from Gatwick to Golgotha in one single day. The cramped cage bristling with armour and ill humour was grimly symbolic of the nation itself. Luckily this particular night, the police people appeared to be stalking some bigger games. After establishing our status and identity, an absent-minded officer in ragged slippers was asked to take our statement. He did this with a contemptuous frown which occasionally gave way to a senseless snigger. After this, an officer in mufti or-
nooping around With
Tatalo Alamu dered us to be on our way with the stern warning to avoid Atan Cemetery if we still valued our life. It was not yet the time of mobile phones. There begun another long and weary trudge to the University of Lagos. We had arrived well past midnight, looking like deserters from some Somali militia. Later in the afternoon, Segun Odegbami, the ace striker and former captain of the Green Eagles, drove one to his local tailor to have one kitted out. I was in the same dress for the next three days. The University of Lagos was also to become the abode of the fugitive and the internally displaced for the next two weeks. It was around this time that I became closely acquainted with the late Peter Alexander Ashikiwe AdioneEgom, famously known as the Motor Park economist. The gifted and impossible Cambridge and Arhustrained anthropologist and classical economist was also at this point in time slumming it out at the University of Lagos Guesthouse in a solitary bunker which looked like the bedroom of Kafka’s metamorphosis. A wasted genius who seemed to have turned his back on the Nigerian society, Ashikiwe, later known as Peter Egom, was better trained and better talented than most of Nigeria’s fabled official economists and could cut through their inanities with a single devastating sentence. A product of Kings College where he was classmate of the celebrated and much lamented Stanley Macebuh, Ashikiwe was also a superb athlete. He could walk the entire length of Lagos by sunrise before returning to hunt for breakfast. I quickly recognised a kindred soul who had been done in by the evil system. At this point in time, his presence around University of Lagos was beginning to raise some dust of suspicion and unease. Many simply couldn’t understand what he was doing there and why he was living in a bunker with so many rich and influential friends. In a leap of imaginative malice, it was concluded that he was probably infiltrated into the university community by some security organisations bent on bringing the citadel of learning to heel. But he was just among many gifted Nigerians who have volunteered for internal self-deportation. There are many of these Nigerian geniuses who have turned their back on the society in a gesture of selfimmolation and social suicide. At that point in time, Ashikiwe, who loved to regale people about how he was chased out of a famously leftwing Department of Economics in East Africa for his militantly unorthodox economics, could not be bothered about social trappings. He believed only in the aristocracy of the intellect. As far as he was concerned, money was mere fiction. The problem was that it was this “fiction” that must procure breakfast. You cannot walk into a restaurant proclaiming fiction as your currency. That would be what Samir Amin, the great Egyptian Marxist economist, called unequal exchange. In deference to this alimentary logic, the great hell-raiser would arrive at the Boys Quarters where one was holing up every morning, screaming the nonsensical appellation he had picked up from motor park conductors: “Baba Egunje, baba egunje!!” It was a signal to begin the daily forage. The second encounter in the spi-
ral of strange events that led to exile was even more devastating and potentially life-threatening. Sometimes in May 1995, Karl Maier, in the course of writing his celebrated book, This House Has Fallen, was brought to Ife by Seye Kehinde to have an intellectual interaction with me. We spent the whole afternoon in my house, discussing issues and lamenting the fate of the nation. But all hell was let loose shortly after they left to return to Lagos. It was dusk. Suddenly fire and brimstone erupted. Some gunslingers who had taken up position unleashed a fierce fusillade . It was obvious that these were no ordinary gunmen. They were using tracer bullets which lit up the entire vicinity in a weird pyrotechnic of violence and mayhem. For about 15 minutes of continuous bombardment, one lay flat on the floor hoping that it was all a nasty dream. Then there was a lull which seemed to have lasted an eternity. One could hear some people in low conversation arguing among themselves. They were not sure of their quarry. After this, the bombardment moved to two houses away. It was the premises of the urbane and cultured Professor Aduayi. At this point, one managed to crawl out of the house. After the smoke cleared, it was discovered that the professor’s wife had been wounded in the hand. By this time, some concerned members of the university community who had been attracted by the crackling gunfire began converging on the scene. One or two of them carried weapons. Among the early callers was the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Wale Omole, and there was the inevitable activist and radical humanist Professor Toye Olorode who had dared a purported dismissal by his former teacher, Professor Aliyu Fafunwa, and had triumphed. There was also Professor Yomi Durotoye who was cradling a loaded assault rifle. But by then, the hoodlums had made good their escape.
Author’s note The above are excerpts from the recently concluded, Underground in My Fatherland, a story of love, devotion and affection for one’s mother. These are very dark days indeed in Nigeria. The tragedy of state collapse mixes with the baleful comedy of failed and incompetent leaders dancing on the grave of Nigeria. We bring forward these excerpts in order to draw attention to all that is noble and ennobling about Nigeria, and to summon the spirit of heroic resistance with which Nigerians overcame collective tragedy in the past. It is a form of national therapy. If we were to concentrate on what is going on, it would be nothing but a grotesque statistics of death; “a catalogue of cadavers”— to quote Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the late Columbian master fabulist, who shed mortality for immortality last week. In a manner of speaking, the entire story is an ironic tribute and backhanded compliment to one of the greatest novelists of all time. In the nearest future, this column will pay the late master his proper dues. But for now, criticism, as Karl Marx would put it, is not just a passion of the mind but the mind of passion itself.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
Abducted girls: Presidency, Borno in cold war
COLD war is brewing between the Presidency and the Borno State Government as a fallout of the April 15 invasion of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok by Boko Haram insurgents who abducted 276 students of the school in the process. The ‘war’ stems from misgivings by the Presidency about what it sees as the mishandling of the matter by the state government. It believes that the state authorities are playing politics with the girls’ abduction, a situation that prompted President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday to set up a 26-man ‘fact-finding’ panel on the raid. A few hours after the constitution of the panel, the First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan met with some women in Abuja and gave the state government a three-day ultimatum to find the girls. She threatened to lead protests in Maiduguri and Abuja if the students are not found by today. The State Government yesterday denied the insinuation that it is playing politics with the fate of the girls. It accused Mrs. Jonathan of instigating people against it with her planned protests. The Nation gathered that several allegations were levelled at the state government at Friday’s security meeting with some military chiefs faulting the handling of the situation by the Maiduguri government. Some of the allegations are: reeling out conflicting figures on the abducted girls; suspected inflation of the figures of the missing girls; refusal to publish the names and photographs of the girls; hiding information from the public that the school is the mixed type at the time of the abduction; operating school when others were closed in the state; complicity in the abduction of the girls; sponsoring stories that the girls have been married off to terrorists at N2,000 each; and playing politics with the abduction to avoid a declaration of total emergency in the state by President Goodluck Jonathan. A highly-placed source said: “The Presidency believes that the Borno State Government has been feeding the public with half-truths since the abduction thing started. You can see how the figures have been changing. “For instance, security agencies discovered that the Principal was in Maiduguri on the
•Borno govt tackles First Lady FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
night of the abduction contrary to her narration of what happened on April 14. “Nigerians should ask why the state did not tell us that the school was a mixed type when the insurgents invaded it. “The Presidency is worried that up till now, none of the 53 girls who either escaped or not abducted, has been presented to the public by the state government for Nigerians to hear their side or experience. “We are also concerned that they have not released the names and photographs of the missing girls.” The source said the state government has also been denigrating the military. However, a Borno State Government official, who spoke in confidence, said the Federal Government is under immense pressure over the girls and it is looking for a scapegoat. The official said the Federal Government is bringing unnecessary politics into the abduction saga in order to heap the blame on Borno State. He said the state would be vindicated when the Presidential fact finding committee completes its work. The official gave a synopsis of all issues raised by the Presidency on the abduction of the girls. He said: “The school is established and known to be Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok as a mainly girls school but sometime last year, stakeholders of Chibok made a pressing request that a make shift arrangement be made to accommodate their male children since the school was big enough to accommodate more students. “The stakeholders request was because their sons, who were schooling in other parts of the state that turned out to be unsafe, were idle at home . “And because Chibok was very safe, the parents demanded that rather than sitting at home, their sons be allowed to also be in that school. The Governor reluctantly accepted that a temporary structure be put in place while he preferred that where necessary a new school be built for the boys while the girls be allowed in their school given the fact that the school was established mainly as a female school
with all its policies and programs designed as such.” The source said that the state’s Ministry of education identified schools that were considered safe and students from other schools were secretly collapsed so they could take their exams. Government felt that if the students did not sit for the exam, they would end up losing one year. The decision was thus taken but without the public knowing so that terrorists might not go after them. Continuing, the source said:”The GGSS Chibok was considered one of the safest schools; it was opened like some others in Uba, Askira, Maiduguri, Biu, Gwoza and some others. In that school, attacked in Chibok, students from schools in Izge, Warabe, Lassa and Ashiga-Shiya were all collapsed in one place and they were quietly writing their exams until that unfortunate attack of Tuesday, 14th of April, 2014. “One other thing that should be said is that, initially, the Governor had insisted that all the final year students be moved to schools in Maiduguri and Biu but stakeholders from some of the areas, particularly in Chibok and Uba protested. “The Governor had several
From Tony Akowe, Kaduna attributed to them. He said: “We decided to hold this meeting in Kaduna to show the world that we Fulani are peace loving people. We are not just going to stop here, we are going to meet with all tribes of Nigeria to find the way forward towards ensuring peace in the country. “That is why we have invited the National President of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Dr. Ephraim Goje to this meeting. “We know there are bad eggs in every community, but we know that those killing
other school in Uba which already had other students from Askira. “Then on the issue of WAEC telling the First Lady that 530 persons registered for the exam, amongst them 180 males and 189 now at Uba . First, there was never a time the Borno State Government announced that 234 girls were abducted. “The Governor personally announced 129 and all the media reported it, it was after he visited the school that it was discovered that parents registered over 200 missing.” The official faulted the argument that the Borno Government could have staged the abduction to show that the emergency has failed with a view to making a case for ending the state of emergency. “The Borno State Government shoulders 90 percent of funding the military activities including paying rewards for intelligence which the military collects. “There is simply no way the Federal Government will succeed in shifting blame to the State Government which seems to be the plan here. The FG is under immense pressure and they are looking for a scapegoat. “The Police Commissioner and the State Director of SS in
•Gov. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano state and former President Olusegun Obasanjo when the former visited the later in Abeakuta today, Saturday, before they went into closed meeting. Gov. Kwakwaso was in Abeakuta to see the 200 Kano state sponsored students into Bells University of Technology and assess their performance as part of his visits to the over 3000 students sponsored for studies within and outside the country. PHOTO: GOVT. HOUSE, KANO.
We’re not responsible for attacks, say Fulani herdsmen
ULANI herdsmen say they know nothing about the spate of attacks on individuals, villages and properties in some parts of the North in the country. The attacks have claimed many lives in Benue, Taraba, Katsina and Southern Kaduna. Speaking at the maiden meeting of the national executive council of Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), in Kaduna, its national president, Alhaji Muhammadu Kirowa, said the Fulani are peace loving and easy going people and could not have been responsible for the wave of violence
meetings with the community members of Chibok including traditional rulers, parents, the chairman of the council, the member of the state assembly representing Chibok and opinion leaders, they insisted that their children be allowed to remain in Chibok was actually safe. “At a point they asked the Governor what would happen if their children were attacked in Maiduguri or Biu, it was at that point he acceded to their request. The truth is that the collapse of students from other schools in Chibok as was done in other parts of the State was a major reason there is a mix up in the number of missing girls. “The Government found itself at a difficult situation. This is probably why the Governor was not saying much about the school. One interesting thing is that the Boko Haram only targeted the girls’ hostel which was a permanent structure there and that is why only girls were abducted. The boys stay in a make shift hostel because the Government plans to relocate them, even on the school sign post, what is written there is Government Girls Secondary School.” The source added that after that attack, students of the school in Chibok were collapsed in an-
Borno State did a joint press conference after their investigation and they pointed to the fact as was reported on Friday that students were collapsed in some schools for the purpose of exams. They even said over 276 students were actually missing based on their own investigation. “We heard that the First Lady is trying to incite people to protest against the State Government and that is rather too childish and unnecessary since a fact finding committee has been set up unless if she is saying that the committee’s report is ready before the committee’s inauguration on Tuesday.” On the issue of the State Government ýrefusal to publish names and photos of the schoolgirls, the official said “The government has no lawful mandate of making such publication to declare anyone missing; only the police have that lawful mandate, perhaps the military also since we are still under a state of emergency.” “Also, there are elements of religion and family background in a data that when you expose you complicate things for the girls. We just didn’t want to act stupidly and illegally otherwise we have the names and pictures. But as I speak with you, the Police and the SSS have the data of the missing girls, they are professionals, they can decide what to do.”
people here and there are not our members.” He said the association has resolved to register its members nationwide with a view to identifying real herdsmen and monitoring their activities. Addressing the gathering, the National President of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Dr. Ephraim Goje challenged the association to warn herdsmen from neighbouring countries who might want to come and cause trouble in Nigeria to keep away. He urged brotherliness among the various ethnic groups in the country.
US: Terrorists plan to attack Lagos hotel
HE US Consulate General in Lagos has warned of a possible terror attack in Lagos. The likely target, according to the Consulate office in an emailed advisory is a high profile in the nation’s commercial capital. “As of late April, groups associated with terrorism allegedly planned to mount an unspecified attack against the Sheraton Hotel in
Nigeria, near the city of Lagos,” it said. It said it had no further information regarding which of the two outlets of the hotel might be targeted. “There is no further information regarding the timing or method of attack. US citizens are cautioned to avoid these hotels at this time.” The warning came 24 hours after Thursday’s bomb blast at Nyanya, near Abuja which has so
far claimed 20 lives. The attack, like that of April 14,appears to have been launched by the Islamist sect, Boko Haram. There are fears the e violence could spread to other parts of the country given the military’s apparent inability to stem the bloodshed. The US travel advisory said the security situation in Nigeria remained “fluid and unpredictable”, warning its citizens to stay
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is seeking additional information on the April 15 raid of Government Girls Secondry School, Chibok, Borno State by terrorists. He met Governor Kashim Shettima last night in Abuja on the situation. Also at the meeting were the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Musa Kubo and the Principal of the school, Asabe Kwabura. About 276 students of the school were abducted during the raid with 53 of them said to have escaped from their captors. It is understood that the Principal might undergo a fresh grilling by security agencies in Abuja. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Chibok may also be quizzed by security agencies. Sources also shed light on why President Jonathan raised the 26man fact-finding panel announced on Friday. The committee, headed by a former boss of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo, it was learnt, came into being following irreconcilable gaps in the findings of security agencies and documents retrieved from the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) about the school. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the president and a few security chiefs are likely to interact with the governor on the abduction and what has been done to rescue the girls. It was gathered that the presidency might use the opportunity to sort out a few things with the governor. A source familiar with
Herdsman arrested with AK7 riffles From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi
Fulani herdsman has been arrested with seven AK 47 rifles in Anyibe, Benue State. He is currently in the custody of 72 Special Forces Battalion in Makurdi, according to the commander of the peace keeping troops at Anyiin. The Nation gathered that the suspect was arrested during a patrol by soldiers protecting the country home of Governor Gabriel Suswam. The suspect was said to have taken to his heels ion sighting the soldiers who became suspicious. They gave him a hot pursuit and he was caught in no time. During the interrogation that followed his arrest, he led the soldiers to a hole in which he hid the weapons. Herdsmen have launched series of attacks s on villages and hamlets in Benue State killing and maiming people. Houses and other property including farms and produce were either set ablaze or destroyed by them.
276 abducted girls: Jonathan invites Borno governor, others
•L-R: Minister of State FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed and the Secretary of Health, FCT Administration, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya during their visit to victims of Nyanya bomb blast being treated at the Maitama District hospital, Abuja...Saturday
students after the abduction A third source said: “It has reached a level where the presidency must explore all options. This reality made the government to raise the 26-man committee. “The international dimension has caused collateral damage to the nation, especially the military. Now, it is time to lay all cards on the table. This is why we want a UN representative to be in the committee. “The presidency is suspecting some politics by some vested interests although it has no cause to disagree with Borno State Governor. The presence of some former public figures at solidarity rallies for the abducted girls hurt the government. So, the panel has been constituted to consider all angles to the saga.” Government is also said to be worried about the presence of some boys in the school prior to the Boko Haram raid. “Until Friday, no one knew that there were boys in the Girls’ Secondary School when the abduction took place. How come the boys were not aware of the abduction? We also need to take the census of students and their parents to be able to know the exact number of girls missing. “WAEC has submitted the dossiers of students who registered for the SSCE in Chibok and surrounding villages. We need to find out whether some of these students have returned home or not.”
IGHT foreigners are now in security custody in connection with Thursday’s bomb explosions at Nyanya, near Abuja, the Defence Headquarters said yesterday. It also confirmed that it foiled insurgents’ attacks on Margimari village and other settlements on the outskirts of Maiduguri early yesterday. The DHQ insisted that neither Maiduguri nor University of Maiduguri was attacked as rumoured in some quarters. The Director of Defence Information, Gen. Chris Olukolade, who gave the update in a statement in Abuja, said the suspects were helping ongoing probe of the blasts. He said the arrested persons are helping ongoing investigation with useful information after the operation which is sequel to intelligence reports. They were picked up around Kugbo and areas adjoining the Nyanya site of the recent bombings in
ported.” He also said that a Chadian, Usman Mecheka operating with the terrorists group around Lake Chad has been taken into custody by the Multi National Joint Task Force. He was apprehended by the Task Force while trying to extract a ransom from herdsmen and farmers in the area, after an earlier attack on the community. Troops of the Special Task Force in the Plateau have also raided a camp maintained by an armed gang operating in a settlement in Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State. “A gun fabricating machine as well as some arms and ammunition from the hideout were recovered during the raid. Also recovered during the raid, were local single barrel guns, pistols, an automatic rifle, bullet pellets and a large quantity of materials for producing gun powder,” he said.
•Why fact-finding panel was raised •Security agencies discover male students in strange school •Security agencies may grill principal in Abuja FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
the matter said that the invitation was based on “security brief at the president’s disposal on the abduction of the girls.” He added: “We hope they will be able to harmonise records on the abducted girls so that the nation can move forward. The international dimension of the abduction saga has made it imperative for
the two leaders to meet.” On the invitation of the school’s principal, another source said: “Security chiefs will still meet with the two officials to clarify some grey areas.” Sources also said that the president opted for a fact-finding panel on the abduction following some gaps in the findings of the military and security agencies. These gaps include, which were considered by
the Security Council on Friday, include the following: • The controversy or dispute surrounding the actual figure of students in the school at the time of the abduction; • The discovery of male students in the school when the insurgents struck; • The revelation that students from many schools had converged on Chibok from neighbouring villages; • The alleged presence
of the school principal in Maiduguri when the incident happened; • Inability of security agencies to obtain the dossiers of the students to date • The submission made by the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC), organizers of the examination being taken by the victims to the Presidency • Alleged continuation of the School Certificate Examinations by some
Nyanya blast: Troops arrest 8 Nigerian, Cameroonian suspects E •Death toll now 20, injured 85
From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation/ Vincent Ikuomola/Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
the Federal Capital. “Those confirmed to constitute threat to security will be handed over to appropriate prosecutorial agency on conclusion of the preliminary investigations,”he said. However ,a source said the arrested foreigners are from Cameroun and Niger Republic. “They are already being quizzed at a detention facility which for security reasons we cannot disclose,” the source said . It was gathered that fingerprint scanning on the suspects confirmed traces of IED in their hands. “The ongoing grilling of the suspects may provide
more clues on the blast in Nyanya.” One more victim of the Nyanya bomb blast has died,bringing the death toll to 20. The victim,whose identity was not immediately known died at the Asokoro Hospital. Fourteen of those injured and receiving treatment in various hospitals in the Federal Capital Territory have already been discharged. An unknown number of people who were injured were said to have opted to take care of theri treatment. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu and Minister of State Khaliru Alhassan visited the hospitals yesterday to monitor interact with the injured. They visited Asokoro
Hopsital, Nyanya Hopsital, Maitama, Wuse and Gwarinpa Hospital. Speaking at the end of their visit, both minister expressed satisfaction at their improvement in the health of the patients. Meanwhile, Gen Olukolade also yesterday dismissed reports of an attack on Maiduguri yesterday, saying:”Rather, on receiving distress call, troops at about 2am this morning (yesterday) launched a counter attack using mainly mortar shells on a group of terrorists who had attacked and killed four persons in Margimari village and other settlements in the outskirts of Maiduguri. “There was no fighting or attack around the University or any barrack in Maiduguri either, as re-
HE First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, is spoiling for a confrontation with the Borno State government over the 276 students of the Government Girls Secondary School,Chibok, abducted on April 15 by the Boko Haram sect. She has given the state authorities three days to find the girls, failing which she has vowed to march on Maiduguri with other women from across the country to protest the abduction. Dame Patience, at a meeting with state governors’ wives, women opinion leaders and leaders of key women organizations at a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja at the weekend slammed the state government for allegedly treating security of the girls with levity. Mrs. Jonathan came to the conclusion that the state government was at fault for the security lapses that enabled Boko Haram to strike after the Head of WAEC National Office, Mr. Charles Eguridu told the meeting that the Ministry of Education in the state refused to heed the council’s advice to move all WASCE candidates in the state to Maiduguri. Mr. Eguridu said a letter to this effect was sent to the State Ministry of Education in March and that the ministry replied that adequate security had been
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
Abduction: First Lady gives Borno Gov three-day ultimatum
•“Find them or ...” she says
•WAEC official claims state govt refused to relocate Chibok candidates to state capital From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
put in place for the candidates. A similar letter entitled ‘Security challenges and the conduct of the 2014 WASC, SSCE in Borno, Yobe and part of Adamawa states’, was written by the Federal Ministry of Education to the governors of Adamawa and Yobe states. The content of the letter which was read at the meeting goes thus: “His Excellency: In view of the current security challenges in the North east states of the country, the West African Examination Council has expressed concerns over the safety of their officers who will be deployed to supervise the conduct of the 2014 diet of the examination in your state. “In response to these concerns, I have directed that the
Nyanya Park to be relocated
•Minister asks relatives to claim corpses of blast victims
S a way of solving the perennial traffic gridlock on the Nyanya border area of the Keffi-Nyanya-Abuja express road, the Federal Capital Territory Administration has resolved to build a new motor park. The new park will be within a reasonable distance from the expressway while all buildings, shops and business premises located along the road corridor in the area would be demolished immediately in overriding public interest. FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, disclosed this yesterday after an inspection of the scene of Thursday’s bomb blast in Nyanya satellite town. The minister further disclosed that an integrity test would be carried out on the Nyanya interchange (flyover bridge) to ascertain its current structural strength in the aftermath of the two successive terrorist bomb attacks near the foot of the bridge. He also pleaded with relatives of the bereaved to step forward and claim the bodies of their loved ones in the various hospital morgues in FCT. He disclosed that work would commence at the new motor park within the next one week. He added that a team comprising top officials of Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), the FCT departments of Urban and Regional Planning, Survey and Mapping, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, the Transportation Secretariat, the Abuja Municipal Area Council, security officials and other relevant professionals has been put in place to facilitate a speedy construction and opening of the new park together with the removal of all encumbrances.
From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
While calling on those who lost their dear ones in the bomb blasts to come up and claim their remains, Mohammed stressed that all government mortuary facilities in FCT have been overstretched. He said the FCTA was ready to provide logistics supports such as free ambulance services for conveying the remains to any part of the country for burial. He also disclosed that the FCTA has reached agreement with the Police authorities with clearance secured for the release of the victims’ corpses. In order to decongest the general hospitals in the Territory, the minister said that FCTA has decided to bear the cost of treating all indigent patients on admission in the FCT hospitals for other ailments beside injuries from the bomb blast. Secretary of Health and Human Services of FCTA, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya, had earlier told the minister that while many of the corpses from the first blast were yet to be claimed by relatives for burial, all the 20 corpses in the second blast are equally lying in the various mortuaries. He said the death toll of Thursday’s blast has risen to 20. While admitting that the swelling population of FCT particularly in areas like Nyanya has remained a big challenge, the minister said the FCT Administration was doing its best in synergy with the various security agencies to deepen security intelligence in the Nation’s capital. He appealed to the residents to continue to be vigilant and to always volunteer useful security information to the Police and other security agencies.
candidates in the Federal Unity schools be assembled in the respective state capitals where they are to sit for the examination in safe location. “You are pleased enjoined to make contingency arrangements for candidates from public and private schools in your state to sit the examination in safe locations. “Details of your arrangements should be forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Education and the examination body for their information and necessary action. Please accept the assurances of my honest regard.” Mr. Eguridu said WAEC would have been blamed by everyone if it had failed to conduct the exam in area threatened by Boko Haram. He added: “So, at great risks, my officers went to Chibok and conducted the exams. After the unfortunate incident, where the students were said to have been abducted, our staff now got a response from the state that they were now ready to relocate the remaining students to another place called Uba. “And as I speak, 189 candidates are continuing with the exam in Uba. We are trying to
extrapolate from the 189, how many of these candidates are male candidates and how many are female. With that extrapolation, we are likely to be able to know the exact number of candidates who have been abducted by the insurgents.” The First Lady said that the Borno government should tell Nigerians the whereabouts of the girls within three days otherwise she would mobilise women groups and mothers on a protest to Maiduguri, the National Assembly and the Presidency. She said nothing short of finding the girls is unacceptable to her. She said: “By Sunday (today), we must have our children. If not, we will march to Borno and ask the governor to give us our children. We will march to the National Assembly to see the Senate President and will also march to see the president. “Within three days, something will happen. We will get to the root of the matter. I don’t come out and go back empty. I have come out and something must happen. We will not fold our hands and see our children kidnapped, our hus-
bands, sons, daughters also being killed. We should be more concerned. We will form a committee to call on the appropriate persons to come and answer questions. They must answer us. If they say they will answer us, then they should go and bring our children. “The demonstration will take place at their doorsteps. When they don’t answer us, we can then approach our neighbours, the President, Senate President and others to help us. I have been dealing with this secretly but you have taken me to the market square. There is no more hiding.” She said that state governors who are the chief security officers of their states should be prepared to take the heat for any security breach in their domain. She recalled her husband’s tenure as Bayelsa State governor, saying: “During Obasanjo’s time, anytime an oyinbo was kidnapped in Bayelsa State, he would call the governor (Jonathan) at 2am and give him 24 hours to produce the kidnapped person. “We now know who to ask for our children. We don’t need to embark on demonstrations from state to state,” she said. The meeting is expected to resume today. More state officials have been summoned to come and give information on how to rescue the girls. Those summoned include the Borno State Commis-
sioner of Police, the Commissioner for Education, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Chibok, the wife of the village head, the school principal and the school gateman. Also invited are at least two teachers from the school, the chairman and secretary of the school’s Parents Teachers Association, two house prefects, two parents of missing children, and two parents whose children have returned home. She set up a committee to ensure that those she summoned attend the meeting. Heading the committee is the wife of the Borno State governor, who was absent at the meeting. Other members of the committee are the wives of the Senator and member of the House of Representatives from Chibok, wife of the Minister from Borno State and wife of the Chairman of the affected local government area as members. Also addressing the meeting, the Borno State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajia Inna Galadima, who represented the governor’s wife, Nana Shettima, said that the state government had so far collected photographs of 162 of the abducted girls. She said the 53 girls who fled from Boko Haram’s captivity are now being taken care of by the state government.
•Corps Marshal FRSC , Osita Chidoka receiving a commemorative plaque from the Commander, California Highway Patrol Academy, Captain Chuck King with deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle Administration, Boboye Oyeyemi
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
'Mark will not return to Senate'
21 Nigerians bag UN Global Youth Ambassadors’ roles
From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt
chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue South Senatorial District, Chief Madaki Ameh, has declared that the district will reject Senate President, David Mark come 2015. Madaki, one of those eyeing Mark’s seat, said the Senate President has wasted 16 years in the Upper Chamber and should not be allowed to return. Addressing Benue South indigenes residing in Port Harcourt yesterday, Madaki said it was time to work together for the development of the area. He said he was in Port Harcourt to inform them of his interest to contest for the senatorial seat under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) He also advised the people not to be intimidated but use the power of their votes to chase away those who do not wish them well. Madaki stated: “My aspiration is premised on the failure of Senator David Mark to deliver anything meaningful to the Idoma people for 16 years he had occupied that position. “He has been deceiving us, leading to deep frustrations and hopelessness on the part of the people. “It has become obvious that his often-touted promises have become recycled promises, which will never come to fruition.”
By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
•Road walk by members of Albino Foundation in commemoration of the National Albinism Day in Abuja...yesterday
10-year jail term for pension thieves
ENSION thieves will get a 10-year jail term if the Pension Reform Bill 2014 is passed into law. The bill, described as a labour’s day gift to serving and retired workers, also provides that any Nigerian with cognate experience should head the National Pension Commission (PENCOM). It was passed by the House of Representatives on 30th April. Briefing reporters yester-
From: Dele Anofi, Abuja
day, Chairman House Committee on Pension, Ibrahim Kamba and his deputy, Samson Okwu, said lawmakers took cognisance of the ease with which the management of pension was being manipulated by fraudulent officials. Kamba assured that the bill, after harmonisation with the Senate and passage into law, will sanitise pension management with a number of
novel clauses. To guide against mismanagement and diversion of pension funds, Kamba said: “The bill we have just passed creates new offensces and prescribes stiffer penalties that will serve as deterrent. “It prescribes harsher penalty of a 10-year jail term for anyone, who misappropriates pension fund in addition to refunding three times the amount embezzled. “The establishment of Pension Transmittal Arrangement Department (PTAD) to take over the remittance of benefits to pensioners under the Defined Benefits Scheme would enhance efficiency and accountability in the administration and payment of pensions. “Under PTAD, pensioners are now to receive their pensions directly, rather than through the various Pensions Departments, which have been a problem to pensioners. “With this, the story of pension fund looting will become a thing of the past.” He added: “Apart from introducing uniform rules, regulations and standards for the administration of pensions for public and private sectors at the federal, state and local government levels, the bill will ensure that workers get their retirement benefits as and when
due.” Okwu explained that the bill has not lowered the bar of years of experience for prospective and aspiring Director General of PENCOM. He said: “That aspect was left open to all qualified Nigerians with cognate experience in pension. “We have now laid emphasis on competence, integrity, fit and proper persons to expand opportunities for the engagement of professionals to manage pension administration in Nigeria. “This is in line with international and local best practices in pensions and financial regulatory agencies. We have now aligned the Pension Reform Act in line with the CBN, FIRS, and NDIC laws.” He further stated: “This is a legislation we can all be proud of because it fulfills the expectations the Nigerian people have in us and will enhance the dignity and livelihood of workers and senior citizens. “We believe this pension reform bill will also be a veritable tool in the fight against corruption, especially in our public sector. When workers are certain of getting their full retirement benefits, it decreases the temptation to loot public funds preparatory to their retirement.”
HE United Nation has appointed 21 Nigerians to serve as Global Youth Ambassadors Group (GYAs) to reduce the number of out-of school children. The group, recently launched by the United Nations Secretary-General, Bank Ki Moon and its Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, was appointed for the project tagged “A World at School”. The appointed ambassadors are: Dayo Akindolani, Esther Eshiet, Jackson Akor, Nina Mbah, Ojonwa Miachi, Philip Obaji Jr., Adebukola Orenuga, Ojedeji Samuel, Ichide Charles, Ayodeji Morakinyo, Chinemerem Amara Egbuchulam and Temidayo Musa. Others are: Kenechukwu Oraelosi, Oluwaseyi Akindutire, Aina Abdularahmon, Douglas Imaralu, Emilia Asim - Ita, Purpose Osamwonyi Iserhienrhien, Onibode Kofoworola Jennifer and Damola Morenikeji. A statement by the project office at the weekend in Abuja said about 18.4 per cent approximately 10.5 million of the global estimate of out-of-school children are Nigerians. It stated that the global reality of having millions of these children and future leaders poorly educated and roaming the streets is a major issue that needs attention. The organisation disclosed that over 170 million people could be pulled out of poverty by educating children from low income countries. It said: “Shazia and Kainat are two of our fellow ambassadors in Pakistan. Along with Malala Yousafzai, the Taliban shot them for going to school in their country just over a year ago. Their story and that of so many other of the youth advocates we have joined forces with, inspire us to stand up for the millions of children that are kept out of school because of poverty, early marriage, terrorism, child labour, extreme religious bias and different forms of discrimination”.
Insurgency: Gowon canvasses support for FG
former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), has challenged Nigerians to support the federal government in its efforts to tackle Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges in the nation. Gowon spoke with newsmen at the weekend in Lagos after the Bar Dinner and Award Night organised by the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). The award was part of the branch’s 2014 Law Week. The elder statesman said the government needs time to effectively deal with the Boko Haram insurgency and bring the conflict to an end. According to him: “No matter how weak your opponent is, it is going to take time to be able to resolve the issues which led to the conflict. “It took us about two and a half years to be able to end the civil war, but what is important is how you ended it and how
By Adebisi Onanuga
you are able to reconcile and get things back to normal.” He condemned sections of the foreign media, which insinuated that President Goodluck Jonathan was not doing anything to address the insecurity challenges. “I can tell you this and I know this, the President is doing his best and don’t listen to the sort of news you hear from foreign press talking as if the government is doing nothing,” he stated. Gowon advised political parties to stop trading blames over the insecurity problem or seek to take advantage of the situation. In his address as chairman of the occasion, the former Head of State challenged lawyers to fight against all forms of injustice in the country. “You must fight against injustice in the society without allowing monetary gains to cloud
your sense of judgment,” he said. Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola, commended lawyers for partnering with the state government towards creating more access to justice for indigent citizens. Fashola, who was represented by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, said their responses to the state’s Public Interest Law Partnership (LPILP) were overwhelming. He said: “With this development, we are now able to get to a lot of people who are awaiting trial in the prisons. “We are now able to render services to aggrieved persons in the society who ordinarily will not be able to afford legal representation in their quest for justice.” Those presented with awards at the dinner included the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, and former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami.
Insurgency: Ositelu urges security agencies to change tactics From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
HE Primate of the Church of Aladura (Worldwide), Dr. Rufus Ositelu, has warned that the insurgents may continue to have their way with the spate of bombings and killing of Nigerians if the nation's security agencies did not adapt their strategies to suit the demands of the time. Ositelu, who noted that the Federal Government is "not doing enough to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians," said the terrorists often succeed with their barbaric acts, because they are more conversant with the terrain they operate than the security agents. The clergy spoke at the Tabora Ground, Ogere-Remo, Ogun State, on Friday at a press conference marking the 2014 edition of the church's Provincial Conference. Ositelu, who is the Archbishop of Aladura Church, advocated for a security format whereby members of the Army and Police who know the environment, language, culture, religion, idiosyncrasies and nuances of the insurgents and other criminals are sent to tackle the risks they pose to the country and law abiding citizens. He said, "Till today, both the Nigerian Police and Army could not contain Boko Haram and that has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Boko Haram is telling them that they are not only in North East, but also in Abuja and the government could not do anything.
Ondo APC chieftain lauds Kekemeke's election From Damisi Ojo, Akure
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
CHIEFTAIN of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Prince Boye Ologbese, has lauded the emergence of the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) in the State, Mr. Isaac Kekemeke, as the new State Chairman of the party. While describing the development as a new dawn for the progressives in the state, Ologbese called for the unflinching support of party members to ensure that Kekemeke succeeds in his new assignment. The APC stalwart commended party leaders in the State, especially the Senator representing Ondo North District, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, for his role in Kekemeke's election. He also hailed the State Congress Committee led by the former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Otunba Femi Pedro, for their commitment to the successful conduct of the Congress. Also speaking, another APC chieftain in the State, Ambassador Bayo Yusufu, commended the national leaders of the party and Boroffice for the ensuring the success of the state congress. On Kekemeke, Yusufu said, "I have worked with Kekemeke in the past and I know what he is capable of doing for Ondo APC. I am certain he would harmonise the party and fortify it to win future elections in the State."
Ondo has Fayose's right-hand man Why not conducted LG elections -Mimiko dumps PDP for APC ... Fayemi warns against violence A A
CHIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State and former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Chief Taiwo Olatunbosun, has dumped his former boss, Mr. Ayo Fayose and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Olatunbosun, who stood in for the ex-governor as acting governor whenever the latter traveled abroad while in power, said his decision was borne out of the fact that the APC held a bright future for the State. The former lawmaker further added that his defection from the PDP was to acknowledgment the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi's developmental strides in the State. The new APC convert who also served as Commissioner
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
for Information in ex-Governor Segun Oni-led administration, announced his defection from the PDP during Fayemi's campaign tour of Igbemo, Are, Iworoko and Afao, Fayose's country home, last Friday. He added that he had considered the exodus of wellmeaning people across the country from other parties to the APC and decided it was high time he became part of the progressive train. Olatunbosun disclosed that the mass defection of some of the PDP members in the state was sequel to a decision taken at Ifaki Ekiti, the country home of ex-Governor Oni who is also reportedly making plans to join the APC. He stressed that Fayose had
nothing good to offer the people of the State other than his "political thuggery" noting that the ex-governor who claimed to be a friend of teachers left the State with a debt of over N3 billion emolument owed teachers. The new APC chieftain urged teachers in the state to review their benefits and compare what they got under Fayose to the many allowances they now get under the Fayemiled government. He declared, "We have held meetings at Ifaki and decided it is important for me to go where there is light and forsake darkness and the abode of thuggery. We are tired of a violent man. We are tired of a man who does not have respect for the people." At Afao, Fayose's country
home, the palace of the Alafao was completely shut and the monarch was unable to attend to Governor Fayemi's campaign train. Fayemi, however, held a peaceful campaign in the town and warned politicians against denying people of their right to association. The governor stated that he didn't have any enemy in the town, saying that everyone has a right to contest an election but should allow the people make a choice out of their own volition. He said, "We have done our duty to Afao. Our government does not hate anyone. As long as you are in Ekiti, our party is for you and will do everything to better your lot. We don't have enemy in this town. Everyone has a right to contest.
CASE instituted by the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is before the Supreme Court is stalling the conduct of the local government elections in the State. The State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, made this disclosure at a workers' forum held in Akure, the state capital. While giving an assurance that the LG election will be conducted as soon as the apex court delivers its judgment on the case, Mimiko added that the state government was doing everything possible to restructure the local government administration in the State. Stressing that the impact of workers on the economic growth of a nation cannot be underestimated, the governor further restated his commitment to the welfare of workers in the State. He added, "We decided to make a deliberate investment in the development of our human capital, because of the magnitude of workers' contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our nation." He said the restructuring of the Public Service resulting in the appointment of Administrative Secretaries in the Local Government Service, Tutors-General in the teaching service with the status of Permanent Secretaries was a deliberate policy action to ensure stability in the various cadres in government service.
Second Nyanya blast: 'NSA should resign' By Oziegbe Okoeki
From left: A former Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; former chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Taiwo Olatubosun; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Interim State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Jide Awe, at a rally in Igbemo-Ekiti, where Olatubosun led other PDP decampees to the APC, during the Re-Elect Fayemi campaign tour of Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA... at the weekend.
Chibok abducted girls: Rep, Southwest PDP women seek spiritual assistance
AJORITY Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Mulikat Adeola Akande, on Saturday led scores of female members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) across the six states in the South West geopolitical zone to Ibadan where they offered prayers seeking for divine intervention for the immediate release of 234 Chibok girls who were abducted by insurgents about three weeks ago.
From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan
They also prayed for those who lost their lives in the Friday's second Nyanya bomb blast in Abuja. The parley, which was originally the fourth meeting called under the auspices of South West Women Forum (SWWF) of the women wing of the party under the leadership of Adeola Akande, saw the mothers unit-
ing in prayers for the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in waging a successful war against the insurgents. Not only that, the women who were later empowered by Adeola Akande with cash and material benefits as part of her on-going empowerment programmes, also prayed for the immediate release of 234 Chibok girls who were recently abducted by the insurgents. The lawmaker said, "As
mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, we feel the pain of those affected and pray for the immediate release of the girls kidnapped. And on Nyanya blasts, I wish to call on all Nigerians to condemn all the perpetrators of these crimes against our nation. I pray God bring an end to the reign of terror in the land just as we want Him to grant the present administration victory over these enemies of our nation."
Bamidele to Adebayo: I'm not overambitious
HE Labour Party governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, has described as retrogressive a statement credited to a former governor of the state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo that he is over- ambitious. On Adebayo assertion that it was not yet the turn of Iyin Ekiti, Bamidele's hometown to produce a governor, Bamidele accused the ex-governor of being more interested in perpetuating his own political hegemony at the expense of the collective interest of the people of Iyin Ekiti. The LP candidate said this in a statement signed by his me-
From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
dia aide, Ahmed Salami, and made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti on Saturday. Adebayo had last Thursday during Governor Kayode Fayemi's campaign in Irepodun/Ifelodun disclosed he had earlier warmed Bamidele to steer clear of the governorship race in order to allow indigenes of other towns to produce same. Bamidele maintained that he had never been desperate for anything in his life and had never been adjudged as overambitious by Adebayo except for this new love for Fayemi. The LP candidate, who said
he does not need Adebayo's support to win election in Ekiti, stated that Fayemi will soon realise that the ex-governor is a political liability to his ambition. He said by his comment, Adebayo had demonstrated allergy and aversion for the progress and development of Iyin Ekiti by claiming that the town can no longer produce the governor again after him. The statement read in part: "Let us look at this from a logical way. The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi, is from Isan Ekiti, while Ayodele Fayose of the Peoles Democratic Party (PDP) is from Afao Ekiti. The
two towns are half a ward and by the grace of God they have produced governor once, longing to return them for a second term. "But my town, Iyin Ekiti, has two wards and had only produced a governor for only one term of four years. So, what makes it wrong for a town with two wards and very high population to produce the governor for eight years? "Have you ever heard former Governors Bamidele Olumilua and Segun Oni stopping indigenes of Ikere and Ifaki Ekiti respectively from vying for such position? No leader with vision for development, except Adebayo will think in this highly barbaric way."
EPUTY Whip of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Rotimi Abiru, has called for the immediate resignation of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd). Abiru gave this declaration while reacting to the second Nyanya bomb blast which claimed 19 lives with 60 injured last Thursday. The lawmaker said it is shameful that barely two to three weeks after the first Nyanya bomb blast, terrorists succeeded in carrying out another successful bombing in the same place. He said, "It only means in essence that there is no security at all in the country. One would have expected that Nyanya and all its surrounding should have been combed and measures taken around the area to forestall further occurrence. But unfortunately that has not been the case, and once again, the security operatives were caught napping." Describing the incidence as very embarrassing, Abiru added, "That the nation whose largest chunk of yearly national budget is spent on defense and is still grappling with these security challenges is quite unfortunate. I think the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) should resign before President Jonathan follows suit." Lamenting that the Presidency seems clueless on how to resolve the prevailing insecurity in the country, the lawmaker added it is becoming obvious that the PDP-led Federal Government does not have the solution to the nation's woes."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
â€˘ Protesters seeking freedom for the girls
F any ray of hope loomed in the horizon after President Goodluck Jonathan gave a marching order to the military authorities to fish out the abductors of the girls of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State by the Boko Haram sect, the fact that the girls are still in captivity almost two weeks after has erased that hope. A Chibok elder, Dawa Dali who lives in Maiduguri, is of the opinion that the directive came a bit late. According to him, . "The girls whose ages range from 14 to 18 averagely would have finally come out of their captivity if there was a hot pursuit less than 24 hours after they were stolen like sheep from their shepherd. But the Abuja bureaucracy in charge of the state of emergency here became a stumbling block to itself instead of restoring freedom to our kids." More questions than answers The abduction actually brings to mind many questions begging for answers. Why did the soldiers on ground not pursue the hoodlums less than 24 hours of the capture of the girls? Why did the soldiers and policemen stationed in Chibok flee to the hills on sighting the insurgents? If it was a problem weapons, why did they not call for superior weapons which could have been delivered to them by helicopter? Also the following day was fresh enough to start the pursuit pending back up from Maiduguri. Why did they not fly in back up and start work the next day? With the current motivation of the Nigerian soldiers is there any sign that the soldiers can get into the den of the hoodlums without foreign back up? Since area bombing could kill the girls, is it not time to get back
'Chibok girls': Long way from freedom Two weeks after students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State were abducted, Bodunrin Kayode in Maiduguri, looks at the efforts to secure them from their captors. some of retired officers? Is it not time to change the weapons of the military to more sophisticated rifles? The reality is that none of the teenage girls were rescued, they used their initiatives to escape and returned into the hands of their parents. The few that are back home did so as a result of their doggedness and their belief that they have a right to life in spite of the sophisticated guns that have been stationed to watch them and possibly send them to their early graves if they flout any directives of the 'commanders' of the Sambisa forest. The abduction strategy is also believed to be part of a well-orchestrated evil programme which sources say may soon become clear. According to the latest figures by the Nigerian Police Force and the State Security Services (SSS) in the state, 276 students of Government Girls Secondary School were actually abducted on April 14, 2014 by suspected Boko Haram insurgents
and not 234 as has been reported by the media. Sources said despite the fact that the school's records have been burnt by the invaders when the Administrative Block was torched, the records shows there are at least 276 teenage girls who were abducted on that fateful day. A crisis situation The Nation learnt that because of the dicey situation in the land, a lot of schools have to be lumped together to ensure that they are all well protected instead of taking their exams in their respective schools mostly in isolated villages. This is why "Some of the students came in from smaller schools at Izge, Lassa, Ashigashiya and Warabe and that is why after the unfortunate incident the actual number of girls that were taken away could not be ascertained." The final year students who wear the uniforms of GGSS Chibok on the register of the West African
Examination Council (WAEC) are not up to that 276 according to the police chief but the additions of other schools too close to the 'Sambisa and risk border areas' has swollen the figure that were in the boarding hall on that day. According to a source in the military who does not want identity revealed, about four others were brought into the Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri on Thursday. They looked unkempt and the GOC rehabilitated them and then handed them over to Governor Kashim Shettima. The source added, "He asked some female officers to go get new clothes for them and they were cleaned up of the blood stained and taken to the hospital for treatment. The girls who were all looking sickly were abandoned by their captors who reportedly crossed over with many others to villages in Chad and Cameroun where our soldiers cannot go internationally.
"Three of the girls bled seriously due obviously to serial rape suffered in the hands of their captors which is why they were taken for treatment and being closely watched by security agents in Maiduguri. Those guys are many, we are talking about over 3,000 men hustling and bustling in one camp. Just one of the teenagers could be used by almost twenty men!" For the Kibaku speaking people of Chibok, sending a girl to school is big time business. Even if she must be married, this is why most of the women in Borno State are in a serious traumatic situation. They cry any time they think of their loved ones who are locked up in the hands of the insurgents who Governor Kashim Shettima described as lunatics who will grab a fourteen year old girl and force themselves into her in the name of marriage. The kidnap of these teenagers is a clear sign that those charged with the protection of lives and property in the country still do not have decisive measures yet to get back the teenagers. As the days grow so are people's hopes dimming about the fate of the girls. A particular parent is very angry with President Goodluck Jonathan for setting up a committee on an issue that needs instant action. Musa Chibok is equally angry at the comments attributed to Kema Chikwe, the PDP woman leader. He went on: " Most of them just sit down in Abuja and make irresponsible statements as if they do not have responsibilities like these teenagers to take care of. I am really sad at their reckless statement attributed to a former Minister.
â€˘Contd. on page 10
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
'Chibok girls': Long way from freedom •Contd. from page 9 "We are not happy with our political leaders and how they manage this scourge. Over N100m worth of goods were destroyed in the town by the insurgents and no attempt has been made to compensate anybody. "Imagine a man who ran away from Dambua because his house was burnt only for these people to raise down his second attempt in his own local government headquarters. The caretaker chairman's house was equally burnt down and that of an INEC staff, Shettima Ngalada and several others who have been left homeless by Boko Haram" said Musa. Musa who disclosed that his cousin's daughter was among those said Halima Musa has been crying since the day they took her kid away. Other cousins like Musa Walfi, Yaya Bulum and Musa Mkeki are still recalling the birth pains of their wives and the mothers of Hauwa Musa, Jimkai Yama and Falumata Musa all SS3 students of GGSS Chibok. According to Musa, the policemen and soldiers on duty in the town fled on sighting the insurgents who came with their usual loud sound of intimidation. "In that situation, even the teachers had to jump over the fence instead of protecting the vulnerable girls because they are the first target being the propagators of Boko (Western Education). This form of impunity has gone on since 2006 when the insurgents used to visit people's homes shoot them and sometimes take their loved ones away right inside Maiduguri without anybody doing anything about it. Unconfirmed sources say a soldier is only allowed sixty rounds of ammunition to go and kill insurgents that carry hundreds of rounds! Bullets are called 'geda' in Hausa by the insurgents, meaning groundnuts. Dining with angels and devils Impeccable sources say there are many moles who are agents of the insurgents in the military giving ready information to the sect. If they must get back the girls, they must do away with these moles who are making things difficult for the soldiers to achieve their objective of getting back the students whose education is about to be rudely terminated. This reporter also learnt that "some of the moles pass information because the insurgents have partners who demand for these information to protect themselves from being killed by the Nigeria military". Recently a soldier who was in an operation in which several soldiers were killed in one swoop screamed into the airwaves of the VOA that he actually saw his trainer among the sect. "Several soldiers have dropped their guns and saluted their officers and vowed they are done with the job because of what they view as negligence concerning their welfare. This is the balance of the N30,000 they gave me to take care of myself while on the field. You can see I have come to this pharmacist to get the right drugs for my sudden diabetics on the field. I need money regularly to get drugs for the condition I have found myself in. They can't send me home because we have to fight terrorists" said another soldier in his early forties. However, the greatest of all the problems believed to be the reason why the military may not be able to operate is the lack of motivation. This will not enable them to get the
come in time. Instead of weekly, it is paid to them on a monthly basis. Where they should pick at least N150,000 per month as total field allowance, they are restricted to N30,000 and told they have a salary somewhere waiting for them.
• Governor Kashim Shettima, Borno State
girls except they have some form of foreign back up. It looks as if the elders of Chibok in spite of their age are better motivated to go get their kids than the military whose business it is to protect Nigerians against insurgents or any other external aggressors. A soldier complained "N30,000 at the end of the month means N1,000 per day. "Dangerida?" (meaning journalist in Hausa) We have record of how they treat us. Do you expect me to go die for N30,000 and when I do, I don't know what they
will pay my family in Bauchi?" He went on in Hausa: Why can't they even have a fixed retirement benefit for us? Because of corruption, everything is shrouded in secrecy and you expect me to go die for Chibok girls? Even the water we drink, there is discrimination. They take bottles and give us the packaged ones as if it is not the same bullets that will send us back to our creator. No commander does that to his troops internationally you know that" said another soldier. There seems to be a level of
confusion within the management of the military on how to place the insurgency issue. Unlike a full scale war, the boys seem to be getting just field allowances which is less than $5dollar a day unlike what the soldiers know as their total allowances which includes garrison, travel allowances which should have made the money to be about N5, 000 per day for their up keep. Instead what you see here is soldiers going to ATM's to bring out their salaries when they are in need because such allowances sometimes do not
Everyone who lives in this part of the country knows that the Boko Haram is better motivated than our soldiers. They allegedly spend thousands to welcome any military marksman who is willing to join them. A low rank soldier said, "Once you are shot, that is the end. If you don't have your money you are on your own. We in the Charlie Company in Konduga are not well taken care of and we take exception to this regardless of the fact that we are here to do our job. Certain standards in terms of what we need to do the job effectively and sustain ourselves are not met yet we are not doing our best to meet the standards they expect us to meet." It is obvious that as much as the soldiers try to protect the citizenry, they have to take care of themselves too. But military spokesperson General Chris Olukolade thinks otherwise. He believes that any soldier who thinks about himself more than the people he is trained to protect is a traitor. He is not happy that the soldiers are becoming adamant and in some cases disobeying their commanders as in Konduga recently where they swore to go AWOL if more attention was not given to them. He said in a telephone interview that motivation is not just about money. According to him, "You can see the Chief of Army Staff and his Air Force counterpart going all over the units to check on the men. They care about them which is why he was in the hospital to see them. We live in a democracy and we should sacrifice to protect the democracy. I do not buy the concept of money which they are emphasizing. You said 200 soldiers have gone AWOL? That I don't think is true. But if it is found to be, that is cowardice and it is a treasonable crime. If such a soldier is caught, he will be tied to a stake and shot for the crime. We are aware of some of their constraints. That is why the Army Chief is actually here to take stock of what is going on and to see the wounded in the hospital." So many stories of alleged sabotage by soldiers are making the round. A source painted this scenario. "The Colonel who made the last attempt to penetrate the Sambisa forest did his best and was about achieving a major victory when he received a call from nowhere. Before he could yield the instruction to withdraw from the place, the tanks and planes on standby backing him were asked to withdraw and he lost close to 40 soldiers that day alone. "Several other soldiers have been lost since then and the situation has not changed as more people are being attacked on the major highways of Borno instead of them being cordoned in one corner inside the Sambisa. The people of Borno and Chibok have seen the best of the military. However, if what the soldiers have displayed is all the military can boast of, then there is still more work to be done to help the soldiers who complain of wrong equipment compared to the obvious sophistication of the Boko Haram sect.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
OSCE observers held in Ukraine released
Sudan rescues hundreds of abandoned migrants
UNDREDS of exhausted illegal migrants reached the safety of a northern Sudanese town yesterday, an AFP journalist said, after 10 died when human traffickers abandoned them in the desert. A convoy of six Sudanese army trucks delivered the migrants to Dongola after a journey of hundreds of kilometres following their rescue on the SudaneseLibyan frontier by troops from both countries. Sudanese officials announced the rescue Wednesday, saying traffickers had dumped their victims in the border region's scorching desert, where 10 died. Troops initially found about 300 hungry and thirsty victims, but a military source said they later came across even more. AFP counted about 500 migrants in the convoy which reached Dongola. Among them were women and children. Most appeared to be Ethiopian or Eritrean but there were some Sudanese as well. An eight-year-old girl in the group was taken immediately to hospital, officials said, while the others first stopped at an immigration facility before they too were to receive medical checks. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an average of 600 refugees from Eritrea make their way to neighbouring Sudan each month. Most of them want to continue onwards, to Israel or Europe, rather than stay in impoverished Sudan.
Brazilian fan killed at stadium
Brazilian football fan has died after being hit by a toilet bowl thrown at the end of a Second Division match in the north-eastern city of Recife. Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva was struck as clashes took place near one of the entrances to Arruda stadium. Another three people were reportedly hurt as toilet bowls were ripped out of stadium facilities and hurled at rival fans below. Recife is one of the host cities of the World Cup, due to start on 12 June. But the matches will be hosted at another stadium in Recife, the Arena Pernambuco, which has been especially built for the tournament. The clashes took place on Friday night after local side Santa Cruz drew 1-1 with Parana, from southern Brazil. The visiting side's fans were leaving the stadium when the toilet bowls were thrown out of the upper tiers of the Arruda stadium. World Cup matches will be played at an especially built stadium in Recife, Arena Pernambuco.
â€˘ A convoy of vehicles carrying illegal migrants who were abandoned in the desert by human traffickers arrive in the northern Sudanese city of Dongola after a journey of hundreds of kilometres following their rescue on the Sudanese Libyan frontier by troops from both countries yesterday. AFP PHOTO
India deploys army in Assam after 31 Muslims killed I NDIA deployed troops to the state of Assam yesterday after 31 Muslims were gunned down in three days of what police said were attacks by tribal militants who resent the presence of immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. The unrest in the tea-growing state comes towards the end of a marathon election across India that has heightened ethnic and religious divisions and which the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks set to win. Security forces found the bodies of nine people with bullet wounds yesterday, six of them women and children, the third day of violence that police have blamed on Bodo tribesmen attacking Muslim settlers as punishment for opposing their candidate in the election to the Indian parliament. Bodo people are followers of the local Bathouist religion. "We are scared to live in our village, unless security is provided by the government," said Anwar Islam, a Muslim who had come to buy food in Barama, a
town about 30 km (20 miles) from the villages in the Baksa district where the violence erupted on Thursday and Friday. He said men armed with rifles had come to his village, Masalpur, on bicycles and had then fired indiscriminately and set huts on fire. Bodo representatives say many of the Muslims in Assam are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who encroach on ancestral Bodo lands. In 2012, clashes erupted in which dozens of people were killed and 400,000 fled their homes. In addition to that violence, Assam has a history of sectarian strife and armed groups fighting for greater autonomy or secession from India. Election candidates, including the BJP's Narendra Modi, the front-runner for prime minister, have been calling for tighter border controls. Yesterday, the ruling Congress party blamed Modi of us-
ing divisive rhetoric. "Modi is a model of dividing India," said Law Minister Kapil Sibal. Modi said last week that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in the nearby state of West Bengal should have their "bags packed" in case he came to power, accusing the state government of being too soft. "Modi should have been more responsible in his utterances," said Sabyasachi Basu Roy Chowdhury, a political science professor at Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. "His words can be very damaging since, even if we consider that Bangladeshis are living here illegally, there is a question of human rights too." But the BJP said it was the responsibility of the Congress party that governs the state to ensure law and order and crack down on militants. Soldiers in convoys of trucks mounted with rifles were patrol-
ling on Saturday in Baksa district, where some of the attacks took place. Bodies covered with white sheets were laid out in a row at a police outpost on the edge of Barama for identification by relatives. Most Muslims were staying together in big groups, villagers visiting the market in Barama said. Security forces found three children hiding in forests near the border with China. The Bodo region faces what residents say is a tight race between a Bodo and a non-tribal candidate. A policeman was killed during the voting when the region went to the polls on April 24. "There's heightened tension because of the election," said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi, although he said it was too early to be certain about exactly what had provoked the attacks. India's staggered voting concludes on May 12 and results are due to be announced on May 16.
Six killed in blast in Somali capital
T least six people were killed in Mogadishu yesterday, including a senior city council official, when a remotely controlled bomb planted by al Shabaab insurgents exploded on a busy street in the Somali capital, police said. Somalia's fragile government is struggling to impose any sense of order more than two decades after the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre tipped the country into chaos. The city has been hit by a series of suicide bomb attacks in the past few months, claimed by
al Qaeda-linked militants al Shabaab, who have waged a sustained guerrilla campaign even after they were pushed out of the city in mid-2011. Police said the bomb that killed the city official was hidden in a pile of rubbish placed along the road. They said the other people killed were thought to be his guards. At least 25 people were wounded, medical officials said. "The secretary general of the Banadir (Mogadishu) region, Abdikafi Hilowle, was targeted and he died," Major Abdikadir
Mohamed, a police officer told Reuters. "A remotely controlled bomb hidden in paper bags of rubbish destroyed his car." The incident happened as the car passed through the 'Kilometer 4' junction. The Kilometer 4 neighborhood is Mogadishu's commercial and administrative centre. Gunfire from police also rung out through the district, as police fired in the air. A Reuters witness saw the wrecked government car and
five wounded people lying on the street. Al Shabaab militants - who want to impose a strict version of the sharia law in Somalia have also claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the past. The group claimed eight people were killed in the attack. "We have killed a senior city official called Abdikafi Hilowle and 7 of his bodyguards. We killed him to liberate the Somalis," sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesman for al Shabaab's military operation told Reuters.
RO-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine yesterday released the seven OSCE military observers and five Ukrainian assistants who had been held for more than a week. The insurgent leader in Slovyansk was quoted as saying he ordered the release because of increasing insecurity in the city, where fighting broke out on Friday. The observers, members of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observer team, were seized on April 25 in Slovyansk, the epicenter of eastern Ukraine's unrest. The insurgents said the team possessed unspecified suspicious material and alleged they were spying for NATO. A team member from Sweden was also seized but was released earlier. Unlike the other observers' countries, Sweden is not a member of NATO and the Swede reportedly suffers from a mild form of diabetes. The insurgents' leader in Slovyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying he ordered the release because of increasing insecurity in the city. But he later The Associated Press that "they are not being released â€” they are leaving us, as we promised them."
MERS virus death toll in Saudi reaches 111
AUDI health authorities announced yesterday two new deaths from the MERS coronavirus, raising to 111 the number of fatalities since the disease appeared in the kingdom in September 2012. A 25-year-old man has died in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and a woman of 69, who suffered from tuberculosis and anaemia, died in Mecca, also in western Saudi Arabia, the health ministry said. It later said the death toll has now climbed to 111, revising its earlier figure of 109 deaths. At the same time, 35 new cases of the severe respiratory disease have been recorded, raising the number infected in Saudi Arabia over the past two years to 396, the world's highest tally. American health officials on Friday said the first case of MERS has been confirmed in the United States. The person infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERSCoV) is a health care provider who had travelled to Riyadh for work, they said. Last week, Egypt recorded its first infection after a person who arrived from Saudi Arabia tested positive. Public concern in Saudi Arabia over the spread of MERS has mounted after the resignation of at least four doctors at Jeddah's King Fahd Hospital who refused to treat patients for fear of infection.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
IS mother counts the Tuesdays. Her total creeps toward 100 since she last heard from him. To mark the weeks, she posts photos of her son online. The final message before his Twitter feed went silent came on a Sunday: "Spent the day at an FSA pool party with music by @taylorswift13. They even brought me whiskey. Hands down, best birthday ever." Achievement always marked his path: Eagle Scout, then Marine Corps-Iraq and Afghanistan-then Georgetown Law. Then Syria. He'd decided to go there as a freelance journalist between his second and third year of law school. While classmates jockeyed for internships at firms, Austin Tice booked a flight to Istanbul. In May 2012, summer started and Austin packed a bag and a camera, and left. When he disappeared that August, a flurry of questions followed in the media and among Marines who'd known him, or known of him. At first they were the obvious ones: Who's holding him? Who saw him last? But then other, larger questions emerged, and eventually they distilled into one:Why'd he go? With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, many who fought there have been drawn to a new set of battles in the region. Places like Tahrir, Aleppo, Tunis, and Taksim possess a new and yet familiar allure, promising to replace names we've let go: Ramadi, Helmand, Fallujah, and Khost. As I've spent time in southern Turkey, on the periphery of Syria's civil war, I've often come across guys who fought in our wars. When we meet, we talk about the other things we're doing: field researcher, writer, photojournalist, whatever. Our current "professions" are often described with a shrug of the shoulders and followed by a spell of silence, as if our true profession is the unspoken one-the one we left behind. When I first meet Vince, a Marineturned-English teacher in a bar off Istanbul's Taksim Square, I ask him what type of certificate he needs to teach. He laughs at me. "None." He leans in close, over the bottle of wine I'm splitting with him and his Cypriot girlfriend. "They're obsessed with fashion, specifically Victoria's Secret." It's just a whiff of what his all-male students are obsessing over, but the best he can offer at their conservative religious school. "It's all they want to talk about," he tells me. "It is a conversation class." As an infantryman, Vince fought in Ramadi between 2005 and 2007, some bloody years. I ask when he started coming to the Middle East, and he says, "When I got out of the Marines, the first thing I did was buy a ticket back here." While we work through another bottle, Vince speaks passionately about his Syrian friends. He's lost track of many since the war started.
The US Marine who disappeared in Syria A Marine combat veteran, Austin Tice was in law school when he went to Syria and disappeared. Like Tice, a group of veterans has returned to the Middle East drawn by nostalgia for war. By Elliot Ackerman He asks if I've ever been to Lebanon. I haven't, but my old infantry battalion garrisoned the airport in Beirut when Hezbollah detonated a truck bomb at the unit's barracks, killing 241 Marines, sailors, and soldiers, in 1983. It was the Corps' bloodiest single day since Iwo Jima. Vince nods his head when I tell him. "You were with 1/8," he says. It feels good to be speaking our common language. He starts another story, about a trip he took to a coastal town in southern Lebanon. "That's Hezbollah country. And here I am this jarhead walking around bare-chested and pasty white." He pats his left shoulder. "I have a big Eagle, Globe, and Anchor here." He lifts his shirt. Inked onto his ribs is a single rifle bayoneted into the dirt with names listed on a scroll-his dead friends. "I can't remember the last time I felt as proud as I did walking down that beach." When we step outside for a smoke, the cool air brings a snap of sobriety. "Why are you here?" I ask him. He looks back at me, as if I should know-as if he should ask me the same question. Instead, he tells another story, about how in January 2011 he was back in the States, going to college in Chicago. On a Wednesday, as he came out of class, his Twitter feed exploded with news from friends in Cairo. An enormous protest was planned in Tahrir Square after noon prayers, as part of what would later be known as the Friday of Rage. "This was the Revolution. It was going to be the largest protest in Egypt's history," Vince tells me. He bought a flight from O'Hare that night and landed in Cairo on Thursday. By Friday, he was in the square. "I had this idea that I'd live-tweet the entire thing," says Vince. "Then they shut Twitter down so I was just in it." In the course of a day, Egyptian security services nearly arrested him for taking pictures, and the Muslim Brotherhood nearly kidnapped him for being an American. "The whole time those guys held me I kept telling them: 'Egyptian people are good, Egyptian
government is bad. American people are good, American government is bad.'" By Saturday, Vince had returned to the airport. He managed to get on an evacuation flight organized by the U.S. government. By Tuesday, he was back in class. "It made me the coolest guy in my creativewriting seminar," he says between drags. "But I had no business being there." After dinner, we walk through Taksim Square. In front of Galatasaray High School, a congregation point for protesters, the police are out in force. Their plastic riot shields lean against their legs and they wear fiberglass breastplates, similar to those worn by motocross riders. Their batons are slung at their sides. I ask Vince why he's settled in Istanbul. He talks a bit about his job, the parts of the city he likes, the parts of other cities he doesn't like. But in the end he settles on: "To be close to it." It's the same it many of us need to be close to. This isn't a cause, although it can be. This isn't a particular war, but it's often that too. If I were to describe it, I'd say it's an experience so large that you shrink to insignificance in its presence. And that's how you get lost in it. When Austin Tice was kidnapped, he was about as close as you can get to it. That so many of us went to war in this part of the world, only to return, seems no surprise. For some of us, the wars have gone on so long that we lack context for life outside them. On a recent morning run with a friend who's still in the military and deploying, and has been since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, we talk about PTSD, and whether we have it or not. He asks if I ever have dreams. I tell him no, but that I sometimes get very sad. An idea, a memory, will suddenly come to mind, stopping me cold. When this happens, life feels like a brutal Hallmark commercial played on a loop. I usually wind up crying. My friend has dreams. And one keeps repeating. He's on a raid. It's dark-the middle of the night. His team of Marines blows an explosivecharge through the front door of a compound.
He's with the first group, clearing the structure. Suddenly he's alone. He enters a room, and there's a guy with an AK-47 in it. The guy levels his rifle. My friend shoots back, but there's only a hollow click. He's out of ammo. He reaches into his vest to do a speed reload. He goes for a magazine, but he pulls out a ham sandwich instead. He reaches into another magazine pouch. Another ham sandwich. We laugh when he tells me this. Then he looks over at me and says, "I wake up and I'm fucking scared." Neither of us talks for a bit. Then, at the top of a hill, I tell him that I miss the war. He nods. "You know, Ack, the melancholy of it all is that we grew up there." I never knew Austin. I'm sure he went to Syria for many complex reasons. But I imagine he missed war the way I do. The way Vince does. I imagine it's never far from his mind, the way it is with the friend I run with. The road home from battle has always been fraught. When Odysseus journeyed back from Troy, his men tied him to the mast of his ship when the Sirens tempted him to leave it. The goddess Circe warned Odysseus about these sea nymphs: â€Ś whoever comes their way. Whoever draws too close, off guard, and catches the Sirens' voices in the air-no sailing home for him, no wife rising to meet him, no happy children beaming up at their father's face. The high, thrilling song of the Sirens will transfix him. Odysseus ordered his men to stuff their ears with beeswax as they rowed by. He didn't, though. He wanted to hear the Sirens. Lashed down, he listened. It wasn't their honeyed voices or looks that made him strain against the mast. It was what they sang of: war, and man's glory in war. Aside from a brief YouTube video released in September 2012, nothing's been seen or heard of Austin Tice. Drifting around southern Turkey and the Syrian border, I've often pulled up his dormant Twitter feed on my phone, thumbing through tweets like "@kenentreprenuer No, unless you count Facebook ranting about my time in Iraq/ Afghanistan. I'm a total rookie; a law student on summer vacay," or "FSA company commander: 'Is that a joke? Of course we don't care about the Olympics.'" It sounds like he was living out a dreambearing witness to a cause he believed in. A part of me admires him for it, despite where it led. Then I'll scroll to his profile. Beneath "#USMC infantry vet, #Georgetown Law stdnt, freelance #journalist. Currently in #Syria" are these words, written like a prayer: Gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. Source: www.thedailybeast.com
Femi Orebe Page 16
SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
May Day: Then and now email@example.com 08054503906 (sms only)
AST Thursday was May Day, otherwise known as Workers Day. Years back, workers looked forward to May Day not only for its fanfare but also for the powerful words from Labour leaders to those in government; and oftentimes, from the head of state and governors. Even in the military era, the military rulers did not joke with Labour because they understood the use to which its enormous powers could be put. But gone were those days. It seems the general fall in standards in the country has caught up with Labour too, with its leaders not knowing the value of what they carry. One expected the Labour leaders to be more vibrant and more articulate in a democratic setting. Unfortunately, it is not so; and unfortunately too, one does not know what could be responsible for this lethargy (some say it is docility) – whether it is the usual everybody has a price tag or it is just that the Labour leaders are overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the challenges confronting their members. Isn’t it baffling that there is nothing concrete from the unions over the missing Chibok secondary school girls? Nothing concrete from Labour over the spate of bombings? Nothing over the various scams that have almost emptied our treasury, etc? Of course I understand perfectly well that Labour leaders cannot be divorced from the society and that a society gets the kind of Labour leaders (just as it gets the kind of political leadership) that it deserves. But President Goodluck Jonathan added salt to injury while addressing workers at the May Day rally held at the Eagle Square, Abuja. “The challenge of the country is not poverty, but redistribution of wealth, he said.” The president was reacting to a World Bank report which categorised Nigeria among the five poorest countries in the world. He said further: “Nigeria is not a poor country. Nigerians are the most travelled people. There is no country you go that you will not see Nigerians. The GDP of Nigeria is over half a trillion dollars and the economy is growing at close to seven percent.” “Aliko Dangote was recently classified among the 25 richest people in the world . I visited Kenya recently on a state visit and there was a programme for Nigerians and Kenyan business men to interact and the number of private jets that landed in Nairobi that day was a subject of discussion in Kenyan media for over a week. “If you talk about ownership of private jets, Nigeria will be among the first 10 countries, yet they are saying that Nigeria is among the five poorest countries”, the president said. So, ownership of private jets is the barometer for measuring poverty and affluence in a country? Some weird logic, you would say, but that is vintage President Jonathan who only yesterday traversed Bayelsa bare- footed, for you! Again, is a preponderance of private jets just a status symbol, or is it also a vote of no confidence in public air transportation in the country? My submission here is that President Jonathan should cast his mind back to those days he went without shoes; what would
Labour’s silence on national issues is simply inexcusable
Of course, we can say President Jonathan is only being a ‘chip off the old block’ because former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his (now estranged) political godfather expressed a similar sentiment when he said years back that we cannot say Nigerians are poor because many of them, including even teachers, can now afford ‘tokunbo’ vehicles! But if the president must be told, this country can never have wealth properly distributed in so far as we continue to have the kind of scandalous jamboree like his National Conference whose participants get stupendously paid in a country where government approved a meagre N18,000 as minimum wage. I do not know how the workers reacted to the president’s speech and in fact would not be surprised if some of them, including their leaders, applauded it as an excellent one. But I know that in those days, such a speech would have attracted criticism from Labour Abdulwaheed Omar, Nigeria Labour Congress leader leaders and the workers generally. How could the reward have been his reaction then if any leader had said poverty was not a Nigerian simply on of what millions of hardworking Nigeaccount of the presence of many private jets in rian workers toiled for be in the pockets the country? Whatever that is is Nigerians’ feel- of a few? President Jonathan has spent the beting about his logic. Indeed, but for the fact that the president ter part of his life in the south south rewas amply quoted verbatim, and also for the gion, so he might not be conversant with fact that such statements are becoming part his the proverb that “a rich man in the midst conspicuous mannerism, one would have said of six poor men is their chairman”. It is he was misquoted. Almost every aspect of his just that the poor hardly meet; otherwise, speech is an indictment of the Peoples Demo- that would have been clear to such a rich cratic Party (PDP) which has been in power for man because he would always remain the about 15 consecutive years. What has the party one to be called to chair the meeting. But done since the return to democratic rule in 1999 the earlier the president understood this to redistribute the wealth? Perhaps, by way of fact, the better for him and the country. suggestion, I can be of help here, if the Bretton Part of why Boko Haram seems to have Woods expert/s and other financial jugger- an endless number of suicide bombers is nauts in the government’s think-tank have not that wealth has been over-concentrated thought along that line. Such a simple over- in the hands of a few for far too long. So, sight can be allowed, especially in an economy the situation demands far-reaching measwhere wealth is so unevenly distributed and ures to reverse the ominous trend and government officials and politicians are some not endless promises as usual from the Jonathan government which is tall in of the highest remunerated in the world. My prescription: let the government give making promises but shot in delivery. Nothing in the president’s roadmap to every Nigerian (including babies but excluding those with private jets and others who out of the wealth-lopsided logjam sugare stupendously rich) about N5million each. gests he is on the right path. Indeed, he At least we can start the redistribution from may be working assiduously in the wrong direction. His charted course is here! But that is just by the by. On a more seri- rather long and tortuous. It is like someous note however, there are many ways wealth one who wants to travel to Ibadan from can be redistributed without giving handouts Lagos and decides to go through the old to people: By way of scholarships to students, road when all he could have done was by liberalising access to finance, by making hit the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and power available, and what have you. Obvi- save himself a lot of time, energy and ously, the president either deliberately did resources. It is time for the government not tell the workers or he conveniently for- to begin to work fast in the right direcgot to add that the chunk of the wealth in tion to avoid a situation where Boko the hands of the few rich people in the coun- Haram would be a national feature. Contry is ill-gotten. From pension fund scam to trary to what President Jonathan thinks, oil subsidy scam, to all manner of funds that there is no politics in the World Bank ratare unaccounted for, especially in the oil ing. There is no cheating in photographs; it is the way you sit that the camera capindustry; the whole place stinks. tures. So, the earlier he addressed the problem, the better for him, the government and the nation at large. And, as for the Labour leaders, they need to go dust the books to see how their predecessors did it. Here, the works of Pa Michael Imoudu, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu and Adams Oshiomhole, to mention only a few, would do. Not to talk of Frank Kokori, who was only secretary-general of the National Union of Petroleum Employees of Nigeria (NUPENG) but who many would think was NLC leader during the June 12 struggle. The times might have changed, the issues have not.
“And, as for the Labour leaders, they need to go dust the books to see how their predecessors did it. Here, the works of Pa Michael Imoudu, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu and Adams Oshiomhole, to mention only a few, would do …The times might have changed, the issues have not”
Questions for President Jonathan
ESPITE the criticisms of the quarterly Presidential Media Chat with President Goodluck Jonathan by some media executives, I am one of those who think the interviewers usually try their best to cover the various critical issues in the country for the president to respond. I watched the last one and was particularly impressed by the way the interviewers asked follow up questions to get the president to declare his stand on the 2015 presidential elections. Expectedly the president chose to answer the questions the way he deemed fit and still left the question of his presidential ambition still hanging. I expect the question of President Jonathan’s ambition and many other urgent issues of national importance to come up tomorrow when the seventh edition of the chat holds. With the situation in the country, Nigerians are itching for answers to many questions bogging their minds. Yesterday afternoon, I asked The Nation’s followers on Twitter and friends of facebook what they think should be the most important question President Jonathan should answer during the media chat. I was not surprised by the numerous responses I got. Even though many were not enthusiastic about the outcome of the chat, indications are that Nigerians are particularly worried about the endless killings by the Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the country. More than ever before, Nigerians are worried about the future of the country and need a firm assurance from the president that he is still really in charge and not the terrorists who seem unstoppable for now. If some Nigerians were to be on the panel of interviewers, here are some of the questions they would have wanted President Jonathan to provide exhaustive answers to: Who should take responsibility for the continuous loss of lives and properties in the country? What is your greatest fear for the country? Where are our kidnapped school girls? Why don’t you allow the North their independence, so they can rule themselves and stop blaming you? What is preventing you from exposing Boko Haram sponsors? Why has this administration paid deaf ears to the plight of over two million polytechnic students whose campuses have been shut for 10months following FG/ASUP face-off? Where is the missing $20m which was not remitted to the federal account by NNPC? Who ordered the withdrawal of army from the various check points before the attacks abduction of the girls in Chibok? Mr President, tell me what will make me believe that you deserve my vote if you contest for 2015 election. Sir, we would like you to tell us why you should continue to sit as the president even when almost everything is falling apart? We observed that heads of governments of other countries of the world do not wait to have one-tenth of the crises bedevilling us before throwing in the towel. Why did you dance at a PDP rally barely 24 hours after the first Nyanya bombing? Why are the youths not employed? How many times are we going to have fuel and cement scarcity? With the issues on ground about the bombing and gunmen killing innocent Nigerians, what hope does the (let me use the word “ordinary” Nigerians) have in GEJ’s tenure as president for four to five years now? Do you think you are trying your best in terms of security in the country? Where are our kidnapped school girls? Are the Nigerian Armed Forces not well-trained and paid to secure the nation? If corruption and poverty are not our problems, then what is it?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
How close is Nigeria to federalism? (1) From what has been happening at the conference since its inception, it is likely that those pessimistic about the national dialogue at the beginning may end up being vindicated gain any political mileage for his bid to run in
O far, discussions or deliberations at the ongoing national conference underscore the fact that those who expect that the Jonathan conference would lead to more federalism might need to start disabusing their minds. On the contrary, it is becoming increasingly clear from decisions reached at committees that the ongoing conference may very well lead to more centralism or unitarism, apart from cosmetic changes in areas not crucial to sustenance of the huge powers of the central government and the exclusive list of functions. Recently, northern governors in collaboration with socio-political organisations in the region presented to the conference a document that seems to be strong enough to scatter the thoughts of southern delegates who had attended several Southsouth, Southeast, Southwest, ostensibly to mobilise the southern states in favour of the conference. In a cool, calm, and confident manner, reminiscent of Hausa-Fulani approach to national political matters before and since independence, the North brought to the conference a few days ago a paper that seems not to be devoid of suspicion and antagonism directed frontally against the South. Despite the deflation of southern states' contribution to Nigeria, it appears from reports of committees that the position of the North has been gaining more grounds and converts at most committees so far. It will not be surprising if many southern delegates with genuine commitment to federalism are already wondering if delegates from the south are awake at many of the committees. Some may even be cynical enough to say that most southern delegates, having enervated themselves with sectional conferences to ensure that they use the conference to further position President Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election, must have been left with no choice other than working towards 'consensus,' while their northern delegates continue to make unsupportable claim about be-
ing the backbone and pillar of Nigeria or the principal owners of Nigeria. More on the wild claims of the North later. Of course, there are many Nigerians that did not invest any emotion in the conference from the start. Such people did not share the overflowing optimism that some of us uncompromising federalists shared about national dialogue, whenever or wherever it is convened. From what has been happening at the conference since its inception, it is likely that those pessimistic about the national dialogue at the beginning may end up being vindicated. That should not be totally unexpected in anything that has the character of a game of chance. The organisers of the conference chose to select delegates of their choice, rather than asking federating units to send their representatives. The organisers chose to legislate that decisions would be on consensus and that where this fails, conference decisions should be made or unmade by the wishes of 31% of delegates. This is a layman's way of interpreting the rule that no decision can be taken at the conference except it is passed by at least 70% of votes. Furthermore, the organisers of the conference tied the hands of delegates except the bold and nononsense ones from the North with the injunction not to say anything that problematises the territorial unity of the country at the conference and for delegates to note that the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria is a given. Citizens had been told that this no-go area was a consensus from those that members of the presidential advisory committee consulted. President Jonathan on his part admonished conference members to be open to "table thoughts and positions on issues, and make recommendations that advance togetherness," further enjoining delegates not to "approach these issues with suspicion and antagonism," in order to ensure a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria." If there had been firm ground rules (rather than presidential admonitions) about the language of
position papers, the North would not have become victorious at many committees after insulting the rest of the country with the imperial language that subtends its position paper. Without doubt, a paper with the subtitle of "Northern Nigeria: the Backbone and Strength of Nigeria" smacks of gross insensitivity to the feelings of nationalities and states outside the orbit of the North. The people being referred to subtly as the Asiniwaye or Efulefu of Nigeria unfortunately include the Yoruba, age-old trading partners of the Hausa, Kanuri, and other nationalities in the North many centuries before the amalgamation of Nigeria by Frederick Lugard. The North's position presented a few days ago at the conference has achieved some significance, even if and when restoration of federalism fails. We observed in this column a few weeks ago that if the conference does not achieve anything, it would enable some nationalities to unearth their political or even cultural subconscious. Northern governors, Arewa Consultative Forum, and other organisations consulted before the crafting of the North's position paper have clearly exteriorised the innards of the region's political assessment of Nigerians who are not part of the communities indigenous to the North, thus elevating the threat of domination of one section by another. Is anyone surprised that any of the fractions of the South has not taken the North up on its view that non-northerners in the country are backseat passengers on the journey to build a peaceful and politically stable Nigeria amalgamated to the North to support northerners as conductors of the train to Nigeria's destiny? Those who have studied the sociology or anthropology of most of the nationalities in the South would have no problem coming to terms with the fact that there would have been so much fractiousness in the ranks of the South since the presentation of the North's position. Despite the assurance from President Jonathan that he did not convene the conference in order to
2015, the South would have been meeting in various caucuses on a paper that has made it clear to millions of children born in the South that they are second-class citizens in the country of their birth. Different quarters in Abuja would have been hosting meetings about not jeopardising the interest of the president by being too vocal and thus angering the North to boycott the country's "mother of all conferences." Certainly, given the ontological plurality of perspective among the Yoruba, that nationality would have been fragmented into groups of pro-Jonathan and anti-Jonathan for president in 2015 and of other groups of individuals who prefer to see themselves as apolitical professionals to the extent that there would be no serious group to counter bogus claims in the position paper of the North. If southern delegates are too busy pursuing consensus to respond to claims by northern governors and socio-cultural organisations, their citizens outside the conference should come to their aid to ask northern governors some questions. Given the fact that most of the resourceful Midwest region was also part of the theatre of war, like the part that later became the South-south, it is rational to ask of the presenters of the North's position the following questions: 1) Where is the evidence to support that the North is the backbone and strength of Nigeria? 2) When the North was financing the civil war solely, what was the Western Region doing with its enormous resources from cocoa, palm kernel, and rubber? 3) Did Chief Awolowo, the finance minister during the civil war, tell the Yoruba region not to contribute funds to a war in which many of the commanding officers at the end of the war were Yoruba officers? 4) In 1960, it was common knowledge that the federal government of Nigeria owed the Western Region thousands of pounds in loan. What factors turned the fortunes of the North round so radically a few years later to the extent that it b ecame the only region to fund the civil war? To be continued
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
Help from abroad T
Brown and the UN plan to protect northeast schools reveals failure of Jonathan’s government
HE symptoms of a failing state, especially in view of the near breakdown of law and order in most parts of the north, are prominently apparent for all to see now. Yet, the Nigerian government has not exhibited convincing capacity to curb the security threat that is threatening the nation’s cohesion. In view of the debilitating prevailing circumstance, we are not astonished that the United Nations is considering assisting Nigeria in protecting schools in the Northeast, in the wave of persistent armed attacks on the schools and abduction of students/pupils by Boko Haram terrorists. This is at least a refreshing contrast to our own president dancing at a political rally hours after the abductions. It tells of how we value human lives, compared to how people in more civilised climes value same, especially when students and children generally are involved. Mr Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and a United Nations special envoy on education, unfurled the global body’s plan through a piece that was published in The Guardian of London and on CNN’s News Live while expressing the international community’s concern over the recent abduction of 234 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, by members of the Islamist sect. Brown was very clear on the initiative when he declared: “We’ve got to help Nigeria to do this. The UN is going to make proposals on how to protect school areas …The disturbing news like this goes beyond Nigeria. If young school girls are kidnapped in Nigeria, and it is happening in Pakistan and Iraq, it raises huge question about the future, the first thing for now is the safety of the girls. Boko Haram means western education is a sin and the Islamic militant group is determined to use schools as battleground to prosecute its campaign. We’ve got to make schools more secure. Nigeria needs international support to correct this and we’ve got to deal
ECENTLY, a British member of parliament was censured for tweeting that all Nigerians are corrupt people. His tweet was not only deemed offensive but racist as well, tarnishing all the citizens of a country with 150 million people corrupt and bad. But that’s what we get when all Nigerians are painted with the brush of corruption. Surely, we have a fair share of those who cream off money belonging to our commonwealth, but it is unfair to millions of us who are working hard earning a living in this land. And that is why all of us should feel pained when the same tar brush of corruption is being used on innocent citizens and in this instance, a foreign corporation. As someone who knows the intricacies involved in the contract for close circuit television cameras for the cities of Abuja and Lagos, it is very painful watching issues surrounding the matter being muddled and caution thrown to the wind all in the name of that ubiquitous word, corruption. Like many issues in our country, I can say confidently that it is power politics at play as most of the reasons adduced are far from the truth. What is more worrisome and painful is that this is a time when all of us should be concerned about this matter because of the war against terrorism which is, perhaps, the greatest challenge facing us as a country presently. So, what are the facts of the matter?
with lack of facilities and safety too.” We are aware that the violent killings through bombings and abductions going on, not only in the northeast, but also in the entire north have defied domestic control. We cannot but agree with this proposition because, to deny the need for foreign assistance at this point will be tantamount to denying the obvious, and the consequence might be too severe - an absolute annihilation of the entire region with very dire consequences on the general wellbeing of the nation at large. The gory catalogues of bombings and abductions have terrible effect on the already traumatised psyche of people of this troubled nation. In Yobe State alone, over 137 students were reportedly killed in four separate attacks on its schools between June 2013 and February, 2014. The Boko Haram sect has serially invaded and wantonly killed students of Government Secondary School, Damaturu, and Government Secondary School, Mamudo, Potiskum local government of Yobe State, where 29 students were slaughtered in a midnight attack. The untiring terrorist group also stormed College of Agriculture in Gujba local government area, also in the state, where not less than 40 students were killed in another midnight raid. We recollect that at a point last year, schools in Yobe State were shut down because of serial attacks
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
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on schools and students. Such wanton assaults on public schools and students’ lives are equally rampant in Borno State, with the latest being the abduction of yet-to-be rescued 234 students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok. It is alarming that Boko Haram has been callously responsible, in the past five years, for the killings of a conservative 5,000 people in northern Nigeria. More worrisome is the harsh reality that majority of the victims were pupils and other innocent civilians caught in the web of this group’s senseless actions against the state. Consequent upon these heinous acts, most parents have withdrawn their wards from schools in a region where literacy level is far below, not only international standards, but also the appreciable literacy level in other regions of the country. If only to create safe havens for learning by students in the entire north, we agree with Brown that henceforth, schools should become protected places, under the auspices of the United Nations, like hospitals and the Red Cross. The Nigerian government has failed in its duty of protecting educational institutions in that region. This UN initiative is very good but it is technically a signal to the world that Nigeria is at war with herself and needs foreign intervention to put her house in order. It is sad that outsiders are now more concerned about protection of lives in Nigeria’s territory than the country’s government that has proved, through tepid approach, that the enormity of the challenges is beyond its ability. Why then is the Federal Government against the idea of a state police which could have considerably helped in this regard? Except this foreign aid comes in earnest, which is an equivalent of outsourcing the state, the country might be on her way to destruction since safety of lives and property can no longer be officially guaranteed.
Abuja CCTV cameras must be made to work First, the contract was not just for the installation of close circuit television cameras, it’s actually known as Public Security Communications System (PSCS), a major project that has provided modern infrastructure for public security and E-policing in Nigeria. The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua initiated the project and it was a $470 million project funded through a finance agreement between the Nigerian government and the China Export Bank. Telecom equipment giant, ZTE, implemented the project. The ZTE Corporation is known globally as a leading provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions. With operations in 160 countries, it is a leader in technology innovation, delivering superior products and business solutions to clients all over the world. Founded in 1985, ZTE is listed on both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges and is China’s largest listed telecoms equipment company. ZTE presently serves over 500 operators in 160 countries and has almost 65, 000 staff globally. It is ranked number four in terms of handset shipments and presently has 1184 patents granted in Europe making it to be the first Chinese company in the
top 10 ranking relating to patent application also in Europe. ZTE Nigeria Limited was established in 2002 with offices in Lagos and Abuja and six warehouses in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. It has over 600 employees and over 200 contractors working in executing their projects with Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Globacom, and MTN among its partners. The major components of the PSCS Project are 696 Global Open Trunking Architecture (GoTA), 2000 digital solar powered cameras – 1000 for Lagos and 1000 for Abuja, 37 switch rooms, MW backbone, 37 coalition emergency response system, 38 video conference subsystem, 37 E-police system, six emergency communication vehicles and 1.5 million lines. The GoTA involves the deployment of 696 base transceiver stations nationwide and the network supports the deployment of 1.5 million subscriber lines. This has been deployed in over 40 countries. The Video Surveillance Subsystem is the most noticeable component of the project with the installation of 1000 cameras each in Abuja and Lagos. Video images captured by the
cameras can be stored for more than one month and can also be transferred to the system’s database for archiving. The third aspect is the Coalition Emergency Response (CERS) that supports the police call centre for emergency information. It allows quick response in emergency situations by security and other first responders. CERS also provide a national platform for emergency calls by citizens to the Nigeria Police nationwide. Under it, mobile emergency communication vehicles may be deployed in emergency situations when commercial communications networks are incapacitated. The fourth component is the vital E-Policing Subsystem, which is to facilitate the deployment of E-policing database. The fifth is Video Conferencing subsystem that enables video conferencing by all commands of the Nigeria Police Force with the Force Headquarters and among themselves. The video surveillance works through the cameras which are solar powered and visible. The cameras capture images 24 hours and keep images locally and also send to the monitoring centre. Next are the base stations, which are diesel-powered, and there 696
stations in all. These receive data from the cameras and transmit it to the switch centre/command and control. The Switch Centre is where received images are stored and required actions are taken. The video surveillance is partly technology and partly human. At the switch centre trained officers analyse feeds from the cameras and if needed they can take the remote control of the cameras, they can zoom them for picture clarity or for different angles among other things. They can also recommend necessary actions, for example, deployment of troops or emergency services to a scene. This was the project that was fully completed and handed over to the Nigeria Government in 2012! Further, ZTE assisted in fueling the base stations for an additional six months. It is the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Police Affairs to use these facilities. This include fuelling the base stations, ensuring that the cameras are not stolen and making sure that the trained staff are manning the switch centres and base stations all over the nation. We should remember also that the execution of the project was supervised by key minis-
tries and agencies like Ministry of Police Affairs, NPF, Nigcomsat, Ministry of Finance and National Security Adviser’s office. They also certified that the project was implemented in accordance to specification and contract term. What’s more, a certificate of completion was issued to ZTE in December 2012 and one wonders why these questions are surfacing after nearly two years the project as completed. It is also amazing that Nigerians are not asking questions from the Police who have been using these equipment. Last year’s robbery at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport was solved with the aid of these cameras, this can be verified from the Lagos State Police Command. If some of the cameras are not working, they can be fixed just like we change the bulbs in our homes and offices without necessarily laying cables all over again. Our country should not be hoodwinked into paying for another contract again, the real motive in my view why this noise emanated originally. All citizens should speak up against re-awarding of a contract that has been executed and paid for nearly two years ago. If the police needs help they should call the original designers of the project to fix it. This is not time for blame game. We should ensure that the PSCS project is up and running. Government should make necessary provision for its running and maintenance. By Richard Okunola Abuja
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
John Kayode Fayemi: A deluge of endorsements Ekiti should vote for a proven performer in all ramifications
S readers of this page must know by now, EKITIPANUPO WEB PORTAL is an indigenous ThinkTank and Intellectual Round-Table, advocating selfless governance of Ekiti people, by sincere Ekiti indigenes. Nothing, even of the minutest interest to Ekiti, is, therefore, allowed to pass, clinically un-interrogated, on the forum. So has it been with the governorship election scheduled for June 21, 2014. For instance, on Tuesday 29, April 2014, Bunmi Fatoye-Matory, a U.Sbased, University of Ife and Harvardtrained, proud daughter of IgedeEkiti, in endorsing Governor Kayode Fayemi, wrote as follows: ‘I, a daughter of Igede, a strong believer in ancestral ways and wisdom, a strong advocate of education, culture, integrity, good governance, an international traveller whose not-so-young-eyes have seen many examples of good, bad, wicked, and rejuvenating governance in my travels, heartily and warmly endorse the re-election of our Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Eni to ba maa pegan Ajanaku la ni mo ri nkan firi (It’s the person who wants to slight the elephant that would pretend what just passed was something so small he missed it.) ‘JKF has turned our Ekiti into a place of pride and development. We have seen with our own eyes what this thoughtful and forward-thinking Ekiti son has done for our people and our land.
‘I am very, very proud of him. His agenda includes every segment of our population. He is not one of those politicians who want to turn our youth into thugs shouting “Baba o” and grovelling for the crumbs from the Oga’s table. He is not a Stomach Infrastructure politician like some of those clamouring to replace him now - selfish, backward, primitive and murderous people with questionable educational and cultural background, who will sell us and future generations down the river. For pursuing people-oriented policies in the tradition of our Sage and Orisa, Awolowo, for being courageous and steadfast in his promises to rejuvenate our Ekiti, for giving us a mirror with which we can look at ourselves and feel proud again, and to continue in this path of growth and development, I heartily endorse JKF for re-election.’ Earlier, on 19 April, Professor Ade Ojo (OON), Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, a proud IfakiEkiti son and President of the Ifaki Progressive Union, in an absolutely seminal post that would have to be précis-ed, wrote as follows: ‘In the epic electoral battle to win the right to occupy Oke Bareke, the choice before the Ekiti electorate is to choose one of the three major contestants who are now busy selling their candidature to the electorate. Each has been exploring every available avenue: campaign grounds, billboards, the media etc to sell his candidature; the over-
riding objective being to market his talents, experience, credibility, trustworthiness, potential and virtues as the best of them all and, therefore, the most capable to deliver the best dividends of democracy in the vital areas of health, security and education, infrastructural, economic and industrial development as well as in providing jobs for its teeming unemployed youths. Each has leveraged on the inevitable horse-trading strategies as well as the political manoeuvring associated with political campaigns, especially in the third world. These include the ruthless exploitation of the material and financial advantages and other resources that could win over the undecided, the economically disadvantaged, as well as the gullible members of the electorate who can be bought over by the highest bidder. Parts of the tricks are eye-popping propaganda, some of which are nothing but outright lies. All these manoeuvres are keyed into the Machiavellian principle of the end justifying the means. These manoeuvres are no doubt useful in attracting to the side of each gubernatorial candidate innumerable gullible and easily compromising members of the electorate in our peculiar socio-political situation in which the political manifesto of one party can be easily replaced with that of the other by merely changing the name of the original owner. Ours is also one in which politicians easily change parties with the receiving political party welcoming the decampee like the proverbial prodigal son. This is why, for example, the two main political parties in Nigeria have
been defined as the same beer, bottled under different labels. Given the above, I plead with my Ekiti compatriots to shine their eyes, watch their backs, look beyond the appearances and facades, be wary of the wiles and tricks of each gubernatorial candidate and be extremely careful not to mortgage their conscience or the future of the state, its development and the integrity of Ekiti people by falling victim to the greedy and mesmerising seduction of the pot of porridge through which, if care is not taken, birthrights can be traded away and the state bonded to a political monster who would saddle it with an embarrassing political leadership. We must endeavour not to fall into the mistake of being seduced by the bait thrown to the electorate by these political parties led mostly by leaders with the common leadership deficits that plague African political leaders: godfatherism, greed, as well as the domineering and tyrannical monopoly of party machinery. In the context of the above scenario, therefore, the most viable option to ensure the future of Ekiti is to vote for a candidate who aggregates the best qualities that would not present our state as one that is bereft of values, honour and integrity. Necessity is therefore laid on every Ekiti to stake his/her vote on the candidate who is best endowed, most credible and more convincingly tested to position Ekiti beyond what and where it is presently: infrastructurally, developmentally and in terms of global best practices in good governance and the delivery of the dividends of democracy to its entire citizenry. For the present and future generations of Ekiti, the choice before
us is to opt for the candidate who is most adequate intellectually, in his utterances, and his ability and capability to present well articulated, knowledge-infused and implementable programmes especially in a knowledge-based economy, the architecture of which the state is already constructing. One of these candidates, obviously, positively towers above the other two on most of the issues and criteria examined above. Given that Ekiti should no more be thrown to the dogs or be returned to the locust years of moral attrition, nor administered by a governor whose record and credibility is suspect and with criminal accusations hanging on his neck. Therefore, in summation, my candidate who I plead should be endorsed by all Ekiti, is he who, in public service has proved to be worthy, more convincingly and creditably tested, intellectually prepared, more versed and better exposed in best global practices in good governance, and, most importantly, more representative of the Ekiti virtues of honour, decency and unwavering respect for elders and the traditional order. He is Dr John Kayode Fayemi, the incumbent governor of Ekiti State. He is strongly recommended as better than any of the other two, and without a doubt, he is the candidate who can make Ekiti a better place for all and who will make Ekitis proud as their governor. He is not only better than the other two, on all fronts, he would, barring unforeseen eventualities, build on the achievements and records of his present tenure without the need to experiment with plans and programmes. He will improve on areas in which he may have under- achieved and will, without a doubt, invest more effort in making an Ekiti in which all shall have a sense of belonging. Ekiti should vote for a proven performer in all ramifications
When lightning begins to strike twice… Not even the Boko Haram knows what Boko Haram wants; so, while we continue to guess, someone has to take responsibility for the state failure to stem this crimson tide
O many things are happening at once. Recently, there was the Nyanya bombing. Then there was the abduction of about two hundred girls yet to be found. Then there was the Nyanya bombing again; then… I don’t know about yours but, honestly, my head is reeling from all this maniacal relish of anarchic vocations. Whatever is brewing in the land, it’s definitely not Christmassy. And obviously, everyone is worried except the government. Otherwise, I ask myself, why would the government be issuing words of assurance to the nation weeks after the events? Why would the president be telling us that the Boko Haram would not get away with the kidnapping close to two weeks after it took place? Why would the president be telling us that the bombers would not get away with the bombing many days after, only for those ones to reply with another same-spot bombing while the words were still in his mouth? Seriously, I believe that what is really going on is as clear to many of us as the winds of March: foreboding, dark and evil. Yet, the system is hardly being prepped to take care of the situation. So, I say to myself, hmmn, that group is trying to tell us something. When someone wants to tell you in so many words how powerless you are, he comes in and blatantly takes your refrigerator. Yep, the group may be telling us that the entire system in
this country is but a joke. It used to be said that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Many men there are who can disprove that for they have not only been struck more than once by lightning, they have even been visited in the same spot more than once. But you and I would argue that that is just freakish and would not apply to man’s devilish contrivances. For, frankly, we would not expect that any human being would want to repeat the carnage of Nyanya. Well, some human beings did. And that to me is the signal that there is not only an absence of human feeling in those people, they are sliding the country downhill. What is obvious to us all is that no one really knows what the Boko Haram group really wants: not the government, not the people, not even the Boko Haram. At first, under the guise of religion, churches and Christians were attacked. Then they changed. The process of metamorphosis, instead of changing them into beautiful butterflies, turned and prompted them to show their ugly insides. And so, they graduated to the next phase: of using violence for political ends, you know, like making political points. Only, they were not the ones making the political points; it was their sponsors. I think history has recorded something close to this phenomenon. In the early days of printing, so the his-
tory books tell us, anyone who showed promise of being able to write was engaged by politicians to use abuse, insults and satires to stare down the politician’s opponents, deride and ridicule them to the point of ruining their political careers. The writers however soon got their independence, but they continued to write satires for literary purposes. This is how the world came to be bequeathed such classics as Gulliver’s Travels, Robinson Crusoe, and hundreds more. Unfortunately, our Boko Haram has chosen not to use their independence to bequeath the world anything as heart lifting as classics, they are doling out heart wrenching death. When they first graduated to the phase of expressing themselves in violence for violence’s sake their erstwhile sympathizers called for an amnesty programme for them, thinking that was what they were after. Happenings since that time have shown that that could not be farther from the minds of the insurgents. They are not after any amnesty from the country. They are only after the country’s blood. So, while we continue to guess at what the group really wants, someone has to take responsibility for the state failure to stem this crimson tide. In this modern system of government, whether we understand it or not, responsibilities are shared out clearly. Each responsibility knows its particular office. That the security system, therefore, has not quite been fitted out to take control of the situation is pitiful to say the least. Just take a look at way the Nigeria Police is kitted
out and you’ll understand why there is so little motivation to work to the fullest. When a dreary uniform combines with ancient arms in a law enforcement agent, very little will get done. So, in vain do we ask the questions: ‘Where are the law enforcement agents? Where are the security personnel? Where are the intelligence gathering units?’ They are there but we cannot see them because we are all sinners. For one thing, it is inconceivable that this Boko Haram lightning will strike in the same place twice within such a short time after the first. It points to a number of failures. As we said before on this column, the government appears not only not interested in letting on who the sponsors of this anarchic programme are, it appears ready to allow the sponsors to continue to fund the anarchy. The result is that the intelligence units appear unable to counter the destructive moves of Boko Haram. It is a level of failure when the appropriate office does not or cannot perform its functions as it should. The result is that people will, and do, suffer. Then there is the failure of the absence of vigilance on everyone’s part. Clearly, you can see behind this the fact that Nigerians typically adopt a very casual attitude towards life – work, leisure, responsibilities, disasters, destruction, death, etc. – are nothing that the Nigerian spirit cannot recover from within hours or at most days. This laisser-faire disposition towards statecraft runs from statehouse to statehouse, governmental ministry to ministry, parastatal to parastatal, and business to business.
It is thus responsible for the lack of planning in our cities, lack of adequate provision for the citizens, lack of adequate provision of amenities or lack of adequate intelligence gathering. These institutions are all colossal failures because Nigerians are in charge of all these things. When lightning strikes twice in the same spot, it is because between the first strike and the second, there has been no intervention, such as removing the inviting force. Likewise, there has been no intervening variable in these Boko Haram strikes, such as teaching the people to look out for suspicious things and people, teaching the people once battered by the police to now trust the same police again, using every available means to detect problems, waking everyone up to do their responsibility, etc. These are the strikes causing the downward slide of the country. Unfortunately, the road downhill is paved with sliding mud. What indeed do you think stands between lightning and more strikes? In Nigeria, it’s prayers. Now, everywhere one goes, the question and answer on everyone’s lips are ‘what do this Boko Haram people want sef?’ ‘Hmnn, God will deliver us from them o’. When a group of people, purporting to have some intelligent, brave or even enterprising ones among them, take recourse to prayers mostly to solve problems such as that constituted by Boko Haram, then something is not kosher. Everyone knows that prayers without action amount to… not much. There are more ways than one to thwart an army that will not stand still. The standing army must resort to using its intelligence to stay one step ahead. If birds can be shot down during its flight, so can a mobile army. This is the way to prevent this country from sliding downhill.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
(63) Boko Haram, sex slavery and mass rape: what can a predatory, dysfunctional and patriarchal state do about this particular atrocity? A
S I write this column two days before it will appear in print and online, the whole world waits in desperate, anxious hope that the schoolgirls of Chibok, Borno State that were abducted by Boko Haram two weeks ago will ultimately, indeed sooner than later be released from captivity. But the sad fact is that Boko Haram is totally pitiless. Among the right-wing, jihadist terror groups of the contemporary world, Boko Haram has achieved a notoriety that is right there among the most heinous in calculated, maximum savagery. Take for example this fact: while the Taliban, one of the most cruel jihadist terror groups in the world, targets schoolgirls, it has never abducted them and then enslaved the abductees in so-called “marriages” as Boko Haram has reportedly done with some of the Chibok schoolgirls. The so-called “marriages” are nothing but acts of mass rape since a “marriage” entitles the man to conjugal rights to the “bride”. In the extremity of this atrocious act, Boko Haram has now lost any visionary claims it ever had to a utopian Islamic state to replace the present decadent and dysfunctional Nigerian state, especially in the North. Indeed, with this act of sex slavery and mass rape, Boko Haram is now less like the Taliban and more like John Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda. One of the regular terrorist acts of the LRA in the high tide of its insurrectionary operations in the forests of northern Uganda is mass abduction of schoolgirls to serve the allmale members of LRA as sex slaves and servants. The LRA is a violent fundamentalist Christian sect while Boko Haram is a fundamentalist jihadist Moslem group: in the perverse moral universe of 21st century terrorist movements around the world, religion is a mere excuse for self-serving, reactionary insurgencies in which faith is transmogrified into an opportunistic heresy to induce droves of disaffected male youths into their ranks. As we pray and hope that the abducted schoolgirls may regain their freedom soon, I suggest that the atrocity provides us with a unique opportunity to begin to focus on the startling resemblances and links between the essential and pathological maleness of the Boko Haram insurgents on the one hand, and on the other hand, the backward patriarchal tendencies produced by the policies and acts of the dysfunctional and predatory Nigerian state that the group seeks to overthrow. At the heart of this uncanny link between the patriarchy of the Boko Haram insurgents and that of the patriarchy of the hegemons of the Nigerian predatory state is the fact that male youths have become the most restless and volatile social group in our country while, to the contrary, female youths have become either sidelined in the scheme of things or have become occasional victims of male violence through acts of rape, physical abuse, intimidation and disrespect. Moreover, in the general and
•Women demonstrating for the freedom of the girls abducted by Boko Haram
widespread of reign of poverty in the land among teeming millions of a dispossessed populace, women bear the brunt of poverty far more than men. This is because as in all the developing societies of the world in which there are no social safety nets for poverty and its ravages, in our country women as mothers and caregivers have become the social safety nets for children and the sick. In development sociology, this phenomenon is in fact known as the feminization of poverty. Sadly, tragically, there are few places in the developing world more stricken by this phenomenon than Nigeria, a land awash with oil wealth. I suggest that one reason for this is the fact that an opposing trend to the feminization of poverty is at work in our country, a trend that for want of a better term I call the masculinization of violence, by the Nigerian state, and outside the state in the scores of militias and marauding gangs spread across all the regions of the country. What are the symptoms and expressions of this phenomenon that reveal startling resemblances between Boko Haram and the dysfunctional and predatory Nigerian state? Before I go into an exploration of the more complex and subtle manifestations of this masculinization of violence that links Boko Haram to the Nigerian predatory state, it is necessary to emphasize that for most people either in support of or indifferent to women’s rights, the key challenge that women face in our society is their marginalization at the manifold sites of political, economic and social power in our country: too few in government, parliament, industry, and middle class professions with the exception perhaps of lawyers; and too few as leaders and opinion molders in both parastatals and voluntary or-
ganizations with perhaps the exception of women’s own organizations. Women constitute at least half of the population; some statistics actually put them at slightly more than men. But in nearly all the sites and locations of political power and economic muscle in our country, men call the shots. There are of course many outstanding women who shine and hold their own in all fields of endeavor in our country. But they are the exceptions and for the most part they operate in a world dominated by men. Indeed, this particular group of women are sometimes perceived as “honorary men” that are clearly distinguishable from all other women, the vast majority of whom are excluded or marginalized from the levers of governance and the corridors of power. The world of men: a world dominated by men, excluding and marginalizing most women and consigning them to poverty, disenfranchisement and almost lifelong hardship, this in a land flowing with oil wealth. A world whose overwhelming male dominance is obscured by our fixation on real and manufactured differences based on religion, ethnicity and regionalism. But this world of men also excludes and marginalizes other men in their tens of millions. To this, add the fact that the median age for Nigeria is 19 and you get the startling fact that the great majority of the men excluded from “the world of men” of wealth, power and substance are young men in their teens and early adulthood. In all human societies of the past and the present, the exclusion of large segments of the population from power and wealth has always been a recipe for instability and social unrest. When this is compounded
by the fact that the vast, teeming masses of those so excluded and marginalized are male youths that constitute the human and demographic majority of the society, social unrest gives way to worse forms of crises beyond mere instability. These brutal and bizarre forms of social unrest are perpetrated mostly by and through marginalized young males: cruel and barbaric forms of extortionate gangs that kidnap people for huge ransoms and often slay those kidnapped any way after the ransom is collected; private militias that use ethnicity to pursue their own self-serving agendas; high incidence of insubordination and anarchic rebelliousness of youths toward all forms and levels of authority. Psychobiologists would look for an explanation of this development in our society in the combination of typically high levels of the male hormone, testosterone, in young males with joblessness, lack of sustaining positive hopes for the future and plain restlessness that comes from having nothing of value and worth to occupy one’s time and energies. But this, I suggest, is only one part of the story. Beyond psychobiology, there is the grim, sobering fact that violence is the tool by which the “world of men” of the corrupt and dysfunctional Nigerian state keeps so many in our society deprived, frustrated and powerless; consequently, violence is the response of that other “world of the men” of our millions of disaffected male youths who, in one way or another, are refusing their exclusion and marginalization. In bringing this piece to its conclusion, let me reiterate that at the present moment as I am writing this piece, the most important thing is my solidarity and the solidarity of
women and men of goodwill and conscience in our country and in the world at large with the young abducted schoolgirls of Chibok and their families. We are at a new crossroads in the engagement with this savage and barbaric insurgency that is Boko Haram. The captivity of the girls is our shame and a mirror of our collective helplessness in being ourselves captives of the Nigerian predatory republic. But this helplessness pertains to the Nigerian dysfunctional and predatory state itself. For the truth is that the nearly all-male operatives of the Nigerian security forces combating the all-male Boko Haram insurgents are ill equipped and poorly paid; and for the most part, they are as demoralized as the rest of the Nigerian peoples in their ten of millions. Against the stark reality of the manifest helplessness and ineptitude of the Nigerian state in securing the freedom of the abducted girls, the masses of women and men seeking their freedom are beginning to organize and to look to their own communal resources to meet the terror of Boko Haram – without letting the Nigerian state off the hook. The portents are clear: Boko Haram will be defeated if and only if the Nigerian inept and corrupt Nigerian state is itself defeated by the will of the Nigerian peoples. What needs to be done is to convert the surfeit of maledominant violence that is fuelling both the Boko Haram insurgency and the Nigerian state to patriotic, democratic ends. These tens of millions of young males that are jobless, restless and volatile, what else can or must we do about or with them? Biodun Jeyifo email@example.com
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
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ODAY, world attention is riveted on Nigeria for all the wrong reasons. As you read this 276 girls snatched by Boko Haram insurgents from their dormitory beds in a government secondary school in Chibok, Borno State remain in captivity. Their kidnapping has triggered a string of protests from women and civil society groups across the country. It has produced the usual promises of deliverance from President Goodluck Jonathan. The military high command have weighed in with assurances that they were doing everything to set the captives free. But neither the demonstrators’ outrage nor the threadbare platitudes of government officials have brought the prospect of freedom any closer for the unfortunate girls. Reports say three of the girls may have died, while some others are in very poor health. No one really knows what is happening to the rest. Once upon a time we would have been stunned by reports of 20 people killed in a single terror attack. These days not even the killing of hundreds causes us or our leaders to pause in shock. That is why the Chibok kidnapping represents something of a watershed in Nigeria’s dark hour. It has galvanised the country in ways that huge body counts and gory pictures have failed to do. This is no longer about North or South, Muslim or Christian – it is about a shared humanity. Imagine if one of these hapless teenagers was your daughter? Chibok is a sad chapter, but it is also a metaphor about present day Nigeria. For starters, it speaks about a country where confusion reigns. For close to two weeks we have been working with the assumption that 234 girls were missing. Now, Borno State Police Commissioner, Tanko Lawan, says well over 300 were actually spirited away on the night of April 14, 2014. Of that number 53 managed to escape - leaving as many as 276 in captivity. In the early days after the abduction, the picture of confusion was best captured by the fiasco that saw the military claiming that the bulk of the girls had been rescued. They were forced to retract after the principal of the school attacked by the insurgents spoke up. The ordeal of the Chibok girls underlines the embarrassing helplessness of a country the size of Nigeria. So far, everything that has been thrown at the insurgents militarily has only had limited effect. In the days and weeks after President Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, a bombing campaign that targeted the militants’ camps in the Sambisa forest seemed to have broken their spine. Now we know better. Even the prospect of a special operation to rescue the girls cannot proceed for fear that they have been converted into human shields by their captors in anticipation of an attempt to free them militarily. As recent as two years ago administration officials were still arguing at the US State Department that Boko Haram was a Nigerian phenomenon that could be brought to heel using local solutions. Increasingly there is talk of getting foreign assistance to secure the re-
T is not only terrorists that our embattled leader has to contend with these days. He is equally struggling to make sense of contradictory statistics. A couple of weeks ago the government rolled out with maximum fanfare new GDP figures that made Nigeria’s economy the largest in Africa, and thrust it into the ranks of the top 25 in the world. That GDP rebasing exercise triggered a furious reaction from large sections of critical opinion who felt it didn’t alter the existing reality that ours was still a largely impoverished country. That position was confirmed by a recent World Bank report which listed Nigeria as one of the five poorest countries in the world. The President was less than pleased. Addressing workers at last Thursday’s May Day rally in the Eagle Square, Abuja, he dis-
The real terror of Chibok
•Distraught parents of Chibok schoolgirls lease of the girls. This would suggest that the administration is finally admitting it lacks that capacity to prosecute this special fight. We are coming to that realisation five years after it became evident that we had a serious problem on our hands. In that time we could have built our capacity to fight the terrorists more effectively. Rather than do that we were seduced by the delusion that we could sweet talk a maniacal band of killers who had made it clear over and again they had no interest in talking to a government they regarded as illegitimate. Even if the limited Boko Haram of 2009 had not transformed into today’s full-blown insurgency, we had sufficient warnings that because of her endowments, her strategy place in Africa and the world, Nigeria would become a prime target for jihadi groups that were already active in the Maghreb. That should have informed a change in our defence and security planning and expenditure. There is no evidence to show a shift from the conventional. At a time when terrorists are using cells of a few people to inflict massive damage on cities and communities, we are still stuck in the thinking
that just driving tanks into the Sambisa will be enough to solve the problem. For me the real worry is whether the nightmare will end in Chibok. Once terrorists conceive of some evil, they will seek ways to actualise it. They have shown that their preferred targets are vulnerable places like Chibok and Nyanya. Just thinking of other potential Chiboks is terrifying. What is our contingency plan? The abduction drama should not stop us from thinking about preventing a repeat. The territory over which the terrorists operate is wide and hard to police. How do we guarantee that similarly vulnerable schools are not visited with such terror again? Posting solitary military guards to watch over the institutions is a non-starter because they can be easily overwhelmed by the terrorists who operate in large numbers. We don’t have enough soldiers in the Nigerian Army to post platoons to protect every secondary school in the North East. In any event what sort of learning environment would that be with soldiers all around? The key is to take out the terrorists before they can organise and launch their operations using better intelligence and tech-
nology. The repeat bombing of Nyanya, Abuja less than two weeks after an earlier attack that killed close to 100 people is confirmation that for as long as the perpetrators walk free these crimes will continue. Nigeria needs help with intelligence and know-how. For all of the size of our conventional military we still don’t have the capacity and expertise to contain the terrorist campaign being waged by Boko Haram. We need help and must swallow our pride to get it. It may even mean signing a pact with the United States to allow its drones to target these terrorists. The advanced intelligence assets that such an arrangement would provide will enable us strike hard at the killers where we can’t presently reach. Sure, the drone policy has its flaws and has taken out many innocents; still it has proven its potency from Yemen, to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Such drastic steps need to be taken on the military front while we are thrashing around for more permanent solutions. But let there be no doubt that the help we need now is from countries with proven experience and success in containing terrorists.
Inside Jonathan’s rich Nigeria missed the nation that the country was poor. By his analysis, we are actually a rich country that just needed to redistribute its wealth. He said: “Nigeria is not a poor country. Nigerians are the most travelled people. There is no country you go that you will not see Nigerians. The GDP of Nigeria is over half a trillion dollars and the economy is growing at close to 7 per cent.’’ “Aliko Dangote was recently classified among the 25 richest people in the World. “I visited Kenya recently on a state visit and there was a programme for Nigerian and Kenyan business men to interact and
the number of private jets that landed in Nairobi that day was a subject of discussion in Kenyan media for over a week. “If you talk about ownership of private jets, Nigeria will be among the first 10 countries, yet they are saying that Nigeria is among the five poorest countries.” By Jonathan’s yardstick a handful of private jets owned by a few in a country of 170 million people makes us a rich nation! The vast majority of that huge number live on less than $2 per day, have no access to potable water, healthcare and electricity. Millions of young graduates in this ‘rich’ country of ours can’t find jobs; that is why
hundreds of thousands crammed the Abuja Stadium and other centers during the last tragic Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment exercise. Nineteen of those jobseekers died that day in their desperate search for work. There may be no poverty in Aso Villa but on the streets it is a different story. Nigeria is a potentially rich country. She is greatly-endowed with natural resources but bungling rulers till date have ensured that she remains mired in the ranks of the wretched of the earth. Any leader who subscribes to a different reality is just burying his head deep in the sand.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
Impeachment plot thickens against Shagari, Ngilari PAGES 22
Ndigbo honour Obi, Ihejirika, others PAGE 23
Cross-River 2015: Battle for Imoke’s seat gathers steam PAGE 24
2015: South-South trouble spots for Jonathan
N Human Rights Day, Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Ogoni people of Rivers State, in the South-South geo-political zone openly demonstrated their dissatisfaction with Dr. Goodluck Jonathan-led federal government, when they shut down the Eleme axis of the East-West Road to protest against what they described as the federal government’s nonimplementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the devastation of Ogoniland. On that fateful day, as early as 7am, a mammoth crowd of Ogoni people, including their traditional rulers, women and el-
Although the South-South geo-political zone is considered President Goodluck Jonathan’s strong base, there are some organised groups and spots within the zone, whose dissatisfaction with People’s Democratic Party (PDP) may pose as stumbling blocks for Jonathan’s 2015 presidential ambition, reports Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu ders, led by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and the Ogoni Solidarity Forum, blocked the highway somewhere between Port Harcourt Refinery, the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone and the Indorama-Eleme Petrochemical Company at the Akpajo junction of the East-West Road. Most of the protesters carried
placards, some of which read: ‘Federal government save our lives; ‘Ogoniland is now a death zone.” President of MOSOP, Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara, who addressed journalists after the protest, said they used Tuesday, December 10, being, to express their displeasure over the federal government’s continued refusal to
implement the UNEP report two years after it was submitted. Pyagbara said: “We are here today in commemoration of the Human Rights Day and the Ogoni people are using this day to express their disapproval of the federal government’s inaction to the implementation of the UNEP report. So what we are doing is part of a global process.
“As I speak, there are people in Germany, in London, USA doing a similar thing in solidarity with the Ogoni people. The UNEP report is like a death sentence passed on the Ogoni people and we are telling President Goodluck Jonathan that he has no time again. He should swing into action to implement the report and save the Ogoni people.” Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the Ogoni Salidarity Forum, Celestine Akpobari, said: “The protest was successful. It went the way we planned it. The aim was to compel the federal gov•Continued on Page 20
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
2015: Jonathan’s trouble spots in South-South •Continued from Page 19 ernment to implement the UNEP report through this non-violent protest. “Before this time, we gave the federal government a 90-day ultimatum to implement the report, but as at November 10 this year when we (Ogoni people) celebrated the 18th anniversary of the death of Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni compatriots, nothing has been done about the report,” Akpoborai said. Barely a month after that expression of dissatisfaction, on the second week of January 2014, angry Ogoni youths, while protesting police shooting of their kinsman and lawmaker representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe, also blocked the Elelenwo Junction area of the same East-West Road in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The Sunday before the protest, Abe was shot with what the police described as rubber bullets at the venue of a rally organised by the Save Rivers Movement, a mobilisation group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. Also, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) condemned the role of the police at the rally, blaming it on politics. The MOSOP President, Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara, reportedly said, “We had hoped that politics in this dispensation would be played with civility, decency and devoid of political violence. The current level of political intolerance in the country, and in Rivers State in particular, is deeply troubling and condemnable. ”Recognising that the Ogoni had made so much sacrifice for democracy, which is being enjoyed in the country today and for which we have not benefited commensurably, we deplore the situation where any Ogoni man would be sacrificed on the altar of political acrimony or political violence in Rivers State.” That sentiment against the Jonathan-led federal government by some groups and individual stakeholders in the South-South who do not want to be associated with his re-election campaign also manifested clearly in February this year as the zone prepared for the National Conference. It manifested during the Pre-National Conference meeting of the South-South, organised by the South-South People’s Assembly at Ashbury Hall of the Mirage Hotel, Calabar. Trouble started when the chairman of the meeting, Dr. Emmanuel Nsan, a former Minister of Health, allegedly suggested that President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid be endorsed at the meeting as one of the proposals the South-South delegates would present at the National Assembly. That suggestion caused a major division as some members of the Pre-National Conference, including Dr. Peter Mede, who moved the counter motion and Jonas Chugo, the President of Eleme People’s Assembly stoutly opposed it. At a point, the matter was put to vote. Although, supporters of Jonathan’s re-election agenda at the meeting carried the day, his opponents put up a determined fight, alleging that they were tricked to the preconference meeting to endorse Jonathan’s re-election ambition when the meeting should, as was the case in other zones, concentrate on issues of strategic importance to the zone. Rivers, main battlefield The long political battle between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, which culminated in Amaechi’s decision to dump PDP for APC has made Rivers State the central battlefield for Jonathan’s 2015 presidential ambition. Acknowledging Amaechi’s popularity in the state, Jonathan’s associates have allegedly empowered Chief Nyesom Wike, Amaechi’s former Chief of Staff to vie for the governorship ticket of PDP in 2015. The strategic implication of this battle for the political control of Rivers State, according to an insider is that if PDP allows Amaechi’s APC to take everything, Jonathan may not secure even the required 25 percent vote from the state during the presidential election. “This is not acceptable to the presidency and to the PDP. Jonathan cannot afford not to get the required votes in any of the South-South states.” To confirm Mr. President’s determination
•Wike to win the Rivers political battle, just last April, First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, while reacting to a report that claimed she was planning to install three governors in Bauchi, Bayelsa and Rivers states, said in a statement signed by her media assistant, Ayo Adewuyi, that:“While we consider this a figment of the imagination of the writers of the spurious story, it is also expedient to state clearly that the First Lady does not meddle in the affairs and selection process of the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party. “Consequently, there is no way she can dictate or install anybody into political offices. “In the case of Rivers State, the First Lady wishes to state categorically that the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike is the leader of PDP in Rivers State and he enjoys the followership of the people of the state. The First Lady is solidly behind Chief Wike. “The people of Rivers State are also solidly behind Chief Wike and are prepared to follow him… “Mrs. Jonathan has not withdrawn her support for Chief Wike at any time and will always work for the interest and the good of Rivers people. As far as the First Lady is concerned, there is no shaking in Rivers State,” Mrs. Jonathan said. On that issue, ex-militant and leader of leader of outlawed Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujahedeen Asari Dokubo, an ardent supporter of Jonathan’s 2015 presidency differed sharply. Reacting to reports on First Lady’s support for Wike’s governorship ambition, Dokubo was quoted as saying the Ogoni should be supported to produce the next governor in the interest of justice and fair play. “As far as we all know, there are three ethnic clusters in Rivers State: the Ijaws, the Igbos (Ikwerre is part of the Igbo cluster) and the Ogonis. After Bayelsa was excised from Rivers State, the Igbos have ruled for many
•Clark years. Odili was an Idoni Igbo; he ruled for eight years. Omehia/Amaechi, who is also Ikwerres, by 2015, would have ruled for more than eight years, making over 16 years. “It is morally wrong for any anybody to say that Igbo cluster should produce the next governor in 2015. I am an Igbo man also, by virtue of my origin, and so I am not against the Ikwerre people or against the Igbo. I repeat, I am an Igbo man; I can narrow it down: I have Ikwerre blood flowing in my veins. “Having said that, the next cluster are the Ijaws, made up of the Kalabaris, the Obolo and Ibani people, the Wakrike; Okirika is just one town in Wakrike, Ukoro and others. These people have produced a governor. In terms of local government spread, they are in 11 local government areas out of the 23 local government areas; the Igbos are spread in eight and the Ogonis in four local government areas. “In terms of population, when you remove the cosmopolitan population of Port Harcourt and Obiakpor, which is about 80 per cent of the population, is non-indigenous of those local governments. That is old nonRivers indigenes and Rivers indigenes, who are not indigenes of Port Harcourt and Obiakpor local governments. If you remove those populations, the Ijaws are the majority as a single block. “When you look at that, for somebody to say another Ikwerre man should become governor is wrong. Yes, constitutionally, he has a right to aspire, everybody is free to aspire, but it is not moral, it is not right. Something can be legally right but it might not be morally right,” he said. As the battle for Rivers State political control rage, insiders say PDP top leadership in Abuja is highly worried at Amaechi’s firm control of the critical political machinery and is ready to pay any price not to lose out completely in 2015 presidential election. Edo State: Edo State is another South-South
state where Jonathan is fighting hard to secure the required votes during the presidential election. In fact, since Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his All Progressives Congress took over power in Edo State, the near mythical influence of Chief Tony Anenih, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and that of the other powerful PDP chieftains in the state has been badly dealt with in the former PDP stronghold. During the last governorship poll in the state, Anenih in particular had assured the worried Presidency that PDP will take back the state. This was not to be as Oshiomhole and his APC’s political party not only retained his seat but also cleared all the 18 local government areas of the state. “So, as the 2015 elections draw nearer, it has become clear that all that Jonathan and PDP would hope for during the presidential election is to get about 20 or 25 percent of the votes on sentimental ground,” said Chief James Edosoma, a community leader Still loved by many in South-South The trouble areas and pockets of stiff opposition notwithstanding, Jonathan still enjoys majority support in his home zone, the South-South. In fact, majority of the leading PDP chieftains in the region, who are alleged to have benefitted personally from his presidency are so passionate about his re-election that they are ready to bet their lives on it. Such supporters are led by Chief Clerk and ex-militant Asari Dokubo. Such supporters have openly defended the re-election bid declaring that it is a must. Former Minister of Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, is another top politician from the zone that would not tolerate anything stopping Jonathan from re-contesting. In a recent interview he said: “President Jonathan has a constitutional right as a Nigerian to seek re-election. I do not know what qualifies, Tafawa Balewa, Shehu Shagari and Olusegun Obasanjo to seek office for second term that Jonathan does not have. Obasanjo from the South-West ran for two terms and nobody challenged his right to go for second term. Shagari from NorthWest contested election, completed his first term and ran for second term and was sworn-in but the military truncated his second term. But nobody challenged his constitutional right to go for re-election. Nobody also challenged Tafawa Balewa. “If late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was alive, nobody would have challenged him if he wanted to go for second term. Nobody has stopped a serving president in Nigeria, Africa, America, from seeking reelection unless he was defeated at the election. I do not agree that the proponents of asking Jonathan not to re-contest make any legal, political and historical sense. “However, should they feel that Jonathan has not done well, which is a matter of mathematics; what did Jonathan as president get overall, what has he been able to achieve? What did Jonathan get overall and how much has he used to prosecute Boko Haram war with the army and what is left for executing projects? What did he get with regard to a level playing ground of a peaceful existence as a nation as opposed to what other presidents got? We must have a benchmark to assess all the presidents to know how they have performed. “Having said so, it is not to say Jonathan should not contest. Jonathan should contest, Jonathan must contest. If those who don’t want him to re-contest know what they are doing, they should mobilise and stop him at the election. “If because of this predominantly northern opposition Jonathan did not contest, he cannot come back to the South-south, we will chase him away. It is not Jonathan’s mandate; it is South-South’s mandate. We cannot be made second class citizens in our country. He cannot dare to say he will not re-contest. He will be shocked with the answers he will get. His mandate is a collective mandate of the South-South led by our hero, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who paid with his blood.” So except there are major strategic changes before the 2015 presidential election, it seems certain that Jonathan also has serious political battles to win in the South-South zone. It is a development the president is deeply concerned about.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
AT THE NATIONAL CONFAB THIS WEEK
How South, North delegates resolved resource control question Assistant Editor, Onyedi Ojiabor and Dele Anofi got two members of the Committee on Devolution of Power at the ongoing National Conference, Prof. Godwin Darah and Senator Ibrahim Mantu, who revealed how the committee resolved the resource control debate before submitting their recommendation this week
FTER days of rancorous debate and bitter disagreements, the National Conference Committee on Devolution of Power struck a compromise on Wednesday on the necessity to modify Item 39 of the Exclusive Legislative List. The discussion on the contentious item almost degenerated into a free-for-all fight between south and north delegates in the committee until wise counsel prevailed on Wednesday. The item deals with the exclusive rights of the federal government to legislate on issues regarding “mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas.” The thrust of the modification says that in carrying out mining activities anywhere in the country by the federal government, government of states where such natural resources are found shall be involved. Members of the committee reached consensus on the modification of the item at a closed door session that lasted over three hours. Professor Nsongurua Udombana, a delegate from Akwa Ibom State, was said to have moved the motion for the modification. The co-Chairman of the committee and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, told journalists that the item was reframed to read: “Mines and all minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas, provided that: (A) The government of the state where mining activities take place shall be involved in matters relating hereto; (B) The government of the federation shall make special grants to develop mines and minerals in states where such resources are undeveloped.” Some delegates described the modification as the democratisation and decentralisation of industrial development through strategic mining of mineral resources nationwide. Prof. Godwin Darah, a delegate, and Senator Ibrahim Mantu, another delegate, came out midway into the discussion to speak about how the committee weathered the storm on resource
•Mantu control. Prof. Darah: Patriotic proposals for resolving the matter finally won the acceptance of all delegates in our committee. We are 30 in the committee and there were no dissenting voice. In fact, as soon as the decision was reached, we applauded ourselves. We clapped because there has been a logjam on the matter and it was understandable. Item 39 on the Exclusive Legislative List illegally, unjustly and inequitably confined the power to mine minerals, mineral oil, natural gas, bitumen, gold, diamond, uranium, tantalum, and others. Only the federal government was given authority to mine them. What has happened? The federal government receives cheap money from oil and gas developed by foreigners, not Nigerians. The federal government has 60 percent equity in those companies. So, everyday money is flowing in dollars. Therefore, they have ignored the development of the other essential minerals on the excuse that they have no money to do it. What we did now is that Item 39 remains a federal legislative monopoly. It is the federal government that will make laws and grant licence if you want to mine gold or bitumen in any part of the country. So, by this action we have taken today, we have opened Nigeria to a new industrial revolution and civilisation. We have added a clause that federal government will grant licence to anybody who wants to exploit minerals. If I want to raise a company to explore minerals in Nasarawa State, the federal government will grant me the licence. But the state government shall have power to participate in the exploitation and development of the minerals found in its own area. The second addition is that the government of the federation of Nigeria shall set aside a special fund like the Sovereign Wealth Fund that will be used to deliberately develop these minerals that have been abandoned for so long. In other words, there will be no more excuse of saying there is no money to mine the gold. The federal government has for a long time locked up its own wealth just because it does not want to use the oil money to develop other sources of wealth. This
committee has broken that jinx today by empowering the states to be involved in exploration. If a state does not have the resources, it can get foreign investors from Australia, South Africa or China to mine the minerals. Senator Mantu: We came back this morning to look at the issues once and for all with national interest in mind. We have to thank God for what He has done. Everybody came back this morning to contribute in a patriotic manner. The good news is that we have been able to cross the hurdle that looked impossible in the last few days. We have now been able to reach a compromise as to where mineral resources should be; whether they should be under the Exclusive or Concurrent Legislative List. We have unanimously agreed that mineral resources, including oil, coal. bitumen or gold, should remain on the Exclusive Legislative List, which means that the federal government will take full control of the management of the resources. But we also said that we need to make provision for the exploitation of all the natural endowments in this country. You are aware that every state in this country is blessed with one natural resource or the other and we have neglected the development of these resources because of oil and the mentality of food-is-ready. The federal government has neglected the development of all the solid minerals like bitumen which are in abundance in some parts of the country. We have now put a proviso in our own recommendation to the effect that the state should be involved in the development, extraction or exploitation of these minerals because at present, the states where these minerals come from are not having any say at all in exploitation of these minerals found in their states. We also said that the federal government should set up a special fund for the development of these other resources so that at the end of the day, every part of the country will be bringing something to the table and at that time we will see ourselves as partners and not some people seeing others as just consumers or parasites.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
NTIL the defection of the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, along with his Nasarawa and Sokoto States counterparts, Tanko Almakura and Aliyu Wammako respectively, from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), their relationships with their deputies were very cordial. However, ambition and permutations for the 2015 general elections within the three states and at the presidency, sources disclosed to The Nation, have created a wide gulf between Nyako and his deputy, Bala James Ngilari. The same scenario is also prevalent in Sokoto and Nasarawa States where governors Wammako and Almakura are no longer on good terms with their deputies, Mukhtar Shagari and Damishi Luka Barau respectively. The decision of Ngilari, Shagari and Barau to remain in the PDP, according to informed sources, is causing serious tension in Government Houses in Yola, Sokoto and Lafia, as close political associates and supporters of the governors are calling for their impeachments. About one year ago when the governors defected to the APC without their deputies, concerned stakeholders in their states had expressed anxiety over the likely fallout in their relationships, a situation they feared could affect the smooth running of the states. But the personalities had dismissed such fears, while giving assurances that their political differences notwithstanding, they would avoid any act capable of adversely affecting their respective states. The reassuring statements, it was learnt, were intended to douse tension among the supporters of the governors and their deputies, a development that could have caused a breach of the peace in the three states. In the last few months, The Nation gathered that Nyako, Almakura and Wammako have been subjected to intense pressure from their supporters to sanction the impeachments of their deputies, who are all allegedly nursing governorship ambitions in 2015. For Ngilari, whose name did not feature prominently as a possible governorship candidate prior to his
Impeachment plot thickens against Shagari, Ngilari Despite claims to the contrary, all may not be well with the relationship between the governors of Adamawa, Nasarawa and Sokoto states and their deputies, reports Assistant Editor, Remi Adelowo boss’ defection to the APC, the presidency is reportedly backing him to become the PDP governorship candidate as compensation for ‘his loyalty to the party. Ditto Mukhtar Shagari, whose governorship ambition predates his election as deputy governor in 2007. The former Minister of Water Resources and Rural Development in the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, it would be recalled, had emerged as the PDP governorship candidate in 2007, but was prevailed upon by party leaders to step down for the then deputy governor, Aliyu Wammako, who had defected to the PDP from the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) after falling out with ex-Governor Attahiru Bafarawa. Following Wammako’s defection to the APC, Shagari rekindled his governorship ambition in the PDP and is currently the leading frontrunner for his party’s ticket. In the case of Barau, who had initially joined the APC, sources revealed that while he is not interested in the governorship race at least for now, his decision to ditch the major opposition party may not be unconnected to pressures from the presidency and some major stakeholders in the state who are backing the much speculated re-election ambition of
President Goodluck Jonathan. Latest feelers, however, indicate that Nyako and his two colleagues are seriously considering the option of moving against their deputies following security reports that they are being used by powerful forces to undermine their administration. There are also unconfirmed reports that political leaders have instructed both Governors Nyako and Wamakko to immediately commence impeachment processes against their deputies. The Nation gathered that a recent meeting of the leadership of the party had resolved that for the governors to be in the firm grip of their respective states ahead of the 2015 election, now is the time to get rid of their deputies. Sources also said that the decision was borne out of the need to ensure that second term governors in the fold of the APC were able to produce their successors. Another source stated that the party had reviewed the situation in these two states and resolved that the way out for Nyako and Wamakko was to replace Ngilari and Shagari in order to consolidate their hold on the respective states. At a recent meeting convened to appraise the situation, one of the party leaders advised the governors to take a cue from what happened to former
governors of Kano and Sokoto States, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and Attahiru Bafarawa, who could not produce their successors. The source quipped, “If Shekarau and Bafarawa had learnt from the example of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Lagos and produced their successors; they would have maintained political relevance in the states. “APC governors, especially those in their second term, have been directed to ensure they strategise for the electoral success of their anointed successors.” But another source informed that while the APC leadership in Sokoto State wants an accelerated impeachment of Shagari, the Adamawa State chapter of the party has asked Nyako to place his deputy on a watch list for the next few months. The situation in Nasarawa State seems more complicated. Governor Almakura and APC leaders are said to be treading with caution, as the opposition party in the state, PDP, constitutes the majority in the state House of Assembly. Based on this numerical strength, the presidency and the national leadership of the PDP had a few months ago allegedly toyed with the idea of impeaching Almakura, whose election on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in 2011 upturned the political configuration of the state. To thwart any move against Almakura, his foot soldiers have allegedly been working behind the scene to woo some PDP lawmakers in the House of Assembly to the APC. A former governor of the state, Abdullahi Adamu, who is currently a senator, is also reported to be reaching out to some members of the PDP in the House to embrace the APC. Against the backdrop of the frosty relationship existing between these governors and their deputies, there are unconfirmed reports that the latter now spend the better part of their time in Abuja, even as sources allege that they have been relieved of sensitive assignments by their bosses. As the uncertainty on the fate of Ngilari, Shagari and Barau in the next few months intensify, it remains to be seen whether or not they will see out their tenures in 2015.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
Ndigbo honour Obi, Ihejirika, others As Ndigbo Lagos honours nine Igbo elites who recently left top public positions this week, Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, reports that the event is being packaged as part of a new sensitisation module for Ndigbo in the unfolding Nigerian power game
The booby traps ahead
• Obi AGOS State will on Saturday, May 10, 2014 witness a unique gathering of Igbo socio-political and economic elite as they arrive the mega city from different parts of the country to honour eight of their sons and a daughter who recently left public office. The event, according to insiders, is part of a new sensitisation module packaged to empower Igbo present and future leaders on how to impact on their people and their communities, how to use power and how to excel in the unfolding Nigerian power game. The nine distinguished Ndigbo who will receive meritorious awards at the event to be chaired by the formerSecretary-General of the Common Wealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, are the former governor of Anambra State, Chief Peter Obi, the former Chief of Army Staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika, former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Dele Ezeoba, former Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, former Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Reginald Chike Stanley, former Chief Executive of NLNG, Chima Ibeneche, former Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, Reginald Ihejiahi and former Chief Executive of Price Waterhouse Coopers, Ron Igbokwe. Organised by Ndigbo Lagos, the apex body of all Ndigbo Cultural Organisations in Lagos, the event,
scheduled to hold at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, has as special guests of honour, governors Theodore Orji of Abia State, Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Martins Elechi of Ebonyi State, Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, while Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe (Agbogigi), the Obi of Onitsha is the Royal Father of the day. Explaining why each of the recipients were selected for the honour, the Chief Host and President-General of Ndigbo Lagos, Prof. Anya O Anya, said in a press conference he addressed in Lagos at the weekend: “We have in decades past witnessed many Nigerian men and women who left office without leveraging opportunities of their positions to positively impact on the nation and communities they served. “Former Governor Peter Obi, not only brought the discipline and prudence of corporate governance into public service but through the simplicity of his lifestyle removed the pernicious ogre of domineering arrogance which others in such positions have been identified with over these three years.” On the former Chiefs of Army and Naval Staffs he said: “General Azubuike Ihejirika and Admiral Dele Ezeoba are proud officers and gentlemen, who, even as they respectively commanded the Nigerian Army and Navy over the last
few years brought humility, loyalty and dignity to the service of their fatherland.” On the former Minister of Aviation, Anya said: “Princess Stella is a unique example of a visionary organiser and implementer of the first order. We, Ndigbo, can state without equivocation that her impact on the Nigerian Aviation industry in such a short period is without equal in the annals of the industry. She not only created a well defined strategic direction for the industry but historically opened the SouthEast to world aviation.” Anya, who admitted that the event and the timing have wider political and sociopolitical relevance, said Ndigbo are proud to celebrate their achievers not when they are in office but after they have impacted on the society through their offices and have left such offices because it will help to pass a message to serving office holders and the future generation that there is a standard that we would appreciate and insist on. He added that part of the essence of the strategic sensitisation is to pass a message that in spite of politically motivated media lynching of some of their children in office, “Ndigbo cannot throw away their own. We must look beyond politics and other ulterior motives and assess the performance of our children on merit. Politics in Nigeria has changed a great deal and Ndigbo, as major stakeholders in the Nigerian project must act as one for the benefit of Igbo people, Igbo land and Nigeria.”
Adamawa PDP celebrates Tukur
T is said that a prophet is with honour except in his own home. This laden verity and axiom was, however, put to serious question recently at Yola, Adamawa State when the erstwhile National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Dr. Bamanga Tukur, was received at a civic occasion by the Adamawa State Chapter of the PDP. The people of Adamawa turned out in their hundreds of thousands to accord a warm and tumultuous welcome to their son, elder statesman and a political heavy weight of the time. The reception was spontaneous and full of warmth and appreciation. An unprecedented crowd and sea of heads lined all the roads to welcome Tukur and catch a glimpse of him. The rousing reception marked a glorious home-coming, a re-union of sorts and a triumphant re-entry into Adamawa State for Tukur. The arrangement was that only the state executive members of the PDP and known stakeholders would be at the airport in Yola to welcome the former National Chairman before the reception
•Tukur From Oliver Okpala
proper, but the crowd of supporters, party members and admirers of Tukur refused to heed to the directives and thronged the airport tarmac to receive their son and to express their appreciation for his many years of indefectible and selfless service
to Adamawa State and Nigeria. The large turnout at the reception was such that, the police, the SSS and other security organs present had an uphill task in controlling the surging crowd. At the reception proper, the people of Adamawa eulogised him and his achievements and poured encomiums on him. It became apparent that Dr. Bamanga Tukur was deeply attached to his people and his home state, in spite of his many years of sojourn outside the state, either as a politician, a public office holder, a business tycoon or in the service of the nation. As one of the wise men who gallantly challenged military dictatorship in Nigeria and almost paid with their lives, Tukur cherishes and relishes liberal democracy which is vanishing in today’s Nigerian politics. Tukur is a bridge-builder who believes in the Nigerian project; he is an unrepentant democrat who believes in election rather than selection and a thorough disciplinarian. Truly, Alhaji Tukur is one prophet who has been honoured in his home town. — Okpala is a Special Assistant to Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
HE news that the span of the Jonathan National Conference had been extended meant nothing to many Nigerians. As usual, some, including the highly educated and conscious, merely shrugged it off. “What really does it mean?” they asked. Some had written it off before it started and could not be moved by whatever else the administration could be up to. Others rationalized the action, having initially argued that three months would be inadequate to handle the tasks set for the conference. Many others saw nothing wrong with a slight adjustment of just six weeks if it would lead to permanent solution to the age-long problems of the society. Despite my suspicion about the sudden conversion of the President to the idea, I refused to accept that he chose the path to entrench himself in power. But, I am beginning to believe he is up to some game, probably following in the steps of General Ibrahim Babangida. What in real terms does the extension mean with regard to the 2015 general elections. It would be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission has released the dates for the federal and state elections next year. The presidential and national assembly elections are to hold on February 14, while the governorship and state assemblies would have their date with the electorate two weeks later. The timelines to be released later would then follow the dictates of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). By law, formal campaigns would start by November. In that month, it should be expected that congresses and conventions would be held within the same month. As it goes, real politicking and campaigns would have started at least two months before the formal take-off in November. Political parties, politicians, aspirants and current office holders would have been soaked in the exercise and the country agog and seized by electoral matters only. Yet, the national conference would be submitting its report by the end of July. Following submission of the report, the President is likely to subject it to review and consideration by a body of the executive. That could be expected to take a minimum of two weeks. Then, it has to be forwarded to either the National Assembly for review and approval, or INEC for a nation-wide referendum. How long does the President expect this process to take? Could it be accommodated within the hectic electoral schedule that includes registration or update of the electoral register, the submission of same to the political parties, its display and consideration of objections? If ever I had doubt about the second term ambition of President Jonathan, it has long evaporated. The man is set to damn all consequences and do everything to scale all legitimate hurdles on his path. All the activities would be going on just as insecurity remains a major challenge and the welfare of the people take the back seat. The President should not plead ignorance of the consequences of his actions. It is well planned and choreographed. When a nonagenarian like Pa Edwin Clark and another serial loser like Pa Tanko Yakasai are Presidential Political advisers, what should one expect? It is very obvious that the outcome of the election is already compromised. Those working out the programme might have reckoned that an ensuing confusion would make holding it impossible, thus a call for a shift is considered inevitable; moving the inauguration date back to October 1. Those determined to see the President exit Aso Rock would kick and fight the dubious move. Where does that leave Nigeria and Nigerians? The script writers obviously do not wish the country well. Plunging the country into crisis now is an ill-wind that will do no one any good. When conflicts arise, the principal characters are only in position to know the start, the course and ultimate resolution point is never certain. In 1962, the ruling Northern Peoples Congress chose to eliminate the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo from the political stage. The conspiracy led to the treasonable felony trial and conviction, as well as indictment by the Coker Commission of Inquiry. Ultimately, the pillars of the Republic were pulled down on the political establishment. The fate of the Second Republic was no better. The ruling National Party of Nigeria decided to annihilate the other political parties at the 1983 poll. The result: the whirlwind swept all, including the ruling party off. Babangida was architect of the Third Republic doom. He also lost out. Anything that would prolong the span of this administration is unacceptable to a majority of the people. I hope the President and his advisers, official and unofficial, take heed.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
Cross-River 2015: Battle for Imoke’s seat gathers steam
HEAD of the 2015 gubernatorial election in Cross Rivers State, the battle for the governorship ticket of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has become intense with candidates squaring up in a fierce fight for the control of the party from the wards to state levels. According to sources within the party, the severe agitation by aspirants, especially from the northern zone of the state for the party’s ticket, stem from several announcements by Governor Liyel Imoke that he is committed to ensuring equity and fairness by ensuring that his successor emerges from the Northern Senatorial District that is yet to produce a governor for the state. Speaking on the matter during a media parley recently, Imoke reminded his listeners that Cross River has three senatorial districts. “Two senatorial districts have produced, by the grace of God, governors. One has not. Would it be fair for us not to allow the other senatorial district a governor? Will it be fair? “This is a just a question of simple fairness. Just like we had • Agba president from the North, then, South West, now from South-South, there is no big deal. It is a natural sequence. That is why I support it openly. Some people have been asking ‘Oga, keep quiet over this matter. This is not how to do it.’ I say I don’t know how to deal with what is honest, sincere, correct and right.” And in a move that suggests that the leadership of the party in the state may be thinking in the same direction as the governor, the party recently de-emphasised the position of the governor. According to a release by the party, the Southern Senatorial District had Donald Duke as governor from May 1999 to May 2007 and at the moment, Imoke from the Central Senatorial District is in charge of affairs in the state. So, in its view, Imoke was right in stating his support for the emergence of his successor from the northern zone of the state. But in spite of the early signs that the party will favour candidates from the north for the job, not many aspirants went public with their aspirations at the initial stage. Save for Godwin Apple Agim, who openly signified interest for the job as far back as 2011. Others chose to keep their cards to their chest until recently when a deluge of aspirants went to town with their aspiration to succeed Imoke. Stating his reason for enlisting in the race then, Agim said, “my aspiration is anchored on the principle of zonal rotation of the state’s governorship with Cross River North being the unquestionable zone to produce the incumbent’s successor in 2015 after successive stints by the South and the (ongoing) Central, especially considering that, since the state’s creation, the North has never produced the governor, except on an administrative basis. “I am very aware that many household names from Cross River North are being touted as likely and, in a few cases, significantly qualified to become the next governor. “However, being a former political office holder, particularly under the status-quo, as many of such persons are, is not necessarily an asset at a time like this when our state needs a new and holistic leadership reorientation – along lines of pragmatism and consummate diligence. “It is my earnest thinking, and I am sure many objective persons will agree with me, that Cross River needs a thorough-bred entrepreneur who will lead the state with the gumption and industriousness that it truly deserves. Not only do I humbly and readily fit that description, but it has come through the added advantage of having a business experience in Finland, one of the foremost European states and one with a striking similitude to our state’s greatest aspirations.” But the contest is now fiercer than it was when Agim dreamt up his aspiration. Already jostling for the coveted position is an array of influential and powerful politicians from various parts of the state. They include Mr. Goddy Agba, the General Manager Crude, NNPC, Professor Ben Ayade, the Senator representing the Northern Senato-
The battle for the governorship ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State has become more intense as speaker an NNPC top-shot square up with other aspirants for Governor Liyel Imoke’s job, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan rial District, Mr. John Odey, former Minster of Environment, Mr. Larry Odey, Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr. Fidel Egoro, Deputy State Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Mr Tanko Ashong, Legal Adviser NEMA, Mr. Legor Idagbo, Commissioner for Works and Mr. Fidel Ugbo, the serving Secretary of National Planning Commission. With the new array of aspirants, some observers are wondering if Agim would be dwarfed. But sources within his camp say the Finland-based politician is not giving up just yet. “He wants to see the contest to the very end,” a source said. The entrance of Hon. Larry Odey, former Acting Governor and now Speaker of the House of Assembly in Cross River State, into the 2015 governorship race has further changed earlier equations. But he has remained behind the scene until recently when he suddenly announced his interest. Sources say the very healthy relationship he enjoys with Imoke and some powerful PDP leaders at the national level may work in the favour of the Speaker. Odey, who represents Yala State Constituency in the state Assembly, said he is the most qualified aspirant for Imoke’s job. He is seeking to contest on the ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The Speaker said he is vying because, according to him, the PDP caucus in the state has unanimously zoned the 2015 governorship slot to his zone, the Northern Senatorial District of the state. Describing himself as the most qualified candidate, Odey told journalists last week: “I have been the acting governor of the state for three months when the Appeal Court nullified the mandate of Gov. Liyel Imoke in 2012. Haven’t been the acting governor, and currently serving as Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly, I have the capacity, experience and pedigree to contest the 2015 in the state. “I have been in the umbrella party for a long time now and at that level, I am not lacking any quality not to contest the polls,’’ he said. On his agenda, Odey said: “My primary motivation for the race is to promote educational and economic development of the state and to serve the good people of Cross River with dignity, transparency, and accountability. “Cross River is blessed with natural and human resources, with the support of all stakeholders, we can move the state to a greater height. The choice of the people matters most in politics, your opponents do not really matter, anyone who thinks he has something good to offer the people can as well run for the polls,’’ he said. But pundits say it may not be an easy ride for
the Speaker. According to watchers of the politics of the state, unless the Speaker gets the backing of the powerful blocs within the state, he is not much of a political heavyweight to go it all alone with or without some stakeholders. “In spite of his pedigree politically, Odey is not that strong to say he will be governor on his own merit. We know those who can say such in the politics of Cross Rivers state,” a party chieftain said. There is also a lot of talk about the frenzy within the political camp of Jeddy Agba, outgoing General Manager Crude, NNPC, as The Nation learnt that he has sent in his resignation letter to the management of the corporation. His disengagement from NNPC, according to insiders’ report, is expected to take effect in a couple of months. “He is resigning so as to concentrate all his energy on his governorship ambition,” a source said. Sources in Calabar, the state capital, said Agba is putting a lot of energy and resources into his campaign effort with regular visits to the state in recent weeks. According to reports, the politician, hoping to take advantage of the zoning arrangement with the ruling party as announced by the governor, is reaching out to party leaders and members across the divisions of the state. “Agba is not taking the contest with kids’ glove. He appears to be ready for the political dog fight that is sure to trail the contest for the party’s ticket ahead of the 2015 general election. He is fast popularising himself among politicians. This is easy because he has a large political war chest and he seems poised to use all available resources to see his ambition through. “As party leaders, we are open to all the aspirants and ready to listen to them all. That is what you are witnessing. The fact that Agba is going round the party leaders and telling them of his ambition is not enough for his people to claim that he has our endorsement. Even if he doles out money to politicians as they claim he is doing, the party will still allow the people to decide who they want,” a chieftain of the party said. Unconfirmed report has it that some unnamed party chieftains have already benefitted some largesse from the Agba Campaign Organisation as part of efforts to familiarise the aspirant with the leadership of the party at both state and grassroots levels. “The philanthropic gesture on the part of the aspirant is not just because of the 2015 election. Check the records; he has always been giving to people. Of course, people are seeing what he is doing now because it is election time,” a close source said.
But observers of the unfolding political scenarios say it is going to be difficult for Agba to go far in the race given some salient factors militating against his ambition. One of such factors is that he was unknown politically in the state before now. “Agba was not known to us before now. The story making the round is that he is relying on some powers from above to make him governor. Yes, he is spending money on his ambition but our people know their leaders. We are used to following the direction our leaders outline for us. Unless he gets the support of the leaders of the key power blocs within the state, I doubt if he will go far in his aspiration,” Gershom Atsu, coordinator of the New Era Movement (NEM), a group within the ruling party in the state, said. Another problem is the repeated talk of the alleged missing N20billion in NNPC. Agba, who is a prince in line to the throne of his father, Uti JD Agba, the Paramount Ruler of Obudu, holds very sensitive position in the company and his political opponents are therefore not wasting time to remind whoever wishes to hear of the missing money, notwithstanding that it has not been traced to him. “With news that he is one of those answering questions in Abuja over the N20billion saga, the people of the state are sure to be cautious about receiving him as a governorship aspirant. This is not about whether he will win; it is first about how we view him as an aspirant. I think he has a lot of explanations to make before he can be seen as an aspirant. We are not saying he is guilty as charged but we are saying we need to know all about our aspirants before accepting their aspirations,” Atsu said. But former PDP National Director of Publicity, Barrister Venatius Ikem, thinks otherwise. In his opinion, Jeddy Agba can govern Cross River State. “First, I consider him eminently qualified by his career experience, having worked in the public service of Nigeria for over 20 years, spanning the Ministries of FCT, Foreign Affairs and currently, Petroleum Resources, where he had served with distinction, earning a National Honour for his efforts. Secondly, he hails from Cross River North Senatorial District, where, by popular understanding, the next governor is expected to emerge from,” had said of the NNPC top shot. But arguing on the propriety or otherwise of Agba’s ambition, frontline lawyer and political analyst, Modupe Oduguwa, stated: “If indeed he is one of those being quizzed about the missing NNPC fund, then his gubernatorial ambition is an affront on the intelligence of the people of his state. It is enough to tell him to go answer the allegations first and forget about seeking to be governor.” The frenzy in the state is not just about the three aspirants mentioned above. Across the state, mobilisation efforts are ongoing for numerous other aspirants who are equally ready to give the frontrunners a good fight for their money and pedigree. Recently, a group, Cross River State Youths Forum, (CRSYF) added drama to the scenario when it threatened to take legal action against Senator Ben Ayade if he refuses to run as Governor of Cross River State in the 2015 governorship race in the state. The president of the group, Comrade Joseph Ishajie, who made the disclosure during an interactive session with journalists in Calabar, berated politicians against making unguarded utterances that the old Ogoja (the North) has no credible candidates, neither do they ever speak with one voice in matters as this. He said “We, the youths of Cross River, are out to give our total support to Senator Ayade and urge him to hasten up and declare to run for the governorship seat zoned to his area. And if he fails to contest, we will compel him by mobilising over one million youths to his house at Obudu. Surely, when he sees such action, he would be forced to declare. It is on record that he has empowered the youths more than any of his predecessors. He has recommended youths for jobs, sent some abroad for training and given financial assistance running into millions of naira for entrepreneurship scheme,” Ishajie added.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
YO is a very peculiar state in Nigeria. Huge in endowments, natural and human, it also prides itself as a state that had once witnessed the midas-touch of development, while parading the footpaths of iconic figures of modern history. One of such was Obafemi Awolowo who sat in Ibadan to midwife all those milestones that the Yoruba man flaunts today as his pedigree of civilization. Such footpaths include the first television station, the first skyscraper, the first stadium and the Ibadan University, for which Oyo State preens itself as the intellectual capital of Nigeria. Except for handful visionary leaders it has had since inception, Oyo has, however, been a largely unlucky state. Agrarian, with a huge illiterate population, the political class exploits the limitations of the people to the full to hoodwink them. The state’s ill-luck has been largely compounded since the advent of civil rule in 1999. In terms of development, it witnessed Spartan progress and is held on the jugular by the politics and machinations of a few. No calamity could be said to have befallen Oyo’s development as much as the politics of the Lamidi Adedibu era. It was an era marked by politics of violence, tokenism for political followers at the expense of state progress and ascendance of an illiterate clique that determines the contour of state politics. Unfortunately, what tickles the fancies of this few is not development or societal uplift. Thus, leaders after leaders spend their tenure just giving the people tokens, massaging the mundane egos of the elite and leaving the dais with an impoverished people and a climate barely different from what it used to be. Before now, the order was government constructing roads that lasted less than six months. Right now, anyone who had stayed two years out of Oyo State would certainly not be able to recognize the state capital any longer and many other towns in the state. An aggressive road dualization is ongoing, which baffles many. The roads and their quality are alien to the geography of Oyo; they are indeed the type our people see in the Federal Capital Territory. This atypical progress is replicated in virtually all sectors of the state. Perhaps the most instructive of t h e
Oyo: Why Ajimobi must not come back By Festus Adedayo
changes in Oyo State is the style of leadership. The late Adedibu mirrored the minds of the ruling elite when he asked Rashidi Ladoja to bring the state’s security votes to him as he was the numerouno security. What this means is that the elite’s interest, and not the people’s, dictated the temperature of leadership. Once a leadership is at cross purposes with the elite and those who decide the pendulum of power, it is incinerated without a care in the world. This was why Lam Adesina, in spite of his simplicity, focus and determination to bring development to the state, had his government peremptorily sacrificed for one that would drag back the fortunes of the state. Abiola Ajimobi is a different ball game from the crop of governors Oyo used to know. Urbane and a hater of violence with passion, he does not suffer fools gladly and is blunt to a fault, while not believing in t h e politician’s lexicon of dressing a mule
to look like a gazelle. His passion for change is legendary, so much that when driving on the streets of Ibadan, he stops by to drive away those desecrating the roads with filth. These and a few others, some of which this writer will itemize presently, constitute the charges against him by the ruling elite for which many have sworn he would not be re-elected. If you take the time to study the mantra of a few who have either left the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) or declared hostility against the governor, none has faulted the fact that, in the history of Oyo State, no governor has brought this level of massive development to the state as Ajimobi is doing, with the potentials that these could quadruple if he stays in the saddle for the next term in office. The accusations range from the mundane to the selfish, the laughable to the uninformed. One is that Ajimobi clings to his wife, Florence too much. This is excusable, however. In the history of Oyo State, especially since civil rule, the state had witnessed the reign of Chief Executives who were serial polygamists for whom monogamy was like a perfidy. The state even paraded one who was allegedly so randy that hundreds of leading city university girls, like the Bill Clinton Monica-gate scandal, could describe his genitalia at the blink of an eye. In a state that is highly patriarchal, many of these leaders cannot stomach a ‘me and my wife’ governor who ‘must have been charmed’ by his wife for always underscoring the sacredness of the conjugal relationship that exists between them. In the estimation of this crop of people, Ajimobi deserves the boot for loving his wife too much. Second reason why, in the estimation of this set of people, Ajimobi must not return to Agodi Government House, is that he is not a politician and does not know how to shroud his passion. Simplistic as this may sound, it has provoked the ire of the group so much. Most Nigerian politicians, with due respect, thrive on deceit and subterfuge. Truth is the very first casualty of any association with them. Anyone felt to be straightforward is seen not to possess the wherewithal of a politician. Ajimobi always says that, having been in the corporate world for 32 years where the greatest demand therein is trust and dependability, he could not begin to cultivate the serpentine
attitude of politicians. Third charge is that Ajimobi has failed to democratize the largesse of government. This, in transparency parlance, is corruption. Many of the politicians, who are said to have disagreed with the governor, if you ask them, did so on the allegation of not ‘eating enough.’ Not one of them will say that, for the future development of the state and it’s positioning on the radar of comity of states that they, their children and children’s children can be proud of, Ajimobi is not the hope of Oyo State. Frustrated that they haven’t ‘eaten enough’, many of them have even moved into political parties where they feel they could muster a pliable candidate who would open the state’s vault for them to feed fat on. Fourth is that there is a myth that no governor has ever governed Oyo State twice and Ajimobi should not be an exception. The mythical arrogance of this claim is fuelled by the opposition, many of whom claim that though Ajimobi has done exceptionally well in developing the state, he should not be honoured with breaking this jinx. Former SSG, Dr. Dejo Raimi, said this much on a recent radio programme. Fifth reason why it is dangerous for Ajimobi to come back as a second term governor is that it will wipe off the political careers of many governors and politicians before him and bury the political future of many. The refrain in the state, on sighting the various developmental milestones of Ajimobi, is that he must have borrowed the whole world to implement them. When told that the government has not borrowed a dime, residents conclude that he is either a developmental wizard or his predecessors were funneling the state money into a Godknows-where. If such a man comes back for another four-year term, his predecessors risk being pelted with stones. It is the reason why all apparatus of decimation, fair or foul, is being deployed to halt the moving machine of Oyo’s development. But Ajimobi keeps developing the state like a man for whom there is no tomorrow but today. His benchmark is Awolowo and he is hungry to be invested a place in the pantheon of developmental wizards. The question many ask is, would Oyo leave a man who has re-written their name in gold and scamper after the architects of their inglorious recent past? *Adedayo is Special Adviser (Media) to the governor of Oyo State.
Jonathan should beware of Ekiti T
HAT the presidency will take more than a passing interest in the coming governorship polls in Ekiti and Osun in view of the 2015 election is expected. However, to profit from the state elections, President Goodluck Jonathan and his team have to make the right choices. From all indications – from the non-transparent PDP nomination processes to the body language of the presidency, it seems that they are missing the plot. The recent statement attributed to Vice-President Namadi Sambo makes it therefore very urgent to warn the president against making a grave mistake that will undoubtedly prove fatal to his prospects for re-election next year. Sambo’s statement likening the election in Ekiti to a war that has to be won at all costs indicates that the federal ruling party will shy away from nothing, including illegalities, to ensure the victory of its candidate on 21 June in Ekiti. That is a bad omen both for Ekiti people and Nigeria as a whole. The national leadership of the PDP, whose ultimate goal is Dr Jonathan’s victory at next year’s presidential election, is getting its strategy wrong. By imposing Ayo Fayose as its flagbearer in Ekiti, it is obvious that the party leaders do not know the state very well and are in fact ignorant of its political history. Fayose’s tenure as governor of Ekiti was prematurely terminated in 2006 by a lawful impeachment, for wrongdoings in office, by
By Femi Awoniyi
a house of assembly dominated by members of his party, showing that he carries a heavy, debilitating baggage that should have disqualified him for consideration as a candidate in the first place. That the PDP forced him on its members in the state shows that it was determined to disregard Fayose’s unpopularity even among his fellow party men and women. The PDP leaders in Abuja also seem to be ignorant of the records of the former governor in office, a period when insecurity ruled in the state, when economic activities were at their lowest ebb and unemployment reached new heights – in fact, a period bereft of any meaningful development that most Ekitis would rather not remember. The PDP bosses also disregarded the fact that Fayose could not win his senatorial zone at the last general election; in fact, out of the five local governments that make up the zone, he did not win a single one! Given Fayose’s proven unpopularity even in his home area of the state, who do the PDP generalissimos expect to vote for him on 21 June? Is it Ado people, whose sense of cultural pride Fayose during his inglorious reign as governor repeatedly hurt through an open, brazen and serial denigration of the revered office of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti? Is it Ikerre people, whose children – students of the College of Education – were shot by one of Fayose’s henchmen while participating in a
peaceful protest, or whose traditional ruler, the highly respected Ogoga, the PDP flagbearer abused openly? Where, then, in the state that Fayose turned into a theatre of political violence during his infamous tenure, is Abuja expecting the votes for its man to come from? It is very obvious, therefore, that the PDP generals are not courting Ekiti people for their mandate. They intend to seize it. History has shown, however, that Ekiti, whose people are renowned for their fierce independent spirit, is a very bad place to rig elections. Since 1964, resistance to electoral fraud in Yorubaland has been hottest in Ekiti. It must not be forgotten that the Southwest is the most peaceful region in the country at the moment and any attempts to manipulate the Ekiti polls will add to the security troubles of the president. A chaotic election in Ekiti, therefore, will not only increase national instability but also hurt the president’s standing in the international community at a time when he needs global support to win the ongoing battle against the murderous Boko Haram terrorists. It must be emphasised here again that the Ekiti polls is not a test run of the presidential election. The election is about the decision of Ekiti people over who governs their state. Given the many positive changes in the state in the past three and half years, it is very obvious even to a casual observer how Ekiti people will vote on 21 June.
However, the verdict of the Ekitis at the governorship election is not necessarily an indication of how they will vote at next year’s presidential election. Ekitis are not the kind of electorate that vote for a party irrespective of the candidate, which is why President Jonathan won in the state in 2011 even though the state’s then ruling party ACN fielded a candidate. This is a point that deserves serious consideration by the president and his advisers. Nobody should underestimate the resolve and capacity of Ekiti people to resist imposition. It is palpable in the air that the people are firmly and resolutely resolved to respond to any attempts to steal their votes with the decisive force of popular resistance. This is a sign that any efforts to manipulate the election can only result in a disaster. Ekiti 2014 is about the future of Ekiti and its people should not be hindered in any way from freely and peacefully deciding that future. In fact, a free, credible and transparent Ekiti polls - whatever the outcome - will be a boost to President Jonathan’s chances next year and will bolster his image in the international community. There are enough killing fields in Nigeria; we cannot afford a new trouble spot in Ekiti. * Femi Awoniyi, an indigene of Ekiti State, is the publisher of the Germany-based bimonthly magazine, The African Courier
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
Is Dakingari being wooed to join APC?
ripples Boroffice, Agunloye renew rivalry
Lanlehin set for LP T
Abaribe and 2015 Abia governorship
he Senator representing Oyo South, Femi Lanlehin, has allegedly concluded plans to defect to the Labour Party (LP), Ripples has gathered. Strong indications that the Ibadan-born politician is changing his political affiliation once again emerged a couple of weeks ago when he failed to formally register with the All Progressives Congress (APC) along with his supporters. Lanlehin was elected as Senator in 2011 on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the parties that merged to form the APC. In the last three years, Lanlehin's relationship with his state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has been frosty at best. The bone of contention is not unconnected to the fallout of ACN governorship primaries, which produced Ajimobi as the consensus candidate. Since then, attempts by the governor and the Senator to reconcile their differences have all come to naught.
Adeseun's game plan for 2015
is first stint at the Government House lasted for about two years when he served as the deputy to the former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, during his first term in office. Now, Enyinnaya Abaribe wants a return to the State House but this time as the chief occupant. The serving senator recently disclosed his intention to contest for the
2015 governorship ticket of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), a development that did not come as a surprise to many PDP members in Abia State. Abaribe, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Media, seems confident of his chances in the race, but it is still uncertain if the state governor, Theodore Orji, is backing his aspiration.
e published a story on Mr. Gershom Bassey dropping his Cross River State governorship ambition on this page last Sunday, April 27, 2014. But we inadvertently used the picture of the Cross River State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Legor Idagbo, instead of that of Mr. Bassey. Published here today is the picture of Gershom Bassey. We regret the error.
IN VOGUE By Kehinde Oluleye
Tel: 08023689894 (sms) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
34 GLAMOUR/OUT & ABOUT
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
MORE ON NIGERIA’S MISSING PERSONS
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
Missing: How Nigerians are disappearing without trace Over the years, many Nigerians have disappeared without any trace. Assistant Editors Dare Odufowokan, Yetunde Oladeinde and Joke Kujenya examine this worrying phenomenon.
OSING a relative or a loved one to death can be traumatic. It is, however, worse when such people are missing and you are not sure whether they are dead or alive. This is what happens to people who learn that those they treasure so much have vanished. All over the world, frantic efforts have been made by friends, relatives and loved ones of missing people in the past. Reported and known cases are taken seriously and followed up to ensure that they are found. A few weeks back, protesters took over streets in Islamabad, Pakistan over the case of some missing persons. In the developed countries, experts and forensic anthropologists put in so much effort to unravel such cases. Painstakingly, the efforts are seen by cataloguing skeletal remains, putting bone and skull samples
together to confirm the status of those who have disappeared in different circumstances. Even when the answer is negative the next stage would be to store the evidence in a data of national missing persons system where medical examiners and the police can have access to continue the investigations from time to time. This is only possible where proper records of missing persons are kept. On the Interpol website, pictures, age, country, colour of hair, eye and sex of missing persons are clearly displayed. When the search is consistent, it is likely that the missing folks are found, most times in locations far away from home. According to John Amadi, 48, “I went for a vigil in church one night and I had barely spent two hours when my wife called to tell me that our first son was missing. He stepped out to buy something in the neighbourhood
and to her amazement he did not return home.” He continued, “We combed the neighbourhood for three days and we had almost lost hope when somebody called to say they had found a boy somewhere on the expressway. We rushed there and found my son. He had been picked by ritualists but somehow they abandoned him on the express for some reasons known to them. We thank God for sparing his life because not everybody is that lucky.” Missing in action Like the Amadi, Gbolahan recalls how his friend and classmate who was missing some years back came back home two weeks later. “He was my close friend and we did a lot of things together. One night his mother came to our house in tears, she told my parents that they had been looking for him all day and wondered if he was in our house. They realised he was not with me and everyone was very sad. They travelled to their town to see if he ran away to his grandfather but they just could not find him anywhere. Then one day he came home with half of the hair on his head shaved off and he looked really awful. His mind was blank and just could not remember anything, but from his appearance, everyone knew that he must have been kidnapped.” A large number of those who got missing in the country are never found, or better still, to use the ever optimistic parlance of the police authorities, are yet to be found. Even eminent and famous personalities have been on the missing list for years now with little or
no progress made in locating them in spite of efforts by agencies, friends and families. The puzzling disappearance of James Bolarinwa Olomo, a professor of Nuclear Physics at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, since last year is one of such troubling high profile "missing person" cases. He reportedly left home on October 17, 2013, and flew to Calabar on an Arik Air flight from where he travelled by road to Eket, Akwa Ibom State. In Eket, he reportedly lodged at Hotel Farlem. His mission was to fulfil a scheduled obligation with Mobil Oil Unlimited, a multinational oil company where he was its Radiation Safety Adviser. He reportedly left his hotel room on October 20 without taking any of his belongings and has not been found since then. Efforts to locate him have been futile. Led by the Olomo family of Risawe Anlerin Compound in Otan Ayegbaju area of Osun State, relatives, friends and colleagues are unrelenting in their quest to find out what happened to him. His family has consistently addressed the media alongside the family lawyer to express their grave concerns over the disappearance of their illustrious son and breadwinner. The ASUU chapter of OAU led by Prof. Akinola Adegbola has not been left out. The union equally organised a media parley in Lagos to sensitise the public and call government's attention to the perceived lacklustre handling of the plight of Olomo. But in spite of all these efforts, nothing concrete has been heard about the missing egg-head. Nearly two years after popular television presenter Alhaji Razaq Gawat went missing,
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
the Lagos State Police Command still describes his disappearance as a mystery. Gawat, anchorman of an Islamic TV programme during Ramadan, E didè e ji sari, which is broadcast on Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 10, reportedly went missing around Apongbon end of Eko Bridge, Lagos Island on July 10, 2012. The Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Umaru Manko, recently said the Command had worked on Gawat's case for months without any success as to how or where to find him. He said, “The case is a mystery. There's nothing that we didn't do to find Gawat. For months, we worked on Gawat's case up till the end of last year; the State Director of the SSS and I were on it. At every Security Council meeting, we discussed Gawat. Even the governor was so concerned that every lead he got on the case, he communicated to us.” Gawat's car was parked neatly on the bridge, giving the impression that he had gone somewhere and was coming back. The vehicle, a 4Runner black Toyota SUV with number plate RE 77 AAA, was found on the Eko Bridge by officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority. The General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Mr. Babatunde Edu, had said Gawat's vehicle was parked very close to the kerb, while its hazard light was on. His wife, Fatimat, who is still hoping he would be found, said efforts towards locating him appear fruitless so far. In most cases, relatives and friends of the missing persons are left to bear the frustration of seeming endless searches until they get fagged out and lose all hopes of ever being re-united with their loved ones. And once that happens and they stop asking the security agencies questions about the
case, the issue is soon forgotten; what with scores of fresh cases happening on a daily basis? Some of the frustrating efforts can be found in newspaper advertisement, public announcements on radio, televisions and posters while relatives throng police stations to report just to find a clue. Dead or alive? Sadly for many, there are no words on the status of these missing persons or their whereabouts, leaving friends, guardians and loved ones frustrated and depressed. One of such is a newspaper advert dated Monday, March 4, 2013. It reads: “The management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) regrets to announce the mysterious disappearance of its staff, Mr. Sylvester Emefiele. He is suspected to have been abducted by unknown persons at Gwagwalada Area Council on Sunday, 23rd September, 2012. Mr. Sylvester Emefiele is 38 years of age, average height; dark in complexion. The NNPC is soliciting the cooperation of the general public with useful information that could lead to the whereabouts of Sylvester to contact Mr. Best Dulagha, Manager Security, Information and Investigations.” Also searching for a loved one are the siblings and relatives of Maria Mawulapo, 15. Painstakingly, they have been combing the nooks and crannies for the whereabouts of the four feet tall teenager who speaks Yoruba and English fluently. Any information about the girl who is dark skinned should therefore be directed to: “Asisat Soremekun of No 64, old Abeokuta Road, Agege or Isokoko Police Station.” Each time there is a knock on the door at No 26, Abbey Street, Egbe, Ikotun Lagos, Uchechi Nkoro's heart leaps, praying and believing that a lost loved one would saunter in. Still searching Would she come back home again? These and so many other questions are being asked by her friends and family members. Like Nkoro, everyone is enthusiastically waiting to be told that 16-year-old Mary Gift Onyebuchi
has been found. Sadly, the truth is that this dark complexioned girl, who also stands at four feet tall, has joined the long list of missing persons in the country. Abibu Orisanmi, 20 and Tunde Fidelis, 24, who are both deaf and dumb are also missing. Another is a 38-year-old printer, Olaide Shittu. He lived at No 13, Alfa Aminu Street, Shomolu, Lagos. He disappeared on April 24. Speaking to The Nation at the weekend, Shittu's wife, Rukayat, 29, a mother of three and a ticket vendor with LAGBUS, said: “Since my husband got missing four months ago, life has been difficult for me and my children. He is our breadwinner. Our three children are in school and it has not been easy giving them basic needs. He told me he was going to the office on the fateful day. He gave us money to buy materials we needed in the house but he never came back to see those things. I called his number immediately after the football match was concluded but it was switched off. Since then, we have been searching for him. If he was kidnapped, I beg the kidnappers to release him because of our children. Life has been difficult without my husband. Though Olaide's family members have been trying for me and my children, nothing is sweeter than seeing my husband at home. Please, help us.” Shittu's aged aunt, Alhaja Ramotallahi Odekunle, who has a partial stroke on her right hand, said: “His aged father, who is my younger brother, is seriously sick now because of the sudden disappearance of his son. Olaide came in to greet me on the morning of Tuesday, April 24. We chatted for a while before he left for work. He was a printer in Magodo area. According to what his boss later told us, Olaide left his place of work with other staff after office hours. Then, because he is a football lover, we were told, he stopped at a football viewing centre in the area to watch a match between Chelsea and Barcelona. That was the last time his colleagues at his work place said they saw of him. When we discov-
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Missing persons Halimat Jimoh 15. Olanrewaju Olarotimi Alabi, 30. Rasidi Olayiwola, 38. Lara Tonye, 13. Daduno Saidat, 19. Nelson Osagie, 26. Chinedu Okoro, 19. Chukwunoso Matthew Nzekwe, 30. Gbadamosi Christana Olusola, 43. Chinedu Okoro, 19. Chijoke Egbe, 19. Eric Afuberon, 19. Ididi Olanike, 12. Obonogwu Solomon Ogidi, 15. James Hundu, 45. Moses Thacher, 18. Chiwendu Emaefule, 13. Oscar Kanayo, 17. Selimo Oyebanji, 16. Eucharia Otaiku, 77. Bassey Okon, 13. Ebere Onwuanibe, 18. Rukayat Shonibare, 14. Austin Oborote, 40. Bello Saka, 70. Ibukun Joy, 13. Tunde Stephen, 13. Ogunode Thomas, 70. Tochukwu Agana, 14. Olawale Bamidele, 16. Daniel Amos, 12. Oyinkansola Towolawi, 10. Olaolowa Adegbaye, 23. Joy James, 18. Mary Oji, 20. Blessing Okpan, 13. Obinna Umelo, 17. Obasi Justine, 17. Nneoma Mary-Ann Arungwa, 13. Chigozie Okechi, 18. Morenike Lumowo, 35. Ekene Umikwu Taiwo Sosiq, 24. Ayodele Olajiga, 41. Oriyomi Yusuf, 20. Priscilla Onyiyechukwu Madu, 20. Matthew Igbodo, 30. Joy Udoh, 15. Afeez Akinleye, 18. Jide Obakpolo, 26. Suporo Okafor, 13. Olamide Ayoola Solomon, 16. Adeola Ogunkomaya, 45. Josephine, 15. Nse Obong, 65. Shoaga Hammed, 21. Adeola Ogunkomaya, 45. Uche Nnadika, 15. Precious Bisong Ejike Oguanya Nzekwe, 30. Nzochukwu Ibegbu, 13. Amechi Ezenaka, 17. Amaka Ogoke, 12. Victoria Umoh, 38. Ogechi Ede, 15. Joy Ijeoma Emmanuel, 13.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
Missing persons: A nation in •Continued from Page 39 ered that he didn't come back to the house, we called his boss to ask if our son was still at work. The boss said Olaide left for house and other people in the press office confirmed that they left the place with Olaide the previous night. “We later heard that policemen raided the area after the match because of the fracas between fans of the football clubs but we could not say if he was among the people arrested. We visited all the police stations around Magodo, but Olaide's name was not registered among those detained. We also visited various hospitals in Lagos, but never saw anyone that looked like him. Since then, we have been going from one television station to another, all to no avail. As we were crying over our missing son, we also heard that Alhaji Gawat of NTA was also declared missing. At this point, I was shocked. How could people get lost like that and, months after, nothing would be heard of the person again? Yet they told us that there is government and security. Olaide was our breadwinner. If his was a case of kidnap, nobody has contacted us to bring money. You press people should please help us to find our son and appeal to the government to strengthen security before everybody in Nigeria is declared missing.” There are also cases of those who have been missing for years. One of such is Olumide Adelogba. For five years, his mother, Mrs. Olayinka Adelogba, 68, has waited for his return to their Federal Housing Estate, Ipaja, Lagos suburb home. She told The Nation that only death could make her get over Olumide's disappearance. The statistics of missing persons, where available, are scary. In Lagos, about 40 people have been declared missing this year already. In 2010, about 258 persons were declared missing after several fruitless searches by their families and the police. About 156 of those missing were male. Females make up 102. A police source said a large percentage of the missing persons comprised mostly young people between ages 12 and 27. Those within the 40s and above are very few. He also said contrary to the notion that more people get missing in December, the 2010 record of the last months of the year showed a decrease in the number of missing people. In the data provided, 16 people went missing in December of 2010 and 15 in October. He also noted that besides the 258 police recorded in their data base, the actual number could be more because some families did not report such disappearances to the police for lack of confidence. Cases of missing persons are not limited to Lagos. In Abia State, 16 persons were declared missing between January and May. According to the police, of the 16 persons declared missing, six persons were found alive. One person, Miss Peace Udeala, a trainee nurse and a native of Uratha in Isiala Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State, was discovered dead. The ages of the victims are between two and 28 years. The police said cases of missing persons were rampant in areas such as Umuahia North and South and Isiala North and South local government. “The unique thing about these incidents is that most of
the victims are house-helps. The information we have is that the end of each year, the police authorities are forced to coma majority of them run away from home over any little provpile as "keep in view", scores and scores of unresolved missocation. One of the victims just felt like running away to an ing cases. The Nation was able to get a list of Missing Persons unknown destination and did not inform the people he was between Jan and Aug 2013. living with. The nurse that was found dead was said to have On the gory list is Ayobami Jaiyeola, 29, former National received a call that invited her somewhere to treat a patient,” Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member with the Lagos State police said. government, last seen leaving her elder sister's house at In Ondo State, 30 persons were declared missing Dideolu Estate, Lekki, Lagos Island, since 2013. Somto Orji, between 2010 and August 2012. Data from the state's Police 18, and dumb, is also on the list. He has been missing since Command stated that in 2010, nine persons were declared the afternoon of November 29, was last seen leaving his 14, missing. There was one case in February, two in March, one Akin Osiyemi Street, off Allen Avenue, Lagos mainland, in May, one each in July and August. The other three were home. According to the mother, he was not born dumb but declared missing between October, November and Decemhe suddenly lost his ability to speak at the age of seven after ber. In 2011, eleven persons were declared missing. Between convulsing. He was hyperactive and had to leave school January and August 2012, three persons were declared missbecause he couldn't write and understand sign language but ing. The first case was in March. Two were recorded in April. could hear. June and July had two persons reportedly missing. In 2013, Miss Augustina Ilevbare, a 14-year-old student of Comthe figure rose to 23 while this year so far, eight people mand Children Primary School, Ikeja Military Cantonment, entered the missing, not found list in the state. And in one single frightening swoop, about 200 girls joined the gory list from the troubled Borno State in the north eastern zone of the country when militant Islamic sect fighters made away with them from their hostel in a secondary school premises. The Nigerian military has admitted that most of the 129 girls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists from their school in the country's restive northeast remained missing. A week after they were abducted, the military announced that all but eight of the girls snatched from their school managed to escape, contrary to the position of the state government and the school principal. "The defence headquarters wishes to defer to the school principal and governor's statement on the number of students still missing," Defence Ministry spokesman, Chris Olukolade, said in a statement on Friday. He said that vigilance groups and hunters were Hat new measures are being deployed by the Police to find assisting the authorities in the frantic search missing persons? for the girls, who were grabbed from the GovWorldwide, the method of looking for missing persons varernment Girls Secondary School in the Chibok ies from community-to-community, state-to-state, and country-toarea of Borno State. Till the time of filing this country. However, they all have a common denominator: factors report, the "efforts" are yet to yield any fruit as such as socio-economic, culture and ways of life, among others. the girls' names continue to occupy spaces on As for the Nigerian Police, we have always done out, bit using the "missing people" list. standard methods in our search for missing persons depending on There are so many stories but the most the person being looked for. If the person is for instance a journalist, important thing is that the government needs we have to determine the personality, history, is he or she a truthful to put in a better strategy to guarantee the person when it comes to matter of integrity? We have to be able to safety of people and a data base that would make it easy to trace those who are missing. ascertain the health condition of the person and so on. It is this and
Force Public Relations Officer Mr. Frank Mba, in a telephone interview explained to Assistant Editor, Joke Kujenya, challenges of finding missing persons
An endlessly growing list Sadly, the list of missing and not found persons continues to grow on a daily basis. And at
many other factors that will help us to initiate the methodology with which to commence our preliminary investigation and subsequent search. So, methodology differs in each case. In most cases, when people go missing, police often find them and indeed, many people have been found. In the cases where they are not found, it could be that such a people may have died, perhaps, in road accidents, some may have slumped along the way, and may not have had any form of identity to be traced. In other cases, we have had situations where people found cannot be traced because their finger prints never matched any of those we have in our database. That means their cases are never even brought or reported to the police. In this wise, there would be little or no way we can be of help since we were never aware of the incidents in the first place. Police Control Room often has lists of people reported but found. And once they are found, we have been able to reconnect them with their families. A very remarkable case was that of a two-year old we recently reconnected with her family. The little girl was found in Maiduguri after she was 'stolen' from her parents in Onitsha. One, we had the challenge of getting her family because she was too little to be able to tell her family. And after dedicated attempts, we were able to overcome the difficulty and eventually traced her parents and handed her over. So also, it is usually hard for us to connect people with either memory loss or mental challenge. Such people are never able to tell us the needed information. Is there a reliable database for the Police? Of course, just as patients go to the hospitals when they have issues; so families of missing persons go to police offices to report cases of the incidents after 24hours of occurrence. To ascertain these cases, we check where the cases are reported to have happened, do background checks on the person missing and many others. Every police command has a database just as it is done with stolen cars and when found, we can refer you to go check at Oduduwa Police headquarters. How then would you rate your success in these cases? I can tell you boldly that we have recorded 90 percent in the num-
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
search of its people Lagos mainland, was last seen on Monday, August 5. She had lived with her father, Peter Ilevbare, a lance corporal with the Nigerian Army at 9, Brigade Garrison, Ikeja Cantonment, CBQ 75, Room 14, since 1999. He said the girl left home without telling anyone where she was going. Also, Ayomide Omope, 19, and autistic, was reported missing in January 2013. He was last seen on Thursday, January 31. But according to the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, “Not everyone that is not immediately found or whose whereabouts are still in doubt, for a particular number of hours or days, can be said to be a missing person.” He gave instances of many who maltreat their house helps and report at police stations immediately such helps disappear so as not to be on the foul side of the law. Under the law, no one can be declared missing until such a person is not found after twenty-four hours. Is the police adequately equipped to find missing persons? That is the question many are asking today.
be truthful about their destinations’
•Mba ber of persons being found. That is the fact except in the cases of deaths, accidents, or those taken to mortuaries without recourse to the police and later being traced. Then, there are the cases of those who fall into the hands of ritualists and so on. Areas of challenges I am reiterating is in the cases of death and where these people cannot be traced at all. And when a person leaves his or her home and tells a lie about his or her destination, now, that is another big problem. You know, the police and the family will concentrate their searches on the destination and the available information the person had given, whereas, the person may have encountered problems in another area entirely. This has happened more with younger people, especially females, who have either gone with a boyfriend or a sugar-daddy but lied to their families that they
had gone to see an aunt or an uncle. Then both the families and police will be dissipating their energies in the wrong direction. There have even been cases where such aunties or uncles have been arrested wrongly but after so much torture, the truth emerges and then, they would be released. We have handled cases of people going to picnics but told a different story at home. Then, their bodies were later found in mortuaries while families who knew nothing about the cases have been wrongly punished. Some people had collapsed due to internal health problems and when the situation leads to their death, they have no trace or identification and then, their families keep hoping endlessly. Many corpses found on roadsides belong to some families, but without ID cards or someone coming to identify them, they are not linked to nobody.
And this is why we have been shouting to Nigerians to carry their ID cards or other viable means of identification about. They must make it easy for themselves to be connected to their families. Everybody belongs to some families anyway. What happens in the instances of accidents? Already, you know that operators of transport services make efficient use of manifests in the cases of interstate travels. And each of these manifests is duly documented at the bus terminals so they are not lost or burnt in case they encounter an accident. The idea of Passengers' Manifest in our inter-state vehicles is for all passengers to write their names, telephone numbers, next-of-kin and destinations so that in the case of any eventuality, issue of identification will not be a problem. But even at that, many of the passengers will write fake names and information. And we also advise that people should have valid identity cards on them. Also, Nigerians should try as much as possible to be their brother's keepers. When you see someone feeling sick or trying hard to gain his or her composure, it is not right to run away or leave such a person to slump. We must help one another. Some of these are minor preventive measures. Our young girls, students, should be more security conscious. Why would you hitch a ride from a total stranger on roads such as Lagos-Ibadan expressway or Ore-Benin road? That is extremely dangerous. Why travel if you don't have the fund? Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) have fallen prey to ritualists in brothels across the country because they operate under false names. They have been arrested when they have problems and because we don't have their real identities, no one could trace them or tell their actual identities. These are serious factors that people often trivialise. How would a Fatima for instance call herself Sandra because she's a CSW? So, if such a person has a problem, her identity would be hard to match with what her family is looking for and then, her search may be endless. If the CSWs must continue in their choice trade, let them have someone they will confide their real identities to so that if something happens, the police will be able to find them and notify their real families. So, what do you advise people do? It is simple. Nigerians should always tell the truth about their whereabouts. Family members should strive as much as possible to be sincere with one another. No matter how hard things are in every family, each of them must have someone they can confide in. If they must be deceptive, the most terrible thing to play with is their destination at any point in time. A family member must be able to tell the police the actual information needed to trace their missing person. But in the instance where this is missing, the police will try their possible best; but finding the person could take longer than necessary. By-andlarge however, Nigerian Police has been up to task in finding and re-connecting missing persons with their families.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
N 15 April 2014, Mrs Gladys Aduke Vaughan passed away into eternity at the age of 93, leaving behind children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and more importantly, a legacy of service to people. She pioneered one of the oldest private elementary schools in the city of Ibadan, Omolewa Nursery and Primary School, established in 1962. She was a foremost educationist, who had chosen teaching career deliberately because of her love for children and the impact she had desired to have on their future. As a spinster, information has it that she was always surrounded by children, nursing in her heart deep affection for them. One day in her life in England while in training as a teacher was recalled: she woke up in the middle of the night, thought deeply about what life had in stock for a Nigerian child. Interestingly, that future that she ruminated deeply upon over 50 years ago is here with us while she is being counted today among the few worthy elites of her time who had the courage to affect the future. Omolewa School had inspired several generations of Nigerians, contributing significantly to national development, especially in Southern Nigeria. This point cannot be overstated because building institutions in Nigeria has become a nightmare with governmental institutions and structures falling apart like a pack of cards. Thousands of amazing people who have achieved enormous success in the modern professions --- medical doctors, lawyers, professors, scientists, engineers, teachers, corporate managers, nurses, church leaders, government officials, etc. had their illustrious foundations at Omolewa School. Former Omolewa students had attended Nigeria's leading secondary schools and have gone on to graduate from renowned universities in Nigeria like the University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Lagos, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ahmadu Bello University and several others. They have also attended renowned universities all around the world, including Europe, US, and Canada. One should not wonder why former Omolewa students are very loyal to their alma mater. It is because of the outstanding education and the love they got from the school during the early ‹ foundational period of their lives. They all exuded gladness and were very active during the school¹s celebration of its golden jubilee in 2012. They appreciated passing through the school and had expressed this in no uncertain terms. The testimony of one of the students who graduated over 40 years ago was very typical. She wrote with joy, “ My grandmother, without any hesitation registered me in the school. I would say this decision is one of the best decisions ever taken on my behalf. This decision, taken with solid faith, helped to shape my future.” She concluded that she was just lucky to have gone to Omolewa at the time she did. Ironically, Mama Omolewa, as she is popularly called would always avoid the limelight. However, from today and for many years to come, providence had dictated that she be celebrated and lights beamed on her selfless way of life, lived impacting on people around her. She had lived a life so that thousands of children and relations that passed through her hands could reclaim their lives back and enjoy it in great abundance. Omolewa School is a good example of what the private people can do for our country in the area of educational institution building, especially when we are blessed with people imbued with power-
Celebrating Gladys Aduke Vaughan (1920-2014) Kehinde Laniyan pays tribute to Chief (Mrs.) Gladys Aduke Vaughan, founder of Omolewa School, Otun-Iyalode of Ibadanland, pioneer educationist and a devoted a humanitarian.
ful vision of tomorrow. Even the elites in governments today have few things to learn from the initiative of Chief Mrs Gladys Aduke Vaughan and for the reason of the success she made of Omolewa. They should rather encourage private investments in education and not stifled them to death as embarked upon by successive military governments in the 1980s and 1990s. Moral upbringing and discipline that became the hallmark of Omolewa School were derived from the Christian faith and background she had. Chief (Mrs.) Vaughan was deeply committed to a progressive Christian faith that embraced everyone irrespective of their religion. She saw God in every child and must have held on to the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ that says we should
allow little children to come onto him, because theirs is the kingdom of God. Mrs Vaughan worked with people from various religious, ethnic, socio-economic and national backgrounds to advance the common good. She reflected the ideas and values of progressive egalitarianism that was expressed in the high academic, moral, and ethnical standards that have shaped Omolewa School for over half a century. It is noteworthy that her grandparents were part of the first small Christian converts in Ibadan in the mid 19th century. Through the CMS mission station in Ibadan, they were also the first group of educated elites in Ibadan by the late 19th century. This Yoruba Christian missionary foundation was important for what she would later accomplish as a pioneering educationist immediately after the
attainment of Nigerian independence in 1960. It is important to mention that she had the fortune of being brought up in different Christian homes while schooling in Lagos and teaching in Abeokuta where she had to live in the palace of Alake of Egbaland, Oba Ladapo Ademola, a royal personality described as an “embodiment of Christian virtue”. In Ibadan, her home town, she was from the age of five under the tutelage and spiritual warmth of missionary teachers who imparted in her deep religious and moral instructions. Indeed, moral instruction that was recently introduced as a compulsory subject in the new schools curriculum by the Nigerian government had been part of Omolewa’s foundation, meaning that God had made her to see this end right from the beginning. Chief (Mrs.) Vaughan was a committed humanitarian and philanthropist. She served as a member of the Red Cross Society, as a Matron of the Motherless Babies Home and as a Matron of the Alanu Fund which caters for the unfortunate patients of the University College Hospital, Ibadan and their relations. She offered hundreds of scholarship at Omolewa to many worthy young people who have gone on to serve the country in all works of life and have emerged as highly successful professional throughout the world. Her life was profoundly enriched by the thousands of students who had passed through the gates of Omolewa School in over 50years. Her brother, Chief Adisa Akinloye, who made a mark in Nigerian politics, in an interview many years ago described Mrs Vaughan as a willing help and ready hand when it comes to helping poor parents to whose children she granted scholarships. He remarked, “During the Nigerian civil war, she gave scholarships to children of war victims and adopted some and catered for their education from primary to university level.” Her services and humanitarian gestures got her recognition of being conferred a Non Hereditary chieftaincy title. She had also worked her way through the tedious Ibadan chieftaincy linage to become the Otun Iyalode, the leader of the female chiefs in Ibadanland. Professor (Mrs) Bolanle Awe captured vividly the essence of the chieftaincy title conferred on Mrs Aduke Vaughan in a recent publication when she wrote, “These female chiefs are the queens of women, they are their spokespersons and watchdogs to ensure that all is well with the city; theirs is truly selfless, dedicated service whose ultimate reward is paradoxically more giving!” Mrs Vaughan hailed from two of Ibadan's most prominent families, the Akinloye and Okeowo and was married to the late Chief A. A. Vaughan, and is mother to many highly successful children. Chief (Mrs.) Vaughan was an Old seminary (graduate of CMS Girls Grammar School, Lagos). She studied nursery & elementary education in England in the late 1950s and taught at MaryHill Convent School, Idi Ape, Agodi, Ibadan before founding Omolewa School in 1962. Laniyan, an indigene of Ibadan.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
By Olubanwo Fagbemi
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The reader’s writer •Revised edition
CHEEK BY JOWL
At the nascent writer’s behest and in deference to the masters, the writer presents supplementary writing manual. BE wary of mimicry or comparison. Just as an original writer imitates no-one, none can imitate him. Do not confuse, misplace or misuse words, as the difference between the right word and the almost right appears immediately clear to the discerning mind. Filter your writing for commonly misused words as ‘severally’ for ‘several times’, ‘complementary’ for ‘complimentary’, ‘loose’ for ‘’lose’ and ‘lay’ for ‘lie’. Words are not the same in the hands or minds of writers; while some chisel away, others conjure them. With conviction, confidence and courage, as well as the ability to improvise, everything and anything is writable. As a creator, you can be present everywhere and visible nowhere in your writing. Mind the gap between your inner vision and eventual expression, though. It is never completely bridged. As a contributor to the history of mankind, be fair in treatment of your subject, man or material. Do you desperately need ideas? Relax. Ideas could come simply from staring out of the window or doing chores in the house. Remember, when something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. What about dialogue? Yes, by all means. But better to qualify the speech with expressions, pauses, adjustments of shirt collars, drawing imaginary stick figures on the dinner table and crossings of legs. Your story should have a beginning, middle and end, but not necessarily in that order. Start close to the action as possible, using the active voice rather than the passive, especially in short stories. Note spoken English interference. Much of the meaning is implied in speaking but writing demands more logical sequence. With measured delivery, ensure adequate background, clear plot and unambiguous characterisation. Leave out the parts that the reader might skip as he would easily detect what you state as well as whisper. In fact, he would sooner hear the wind and market square din than note spelling and pronunciation. The two most engaging powers of an author are, therefore, making new things familiar and familiar things new. There are no new materials, in other words. To lasting extent, writing entails recycling of plots, climax and anti-climax of thoughts and materials already handled by the ancients. Nonetheless, whatever and however you write, use adverbs judiciously. Deploy more verb and employ less adjective. Ascertain that verbs agree with their subjects. Avoid the word, ‘very.’ It adds little, if anything, to your description. Treat your phrases tenderly. Cultivate the virtues of frugal expression and concise writing. Do not use a long word where a short one would do. To shorten the reader’s effort at comprehension, spurn abbreviations and give background and explanation to foreign words and phrases. Fixed expressions, collocations and idiomatic expressions spur effective writing, but they come fixed. Consult the dictionary and thesaurus as you write, for the reader often seeks entertainment as well as information. Use metaphors well, for they aid firm and meaningful writing. The best writing will also evince some form of suspense. To do this, the skillful writer often arrives at a simple conclusion by some puzzle. Now here’s the catch: every time you compose a story, your character is at stake. A writer’s style clearly gives an idea of the man behind the work. Beyond the inclination for simplicity or flourish, the writer must seek to refine personal thought and character to complement skill, for, words, so innocent and powerless in a dictionary, become compelling, even damaging in the hands of the malevolent. A good book justifies its hero as a bad book justifies its author. Finished? Likely not. At the point where you think you are satisfied with your work, you begin to clearly and logically grasp what you really want to say. So, sleep on your work; take a walk over it; scrutinise it early on a morning; pore over it on an afternoon; chew it like a meal; let it lie for months, even. Proofread carefully. Whereas it takes an hour to write a paragraph with imagination, it may take only a minute to cut. You become an author when you expunge the useless parts of your hard writing without sentiment. In other words, write with your heart and re-write with your head.
When we see a natural style we are quite amazed and delighted, because we expected to see an author and find a man. —Blaise Pascal
Jokes Humour The Rookie A FRESH police officer was assigned to ride in a squad car with an experienced partner. A call came over the car’s radio telling them to disperse some people who were loitering. The officers drove to the street and observed a small crowd standing on a corner. The rookie rolled down his window and said, “Let’s get off the corner.” No one moved, so he barked in the strongest tone he could muster, “Let’s get off the corner!” Intimidated, the group of people began to leave, casting puzzled glances in his direction. Proud of his first official act, the young policeman turned to his partner and asked, “Well, how did I do?” “Pretty good,” said the veteran, “especially since this was a bus stop.” The Rich Landowner ONE afternoon, a wealthy landowner was riding in the back of his luxury car when he saw two men eating grass by the road side. He ordered his driver to stop, and he got out to investigate.
“Why are you eating grass?” he asked one man. “We don’t have any money for food,” the poor man said. “Oh, come along with me then.” “But sir, I have a wife with two children!” “Bring them along! And you, come with us too!” he said to the other man. “But sir, I have a wife with six children!” the second man said. “Bring them as well!” They all climbed into the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large. Once underway, one of the poor fellows said, “Sir, you are too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you.” The rich man said, “No problem, the grass at my home is about two feet tall.” The Decider ONCE upon a time, a guy asked a girl, “Will you marry me?” The girl said, “NO!” And the guy lived happily ever after. He went fishing, hunting and played golf a lot, and drank beer and watched T.V. whenever he wanted. •Adapted from the Internet
Writer ’s Fountain OOKING the reader straightaway: So what would grab the dialogue which will carry it for a bit and then increase the tension on the line at just the right reader’s attention and hold it? You must know that the reader doesn’t moment. This is the craft of the art or the art of the expect a killer moment, like a beautiful song, craft – knowing when to tighten the line. to last on and on. No author can maintain Avoid a trite opening line like “It was a excitement for too long. He drops it on the reader and then goes into exposition or dark and stormy night”. Consider the following tips instead. Look at the beginning lines of any author Peculiar places: •Mexico City, the oldest capital city in the who writes for the type of reader for whom Americas, is sinking at a rate of 6 to 8 inches you are writing. How did he hook you, how a year because it’s built on top of an did he keep you reading on and on? What was underground reservoir. Wells are drawing the pace of the book, and when did he tighten out more and more water for the city’s the line?” Some writers grip you in tension from page growing population of more than 15 to page. They leave you grieving that you had million people. Mexico once had three completed the book or the series, especially presidents in one day. •Madagascar, an island country in Africa, when they hook you with the opening sentence the first page. Find the outstanding hook in is the fourth largest island in the world, on such books and use it as a technique, and store preceded by Greenland, New Guinea, and it among your growing toolbox of hooks. Borneo. Just as TV mystery or crime series put you •La Paz, Bolivia, is the highest capital city right at the crime scene during the first few in the world. It is virtually fireproof as the minutes and you are hooked, want to be amount of oxygen in the atmosphere is barely able to support fire at an altitude of hooked, and expect to be hooked, you cannot stop reading a book filled with suspense to the about 12,000 feet above sea level. end.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
Still groping in the dark Page 58, 59
Okonjo-Iweala on why Nigeria rebased GDP
R Ngozi OkonjoIweala, the Minister of Finance, at the weekend said the essence of rebasing Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was to ascertain the actual size of its population. Okonjo-Iweala made this known at a workshop on: "A Reflection of Nigeria GDP Rebasing: Issues, Facts and Fiction" organised by Kukah Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance in Abuja. She explained that knowledge of the country's population would help to direct the country's economic policies and how to manage it. ``The reason we did the rebasing is to get the actual size of the economy; it was done purely to get the facts on the table. ``When we saw the
By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf with agency report
final number we were so afraid and we spent three months with our own experts to arrive at the number. ``You know, when the Director of the Centre spoke, he talked about how much the number means to us as a country. ``And, he spoke about the cynics, those who will say 'na GDP we go chop' and that brings me to the central point of what we want to make about the rebasing. ``It was neither done for optimism nor for pessimism nor cynicism and I find it quite astonishing that people are commenting on this,'' she said. Okonjo-Iweala, who is also the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, explained that rebasing of
the GDP had allowed the country to examine the key sectors of the economy ``and also to identify those sectors that are making progress and those not included in the GDP.'' She said that the rebasing had also enabled the federal government to know that Nigeria's economy was moving in the same direction like the economies of other parts of the world. She said that one of the major problems in Nigeria was that people found it difficult to accept facts, adding that accepting the facts was necessary to move the country forward. ``When we have facts, let us accept them and move on. We should not write columns and commentaries on issues that are facts. ``Some things in life are facts; it is a fact that for 24 years we did not know the
size of Nigeria's economy, because we did not do what every country is supposed to do in every five years and that is to rebase GDP," she said. The minister called on all Nigerians to disregard the challenges in the country and device ways in which the country would move forward. She commended the Kukah Centre for organising the programme which provided opportunity for debate on issues affecting the people. ``We cannot have enough; we need this kind of thoughtfulness, and we need thinking people to really put up institutions that will lead this country. `` I and the country look forward to more from your office and I will like to have more informed debate and if the Kukah Centre can help us on this, it will really be good," she said.
• From left: Mr. Rotimi Omotosho, Registrar, Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Doyin Owolabi, immediate past president and Alh. Kabir Alkali Mohammed, ICAN President, during the annual dinner and awards ceremony organised by the Institute in Lagos…recently
Group sensitises traders on security
HE Traders' Rights Protection Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), said at the weekend that it has embarked on high level security sensitisation of markets across Lagos State. The organisation's announcement is contained in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade
Christopher Okpala, and Acting Secretary, Comrade Okey Enwuru. The NGO said in the statement that the awareness campaign was to forestall any unwholesome acts in the markets. It said that their action was informed by the explosion of another bomb near Nyanya Motor Park, in
-- Page 53
'Why merger of aviation agencies is necessary'
Abuja. NAN recalls that about 19 people were feared dead near Nyanya Motor Park incident on May 1, in Abuja when a car exploded along the ever-busy Abuja-Keffi Expressway. About 75 people died earlier and hundreds wounded in the first bomb explosion that occurred on April 14 at the motor park.
It said that the monitoring and control team of the organisation commenced the campaign to enlighten traders on measures to adopt to prevent any incident. The statement promised to take the campaign to residential places to caution people on the need to be more security conscious.
‘I see my staff as family’ •Ali Baba
Transcorp Hilton set for World Economic Forum • As Okonjo-Iweala assures on security at WEF From Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor), Abuja
ITH a few days to go to the 24th World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF), the management of Transcorp Hilton Abuja has told The Nation that it is prepared to host a hitch-free event and provide a world class hospitality experience for all the visiting delegates. Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, the MD/CEO of Transnational Hotels & Tourism Services Limited (Owners of Transcorp Hilton Abuja), remarked that "all the delegates of our best efforts to ensure they have a comfortable and hassle-free experience during their stay with us. We are proud to be the first hosts of WEF in the West African sub-region and we are set to create a refreshing hospitality experience for all the WEF delegates us." On the preparations for the event, Etienne Gailliez, the General Manager of the hotel, said "Transcorp Hilton Abuja has a long history of hosting large high profile international events and we are known for being leaders in our field and for delivering customer-focused service to all our guests. We will surely bring this cherished history of service excellence and experience to bear on hosting the 24th World Economic Forum on Africa." In the past week, the hotel's team of over 1000 employees has attended special WEF orientation training sessions where the peculiar demands of the event and the delegates were highlighted with a view to meeting and exceeding the expectations of the delegates. The accreditation process for the event started weeks ago and only duly accredited delegates to the WEF and personnel needed to manage the event would be allowed access to specific zones of the hotel. On security concerns in the wake of recent happenings in Abuja, the hotel's Public Relations Manager, Mr. Shola Adeyemo, said, "the well-being, safety and security of our guests are of paramount importance and we continue to make every effort to ensure that all practises and standards are in line with strict safety and security regulations." In a related development, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has allayed fears of insecurity in Abuja as the country prepares to host the World Economic Forum on Africa. Okonjo-Iweala, spoke at the weekend following last Thursday's Nyanya bomb explosion in Abuja. She told newsmen in Abuja that President Goodluck Jonathan would make a statement on the forum and security issues shortly. She said, ``With the World Economic Forum, of course, it's not easy; the news we have so far is that people are asking questions but it's seems encouraging. ``I think that by the time we hear some of the security measures that the president is going to announce, we will see that we will calm the nerves of those who are proposing to come. ``We have also sent a press advisory but we should focus now on the feelings. I told you that I was sad about the abducted girls and we should focus on what to do to bring the girls back. ``And, we should also focus on families of those who lost their lives; that is very important. ``It is not that the forum is not important but more important is the issues of the girls and supporting the families which have lost people. ``We will see what will happen with the forum; I am confident that things will be okay but our minds are not in it right now as on the issues of those who lost their lives and their families."
Despite the much touted power sector reform which saw the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into 15 successor companies comprising five generation companies (GENCOs) and 10 distribution companies (DISCOs) last September, there is still no hope of light at the end of the dark tunnel, writes Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
VERYBODY was in an upbeat mood last September when President Goodluck Jonathan handed over share certificates and licenses to the 15 new owners of the power distribution companies (discos) and generation companies (GENCOs) which succeeded the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). The move was described at the time as a historic milestone in the power sector reform process. An elated President Jonathan could not hide his feelings at the occasion as he expressed delight that the process of privatising the power sector has been "adjudged by both local and foreign investors as transparent, well-organised, and fair." Jonathan recalled how the journey towards the complete privatisation of the power sector began in 1999 when the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) constituted the Electricity Power Sector Implementation Committee, with a mandate to undertake a comprehensive study and review of the entire industry. He maintained that the success recorded so far in the privatisation of the GENCOs and DISCOs had prompted government to commence the privatisation of the generation assets of the new National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company of Nigeria (NDPHCN), jointly owned by the federal, state and local Governments. Acknowledging that there have been challenges in the reform process, he said they are being tackled as he listed the payment of PHCN workers' entitlements as one of such challenges. "It is important to say to our labour partners, who we know to be patriotic Nigerians, that they should not nurse feelings of displacement, but dwell on the tremendous possibilities that the revitalisation of the sector holds for them and the future," he said. The transfer of ownership to core investors was expected to increase significantly the present 4,000 mega watts being generated. But as the populace continues to pine under the yoke of darkness with no end in sight of the troubling energy crisis, not a few are agreed on the fact that the problem bedeviling the sector is irredeemable. Points to ponder In the view of analysts, investment and growth in Nigeria's power sector had for some 40 years seriously lagged behind the growth in Nigeria's population, leading to inadequate and obsolete equipment. Not only is capacity and equipment grossly inadequate, the performance of the existing facility
Still groping in in Nigeria's power sector is seriously compromised by irregular maintenance. Efficiency of Nigeria's electric power industry is also negatively affected by the concentration of generation, distribution and transmission sub-sectors in a singlestate monopoly corporation for decades. Investments and projects have not been adequately prioritised and planned; projects in one subsector are commissioned without regard to those they depend on to deliver power in other sub-sectors. By Nigerian law, only the Federal Government could operate in the sector. Consequently, all of Nigeria's generation, distribution and transmission utilities were centralised in one behemoth, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and extremely cumbersome decision-making hampered operations. But the monopolistic nature of the industry not only prevented the type of choice and competition that Nigerians have enjoyed in the telecommunications sector. It also led to a situation where Nigerians in all cities suffered from the poor performance of a single electricity provider. In many countries of the world, different generation and distribution companies are regional where different standards of service delivery gradually converge to improve overall industry standard. The commercial discipline that ensures that the three sub-sectors of the industry, namely, - generation, distribution and transmission - are legally bound to honour their obligations to each other is also absent. For instance, the distribution sub-sector fails in its obligation to collect enough revenue for the power that the generation sector passes on to it through the transmission sector to distribute to consumers. The transmission sector, on the other hand, cannot invest in building and maintaining the capacity to distribute the power the generation sector supplies to it. Besides, analysts argued that the lack of legal obligation to pay for power supply in the industry results in poor planning and waste of the limited power the country generates and inability to finance expansion of services from revenues generated within the industry. Power outages are prolonged and maintenance tasks delayed due to a significant shortage of critical engineering and technical staff; the governmentcontrolled power industry, unlike the telecommunications companies, cannot satisfactorily remunerate the quality of staff it requires to maintain and build capacity. Road to power sector reform In order to substantially boost electricity generation and supply in the country as well as make the sector commercially viable, President Goodluck Jonathan on August 26, 2010, unveiled the road map for power sector reform and outlined government's strategies to end the decade-long electricity crisis. The power reform provided for the establishment of NERC, the unbundling of PHCN and privatisation of the successor companies, winding up of the holding company and transfer of stranded assets and liabilities to an asset management company, as well as the establishment of a bulk trader and Transition Electricity Market (TEM) for emerging participants in the power sector. Since it began, the power privatisation has witnessed stiff resistance of the labour unions in the sector, which maintained that it was not going to be in their interest. But despite the opposition by the union
members and fears that preferred bidders might not meet up with the payment of outstanding balance of their bid prices for the power assets, given the difficulty faced by some of them in raising the initial 25 per cent of the offer value of their bids, the electric power privatisation programme is grinding towards a success, as almost all the bidders met the payment deadline. The generation companies now in the hands of core investors are Geregu, Ughelli, Olorunsogo and Egbin Power plants, as well as Kainji and Shiroro Hydro electric plants while the distribution companies involved are Abuja, Benin, Eko, Ibadan, Ikeja, Jos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Yola. They are: West Power and Gas, the preferred bidder for the Eko Distribution Company; NEDC/ KEPCO, Ikeja Distribution Company; 4power Consortium, Port Harcourt Distribution Company; Vigeo Consortium, Benin Distribution Company; Aura Energy, Jos Distribution Company; Kann Consortium, Abuja Distribution Company; Integrated Energy Distribution and marketing Company, the preferred bidder for the Ibadan and Yola Distribution Companies; Sahelian Power, Kano Distribution Company; Transcorp/ Woodrock Consortium, Ughelli Power Plc; Mainstream Energy Limited, Kanji Power Plc; and CMEC/ EUAFRIC Energy JV, which made the part-payment for the acquisition of Sapele Power Plc. Mixed reaction over new owners However, stakeholders were of the view that efficiency in the sector will depend on the right indices being adhered to by the new players in the power sector. For instance, the immediate past President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, said the new investors should promote customer services and boost power supply to reduce unemployment. "Some customers are asked to pay for transformers and this is wrong. MTN cannot ask subscribers to pay for base stations. We must also understand how we are being billed.
If I use my money to buy meter, someone should not tell me that the meter is not my property. We are expecting efficient power system because no development can take place without stable power. The new investors should also build manpower. "There will be challenges but it will be better than where we are coming from. Monopoly is bad in any system. Once power goes into private hands, the new investors know that they can be sued and this will make them to do better," he said. Megawatts profile of other countries To say that Nigerians are among the people most deprived of gridbased electricity in the world with around 3, 600 Megawatts for the over 160 million population, a per capita consumption that is far lower than many other African countries is not in doubt. Investigation by The Nation revealed that an average South African is provided 97 per cent more electricity than a Nigerian while a Brazilian enjoys 93 per cent more. Brazil is able to generate 100,000 MWs of grid-based electric power for a population of 201 million people while South Africa generates 40,000 MW for 50 million citizens.
Nigeria currently has installed capacity to generate about 6, 000 megawatts of electricity of which about 3, 600 is actually generated. This compares very poorly with the United States' 1, 010,172 megawatts (for a population of 310,571,000), South Africa's 44, 074.4 megawatts (for a population of 49,320,150), and Ghana's 2,111 megawatts (for a population of 23,837,261). Per capita, this equals 22.8 watts of electricity for each Nigerian, 535.8 watts for a Brazilian, 3, 252.6 watts for an American, South Africa 1, 093 watts for a South African, and 88.6 watts for a Ghanaian. Unending woes of power sector A legion of woes is bedeviling the nation's power sector, chief among which is infrastructural limitation. In the view of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the problem of unresolved staff issues is yet another major impediment to the smooth operations of recently privatised electricity generation (GENCOs) and distribution companies (DISCOs). The electricity sector regulator in a statement in Abuja said this emerged during the second general
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
meeting of the industry operators. The Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, during the meeting assured operators that the commission will meet with the Bureau of Public Enterprises to provide necessary interventions for speedy resolution of the legacy staffing issues, among others. "Legacy staffs of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria are yet to know their fate with the new owners as they are yet to be served severance letters, officially terminating their contracts with the company. As a consequence, these workers who have not yet been legitimately engaged by the new owners have been forced to linger on in this uncertainty." Besides, the dearth of skilled manpower in the nation's power sector is another problem troubling the sector. Echoing similar sentiments, the Country President, Schneider Electric, Mr. Marcel Hochet, in an interview recently said manpower loophole in the power sector was more serious than people thought, reiterating that the new investors required adequately skilled manpower to improve power supply to electricity consumers. Gale of sack This is certainly not the best of times for electricity consumers across the country as they may be in for the worst if the new investors in the sector go ahead with their planned sack of about 5,357 electricity workers, following the expiration of the six months probation period given by the Federal Government. The Nation gathered that Egbin Power Plc, the largest generation utility firm in Nigeria, may have concluded plans to lay off about 339 workers at the end of April in a move to reduce the wage bill of the 27year-old company. Further checks revealed that the board of the company met last Thursday to consider the recommendations of a consultant hired to carry out a staff audit to determine its manpower needs. However, in order not to create a lacuna in the area of manpower,
the Federal Government recently recruited about 500 engineers for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) who are currently undergoing training at the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NPTIN). It was revealed that over 27 business managers have so far resigned their appointments with electricity companies taken over by new owners, over poor conditions of service. Yola and Jos DISCOs, for instance, received resignation letters from eight management staff while the remaining eight Discos also lost 15 management staff to resignation. "Some of them were advised to resign after they had been shown letters," the source said, adding that about 5,357 workers in the senior and junior cadres have been penciled down for sack by 11 distribution companies. At the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (Ibadan DISCO), the situation was not different as four business managers had resigned over alleged unfriendly attitude of some top management officials of Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited, owners of the Ibadan DISCO. For instance, Mr. Kanmi Adetunji, Mr. Bashiru Osho and Mr. Johnson Adeyemi had resigned their appointments over what they considered high-handedness of the new owners. A senior official of the company, who would not be named, noted that, "these people are versed in the job and they are well sought after in the industry but they can't stand the high-handedness of the management." It was also learnt that more managers might tender their resignation letters this week in protest over the management philosophy of the DISCOs and GENCOs. Ibadan DISCO is the largest electricity distribution company in the country with its distribution and marketing network covering parts of Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Kwara states. But the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP), Mr. Beks Dagogo-Jack, in an interview recently dismissed fears that the latest development could truncate the gains of the power privatisation process. The PTFP boss argued that no experienced worker would be sacked because the power investors appreciate experience and as such would not want to lose any good hand. He pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with the new owners to allow the process take shape before they begin to express fears capable of sending wrong signals to international investors who may want to buy into the sector. At the moment, the various DISCOs are still battling for survival in the area of revenue generation because many of them don't even have enough marketers to execute revenue drive while consumers are also breathing down their neck to improve on the poor service. There is also immense pressure on them to provide efficient metering system to resolve estimated billing and poor power supply. In a related development, the managements of Eko and Ikeja Electricity DISCOs, have sacked no fewer than 5,075 workers, it was learnt. 2,600 workers were said to have had their identity cards withdrawn by Eko DISCO, while 2,475 were from Ikeja DISCO. "We are totally confused because
BUSINESS we do not know what to do. Our ID cards have been withdrawn without any explanation," an affected worker said. A senior officer who commented on the situation said: "All workers are to submit their ID cards and then re-apply to the DISCOs as new workers. We will definitely reengage some, while some would be laid off." Reacting, organised labour dared any of the DISCOs and generation companies, GENCOs, to sack the workers and face their wrath. Speaking with The Nation on the development, General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, Mr. Joe Ajaero, said the union was expecting a conversion of the temporary employment to full employment in accordance with extant labour law, warning that anything short of that would mean trouble. Meanwhile, workers in Warri, led by officials of NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC, crippled operations at Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, in Warri. A breather for consumers Customers of a DISCO that have not received continuous or cumulative electricity supply for a period of 15 days in a month are not required to pay the monthly fixed charge, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has declared. The Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, who gave the order last Wednesday at a pressing briefing in Abuja, said this became necessary after the commission carried out investigations into complaints from consumers over continued payment of fixed charge even when the energy is not delivered. "While the commission has determined that the fixed charge remains an essential component of the bill, it has however reviewed the continued retention of the fixed charge component in the tariff and payment of fixed charge in the light of consumer complaints, particularly with regard to continued payment of fixed charge even when the energy is not delivered to the consumer. Upon due considerations of these complaints by the consumers, and considering the role of NERC in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, the commission as provided under Section 32d, and Section 32f of the EPSR Act 2005, it is hereby ordered that effective May 1, 2014, where any customer of a distribution licensee has not received electricity supply for a period of 15 days, in a month, such a customer shall not be required to pay fixed charge." Amadi, however, warned that the order stands provided the disruption is not due to non-payment of electricity bill or other actions of the consumer like tampering with electricity infrastructure, vandalism, or it is totally unrelated to the fault of the distribution company. "There have been a lot of comments from consumers about the fixed charge and the concern is whether it is fair, and legal" he said. He maintained that the fixed charge which is an element of customers' electricity bill charged on monthly basis to allow for the recovery of costs associated with the fixed or permanent investments required for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity is a universal best practice, stressing that it is not peculiar to Nigeria. Amadi said that the section 32d of Electricity Power Sector Reform Act 2005, empowers NERC to ensure that the prices charged by licensees are fair to the consumers and are sufficient enough to allow the licensees to finance their activities and to allow for reasonable earnings for efficient operations. According the NERC boss, the commission had already published the monthly fixed charge in the Multi Year Tariff Order, MYTO 2, adding that no DISCO has the power to change it. But, while all these complaints and resolves are being thrown back and forth, Nigerians continue to wallow in the dark.
â€˘ From left: Comrade Abiodun Agboola, National Coordinator, Peoples Welfare League, Prof. Oyesoji Aremu, guest speaker, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, chairman of the occasion, Mr. Lekan Sote, consultant, Poshica Ltd and Mr. Ismaila Jaiyola-Alagbada, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives at the Osun 2014 Economic Summit for All Stakeholders held in Osogbo, Osun state...recently. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE
UKaid/PATHS2 lifts NAFDAC with over N500million â€˘ Restates commitment to agency's growth Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
KAID Department of International Development (DFID) through one of its affiliates, Partnership for Transforming Health Systems (PATHS2) has supported the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in the area of human resource management, financial administration, capacity building, technical support, among others with over N500, 000, 000 in the last few years. Making this disclosure recently was Mr. Vimal Kumar, Senior Logistics and Health Commodities Advisor, PATHS2, Abuja. Kumar spoke in an interview with The Nation during a workshop aimed at strengthening NAFDAC's Central Drug Control Laboratory, Yaba, and surveillance systems, ahead of the World Health Organisation (WHO) pre-qualification of the agency in Lagos. According to Kumar, who represented Dr. Mike Egboh, National Programme Manager, PATHS2, Abuja, the DFID through PATHS2 has been in the forefront as far as strengthening system is concerned. While noting that NAFDAC has achieved some level of success thus far, he however warned that the agency still needs to improve on quality. "Quality starts suffering when we jettison the requisite principles. There is need to get NAFDAC to become duly certified by WHO. Failure is not an option as this would affect the future of the country." Pressed further, he said, PATHS2 will continue to support in three areas, namely: financial, human resources management, implementation. In his remarks, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, who applauded the efforts of development partners like PATHS2, DFID, WHO in the agency's drive towards WHO-prequalification, acknowledged the fact that there is no one system that is 100 per cent perfect, stressing that passion, sincerity of purpose will drive the work further when there is team work. Orhii who was represented by Mrs. Yetunde Oni, Director, Human Resource Management, NAFDAC, recalled that: "The collaboration of the agency with DFID, WHO and PATHS2 towards strengthening our laboratory and surveillance systems started in 2005. This was in line with the recommendations of the study on counterfeit and substandard medicines in Nigeria conducted by NAFDAC in collaboration with DFID and WHO in 2005." Some of the outcomes of the agency's collaboration with the development partners, the NAFDAC boss stressed, has yielded fruits including the refurbishment of the agency's drug lab in Yaba, Lagos, development of draft regulations on GMP, GLP, GCP, GDP and GPVP with support of DFID and WHO, capacity building towards the entrenchment of quality management system, among others. He however, impressed on DFID, PATHS2, WHO to galvanise efforts aimed at assisting the agency to meet the December 15 deadline. Speaking earlier, Director Laboratory Services, Mrs. Stella Denloye, who delivered the welcome address titled: 'Quest for Improve Quality Management System of NAFDAC lab', said the agency has been working assiduously to ensure that its raises the bar of quality in its processes and systems. Quality check, she said, dates back to year 2000. "In 2004, WHO assessment of NAFDAC central lab showed some gaps and we stepped up efforts to address the grey areas. Between 2008, 2010-2011, PATHS2 tried to fill some of the gaps noticed. In 2012, another reassessment was done. In November 2013 NAFDAC became the first in Nigeria to attain IS01762. It showed that we have now met international requirements but this doesn't mean we must rest on our oars. As a national medicine regulatory testing authority, one of our mandates is to ensure that we become one of the speed regulatory agencies, where we have about 44 countries classified as the low risks group, like Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa, Algeria, among others. But we have none in West Africa. So our target is to make Nigeria among these countries." In her remarks, Dr. Ogori Taylor, who represented WHO country manager, said: "WHO offers a huge range of benefits better quality of lives." Taylor who described WHO initiative as unique, recalled that it was established in 2001 in response to the AIDS pandemic. The pre-qualification, she said, covers a range of services including regulation of quality medicine, global medicine. "Benefits of WHOprequalification regional reference lab in West Africa, enhance reputation and public image of NAFDAC, enhance compliance with good regulatory services."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
'How to curtail building collapse'
HE National Relationship Manager of Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria, Ibrahim Zitta, has tasked block makers in Nigeria to adhere to modern and international best practices in block making as that would help reduce the spate of building collapse in Nigeria. Zitta said this at the Block Makers Forum, Ikotun Zone, organised by Lafarge Cement at the Toluwalase Event Centre, Ikotun, Lagos. The programme brought together 50 block makers, civil engineers, safety experts, investors which featured safety talk, health chat, seminar and distribution of shovels, rain boots, head pans and other souvenirs. According to him, poor substandard concrete block in the quest for excessive profits, product knowledge
By Adeola Ogunlade inadequacy, poor supervision, and regulation, wrong election of materials, poor workmanship and use of non professionals have been responsible for building collapse in Nigeria. He said that the block makers are very vital to the building and construction sector and the near absence of quality standard practice will continue to lead to poor production. He lamented that there are many investors in the block- making industry that has little or no knowledge about block making and have thrown many families and communities into mourning due to building collapse. Zitta noted that although the company is working hard at providing quality cement material needed for block makers in
Nigeria, he said "the survival of the block makers to make profit will be dependent on the right standard practice put in place that would make their block strong enough in building projects." He said "we have discovered that 50% of our customers are block makers, thus he said getting the right mix and materials to get the right block for Nigerians is imperative." His words: "Lafarge's contribution is to continue to develop and inform the end users of our cement on mix composition to ensure quality products. This is because some of the block molders lack the essential knowledge of modern methods of making quality blocks. Besides, our bricklayers also have things to learn as we also have things to learn from them." At the interactive session, issues of pricing of
the cement product, materials used in blockmaking, availability of the cement products and other cost in block making was extensively discussed. In his speech, the National President of the National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria, Alhaji Rasheed Adebowale, lauded the effort of Lafarge Cement in organising the forum for block makers. He called for greater synergy among block makers across Nigeria so as cut down the activities of middlemen in purchase and delivery of cement products. He said "Standard Organisation of Nigeria will be coming out with a new gazette that it will make it difficult for individuals without adequate knowledge in block making to survive and that calls for greater synergy among all stakeholders in the building industry."
Why we honoured Oduah --Akwaaba Travel Market
By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor
ESPITE the controversies that trailed her tenure as aviation minister, Princess Stella Oduah has been given the Legends of Travel Award, at the Abuja Bantaba, the meeting events for travel professionals organised last week by the Akwaaba Travel Market. According to the organiser of the event, Mr. Ikechi Uko , Oduah received the recognition because of her contributions to the development of infrastructure and remodelling of airports across the country . Oduah, Uko said, achieved modest success in the aviation sub-sector. Among other things, he said, she upgraded the airports, transformed some into international airports and started the construction of brand new international terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu. Justifying the award, the ATM boss said:" It is ironic that commendations and awards are being given to Oduah whose tenure was turbulent and controversial, but indications show that these approval ratings of what she did as Minister was not and cannot be eclipsed. "Within a short space of less than two and half years, Oduah was able to remodel and restructure 11 airports out of the 22 airports owned by the federal government and kick-started the comprehensive rehabilitation of the other 11 airports of which work had reached advanced stage before she was removed." Under Oduah, the federal government reached a deal with Chinese Exim Bank and the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) for the building of five new airport terminals at the airports in Kano, Enugu, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja; work has started at the site of the new terminals and the constriction is billed to be completed by early 2016.
Experts stress need for strong corporate governance
XPERTS have stressed the need for the federal government to constitute a proper board of Federal Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) in conformity with the tenets of corporate governance. Firing the first salvo, Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje, a financial and management consultant, stressed that proper constitution of the FRCN Board would enable it carry out essential details, functions and powers with which it was established. Agbaje, who is the Chief Executive/Senior Consultant, RTC Advisory Services Limited, stated this in his keynote address on "Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act 2011: Matters Arising", organised by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) at Southern Sun Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently. Noting that the FRCN Act no doubt has some very useful provisions especially in its core area of accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and provides a framework for ensuring consistency and global standards in financial reporting in Nigeria, Agbaje, however, stated that "its value in the realm of corporate governance is more debatable." "I certainly believe the Act must be subjected to further examination by all stakeholders in the business community, government and regulatory institutions, the legislature and the judiciary so as to fine-tune rough edges and clarify the legislature wherever such is capable of dual or multiple possibilities," Agbaje said. "It also remains to be seen what the practical implications of the FRCN's new role as the "national coordinating body responsible for all matters pertaining to corporate governance" will turn out to be," Agbaje further said. In his remarks, the FRCN Executive Secretary, Mr. Jim Obaze, who was represented on the occasion by Mr. Nelson Anumaka, said the Council has been living up to its responsibilities in order to meet the aims and objectives for which it was set up. Obaze said contrary to speculations in some quarters, the Council, which replaced the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB), has been meeting regularly and performing the functions in accordance with the Act setting it up. According to him, these functions include developing and publishing accounting and financial reporting standards to be observed in the preparation of the financial statements of public interest utilities; reviewing, promoting and enforcing compliance with the accounting and financial reporting standards adopted by the Council. Besides, he said, the Council advises the federal government on matters relating to accounting and financial reporting standards; maintains a register of professional accountants and other professionals engaged in the financial reporting process and monitoring compliance with the reporting requirements specified in the adopted code of corporate governance. The FRCN boss, however, hinted of plans by the Council to roll out codes for good corporate governance.
From left: Mr. Kashim Ajiya, Customs Area Comptroller, Enugu-Ebonyi-Anambra Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Victor Gbemudu, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Excise, Free Trade Zones and Industrial Incentives and Mr. Kufre Ekanem, Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries Plc, at the Nigerian Breweries Plc/Nigeria Customs Service interactive session held in Enuguâ€Śrecently
NOSDRA seeks military assistance to tackle oil pollution
HE National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency has sought the partnership of the Nigerian Army to tackle oil spill and environmental degradation caused by the activities of multinational oil companies across the country. According to the agency, the partnership became critical as a result of the rising cases of oil pollution and its deadly impact on the environment and human lives. The Chairman, NOSDRA Board, Maj. Lancelot Anyanya (retd), described the oil spill in Nigeria as a war which had no foe or friend. Anyanya spoke at the headquarters of the Nigerian Army, in Abuja during a courtesy call on the Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah. He said: "We want to draw your attention to a
From Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
different kind of war that is raging across the nooks and crannies of our country. This war has no foe or friend and it is a war on the environment. "People live in great danger on account of the damage to the ecology and environment that oil exploration and exploitation and related activities impose on us. "People are dying in installments as a result of this without knowing it most of the time on account of the activities of the international oil companies and in some cases of crude oil thieves and other criminals in our country." Anyanya said the agency would come with a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the relation between NOSDRA and the Nigerian Army in particular and the defence organisation in
general. The Director-General, NOSDRA, Mr. Peter Idabor, said that oil pollution had gone beyond the Niger Delta. Idabor also said vandalism of pipelines was no longer restricted to the region. He said: "It has become more critical for us to partner with the Nigerian Army, especially when it has to do with issues relating to oil spill in this country. "When there is a large oil spill, there is usually conflict between the community and the company involved. In most cases, it is sabotage. In that case, we require the army to come in at certain point. "Most of the underground tanks that people use today to store petroleum products are leaking deep into the water table. And of course the consequences cannot be farfetched." He explained that by feeding on plants and
animals, human beings were directly or indirectly affected by the degradation and pollution of the environment. In his response, Minimah assured the NOSDRA team that the Nigerian Army would partner the agency to tackle oil spill. The army chief said: "I know the effects of oil spillage and the pollution it causes on the environment which include the destruction of the cultural and occupational habits of people. But I want to reassure you that the Nigerian Army will do as much as possible to assist and project the responsibilities of the board. "The assets of the Nigerian Army are available as at when needed. On the MoU, I am certain that whenever we receive it, we will study it and we will certainly provide the requisite assistance that will be needed and will help you perform your duties."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
'Why merger of aviation agencies is necessary' S
IR, since 12th of February, 2014, you've held sway as the Supervising Minister of Aviation, how has the experience been considering the crisis that rocked the industry before you came in? Mine is to hold the ministry and ensure everything is working perfectly until a substantive minister is appointed. That much I'm doing and the experience has been fine though, challenging. The aviation ministry is critical to our national progress, thus, it must be handled with great care. My brief is to see to the progress of the aviation sector as a supervising minister so there wouldn't be a lull. That much I'm doing, so far, so good. The US Federal Aviation Authority just audited our aviation industry as a critical process for us to maintain our Category One status. That process went on smoothly in spite of the fact we don't have a substantive minister and we are hopeful we will retain our Category One status as we met majority of the critical areas assessed. Are you saying there is no lull in the industry following the exit of Princess Stella Oduah considering that you are a supervisory minister? Being a Supervisory Minister doesn't make me less effective. I have the mandate of the President to ensure the ministry works and that is what I'm doing. I have already started by continuing the implementation of the aviation roadmap because it is part of the transformation agenda of Mr. President and approved by the federal executive council (FEC), which I'm a part of. The aviation road map as you are aware, is a comprehensive blueprint on how to transform the Nigerian aviation industry into a modern, viable, profitable and sustainable one. The roadmap gave birth to the upgrade of all 22 federal airports, building of five brand new modern international terminals to be located in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu. Works on the terminals have started and would be completed by 2015. The roadmap also defined the future of perishable cargo terminal in Nigeria. Already 16 of those terminals are under construction and most of them, if not all should be commissioned by 2015. The roadmap also talked about the concept of aerotropolis - a concept that would turn airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt into business hubs offering world class services in travel/tourism, entertainment, commerce/industry and lots more. Recall our aviation industry was in total neglect for over three decades. Most of the infrastructures were dilapidated and the quality of services was just as poor. Safety standards were a source of worry. Even the standard of training at the aviation college had reduced remarkably. But when President Goodluck Jonathan came, he made the aviation industry a critical component in his transformation programme. He had to do that because a nation with a poor transport industry, especially the aviation industry can't really progress; the nation can't also optimize its full potentials. This thought process gave birth to the approval by the president of massive upgrade of infrastructure in the aviation sector. It also
Dr Samuel Ortom, who was seconded to the aviation industry as Supervising Minister last February, has managed to keep the tempo of activities in the strategic industry in high gear, amid challenges. In this interview with Kelvin Osa-Okunbo, he speaks on the proposed merger of three aviation agencies, among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
•Ortom gave impetus to the upgrade of service delivery by government agencies in the aviation sector comparable to other parts of the world and most importantly, the raising of safety standards in the industry. Safety is critical because as the pilots would say, there is no parking space in the air. So one safety snag can cause unimaginable consequences thus, we take safety critical in the sector. Safety is critical to me and I will never compromise on it. We are also committed to growing the sector to a profitable one. Recently, the GDP was rebased and Nigeria's economy is now worth $510 billion, the largest in Africa and 26th globally. Good news but how much did aviation contribute to that figure, about N200 billion annually but the industry can contribute over N500 billion to the GDP annually if developed further. This is our target in 2015 perhaps by 2020, the aviation sector should be contributing N1 trillion annually to the nation's economy annually and support well over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs. The future indeed for the industry is bright, I can tell. Talking about the rebased GDP and the aviation industry, what does it holds in stock for us? The rebased GDP is positive for Nigeria. But like the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has explained, the rebased GDP doesn't mean we don't have economic challenges that must be addressed and should be addressed. The new GDP only gives us a better picture of the size of our economy and how the various components are contributing to the growth trajectory. This is significant because it would allow the various components of the economy to compete in terms of value addition. For instance, the aviation sector can better appreciate its value and retool its economic offering for better profitability. Yes, we have challenges
as a nation but let's celebrate our little successes wherever they occur. Also, with the rebased GDP, Nigeria can market itself better. For instance, if I'm selling the aviation sector to local and international investors, I can convincingly explain how their investments can be profitable because the Nigerian economy is on the growth trajectory. There is just no way other sectors of the economy would grow in isolation of the aviation sector. It's just not possible. People must travel to transact certain businesses as not all deals can be fixed via emails or telephones. You must also travel for tourism and other social engagements. Thus, with more economic prosperity, it goes without saying that, the aviation sector would boom as well. I also make bold to say, as more foreign investors are attracted to Nigeria because of the new size of the economy, some would invest in aviation. In fact, we are already positioning to benefit from these investors hence the infrastructure upgrade at the airports and other infrastructure we are building across the country. These airports under construction, when will they be completed and commissioned? We are hoping they would all be ready by 2015, all things equal. Besides the five brand new international terminals, just about 15, out of the 22 are still being done. In fact, out of these 15, five are almost ready for commissioning and the remaining 10 maybe ready before December or thereabouts. Work is in progress on the airports and the 16 cargo terminals. I have started inspecting the progress of work done and the facilities across the airports to ensure the airports are delivered on time and to specification. So far, I have visited Enugu and Owerri. I also visited Kaduna and Abuja. I will also be visiting Lagos and some other states where we have projects ongoing in the coming weeks. We are not leaving any-
thing to chance. The immediate past minister had said there will be no abandoned project in aviation sector. I can also assure that, there will be no abandoned project in the aviation industry. I'm not the type to abandon laudable projects of my predecessors because the projects are for the benefit of Nigerians and not for the individual minister. My children will benefit from the system tomorrow just like your children and every other Nigerian. We are building an enduring culture and a system that works irrespective of who is the minister. We must learn to build institutions, not individuals. What about safety and security? Like I said, security and safety of our airports are very important to us. In all the airports that are been done, safety is a critical component. You may not get to see the safety infrastructure but it's there. I may not be obliged to tell you all of our safety and security procedure for security reasons, but I can assure you it is robust. However, you would agree that we've moved from a tradition of one full body scanner at our airports to two scanners now in Lagos alone. In Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos we also have five screening machines that detects metals, explosives and other banned substances. We have several metal detectors in the other airports and other security infrastructure. Don't forget, we are coming from decades of decayed and neglected industry, fixing it won't be a tea party. It is a painstaking process and it will take time too. I think Nigerians should be a little patient with us. Yes, we may not have met all expectations, but we can only do better. Our target is to ensure international best practices. Recently, the Federal Government issued a white paper on the Steve Orasanye Committee which recommended that NIMET, NCAA and NAMA be merged into one. The FG approved the recommendation. But aviation stakeholders have condemned the approval arguing that it would be a bad precedent in the industry and Nigeria may risk sanctions from ICAO. Is government worried about these concerns? The Steve Orasanye Committee, I believe, considered all options and consulted widely with the relevant stakeholders even in the aviation industry before making the recommendations. Government has also looked critically at the proposal and considered it in the interest of the sector to approve the proposal. The merger, I believe, will improve efficiency and reduce waste and overhead cost in the aviation sector. However, the President has set up an implementation committee to see to the merger process. I don't believe the government would go all out to implement policies that would hurt the aviation industry. The government considers the aviation industry very critical to transforming the economy, thus it wouldn't jeopardise that with aviation hurting polices. Let's trust the government to do what is right. This government is a listening one, if at any point the government considers the merger detrimental, it wouldn't hesitate to rescind its decision.
Travellers' nightmare on Nigerian airlines (2)
HE position of Nigerian airlines on the New Passengers' Bill of Rights issued and declared to take effect from the 1st of August 2013 by thee Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA is clearly obvious as they all have failed to upload this clause on their website or the conditions of carriage attached to the ticket making it difficult for customers to lay claim on such. This Bill states that; • Passengers have the right to free snacks, two phone calls or two emails after just an hour delay on domestic flight. • Air travelers in Nigeria have the right to demand for reimbursement after a two-hour flight delay. • Air travelers who are delayed between 10pm and 4am or at any time when the airport point of departure and arrival is closed also have the right to a hotel accommodation and transportation. • Passengers who are delayed beyond four hours on international flights have the right to a free meal and communication facilities. • Airlines that delay international passengers for up to six hours must accommodate them and transport them from the airport to the hotel and back. • In a case of flight cancellation, passengers on domestic or international routes have the right to refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation and transportation between hotel and airport. They also have the right to compensation, immediate reimbursement of full ticket cost or rerouted at the cost of the operator airline. • On international flights, passengers have the right to compensation and full reimbursement in cash within fourteen days of full ticket cost at the price or rerouted at the cost of the operator airline. • For downgrading a ticket to a lower cabin class, the passenger has the right to reimbursement of 30 percent of full ticket price for domestic flights and 60 percent of full ticket price for international flights. • However for upgrading a ticket to higher ticket without the passenger's consent, the traveler has the right not to be required to pay extra fee • Challenges with booking flights for the same day Online; Given the fast pace at which service sector is growing, how technology has made living almost seamless, and the relentless cashless initiative, one would expect that certain things including flight booking intended for the trips on the same are fully automated to make life easy for airline passengers who have to embark on impromptu trips and may not be favoured with by location as at the time of their need. This has cost some people great deals as they have had to prepare for tips only to realize that the desired flight has been fully booked on arrival at the ticketing offices or the airport. • Lack of Trust In the online booking site and Payment Platforms; customers have had to consciously slow down on the do-it-yourself attraction which online flight booking offers. They lay their claims to downtime experienced at some point or the other while making reservations, even at ticketing offices, unreliable POS devices at the payment counters, and cases of unconfirmed booking despite successful payment. Passengers who have experienced this would rather employ the services of a travel agent rather than expose themselves to the uncertainty they have once encountered. • Rude attitude of ticketing officers and contact centre agents; Clients in need of the service being offered by airlines would certainly not feel any better having insults hurled at them by personnel who instead of going the extra mile to carry out their duties simply assume that all customers know what to do and take out whatever frustrations they may have on others who asks questions in the bid to get clarifications on the contract he/she is getting into by virtue of purchase. Locking customers out of the premises during operational hours is definitely unacceptable. It implies no regard for the customer who has made time out of his or her own personal business to patronise the airline. If operations are to be placed on hold for situations beyond the airline's control, customers deserve to know rather than have untamed security officer order them back with no concern shown for the inconveniences caused already by the service failure. There is little to be said about other airlines that ply limited routes. They seem to be doing just fine seeing a stiff competition exists with airlines that have gained loyalty of the major populace by virtue of how long they have been in operation and wider coverage. Dana Air seem to be giving their all in terms of service to have their image rebranded before all after the unfortunate incident of the crash in Iju area of Lagos on the 3rd of June 2013. The question however is with the existence and knowledge of the Passengers' Bill of Rights, whose responsibility is it to ensure that it is enforced. Certainly not the airline operators who would take on the easiest route to avoid shouldering these responsibilities, could it be the passengers who have nothing to lay claim n as airline operators refer them to the contract binding between them as expressly stated in their condition of carriage attached to the ticket or as provided on their website. The aviation authorities should do more than announce and publish laws but ensure that airlines comply once it is observed that the flight schedule is not adhered to. While airline operators do well to make known circumstances that exempt them from being liable to their passengers, they should also be accountable and made to pay for their lapses. •Concluded
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
pension scam: Growth outlook of the N5.6bn Judge transfers case Nigerian services sector O
HE prospect of Nigeria becoming the leading economy in Africa is being realised. For two straight years (2011 and 2012) Nigeria led other African countries as the top destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Divestment of assets by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) resulted in Nigeria's slip to second position in 2013 - the year global FDI flows also took a tumble as a result of weak economic conditions around the world. Remarkably though, much of the sold assets by the IOCs were snapped up by Nigerian indigenous entities, as local participation in the country's oil and gas sector has increased. While this is cheery news, the truth is that Nigeria has made even more impressive progress with structural transformation of the economy. The nonoil sectors are now the key drivers of the country's GDP growth, which is expected to rise to 7.3 percent in 2014. Until recently, South Africa had for years maintained the status of the top destination for foreign investment on the continent: it was the top FDI recipient country, as well as the gateway for foreign investments into other African countries. Also, Nigeria had usually trailed Egypt in attracting foreign direct investment. But now, the signs are clear; whereas opportunities in South Africa have been significantly tapped, Nigeria has only recently come under the radar of global investors because of its frontier opportunities in several sectors including power, infrastructure, agriculture, solid mineral, retailing and services. Egypt is embroiled in a problematic political transition, while Nigeria is strengthening in democratic governance. Besides, Nigeria's population of 170 million makes her the biggest market in the African region. This being the case, Nigeria looks set to be the lead destination of private investment in Africa for a long time. Peep into the scenario Last year, investment opportunities in Nigeria were headlined by the power sector privatization programme, which has benefitted tremendously from strong political will of the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in pushing through one of the most important sectoral reforms in the country. Since 2011, reform of agriculture has gathered pace. The reform agenda was codified in the Agriculture Transformation Agenda, which places emphasis on value chain development. Over a decade ago, sales of mobile licenses to local and foreign investors
By Roberts Orya
introduced wider scope in the structural transformation in the Nigerian economy. Private investment in telecommunication, after a transparent licensing round, saw rapid deployment of infrastructure in the sector. Modern mobile services rolled out quickly and dramatically increased access to mobile communication by all classes of Nigerians. Soon after this was the banking industry reform which has seen Nigerian banks rapidly transform from small entities to some of the biggest banks in Africa and the world. We also remember the sparkle of modernity in the aviation sector, where private sector management of a key infrastructure has taken place. Today, the current Administration has brought infrastructure investment to the forefront of its commitment to improving the Nigerian business landscape. It is revamping and expanding road, rail and aviation infrastructures. Beneficiary services sector Investment fund flows into these and other sectors in recent years have triggered a huge demand in the services sector. For instance, the banking sector has witnessed significant growth over the past decade as Nigeria opened up for
investment. Unlike in the past, Nigerian banks are funding private sector investments in the power sector and other infrastructure projects. Until now, the capital and appetite for this was simply not there as the Nigerian economy was seemingly helmed in. But there is burst of pent up demand, and thanks to much bigger capital, Nigerian banks are committing to the longer term lending needs. Financial services sector growth itself has triggered demand for ICT services, particularly high-speed internet bandwidth and software. Policy support to unlock these sub sectors of the services industry are in place. They include clear regulatory framework which incentivizes private sector participation. Huge investments in fibre optic networks are linking the major cities to deliver high speed internet connection. Coverage of the entire country with modern telecommunication services are becoming a reality. As would have been known to interested parties, the entrepreneurial drive of Nigerians is part of the facilitation of investments in technology as with other services. Nigerian software services companies are doing well in meeting the demand arising from rapid growth in the financial services value chain involving (pension) fund custody and administration, asset
management, fixed asset management, payment system, human resources management, etc. Increase in foreign capital flow for investment in Nigeria, has meant increase in inbound international aviation traffic. The need for linkages to the States has fuelled rising demand in the domestic aviation industry. Since Nigerian businessmen are also leading the charge of investment in other African countries, Nigeria is steps closer to being the hub for regional air travel; not only in the West Coast, but predictably in Africa. This trend is also pushing up demand for road transportation to open up access to the vast land and mineral resources across the country. The hospitality industry is a key beneficiary of the surging domestic and foreign investments. Data collected by W-Hospitality Group affirms Nigeria as the fastestgrowing hotel industry in sub Saharan Africa. Demand for luxury hotel rooms in Nigeria's political capital, Abuja, and commercial hub, Lagos, is complemented by rising demand for lower cadre hotel facilities in secondary hotel markets including Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Enugu, Abeokuta and Kano, according to WHospitality Group. NEXIM Bank's commitment Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) has been drawn to the investment opportunities in the Nigerian services sector. Since our mandate entails attraction/generation of foreign exchange for the country, we have significantly invested our resources in the hospitality and transportation segments. The Bank has made total funding disbursement of N15.6 billion in the services sector, which accounts for 16.4 per cent of total loan disbursement by the Bank. We hope to scale up the investments and also look into other segments where government seeks to make more impact and the private sector requires some of the resources we are able to deploy which include guarantee and advisory services. The services sector is the second "S" in our MASS Agenda, which sees NEXIM Bank focus on the manufacturing, agroprocessing, solid mineral and services sectors. NEXIM Bank will continue to support the transformation of the services sector as part of the multi-dimensional factors that are driving the sector to the forefront of the Nigerian investment opportunities. â€˘ Roberts Orya is Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export-Import Bank
YO State Chief Judge, Justice Badejoko Adeniji, has transferred the case of N5.6 billion pension scam involving ex-Oyo State Head of Service, Alhaja Kudirat Adeleke, and 11 others to Justice Adegboye Gbolagunte. The case was transferred from Justice Mistura BolajiYusuf, who was transferred to the Court of Appeal. The defendants were on Friday arraigned before Justice Gbolagunte of an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan for allegedly defrauding the Oyo State Local Government staff pension board to the tune of N5.6 billion. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that others linked with the fraud are Muili Aderemi, Iyabo Giwa, Adesina Ayoade, Oguntayo Banji, Adebiyi Musenbiq, Muili Adedamola, Adeduntan Johnson, Bosede Johnson, Kareem Rasheed, Olujimi Adebayo and Adewale Kehinde. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)'s counsel, Mr Gbolahan Latona, told the court that the defendants were arraigned on a 213-count charge which included conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence, fraud and forgery. Latona said that the defendants conspired to obtain a total sum of N5.6 billion from three banks - FCMB, Stanbic and Zenith by false representation using the names of pensioners. The prosecutor said that the incident happened between September 2010 and March 2011. The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Gbolagunte ordered that the defendants be remanded at the prison custody and adjourned the case to May 30 for hearing of bail application.
Firm calls for harmonised tax system in Lagos
CALL has been made for implementation of harmonised tax system to ensure condusive environment for general development in the country. The Lagos Manager for Growth and Employment in States (GEMS3), Mrs Yemisi Joel-Osebor, made the call at a training programme for budget officers in all the Local Government Councils (LGC) and Local Community Development Associations (LCDA) in the state. GEMS3, a business environment improvement organisation, is funded by United Kingdom's Department for International Development (UK-DFID) and supported by Adams Smith International. Stressing the need for tax harmonisation in local governments, Joel-Osebor said there is need to totally speed up revenue, tax planning and other relevant components. "We discovered that there is capacity gap, we want to ensure that through this programme the officers are better informed to put in place better policy, better practices that will ensure that they focus on growth oriented policies that will enhance their environment, "she explained. Joel-Osebor who is also a consultant for Lagos State Government also stated that the focus on budget and planning officers is to ensure that tax payers in Lagos and across other states GEMS is working know what to pay, how to pay where, what to pay instead of being harassed unnecessarily. Ola Oyinloye, a tax Consultant for GEMS 3, enunciated the importance of adequate planning to achieve desired objectives, adding that planning helps to see the future and how to get to the future.
Naira appreciates against major currencies
HE naira appreciated marginally against the major currencies at the official and parallel markets over the weekend, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. At the official market, the naira opened at N157.73 to a dollar on Monday and closed at N155.43 on Friday, gaining N2.3k. The currency also appreciated against the dollar at the Bureau de Change during the week by N1, closing at N165 compared with N166 on Monday. It, however, remained stable at the parallel market closing at N167, the same price at which it sold at the beginning of the week. The naira, which opened at N277.73 to the pounds on Monday at official market, closed for the week at N243 on Friday, gaining N34.73k. It remained stable against the pounds at the Bureau de Change and the parallel markets during the week. The naira traded at N278 to the pounds at the Bureau de Change and N270 at the parallel market. At the official market, the naira against the Euro recorded N220 on Friday making it to appreciate by N7 compared with N227 at which it stood on Monday. It also appreciated against the Euro, selling at N227 on Friday, compared with N325 at which it sold at the Bureau de Change at the beginning of the week. The currency was also relatively stable at the parallel market this week, trading at N234 to the Euro.
Traders urge FG on improved welfare Page 66
N an ordinary day, solving the Rubik's Cube is tough. And only few people manage to do it. But solving the cube correctly being blindfolded is just awesome. And when Rob Mollien just did that last Friday at the Lagoon Restaurant, Victoria Island, Lagos, the audience was astonished. Murmurs and soft cries of 'magic' rented the air. And together with his friend and business partner, Emiel Lensen, their presentation which focused on entrepreneurial success seemingly bordered on magic. Mollien, President of Together Safe, Netherlands, and Lensen, an expert on social media are both serial entrepreneurs. And with both of them being professional magicians as well, their presentation was indeed magical. But the event they were anchoring was far from being magic. The duo flew in from The Netherlands to talk business and how entrepreneurs can make it in their ventures. Using slides, the interactive presentation which had as its theme, 'NeuroLinguistic Programming technique for effective communication, effective network, and personal presentation skills,' lasted for about 90 minutes and allowed audience to participate in various activities which highlighted some business points. Earlier, to start things rolling, Mollien got the audience to network for 60 seconds with someone they never knew. This set about hurried introductions and exchange of business cards. It was a taste of more 'weird' but instructive interactions to come such as getting the audience to mimic them in a series of hand movements to eventually get a 'thumbsup.' Other than the duo, the feat was unachievable by others. "You were all watching and you were all paying attention," Lensen said. "And you all tried to do exactly as we did but somehow you got all tangled up." According to Lensen, "we human beings, we think we know everything. We think we see everything. We think we understand everything. But we are not as good as looking at things as we think we are. We're not good at watching. We just think we are."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
Whether it’s magic or business, nothing is impossible It is always impossible until it is done. That was the inspirational message two Dutch entrepreneurs had for attendees of a seminar attended by CEOs of small businesses held in Lagos recently, Joe Agbro Jr. reports
• From Left: Mollien and Lensen after wowing the entrepreneurs with their ‘magic’
Classifying this situation as 'operational blindness' Lensen challenged the audience to look and watch critically all aspects of their businesses. "We stop looking at things once we think we know what is going on," Lensen said. "What we think we see is also shaped by what is happening around us. So, things like religion, friends, is changing the way you look at things." The business lesson in that, according to Lensen is, "when you want to improve, first you have you to ask yourself what is really going on. What do I want to become? How do I want to work? Because once you know how you're working right now, then, and only then, will you find out how you want to improve." In a nutshell, Lensen
summarised, that “once we accept that as human beings, we are not good at observing, at viewing things, only then can you open your doors to broaden your horizons to see more possibilities of growth for yourself and your company." Mollien, who advocated working in teams, also trumped up the need to be conscious of simple acts of conversations and how words can be used to effectively communicate without rancour. The last show, which was meant to keep silent sceptics, had Mollien tightly closing his eyes with microphones removes from his ears. And in that position, Mollien was still able to be fully aware of goings-on in the environment. With attendees holding various objects, and
Lensen pointing towards any object, Mollien was able to identify bottles, business cards and numbers on them, shoes, phones and their colours. He even identified a 50 Naira bill and recited the numbers on it without seeing it. It was pure magic. But the duo's message is simply that nothing was impossible. "What we have just shown you is not about how we do it. The reason why we were here today is to show you that always is much more possible than you think there is. It is possible to see things blindfolded. It is possible to solve a Rubik's Cube without seeing. It is possible to show a big audience that we can put our thumbs up while you are still like this (tangled). There is much more possible. The only thing to do is to be aware
Photo: Joe Agbro Jr.
of finding your own possibility. It is possible to improve your business, your companies in ways you wouldn't believe right now. But believe me when I say it is true you can grow in so many different ways that for now may just be like a dream, but trust me, it can happen." According to Lensen, the use of magic in corporate presentation is metaphoric. "A lot of times, people come to lectures or workshop and they think to themselves, 'well, it is all just nice talk on stage but it doesn't help me because the goals I have are maybe too high or impossible to get.' So, what we show them (is that) nothing is impossible. We show a demonstration which is literally not possible. Everybody in the audience is looking at it and thinking to themselves,
'wait a second, this can't happen. Am I sure I checked everything? Did I check 'cameras' or is there somebody?' Whatever the reason it is why it is happening. And when they see there is no other reason, they are watching something that is impossible. And that is the metaphor that if you want perform anything in your business or in your personal lives, and it seems impossible, it is not. Nothing is impossible. Even the strangest ideas can become a reality. It's a metaphor what you can do with your business." The networking series which started as Market Access Nigeria in 2012 has had several editions held in Port-Harcourt and Abuja. It has always been sponsored by Etisalat. "Market Access Nigeria is a platform that encourages small businesses to interact with big-time business," said Lucas Dada, director, business segment, Etisalat Nigeria. "This event is of much interest to Etisalat because Etisalat has a passion for small businesses doing businesses." Established in Nigeria five years ago, Etisalsat currently has over 19 million subscribers. "Our stay in Nigeria has been quite transformational and that is why we have come to associate ourselves with small and growing businesses to be able to transform them from the level they are to the next level. It is about inspiring them, it is about engaging them and talking about empowering them." The event, which was jointly organised by Etisalat and the Entrepreneurial Development Centre (EDC) and targeted at small and medium enterprises using its EasyBusiness platform, is dedicated to easing business. Recently, the company announced 10 winners of its EasyBusiness Millionaires Hunt who got a grant of two million naira each as well as 50 entrepreneurs who got leadership trainings on how to effectively run their businesses and office equipment for their businesses. Despite the light-hearted approach to the presentation, attendees got the message. One of the attendees, Victor Essien, the president and chief executive officer of Alvasto Football Club of Lagos, was delighted to be here. "I have been attending different programmes by Etisalat," he said. "I enjoyed this one. And I think the message is that anything you want to do is possible."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
‘I dreamt of owning newspaper as a kid’ CEO and publisher of TheCable, Nigeria's latest online newspaper, Simon Kolawole, speaks to Gboyega Alaka of his childhood dreams of owning a newspaper, a world that has suddenly gone digital and the need for an online newspaper that'll 'deliver journalism in a very effective way.’
ONGRATULATIONS on the launch of your online newspaper, TheCable. What inspired it? The world is changing. We cannot stop the train. I grew up reading the printed newspaper. You needed to wait till the morning to get a full picture of what was going on. These days, by 7am I have read all the news on my mobile phone. I read all Nigerian newspapers without stepping out of my bedroom. Some weekends, I don't go out at all. I am indoors for 24 hours. But I am not left behind. I follow the news. In other words, the world has gone digital. Newspapers are not selling hundreds of thousands of copies as they used to do. TheCable came to establish its own space in the online media. The need to deliver journalism in a very effective way gave vent to it. At what point did it begin to occur to you that an online paper such as TheCable was the way to go? When I left as THISDAY editor in 2012, I actually was thinking of a newspaper. I toyed with the idea of a Sunday newspaper which I planned would go daily in one year. I commissioned a business study. It was not very interesting. I also thought about a magazine. I still like the magazine idea because it is a very different concept I had in mind. But I finally settled for online when I realised that millions of Nigerians now get their news on their mobile devices. Internet penetration is going deeper and deeper. I am not seeing new generations of newspaper buyers. It is those of us who grew up reading the printed paper - as well as organisations and maybe politicians that are still fanatical about the physical paper.
You spoke at the launch of a world that has virtually moved away from hard copy newspaper; do you believe that's entirely true, considering the fact that an international magazine that stopped the hard copy version eventually came back? It is a fact that the world is now more digital. We cannot deny that. It is also a fact that copy sales of newspaper are on a decline. We cannot deny that too. Another fact is that news is now selling for free, pardon the irony. People would rather get news for free. I am not by any means suggesting that the newspaper will die. We will always have the newspaper. But how many newspapers have reported increase in circulation in the last two, three years? Not many. It is not a Nigerian problem. It is global. Already, there are a number of online newspapers, including the regular newspapers that already have their online versions; what is it that TheCable is bringing on board that's going to make it special and different? The traditional newspapers keep their best for the printed newspaper. So that should work to our favour since we have nothing to keep our best for apart from our website. As for other news websites, we are in the same market but our concept is slightly different. We are principally for news and views on business and politics, with a large dose of entertainment. Look at us this way: we are a newspaper without the newsprint. We are going to present news and views with in-depth perspectives and elegance. We are going to be very creative. We are also going to engage with the authorities in a constructive manner. We want to deliver journalism from the basis of knowledge. We do not owe any
allegiance to any ethnic, religious or partisan interest. Your launch early in the week attracted some outstanding Nigerians in business and in government; how did you do it? Not many editors are able to have that kind of collection of people in one room? To be honest, I was overwhelmed by the turn-out. Even Alhaji Aliko Dangote who couldn't turn up because he had another engagement in New York sent a video message to wish us well and to contribute to the discussion. As a journalist, I have access to a lot of prominent Nigerians, both in government and business. But I do not ask them for favours. I have always maintained a good relationship with them, purely on a professional basis. I felt highly humbled by the turn-out. Leaving ThisDay and still having the publisher and chairman stand by you is remarkable; what's your relationship with Mr Nduka Obaigbena? Mr. Obaigbena is my mentor and coach. He appointed me Features Editor of THISDAY, on the recommendation of Mr. Victor Ifijeh, when I was just 25. He has helped my career grow. Whatever level I think I have attained in journalism today, God used Obaigbena mightily. He mentored me patiently. When I got things wrong, he did not shoot me. He always lectured me, even if he was very angry. I left THISDAY on a cordial note. I was already planning to step down as Editor when he made changes and appointed me Editorial Director. I told him I already had my plans and would like to pursue my dreams. He was very reluctant to let me go. People also believe he gave you crop of young guys free room to rise quickly to the top, talking about yourself, Waziri Adio, Segun Adeniyi and co; personally, do you think you would have risen so quickly if you were not working at ThisDay? Very difficult question. I rose quite early in my journalism career. THISDAY was my fifth job. I was already an assistant editor two years after graduation. I was Sports Editor of the now rested TNT newspaper at 23. No doubt, THISDAY offered me a massive platform in the mainstream, but I
had big dreams as a kid and I was already thinking of owning a newspaper when I was 10 years old. Tell us more of the ThisDay experience THISDAY was a wonderful experience for me. It is a place you can be all you want to be. You can choose to focus on building yourself and establishing your status as a successful journalist without anybody trying to clip your wings. Nobody can dim your star. It was at THISDAY that all the skills I had came together. I could report, edit and produce a newspaper in the mainstream media. As Editor, I worked more in the background, cleaning up copies and getting the big stories. My career as a columnist also blossomed at THISDAY . I will always remember THISDAY and Nduka Obaigbena for good. There were rough and tough moments, but what is life without those moments? You have also turned out a fantastic writer and editor; yet you started by writing sports. How did you make the transition and yet become so rounded? Thanks for the compliments. I always loved sports, but when I was at the university, my interest turned to entertainment. I was thinking of starting an entertainment magazine after my graduation. I still remember the name: Music Circle. But I went to do my industrial training at Complete Football and I was finally drawn away from entertainment. One part of my CV that is not very known is that I was Assistant Editor at City People in 1996, when it started. I was in the founding team. I was Deputy Editor of Financial Standard when it started, so I was introduced fully to business reporting. I have travelled a bit! You were named amongst Africa's next generation of leaders in 2009 by The Banker, a publication of Financial Times, London; with this launch of TheCable, do you think you are beginning to realise that potential? And do you think the world should watch out for more of you? Nice one! I have been doing things that are not in the public domain. TheCable will be in the public domain. But I can assure you that there is a lot to be done. The moment TheCable stabilises and becomes a solid brand, we are going to do a lot more to impact on the society. Remember what we said about constructive engagement? What's you prediction for TheCable? Where and how do you see it in, say, five years? I am happy we have got off to a good start, although technical hitches slowed us down a bit on the first day. But I was surprised at the number of unique visitors and page views we recorded in two days. If we build on that, we will become a dominant player in the market in the next one year. In five years, we want to be up there as the most respected online newspaper in Nigeria and the best out of Africa. It is a lot of work, but impossibility is not in my dictionary. Finally, Nigeria at 100: what's Simon Kolawole's reflection on the future? Nigeria is a work in progress. The workmen and women seem slow, but all the ingredients to make Nigeria great are there. I believe strongly that a new class of leadership is emerging and in the next decade, we will see a better picture of Nigeria. I believe in Nigeria. I believe that there is no country in the world that does not have differences and challenges. It is the political management of these differences that matters at the end. Nigeria will get better, even if at a slower, frustrating pace.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
‘Why we are reviving community theatre’
•Community Theatre at work
HARLES Ukpong is not only a former Secretary General of National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), he is one of the most vibrant artistes who has been working round the clock to keep the sector on its toes. A screen and stage expert, he have been involved in many productions that have shown him as a serious professional. At the moment, he and a few other artistes are bent on reviving guerilla or protest theatre which has been relegated to the background due to many unfortunate developments in the country. “At the moment,” he said in an interview, “we are trying to revive community theatre which we have now tagged theatre for development. We are trying to rebuild a vibrant practice, using drama. We know that in the process of doing so, we need young people, energetic and zestful artistes who are rearing to go to accomplish this mission. We need younger people for us to grow this sector. Some of us have spent long time in the profession and now we need to build people we have to hand over to; people who can adequately carry on and ensure that theatre remains a vital segment of an evolving society. You can call it community theatre, guerilla theatre or theatre for development. In some situations it is also called protest theatre. But all we know is that time has come for us to go to different communities of the federation to create the necessary awareness using the kind of drama relevant to the needs of the people. All the plays are issue-targeted theatre practice. It is in the process that we can discuss issues germane to the people and that they really need to realise and appreciate some topical socio-political problems in and around them,” he said. The main focus of theatre for development, in most cases, is to enable the communities and the people involved to solve their communal problems using theatre and this is exactly what the project is meant to do. Ukpong who, is a known face in most of NANTAP – organised plays and shows in the past, explained that the beauty of this sort of project cannot be overemphasised. He stated: “It will afford the people the opportunity to be fully involved. This is why we are looking at the issues of governance, issues of electoral malpractices, we are looking at community health, issues of terrorism, at least you know terrorists do not fall from the sky. We know most of the terrorists grew up in the communities and some of them can even be identified by their kith and kin. And so we need to let people know why they do not need to be involved in all these crimes, social vices that do not speak well for the people.”
Charles Ukpong has come a long way as an artiste. A former Secretary – General of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), he is one of the very few artistes who had shown interest in community theatre where he has indeed proved his mettle. He is currently working on a project to bring back theatre for development on the streets and market places in many cities and villages in the country. He spoke to Edozie Udeze on this and more The inherent idea behind this project is to encourage the local people to develop their places and shun social ills, ills that make for the retardation of the ideas and ideals for which a community is known. Ukpong said: “We need also to use this platform to discourage ruralurban migration. If the people are kept busy; if you give them the sort of entertainment relevant to their needs in which they are also a part, of course, they will be happy to stay on to make it work. What this means is that we will build the capacity of artistes, young people with potentials who really understand the very issues involved and how to pass the message across to the people.” Equally, the artistes involved, according to Ukpong will, at the end of the day be allowed to own the project. In his words:“They can continue even when we are not there. This is why we are looking at a whole gamut of relationships that we are going to build. We are also looking at international communities for funding and assistance because this is a big project that we intend to use to turn around the theatre business for good. We are also looking at the local government to see how they can be fully involved to give it the desired clout. In fact the local government can also be part of the ownership of the project not necessarily in terms of human resources, but they can play very prominent role to make it work, so that in the end, it will help to stem crime, steady the nerves of the youths and encourage them to think good about their people.” This is one project in which the leadership of NANTAP is prepared to give so much to promote. “Of course,” Ukpong said, “this is one project NANTAP is fully involved in. You know it has a national reach; we have branches in all the states of the federation and so it is easier for us to use the structures to attain our dream. So, what it means is that we cannot revive community theatre without NANTAP that has its offices in 36 states of the federation. In other words, NANTAP is a serious and committed stakeholder in this project and we equally have
our artistes on ground already for our take-off.” For the community theatre to be effectively monitored, the organisers have mapped out a few states as pilot states; states where the project will take-off from for a start. “To start with,” Ukpong further stressed, “we have taken four states to launch this to see how it works. These states include Akwa Ibom, Edo, Kaduna and Lagos. From there too, we will move to other states in such a way as to make it appealing to the people. With my experience over the years, I have learnt that the best way to make a community run is to make the people own what they do. So, it is going to be a workshop process with renowned theatre practitioners. These people will handle the workshops which lead into the project coming alive. The young people who go into these workshops will then develop the drama that will go into the communities. The primary concern of the project handlers is to use local languages to project the people. After the workshops are done, each project will be translated into the local language of the people concerned so that the message will not be difficult to permeate everybody. “This is to ensure that the message is not lost on anybody. You know how potent and strong a language can be and the people concerned will be happy to be told in their own local tongue. We will throw open the call for those who are interested to come forward. People will apply and then we choose those who can do it well,” Ukpong said. To make most of the street movements colourful and attractive, the project will involve street dancers in which colourful masquerades with beautiful costumes will parade the streets. To this, Ukpong said: “The topical issue here is to use dances to spice our movements on the streets. The dances have to be relevant to the communities. We will equally involve community masquerades. Apart from that, we will use all the dramatic elements of the people to catch their attention and work on their psyche. We will look at their specific cultures; what is major selling point of the community that make
them turn out en-masse to listen to the messages we have for them. In as much as we do not want to make this protest in nature we will have to bear in mind that we have to sensitise the people on the issues that concern them now. It is not going to be like a street carnival. What we have is total theatre on the streets, with full community elements that have the interest of the people and what they believe in,” Ukpong clarified. The basic locations the artistes have in mind are busy street junctions that will not obstruct traffic, market places, motor parks and such other important places where people can easily converge to watch total theatre and listen to the messages. “We will also go to the very slum places where you have masses of people who yearn to know more about the society. We know that funding has not been easy for the stage or community theatre, but we are here now to see what can be done to revive it,” hesaid.
Poetry With Her to Tokyo – 1
By Edozie Udeze
T’S a story to be told, How we met down town It all began in Lagos, February being the month In the midday blazing sun, down the street At a junction jotting into another Her face shone as the sun threw its rays on her noble smiles There, I met her, a queen There, I saw her, a cheerful gazelle Victim of a square, unfair inner world. And she tried to make a run for it. I met her in the depth of my Loneliness, a queer one But she led me on and on and on Her cheerful face wearing little tallow Her very person shielding her noble feature. But Hannah is a woman to behold! I will take you to London, I said. Oh, why London, young lass, why not Tokyo for that’s what I’ve always preferred. Then she smiled perfunctorily to glide away Now, see Hannah glide away, away beyond the slope. Beyond the real reach of me But I know that she is a queen The one I shall take to Tokyo And back to London, where we Shall sing, steeped cheerfully in Love Ain’t it all a blooming season of Love?
ELL us about some of your works. I practice in various mediums and modes of expression, all culminating in making me a well rounded creative agent – a complete artist: My creative energies find expressions in the visual arts such as painting, graphics designing, etc. On the other hand, I am a poet and creative writer with a couple of unpublished books lying on the shelves for now. As a painter my works are rendered in two major mediums – oil painting and watercolours. My watercolours are a celebration of spontaneous colours and ‘happy accidents’, in which you capture the fleeting moments, your patience is put to test while you take a breath of fresh air in visual poetry as I usually refer to my works in that whimsical medium of expression. Oil painting affords me the freedom to express hard and deep concepts. I am able to execute concepts on a larger scale and of course a more durable format such as the canvas. The oil medium no doubt is the king of painting or two dimensional medium of expression. But in all, my paintings and drawings in whatever medium, will cut across impressionistic, and semi-abstract expressions most of the time. Sometimes too I would also delve into the surreal when there is the urge to express some ethereal impulses. One of my favourite paintings in this mode is the one I titled ‘Time is against you’. It is a race against time, and we are all involved in it. Therefore whatever is there to be done must be done right now, because you lose this moment, it is gone forever. What are some of the exhibitions and projects in which you have participated? I have had the privilege of having my works shown in various parts of the country and a few times abroad. My works also are proudly adorning so many private homes in Nigeria. Some adorn the walls of corporate entities as well as galleries. In foreign lands I am proud also to say that my works are in private collections in places such as – USA, Russia, Spain, Kenya, Venezuela, Taiwan, U.K., and Germany. My most memorable exhibition so far is my third solo show at DIDI Museum, Victoria Island in 1999, titled ‘Lyrical Expressions’. I am also a curator, and so have handled quite a few curatorial projects for group shows. A good example of these is ‘The Pains, The Tears, The Regrets’ - an art exhibition on violence against women by (LRRDC), also in 1999, at the National Museum in Lagos. What are some of the challenges encountered as an artist? The artist in Nigeria encounters similar kind of challenges that other professionals come face to face with such as the lack of adequate social infrastructure, e.g. inadequate power supply, unorganised public transport system, etc. And sometimes, there may be slightly different kinds of challenges in that our low level of development has a serious negative impact on art and artists. Patronage is low and there is just a hand full of dedicated art patrons and collectors out there. The level of enlightenment is low and government has no interest whatsoever. Quality art materials are all imported and as such are very expensive to acquire. You should pity the student artists as they have to go through gruelling times to pull through art school these days. How do you cope with some of these challenges?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
‘My race against time’ Art is beauty; it is the gem of life. Art fuels your power of perception and vision; and how wonderful it is to emulate God in the art of creativity. The artist connects with nature, the sublime terrains of the universe, and the community because he is the mirror of society. “He maybe a prophet sometimes crying and screaming in the wilderness for those who care to listen. He is a friend of the muse. What can be more exhilarating?” asked Morgan Nwanguma rhetorically as he takes Yetunde Oladeinde into his world
•'Time is against you' - oil
The artist should learn to stay focused; whatever you do, keep your eye on the ball. It does not matter if you take a different route, but just know where you are going. And that is what I am doing. I try to diversify as much as possible and be determined to succeed. I have also learnt to improvise where necessary. Let’s talk about some of your memorable moments as an artist. When I am in front of my easel bringing to birth yet another creation and I enjoy what I am seeing, that pleases me; when I create from my computer a graphic concept, watching it grow from idea, to design, and to production, I am full of gratitude. I also love exhibitions: it is the melting pot for creative synergy and a meeting point for kindred spirits - everyone that matters in the art society. There you rub minds with fellow artists, art writers, patrons, connoisseurs, and art lovers alike. Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life? This is a hard question for me. I have admired a mixture of both Nigerian and foreign artists over the years. It may be due to my personal idiosyncrasies or exposure, I do not know. But I have been a great admirer of the works of the impressionists, e.g. Turner, Constable; the chiaroscuro master – Rembrandt, and the great British portraitist – Sir Joshua Reynolds, etc. Back home, I am excited by the woks of Abayomi Baber, two great watercolourists - Obiora Udechukwu and Sam Ovraiti. Other big influences on me have been Olu Oguibe, and my affable lec-
turer, the late Gani Odutokun. I am deeply moved by lush romantic landscapes, and so I love to portray them. Right now I am working on a series of these in oil. The quaintness and serenity of unspoilt country landscapes is a wonderful experience and inspiration. These, coupled with our variegated cultures have had a great influence on me. How would you describe the achievements of Nigerian artists? Nigerian artists over the past recent decades have attained great milestones: The standard and quality of works you see these days are remarkably high, and in the course of these the artists have continued to conquer new frontiers that were hitherto great barriers. Our works have gained international fame and recognition as many of our practitioners have become internationally acclaimed. So much of Nigerian art is already getting into international auctions abroad. If you had to compare what they are doing with those in the diaspora, what would you say? In terms of quality of output, I would like to place them at par. But the real difference is that undoubtedly our Nigerian colleagues abroad, especially in the advanced world continue to have an edge over us: There the level of art appreciation and patronage is higher; the working environment is more conducive to productive ventures. Where do you hope to see Nigerian Arts in the next 10 years? In the next decade from now Nigerian art will be more visible on the global scheme of
Tricks of women
Title of book: Author: Publisher: Year of publication: Number of pages: Reviewer:
Ete Moshood Oba The Oga World 2013 72 Joe Agbro Jr
INCE time immemorial, the guile of women over men has always occurred. Despite being considered in the society as the weaker, through cunning, rather than brawns, history records how women have overpowered men. According to the Bible, Adam succumbed to Eve’s wiles to eat the ‘forbidden fruit.’ Defeating the strongest armies of the Philistines, Samson fell at the hands of Delilah. And so, in Ete, a play dedicated to women and written by Moshood Oba highlights the cunningness associated with womanhood. The scene opens with a professor enmeshed in his books and pursuit of study. H is interrupted by his wife, Jelili, who succeeds in getting the professor to give her money for domestic purposes as well as ful-
filling some payments at her social club. He discovers his wife may have collected money from him to give another man purportedly her lover. Professor Dauda gets subtle hints that confirm suspicious stories that a junior colleague of his is his wife, Jlili’s lover. A message from his wife’s social club about the amount required from his wife and his wife’s insistence on not writing a name on the cheque he gave her, surly enriched what he felt was a rumour. When Musendiku, his driver had said his wife was involved in a romp with Dr. Hassan, the professor had dismissed it as a drunken outpour. His response when he fails to recognise his wife’s frolics despite hints lingered on. In his search for counsel, h meets Baba Malik and while there, a txt message the professor receives dazzles him. “I just received a debit mail on my phone that one Dr. Hassan collected the sum of five hundred thousand from my account.” Baba Malik then told him of women’s prowess but Professor Dauda would hear none of
things. This is what I hope to see. We need more discipline though, and greater exposure right from the training ground to the studios. We can get there. Tell us about some of your mentors in the arts and what you admire about them. The great Bruce Onobrakpeya (Dr.) is one of them. Both from the distance and even personal contact, this great icon of Africa has taught me many things. Sam Ovraiti is a great watercolourist who has helped to keep me on that course. I have followed his works with keen interest over the years even though he does not know it. If you had to advise younger artists what would you tell them? The younger artists should be focused; they should try to master their craft in the course of their work by exploring materials and techniques. It is very important to hone your skills and not be too engrossed with chasing after the money. But if they are consistent, they are bound to be successful. It is not at all a bad idea for an artist to graduate from the art school and still go into apprenticeship under a master – it all depends on what you want out of the practice. It is also not a bad idea for the artist to first of all look for paid employment while he is still practising; it does a lot of psychological cushioning. The younger artists and indeed Nigerian artists should form groups like is done in advanced climes. It is a big pity Nigerians, including the artists are not very cooperative; they should learn to share ideas. A lot of selfish tendencies abound, and this is not healthy for growth. that, to which Baba Malik concludes; ‘You know a whole lot of things as a professor but, little you know about the issue at hand.’ Baba Malik then retells a story of two royal fathers, Oba Olukoju and Oba Ilufenwa in their quest to understand the behaviours of their Oloris (wives) discovered how little they understood women. In the forest on their way to consult Baba Awodi at Ile-Ife, the kings meet Ndu, a powerful fair lady whom they are afraid of. They are forced to have sex with her to save their lives and they learn what they needed without having to continue their journey to Ile-Ife Professor Dauda also decides to learn about women. And for that, he packs for an overseas academic exercise, despite urgings against such venture by his wife. And off, he stubbornly heads on. However, wittingly brought back home by his wife’s wiles again, the professor arrives to a very surprising welcome. He learns well the hard way. Ete is a Yoruba word but the author purposely does not translate it. ‘Some titles are best left hidden and seeming meaningless at first; as an attempt to translate them may cause some literary damages and thus mar the beauty of the work.’
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
‘Many souls are searching for God online’ I
N what ways are you affecting the work of the kingdom? As the whole world knows, my father in the Lord and the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Daddy E.A Adeboye, is passionate about spreading the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. To support this vision in my own little way and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself commanded us to preach the gospel all over the world, we’re inspired to come up with the idea of “egospel rendezvous“ What is e-gospel rendezvous? If you look at our current dispensation, we are almost becoming an e-generation. There is e-commerce, e-book, e-banking (where you can do virtually all banking transactions in the comfort of your room). The church is the regular place where we Christians meet to worship and fellowship with our God but you discover that the pressure of life and job’s demands have kept (unwillingly) some from having contacts with God regularly. Rendezvous means a favourite meeting place. Some bankers, press men, medical doctors, etc, because of the demand of their jobs can’t even attend Sunday church services regularly, let alone midweek services. The concept is that you can still access Jesus and be ministered to despite your tight sched-
HE Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) has urged Christians and Muslims to pull together and fight against the destructive activities of radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram. In its reaction to last Thursday’s bomb blasts at Nyanya Abuja, which left an estimated 30 persons dead and several others wounded, NOSCEF said it was obvious everyone, regardless of religious affinity, has become a target of the terrorists’ attacks. The chairman of the body, Olaiya Phillips, in a statement on the attack, just 17 days after a similar one in the same spot, said: “It was only two weeks ago that the very same terrorists attacked in exactly the same manner only metres away from the epicentre of Thursday night’s blast. “Such a vindictive and callous action is the product of Boko Haram’s doctrine of evil. It is a plague that we must stop now. “Boko Haram’s logic be-
Pastor Tayo Adebola is a senior pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). He spoke with Sunday Oguntola on how he is reaching more souls via online platforms. Excerpts:
• Adebola ule via internet-enabled devices like laptops, iOS, window, android and smartphones.etc . How does it work?
Matthew 21:15, Mark 11:9 and John 12:13 talk about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. He rode upon an ass/colt to tell the people of Jerusalem
your king has arrived at last. In this generation, one of the ways Jesus will ride to the heart of the people is through the internet-enabled devices.
The devil had manipulated this platform for long, but now Jesus has taken over. It is not everyone that can afford LCD/Cable TV to watch various inspiring gospel programmes but virtually seven out of 10 people have phones and so it is a good avenue to access the saviour Jesus What are the unique features of this platform? We have e-word, ecounselling and e-prayer. Is this equivalent to a conventional church? Not at all, because nothing can take the place of regular church meetings, but this platform complements the church in reaching out to the unchurched and those whose demand of office disallows from regular fellowship. As long as you own an internet-enabled device, Jesus is within your reach but such must still identify with a local church. There are so many online ministries. What makes this stand out? This is a 24-hour online arrangement where people are being attended to instantly. After attending to requests, we follow up. If there is need for our presence at your request, we do so. How is this service accessible?
Our website is www.mercyseat4allnation.com) to access all our contents free. People only need a functional e-mail address to sign up to our webmail. We are also on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and others. What is the future? Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the famous Facebook, started it as a common room social platform in his school days. Today, Facebook has become a world phenomenon. I’m trusting God to make ”egospel rendezvous” become a world platform for signs, wonders, deliverance, healing, testimonies and ultimately where people embrace the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ via all internet-enabled devices of all categories. What will you say to other ministers who still consider the internet the devil’s toolbox? I will say that the devil never created anything. Everything in this world was created by God, but when we demonise technology, the devil takes over. We should all bombard online platforms with the gospel so that the world can hear about Christ and be converted. Staying aloof is a disservice to the body of Christ and the gospel. There are some that will never come to church. They are thirsty and seeking for God online. When we reach them, we would have spread the gospel.
NOSCEF condemns Nyanya blasts •Opposes parallel courts for Christians, Muslims By Sunday Oguntola
hind such brutal acts of barbarism is to drive a wedge between peaceful Christians and Moslems. “We cannot allow them to turn us against one another so they can pull our nation apart. We must stand united in opposition against their agenda of violence. “Boko Haram has once again shown they have no concern for who they target. They will attack Christians and Moslems indiscriminately in their quest to carve out a territory in which they can impose a radical interpretation of their religion. “They can attack armed security forces, but prefer unarmed civilians. They kill teachers and students equallyin their pursuit to
prevent Northern Nigerians from educating themselves. They murder men and women, old and young. He questioned how the terrorists escaped security watch and succeeded in bombing the same location twice in just two weeks, describing the latest attack as a national tragedy. According to him: “The bombing was not just a tragedy for the victims and their families – it was a tragedy for Nigeria. “Nigeria is ashamed that terrorists can return to the scene of their crime to repeat their offence. Nigeria is ashamed that our security forces cannot find more than 200 school girls kidnapped by these perverted criminals. “Nigeria is ashamed that the continent’s largest
economy - with troops providing security in other countries - cannot protect its own citizens. “NOSCEF demands immediate action from our security services, our Federal Government and our State Governments to: secure our nation’s capital; protect those citizens under threat in the North-East and bring an end to Boko Haram’s reign of terror once and for all”. The body also voiced his opposition to the introduction of parallel Christian and Muslim legal systems as proposed by a Muslim group, MURIC. Such proposal, it said, will further balkanise the country and erode its secularism. Olaiya said: “It is vital for the integrity of the Nigerian state that all Nigerians are equal before the law but
MURIC has said that they would be in favour of a segregated legal system so long as Muslims would not have to be subject to Christian courts. “If our legal system became separated, how could we possibly keep our nation together? “MURIC has appealed to Nigerian Christians to see them as “partners in progress” but how can NOSCEF support MURIC’s call to divide Nigerian society along religious lines? “If MURIC really do care very much about the unity of this country - as they claim then they should abandon their call for parallel Christian and Islamic legal systems and respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He went on: “This attempt to undermine the Constitution is the thin edge of the wedge in the process of balkanising Nigeria. The evil terrorist attacks we have seen in our nation’s capital, both this week and last month, are a fatal symptom of this very process. “NOSCEF agrees with what MURIC said in their statement. There are issues on which both Christians and Muslims agree. We all want good security, regular power supply, good roads, efficient public health delivery system, effective public transport system, qualitative education, end to corruption etc. “Then let us do as MURIC suggest and address these issues, rather than whip up support for a sectarianised legal system.’’
Hope, strength as men meet
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
Aregbesola encourages me to practise Christianity, says nephew
•A cross section of men at the rally
EN took time off their busy schedules recently to study the word and interact at the wellattended Discovery for Men rally organised by Fountain of Life Church Ilupeju Lagos. The ecstatic atmosphere was characterised by a robust praise and worship session, inspiring testimonies and a soul-lifting ministration by the president of the organisation, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya. Kehinde Akinbode, also known as Kenny K’ore, one of the nation’s finest gospel artistes and former member of the musical group Infinity, added further fervour to the already exciting atmosphere. He ministered gospel songs in his trademark contemporary style and had the congregation dancing and singing along to familiar
By Sunday Oguntola
tunes like “Because you believe”; “Olorioko,” “Yanibo” and “So mo ore?” among others. Pastor Taiwo Odukoya spoke on “time for exploits.” He pointed out that attainment of exploits is predicated on knowledge. According to him: “The kind of knowledge the scripture refers to is knowledge that produces works because strength in the kingdom of God is measured by the word of God.” Odukoya emphasised that it takes the strong to do exploits, stating, “our desire to accomplish exploits as human beings is part of the way we are wired.” He said, “When people don’t handle their mid-life issues with understanding, it
becomes a crisis that is generally referred to as mid-life crisis.” He stressed that mid-life and its attendant crises in the life of an individual is not the end but a period that should be handled with caution, knowledge and deeper understanding of the Word of God. Ayo Oluwaseyi testified of supernatural childbirth despite negative reports from doctors while Peter Okoloh spoke of new job and unprecedented promotion. Tunde Peters spoke of how God brought him from the streets of Oshodi into digital security and surveillance as well as developing his own award-winning surveillance cameras with branches of his company in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
‘Why Africa needs Christian education’
HRISTIAN education is a critical tool for production of godly children and a corruption-free society. This was the consensus last week during the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) at its West Africa roundtable with the theme: raising godly generations to transform nations. The International President of ACSI, Dan Egeler, said rising tsunami wave of Christian education is sweeping the world. According to him, Christian education has the potential to transform the world. Egeler used his experience as a child to prove the efficacy of Christian education. He said: “I went to a very small rural school in Tanzania. No running water, no electricity. There were no books; nothing in terms of facility but I received a top flight education.” He attributed his achievement, despite nil facilities, to “the power of a teacher. A
By Adediwura Aderibigbe
teacher who had taught for 30 years came from the United States and taught us. “I had that same teacher for all five years in primary school. We want to see the power of Christian schools in hundred countries we are.” The ACSI’s Director for West Africa, Mrs. Adun Akinyemiju, said: “There is a need for all Christian parents and adults to bring back godly education back into Christian schools. “Teachers should also be resource personnel that are devoted to those children and there must be integrity in those schools. “For us at ACSI, through Christian schools we believe that the brain that a child has is that of excellence. “The spirit of excellence should be in the life of every child. For school to be called a Christian school, the pupils must be trained — spiritually they must be developed. She added: “Our goal is to raise new generation of chil-
dren that will have the mind of Christ, serve God with humility and take their place as ambassadors of God’s kingdom here on earth. “In politics, they will go out having the mind to serve the people because Christ came as a servant. They will be children who after graduation from school would want to serve not wanting to steal or cheat. They would want to go all out and do things right.” Africa Regional Director for ACSI, Samson Makhado, admitted “Africa is changing economically but we continue with corruption, and maladministration. “We need to prepare the next generation through Christian education. We want to prepare for the best Africa. The Africa we can be proud of. “It is coming, coming with good economy. We want to deepen and produce the right people for this continent. “Our values were stolen, now it is found. We can change if we do this together. We need to do it together.”
CAN Bariga gets new leaders
HE Christian Associations of Nigeria, CAN, Bariga LCDA Chapter in Lagos has inaugurated new executives. Lagos State Chairman of the body, Monsignor B.A Okodua, charged the new leaders to vigorously pursue the aim of establishing the umbrella organisation. Okodua, who was represented by Primate Omoyele Adu, expressed delight over the large turnout for the inaugura-
tion, saying it demonstrates the acceptance of the new leaders. The council delegation was led by Bariga LCDA Secretary, Hon Bode Sotomi, who charged the newly inducted executives to continue praying for the government. “The Local Government has decided to be present at the occasion because of CAN’s support over the years in the area of prayers. We have come to say we appreciate CAN and we’ll always be around to support
them whenever we are called to do so,” he stressed. The new chairman, Pastor Clement Dada, tasked members not to forget their role which is to bring all Christians together irrespective of race or background. He stressed the need for oneness and challenged members to use Christ as their focal point. Okodua later inducted the new executives with special prayers and anointing session.
E evinced bewitching humility as he took graceful steps towards the gate of the palatial structure at GRA Ikeja Lagos, to welcome this reporter. And while the brief encounter lasted in his modestly furnished sitting room, a Bible was firmly held onto his lap. Welcome to the “incredible” world of Bode Oladeji, a nephew of the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola. Overwhelmed by disbelief at the sight of a Bible in the home of Aregbesola, who is roundly adjudged a devout Muslim of a rare breed, the reporter could not contain the hunger to find out if the holy book he was holding was indeed a bible. “Is this a Bible or a Qu’ran?” The reporter asked. Looking the reporter in the face, he responded: “Yes, it is! Why did you ask?” “Many, like me, would be surprised seeing any religious book other than a Qu’ran, even kilometers near your uncle, Governor Aregbesola,” the reporter said. Then it became a topic for a brief discourse. Pointedly, the reporter demanded to know if he had the liver to bring his Bible near Aregbesola whenever they are together. Bode let out what would unsettle many who see the governor as an implacable religious extremist. The reporter threw a bait, saying: “Many see Governor Aregbesola as a religious bigot. Being close to him, would you describe that as an honest assessment?” “My good Lord!” Bode, a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), exclaimed in obvious disbelief. “It is very wrong a notion. It will be so unfair for anyone to ascribe religious intolerance to him, maybe in the name of politicking. It is either the person does not know him or he pretends not to know him out of petty mischief. Though born in the United Kingdom (UK), where I also studied, since I finally
•Oladeji By Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor
returned into Nigeria in 2010, I have been living with him (Aregbesola). “And I make bold to say that his liberal disposition to all religions is exemplary. He is incredibly liberal and fairminded when it comes to relating with people. “My uncle tolerates and accommodates all religions – Christian, Muslim and even traditional. He has friends and associates from the various religious communities whom he treats without an iota of bias. Though he holds his Islamic faith so sacred and he is unshakeable, he believes in godliness as the soul of human relationships with his fellowmen”. The University of Ghana graduate went on: “In our family as big as it is, there are many Christians like me. He treats us all with unbelievable equality. Most times I would be studying biblical scriptures in his presence in the sitting room here and we would both be sharing views as regards righteousness and love for mankind, which he so much cherishes because he loathes seeing anyone suffer around him.” Then the clincher: “Many a time on Sundays, as busy as he usually is, he would ask me:
‘Bode, are you not going to church today? Are you not supposed to be in church by now?’ He allows us to practise our choice faiths. His overriding concern is for you to be faithful and be a living exemplar in godliness.” When asked to dwell on a quality that, to him, stands the governor out, Bode, who is observing his National Youth Service in Ibadan, Oyo State, said emphatically: “He is a friend of the less-privileged and a fighter for the oppressed as everybody can see. He is a workaholic who is committed to public good, even at the expense of his family. We can only pray to have many like him at the various levels of our national life.” He said it was time Nigerians eschewed campaigns of calumny in political competitions, saying: “We ought to have outgrown that if we truly want development and better days. This is my word for the good people of Osun State. Of course, they know what is good for them.” “But you said all these because he is your uncle,” the reporter teased Bode. His response: “What will I gain as a believer? The truth must be told to rescue those that are being misled, all in the name of politics. We must all tell the truth and let it set us free.”
‘How youth can make a difference’
HE Presiding Pastor of Sure Word Assembly, Dr Dennis Inyang, has advised youth to see themselves created uniquely by God to add value to the world. He spoke during the church’s annual youth convention with the theme: radically different. Inyang challenged the youths to escape the culture of immorality and corruption in
By Sunday Oguntola
the world and lead lives of righteousness as followers of Christ. Submitting that the future of our nation lies with the youth, he argued that the only way they can bring about positive change in the society is to do things differently. Highlights of the convention included a writing com-
petition on My Vision for Nigeria. The congregation was enthralled as the winning entry written by Ebele Onugha was read. It painted a dream picture of Nigeria with constant power, good roads, safety and orderliness. There was also a keenly contested singing competition won by Olakunle Hassan.
Ademowo seeks prayers, counsels for Nigeria
HE Dean Emeritus and Bishop of Lagos Anglican Diocese, The Most Rev Ephraim Ademowo, has challenged Christians to continue lifting the country in prayers. He also said every available platform and opportunity must be used to proffer solutions to the socio-political challenges facing Nigeria. Ademowo spoke last Monday ahead of the 32nd synod of the Diocese of Lagos with the theme: divine intervention.
By Tosin Adesile
He lamented that Nigeria is yet to grapple with the uphill task of nation-building. According to him: “After 100 years of living together, we are yet to come to terms on how to remain united as one indivisible nation. “The church is therefore praying that God should halt Nigeria’s looming descent into the Dark Age era, insecurity, unemployment and worsening crime rate.” He said the synod opening
service holds at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina Lagos today by 4pm with the The Lord Bishop of Lagos West, Rt Rev James Odedeji, presiding. Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola, is expected at the official opening tomorrow for an address at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square by 11am. Highlights of the synod, according to Ademowo, include presentation of papers and bible exposition.
The Nation on Sunday May 4, 2014
BOUT a month ago a baby factory was smashed in Akute, Ogun State. The brain behind it, a self professed medical doctor was arrested along with his gang while about eight under aged pregnant girls were freed. Two of the pregnant girls have since been delivered of their babies under the Ogun State government custody. However, a month after the discovery of the said baby factory and arrest of those behind it, the suspects are back again, and the community is getting worried that one of the arrested suspects called Obinna has returned to carry on the illicit business by making sexual advances to teen aged girls in the area. According to the residents of the community, the sealed building is now accessible to the suspects. The home, 9 Tunde Sebanjo Crescent, Akute had been raided by the police and eight pregnant girls who were inmates along with one Emmanuel Chigozie Elesuwa, who claims to be a medical doctor. The pregnant girls were being groomed with a plan to sell their babies at delivery for two thousand dollars. According to the police, some of the girls had confessed that each newborn child will be sold for N300,000 ($1,800/1,300 euros),” and had promised that the suspects will be charged to court at the end of their investigations. Now a free man But almost a month after, the residents of Akute said they are now living in fear of reprisal for reporting them and giving information to the police. They said they don't feel safe if they could be seeing a suspect who was caught and arrested but now parading the street and moving freely in their environment as a free man. “We thought they should be in police custody but here we are , they are seen everywhere and one of them still comes here and behaves as if nothing had happened” Madam Sherifat Bello told The Nation. According to Madam Bello who lives next to the building, “We didn't know what they were doing in the building until the secret was blown out. Last week, my daughter, 16, whom I sent on an errand was returning around 7:30pm, she said she sighted one of the arrested suspects, Obinna, who started calling her and made sexual advance to her but she had to pick race, panting like a dog. That was how she narrated her ordeal to me. Another instance again was when she was in the kitchen upstairs, the said suspect, was waving and beckoning at her again inviting her to come down to their compound. My daughter said she was beckoned at to come to them. She is not the only one they were doing that to but many. My concern is that they should not take our children away to their native town.” She continued, "We have some people who are working in SSS who told us they might have been released because the matter had been taken to court so they had to release them on bail. Some said they used to see the man who called himself Doctor. His identity card's photocopy is with our community leader, Kabiyesi. They don't even come to the landlord's association meeting. His doors are always locked, my daughter spotted the man. We could sight them from my kitchen, we live upstairs and could see their rooftops here. I saw one of the suspects opening their window curtains in the compound and other people who saw them said Obinna was seen lifting weight pretending as if nothing had happened. But my questions are ; have the police released them or where did they get the keys into the building if it is true that they had locked the place ?" Madam added, “We are all in fear here, we are not safe if they could release these people and they are walking freely with confidence." Alhaji Hadji Ahmed, who should be in his 70s, is a landlord in the area and is shocked at what is going on. He decried a situation whereby their daughters are not safe in the environment where suspects are released without prosecution and allowed
* The building
* Oba Akindele
* Rescued pregnant girls
OGUN BABY FACTORY
They have returned! A baby factory was discovered in Akute , Ogun State, last month , while some suspects were arrested and the girls were rescued the State government .But the Akute community are now crying out that they are sighting one of the arrested suspects and the business has continued .Taiwo Abiodun was there to continue to perpetrate evil. He said “that is my house there (pointing), I live very close to the said building. Since people have been reporting to us that they have been seeing those arrested in the same vicinity and in the house where they were arrested then we are not safe please. He added, “those girls who were taken away had delivered. And one of the babies is christened Stella while the other was christened Amosun, but the fact is that we don't want such people around here again, we also have children , who are females we don't want these men here again , the federal and state government should assist us in sending them away." Another young girl confirmed the fear of the elders and pleaded with the reporter " lease oga don't take my picture, they know
me and could come and kill me .Obinna had committed havoc, no one is free to move around here between 6pm and night, they would call you to enter into their premises.” However, some of those interviewed did not want their pictures taken believing that the suspects could come and unleash terror on them in the night, Sherifat , Alhaji and others said. The building is over 10ft tall. It is about three plots and well fortified with brick fence round. Added to this is strong and barbed wires. No matter how tall one is, or how one jumps up to see the inside it is difficult to peep into the large and expansive compound to see what is happening there. On the walls of the building are words written with white chalk that they need male and female who need work with telephone numbers, however this again could be a
ploy to recruit the unsuspecting girls and boys who would be mating with them. A woman who said she sighted Obinna said “He should be in detention instead of parading the streets. I saw him, I saw him reading a newspaper pretending that nothing had happened. But others sighted him in the building and in the environs beckoning to school girls." In fact, Madam Adebomi (surname withheld) said she couldn't have suspected if not that one of the girls escaped and reported what was happening " there is no way one could know what they are doing there except you are part of them and they are very secretive and don't talk to people around since it is a Crescent and a quiet area as everybody goes on minding his or her business.” Alhaji Ahmed is still confused , he confessed “I am confused that this man , Obinna who was hired to be having sex with them is coming here all the time and he still has the gut to be calling young girls. It shows that we are not safe in this environment! A lady who simply identified herself as Silifat said she saw one of the suspects " the man was arrested along with his boss but he comes here in twilight and leaves around 5:30am , but when asked why they did not challenge him many said it is the work of the Police to do that." The community leader Oba Aleeh Idowu Akindele the Alakute of Akute said he is baffled that one of the suspects is still found in the vicinity where he and others were accused of crime. He said, “I am still surprised why these suspects are still lingering or hanging around here. I was told that they came again calling these girls and making sexual advances to them. We are now living in fear, our children are not safe and we cannot be living like this. We are appealing to the Ogun State government to help us put a final stop on all this. We are tired of these things ". The royal father brought out a tenancy agreement and the photocopy of identification card of the prime suspect with the following information: Government Of Abia State, Dr. Emmanuel Chigozie Elesuwa , Tel 08162285420, Office : Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba, Abia State According to Alakute, the man should be investigated to ascertain if truly he is a medical doctor and whether he has the authority of keeping teenagers at home and calling young boys to be having sex with them and paying them off! He added that the suspect had been given quit notice since but he refused to quit. Showing a copy of the quit notice, the community leader said "a copy of it was pasted on its gate but had been mischievously removed by one of the suspects." With the reappearance of Obinna in the community the residents are now living in fear and begging the Ogun State police to rescue them before it is too late.
Oddities The Nation on Sunday May 4, 2014
* Dejitade’s head
* Elizabeth’s hair
RS. Toyin Abiodun lives with her four children in a one-room apartment at Number 24, Adekunle Street, Akute- Odo , Ogun State. In her room she cooks, eats, washes her clothes and dishes. She and her four children defecate, and have their bath in the same room. According to her co-tenants, Toyin abuses her children by locking them up and using cutlass, knife and belt to beat them. Evidence of this is on their bodies. Their heads and bodies are full of scars while their hands are dislocated.The eldest of the kids , Dejitade,11, in Z I Primary School , Akute School Two! When The Nation got to the school, the teachers (who begged for anonymity ) described the situation of the three children as pathetic, " we are so afraid and full of pity for these kids and we had to report the incident to our community head , Oba Aleeh Idowu Akindele." According to the children, their mother would give them caps to cover their heads in order to avoid the scars from being seen or discovered. The other girl has a strange big Bob Marley strands of over 500 woven on her head to cover the scars on her head. The hair looked weird as it is too heavy for such a small girl of four! One of the teachers with misty eyes said, "The eldest one is in Primary Two at age 11, yet he cannot read or identify numbers one to four, he is always afraid and his speech is blurred and could no longer reason well, this is as a result of abuse from her mother." Another teacher who was full of pity said "The children are always afraid to go home when it is time for them to go.They said their mother used to beat them with any object from knife, cutlass, belt to iron. These kids need to be rescued before it is too late." However , at school the first born is said to have been affected psychologically as he does not know how to identify numbers and cannot identify any of the alphabets. Another teacher said "these children's bodies are full of scars, the first born Dejitade is about 11years old but he said he is nine, he is in Primary Two. He does not speak prop-
* The children
A room that serves as kitchen, toilet and bedroom at once This woman cooks, defecates, washes and bathes in her single room apartment with her children. Taiwo Abiodun reports erly while his hands have broken as he has dislocation. How can an 11-year-old boy be in Primary Two and still does not speak properly? I believe this has affected his brain." Dejitade said his mother uses stick, cutlass, and knife to beat them. He said it is true that she maltreats them always. He said she does not care. "She would put knife in the fire and use it to cut our body." Emmanuel said he is in KG Two, he said his mother used to beat them with cutlass, belts , sticks and knives. Damilola, 4, said she does not want to live with their mother again. "My mother is wicked", she kept on repeating the statement. The landlord of the house, Samuel Soyemi, said the woman was her late mother's tenant. " I asked of her husband but she said she was no longer with her husband. When I called the husband he said he is no longer interested in their relationship. This woman is weird, she would lock up the children and leave home till evening while they would be crying. She has done like that four times locking the
children in the room. She does not cooperate with anybody. It's like she has psychological problem .One day she locked up the children and used a knife she brought from the fire and cut their scalps, their heads are full of scars. She gave them caps to be wearing and tutored them to tell whoever asked about their scars that they were involved in motor accidents. That is why they wear caps .She baths for them in the room, cooks, wash clothes and defecates in the same room they live.” When The Nation visited Toyin at her residence she was met with a belt in her hand with eyes frowned , possibly she had just finished beating one of the kids. While the last one was on a potty defeacating and at the same time eating along with his brothers and sister from same plate! When asked about her life , she said she had the eldest child for her husband and later had another for another man but both are not serious men .On the last baby , she denied she is the mother and said the baby belongs to her sister, when asked where
PHOTOS: Taiwo Abiodun
the sister lives , she kept quiet and started challenging the reporter on his mission. However, she confessed that she at present has no man in her life as she had divorced her first and second husband who did not care for her. She added that all the tenants in the house hated her including the landlord , " they all hate me here and did not mind their business. In fact, I suspect it is either the landlord who had wanted me to befriend him and I refused or my former husband who came to report me in your office." Her four kids are in a terrible condition as their bodies are full of scars. The head of the first born is full of scars, while their bodies are full of sores and scars as well, no wonder the first born wears cap like the fabled Alade in Yoruba folktales who had horn on his head and wear cap always to cover the horn. Asked why she use to beat the children, she denied and claimed that the belt she was holding was just to discipline them at that moment. She said "the scars on them had been there for long. The first born had all those marks as a result of the beatings he had when he was with my brother in law in Lagos Island." Asked about the second one with scars and dislocation, she could not say a word but insisted that her enemies had sent the reporter to her When the interrogations continued she confessed that she has been to the Welfare office. She then called a number to inform the woman who spoke with this reporter. The Welfare Officer spoke with this reporter on phone and confirmed the scars on the children's bodies and she asked the reporter " has she started bullying the kids again? We once took the custody of the kids.” Oba Aleeh Idowu Akindele, the Alakute of Akute said the case has been reported to him from the school the children attend. He said " I have called the landlord to confirm what was happening in the house and he said it is true. I have instructed them to call the human rights organization to wade into the matter. I don't believe we can allow the children to still be under the mother's care. We need to rescue the children.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014 CHANGE OF NAME
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Seek better ways to prove your point, ACF tells Boko Haram
•Northern delegates condemn Nyanya blasts
From Tony Akowe, Kaduna
AN-NORTHERN organisation, The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday appealed to members of the Boko Haram sect to explore more civilised ways of ventilating their grievances rather than resorting to kidnapping and killing of innocent Nigerians. In the same vein, Northern delegates to the ongoing National Conference reminded members of the sect that the rules of engagement in conflicts forbid the killing and maltreatment of children, women and old people. In separate statements by their spokespersons, the groups asked government to improve the quality and volume of intelligence community and security apparatus for the purpose of prevention and containment of violent activities in the country. ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Mohammed Ibrahim, tasked government to prosecute all those arrested over terrorist activities to serve as deterrent to others. The statement reads: “It is sad and unfortunate that Nyanya town has now become a target for the terrorists in our midst to unleash their wicked act against innocent souls and humanity in general. “Bomb blast, killings, kidnapping and wanton destruction of lives and property by enemies of Nigeria in whatever form is a serious security challenge to us as a nation and we must all unite against them. The recent second bomb blast at Nyanya was cruel, gruesome and horrible. “ACF therefore calls on the perpetrators of these evils to seek a civilised way of addressing their grievance rather than killing innocent people who do not even understand what they are fighting for.” The group added: “ACF also calls the governments to install security gadgets especially in our urban towns that can pick and track down perpetrators of these heinous crimes. “Furthermore, suspects arrested in connection with similar crimes should be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others rather than keeping them in perpetual detention without trial. “On the issue of the Chibok school girls abducted by suspected Boko Haram insurgents 18 days ago, ACF wishes to commend Nigerians especially women and Civil Liberty Organisations, who came out in their thousands defying all odds to protest and express their anger and displeasure on the unfortunate incident. “ACF calls on government to intensify effort in securing the release of the abducted girls to assuage the grief and fears of their parents, relations and other concerned Nigerians on the condition of the abducted girls in the custody of their captors”. On its part, the Northern Delegates Forum, through its spokesperson, Anthony Sani, said that the perpetrators of violent activities in the north must put an end to the killing of people who know nothing about the causes of their grievances. The statement also reads: “From the global out pour of condemnations of the previous violent activities in Chibok and Nyanya, those perpetrating such heinous activities were expected to know that all religions preach against killing of people while rules of engagement in conflicts forbid the killing and maltreatment of children, women and old people. “It is against such back drop that Northern Delegates Forum calls on perpetrators of violent activities to put an end to killing of innocent people who know nothing about the underlying causes of the perceived grievances. “They should do so in the interest of the religions that are being desecrated and in the interest of core values of humanity as well as in the interest of civilized procedures for resolving perceived conflicts.”
NURTW boss consoles Sambo
HE President National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTWA), Najeem Yasin, yesterday consoled the family of Vice President Namadi Sambo over the death of his brother Yusuf Sambo, who died in a ghastly motor accident in Abuja. Yasin told Sambo during a condolence visit to Aso Rock Villa that the death of Yusuf was not only a lost to the immediate Sambo’s family but a great lost to the aviation industry and the entire nation. A statement by NURTW’s Director of Information Services, Kefas Dongoyaro, said Yasin prayed Allah to grant the deceased Aljanna firdaus and the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable lost. He called on motorists to observe traffic rules and avoid over -speeding on the nation’s highways to curb the menace of constant road crashes. He called on the federal government to provide road signs to reduce auto crashes. Yasin also appealed to the federal government to provide adequate security at various motor parks to prevent the reccurrence of the ugly blasts at Nyanya Park in Abuja last week.
Just ‘good riddance’
HE Guardian of April 28 welcomes us today after o four-week abrupt absence caused by unforeseen circumstances. We start from the front page: “Why FG awarded crude lifting (crude-lifting) contracts to indigenous firms, by minister” The incorrect extract implies that ‘crude is lifting contracts’! “Lagos PDP wants Tinubu arrested over (for) utterances on planned Ekiti polls” “Police threaten to charge offenders over (with) inciting statements” “Minister commissions (inaugurates) Abia eye centre” The next two faults are from The Guardian Editorial: “Calling off the Kano rally, therefore, would have been a wonderful symbolic gesture, (irrelevant comma) that would have spoken volume (volumes) to Nigerians….” “…what the president is doing by his so-called unity rallies amounts to electioneering campaigns….” With ‘electioneering’, you do not need ‘campaigns’ as the word is embedded in ‘electioneering’. “But one of the detectives demanded for a stool….” Delete ‘for’. “…the battle over who should represent the oil rich (oil-rich) community….” “The initiative, which has been scripted to tow (toe) the mode of the pilot run of cash-less (cashless) policy, would begin in Lagos, with no fewer than 1000 of the 1401 branch (1401-branch) network of the nation’s deposit money banks.” “…and to establish strong institution (institutional) frameworks….” “After the initial hiccups, construction has been flagged-off (sic) on the estate….” A rewrite: …construction has started at the estate…. “…but constitute a hindrance for (to) future expansion and other developmental purposes.” “Let us join hands together and make Lagos a place of pride for all.” Yank off ‘together’ in foreclosure of Elizabethan English! “Sportlight (Spotlight) on outstanding furniture, marble, tiles and interior outfits” “To discourage people from continuing with unhealthy practices of disposing (disposing of) their wastewater into drains, government needs to build sufficient waste water (wastewater) treatment (wastewater-treatment) plants….” “…which is just in few
(a few) months (months’) time….” “NIA sensitises on (to) compensation, counsels against touting” Still on THE GUARDIAN under review: “…especially as the country grapple (grapples) with internal and external security threats.” “Obiano condoles (condoles with or consoles) Onyeanwuna family, as Anambra mourns late star” Will the state mourn a living star? So, yank off ‘late’! “Obituary Announcement (delete ‘announcement’): The Management and Staff of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board regret to announce the passing (passing away) of its (their) staff….” An aside: is there any ‘timely death’? DAILY SUN of April 28 follows with the next set of solecisms: “…Obi said that participating in such solemn celebration (a solemn celebration or solemn celebrations reminds (reminded) the faithful about christians (sic)….” “Benue first lady assures on peace” Who did the First Lady assure? “I am going into this contest knowing fully (full) well that I am the only candidate….” The PUNCH of April 28 misled readers: “Boko Haram, an affront on (to) Nigerians” “Card fraud: CBN issues deadline for (to) banks, others” “Dangote Cement, LSBA collaborate on building collapse prevention” Get it right: building-collapse prevention “It cannot repeat itself again.” (Nollywood) Delete ‘again’. There is nothing like ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’! I grew up to meet this awkward expression which is still being used by a majority of writers/speakers. ‘Rubbish’ cannot be good or bad—‘rubbish’ is rubbish (garbage)! And ‘good riddance’ is somebody/something you are happy to miss: Good riddance to insurgency/terrorism. Good riddance to my lover/ housewife! (Thanks to Femi, 08136788881, for provoking this profound thought). Sunday PUNCH of April 27 lost its journalistic essence: “He discusses why he decided to float an online media (medium).” THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER, of April 27 abused the English language: “…even as the Lagos State Police Command keep (keeps) mum over the matter.”
“…the sixth country in (on) the continent.” “VNL said attempts to play up religious or zonal sentiments in the state’s politics will (would) be counter-productive (counterproductive).” “The South East’s vote of confidence on (in) Jonathan” The Guardian Front Page of April 27 politicized grammar: “The President had commended Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, former Head of State and APC leader, as well as Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu over (for/on) their comments condemning the insurgency.” “Confirming this, the presidency, yesterday, said that the Nigerian elite, irrespective of their political leanings, is (were)….” “Dr. Doyin Okupe, the SSA to the President on Public Affairs, in a telephone conversation, said ‘the responses of major stakeholders is (were) quite encouraging’….” The next two kindergarten lapses are from The Guardian Editorial: “The crux of the matter is that both parties—the ruled and the rulers, (another dash not comma)….” “…avoidable deaths from fire outbreaks from the two sources.” Just fire— there is no need for ‘outbreak’. “…this kind of problem would not have arisen if religious sentiments have (had) not been exploited unnecessarily….” “There is a (There’s) life changing (life-changing) power in the gospel” “International Malaria Day 2014: Framing the Post 2015 (post-2015) Agenda” THE NATION ON SUNDAY of April 27 harvested some misapprehensions: “The NUJ Ondo State Council has passed a vote of no confidence on (in) the state leadership of the NLC….” “…perhaps the worst in Nigeria’s history, would be do-or-die.” (COMMENT) ‘Do or die’ is hyphenated only when used as an adjective: a do-or-die affair. “…which literarily (literally) means….” “My battle with career threatening ailment” Truth in defence of freedom: career-threatening ailment “The Girls (Girls’) Club” “Peak supports Eagles as it flags off consumer promo” Substitute ‘flags off’ with any of these corrections: introduces, launches, kicks off, begins, starts, commences, embarks on….
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
O fewer than 250 women have benefited from the N100 million grant by the Federal Government to support women political aspirants. This was contained in a statement by Head, Information and Communications to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Office, Dr Chris Otabor, in Abuja at the weekend. It said the fund was launched by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in 2011 with support from the MDGs Debt Relief Gains (DRG) to the Nigerian Women Trust Fund. According to the statement, the grant is part of the efforts to attain MDG’s goal three on promoting gender equity and empowering women. It said that the fund was to provide technical support and resources for women interested in leadership to contest for elective positions. It noted that the fund also provided a mentorship scheme for girls while interfacing with the Nigeria
250 women benefit from FG’s N100m grant Electoral Commission and political parties to create space for women to participate in politics. “Less than 10 percent of the women who accessed the fund in 2011 won elections on different political platforms at state, local and federal levels; it was a good starting point. “The MDGs office does not directly manage the Nigerian Women Trust Fund but sits on the Advisory Board as well as the Board of Directors. “Other representatives of the ministry of women affairs, UN, private sector, International Development Partners and civil society were also involved,’’ it said. The statement said that Nigeria made significant strides by advancing women
in all spheres of national life, especially into appointive positions. According to the statement, government has continued to strive to expand the political space for women and to make incursion into elective offices which are at the moment dominated by men. It said that the MDGs office would continue to support the ministry to develop and implement policies on gender, child rights and social welfare for vulnerable groups. It added that the office would also implement interventions to drive policies and domesticate international conventions to reduce violence against women, genital mutilation and trafficking of women.
• A scene of an accident on Airport road in Abuja yesterday
Jonathan holds Presidential media today
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan will today hold the Presidential Media Chat in Abuja. This was disclosed in postings on Twitter account of the Special Adviser to the
President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati. No official statement has been issued. The Presidential Media Chat, according to the Twitter account, will be broadcast
live on the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Voice of Nigeria (VON) at 7pm.
FIRS collects N1.05trn in first quarter
HE Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said it collected N1.05 trillion revenue in the first quarter of 2014. It said the amount exceeded its target for the period by N50.9 billion or 5.06 per cent. This was contained in the Quarterly Revenue Report of the service, which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja at the weekend. According to the report, the revenue was derived from petroleum profit tax, non-oil taxes, including income tax, gas income, capital gain tax, stamp
duty and Value Added Tax (VAT). It showed that N638.1 billion was collected from petroleum profit tax as against the target of N447.4 billion while N418.3 billion was collected from non-oil taxes as against its N558 billion target during the period. It indicated that petroleum profit tax contributed 60.4 per cent of the revenue while 39.6 per cent came from non-oil taxes. A breakdown of the total collection showed that company income tax contributed N174.3 billion, N2.4 billion from gas
income, N783.8 million from capital gain tax and N2.8 billion from stamp duty. The VAT, comprising Nigeria Customs Service Import VAT and Non-import VAT, according to the period, contributed N212.4 billion or 20.1 per cent of the total non-oil taxes collection during the period. Other non-oil taxes collected were Education Tax, N12.6 billion; N12.9 billion from Consolidated Account and N144 million from National Information Technology Development Fund (NITDEF) levy.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014
With Adeola Ogunlade 08083127847
Hello kids, How was your Easter Holiday? Hope you had a great time with your family and friends. It was a time indeed to celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus for mankind. Hope you took time out to help someone around you in need. I wish you the best as you resume for the third term in school. I hope you will be better children this term. You should endeavour to be obedient, respectful, learn more and strive to be the best in all that you do. "Remember, it is not what you don't have that limits you but what you have and you don't know how to use it that limits you" - Steve Harris.
IGHT hour lunch, two dollar tip. Ask, “Excuse me, are you a really bad singer, or a really bad actor?” After he describes each special, you shout, “Garbage!” Whenever he walks by, cough and mutter, “Mini-
mum wage”. Every few seconds, yell, “More waffles, Cuomo!” Insist that before ordering, you be allowed to touch the London broil. Tie tablecloth around neck and say, “You wouldn’t charge Superman for dinner, would you?”
Every time you eat or drink, cough really hard. As he walks by to the kitchen, scream, “He’s gonna spit in the chowder!” Three words: eat the check. By John Insor.
T •From left: Mrs Omowunmi Adewole, Miss Orinife Adewole of Redeemers Int Sec School, and Mrs Victoria Tandoh, CEO Kings School at the King’s School Lagos 2nd annual inter-school essay competition
Opportunity for young people
HE Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) in collaboration with International Citizen Service (ICS) is accepting applications for the 2014 Q9 VSO ICS program. This is a three-month youth centred community development program that brings together young people from the UK and Nigeria. To-
gether, in cross-cultural counterpart pairs, volunteers live with host families and work with host communities. The type of work varies depending upon the needs of the community, but can include service delivery, advocacy work, and peerto-peer education program. ELIGIBILITY VSO ICS does not ask
for any specific skills or experience in their volunteers. They do however look for people who show the potential to learn and to become active Global Citizens. DEADLINE: 5th May, 2014 To apply visit APPLY: VSO-ICS Volunteer Application Now Open
ROBLEMS are so funny They always come and go
They show their ugly face That slows you and your pace down Its cure is a solution But it’s very hard to find Just when you’ve solved a problem Another comes that hits you in the face You can’t hide from problems You just need to make solution you friend By Oyebade Availeth, SSS 2 TimeOnKAIROS System of Community Colleges
HE world is a stage with no respect for age. Full of people and different things, different planets with different characteristics, different people with different animals with different shapes. The world is nice and harsh. The world is round and has no end. What a wicked and lovely world. By Oyewale Taiwo, SSS 1 TimeOnKAIROS System of Community Colleges
•Master Chibuike Chas Nwam on his 8th year birthday in Abuja.
N E Send in your stories, poems, articles, games, puzzles, riddles and jokes to firstname.lastname@example.org
L I C
How many words of three or more letters each including the letter at centre of the wheek, can you make from all this diagram? We have found 48, including one nith letter word
SPORTS THE NATION ON SUNDAY
CAF slams Gambia for age cheat
MAY 4, 2014
Barca title hopes dented by home draw
HE Confederation of African Football's (CAF) Executive Committee has suspended The Gambia Football Association from all Caf competitions for two years, for deliberately falsifying players' ages. Last month, The Gambia were disqualified from the qualifiers for the continent's under-20 championship for fielding overage players. Now, The Gambia have been banned from all Caf competitions - including the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations - in line with a clause in Caf's regulations. It states "for any deliberate intention to foul or cheat in any matter involving the falsification of documents, the defaulting association shall be suspended for two years from all Caf competitions ." On 20 April, The Gambia were disqualified from the African U-20's Championship for fielding five overage players in the qualifier against Liberia on 6 April. All five players were born in 1994, whilst the rules state that the competition is open to players born on or after 1 January 1995. Caf then launched an investigation into the case of one of those players, Ali Sowe, born in June 1994. He was found to have registered with Caf in 2012 in the Confederation Cup with an identical passport number but a birth date going back to 1988.
Legendary goalie Zaki is new Morocco coach
HE Federation Royal de Marocaine Football (FRMF) has appointed legendary goalkeeper Badou Zaki as head coach of the Atlas Lions for a second time. He replaces Hassan Benabicha, who held the position in an interim capacity. The 55-year old, who first tenure in charge of the Moroccan national team lasted between 2002 and 2005, will see the team through to the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations, which the North African country will be hosting. FRMF president Fouzi Lekjaa made the announcement at a press conference on Friday (2 May 2014) in Rabat. Badou was a member of the Atlas Lions squad that progressed from the group stage of the 1986 World Cup, the first by an African team, a year in which he was also named African Footballer of the Year. He played at four Africa Cup of Nations; 1980, 1986, 1988 and 1992. He also had spells with AS Sale, Wydad Athletic Club, FUS Rabat and a six-year tenure with Spanish side, Real Mallorca.
ARCELONA'S remote chances of a fifth La Liga title in six years dwindled further when they twice squandered the lead and were held to a 2-2 draw at home to relegation-battling Getafe on Saturday. The stalemate at the Nou Camp means leaders Atletico Madrid can stretch their advantage over second-placed Barca to six points with two games left, including their game at Barca on the final day of the season, with a win at Levante on Sunday. Real Madrid are three points adrift of Barca in third and have two games in hand over their Catalan rivals, including Sunday's match at home to Valencia.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole presents a dummy cheque to Mnen Eshon of Ethipia, 1st Prize winner in the Male Category with time of 28.36 at the 2nd edition of the 10km Okpekpe race in Edo State, yesterday.
Odemwingie scores as Fulham go down
Ameobi inspires Newscastle win F C
ARDIFF have been relegated from the Premier League after a single season, as defeat at Newcastle sent the Welsh side back to the Championship. Newcastle, who had lost their previous six games, took the lead through Shola Ameobi's firsthalf header. A sizeable number of Magpies fans walked out after 69 minutes in protest at the running of the club. They missed a brief rally from Cardiff before late goals from Loic Remy and Steven Taylor sealed their fate. Newcastle's rotten recent form was partly behind the open mutiny from their fans, but the supporters who stayed until the end were able to celebrate what turned out to be a comfortable victory. Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won 2-1 at St James' Park in his first game in charge of the Bluebirds - an FA Cup tie in January - but his side never seriously looked capable of staging a repeat. Cardiff have kept only seven clean sheets in 37 topflight games this season, the lowest number in the Premier League. They have had problems at the other end too - failing to score in 19 of those games Solskjaer has picked up just 12 points in his 17 league matches in charge and his side's deficiencies at both ends of the pitch were clear to see. Fraizer Campbell missed a good early chance to put the visitors ahead, scuffing his shot wide after Tim Krul made a hash of Fabio's cross. But Newcastle were already looking far more dangerous, with Moussa Sissoko and Mathieu Debuchy facing little resistance as they staged repeated raids down the right.
...As Cardiff get relegated Remy saw one effort blocked from a Sissoko cross, before Debuchy advanced from right-back and flashed in a shot that David Marshall pushed away. From the resulting corner, Debuchy saw Marshall claw his header onto the bar but there was no stopping Ameobi's far-post header after more good work by Sissoko. The French midfielder made his side's first goal with a precise cross and twice almost extended their lead, seeing first a shot and then a cross deflected against the woodwork. Cardiff's best hope of a
reply seemed to lie with Wilfried Zaha but the on-loan Manchester United forward was denied by Krul's outstretched leg after a mazy run and faded after the break. In truth, there was little fight from Zaha's team-mates either and Cardiff looked like dropping out of the top-flight with a whimper until Kenwyne Jones came off the bench with 17 minutes to go. By then, with their relegation rivals Sunderland leading Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Bluebirds needed a win to keep their survival hopes alive. Jones had an immediate impact, forcing a point-blank
stop from Krul, but Cardiff's frustration continued when Fabricio Coloccini somehow cleared Aron Gunnarsson's shot off the line with his keeper beaten. Many home fans had already departed by then, after another public display of displeasure against club owner, Mike Ashley, and manager Alan Pardew. Ashley was not present but Pardew, back in the home dug-out for the first time since 1 March after a ban, was given something to smile about before the end. Remy was left alone to slot home from six yards with three minutes left and Taylor completed the scoring from even closer after Remy's header was saved.
Ethiopian wins 2nd Okpekpe race, Oshiomhole betters own record
n Ethiopian, Mnen Eshion, yesterday won the 2nd edition of the 10-km (10,000 metres) Okpekpe race with a time of 28.36 seconds, beating over two thousand athletes who participated in race to the top prize. Governor Adams Oshiomhole who participated in the VIP race breasted the tape with a time of 48.10 seconds. His time in last year was 59.3 seconds. Other VIPs who participated in the race include Dr Rafiu Ladipo, PresidentGeneral, Nigerian Football Supporters' Club, Comrade Issa Aremu, Vice-President Nigerian Labour Congress, top Nollywood stars including Alex Osifo-Omiagbo,
From , Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Okpekpe
Fred Amata, among others. Other winners at the event included Amos Lintan, a Kenyan, who placed second with a time of 28.53seconds while the third position was clinched by Conelius Kagogo, also a Kenyan who recorded 29.01seconds. In the female category, Mudi Ayila of Ethiopia emerged first with 32.41seconds, while the second position went to Genet Yallew, also Ethiopian with a time of 32.52seconds and Berhame Dubaba Kenya emerged third with a time of 32.59seconds. Speaking shortly after the presentation of prizes, Gov-
ernor Adams Oshiomhole said the attention of the whole world was shifted to Okpkekpe in the state as the race was an international event, thus placing the hitherto remote village on the world map. He said: “for all of us here in Okpekpe and in Edo State, it is a thing of joy that we are hosting the world”. He noted “for the professionals coming from various parts of the world, I don't think it is the money alone that brought them. First as career athletes, there is fulfillment in participating in every competition, but I also think that they have managed by their presence to show the unity of the African people and the world in general.
ULHAM have been relegated after a 13-year stay in the Premier League following a heavy defeat at Stoke. Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie tapped in the first, before Marko Arnautovic and Oussama Assaidi, who were both excellent, made it 3-0 after the break. Kieran Richardson scored for Fulham, before Jon Walters slotted the fourth. Felix Magath's team needed to win to keep alive their hopes of survival, but Sunderland's victory at Manchester United sealed their fate. The Potters were as dynamic as their visitors were listless. Apart from Richardson's goal, Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic was barely troubled, and his team-mates must have felt like they were playing a pre-season friendly. Cottagers supporters will point to a change of ownership, three different managers and an unsettled side as the reasons for their team's struggles this season - but on Saturday, when the circumstances should have served as inspiration, the players simply did not deliver. Scott Parker was the only Fulham player who rose to the occasion, with fellow midfielder Steve Sidwell failing to provide any drive in attack and striker Darren Bent barely touching the ball. Magath, who replaced Rene Meulensteen with 12 games remaining, reiterated after the match he wants to remain at Craven Cottage and his rebuilding task will begin after next week's game against Crystal Palace. As for Stoke, manager Mark Hughes has made his th home league win of the season, a record only bettered by the top five.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014 AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Sunderland shock Man United at Old Trafford
Ambrose Celtic thumps Aberdeen 5-2
EIL Lennon hailed Kris Commons' performances this season as "incredible" after two goals for the midfielder in Celtic's 52 thumping of Aberdeen took his tally for the season to 30 in all competitions. Commons scored two second half goals in the win for Lennon's side and could have had a hat-trick had it not been for some goalkeeping heroics from Aberdeen's Jamie Langfield. And Lennon was full of praise for the former Nottingham Forest and Derby County midfielder who tops the goalscoring charts and remains on course to win the Golden Boot in Scotland. "It's incredible for a player who is not an out-and-out centre-forward," Lennon said. "(Jamie) Langfield made a brilliant save from the chip as well, so there is creativity in the way he plays. His movement off the ball is fantastic and you always fancy him to score when he gets into those situations. "It's been a hell of a season for him, absolutely tremendous." Lennon utilised Commons in a central attacking position just behind Anthony Stokes and Leigh Griffiths and the 30-year-old regularly found himself in goalscoring positions. "We do use the formation to accommodate Kris as best we can," Lennon said.
Poyet revels in victory over Man United
Dzeko scores the winner
City back on top after Everton win
ANCHESTER City grasped control of the title race as they came from behind to beat Everton 3-2 and move to the top of the table with two games remaining. There was a subdued atmosphere for long periods at Goodison Park as a home victory would do Merseyside rivals Liverpool a massive favour, but Everton needed to win to realistically keep their hopes of UEFA Champions League football alive and they took the lead in the 11th minute when Ross Barkley curled a sublime shot into the
top corner. However, Sergio Aguero beat Tim Howard at his near post to equalise after 22 minutes and Edin Dzeko's welldirected header from James Milner's cross made it 2-1 just before half-time. In a crucial period at the start of the second half, Joe Hart saved brilliantly from Steven Naismith and Dzeko struck City's third moments later. Romelu Lukaku headed in midway through the second half to set up a tense finale but City held on to go above Liverpool on goal difference with a couple of home games
to follow, whilst also ensuring that Arsenal will finish fourth ahead of Everton. Everton had looked on course to upset the odds when Leighton Baines and Steven Naismith combined down the left on 11 minutes to tee up Barkley, who hit a sublime first-time shot from 25 yards which flew past Hart and into the top corner. All the pre-match chatter may have been about Evertonians being quite happy with a visiting win but the way Goodison Park celebrated suggested otherwise. The game opened up with
Yaya Toure curling over after cutting inside on his right foot while Barkley's dangerous dribble into the penalty area was halted only by a superbly-timed tackle by Vincent Kompany. All the intimations from Aguero were that he could not continue with an apparent groin problem, but while City were readying his replacement Toure slid through an inviting pass and the Argentine's predatory instincts took over as he skipped past Antolin Alcaraz to beat Howard all-too easily at his near post.
Giggs slams players for Sunderland defeat
YAN Giggs was at a FTER beating Manloss to explain Manchester United 1-0 at chester United's perOld Trafford, Gus Poyet praised his Sunderland formance in their 1-0 home side for the recent 'special' per- defeat to Sunderland on Saturday. formances. Sunderland boss Gus Sebastian Larsson scored Poyet paid a glowing tribute the only goal of the match on to his players after they took a the half-hour mark to give the huge step towards Premier visitors' chances of Premier League safety with a 1-0 win League survival a huge boost. over Manchester United at But Giggs - in interim charge of the Old Trafford Old Trafford. The Black Cats' success con- club for the second game tributed to Fulham and Car- admitted his disappointment diff's relegation and lifted at the standard of his side's them three points above Norwich with a superior goal difference and two games left to play. Seb Larsson scored the only goal of the game in the 30th minute and the margin HE youngest athlete of victory could have been that participated and greater with both Emanuele completed the Giaccherini and Fabio Borini hitting the woodwork in the Okpekpe Road Race, David Nduka, said he hopes to second half. "The determination of the become a world champion. players, they were willing to David who is seven years do things right - what a game old said he felt tired after of football we played here. completing the race. "It was very difficult today, "I have been training for it was tough. three years with the supThere were moments that port of my dad. I will be we looked very tired, but resuming school next week somehow we coped with that but I want to be world chamas a team. The clean sheet pion of long distant race." today is immense. There was also heavy "The determination of the s e c u r i t y p r e s e n c e a t players, they were willing to Okpekpe community and do things right - what a game environs as world athletes of football we played here." gathered to compete at the "It was difficult in the annual 10-kilometre race. beginning, the game looked a Men of the Department little bit flat. I was a bit worfor State Security (DSS) ried because it is important for us to compete.
display. "I still believe that there's quality in the dressing room and we showed that last week (4-0 win against Norwich City), we just didn't this week," he said. "Whether it be lack of confidence or concentration, I honestly don't know. "There was a lack of quality in the final third. First half, we got some decent crosses in, we just didn't get enough people in the box. "Second half, we had all the
possession and just couldn't find that key pass or that bit of quality that would have got us back in the game. "I'm sure if we'd have scored one, we'd have gone on to score a few more. "Lack of quality and lack of concentration in the final third." And Giggs feels United, who parted company with former boss David Moyes last month, have suffered as a result of their poor home form this season. "We've shown good form
away from home, but at Old Trafford seems to have been the problem this year," he continued. Giggs also paid tribute to Gus Poyet's visitors, who are now three points clear of the relegation zone, with two matches left to play. "Sunderland are on a great run, credit to them today, and against decent opposition you need to produce consistent performances and that's what's lacked this year," he added.
Youngest athlete says I want to be world champion
were seen stationed at every five metres. The race began at Apana and ended at Okpekpe market square where a mini detachable stadium had been constructed. Several athletes who collapsed on the way were given a first aid treatment by medical personnel. Meanwhile, free malaria testing and treatment were provided for indigenes of Okpekpe by Joyfuljoy Foundation. A member of the foundation, Riliwanu Jennifer, said women and children were found to be more infected with malaria parasites than men in the community.
David Nduka (left), youngest athlete at 2nd Okpekpe Road Race with his father
UNDERLAND took another giant stride towards Premier League safety with a 1-0 victory over beleaguered champions Manchester United at Old Trafford. The Black Cats' success United's seventh home league loss this term - saw Cardiff and Fulham relegated and moves Gus Poyet's men three points clear of Norwich with a superior goal difference. The only goal came after 30 minutes when Connor Wickham was allowed to cross from near the corner flag by Darren Fletcher and Seb Larsson ran unchecked beyond Michael Carrick to fire beyond David de Gea from 12 yards. Robin van Persie was thrown on in the second period to make his first appearance since the March 19 win over Olympiakos, but it was Sunderland who went close to making it 2-0 when fellow sub Emanuele Giaccherini hit the post from Jozy Altidore's low cross, with Jack Colback firing the follow-up into the sidenetting. With time running out and United's regular attacks held up by the Sunderland defence, the visitors were again inches away from doubling their lead when Fabio Borini beat De Gea with a curling shot only to see it come back off the face of the crossbar.
Bizarre goal gifts Southampton victory
bizarre late goal from Southampton striker Rickie Lambert snatched Saints a 1-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium. In the third minute of stoppage-time, With the match petering out, Swansea captain Ashley Williams looped a clearance over Michel Vorm, off the crossbar and into the net, off the back of Saints striker Rickie Lambert. The ball may have already crossed the line, but will be one for the dubious goals panel. In a game of few chances, Southampton enjoyed the lion's share of possession without creating a great deal, while Swansea, especially after the break, were poor in the final third. Wilfried Bony had the best chance of the opening period, firing over after latching on to a Pablo Hernandez flick. Southampton enjoyed much freedom down the flanks, with full-backs Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne getting in behind regularly, but they failed to really test Vorm in the Swansea goal. Southampton are guaranteed an eighth place finish already, while Swansea failed to make it three wins in a row, but won't be too concerned with safety already assured. The first half was dominated by Southampton, who had 64% of the possession, but it was the home side who had the best chances. Wilfried Bony, whose recent desire to seek a move away from the Liberty Stadium won't have sat well, looked a threat, and provided a real outlet.
QUOTABLE “Without the support and cooperation from within the military and security circles, the insurgents would not have been succeeding so easily in their dastardly acts… the security agencies should also open themselves to the intelligence being provided by the community on the alleged movement of the abducted students across our borders and seek support and cooperation of our neighbours to track down the abductors.”
SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 8, NO. 2839
INCE former President Olusegun Obasanjo tamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during his eight turbulent years in power, the party had become unrecognisable both as a party, in its fundamental sense, and as a democratic institution, in its structural and operational sense. All it required for the party to retain and nurture its new identity and continue to decay magnificently was for Chief Obasanjo’s successors to be tarred with the same imperious and imposing brush. Luckily for the party, it had a succession of equally overbearing chairmen eager to lend their talents and services, not to say their lack of critical thinking, to the presidents that succeeded Chief Obasanjo. The party thus mastered the art of motion without debate, premise without conclusion, form without substance, and silence without reflection. This, therefore, was the ecosystem that produced President Goodluck Jonathan. When he emerged as running mate to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua for the 2007 election, Chief Obasanjo had cleared the way and silenced the opposition within the party. And when it came to the turn of Dr Jonathan to take over from President Yar’Adua as acting president, and to contest in 2011 on his own merit, he was not unmindful of his party’s new political culture. Those within his party he could not browbeat, he bribed; and those he could not bribe, he dealt with brutally. If his opponents within the party thought he was easy meat, he gave them a lesson in life and politics they would never forget. Chief Obasanjo was not always successful in dealing with opponents outside his party, for they were recalcitrant and querulous. But Jonathan too has met more than his match in the opposition, for they have not lost any of their fire and truculence. Yet, of all the sure things in Nigerian politics today, probably the most certain is that Dr Jonathan will contest the 2015 presidential election. And given the nature and character of the PDP, it is more than certain that if anyone will contest against him, it will be merely a formality to dignify the party, raise its esteem in the eyes of the people as a democratic institution, and give the false impression that neither the party nor Dr Jonathan engages in the tyranny that has become the PDP’s sinews. Already, party chieftains and rank and file have lined up ingloriously behind Dr Jonathan for the 2015 race. They all understand on which side their breads are buttered. They are not disconcerted by the sham enthusiasm
—Pan-Northen socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) calling on the Federal Government to beam its searchlight on military personnel in order to end insurgency in the North.
Jonathan and 2015 and offensiveness with which they sell the president’s candidacy. They fiercely urge him on and impress it on him that their assurances are all he needs to win. But except Dr Jonathan is telling himself a lie and believing it, and the people around him are living in denial, they know the only chance they have of winning the 2015 race is for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to field an unelectable presidential ticket. A few months ago, before the insecurity problem magnified into an ogre, Dr Jonathan’s chances rested on the queer dynamics of the contest, especially the fact that he hails from a minority tribe and evokes hope in others like him tired of the tyranny of majority tribes that everyone, irrespective of state of origin, can successfully aspire to the presidency. There is also the unsettling use of religion as a tool of political mobilisation, which the president has raised into virtuoso art. Despite the dangers of elevating religion into the political arena in a country lacking in self-moderation in both politics and religion, Dr Jonathan has avidly plumbed that depth and made himself into some sort of quixotic religious champion. From all indications, however, and in the face of the worst security challenges the country has ever had to contend with, neither religious affiliation nor area of origin will avail a politician much. The more Boko Haram terrorists inflict punishment on the country, whether in the Northeast or in the
suburbs of Abuja, the more Dr Jonathan’s government demonstrate its impotence. Waves upon waves of attacks elicit from the presidency only messages of condolence and the summoning of security meetings. There are no new approaches, no inspiring and rousing talk of steely resolve in moments of national angst; and beyond cavalier wish of victory, there are no demonstrations of hope and confidence that the terror monster can indeed be defeated. As the Boko Haram attacks become more audacious and telling, so the Jonathan government has become more stupefied and feckless, sometimes even showing the violent sect sinister respect, and at other times pledging to it, out of desperation and fear, a most unnerving and counterproductive clemency. It must be noted that Dr Jonathan seized upon the moronic tools of ethnicity and religion to anchor and give fillip to his flagging campaign because he despairs at ever finding concrete developmental achievements to parade. The economy has not yielded to his panaceas, nor has the society responded to his native charms. Even his talisman, which many tie teleologically to his name, has failed to reorder politics beyond his bucolic and innocent sermonizing. The consequence of these multiple failures is that, even without the aggravation Boko Haram’s terror was always capable of causing, the Jonathan government was doomed, to put it mildly. If these multiple failures
FIFA: Nigeria in the eye of the storm again
URING his 90th birthday luncheon in March, the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, sarcastically described Nigeria’s corruption as a reference point which his countrymen should violently repudiate. Said he on that occasion: “Are we now like Nigeria where you have to reach into your pocket to get anything done? You see, we used to go to Nigeria and every time we went there, we had to carry extra cash in our pockets to corruptly pay for everything. You get in a plane in Nigeria and you sit there and the crew keeps dilly dallying without taking off as they wait for you to pay them to fly the plane.” Mr Mugabe was in an expansive mood, and his thoroughly entertained audience, reports suggested, roared with approving laughter. Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs ministry officials have protested that denigration, but nothing, absolutely nothing, will come out of the protest. Barely a month later, another very damaging corruption allegation has been made by a convicted Singaporean matchfixer Wilson Raj Pemural who claimed in a new book that in exchange for gratification he helped Nigeria and Hondu-
ras qualify for the 2010 World Cup through match-fixing. FIFA has launched an investigation, including watching videos of the alleged matches, and it looks like one way or the other Nigeria’s goose will be cooked. Indirectly lending corroboration to Mr Pemural’s sordid allegation, one-time coach of England’s national team, SvenGoran Eriksson, has also alleged, again in a new book, that Nigeria’s football administrators asked for half his salary in order to give him the job of coaching the Super Ea-
gles for the same 2010 World Cup. He went on to describe our football administrators as ignorant and stupid. Perhaps Nigeria will again protest this defamation. If they do, it will also amount to nothing. Nigerians remember the ignoble manner Amos Adamu was removed from the FIFA executive committee in 2010 and banned from sports administration for his involvement in bribery incidents connected with the hosting of the 2018 World Cup. He went to court and lost. Earlier, in 2008, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua had removed him from his position as Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC). The stories of Messrs Pemural and Eriksson, not to talk of the fall of Mr Adamu, indicate clearly the rot in Nigeria’s football administration. Worse, the stories, together with Mr Mugabe’s testimony, also show just how far gone Nigeria is. But the biggest story of all is that to President Jonathan, Nigeria’s corruption story is one of perception, a chimera that has transfixed critics and the opposition. With such deliberately altered mindset, how can we ever fight the cankerworm?
irritate and vex the electorate, nothing rouses them into a greater rage than the poor judgement the president often exhibited whenever he confronted the mundane issues of the day. The country has often been treated to his quaint and outrightly unsophisticated views on what should pass as the philosophical challenges of the day, and to his dour responses to the ordinary provocations of the people and especially the opposition. He dragged his feet on the Stella Oduah scandal and impatiently and infuriatingly dismissed our concerns because, as the Information minister Labaran Maku said, critics and the opposition politicised everything. Even when he sacked Ms Oduah, Dr Jonathan did it reluctantly, sullenly and badtemperedly. The president has also ignored our irritations on the Diezani Alison-Madueke affair involving frivolously and expensively chartered jets and unremitted oil receipts, perhaps because we also ‘politicise’ the shocking disclosure of opaque public accounting and suspected sleaze in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. And he has done absolutely nothing about the Abba Moro Immigration Service recruitment scandal, perhaps, this time, because the Internal Affairs minister is backed by the president’s arch supporter, Senate President David Mark. By trivialising public administration and policy so abysmally, Dr Jonathan illustrates and underscores his perfunctory and emotive approach to governance. This attitude hardly conduces to electoral triumphs as much as it provokes angry rejection. And by presiding over a government that tolerates ministers who sue the legislature to stall investigations, the rot in the system, not to say in the Jonathan presidency, can’t be more complete. So, Dr Jonathan can’t run on achievements, and he can’t run on sound judgement either, for after all, nothing exhibits poor judgement as his refusal to empathise with Borno families whose teenage daughters were abducted by Boko Haram militants, possibly for sex slavery. Indeed, Dr Jonathan is cornered, just as his supporters are irrational to still embrace a president who can’t run on his records or on his ideas, or as it is becoming apparent, given his considerable staidness and lack of grit, on his personality. He will run only on if the opposition APC makes the wrong presidential ticket choice. The APC is still in a quandary over the 2015 ticket, perhaps still consulting. The party will require the highest gift of clairvoyance to do what is right, and to, as it were, read the mind of God. If it is any consolation to them, let them consult Churchill, Nixon, JFK and De Gaulle when those statesmen had to make life-changing and life-defining decisions without the faintest idea what powerful changes the outcomes would trigger. God help the APC. In short, in a free and fair election, Dr Jonathan and the PDP can’t win the 2015 presidential election except the APC loses it. Given the president’s string of bad decisions, bad judgement and bad and ineffective policies, and notwithstanding his constant and exasperating resort to ethnic emotionalism and religious grandstanding, the initiative is no longer in his hands; it is in the hands of those he likes to romanticise as his enemies. Let these opposition enemies, therefore, be as ruthless as Chief Obasanjo was when that wily farmer and general corners his enemies, an idiosyncrasy that took the former president repeatedly but undeservedly to heights of glory and splendour in his many tumultuous decades on earth, starting from the time his friend Major Kaduna Nzeogwu planned a coup without telling him, and his former boss General Murtala Mohammed died alone on the streets of Lagos.
Published by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025, Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Marketing: 4520939, Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Telephone: 07028105302. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14, Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790. Website: www.thenationonlineng.net ISSN: 115-5302 E-mail: email@example.com Editor: FESTUS ERIYE