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APC ready for power in 2015 NEWS Page 6

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VOL. 8, NO. 2666 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2013


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•APC alerts voters to extra 1,973 polling units •AND MORE •Don’t subvert people’s will, Tinubu warns ON PAGE 56 •Obi’s wife woos voters•Jonathan for Nwoye rally

PDP peace moves crash Oyinlola notifies party of resumption plan Baraje, others suspended, Tukur tells INEC


EOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) leaders seem to have waved a final bye to peace – going by developments in the ruling party. National Chairman Bamanga Tukur told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday that Alhaji Kawu Baraje, Ibrahim Kazaure, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Sam Jaja had been suspended from the party. But Oyinlola told the party that he was set to assume duties as national secretary. To former Kwara State Governor Dr. Bukola Saraki, a senator, the suspension of the party chiefs is an indication that the Tukur faction had blocked the road to peace. “It is in bad taste,” Saraki said. In Yola, the Adamawa State capital, Governor Murtala Nyako pronounced the peace process dead and buried. Nyako said by ignoring a legitimate court order to reinstate Oyinlola, the PDP

We always knew there was no peace process. The peace process is dead and buried. The court had given them a soft-landing but instead of obeying the court order, look at the step they have taken —Nyako From Yusuf Alli and Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

had “killed and buried” the peace process. Nyako’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Ahmad Sajo, who spoke on behalf of the governor, said:, “We always knew there was no peace process. The peace process is dead and buried. The court had given them a soft-landing but instead of obeying the court order, look at the step they have taken.” Nyako, who spoke at a parley with members of the Bish-

N42b contract jumps to N116b •Senators summon firms


From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

HE Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) decried yesterday a situation where the Abuja-Lokoja highway contract awarded for N42billion in 2006 has risen to N116billion (about 170 per cent). The committee summoned the management of four firms handling the project to appear before it. Committee Chairman Abdul Ningi gave the directive when Minister of Works Mike Onolememen and the Managing Director of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Mr. Gabriel Amuchi, appeared before the committee in Abuja. The four contractors are Reynolds ConContinued on page 2

It is a means of circumventing the ruling of the court. We should not take the issue of the rule of law with levity. Since a court has ruled that Oyinlola should resume ... PDP should comply —Saraki

ops and Emminent Clerics Forum of Nigeria, Niger-Delta Chapter, in Yola, said he was no longer prepared to work with the PDP. In a statement issued in Abuja, the PDP said its leadership had written to INEC, notifying it of the suspension. “The National Working Committee, in a letter dated November 12, 2013 and signed by the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, informed INEC of the suspension of the above mentioned individuals on Monday, No-

vember 11, 2013 for engaging in anti-party activities in violation of the provisions of the PDP Constitution. “The decision of the NWC was in exercise of its powers under Section 57 (3) of the PDP constitution, 2012 (as amended) and in the overall interest of the Party and its members,” the statement signed by Chief Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary, said. Oyinlola, in a letter dated November 12, and addressed to the PDP’s National Legal Continued on page 2

•The late Prof. Iyayi

ASUU chief Iyayi dies in Kogi governor’s convoy accident •Falana to push for trial


By Wale Ajetunmobi and Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

ESTUS Iyayi, a University of Benin (UNIBEN) professor, writer and rights activist, is dead. The unionist died yesterday in an accident involving the convoy of Kogi State Governor Idris Wada. He was 66. The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) between 1986 and 1988 was in a three-vehicle lecturers’ party travelling to Abuja enroute Kano. The accident occurred at about 11am at Banda village on the Lokoja-Abuja Road. Continued on page 2 •Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (second from right), Mr Bill Gates (left), Dangote Group President Aliko Dangote (right), Executive Director, Dangote Foundation, Miss Alima Dangote, Commissioner for Agriculture Prince Gbolahan Lawal (behind Mr. Gates), Commissioner for Science and Technology Mr Adebiyi Mabadeje and Commissioner for Establishment, Mrs Florence Oguntuase, during Mr Gates’ visit to Fashola in Lagos…yesterday




NEWS Baraje resigns as NRC chairman From Yusuf Ali, Abuja


•Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole (third from right), his deputy Dr. Pius Odubu (right) with All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders from right Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Bisi Akande and Alhaji Bello Masari during an event marking the Edo government’s fifth anniversary in Benin...yesterday. Story on page 59

Iyayi dies as Kogi governor’s convoy crashes into bus The man Iyayi The lecturers were heading Continued from page 1

for Kano for today’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of ASUU where a vote on whether to end the on-going university teachers’ strike or not is to be taken.

Wada was travelling in the opposite direction. He was returning from Abuja after an engagement in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This is Wada convoy’s second fatal crash in one year. On December 28, last year, his convoy crashed on its way to Lokoja from Ayingba, Kogi State. Wada’s Aide-de-Camp (ADC) died on the spot. The governor’s leg was broken. Other officials suffered varying degrees of injuries. ASUU’s National Welfare Secretary and Head of UNIBEN’s Foreign Language department, Dr. Ngozi Iloh is injured. She was unconscious. UNIBEN ASUU Chair Dr. Tony Moye-Emina and the bus driver were also injured. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Kogi State Sector Command Mr. Olakunle Motajo said preliminary investigation revealed that there was wrongful overtaken by the governor’s convoy. He said investigation had started.


E was born in 1947, in Ugbegun, Ishan, Edo State. In 1968, he left the shores of Nigeria to pursue his higher education, obtaining an M.Sc in Industrial Economics from the Kiev Institute of Economics, in the former U.S.S.R., and then his Ph.D from the University of Bradford, England. His family lived on little means but instilled in him strong moral lessons about life. Iyayi started his education at Annuciation Catholic College, Irrua in the old Mid West popularly known as ACC finishing in 1966, and a year later, he went to Government College Ughelli graduating in 1968. In the same year, he was a zonal winner in a Kennedy Essay Competition organised by the United States Embassy in Nigeria. In 1980, he went back to Benin and became a lecturer in the Department of Business Ad-

Iyayi’s body, according to Motajo, had been deposited at the Kogi State Specialist Hospital’s morgue. The injured are also receiving treatment in the hospital. ASUU President Nasir Fagge describe Iyayi’s death tragic. A member of ASUU, Dr. Sunday Abada, in the ill-fated ASUU delegation, recalled how the accident occurred. Speaking to our correspondent on the telephone yesterday, he said: “About 15 union members from various institutions, mov-

By Ozolua Uhakheme and Gbenga Omokhunu

ministration at the University of Benin. A well known author, with four books to his credit (Violence, The Contract, Heroes, and Awaiting Court Martial); Dr. Iyayi won the Commonwealth Prize for Literature for his book, Heroes, in 1988. The late Iyayi had a tough and even radical stance on social and political issues. He was the President of ASUU between 1986 and 1988 when the union was briefly banned and Iyayi was detained. As a member of staff of the University, he became interested in radical social issues, and a few years after his employment, he became the president of the local branch of ASUU. Until his death, Iyayi was a member of different Nigerian literary organisations and worked in the private sector as a consultant.

ing in a three-vehicle convoy, were on their way to Kano to participate in the NEC meeting scheduled to hold in Bayero University, Kano (BUK) today. Abada, a senior lecturer of Political Science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), said: “We were on our way to Kano State for our NEC meeting holding tomorrow (today) when a vehicle in the convoy of Governor Idris Wada on full speed left its lane and collided with the vehicle conveying our members along the AbujaLokoja Expressway. Prof Iyayi

died on the spot. “It was later, at 4pm, the govenror led a group of reporters to the Specialist Hospital where the remains of Iyayi are deposited. We had to chase him away because we discovered that he was trying to politicise the incident. But I can confirm to you that only Iyayi died in the accident; the other victims are receiving treatment at the Specialist Hospital.” Abada said today’s NEC meeting could be put off because “ASUU is very interestContinued on page 59


HE suspended National Chairman of the New Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, resigned yesterday his appointment as the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC). He said he decided to quit the job as a result of the ongoing crisis in the party. Baraje’s resignation letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, is dated November 12. He said since the post was allotted to PDP and he no longer has confidence in the parContinued on page 59

Only PDP NEC can suspend Baraje, Oyinlola

CHIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party in Adamawa State Chief PP Elisha, has debunked the alleged suspension of the national secretary of the PDP Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, factional Chairman Abubakar Kawu Baraje and others as announced by Chief Olisa Metuh as a nullity. Elisha, who is also the secretary of the PDP in Adama-

From Barnabas Manyam, Yola

wa State, said the suspension contravened the PDP’s constitution. According to him, any member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP can only be disciplined by NEC, according to Section 57 [7] and Section 58 [3]. Section 57 [7] states: “NotContinued on page 59

N42b contract jumps to N116b Continued from page 1

struction Company (RCC) Nigeria Limited, Dantata and Sawoe Nigeria Limited, Bulletin Construction Company and Gitto Construction Company Nigeria Limited. Ningi said the firms were being invited to explain the “scandalous review of the Abuja-Lokoja road contract sum with over 170 per cent from 2006 to date. He frowned at a situation where the Abuja, Abaji, Lokoja road, which was awarded at the sum of N42 billion in 2006, has been reviewed upwards to over N116 billion by the ministry to accommodate some technical deficiencies. He further expressed con-

cern over the increasing cost of road construction in Nigeria, saying that what obtains in Nigeria is far beyond other countries in Africa. Minister of Works Mike Onolememen who appeared before the committee after three summons apologised to the legislators. The Minister said the SUREP Board had so far spent over N178 billion on four major roads and two bridges across the country between 2012 and 2013. He listed the four roads and two bridges to include the Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja road, Kano road, Maiduguri road, Enugu-Onitsha road, the BeContinued on page 59

Crisis: PDP’s peace moves reach dead end Continued from page 1

Adviser, Mr. Victor Kwom, asked the party to prepare the ground for his resumption. Oyinlola attached to his letter a copy of the Appeal Court judgment that ordered his re-instatement and asked the party to implement the decision of the appellate court by recognising him as its national secretary. The letter reads: “As you may be aware, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division has nullified the January 11, 2013 judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja which removed me from office as the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “The directive of the court was implemented by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC), which consequently struck out my name off its register and other documents, as the National Secretary of the PDP. “Following the nullification of the above stated judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Abdul Kafarati by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which is a superior court of competent jurisdiction, which also ruled that I was wrongfully removed from office as PDP National Secretary, this correspon-


Suspension in bad taste, says Saraki

HAIRMAN, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday asked the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to review the suspension of former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Onyinlola, former Acting National Chairman Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja and Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure from the party. Saraki, who fielded questions from reporters in Abuja, said the suspension was done in bad taste. He noted that the action of the party had further united the G7 governors and deepened the crisis in the party. The former Kwara State governor added that the court ruling that brought Oyinlola back to the party as national secretary was an opportunity for reconciliation. But, he noted, the opportunity had been lost through the party’s action. dence serves to inform you of my decision to continue to perform my duties as the validly elected National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party. “Your records would reveal that I was validly elected into office as National Secretary at the national convention of PDP held on Saturday March 24, 2012.

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

The suspension, he said, would not help the PDP in its effort to resolve the lingering crisis in the party. Saraki said: “It is a means of circumventing the ruling of the court. We should not take the issue of the rule of law with levity. Since a court has ruled that Oyinlola should resume as secretary of the party, PDP should comply with the judgment of the court. “These are some of the issues that some of us are angry about. The PDP will be there, long after Oyinlola, long after everybody. We should protect the institution. “We can’t win always. We would win some; we would lose some. By doing this now, how are we going to help the reconciliation. It will surely not help rec-

“You are requested to kindly note this development and reflect it accordingly in your records, in compliance with the court judgment delivered on Wednesday November 06, 2013. “A copy of the judgement is attached for your attention and further necessary action, please. Kindly note that in compliance with the constitution of the PDP,

onciliation. Some of us thought it was a golden opportunity to begin to reconcile. “I think the party should review its action and give peace a chance because to suspend key members of a faction and still expect the aggrieved governors to be sympathetic to the cause of the party and be attending their meetings will be difficult and would not help the party. “Apart from the issue of reconciliation, this cannot help our democracy. The party is an institution that we are all holding in trust. We must all protect that institution not by being emotional or by expressing sentiments.” Saraki noted that “activities within the next one week or two, will determine the direction of things in the party.” He added: “The meeting between the G7 governors and the President had been postponed till after the Sallah. The Niger State

I am expected to sign all official correspondences emanating from the PDP national secretariat, to the Independent National Electoral Commission, in my capacity as the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party.” Oyinlola may head for court today seeking Tukur’s committal to prison for not complying

Continued on page 59

with the order of the Court of Appeal, which has reinstated him into office. He might also file a separate brief to restrain the National Disciplinary Committee of the PDP, headed by ex-Minister Umaru Dikko from entertaining any complaint against him. It was learnt that Oyinlola briefed his legal team yesterday

•Dr. Saraki

on the next line of action. A top source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “All is set for another round of legal battle, Prince Oyinlola might go to court on Wednesday. “After briefing his legal team, two issues emerged. They are Continued on page 59

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






Stroke... The di

•From left: Managing Director of Access Bank Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Co-chairman, Bill& Mellinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates and Chairman, VisaFone, Jim Ovia, after a meeting of Private Sector Health Alliance in Lagos...yesterday.

The Federal Government has initiated moves to prevent Nigerians from developing stroke and other preventable conditions by enrolling them for screenings at a fee. But, can the project fly? OYEYEMI GBENGAMUSTAPHA and WALE ADEPOJU report.


•From left: Former Managing Director, Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, Akogun Tola Adeniyi; Chairman, Governing Council, Yoruba Education Trust Fund (YETFUND), Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye and former Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Wale Omole, at a news conference on the forthcoming public lecture and fund-raising in Lagos...yesterday.

• Mr. Obinna Akparawa (middle), displaying the dummy key of the Kia Cerato car he won in the MTN Song Star Digital Contest in Lagos... yesterday. With him are an official of the company’s High Value Segment , Mr Kelvin Orifa and Senior Manager, Products, Mr Funso Finnih (left). PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

E chose his words carefully. Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said Nigeria is expected to lose an estimated $8 billion to non-communicable diseases. Chukwu said the economic loss to the country would emanate from expenditures by Nigerians on stroke, heart disease and diabetes-related illnesses estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be within the range of $400 million. He spoke in Abuja at the World Stroke Day celebration organised by the Nigeria Stroke Assembly. Chukwu gave the mortality rate of stroke as between 40 and 50 per cent within the first three months of diagnosis. He had more shocking facts: “A facility-based study showed that 39 per cent of those who survived stroke after three months died within 12 months and the remaining 12 per cent developed severe disability." To curb this scary state of things, the Federal Government has proposed the National Stroke Prevention Programme. The programme is aimed at encouraging Nigerians to routinely carry out medical checkups as well as change their lifestyles. The need for urgent attention to stroke may become more meaningful when experts' positions are considered. As much as 200,000 Nigerians are killed or disabled by stroke yearly, experts estimate. “We think almost 200,000 Nigerians are suffering a stroke each year,” said Dr Biodun Ogungbo, neurosurgeon with the group, Stroke Assembly. Half of those people are dying yearly. The rest of them are becoming disabled. “The key thing is that stroke is killing Nigerians. Every single Nigerian knows somebody, either within their own family or in the street or chose to them in their neighbourhood who has suffered a stroke.” A recent review by three doctors of stroke cases in a military hospital concluded that stroke still contributes significantly to increasing death and injury among patients admitted in hospitals. The researchers identify the risk factors, including hypertension, diabetics, other cardiovascular events-,that can be modified should be "aggressively addressed to reduce the burden of stroke in our society."

What is stroke?

•From left: Managing Director, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, Babs Omotowa, General Manager, Production, Chima Isilebo, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ryuichi Shoji and Deputy Managing Director, Basheer Koko during the Japanese ambassador’s tour of teh NLNG Plant in Bonny Island, Rivers State...yesterday.

A stroke is a condition in which the brain cells suddenly die because of a lack of oxygen. This can be caused by an obstruction in the blood flow, or the rupture of an artery that feeds the brain. The patient may suddenly lose

•A stroke patient being rehabilitated


the ability to speak, there may be memory problems, or one side of the body can become paralysed. According to Consultant Physician/Endocrinologist Dr Olufemi Fasanmade, stroke is part of the leading cause of death in Nigeria and a leading cause of adult disability, yet up to 80 per cent of strokes are preventable. “You can prevent a stroke” he said. He said because stroke is a brain attack, it is a medical emergency, and every second counts and the first place to go is the hospital. Fasanmade said: “Time is of essence. There are simple tricks to the prevention of stroke. And the initiative by the government to set the ball rolling in the anti-stroke battle is commendable." The President approved a Nigerian National Stroke Prevention Programme. The programme is to be managed by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Federal Teaching Hospitals and other hospitals in Nigeria; as well as Nigerians in Diaspora to execute the programme through MOU. The sum of N10,000, is required to qualify for some of the basic medical screenings can be conducted any clinic of the hospitals. The cost of the test, which is about N50, 000, has been reduced by the government through a subsidised arrangement to now cost N10, 000; particularly for indigent Nigerians. According to Fasanmade: "The policy of N10, 000 per individual to undergo screenings depends on the kinds of routine testing government has in mind. There are procedures for




e disease that ‘kills’ 200,000 annually


•One of the eating habits that encourage stroke

they eat more fast food than proper solid natural food. Most fast food tends to contain much salt and sugar. This is because they are over processed and canned." On way out, Ojini advised that people should exercise regularly by at least engaging in 30 minutes daily brisk walk, change their diet and try to live a stress-free life. At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), more patients are attended to for diabetes and hypertension than the other communicable diseases, which were responsible for major hospitals’ attendants and admissions. “Records showed that patients visit diabetic and hypertension clinics more than before. It may be because people are more aware of the dangers of diabetes and hypertension and want to access treatment,” she added.

What causes stroke? •Blockage of a brain blood vessel or bleeding of a brain blood vessel? •Hypertension •Diabetes Mellitus •Irregular heart beats •Sickle cell disease •Smoking and alcohol •Advancing age

Other risk factors •Males •Black Africans •Asians •Obesity •Westernised diets •Certain drugs •Previous stroke •Known heart disease •High cholesterol

Impact of stroke in Nigeria •33% of medical causes of coma •3.2% of hospital admissions •7.3% of causes of death in medical (non surgical, non gynaecological adult) wards •Commonest cause of disability •2nd commonest cause of dementia •3rd commonest cause of death •One of top 3 causes of prolonged hospital stay

How to know stroke •Weak or heavy limbs on one side of body •Deviation of face to one side •Slurred or unintelligible speech •Difficulty understanding spoken or written speech •Loss of vision in part of eye(s) such things. We expect people to participate. The routine screening and other diagnostic belt is elastic, ranging from one naira to a million naira. With N10, 000, some basic medical screenings can be conducted any

Types and prevention tips

clinic. Some screenings can be conducted by even a nurse while some need experts, like pathologist and other laboratory workers. Affordability depends on the person's pocket. It could be as expensive as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or as cheap as measuring for a Blood Pressure (Bp)," he said. The reasons why I’m advancing that people should enroll in the policy include the preponderance of the situation in our clime. Dr Fasanmade said: "In Nigeria, stroke is responsible for 33 per cent of medical causes of coma; 3.2 per cent of hospital admissions; 7.3 per cent of causes of death in medical (non surgical, non gynaecological adult) wards; it is the commonest cause of disability; second commonest cause of dementia; third commonest cause

of death and one of the three top causes of prolonged hospital stay. "But all these can be halted if the several factors responsible for stroke are prevented or adequately managed." And the factors that cause stroke? They include hypertension; diabetes mellitus; irregular heart-beats; Sickle cell disease; advancing age; smoking and alcohol. A neurologist at LUTH, Dr Frank Ojini, corroborated what Fasanmade said that more patients are coming to the hospital for diabetes and hypertension, among other NCDs. He called for a change in diets and lifestyle. He said: "Most NCDs are due to westernisation of lifestyle. Our people are now becoming more western in their lifestyle because


ASANMADE said there are two main types of stroke- ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. He said: “Ischemic stroke accounts for about three-quartres of all strokes and occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, forms that blocks blood flow to part of the brain. If a blood clot forms somewhere in the body and breaks off to become free-floating, it is called an embolus. This wandering clot may be carried through the bloodstream to the brain where it can cause ischemic stroke. “A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel on the brain's surface ruptures and fills the space between the brain and skull with blood (subarachnoid hemorrhage) or when a defective artery in the brain bursts and fills the surrounding tissue with blood (cerebral hemorrhage). "Both types of stroke result in a lack

of blood flow to the brain and a buildup of blood that puts too much pressure on the brain. The outcome after a stroke depends on where the stroke occurs and how much of the brain is affected. Smaller strokes may result in minor problems, such as weakness in an arm or leg. Larger strokes may lead to paralysis or death. Many stroke patients are left with weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, and incontinence and bladder problems.” He gave further preventive tips: “Good diet; engage in physical activity; be careful of drugs eg aspirin, statins, that thin blood; monitor your blood pressure (Bp). It is essential to diagnose stroke early and get patient to hospital as soon as possible as some can be reversed or disability limited by active management. Also call for help e.g call 767 or ambulance. And Quit unhealthy habits; take BP medications regularly if on treatment; take diabetes mellitus (DM) drugs regularly if on them. Stroke is a brain attack and management has to be coordinated by multidisciplinary professionals. It is best prevented and those who already have should be extra careful.” Ojini said the rising incidence may be due to adoption of westernisation which has impaired lifestyle, especially the consumption of fast food. “People are now taking more calories than they need. They take soft drinks, fizzy and carbonated sweetened drinks in place of water, which is quite harmful,” she said. Explaining the dangers inherent in such drinks, she said: “A bottle of soft drink has between 140 and 200 calories while water has zero per cent. Now if a person takes three bottles of soft drink, such would have taken 600 calories. This means the same person would have increased his calories intake by more than 30 per cent. However, the quality of his exercise is still the same. This is why people are predisposed to obesity and diabetes." Medics advise people to eat natural food, befriend fruits and water. They warn against juices, which are not devoid of sugar. “It doesn't matter what names they are called, they all contain extra calories. The juices with the inscription: 'No added sugar', still contains sugar. The producers may just be talking about specific types- fructose, lactose, sucrose, and glucose and other forms of simple or complex sugar. But they all contain sugar. They all also contain calories,” they added. Fasanmade said power drinks are dangerous because they contain stimulants like caffeine, sugar and other extra calories. “So, it means the person who drinks them is at risk of developing various health problems, apart from being overweight or obese. Most stimulants can induce stress. This means they can cause negative effects on the heart and other respiratory organs,” he said.

‘Climate change: 1.5m million Nigerians may be displaced by flooding’


ITH global warming and the potential sea level rise in the Atlantic Ocean, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Nigerians may be displaced in coastal areas, the Vice-Chancellor of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology and Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science, Prof Hilary Inyang, has said. Delivering a paper on “Coastal marine system: Propagation and Management of Hazards and Wealth” at the International Conference on Oceanography at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Cross River State yesterday, Prof Inyang said the atlantic ocean has been swallowing portions of Bar Beach at the rate of 16 feet per year.

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar The conference organised by the Institute of Oceanography of UNICAL had as its theme “Climate Change and Coastal Areas Sustainability in Tropical and Sub-Tropical regions.” Inyang said it is estimated by the UN framework convention on climate change, that a modest sea level rise of 0.5 mm would cost a 35 per cent loss in the land area of Nigeria’s Niger Delta. Storms will also increase in intensity as the sea surface temperature (sst) rises to levels above 27 degrees centigrade, with the possibility of tsunami type impacts in the coastal areas, he added.

He said each year floods destroy thousands of acres of farm land and other ecological resources in both upland and coastal areas of Nigeria. Also speaking a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Mrs Helen Esuene, emphasized the need to protect and restore Nigeria’s lost mangroves as a means of checking the growing menace of climate change in the country. She attributed effects of climate change in the country to the continuous destruction of mangroves which protect the country’s coastline. She said efforts were been made in the Senate to ensure the passage for the proper management of the country’s mangrove forest. She also sought the establishment of a man-

grove management commission. Director of the Institute of Oceanography of UNICAL, Prof Francis Asuquo, said climate change had become a worldwide menace and efforts made to bring it under control appeared not to be yielding much result. He said not daunted by the situation, they had moved to brainstorm with experts from all over the world in the conference over the phenomenon. The Vice Chancellor of UNICAL, Prof James Epoke, said the institution would continue to organise training and research programmes to expand the climate change knowledge base, and encourage policy actions that would help mitigate climate change and enable the human communities, especially in coastal areas.



NEWS Be active in nation-building, Nnamani urges Nigerians

ASUU leaders meet on national strike From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt and Kofoworola Belo-Osagie


FORMER Senate President and Chairman of the National Steering Committee on Nigeria’s Second Peer Review, Ken Nnamani, has called for proactive efforts in the development of the country. Nnamani, who spoke yesterday in Lagos during the committee’s visit to The Nation, urged Nigerians to assist with the information that would help the government fast-track plans to make the country better. He said: “After the 2008 review, the government may not have identified everything. But I will be surprised if any person says Nigeria has not experienced some development in the areas of electoral process. “The 2011 elections could not have been as bad or worse than those of 2007. I think there


•From left: Dr Nnamani, with a resource person to the National Steering Committee, Prof Adele Jinadu and member of the committee, Ms Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, during the visit to The Nation corporate headquarters in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

By Musa Odoshimokhe

has been an improvement in the electoral process. It may not have improved to the extent that people would say, ‘I have cast my vote; so, let me go home.’ But with the social media, there has been a lot of

improvement. So, it becomes a matter of your ability to communicate fast.” The politician said though much had not been achieved in the eradication of corruption, he added that it was not correct to say the country had not made any progress.

Nnamani said the 2008 review highlighted some of the best practices of some African governments. He said: “In fact, the Justice Muhammadu Uwais Electoral Reform Committee was a direct outcome of the recommendations the government

tried to implement. Social infrastructure has to be improved upon. But beyond that, Nigerians should keep asking questions because they have a responsibility to task the government. If you don’t task the government, you will not get anything done.”

Fashola, Bill Gates, Dangote promise to eradicate polio from Nigeria


AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN); Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Mr. Bill Gates and Nigeria’s business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, yesterday promised to eradicate polio from the country. They spoke in Ikeja, the Lagos State capital, when Gates and Dangote visited Fashola in his office at Alausa, Ikeja. Gates said efforts were on top gear to ensure that Nigeria was removed from the list


of countries with polio infections. According to him, $6 billion had been raised to eradicate the disease globally. He said: “In the area of health, there is much progress. But there is a lot to be done. It is wonderful to have this state being in the lead of very high immunisation rate in reducing the child death rate. “In our foundation and Dangote Foundation, we have

been around the country to see how we can help you achieve health goals. Nigeria has a large number of children who do not get vaccinated. “Eradicating polio will be wonderful for the entire world. I am optimistic we are going to eradicate polio. In Asia, we have it in two countries - Pakistan and Afghanistan - which have not got zero. “In Africa, Nigeria, of course, primarily in the North, has not got to zero. Even in the

South, we still have some cases of polio. We also have the same issue in Somalia and Syria.” Fashola hailed Gates and Dangote for their lead role at eradicating polio. He said: “What needs to be done is out there in terms of knowledge. It is not so much that those who have to act don’t know what to do. It is perhaps the approach we have pursued in trying to get what needs to be done. “Whether we have done so well as a team or we have stood

“We are, therefore, reminding INEC that it has the responsibility to direct the people and correctly advise the people that it will guarantee a free, fair and credible election. “We know that power is not easy to surrender. But we want it and we will get it in an honest manner because APC has come to stay,” Tinubu said. He hailed the residents for their foresight in voting for Oshiomhole. Tinubu said: “Your votes have not been misplaced by the amount of massive development being experienced in

the state. “Since you took that decision five years ago, Oshiomhole has never looked back in terms of infrastructure and economic development of Edo State. “You have seen and witnessed the radical development. But let me say that this is not our final destination. “Our destination is to take over the federal level to replicate what Oshiomhole and other APC governors are doing in their states. “You have accepted APC and it is now your duty to be-

gin to spread the good news around your neighbourhoods and communities.” Gen. Buhari, who congratulated Oshiomhole on his achievements, said: “I am happy that the people can now see the difference.” The former head of state said he was optimistic that the governor would continue to develop the state. He stressed that an APC government at the centre would eradicate poverty and provide security in the nation. “If you vote us into power, we are prepared to tackle ab-

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

out in solo, one of the initiatives I threw to the Governors’ Forum about four years ago was that governors should lead the initiative of vaccination. That way, hopefully, we would demonstrate how important it is for us. “I think we are in the march towards eradicating the virus. We have not put the voices of the survivors in the forefront of the campaign. And the voices of the policy makers have drowned those of the victims themselves.”

APC ready to take power in 2015, say Buhari, Tinubu

ATIONAL leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Gen. Muhamadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday said the party is ready to take power in 2015. They urged the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to plan ahead of the 2015 general elections. The APC leaders spoke yesterday in Benin, the Edo State capital, at Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s fifth year anniversary in office and launch of the party in the state.


duction and killing of people across the nation so that people can move freely in whatever part of this country. “APC is here to take power in 2015, to effectively manage the economic fortunes of our land,” Buhari said.

Jonathan, Mark, Tambuwal advises African lawmakers on democratic growth


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan; Senate President David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal yesterday advised African parliaments to pursue legislation that will engender democratic growth on the continent. The three leaders spoke at the maiden African Legislative Summit 2013 with the theme: Emerging Legislatures in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities. Jonathan, who inaugurated the summit, urged African parliaments to legislate against issues and actions that could lead to the collapse of the democratic arrangements on the continent. African parliaments, he

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

said, should legislate to discourage thuggery, terrorism and organised cross-border crimes. The President described the summit as a laudable effort, which would give Africa a new vision and a new initiative to rapid development. He said: “The summit is coming at a critical period when the African continent is in search of a means of strengthening the various democratic institutions to pave the way for an enduring democratic structure.

“There is the need for strategy for networking and capacity-building. The legislature has a critical role to play in lawmaking and oversight function to consolidate democratic practice and norms.” Mark noted that the summit was desirable because African democracy was at the crossroads with mixed results of consolidation in some countries and regression in others. The Senate President said there was need to underscore the central role of the legislature in giving true meaning to democracy on the African continent and reassure the people that functioning and institutionalised legislatures would

contribute to reversing the poverty, corruption, underdevelopment and disenchantment and cynicism about democracy. He said: “...Having been in the Senate for the last 14 years and having been involved with regional and global parliamentary movements, I have some practical experiences to share with parliamentarians, scholars and civil society activists preoccupied with the functioning of the legislature. My remarks will draw from my experiences as a legislator and secondly from my interactions with scholars, parliamentarians across the globe as well as close watchers of

parliaments, especially in emerging democracies. “Let me take the liberty to assert that as a continent and a people, we have every cause to be proud of our achievements in establishing democracy as the most acceptable mode of governance. This summit is an affirmation that democratic governance and its ideals, such as the rule of law, respect for human rights and the triumph of the will of the people have unquestionable acceptance among Africans.” Tambuwal decried underdevelopment of the parliament in contrast with the Executive arm and the marginalisation of the parliament in policy making.

HE national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may meet today in Kano to decide whether or not to end its four-month-old strike. The meeting was planned following the Federal Government’s offers to the union to return to the classroom. But the death of one of the union’s leaders, Prof Festus Iyayi, yesterday, may cause the postponement of the Kano meeting. The ASUU leadership, last week, met with the Fedral Government, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja. The meeting, which lasted several hours, however, ended in a stalemate, as the union did not end the strike. ASUU’s National President Dr Nasir Fagge told State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting that he needed to consult various chapters of the union before he would make a statement on the strike. As the union met in Kano yesterday, hopes were high that it would end the action. The University of Jos (UNIJOS) chapter of ASUU, which voted against ending the fourmonth-old strike, has said it would resume classes, if directed by the national body. The University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter also voted in favour of ending the strike. The Chairman of the UNIJOS chapter, Dr. David Jangdam, spoke yesterday in Jos, the Plateau State capital. He said: “Yes, the local ASUU chapter voted 159 to 88 against ending the strike at its congress on Monday, but we shall abide by any decision taken by the national body on Wednesday.” ASUU’s central body is expected to meet in Kano today to take a final decision on whether or not to end the strike after collating resolutions from various local branches, which considered the offer by President Goodluck Jonathan during their congresses on Monday. Jonathan, at a meeting in Abuja, had made the offers to persuade the lecturers to end their strike. The lecturers are seeking better funding for the universities and improved welfare packages for the teaching staff. Jangdam told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos that the decision of the national body was final and binding on all local chapters. He said: “Even the strike was not supported by all the universities. Many local chapters of ASUU opposed it, but majority wanted it and we embarked on it.” The Chairman of the UNILAG branch, Dr Karo Ogbinaka, could not be reached for comments on the outcome of the union’s meeting. But a member of the union, who spoke in confidence, said the lecturers agreed to suspend the strike. He said: “We are calling off the strike. We have sent our referendum to the national leaders of the union so they will collate the results and decide what to do...”




FESTUS IYAYI (1947 - 2013)

Textile workers mourn

Iyayi’s last road show From Osagie Otabor, Benin


ROFESSOR Festus Iyayi did not anticipate that he would not see the end of the current face-off between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) when he led the University of Benin chapter on a road show on October 24. He was in the fore-front of the show that saw the lecturers educating the people at the markets and on the streets to counter the alleged propaganda machinery of the Federal Government on why the strike has continued. It was perhaps his last outing with his colleagues. Iyayi was in his elements when he spoke about the crisis and why the Federal Government must abide by the dictates of the agreement. He said that the Federal Government could not say there was no money when what has been reportedly stolen could get to the moon and back. "The president of United Nations office on Drugs and Crime in July indicated that the amount of money stolen by Nigerians was more than 600 biillion dollars or so, and if you piled up that money, it will get to the moon seven times and back". On the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof. Iyayi condemned the administration, sayng nothing has been achieved.

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna


•The late Prof. Iyayi (middle) leading the road show in Benin City, Edo State...last month.

"The President mainly spoke of his achievements in broad terms. If I may ask, how many jobs did he create? None. Unemployment is on the increase and what is the impact of his administration on unemployment; graduates are roaming the streets without jobs" "What impact has his government made on the inequality between the rich and the poor, he has not done anything in this regard. Corruption has been on the increase since he came into office, what has he done to tame corruption" "The level of inflation is on the increase and workers'

wages is not enough to take them home. The value of the Naira is very weak as against other currencies, worse than when he came into office. The level of insecurity in the country has been on the increase. We are experiencing a worse situation than what happened in the Niger Delta with bombs in Kano, Borno, Yobe, Kaduna etc." "Oil theft has been on the increase, worse than when he came into office. I read somewhere that Nigeria lost over 250billion USA Dollars in stolen money, all during this administration.

"So, to me he has absolutely nothing to offer and if you take all that I have said above, I am amazed because he is talking as if he was talking to a nation of fools, but this is a nation of educated and enlightened people", the late Iyayi said. Reacting to the death, Chief of Staff to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Patrick Obahiagbon, said: "The grand initiation of Professor Festus Iyayi is a lancinating loss of another stentorian voice against retrograde and prebendal forces of primitive mercantilism. That he passed through transition on matter

pro bono publico bears eloquent testimony to our state of dystopia. Such is the evanescence of life. It is all vanitas vanitatum." An Associate Professor of the College of Medicine of the University of Benin, Dr. Ayu Madupe said the reckless driving by those in authorities have been a constant feature in Nigeria. Dr. Madupe said many people have been killed to the reckless driving and urged lawyers to set-up a process to caution politicians on the road. He described late Iyayi as an irreplaceable academician and a great man.



HE atmosphere at the Writers' Colloquium in Minna, the Niger State capital was fouled up yesterday when the news of the death of Prof. Festus Iyayi filtered in. The MBA Colloquium is in honour of Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu, who is also a writer. African scholars and writers described his death as 'bitter tragedy' for the continent. "He would be greatly missed by the progressive movement in Africa and beyond. The literary world has lost a great man, it was said. "We would miss him. Africa has lost a great son," Secretary General, Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) said. Comrade Idaevhor Bello said he and some others hold the government responsible for his death.

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor, Sanni Onogu and Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

prominence in the 1980s with his courageous leadership of ASUU in its struggle for a better working environment for teachers and academics in the nation's university system. The statement reads: "He is particularly dismayed by the fact that Dr. Iyayi has sadly lost his life while going to contribute to efforts to finally resolve the current ASUU strike which has unfortunately disrupted academics in most of the nation's universities for over four months." Senate President David Mark lamented his death. Mark, in a statement by his

Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, in Abuja said: "This is one very painful death. Prof. Iyayi was among the university teachers meeting with the Federal Government on how to end this strike. "As usual, his contributions have been forthright and rewarding. That he died at this time when his contributions were most needed is a huge setback. "I remember his frank and honest contributions towards ending the strike and addressing the ills in the tertiary education in Nigeria when we met last week. His death is unfortunate. It is a huge loss to the nation." Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan also ex-

pressed deep shock. In a statement by Felix Ofou, his press secretary, Uduaghan said the highest honour that the late Festus Iyayi deserved was the return to the pursuit of academic excellence in our universities and other higher institutions, arguing that anything short of this would have meant that the late activist might have died in vain. Uduaghan recalled the heroic struggle and sacrifice of the late Professor and author for the working class as well as the university system, pointing out that the history of strikes and strive for higher academic goals in the country cannot be said to be complete without glowing references to the part played by the deceased while still alive.

The Delta State chief executive, an alumnus of the University of Benin, paid glowing tributes to his alma mater for providing a place of pride for the renowned poet, author and academic colossus who engineered new heights and defined the intellectual and working class struggle in a manner never experienced before his time; standing strong and speaking truth to power and championing the cause of the oppressed. He commiserated with the family of the deceased, UNIBEN, the people of Edo State, ASUU, the academic community and the nation at large on the painful loss and asked God to grant them the fortitude to bear the untimely passage of such a titanic labour leader.

leader; a past president of our union; a committed Nigerian; a dedicated academic. He was an astute believer in anything academic; a man of indelible character. It is big loss to us as a union. We are in deep mourning. It is really sad." Activist and pioneer ViceChancellor of the Osun State University, Prof Sola Akinrinade described Iyayi's death as a major loss particularly to the literary community. He said: "His (Iyayi) death is a major loss to the literary community and the university system generally. You may not agree with his method or style on how the nation's universities can be improved; but one thing you cannot take away from him was his commitment towards improving the system. Akirinade, who works

with the National Universities Commission (NUC) said he would have met the late activist during a retreat organised by the commission a fortnight ago where Iyayi was to address the new governing councils of federal universities. "But he (Iyayi) did not come but sent a representative. I think his position was based on the principle that ASUU was on strike. That is Iyayi for you," Akinrinade said. A professor of History, Osun State University, Siyan Oyeweso, said the university community 'has lost one of the most cerebral scholars without border'. He (Iyayi) was a unionist of great pedigree, and a man passionate to the upliftment of the downtrodden," Oyeweso added. "He was a humanist and a critical scholar of African lit-

eratures. Former ASUU Lagos State University (chapter) Chairman (1988-93) Prof Dapo Asaju, said his administration, which had Prof Atahiru Jega as national president, drew from Iyayi's experience and achieved greatness. He said: "From his (Iyayi) experience at the University of Benin, he became the symbol of resistance and academic staff struggle for all the ideals the union stands for. "Under his leadership, and that of other veterans, we followed in his footsteps during the era of Prof Attahiru Jega and achieved greatness and transformation in the general academic condition of service for staff. "Even though he's dead, it is the ideals he fought for that will continue to live. He remains a pillar of ASUU even in death."

The former President of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Mr. Odia Ofeimun, described the late writer and activist as one of the truly good people the nation has produced, saying he was a wonderful novelist. "The late Iyayi was a teacher of business administration who was also a wonderful novelist. He believed in people and was forever committed to their welfare. His stand in ASUU was just him. Whether he was thrown in detention or denied his means of livelihood, he never wavered." Playwright and literary scholar at the University of Ibadan, and former General Manager National Theatre, Prof. Femi Osofisan, also expressed shock at the death of the renowned writer, saying "at this moment I am short of words."

Lecturers, scholars eulogise ex-ASUU President By Ozolua Uhakheme, Kofo Belo-Osagie, Jide Orintunsin, Evelyn Osagie and Adegunle Olugbamila

"The union cannot take it any other way but very badly. Some of us hold the government responsible for his death. If the government had realised that they needed a functional education it would not have happened. It is the government's disinterestedness in education that has resulted in the protracted ASUU strike. "Right now my mind is not functioning very well because we have lost one of the best minds in Nigeria," he said. Chairman of the University of Ibadan ASUU chapter, Dr Segun Ajiboye, described Iyayi's death as a big loss to the union. He said: "We lost a great

The grand initiation of Professor Festus Iyayi is a lancinating loss of another stentorian voice against retrograde and prebendal forces of primitive mercantilism. That he passed through transition on matter pro bono publico bears eloquent testimony to our state of dystopia. Such is the evanescence of life. It is all vanitas vanitatum

Jonathan, Mark, Uduaghan mourn ‘academic giant’ Iyayi

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday expressed shock as he mourned the former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Festus Iyayi In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President commiserated with the leadership and members of the ASUU on the tragic death of Iyayi yesterday. He also extended condolences to Prof. Iyayi's family and his colleagues, friends and associates across the country and beyond. The President joined them in mourning the renowned academic and award-winning writer who rose to national

HE General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Issa Aremu has said that the death of Iyayi is one of the tragedies of governance. Aremu, in a statement, said: "The death of Iyayi is a sobering and cruel reminder to the Federal Government to urgently put a permanent end to the persistent crisis of funding of public education in general and university education in particular. Lecturers including late Iyayi as well as students should be on the campuses not on bad roads, if not for the recent avoidable crisis. "In literary and metaphoric terms, Prof. Iyayi is the latest major casualty of Nigeria's crisis of governance. Accidents are the norms (not exceptions) along the notorious Kogi-Lokoja road which for well over a decade remains under permanent "constructions" and "rehabilitation" despite serial awards of contracts by various Federal governments."



NEWS Ekweremadu: National Dialogue won’t affect constitution review


EPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has assured that the proposed national dialogue will neither delay nor disrupt the ongoing constitution amendment. Ekweremadu, who chairs the Committee on Constitution Review, spoke yesterday in Abuja when he delivered a paper, titled: Constitution Review Process: A Comparative Perspective, at the African Legislative Summit. The summit was organised by the National Assembly and some international partners. Ekweremadu noted that in view of the new provisions on how to enact a new con-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

stitution passed by the Senate and awaiting other steps to become part of the constitution, the constitution amendment process would provide the legal frameworks to give life to the eventual output of the proposed national dialogue. He said: “There is no way the national dialogue would affect or necessitate the suspension of the amendment process. “In fact, the Conference Committee of both chambers will soon be put together to harmonise the work of the

Constitution Review Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives. “We cannot wait for the national dialogue because we do not know when it will start or when it will end. “But the good thing is that our work will provide the legal framework to give life to the outcome of the dialogue.” Ekweremadu insisted that the way forward for Africa was not in the abundance of laws, but the willingness and discipline to live by the dictates of the constitution. “The important thing is the practice, the value we place on the Constitution, and our attitude to governance that will determine whether a consti-

Oritsejafor urges clerics to stay off PDP crisis



tution will succeed or not. “The United Kingdom has no written constitution anywhere, but it is one of the bestgoverned countries in the world because of the value system they have entrenched over the years...”

Airways’ ex-workers seek payment of N70b benefits


ORMER workers of the liquidated national carrier, Nigeria Airways Limited, yesterday urged the Federal Government to pay their 20 years’ severance benefits. They said their colleagues in other countries had received their benefits nine years ago. The workers gathered for prayers at the secretariat of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, Ikeja, under the aegis of the Aviation Union Grand Alliance (AUGA). They mandated the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other unions to write Presi-

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

dent Goodluck Jonathan on their plight. One of the union leaders, Comrade Ibrahim Husseini, said the government would need about N70 billion to offset the severance benefits of the former workers and pensioners, which had been pending in the last nine years. Husseini described the attitude of the government to the plight of the former workers and its refusal to pay them their dues as gross insensitivity. He said many had died because they did not have money for their health care. According to him, many of the retirees beg to feed

themselves. The union leader described as discriminatory the payment of full benefits to some former workers of the liquidated airline outside Nigeria. Husseini named some of such stations as New York, London, Rome and Cote D’Ivoire. He stressed that after the payment of five years’ severance benefits from the 25 years being owed the retirees by the late Umaru Yar’Adua administration, there had not been a positive response from the government to the requests of the retirees. The TUC, the ATSSSAN and the National Union of Air Transport Employees

(NUATE) yesterday wrote to Jonathan to revisit their matter in the interest of peace in the Aviation sector. The letter, by Comrade Aba Ocheme, the secretary general of NAAPE, urged the President to intervene in the matter. The letter, titled: Delay in the Settlement of Terminal Benefits of ex-Nigeria Airways workers - Appeal for Mr President’s Intervention, reads: “May we also emphasise the determination and resolve of Aviation unions towards a wholesome resolution of the issue. “This is an irresolute duty we owe them, considering that their toil and contributions did sustain our union in their days...”

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

OLLOWING a row over the visit of some Niger Delta bishops to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, yesterday urged the clergy to stay away from the crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He said CAN did not engage in politics, adding that it would not dabble in the PDP crisis. There were indications that some forces in the Presidency and the PDP were uncomfortable with the visit to Atiku and Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako. It was learnt that the development forced the forces to conduct an “emergency” search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Oritsejafor, who spoke with some select reporters on the phone, said CAN did not know the affected clerics. The CAN President was reacting to the visit of Niger Delta Bishops and Christian Forum and the Southsouth Christian Forum to Atiku and Nyako. He said: “We have heard about them and their exploits on meeting various politicians and promising to mediate and initiate dialogue between the PDP and their members. “We are a Christian body; we don’t involve ourselves in the political party’s internal affairs, let alone mediating between the PDP and its crisis. “We, as CAN, are apolitical. Honestly, we don’t know them. Their activities are worrisome and I, as the president of CAN, wish to plead and admonish politicians to bear the characters of some Nigerians who use the name of the Christians in Nigeria to do all sorts of things. “They should be careful with some groups that use the name of CAN to commit atrocities and fraudulent activities. What type of mediation would the so-called Niger Delta Bishops and Christian Forum be doing? I am the President of CAN and I can inform you that we are not aware of them.” The Niger Delta Bishops and Christian Forum were led by Prophet Jones Erue. The other bishops are: Julius Ediwe, Bob Manuel, Abhulemen Josiah, Konel Offiong, Innocent Chiedozie, Alex Okubo, Felix Ezebunwo, Charles Okoh , Peter Abingon and Archbishop Eddy Ogbonda . Speaking with our correspondent last night, Prophet Erue said: “Our forum’s visit was borne out of national interest because the Nigerian project belongs to all of us. We are leaders in our own right, the country belongs to all of us, we cannot fold our arms and allow the situation to degenerate. We have core belief in truth, justice and peace, which are the foundations of every good nation. A country not built on these principles cannot thrive. We did not visit Atiku or Nyako on behalf of CAN, we felt we must be a part of those driving the Nigerian project. We were moved by the level of impunity, intolerance and insecurity in the country...”


‘Killer’ son buries mum A in shallow grave A

24-year-old man, identified as Godsgift, on Sunday about 8:30pm allegedly killed his 67-year-old mother, Mrs. Rose Jonny and buried her in a shallow grave. The incident occurred at Oloibiri in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The indigenes were thrown into mourning when they discovered that

the young man had not only killed his mother, but had also buried her in a shallow grave. It was learnt that Godsgift killed the mother of four in her sleep with a machete. Sources alleged that after killing his mother, the suspect dragged her out through the window and buried her in a shallow grave. They said: “The boy is sus-

pected to be deranged. He told his mother that she would not be alive the next day. “About 8:30pm, he crept into his mother’s room and butchered her in her sleep.” Police spokesman Alex Akhigbe confirmed the incident. He said the case has been transferred from Ogbia Police Station to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Arewa hails Akpabio KWA Ibom State Governor and

Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDPGF), Chief Godswill Akpabio, has been hailed by the President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, for his politics without bitterness. Shettima, in a statement yesterday praised Akpabio for putting aside his political differences to rejoice with Niger State

‘Witchcraft’: Hoodlums break teen’s head


EN hoodlums in Akwa Ibom State have broken the head of a 15-year-boy, Asuquo Edet, for allegedly using witchcraft to kill his father. Asuquo, from Ikon-Edikor in Udung Uko Local Government, yesterday narrated his ordeal in the hands of those he described as ‘local cultists.’ He said he was reconciled with his parents a few months ago by an Eketbased non-profit organisation, the Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), which runs a centre for witch- stigmatised children, having lived there for over a year. Asuquo said his father, who had been ill for

of statesmanship and politics without bitterness, adding that “I recommend this kind of politics to other politicians.” His words: “Akpabio has, by this act, demonstrated a truly nationalist spirit by rejoicing with a supposed political foe. It is natural that even in our family, we have differences, but there is need to remain as a family and this is the example Akpabio has shown. Politics should not make us enemies.”

ASUU, Oshiomhole on warpath


HERE is a looming crisis between Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma chapter, over the appointment of a substantive vice chancellor for the institution. The university’s ASUU yesterday threatened to embark on a strike if the state government fails to appoint

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

months, received him warmly before he died a few days later. He said: “My father was very happy to see me again after abandoning me for more than three years on the streets because a soothsayer, Alex Otong from Obughu, brought by my stepmother, told him that I was a wizard and was responsible for his illness, poverty and misfortune.” The Junior Secondary School II pupil said he was in his late father’s home, mourning his death, when the hoodlums, led by two of his stepmother’s brothers, Silas and Peter Inwang, attacked him with machet-

Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu on his 58th birthday. He described the Akwa Ibom State governor “as an apostle of politics without bitterness.” Shettima said he was surprised by the display of friendship by Akpabio when he placed an advertorial in three national newspapers to congratulate Aliyu despite belonging to a different caucus of the PDP from him. He said it was the height

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

a substantive vice chancellor before the strike by its national body is called off. This was contained in a statement by the Chairman of AAU-ASUU, Prof. Fred Esumeh and Secretary, Dr. Stanley Omoikhoje. The body said the non-appointment of a substantive VC in the past three years was hindering progress in the university.

‘Why Amaechi is being persecuted’ From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt


es, cables, rods, spine-sticks and mbritem, a local sugarcane-like plant, question-

ing him why he returned from exile only to kill his father.


HE lawmaker representing Rivers South-East, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has said Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi is being persecuted because of his resilience and doggedness in the defence of the state. Abe, a former secretary to the state government (SSG), spoke yesterday when addressing the people of Andoni Local Government in Ngo, the council’s headquarters.



NEWS Confab: Oodua Initiative seeks Yoruba agenda


YORUBA social-political group, the Oodua Development Initiative (ODI), has said the Yoruba should have a consensus agenda for the proposed National Conference. It held a colloquium on “National Conference: True Federalism and the Yoruba Nation” yesterday at the Premier Hotel in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The four-hour colloquium was moderated by Prof. Alade Fawole. Prof. Ayo Olukotun and Mr. Yinka Odumakin were the lead discussants. In a statement at the end of the colloquium, ODI resolved that the Yoruba must have a set agenda. It said the decision of the conference must be subjected to a referendum and should not be subjected to a review or debate by the Na-

Group slams Ladoja


N Ibadan interest group, the Oyo Patriotic Front (OPF), yesterday condemned former Governor Rashidi Ladoja’s presence at the first memorial anniversary prayers for former Governor Lamidi Adesina. In a statement by its Chairman, Chief Jare Adepoju, OPF said the late Adesina must have turned in his grave when his “political foes, Ladoja and former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala”, stepped into his Felele home. It said: “The presence of those two men, who constituted serious menace to Lam while he was alive, was the greatest insult on the memory of that great man. We cannot forget in a hurry how Ladoja harangued Lam continuously till his death. “Ladoja was behind the unkind blow below the belt that was hurled at Lam, when people said he was an Ebira man. Indeed, a few months before his death, Ladoja still hurled unprintable insults at the Great Lam. To allow this same man to grandstand on Adesina’s grave is a great disservice to the deceased’s memory.” OPF urged the Adesina family to maintain its patriarch’s principles and not allow “agents of destruction to reap where they did not sow”. It said: “Ladoja was a sworn enemy of the Great Lam. He never hid his hatred for Lam’s populist politics. The same goes for AlaoAkala. Baba detested their conservative politics and believed they would run Oyo State aground if we did not rescue the state from them. What they came to do at Felele on Monday was to literally dance on Lam’s grave. “Scoring cheap political point at the demise of his traducers is typical of Ladoja’s brand of politics. He did same at the demise of Baba Lamidi Adedibu. The world knows Ladoja hated the late Baba Adedibu. He worked relentlessly for his political death and did all within his power as governor to destroy the Ibadan political warlord. But at Baba Adedibu’s memorial anniversary, Ladoja suddenly showed up at his Molete home, literally gloating by his graveside.”

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

tional Assembly or any other body, including the executive. ODI said: “President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to accede to the yearnings of Nigerians for a National Conference is commendable and should be supported by everyone. There is a consensus that there must be a National Conference and the six geopolitical zones must have equal representation. “The National Conference should have sovereign powers to the extent that its outcome would not be subject to review by any organ of the Federal Government, but may be subject to a referendum by the people of Nigeria. “The outcome of the referendum should be consequently incorporated in the

Constitution and the National Assembly should promulgate same after repealing the existing Constitution. “The Yorubas must present an agenda at the National Conference. Such agenda must incorporate a demand for true federalism, which will give the federating units autonomy. Once there is true federalism, other contentious issues like revenue sharing, resource control, state police and so on would be easy to resolve.” ODI said there must be no “no go” areas and that whatever the President’s motive in calling for the National Conference, Nigerians should commend him for giving them an opportunity to dialogue. It urged civil society groups to set a course for the conference. ODI President Dr. Olusanya Awosan said: “A National

Conference at this time is imperative because it will help tackle burning issues in the nation.” On whether the conference should be sovereign, Awosan, who is the Special Adviser to the President on Public Relations, said: “We should only have a conference with sovereign power”. Former Minister of Aviation Chief Ebenezer Babatope, who chaired the event, condemned critics of the conference. He said the conference would be successful and positive, unlike previous ones. Babatope said: “Every nationality should be given equal representation at the confab. The conference should be encouraged to start and end before the 2015 elections to calm the tension that is already brimming up.”

Court to rule on suspended Ondo lawmaker’s suit Dec 16


From Damisi Ojo, Akure

N Akure High Court has fixed December 16 for judgment in the suit filed by a suspended member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Fola Olaseinde. Mrs. Olaseinde was suspended on June 18 for allegedly leaving fetish objects in her former apartment. She is urging the court to declare her indefinite suspension illegal and order the payment of her salary and allowance arrears. The Assembly raised a committee, headed by Mr. Olotu Fatai, to probe the allegation and submit its report within two weeks of the suspension, but five months after, the committee is yet to submit its report. The plaintiff’s counsel Mrs. Funmi Falana said the allegation was not true and the House had no right to suspend the lawmaker. Mrs. Falana said the suspension was not only a breach of her client’s right but against the law. She prayed the court to declare the suspension illegal and reinstate the plaintiff. Counsel to the Assembly and the Speaker Mr. Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) said the House had the right to discipline any lawmaker that puts its integrity at disrepute. Akinlaja said the suspension was necessary to allow the Assembly probe the matter. He urged the court to empower the House to investigate the allegation through the committee already set up. Justice Olaseinde Kumuyi fixed December 16 for ruling.



NEWS Group rejects OSOPADEC board

Broadcasters meet on digital transmission From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

From Damisi Ojo, Akure


IGERIAN broadcasters yesterday reviewed their preparedness for the transition to digital transmission. The occasion was the third Broadcast Media Stakeholders Forum at the University of Ibadan (UI). The forum was organised by the Yemi Sonde Entertainment and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). NBC Director General Emeka Mba, who set the tone for discussions on switching from analogue to digital transmission and striking a balance between the need for profit and professionalism, said the transition would open up many opportunities for broadcasters but practitioners were not prepared in terms of skills and the right attitude. Mba said digitisation helps practitioners reach more audience through different channels at the same time. Acknowledging that a “subtle conflict” exists between the need for profit and professionalism, he said the NBC would continue to regulate the practice to ensure a balance. Mba said: “In 2015, all analogue transmitting stations will be turned off. But it is doing the same things in different ways. The market, business and processes will change. “It will open up plenty of opportunities. Scarcity of media stations or channels will go away with the analogue. For instance, there are many stations on digital TV, but there will be more players, more competition for audience and adverts. “So broadcasters should begin to think of how to fit in and at what point of the chain to play.”



•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (right) presenting a souvenir to the Founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates, at the Lagos House, Ikeja...yesterday.

No govt can finance security alone, says Ajimobi O YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday said no government can finance security alone. He called for continued partnership between the government and the private sector in maintaining peace and order. Ajimobi spoke yesterday at the Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s Office in Ibadan, the state capital, while inaugurating the Board of Trustees of the State Security Trust Fund (OYSTF). The board Chairman is Mr. Olatunde Ayeni. Members are Col. J. Ogbade, Dr. Ayo Abina, Mr. Femi Odumagbo, Assistant Commissioner of Police Christopher Owolabi, Mr. Olu Ajayi and Mr. Femi Oyedipe.

Ajimobi said his administration’s vision was to create a safe environment for development. He said: “We are all witnesses to another unprecedented transformational strategy aimed at strengthening the state’s security apparatus. Security is the most expensive societal endeavour all over the world. It, therefore, demands the synergy of all stakeholders – private and public sectors.” The governor said the trust fund was set up to institutionalise security management. He said: “We are doing all

these against the back-drop of higher security challenges in neighbouring states. With this, Oyo State is forearmed to deal with any cascading security challenge from its neighbours. “OYSTF builds on the existing template of Ajumose (collectivity) in resolving challenges to effective security management. Through public private partnership, Oyo State will have an enabling environment for sustained funding of security services in return for the credible management of security threats.” The governor said OYSTF would operate as an interven-

tion agency for the mobilisation and provision of funds for sustained and adequate security services. He urged the committee members to mobilise resources from the public and private sectors to make the objective a reality. Ajimobi said to tighten security, the government established a crime-fighting outfit, Operation Burst, comprising the police, military and other security forces. He said to a large extent, the outfit had ensured peace in the state. Ayeni said the establishment of the Fund was right, praising the Ajimobi administration for the initiative. He urged individuals and corporate bodies to support the Fund.

Education is optional for SS III pupils in the 2013/2014 academic session. Mrs. Oladunjoye said SS I–III pupils would take three subjects from the Sciences and Mathematics, Business Studies, Humanities and Technology, and one elective subject from any group. The 10 Trade subjects in the curriculum are Catering Craft Practice, Garment Making, Dyeing and Bleach-

ing, Data Processing, Store Keeping, Book Keeping, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Marketing and Salesmanship. The commissioner said: “Teachers in related subject areas are encouraged to teach Civic Education and the Trade subjects. District guidance counsellors have been informed of the guidelines in the new curriculum and the information has been communicated to school counsel-

lors and year tutors in public senior secondary schools.” She said seminars would be organised at the six education districts to educate teachers on the new curriculum, adding that two periods would be allocated to each trade subject. Mrs. Oladunjoye said the scheme of work for Creative and Cultural Arts in junior secondary schools would be streamlined at the next review.

•Oyo gets Security Trust Fund

Lagos senior secondary schools get new curriculum

AGOS State has approved a new curriculum for public senior secondary schools. Commissioner for Education Mrs. Olayinka

Oladunjoye said SS I-III pupils would take nine subjects, with English Language, Mathematics, Civic Education, Biology and one Trade subject compulsory. However, Civic


GROUP, the Ilaje Forum (IF), yesterday kicked against the constitution of the Ondo State Oil producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) Board, chaired by Pastor Johnson Ogunyemi. Governor Olusegun Mimiko appointed Ogunyemi last week Tuesday to replace Prince Debo Ajimuda, who was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged fraud. Mrs. Ruth Edu, Omotehinse Olumide, Richard Kekemeke, Francis Igbasan and Abosede Brown were appointed part time members of the board. In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Dare Ebimomi, IF condemned the appointment of non-indigenes of oil-producing communities on the board. It said: “We reject a situation where people outside oil-producing communities are appointed into OSOPADEC to manage the 40 per cent fund meant exclusively for the development of the communities.”

Ex-CPC members back Ajimobi From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

MEMBERS of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Oyo State yesterday endorsed Governor Abiola Ajimobi for reelection in 2015. The defunct party’s Youth Leader, Hafis Oladejo, and former governorship candidate Deaconess Esther Olubukola Adedokun led their members to the State Secretariat in Ibadan to pledge their support to the governor. Contrary to the position of her running mate in the 2011 election, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, who wants to contest the 2015, governorship election, Deaconess Adedokun said members of the defunct party, who have joined the All Progressive Congress (APC), were in support of Ajimobi’s second term ambition. She said: “We are here to adopt Ajimobi as our governorship candidate. We want him to continue in 2015. We have gone round the local government areas, including Oke Ogun where Shittu hails from, to sensitise people on the need to support Ajimobi.”

Lawyer jailed for contempt seeks CJN’s help

OUR years after he was jailed for contempt, a 69-year-old lawyer, Mr. Adebayo Jegede, is still battling to get the record of proceedings to enable him appeal. He has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Maryam Mukhtar, to help him retrieve the record. Jegede was jailed for three months in 2009 by Justice Olusola Williams of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, for allegedly making disrespectful comments about another judge, Justice Lateefah Okunnu. In his October 17 petition

By Joseph Jibueze

to the CJN, he said: “My humble request from my Lord is to retrieve the case files of suit LD/1989/04 and charge LCD/21/08…to fight the jail term stigma hanging on me at the Court of Appeal for posterity and in the interest of my profession.” Jegede said Justice Okunnu delivered a judgment in a case involving him and a woman, Ololade Adetokunbo Oki, which led to his “illegal” ejection from his three-storey building at 8, Maye Street in Yaba, Lagos Mainland, on a weekend by men of the O’odua

Peoples Congress (OPC). Dissatisfied with the verdict, he said he swore to an affidavit in which he accused the judge of being unfair and unfit for the bench. Jegede said the contempt charge against him was first dismissed by another judge, but he was re-arraigned before Justice Williams and convicted. He said the record “was never released on the case”. “The case file of suit LD/ 1989/04 on the judgment executed against my property by men of the OPC on 10th and 11th August 2007 have long disappeared from the court and was last seen on 13/9/

2009…,” the lawyer alleged. Jegede said his family, friends and colleagues had been urging him to appeal, adding that he cannot do so without the case file and record. He said efforts to get the court report had been unsuccessful, adding that even the certificate of his release from jail is yet to be released to him. “In view of the volume of work at the Supreme Court chambers, I pray to Almighty God for time and peace of mind for my Lord to read, digest and uphold justice in this my humble petition,” Jegede said.




Reps to investigate NNPC, Swiss firm over $6.8b fraud T

HE House of Repre sentatives’ Commit tees on Petroleum Upstream and Downstream), and Justice are to investigate the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for allegedly conniving with a Swiss trading firm to swindle the country of $6.8billion. The committees would question the corporation for selling the country’s crude oil below the market value through what is termed “Letter Box Companies.” The decision of the lawmakers followed the prayers and the adoption of a motion by Abiodun Abudu-Balogun (APC, Ogun), that the fraud was reported by a Swiss Non-Governmental advocacy organisation, the Berne Declaration.

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

He said the report by the organisation declared the deal as the “greatest fraud Africa has ever known” that is draining Nigeria of billions of dollars in revenue. He said: “The report by Berne Declaration, tiled: ‘Swiss Traders Opaque Deals in Nigeria,’ is so disturbing with details of the schemes employed by the NNPC and foreign oil companies to dupe the country of over $6.8billion “A major partner of NNPC, Vitol and Transfigura Commodity Trading Firms was mentioned in the deals where large volume of our crude oil

was sold below the market price, “ he said, stressing that it should be a source of concern that exclusive and untransparent partnerships of Vitol and Transfigura Commodity Trading Firms with the NNPC, gave them over 36 per cent of the market share, “with NNPC selling its crude at a discount.” Balogun sought justification behind Nigeria being the only major oil producing nation that sells 100 per cent of its crude to private traders, rather than market it herself and benefit from the resulting added value with the greatest number of beneficiaries of export allocations. He said another cause for

worry is the sharp practices and deals in the NNPC crude oil allocations to local refineries that are not utilised, but sold fraudulently at knock- down prices to Geneva-based companies through Letter box companies by swap arrangement. “What should also bother Nigerians is the numerous damaging allegations contained in the report against the NNPC and its subsidiaries accused of not publishing detailed financial reports since 2005,” he added.. The presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha referred the motion to the three House committees after it was unanimously supported when put to voice vote. The committees are expected to put in their report in four weeks.


EQUEL to the postponement of the scheduled presentation of the 2014 budget before a joint sitting of the two chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan is now to present the 2014 budget before the National Assembly on the 19th of November. A letter to this effect with the short title: “Re: 2014 Budget,” from the President and addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal read in part: “Sequel to” my letter of 23rd October 2013 requesting that the Honourable House grant me the slot of 12:00 noon on Tuesday, 12th November 2013 to enable me formaity address a Joint Session of the National Assembly on the 2014 Budget, emergent circumstances have necessitated my having to request for a new date of Tuesday. 19th November

Jonathan to present budget next week From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

2013 at the same time. It is my hope that the Honourable Members will in your usual tradition, favourably consider my request.” The president has also sent a report to the National Assembly justifying the reason he asked for an extension of the State of Emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. In a letter dated November 5, 2013 and addressed to the Speaker with the title: “ Re: Extension of the period for the Proclamation of a state of Emergency,” Jonathan said he has attached a report by the Chief of Army Staff on the current situation in the affected areas.

Oando partners banks to encourage mass usage of GAS


• From left: C-Pin Ind, Tunde Olaniya; MD, Sarsoli Ind Co Ltd, Jai Changrani; C-Pin Ind, Singh and Chairman, Sarsoli Ind Co Ltd, Chandru Changrani at the K2013 Fair in Dusseldorf Germany.


DPR threatens to shut erring gas stations

AS stations that fail to adhere to regula tions guiding the oil and gas industry will be sanctioned, the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said. DPR’s Zonal Director, Alh. Aliyu Alidu said it was imperative to remind marketers of petroleum produce to ensure compliance with guidelines and standards. He spoke during a briefing yesterday ahead of a media visit to selected fuel filling stations in Abuja. He said the inspection became necessary to ensure that members of the public are not exploited, and that appropriate cooking gas is being sold to the people. “There are deliberate attempts by the marketers to adjust the fuel pumps. We remind them of some of our regulations so that they can operate within the framework,” he said, add-

From John Ofikhenua and Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

ing, “we want to make sure the right quantity is being dispensed to the consumers and that the cooking gas is of best quality and best measure.” The inspectors visited Mobil Petrol Filling Station, Obafemi Awolowo way, Utako, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC Mega Station, Olusegun Obasanjo Way, CBD, Gas Dealers Market, GSM village, Zone 1 and Yamoyus Petrol Station. However, there was pandemonium at the NNPC Mega Station. Officials of the station were accused of being partial and disposing kerosene to marketers at higher rate. The Nation gathered that 25 litres of Kero-

sene was sold for N3, 000, instead of the N1, 500 regulated price. A client who was furious at the officials, explained that the officials preferred to patronise marketers because of the cost advantage. He said there are days assigned to security operatives to purchase the produce, while others are also asked to patronise the station on Wednesdays. But, the security officials were denied the product while marketers were duely served kerosene. DPR Ag. Head, Downstream, Borogun Michael, who observed the entire process, called for orderliness, saying that DPR staff would be deployed to the mega station to monitor customer attendance and ensure their operations are in accordance with the department’s regulations.

Nigeria Airways: TUC, ATSSSAN, ORMER workers of liq others write Jonathan uidated national car


rier Nigeria Airways Limited yesterday pleaded with President Goodluck Jonathan to pay their outstanding 20 years severance benefits. Their colleagues who worked in other countries received their benefits nine years ago, they said. The workers, who gathered for prayers yesterday at the secretariat of the AIr Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

(ATSSSAN), along the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, under the aegis of Aviation Union Grand Alliance ( AUGA), mandated the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other unions to intimate the President about their plight. One of the union leaders, Comrade Ibrahim Husseini, said government will require

about N70 billion to offset the outstanding severance benefits of the former workers and pensioners, which has been pending for the past nine years. He described, as gross insensitivity to the plight of exNigeria Airways workers, government’s reluctance to pay the former workers, saying many of the workers have died due to lack of funds for medicare.

ANDO Marketing Plc, has signed a Memo randum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Association of Microfinance Banks (MFBs) with a view to making OGas, a cleaner and safer cooking fuel more accessible to Nigerians, especially lowincome earners. Under the partnership, everyone can now own the O-Gas 3-in-1 Cylinder by approaching any of the micro-finance banks with only N200 as an initial deposit secure the complete

set of portable 3kg O-Gas. However, such buyers will be expected to make a N200 daily deposit with the any of the partnering micro finance banks for 30 days until they would have completed the payment cycle for the cylinder. The Head of Marketing communications, Seun Soyinka, said the new initiative is consistent with OMP’s plan to switch millions of Nigerians from the use of biomass to clean, efficient, affordable and sustainable LPG.




•Lynn Whitfield (second left), with some Nigerian actors

•Mahmood Ali-Balogun, flanked by Rita Dominic (left) and Uche Ode

Tinapa excites with Africa International Film Festival


HE Arik Air wing at the local airport in Lagos, witnessed a sparse gathering of curious passengers and airport workers, who appeared thrilled by the influx of local and foreign movie stars on ground to catch a chartered flight to Calabar, host of the ongoing Africa International Film Festival (FRIFF). The buzz at the Calabar airport swelled with more partici-

By Victor Akande

pants arriving enroute the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport for the journey to the popular Tinapa Business Resort, where the 224 rooms at the Lakeside Hotel were overrun by guests, with a heavy spill to other hotels in the city centre. Between Tinapa and The Marina, another resort centre in

town, which houses the popular Filmhouse, the busy traffic of film enthusiasts portrays what many described as a visible success of a festival, which started three years ago. Wife of the governor of Cross River Mrs. Obioma Imoke, who welcomed the delegates after a dazzling red carpet show kick-starting the week-long event on Sunday night, could not curtail her ex-

citement: “I’m excited to be here and we are most honoured to host this event,” said Mrs Imoke, who apologised for her husband’s absence. Governor Liyel Imoke, she noted, had led the victorious Golden Eaglets to a national reception in Abuja. “You haven’t been to Nigeria if you haven’t been to Calabar,” an elated Mrs Imoke told her guests during the cocktail reception that preceded the screening of the festival’s opening movie; Of a Good Report. “Here is the place to be really”, she stated with emphasis, beaming with smiles. “Please get something to eat because we are known for our cuisine and I want to assure you we are going to have a blast. Cross River is the home of Tinapa, Obudu, and the 32-day long festival, which climaxes with our famous Carnival Calabar. Please have fun.” With such unusual brief remark by a government functionary, and bankroller of a huge budget event, such as AFRIFF 2013, the mood was set for the real business of filmmaking devoid of the usual show-off activities by government-sponsored events. If there was any best way to start a film festival, the choice of an opening film is a factor. AFRIFF appeared to have chosen right by screening the controversial Of a Good Report, which was banned initially in its country of origin, for what the censorship board described as its marks of child pornography. Thus, the debate started among

filmmakers at the event on where to draw the line between classification and an outright ban of a work of art. The movie, which has been to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), among others sharply divided opinion because of its theme, graphic nature and sexually explicit scenes. Of a Good Report revolves round a teacher, who has an immoral relationship with his 16-year-old female student, puts her in the family way and procures an illegal abortion for her to cover his tracks. The event, which also focuses on panel discussions, workshops and master classes, has over 40 actors, directors and producers from other countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Rome, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Cameroun. The foreign artistes are joined by a flurry of Nollywood stars in adding verve to the event, which has Rita Dominic and Lynn Whitfield as ambassadors. Others are Desmond Elliot, Kunle Afolayan, Omoni Oboli, Chinedu Ikedieze (Aki), Uche Jombo, Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha, Bharia Mcwizu, Kemi Lala-Akindoju and OC Ukeje. There are also Nigerian actors and producers based in the Diaspora at the event. They include Jude Idada, Gbenga Akinnagbe and the model and actor, Ngoli Ngor Onyeka Okafor. AFRIFF, as its counterparts

in Pan African Film Festival (FESPACO), Ouagadougou and Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), South Africa, records a remarkable celebration of the African cinema as a number of outstanding movies are being screened at Filmhouse Cinemas. There is an abundance of feature films, documentaries, short films and student short films in the festival, perhaps the largest collection so far, in a Nigerian domicilled film festival. Some of the films in competition at the festival include I number number, Hoodrush, Daughters of the Niger Delta, Clouds over Conakry, B for Boy, Hillside Crowd, Drama Consult, Thousand Suns and The Man Who Wanted to Move a Mountain. There is also A Mile from Home, The Virgin, the Copts and Me, Africa Shafted, The Flower Girl, Durban Poison and Creation in Exile. If there is a remarkable recreation that filmmakers have shared in recent times, the daily AFRIFF after-event party will be a moment to remember. The AFRIFF Village Hangout at dusk offers free drinks and finger foods amid trendy music from an inhouse Disc Jockey. The level of grooving by the artistes can simply be described as wow! The festival will round off this Sunday; with a glamorous award ceremony where prizes will be given in 11 categories. The closing event is expected to be attended by Governor Imoke, among other government officials of Cross River.

My marriage intact, says Kcee


OMING from a humble music background to take centrestage on the Nigeria music scene, Limpopo crooner Kingsley Chinweike Okonkwo, popularly known as Kcee, has every reason to thank God. But while his profile continues to skyrocket, the same may not be said of his marriage, which has constantly been rumoured to have broken down. Only a couple of months ago, in the heat of Kcee’s Limpopo fever, rumour spilled that the singer’s marriage had crashed. But in an interview with this reporter, he debunked the rumour, saying it’s normal that people will make such insinuations. His latest effort (Limpopo) had a remarkable success, which he attributed to his passion for music. “For the records, my success today didn’t come easy. I dropped eight singles before

By Mercy Michael

Limpopo. Limpopo was the No.8 and it was the sixth video I did. Some came out and some didn’t come out. I’ve been hustling. I’ve been working. At a point I had to go look for fund. I ran out of funds. I wasn’t comfortable. I needed a breakthrough. Sometimes, it is about the individual, it is about your hustle, your dedication, your passion. So for me, this is my life. This is what I love to do. This is what I pray to do every other day. So my success story is about dedication, passion and commitment.” Two months after Kcee dismissed rumours of a crash, the story surfaced again in the early hours of yesterday. Reports said the marriage of the popular singer had crashed and that there were indications he may have gone back to his former lover, Nollywood actress Ebube Nwagbo, whom he

•Kcee and wife

dumped in 2010. Speaking with Kcee, the singer, apparently pissed by the rumour, tried to be polite. “I am very busy at the studio. I don’t have time for gossip. I don’t even want to comment on it because the more I keep making comments on it, the more it will go viral. I don’t have time for this but it’s not true. There is nothing like that. Meanwhile, if you want to talk about my album, I’m available after I must have finished what I’m doing at the moment.”










Help, Nigerian languages are disappearing! As English language gains more prominence in both official and private circles in the country, ominous signs stab Yoruba, Igbo and many other indigenous languages in the face as less and less people are able to achieve fluency in their mother tongues, thus exposing the local languages to dangers of extinction in not too distant future. Assistant Editor ADEKUNLE YUSUF reports


N the scale of integrity and other values that count, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, chairman of Toyota Nigeria and founder of Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, is known as a man who is worth his weight in gold. Besides being a successful business icon, the auto mogul is a man who is not given to flippancies. Perhaps that is why his audience sighed and sighed like a people who have cavalierly lost an irreplaceable antique when the 75year old man admonished them recently not to allow Yoruba language to die, an issue he considered as of utmost importance to the continued relevance and survival of the Yoruba people. The event was the Yoruba Assembly, convened by Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, retired general and civil war hero, which held on the floor of Oyo State House of Assembly in Ibadan, on August 30, 2012. But the popular auto merchant had justification for his disappointment, having observed to his chagrin and discomfiture that English language, the country’s lingua franca, was the medium of deliberation at the event in Ibadan, an occasion meant for and graced mainly by the crème de la crème of Yoruba elite – opinion leaders, past and serving political office holders across all political affiliations, accomplished professionals, and firstrate traditional rulers. Obviously oblivious of the import of their actions, speaker after speaker shamelessly craved the indulgence of the gathering to allow them speak in English, which they said would help them to better articulate their views with a view to making meaningful contributions. As for a few ones that mustered the courage to speak in their mother tongue, it was another show of shame as these Yoruba elders indulged in virtual code-switching throughout the day. Although the gathering came into being because of the dire need for Yoruba leaders to ponder the future and “interrogate various issues that are affecting the race and find solutions to them accordingly,” Ade-Ojo, on mounting the dais, veered off political and economic issues that dominated the deliberations, seizing the moment to make a soulful appeal to his fellow Yoruba elders not to allow their language to die, insisting that paying lip service to cultural issues will spell doom for the future of the race. Like the proprietor of Elizade University, all culturally-minded adults cannot but be appalled that about the distressing state of one of the world’s

important languages. Going by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) latest predictions, most Nigerian languages, including Yoruba, are under the dangling axe of extinction. In other words, most of Nigerian languages may even be wiped out in the next fifty years if concrete steps are not taken to reverse the trend. In 2012, UNESCO warned that the number of speakers of these indigenous languages is dwindling by the day, overwhelmed by the bulldozing influence of foreign languages, especially English and French. Paraphrasing Olugboyega Adebanjo, lead translator at XML Language Services Limited, a language translation and preservation firm, Nigerians still speak in tongues, but no more in their mother tongues. No thanks to globalisation and its aftereffects, many Yoruba adults and young elements wittingly or unwittingly - have declared a ceaseless war against their own language as if it is their common enemy, or a dreadful affliction that burdens them. From one urban center to another, many educated elites who are supposed to be the repository of their cultural heritage have reduced themselves to aliens in their own land – alien to their language, history and culture. While the attitude of many Yoruba adults towards their culture is reprehensible, what is happening to the younger ones as far as mother tongue is concerned is both alarming and disquieting, for many children born and raised in the cities by elite Yoruba parents cannot even utter one word in their mother tongue. Nowadays, especially in homes of educated elites, it is increasingly becoming the norm for children to have their first tongue in English, the language of Nigeria’s former colonisers. In the Southwest states – from Lagos to Ogun, from Oyo to Osun, from Ondo to Ekiti, and parts of Kwara and Kogi – where Yoruba is spoken natively, ominous signs stab the mother tongue in the face. This is worsened by the fad of sending children to private primary and secondary schools where pupils are not taught in any of Nigeria’s languages, but in English, thus subtly conditioning the children to value foreign language above their mother tongue. Going by findings of discreet investigations carried out by this reporter through several visits to some elite private schools in Lagos and Ibadan, majority of pupils cannot even salute in Yoruba, for it a punishable offence in public and private schools to communicate within

the school premises in a language ignorantly termed as vernacular. But it is not only Yoruba that faces the threat of extinction among Nigeria’s multitude of languages. Like the Yoruba, the number of speakers of Igbo language is fast thinning down. Apart from the pressure imposed by pidgin, which is a popular medium of communication among the teeming masses, the use of English has forced many native speakers of Igbo to water down the essence of the language through code-switching. From Anambra to Imo, from Abia to Ebonyi and Enugu states, Igbo adults now seek knowledge, not in their mother tongue but in another man’s language – thus inadvertently relegating their language to secondary status. Affirming the report of UNESCO that Igbo is among the beleaguered league of Nigeria’s endangered languages, Prof Chinyere Ohiri-Aniche of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), who is the President of Linguistics Association of Nigeria, said it may not even take up to fifty years before the Igbo and other Nigerian languages may be dead, hinging her position on a plethora of empirical studies she and her colleagues in the linguistics world have conducted to gauge competency level of native speakers. According to the findings of a study carried out in 2007 in Imo and Lagos states to test Igbo competency level of three age groups, aged 1-5, 6-11, and adults, a grim picture awaits the language: seventy percent of children between 6-11 years and ninety percent of children aged five years and below were unable to speak Igbo language. In another study conducted the same year, fifty percent of Igbo parents in Imo State and eighty percent in Lagos State spoke mostly English or a mixture of English and Igbo with their children. Many other studies measuring indigenous language competencies among children in Igbo land and beyond established that alarming number of children could not speak their mother tongue. However, the endangerment staring Yoruba and Igbo - languages spoken by two of the country’s three major tribes – in the face pales when compared with more debilitating fate befalling languages spoken by ethnic minorities in the country. In the seminal work of Dr. Uwe Seibert of the Department of Languages and Linguistics, University of Jos, Nigeria, there are a total of 646 languages in Nigeria, most of which are spoken by ethnic minorities in a country of 160 million people (see box). Most of the languages are endangered. Accord-

•Yoruba masquerades: The young generations are losing touch with the language and culture

•Osofisan ing to the findings of a survey conducted in 2011 in all the six geo-political zones of Nigeria by a team of linguists led by Prof. Ahmed Amfani, on the average, twenty-five percent of Nigerian children of nursery and primary school ages (that is, 11 years and below) do not speak their parents’ language! According to Prof. Kola Owolabi of the University of Ibadan, many parents who have stopped talking to their children and wards in their mother tongue ignorantly believe that it is both primitive and uncivilised for their children not to be able to speak good English. Although some Nigerian languages, Igbo and Yoruba, still have millions of adult speakers, they are nevertheless ranked in the category of endangered languages compiled by UNESCO. This is so because many Nigerian parents are not handing over their language to their children. What this means, says Prof. Ohiri-Aniche, is that the present Nigerian children will not be able to bequeath their parents’ languages to their own children. And this will not take eons to materialize. In about two to three generations (around 50 to 75 years’ time),

•Ohiri-Aniche Prof. Ohiri-Aniche said most Nigerian languages would have slipped into extinction, dead and buried forever. As portentous as this may sound, it is not a mere prediction; it is premised on findings of empirical studies. This explains why the subject of language endangerment, an unfolding phenomenon in Nigeria, is causing experts in the linguistic circle great sadness. Said Prof. OhiriAniche: “We know that most Nigerians are ignorant of the subject and of its horrendous consequences for us in the country - loss of identity, loss of valuable means of communication and storage and preservation of cultural wealth, disintegration and disappearance of communities, etc. Out of the estimated 400 existing Nigerian languages, about 152 have less than five thousand speakers, making them fall under the UNESCO description of endangered languages. In fact, some of the country’s languages have as few as ten speakers left, while one language has only one surviving speaker.” And Nigerian parents and authorities fail to address the issue of language endangerment, there will be very few Nigerian languages left by the time Nigeria cele-




No of languages

Abia State Adamawa State

1 58

Anambra State Akwa Ibom State

3 20

Bauchi State Bayelsa State

60 10

Benue State Borno State

14 28

Cross River State Delta State

50 11

Ebonyi State Edo State

5 17

Ekiti State Enugu State

1 1

Gombe State Imo State

21 1

Jigawa State Kaduna State

4 57

Kano State Katsina State

4 2

Kebbi State Kogi State

16 8

Kwara State Lagos State

7 2

Nasarawa State Niger State

29 38

Ogun State Ondo State

1 10

Osun State Oyo State

1 1

Plateau State Rivers State

48 23

Sokoto State Taraba State

2 73

Yobe State Zamfara State

9 1



• Many of these languages are either extinct or severely endangered. •Isola


brates the next centenary in January 2114, she warns.

One World, Many Tongues


LTHOUGH the exact num ber of world languages is not known, owing partly to the difficulties of delineating languages from dialects in many countries where there is a mingling of the two, there are estimates which linguists and other cultural experts have often chosen to work with. According to latest figures from the database of UNESCO, there are currently 6, 912 languages in the world. Out of this figure, Africa has 2,092 languages, representing 30.3 percent of the world’s languages, while Asia, which is the world’s most populous continent, has 2,269 languages, or 32.8 percent of the world’s languages. According to language experts, at least 3,000 of the world’s languages, representing about fifty percent, are about to be lost, unless serious efforts are made to stem the tide. As is often the case, Africa has a high share of these endangered mother tongues. As the tempest of globalisation increasingly burrows into the fabric of human activities, it leaves minority

languages more vulnerable and moribund, as people now prefer to conduct business and communicate in widely-used languages such as English and French. For a variety of reasons, speakers of languages in minority tribes have unconsciously stopped using their first language, resorting to other languages that enjoy more patronages. In other words, linguists say speakers of lesser-known languages are facing increasing pressure to adopt other languages they think can help them enact their communication mission more easily. Without the requisite resources to maintain their own languages, those who should know say it means the locals in many climes risk losing touch with their cultural heritage. Due to neocolonialism, economically powerful languages dominate the less commonly spoken languages, accelerating the rate of disappearance for less commonly spoken languages. And when parents use only a second language to communicate with their children and wards, linguists insist that intergenerational transmission of the mother tongue decreases and may even cease outright. While other languages are spoken by fewer than

10,000 speakers, the top twenty languages in the world are spoken by fifty percent of the world’s population, with each spoken by more than fifty million speakers. Although there is no definite threshold for measuring language endangerment, most categorizations employed fairly uniform criteria: the number and age of current speakers of the language, and whether or not the youngest generations are acquiring fluency in it. However, the UNESCO operates with four levels of endangerment based on intergeneration transfer: vulnerable (not spoken by children outside the home), definitely endangered (children not speaking), severely endangered (only spoken by the oldest generations), critically endangered (spoken by few members of the oldest generations, often semi-speakers). As a matter of fact, the affliction of language endangerment torments all indigenous languages in Nigeria, with most of the languages now oscillating between vulnerable and definitely endangered, or even worse in some cases. Dr. Seibert reported that Holma (a language spoken in north of Sorau of Adamawa state); Bete and Fali of Baissa (languages spoken in Takun LGA

and Falinga Pleateau region of Taraba state) are dying out. Lere, Shau and Ziriya (languages spoken in Toro LGA of Bauchi state); and Sheni (a language spoken in Saminaka LGA) are near extinction. Ajawa, Gamo-Ningi, Kubi and Mawa (languages once spoken in Bauchi state); and Jigwa state’s Auyokawa and Teshenawa are now extinct. Other Nigerian languages on Dr Siebert’s exhaustive list are classified as vulnerable (any language spoken by less than 20,000 speakers), threatened (a language spoken by less than 10,000 speakers), endangered (any language spoken by less than 5,000 speakers) and severely endangered (a language spoken by less than 1,000 speakers). Some of these languages include: Dulbu (a language spoken in southeast of Bauchi LGA of Bauchi state); Hasha (a language spoken in Akwanga LGA of Nassarawa state); Kami (a language spoken in Lapai LGA of Niger state); Kulung (a language spoken in Karim Lamido and Wukari LGAs of Taraba state); Labir (a language spoken in Bauchi and Alkaleri LGAs of Bauchi state); Mak (a language spoken in Karim Lamido LGA of Taraba state); and Shiki (a language spoken in Bauchi LGA of Bauchi state). Dulbu is severely endangered as it had just 100 native speakers as at 1993. Hasha, as at 1999 had 3,000 speakers, but the number of native speakers is currently put at 400. Kami had just 5,000 speakers as at 1992. Kulung and Labir had 15,000 and 13,000 native speakers worldwide as at 1973 and 2006 respectively. Mak is being spoken by 5,690, and Shiki by 1,000 native speakers.

Why it matters


AMENTING the alarming rate at which Africans are abandoning their indigenous languages in preference for foreign languages, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, renowned Kenyan novelist, said this trend is tantamount to self-enslavement which is dangerous for the sustenance of Africans and their traditions. He noted that Africans who have the mastery of other people’s languages at the expense of their own indigenous languages have subjected themselves to “second slavery,” albeit an unforced one. “For me, enslavement is when you know all the languages of the world but you don’t know your own language. Empowerment is when you know your own language and you add other languages to it,” he said. According to Prof. Femi Osofisan, renowned playwright who has seen many generations of students who never got it right due to their apathy towards their mother tongue, it has generally been noted that students perform poorly in most subjects in tertiary institutions due to their disinterest in what is their own. Said Prof. Osofisan: “It is so annoying that these students come least prepared to face the academic rigours. In the first place, they don’t have the appropriate background to fit into the academic world. They are not only too lazy to read, they do not also know how to speak either their local languages or the English language. This becomes worrisome because you discover you are teaching people who are deficient in their language of communication. And language, as you know, is the tool for learning. If you do not know it, then of what use are you to yourself and to the academic world.” So, does humanity lose anything if a language dies? According to language activists and professionals working to preserve mother tongues, the demise of any language, no matter how few the speakers are, signifies the loss of gargantuan goldmine of information that cannot be replaced. Dr Ayo Oyebode, who is the Head of Department of Communication and Language Arts at the University of Ibadan, says a language’s death means the loss of everything humanity requires to continue to stay afloat. When a language dies, he adds, what is lost is more than a set of meaningful sounds. “What is lost includes life, meaning, knowledge, science and technology. What is lost indeed is a

significant part of humanity, so significant that the living are incomplete forever,” Dr. Oyebode explained. The loss of a language, adds Adebanjo, the boss of XML Language Services Limited, is not only the loss of a generation but of a world. He explained that direct consequences of language extinction mean the loss of a people and their world, history, cultural heritage, their understanding and testimonial of the world and the loss of scientific, botanical and medical knowledge, adding that “all human souls lost since creation cannot equate the loss of a language because it takes a language to tell the story of their death.” Prof Owolabi says because language is a people’s identity, culture and existence, such things are what humanity loses if a language slumps into extinction. “If we lose our language, it means we have lost our culture and everything that we are associated with from God. It means we have lost out. Our race is gone because we will be living in another person’s race. Your pride is gone as a member of human race when you lose your language. What else is left if you lose your mother tongue? It is your identity card. If you lose it, you have lost your existence. You cannot be a foreigner in your own land. If you say everybody should be speaking English language and we don’t have our language any more, it means we have written off ourselves from the global map,” the erudite professor warned.

The way forward Ngugi wa Thiong’o, one of Africa’s pragmatic language activists who is walking the talk to arrest the tumbling fortune of African languages, urges all African parents to start speaking in mother tongue to their children at home, and this must not be watered down through codeswitching. “We should promote our languages. We should encourage our children to speak our own language. I stopped writing in English language 10 years ago because Africa is our base and we must not lose our base and our indigenous languages. Since then I have been writing in Gikuyu language and I later do translation myself or I look for somebody to do it for me,” he said. While advocating that all parents and guardians to Africanise their children and wards, Prof Tunde Babawale of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), admonished parents that they owe it a duty to ensure that their children are taught in the local languages right from the moment when they are born. “It has to start from their kindergarten year. If this is done over time, they will develop this habit to be able to read these languages on their own. If they continue to read all these foreign novels, they will not develop that habit. Children who speak their local languages very well are known to be more proficient in other foreign languages. And they can communicate better. This has been proved to be true over the years. It is because we have neglected our duty to train the children and show them how and where to go that we are in this mess we are in today,” urged Babawale. As for Prof Akinwumi Ishola, one of Nigeria’s language and culture icons, who blamed neo-Pentecostalism, globalisation, and lack of sincerity of African elites as the root causes of crisis hitting her indigenous languages, all Nigerian authorities need to do is to take a cue from China. “China has never lost its culture. The language of instruction from preprimary to university level has been Chinese. The child understands better when taught in the mother tongue. China therefore has made enormous progress in science and technology and they are selling this to the world. Nigeria, on the contrary, has been using a foreign language as medium of instruction from the pre-primary to university level.” This, he insists, must change before Nigeria’s indigenous languages can enjoy a better lease of life in an age where English language rules. Is anyone lending a listening ear?







Ghost subsidy


•Kerosene subsidy scam may be Nigeria’s next scandal

UST as it was with the much-talkedabout petrol subsidy last year, we may yet be on the way to unearthing another scam, this time, on kerosene subsidy. The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum, Downstream, Dakuku Peterside, said that the Federal Government spent about N634billion to subsidise kerosene in the last three years. Peterside spoke at a seminar organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), in Lagos. According to him, about N110 billion was spent on kerosene subsidy in 2010; N324 billion in 2011 and N200 billion in 2012. This, no doubt, must have come as a rude shock to Nigerians because, as Peterside himself noted, the subsidy has never benefitted Nigerians who have been suffering due to the fact that they cannot get the product at the regulated

‘We agree with Mr Peterside that “… something is wrong somewhere. How can we be spending on what does not benefit the masses”? It is that something that the lawmakers should unearth since the government has persistently demonstrated gross incompetence in tackling corruption’

price. Kerosene is supposed to sell for N40.90k per litre, but it is presently going for between N110 and N150. Senator Bukola Saraki who had expected the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to shed more light on the subsidy at her meeting with the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation on the 2013 Budget last Monday was disappointed because the minister was evasive on the issue. The minister, rather, insisted that the N1.4trillion she told the joint committee about was the amount paid to oil marketers as subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol. When Senator Saraki persisted, she simply retorted, “the payment is for petrol; it does not include kerosene. I said the payment is for PMS and that is petrol, adding: “I am really very clear that the payment is for petrol. I think the NNPC should answer the question on whether subsidy is paid on kerosene.” We do not want to believe that Dr Okonjo-Iweala does not know whether we are paying subsidy on kerosene or not; although we agree she might not know the exact amount involved immediately. In which case all she needed to do was ask for more time to find out details and get back to the committee. We would not be surprised if another can of worms is opened by the time the lawmakers probe the matter further. Those involved in the kerosene subsidy racket might have been taking undue

advantage of the fact that we hardly talk about it. With the ball now put in the court of the untouchable behemoth, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the matter seems to have got to a dead end. As at now, the corporation is the sole importer of kerosene and we do not know anything that it has done well. It is under its watch that the country, the world’s sixth biggest crude exporter, imports the bulk of its petroleum products because the corporation cannot efficiently run our refineries. It is sad that the government spends about a third of what we spend on capital budget yearly on kerosene subsidy, which, like petrol subsidy, is subsidising corruption because the subsidy is not getting to the intended beneficiaries. It is true that Nigerians could switch over to Liquefied Petroleum gas (LPG) instead of kerosene as Mr Peterside suggested, but how many of our low and middle income earners can afford this? Cost apart, many people, particularly in the rural areas, do not feel comfortable with gas cookers. They will rather switch over to firewood if kerosene is no longer within their reach. This, as we know, has deleterious effects on the environment. We agree with Mr Peterside that “… something is wrong somewhere. How can we be spending on what does not benefit the masses”? It is that something that the lawmakers should unearth since the government has persistently shown a gross incompetence when it comes to tackling corruption.

British back down


•Nigeria should make itself less vulnerable to external visa policies

HE recent decision by the British government to halt its controversial proposal to impose a £3,000 visa bond on a percentage of visitors from six countries deemed to be “high-risk” is a welcome one. Announced earlier in the year by the British Home Affairs Secretary, Teresa May, the visa bond policy was aimed at deterring nationals of Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Ghana who are seen as the most persistent illegal immigrants. In addition to discouraging illegal immigration, it was to help defray the costs of locating, securing and deporting them back to their own countries. The policy was also supposed to signal the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s preparedness to tackle the vexed problem of illegal immigration and fend off inroads by the anti-immigration UK Independence Party (UKIP). The widespread hostility with which the visa bond proposal was met, as well as its ultimate scrapping, is a clear demonstration of the fact that it was poorly conceived, badly timed and ill intentioned. It was clearly discriminatory in its focus, singling out countries and individuals solely on the basis of nationality and race. It offended natural law by proposing pre-emptive punishment of crimes that were yet to be committed. Its efficacy was in doubt, given the problems the UK has had with immigrants from elsewhere in the European Union (EU) and in Eastern Europe, which were not covered by the proposal. Most damaging of all, the visa bond policy threatened the durability of some of

Britain’s most enduring ties. All of the six targeted countries have maintained largely cordial economic, social and political relations which are very beneficial to all sides. In the light of their perceived demonisation by the proposal, strongly-worded protests and threats of retaliatory treatment from these longstanding friendly nations posed a clear danger to hitherto-harmonious relationships. The consequent withdrawal of the proposal is thus a recognition on the part of the British government that the UK stood to lose far more than what it hoped to gain if it went ahead with the policy. While Nigeria and the other five nations may see the action as a triumph of common sense and hard-nosed realpolitik, they must realise that the underlying problem of illegal immigration by their nationals remains as intractable as ever. Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are all heavily-populated developing countries whose infrastructural and other challenges often serve as an impetus for its more adventurous nationals to seek greener pastures by any means possible. Such is the level of poverty and unemployment that a formidable humantrafficking industry has emerged in these nations to take advantage of increasingly desperate attempts to travel to other lands. If illegal immigration is to be slowed down to manageable proportions, it will first require comprehensive efforts by Nigeria and the other countries to take care of the basic needs of their citizens. Nigeria, with its vaunted oil wealth, is particularly well-placed to ensure that its people are able to lead meaningful and fulfilled lives

within its own borders. The simple fact is that nobody will undertake the risks of illegal migration when all that is needed for a civilised existence is available at home. It is when people increasingly feel that their prospects at home are irredeemably bad that the attractiveness of foreign lands becomes the norm. In this regard, it is significant that top British officials were assiduously courting China with a significant relaxation of travel requirements for its nationals even while the visa-bond policy was still being considered. Like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, China is an Asian country, but unlike them, it has been able to economically transform itself to the extent that its citizens are welcomed almost everywhere with open arms due to their enhanced spending power. The lesson is clear.

‘The consequent withdrawal of the proposal is thus a recognition on the part of the British government that the UK stood to lose far more than what it hoped to gain if it went ahead with the policy. While Nigeria and the other five nations may see the action as a triumph of common sense and hard-nosed realpolitik, they must realise that the underlying problem of illegal immigration by their nationals remains as intractable as ever’

The case for a deal with Iran


ES, there are risks. But it would be irresponsible to miss a chance at a diplomatic solution. It’s understandable that there is skepticism about whether Iran would abide by an interim agreement to suspend most of its nuclear activities in exchange for some relief from economic sanctions. But the United States and the other nations that have been negotiating with the new government in Tehran are right to pursue such an arrangement as a way to test Iran’s insistence that it’s willing to forswear the development of nuclear weapons over the long run. Members of Congress inclined to oppose this initiative should allow it time to succeed or fail. Expectations about a deal were heightened Friday when Secretary of State John F. Kerry flew to Geneva, where Iran has been negotiating with the socalled P5-plus-1 — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany. But on Saturday night, this round of talks adjourned without an agreement. U.S. officials have suggested that an interim deal would bar Iran from “advancing” its nuclear program during a transitional period, in exchange for the release of some Iranian assets frozen in overseas banks. Meanwhile, negotiators would continue to pursue a final agreement to resolve all remaining concerns about the development of an Iranian nuclear arsenal. Critics have pounced on reports that a proposed interim deal might not require Iran to suspend all enrichment of uranium, as U.N. resolutions dating back to 2006 have demanded. Without such a commitment, they argue, even a minor relaxation of sanctions would allow Iran to string the international community along while it continued to make progress toward a nuclear weapon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who repeatedly has warned that a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten his country, said, “The deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal.” On Capitol Hill, legislation is being prepared that would prevent President Obama from relaxing sanctions against Iran in the absence of concessions far greater than are likely to be included in an interim agreement. These objections are rooted in historical reality. In the past, Iran has evaded international accountability in a way that cast doubt on its protestations that its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes only. But in June, Iranians elected as their president Hassan Rouhani, who has called for creative negotiations to resolve the nuclear issue and who seems to have the support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the country’s religious establishment. Obviously Rouhani’s assurances shouldn’t be taken at face value. But if, in the next round of talks, Iran agrees to restraints that effectively stop the clock on weaponization, the international community should be willing to reciprocate with a measured — and reversible — relaxation of sanctions. Ideally that gesture would make it easier for Rouhani to engage in negotiations on a more comprehensive agreement, one that would allow Iran to use nuclear power for civilian purposes while forestalling a regional nuclear arms race. Yes, there are risks in an interim agreement. Iran might renege on its assurances or drag out negotiations. Even if Rouhani is sincere, the country’s religious leaders might balk at allowing him to conclude an agreement. But these uncertainties must be weighed against the indications that Iran is willing to abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for an end to economic isolation. It would be irresponsible for the U.S. and its partners not to pursue that possibility. Los Angeles Times

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IR: Give it to them; the Nigeria U-17 team are the champions of the world. What a sight to behold in United Arab Emirates. They took the world to the cleaners in spectacular and enviable manner. This is what makes a champion. The revelation of the 2013 U-17 World Cup is the Nigerian team. They are now the most successful team in the age grade competition (winning four times-1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013), one more than Brazil. This is a tournament Nigerians would not want to forget in a hurry. Talk of the defence splitting passes of Musa Yahaya. What of the power packed crosses from the boots of the captain-Musa Mohammed? Or


IR: I am too pained in my heart, to do a proper introduction of myself, so everyone reading this would have to forgive me for that. I am a young male employed by Zenith Bank in 2012, when the bank decided to opt for contract staffing of fresh university graduates. I had to take it believing that the exposure and the need to equip myself with a certain level of experience were far more important than being idle. My remuneration was pegged at 69,999 Naira a month. The responsibilities assigned to me were the same with other professional non-contract staff in the operations unit of my branch. There is absolutely no disparity in my work load and to make matters worse, my branch could be classified as a non-performing branch in terms of income generation, so my branch head equally subjects me to marketing duties by making sure I introduce accounts to the branch if I want to be appraised very well in the biannual appraisal system of the bank. I go to work each day, concealing my disdain for the conditions I have to work with. What provoked this write-up is the issue of 13 th month salary, also called December bonus. Zenith Bank has a policy of paying 13th month to all cadres of staff, professional and non-pro-



Golden Eaglets’ victory: What next? his curling free kick which only Messi , Ronaldo, Okocha and Ronaldinho display on the field of play. How about the player of the tournament? Good passer and goal poacher; the revelation of the tournament-Kelechi Iheanacho. Not forgetting Isaac Success. If not for injuries, we all know what he can do. Not to forget the lanky striker,

Taiwo Awoniyi and his good positioning. The safe hands Dele, the son of Alampasu. What of the promising lad, Chidera Ezeh or the rock of Gibraltar Zaharadden Bello? What of the individual brilliance of Akinjide Idowu in the midfield and the hardworking Chidebere Nwakili? They all in unity took down their opponents to the cleaners. They

spanked the Mexicans 6-1 in the opening game. They equalised late in the match to share points with the Swedes in the second fixture. The team cruised to the Round of 16 after spanking Iran 5-0 in the last group match and emerging winners of the group. They didn’t spare their Iranian counterparts in the Round of 16 winning 4-1. Then the quarterfinal match with the Uru-

fessional (contract). By that I mean the security staff and bulk note counters also enjoy of this largesse. I expected that those in my category would equally be paid this bonus, having put in more than a fair shift of workload during the year, but to my utmost bewilderment and those of my professional (contract) colleagues, we were denied of the benefit. I have tried to rationalize why the bank would decide to treat us

with such disdain and contempt for our efforts and I am yet to come up with an answer. I want the bank to understand that as frontline officers of our various branches, they’re treading on our emotions and the level of bottled up rage in most of my colleagues would definitely spill over soon; and that the bank as an institution would be setting itself up for the worst public relations disaster of any financial institution in

the country. To the general public, if you walk into any of the Zenith Bank branch and the attending teller doesn’t reciprocate your friendliness or warmth, please don’t take offence; understand that his animosity is not to you but the employer he/she has to contend with.

population. The poster further states “Is your family sold out to witches? Are you oppressed or tormented by the witches? Are you a victim/prey/ slave/servant in witchcraft coven? Are you a witch or wizard? There is a special deliverance for the possessed and the oppressed.” In a region where people often spiritualize the cause of their problems or attribute the misfortune they suffer to malevolent supernatural and occult forces, many can easily connect and link their problems and tragic experiences to these questions. Ukpabio claims to have divine mandate and power to exorcize the spirit of witchcraft. She made witchcraft deliverance the primary mission of her Liberty Gospel Church.

This time, her goal is to exploit popular fears- of accidents and deaths- often entertained by Nigerians during the ‘ember months’ using witchcraft images and imaginaries. At this event Ukpabio will instigate witchcraft insinuations and suspicion, incite hatred and violence against children and other vulnerable members of the population often scapegoated as witches. Ukpabio’s witch-hunting mission is set to erode the gains made so far by state and non-state actors in combating witchcraft related abuse in the region. Witch hunting will not end in Africa as long as witchcraft entrepreneurs like Ukpabio continue to act with impunity and the authorities refuse to bring them to justice.

Why now, Zenith Bank?


• Chris Xander Lagos

guayans. The final score was 2-0. Once more, a rematch it was for the Nigerians against the hard fighting Swedes in the semis. Coolly and calmly, the Nigerians slotted three goals in their net to set a date with the Mexicans. With three goals, Nigerians emerged victors of the competition. What’s next for these eaglets? I remember the 2007 invincible team of the late Coach Yemi Tella. Six years gone by and we are yet to see them play for Nigeria. I remember the cerebral Toni Kroos who featured in 2007 for Germany and how he commands a regular shirt in Bayern Munich-reigning UEFA Champions league winner. But our Nigerian folks do not play top flight football. Iker Casillas and Xavi-two revered footballers in the world today were but discovered at this same competition in 1999. Four times we have won this competition but yet waited for 19 years to win the Nations Cup, wobbled and fumbled in South Africa 2010 World Cup, and missed Germany 2006 World Cup. This ought not to be, lest we become the laughing stock of the world. The only reward that will favour both these eaglets and the nation is to see them graduate through the ranks-U20, U23, and the Super Eagles. • Kelechi Amakoh University of Lagos

Helen Ukpabio’s “Witches on the Run”

IR: I am writing to draw the attention of the Nigerian public to the activities of Lady Apostle Helen Ukpabio who has just announced a witch-finding and witch-delivering session tagged “Ember Months Special 2013”. The program is taking place from November 11-17, at the headquarters of the Liberty Gospel Church in Calabar, Cross River State. The theme of the event is ‘Witches on the Run”. Ukpabio is inviting people to come for “free deliverance”. The poster for the programme has an image of a cat like animal at the background. A cat is locally believed to be a witch’s familiar in the region. The image of this familiar invokes fears and fantasies of impending danger or misfortune in the minds of the local

In Cameroun, the government has ordered the closure of around 100 pentecostal churches following the death of a nine-year old girl in a local church. The girl reportedly collapsed and died during a prayer session to cast out the ‘numerous demons’ that controlled the girl’s life. I urge the government of Cross River to take action against the witch-hunting activities of Helen Ukpabio. The Nigerian government should act now to stop this woman from re-infecting the region with her virus of witch-belief and deliverance. • Leo Igwe Founder Nigerian Humanist Movement, Bayreuth, Germany




Golden Eaglets; Books and budgets; Soyinka; Potholes, Politics and Lekki Bridge


ONGRATULATIONS to the Golden Eaglets who politicians feel have given us temporary unity. Nigerians are united in suffering from power failTony ure and potholes and no books or sports equipMarinho ment in schools. We await true unity from the national conference. If you want children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want children to be more intelligent read them more fairy tales – Albert Einstein. There is a new giant library in Birmingham, UK. Is there a new non-Presidential library in Nigeria? Unlikely! Our schools are designed for failure. I had a delightful experience at the privately run Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Library on Awolowo Road Ikoyi Lagos run by Mrs. Ifeoma Esiri and her wonderful team. I discussed and read from my book The Laterite Road to SS2 students who had also read the book. The President will be presenting his budget this month for 2014. Is there a meaningful budget for books in schools? Next year we will go wild celebrating Professor Wole Soyinka@80 and his Nobel Laurels. Would it not be a fitting tribute if every Nigerian student in school had a copy of at least one Soyinka book? In fact why does every Nigerian single school not have a collection of selected Soyinka books available in their library? Probably because there are so few libraries and there is no budget for library books in most Nigerian education budgets. Even if we do not value books for our children, let us at least value our Nobel Laureate. The shame of the Nigerian government knows no shame. It now relies of corporate bodies to give books to its children, a secret responsibility of good governance while delighting in giving out exercise books with no knowledge content in them. Every room, home, office, taxi, danfo, bus space should be discussing their topic the Sovereign National Conference. It is a non-political topic. This is a non-political journey hijacked by politicians. The journey is not about politics, though


ONDERS will never cease! Every other day, Nigerians are treated to different dimensions of news emanating from virtually everywhere – in the polity, on the economic sphere, in religious circles, market environment, beer parlours and other innocuous places. The government houses scattered all over the 36 states of the federation, where the almighty governors hold sway, are also not immune to shocking revelations. Usually, the items of news coming from these government houses are stories about extravaganzas, arbitrary use of power and other forms of recklessness. Today, there is a novel dimension to the news oozing out from the Government House in Enugu, South-east of Nigeria. Here, the news borders on man’s inhumanity to a woman. And the dramatis personae in this melodrama are no other persons than the Number One citizen of the state, Sullivan Chime, and Clara, his wife of five years. Since the news broke out about a fortnight ago, it has continued to spread like a festering sore. The kernel of the story, which is now in public domain, is the call by Chime’s wife to be rescued from detention right inside the Government House, Enugu. The wife had, through a petition to the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, cried out to be saved from her husband. She accused the governor of an abusive relationship that has led to her suffering from depression. The governor, she added, has locked her up in a room and denied her access to her four-year-old son and visitors. In the same vein, Femi Falana, her lawyer, also sent a letter to the Inspector General of Po-

it has a political component which has been overblown to take the lion’s share of the discussion. It is about life itself and the happiness and wellbeing of its citizens. It is only in Nigeria that bridges flood and it costs more manpower to make a hole in the bridge to drain the rainwater than exists in the coffers or the craniums of the collective engineering genius of FERMA. FERMA should face questions of ineptitude and threats of disbandment for forcing the additional and needless suffering of travellers. In civilised countries, engineering teams mark and fill immediately all the major potholes. Here, only in reaction to extreme public pressure and blood on the roads we are finally marking potholes. It will still take months to fill them. Which part of ‘EMERGENCY MARKAND-FILL POTHOLES’ does the multibillion organisation like FERMA and construction companies like Julius Berger and RCC not understand? The very idea that roads should be repaired only because holidays are approaching or a president is visiting is repugnant. Is going on holiday at Xmas/ New year more important than getting to work for the rest of the year? How can government allow a government agency like FERMA to pretend to be Father Christmas, delivering a birthday present of pothole filled roads only for the same roads to be abandoned immediately after the festive period? Shame! Worldwide, work is made easy by providing mass transport, good roads. Holidays are a by-product but the main thing. If this is the mind-set of FERMA and even the FRSC which works mainly during ‘EMBER Months’ then no wonder we remain the slowest moving nation on wheels, five to six hours to travel 127kilometers and with the East-West Road still a mirage. Heads should roll for neglecting their work during nine months of the year only to wake up when the outcry becomes thunderous or when ‘Jesus comes’ annually at Christmas. ‘The Nigerian Pothole’ should be enshrined in the forthcoming constitution as an eliminable goal. No Nigerian pothole should be given the freedom to grow for nine months or nine years in Nigeria before it is filled for a presidential visit or at one Ember Month or one Christmas or the other. Care and concern for citizens welfare is and must be a daily government concern. Governments which perform just before elections are failures even if they succeed in returning to power by any means

necessary. We must install meaning to our lives and governments must realise that more selfishness by it and its agencies will destroy Nigeria. The newly created and carefully timed federal government –Lagos State stand-off over the new Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge is an interesting example of how little government at the centre is concerned with the suffering of the citizens in the states. Rules are more important to evil governments than people even when the rules are relics of colonial oppression and control. Is government supposed to be oppressive? The bridge is good, the waterways are local. Federal government would be wise to zero in on building a second and third Niger Bridge and completing the East-West road rumoured to be 65% complete, instead of disturbing a perfectly executed bridge project. Could it be that the current federal government is jealous of the success of the cooperative effort the government of late Yar’Adua and Lagos State? Or is this a disguised political petty attempt to discredit the Lagos government’s contribution to traffic control?

The very idea that roads should be repaired only because holidays are approaching or a president is visiting is repugnant. Is going on holiday at Xmas/New year more important than getting to work for the rest of the year? How can government allow a government agency like FERMA to pretend to be Father Christmas, delivering a birthday present of pothole filled roads only for the same roads to be abandoned immediately after the festive period?

The Chimes’ controversy lice, demanding the immediate release of Mrs. Chime from unlawful custody. According to the petitions, the governor’s wife said though she had been married for five years, “it has been a somewhat tempestuous relationship, which has virtually irretrievably broken down in the past couple of years”. She said, “We do not have a relationship anymore and the situation inevitably led to my nervous breakdown. I have been diagnosed with severe depression and at some point, was quite suicidal. The strategy of my estranged husband is to subject me to the most horrific and intolerable of conditions to cause my demise but my strength and will to live has kept me alive”. The governor’s wife went on to enumerate the major issues as follows: “Not had sexual relationship with my husband for four years; deprived of all my responsibilities as a wife; prevented from bonding with my four-year-old son; barred me from receiving visitors, whether family or friends; in the last three weeks, a lady friend who visited me was stopped from seeing me and the result is now complete incarceration from the outside world; in effect, I am locked up in my bedroom, without access to anybody; I am only allowed food but no access to fresh air; I have been locked up because I demanded to leave, even without my son; Governor Chime recently revoked my land allocation; the governor is doing everything possible to break my will”. Furthermore, the estranged

‘Chime should not only toe the path of honour by taking his wife to any good hospital for adequate treatment, he should also do a comprehensive self-appraisal to see if there are some of his actions that may have caused the woman severe depression’

woman said: “All I want and demand is to be allowed to leave; if I have committed any crime, I request that due process should be followed; I am falsely being imprisoned; all my rights are being violated; I have tried to leave and was pushed back by the security agents; and it is clear I am unable to do so except through other intermediaries; my passionate plea is to be allowed to leave peacefully as I no more wish to exist under this prevailing state. In the event that I die, please note that this must have been brought about by my husband. I wish to make it categorically clear that I have no intention of taking my own life. I have completely lost trust in my estranged husband; the possibility of the doctor injecting me with a lethal substance must never be underestimated; I am begging you to help facilitate my release and bring my suffering and ordeal to an end.” She claimed that even President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, have intervened in the matter without convincing her husband to make life easier for her. She continued: “My father is late, my mom and few of my siblings are confused and have done all kinds of prayers they know of; three of my siblings prefer me dead than to see me leave the Government House. He treats my mom and my siblings bad.” In his own reaction, an unperturbed Chime has vowed to continue to protect the integrity of his wife. According to him, “well, my wife has some medical challenges and it would be very unkind for me to talk about her condition on the pages of newspapers. I have done everything to protect her integrity and I am not now going to expose her to ridicule because some people want to exploit her situation to drag me into a needless war of words”. The controversy between Chime

and his wife seems to have become an open-ended war between the couple on the one hand, Chime and Falana on the other hand, as well as, Chime’s wife and the NHRC. While Chime, who is also a lawyer, is contesting that his wife never contacted Falana for help, Falana has maintained that he has the woman’s brief to act on her behalf. Also, Chime’s wife has kicked against a recent report which was attributed to the NHRC to the effect that she was indeed suffering from “depression and hallucination”. This has prompted the human rights body to dissociate itself from the report at the last minute although the body did not refute the story when it first broke out. All indications point to the fact that there is more to this story than meets the eye. It is clear that Chime’s wife has been passing through unpleasant moments in her chequered relationship with her governor-husband. She has bared it all. What I think the husband has been trying to do is to embark on frenetic damage control to save his battered public image. For one, assuming the wife is actually depressed or having some psychological nightmares, the best place to treat a patient, whether of malaria or any other illness, is the hospital purposely built for such, and not the Government House. And the fact that some doctors allegedly connived with the governor to put the woman in ‘detention’ in the Government House smacks of suspicion and other ulterior motives. From the little information I was able to piece together from Enugu, the governor may have been economical with the truth. His lifestyle, which is said to be less than honourable and perhaps, unbecoming of a person occupying such a sensitive position, may have, in one way or another, contributed to his wife’s state of the mind. The governor is rumoured to have an insatiable ap-

Dele Agekameh petite for frolicking with women and drinking in hotels in the coal city. He is said to be gifted with excellent dancing steps so much that, on a good day, he provides enough fun whenever he takes to the floor doing yahooze, azonto or skelewu dancing steps. This, they say, he relishes doing sometimes with six, eight or more girls in tow. If this is true, what follows each session of wining, erotic dance steps with women and all that, is a matter of conjecture. And the wife could easily be turned into a punching bag thereafter. Here lies the crux of the matter. Therefore, there is the urgent need to get to the root of this problem. The talk about divorcing the woman, which is now uppermost in the mind of Chime and his collaborators, cannot provide a safety valve to wriggle out of this embarrassment. At any rate, Chime should not only toe the path of honour by taking his wife to any good hospital for adequate treatment, he should also do a comprehensive self-appraisal to see if there are some of his actions that may have caused the woman severe depression. This remains a shameful and condemnable act! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)





N African adage aptly captures the essence of a viable pension scheme when it states that the firewood one fetches during the dry season helps him or her to keep warm during the rainy season. Therefore, pension has remained a key governance issue as governments around the world seek better ways to cater for the welfare of workers who have retired due to old age, attainment of mandatory years of service, downsize of workforce, injury or sickness. Whereas Nigeria’s pension system worked for a while, soaring pension bills, corruption, and maladministration in the old pension system resulted in irregular and, in many cases, non-payment of pensions. This in turn brought untold hardship on pensioners, as the awful state of pensioners became a perennial national embarrassment. It was for this reason that the Federal Government undertook a thorough overhaul of the pension system, resulting in the Pension Reform Act 2004. However, much as the reforms literally transformed the nation’s pension system, especially as it concerns Federal Government employees and the organised private sector, the operation of the Pension Reform Act 2004 in the last nine years has also exposed several loopholes and concerns, which must be addressed. It was for this reason that the Jonathan administration must be commended for proposing the Pension Reform Bill 2013 to the National Assembly. The cardinal objectives of the Pension Reform Bill, which has reached advanced stage at the federal legislature, are to enhance the powers of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) in its regulatory and enforcement activities to protect pension funds and assets, and unlock the opportunities for the utilization of pension assets for national development. Others are to review the sanctions regime to reflect current realities, provide for the participation of the informal sector and also provide the framework for the adoption of the Contributory Pension Scheme by states and local governments. Importantly, the Bill provides for the proper establishment of the Pension Transition Arrangement Departments (PTADs) to take over the remittance of benefits to pensioners. It will ensure greater efficiency and accountability in the administration and payment of pensions under the Defined Benefits Scheme, as pensioners under the old scheme will now receive their pensions directly rather than through third parties. This will bring the era of impunity and corruption in the various Pension Departments to an end and enhance the regulatory authority and efficiency of PENCOM to reposition and provide greater oversight on the PTADs.


HE other day I was reminded of the great and implacable educationist Tai Solarin (19221994) when I saw pictures of Osun Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola kitted in school uniform with a cap to match sitting in midst of students. From the wide grin on his goateed face, you would conclude correctly that the governor relished the moment and probably wished it was not a fleeting experience! It was no less excitable for the students. Perhaps the message Aregbesola sought to pass in posing with youngsters dressed like them is that when a leader is passionate about a policy, he must follow it up (beef it up?) with some outward tokenism. It is the equivalent of saying that examples are better than precepts. It is Tai Solarin all over again! Not satisfied with breaking new grounds in the education sector and in fighting the mighty establishment of his

The Pension Reform Bill 2013 By Ifebunandu Anichukwu Other major highlights of the proposed law include the reduction of the waiting period for accessing benefits in the event of loss of job from six months to four months, creation of new offences and provisions for stiffer penalties that will serve as deterrence against the mismanagement or diversion of pension funds and assets under any guise or the infractions on pension law. It also addresses challenges and ambiguities relating to Death Benefits. Very importantly, the Bill seeks amendment to allow for the payment of additional benefits, other than the accruals from the Contributory Pension, to workers upon retirement or cessation of employment through collective bargaining with their employers. This will further cushion the effects of non-payment of gratuity under the current pension regime. It further seeks to raise pension contribution from 15 per cent where both employer and employee make an economically disproportional contribution of 7.5 percent each to 20 percent contribution with a more proportional minimum of 12 percent contribution by employer and eight percent by the employee. This translates to more savings for the workers. The Bill also seeks to emphasize competence instead of the current requirement of a minimum of 20 years cognate experience to qualify for appointment as the DirectorGeneral of PENCOM. There has been preponderance of view among critical stakeholders, including the labour, the Association of University Pensioners, the Nigeria Stock Exchange, the Pension Departments, the National Association of Nigerian Students, the Customs Immigration and Prisons Pension Office, that the 20 years experience requirement is out of sync with realities and best practices in financial regulatory institutions both locally and globally. For instance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which is the apex financial regulatory institution and economic powerhouse of the nation does not demand any years of experience for appointment as the Governor or Deputy Governor of the CBN. The same applies to headship of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company and the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Furthermore, the extant laws establishing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), and the Corporate Affairs

Commission (CAC) require between 10 to 15 years experience only for membership or headship of the institutions, as the case may be. The laws rather talks about competence. Stakeholders at the Public Hearing on the Pension Bill were also quick to point out that were lengthy years of experience that important, those standing trial over alleged monumental corruption in the various Pension Departments would not have been populated by highly placed civil servants of over 20 years experience. They insist that removing such draconian years of experience would make way for persons with substantial cognate experience, integrity, competence, and energy to pilot the affairs of PENCOM and pensioners. Indeed, when all is considered, the Pension Reform Bill 2013 stands out as a courageous and well-informed step on the part of the present administration to address the challenges facing the nation’s pension system. The National Assembly also deserves commendation for its commitment and zeal to this cause, especially given the enormity and thoroughness of work invested by its Joint Committee on Pension Reform Bill into the Report on the Bill recently laid before both chambers of the apex legislature. Nigerians therefore expect the federal lawmakers to give the bill a speedy final push and to also be guided by patriotism, national interest, and global best practices in doing so. This is a national imperative. • Anichukwu, a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abuja.

‘It further seeks to raise pension contribution from 15 per cent where both employer and employee make an economically disproportional contribution of 7.5 percent each to 20 percent contribution with a more proportional minimum of 12 percent contribution by employer and eight percent by the employee. This translates to more savings for the workers’

Between Tai Solarin and Aregbesola

era in a crusade to secure education for the Nigerian child, Solarin would renounce society’s sartorial formality. He would not for instance wear trousers nor would he put on his native Yoruba attire. He resorted to khaki shorts and khaki or white shortsleeved shirts, all in protest against the neglect of the Nigerian child by the state. But for his age, he wouldn’t be an odd man on the grounds of Mayflower College, the school he set up in Ikenne, Ogun State in rebellion against the order of the day. He said the khaki attire was meant to kick against the non-delivery of free and compulsory state education to the children of the poor. He stuck to his position to honour the Nigerian child and was easily noticed at the numerous public gatherings he was asked to grace by hundreds of his loyal admirers and government functionaries.

‘Nigeria is where it is (a sorry state) today because in the past we did not take the courageous step to halt the decay at its start and while in progress. Now it is a monster in our time. But it can only take an equally monstrous approach to kill a monster. Not to do so would amount to enfeebling the present and passing the death sentence on the future’

When military President Ibrahim Babangida invited Tai Solarin to chair the board of Peoples Bank, the social critic only accepted the offer because it was for him “an opportunity to serve the deprived folk”. Later the media would run rare photographs of Tai Solarin in flowing agbada with the imprint of Peoples Bank logo. Again to honour the people, he briefly abandoned the khaki. He wouldn’t take government job that didn’t give him room to serve the hoi-polloi. Setting up Mayflower saw the iconoclast in full flight of rebellion. He left the financial comfort of Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State where he was principal to found Mayflower in 1956. Nobody gave him a chance to succeed. Professor C.O Taiwo, upon noticing what Solarin and his wife Sheila were attempting to do, told Tai: “You are carrying a dead baby!” At a point when the “baby” was to die following the refusal of the authorities to allow Mayflower students to take their WASCE exams, Solarin did the unthinkable: He took the youngsters to far away Ghana where they did the work! Such passion to serve humanity! Today, Mayflower is 57, outlasting those who derided its founder and predicted it would die at birth. A journalist wrote of the school: “Mayflower School has

become a veritable centre of excellence, a fitting tribute to a man who believes that Nigeria’s salvation lies only in free and qualitative education at all levels for her citizens.” Are we not already seeing the Tai Solarin in Rauf Aregbesola who is also declaring that he is ready to give all it takes to offer all-round and qualitative education to the Osun child? Aregbesola is taking on the colossal opposition in the state to implement his policy. Like the illustrious Solarin, the governor is adopting unorthodox but legitimate means to achieve his goals. And the elite few are trying to run him down, pooh-poohing the steps he is taking. They say he can’t succeed on account of the massive deconstruction of the old order that he must undertake. The myopic critics of Tai Solarin’s day said the same thing when the man started his great crusade. But he succeeded. Nigeria is where it is (a sorry state) today because in the past we did not take the courageous step to halt the decay at its start and while in progress. Now it is a monster in our time. But it can only take an equally monstrous approach to kill a monster. Not to do so would amount to enfeebling the present and passing the death sentence on the future. Aregbesola is doing the right thing to abort this

fatal trajectory. He is also conditioning the project with the appropriate passion. Discerning observers such as Senator Uche Chukwumerije have submitted agreeable comments on Aregbesola’s mission. He declared in 2012 when he visited the State of Osun: “The state and the country owe Governor Rauf Aregbesola a lot of gratitude for promptly laying a formidable foundation for education in the state. I will like to use this opportunity to advise other states, irrespective of your political affiliation: You must drop your ego and learn from the people-oriented projects and programmes of Governor Aregbesola. Classical German philosopher Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831) said somewhere in his numerous works that great personalities in history appear twice, as it were. Later, Karl Marx (1818-1883), his compatriot of a more radical persuasion, ran a cynic’s post-script. Marx said Hegel forgot to add that when history so resonates, the first apparition is a tragedy and the second a farce. Tai Solarin was not a tragedy; nor Rauf Aregbesola a farce! • Ojewale is a writer in Ota, Ogun State.






The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

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•Nigeria’s delegation at the event

Nigeria steals the show at German expo •Nok sculptures stun the world

People plagiarise my jokes with impunity – Page 36


Nigerian artist wins US competition – Page 36



The Midweek Magazine


•Nok objects at the German exhibition in Frankfurt

An international exhibition of Nigeria’s Nok sculptures holding in Frankfurt, Germany has given the country a standing in the art world, reports Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME (Frankfurt).

Nigeria steals the show at German expo


N Frankfurt, Germany, hundreds of scholars and art connoisseurs defy the cold weather each day to savour the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria as captured in the ongoing international exhibition titled: Nok, Origin of African sculpture holding at Liebieghaus Museum. The exhibition was organised by the Goethe University, Frankfurt in collaboration with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Abuja, was declared opened by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke. It is featuring a rare collection of Nok antiquities excavated from the northern part of the country by a team of German archaeologists led by Prof Peter Breunig. It will run till February next year. The restored Nok objects are presented in three large rooms dedicated to ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, which also house artworks of the cultures produced at the same period with Nok. With this encounter, Nok objects are confronted with about sixty artworks from Egypt in late antiquity and classical Greece that share same date. “While the exchange between these cultures was blocked by the Sahara two thousand years ago, the show at the Liebieghaus offers the opportunity to compare the entirely independently created Nok sculptures with the art of contemporary cultures around the Mediterranean,” said to the organisers. Also, at the basement of the museum, a 20minute documentary video showing the many parts of the excavation project, including the supportive roles of the local residents and the landscape of the various sites, such as Ifana, Ungwar Kura, Pangwari, Akura, Taka Lafiya, Ido, Puntum Dutse, Janjala and Daji Gwana, is presented.

EXHIBITION The exhibition also highlights the research results of the excavation project. Besides the sculptures, it comprises everyday objects, such as earthenware vessels, stone tools and jewelry. This shows a comprehensive picture of the remarkable West African archaeological culture. Also, the curator provided rich literature on each object to enhance understanding and appreciation of the project. Interestingly, one common characteristic of the Nok culture is its stylised representations of animals and human beings with triangular eyes whose pupils are suggested by indentations. Again, individual features, such as beards, jewelry or hair styles emphasise the expressive figures’ elaborate execution. According to the researchers’ report, the objects are shaped from coarse-grained clay and the sculptures were covered with slip, which has only survived in a few instances. “Human beings are the main subject, occa-

sionally we also come upon animals especially snakes and lizards and chimeras; half animal and half human. Some objects provide us with unusual information on the Nok culture. One relief, for example, shows a man beating the drum on which he sits. This item presented in the exhibition is the oldest testimony of music in Sub-Saharan Africa. The non-literate culture, which originated from around 1500 BC flourished and vanished around the year 0, remains an enigma in spite of new insights,” the report added. But it noted that the suppositions concerning the function and context of the objects remain hypothetical. The research, however, shows that the sculptures were probably used for a variety of purposes, some of which associated with ritual contexts, such as ancestral worship and healing practices. All figures, according to the research, were broken when found, except only a single complete one excavated to date. The exhibition did not fail to draw viewers’ attention to the counterfeiting of the nation’s

‘Faced with the international art market’s steadily growing interest in African art and the top prices achieved for Nok terracotta figures, dealers have increasingly come to organise the illegal searches for such items, their excavation and ways of selling them abroad…In addition, countless forgeries and copies have found their way into the art market and into museum collection’

Nok objects by some artists across the globe. It also dwells on how treasure hunters are increasingly looting the Nok sites through which the objects find their ways to the Western art market. “Faced with the international art market’s steadily growing interest in African art and the top prices achieved for Nok terracotta figures, dealers have increasingly come to organise the illegal searches for such items, their excavation and ways of selling them abroad…In addition, countless forgeries and copies have found their way into the art market and into museum collection,” the report said. But in a separate corner in one of the rooms lie three fake Nok objects of sitting human beings sharing similar posing. The pioneering effort of the late British archaeologist, Mr Bernard Fagg was equally highlighted in the exhibition with the display of his note pad, chair among other items. Recalled that in the 1940s, a Nok sculpture drew Fagg’s attention and by the late 1970s, he has assembled over 150 fragments from Nok figures with the help of miners. The first figurines were discovered by accident while mining tin. The exhibition will be accompanied with a lecture entitled: On the artists’ trail: Archaeological investigations into Nigeria’s Nok culture to be presented by Prof Peter Breunig on December 5, by 7pm. He will give a survey of the methods and special approaches in archaeology. The opening ceremony was also attended the Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mukhtar Yero; Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Abdu Usman Abubakar and DirectorGeneral of National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Yusuf •Continued on page 27



The Midweek Magazine


In 2005, a team of archaeologists from the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, led by Prof Peter Breunig, began the excavation of Nok sculptures in an area measuring 15x20 kilometres in Kaduna State. According to the team, it has spent over •20,000 on the restoration of its findings. Prof Breunig speaks with Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME in Frankfurt on the project.

‘We spent over 20,000 euros to restore Nok objects


HAT is the number of objects (pieces or whole) you took from the various sites for preservation and conservation in

Germany? The number of Nok-Terracotta objects we temporarily exported with the permit of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) is almost the same with what you saw in the exhibition. They are also depicted in the book (you must have received?) I haven’t counted them, but, they may be about 100. Only a few objects were not exhibited because of bad preservation or highly fragmented condition. Most other terracotta finds, in particular, from looted sites remained in Nigeria, in the protected store room of our research station in southern Kaduna State. When the analysis and documentation are concluded, we will hand them over to the NCMM, as it is the case with the objects at the Frankfurt exhibition, which will go to Nigeria in March next year. How long did the preservation take the team and what were the challenges? The preservation was in the hand of a few experts - not from my own team, but from other institutions. We had to pay for the restoration, which was not an easy job (to my knowledge more than •20,000). If we take all the time together, I would say that one year of preservation work is not overestimated. But they did not work the whole day on our objects alone. The challenge was to restore the objects exactly how we found them and not to complete them. In the end, some were very fragile and the construction of a proper socket or standing for the exhibition was a big job. We are wondering how all this will be handled for the next exhibition in Kaduna. How many objects did your team get as loan from the NCMM? Besides the terracotta figurines from the exhibition, we got the permit to export temporarily-decorated potsherds for stylistic analysis and typological chro-

• Duke (middle) with foreign stakeholders at the event

nology. Most were recorded during excavations in Nigeria, but a few hundreds were brought to Frankfurt for drawings and photographs. In addition, we exported soil samples for x-rayfluorescence analysis (to study the geochemical fingerprint of soil from settlements), some stone artefacts and charred botanical remains to identify the species and radiocarbon dating. I cannot give you the exact number, but I believe the dimension is clear to you? How did you get the faked objects on display? Are they part of the excavation from Nok sites? The three fake objects are from artists we came across in Nigeria. An informant of Prof Jemkur from the University of Jos made contacts for us. They are not excavated and were exported also with the agreement of the NCMM. One of the three was brought by the Nigerian delegation that came for the opening. We wanted to show fakes to demonstrate that only fakes are complete and that buying objects on the art market could result in admiring copies. May be this is one way to stop looting of sites.

•A Nok piece

Nigeria steals the show at German expo •Continued from page 26

•A Nok piece

Abdallah Usman, among others. However, the Frankfurt exhibition is generating rifts between the NCMM and Dr. Zacharys Anger Gudu-led Archaeological Association of Nigeria. The association has dissociated itself from the exhibition alleging that exhibiting the collections first in Frankfurt is not in tandem with international best practice. In a statement issued by its president, Dr Gudu, the association said the exhibition of the collections should have been held first in Nigerian soil before moving out on loan to other parts of the world. “Exhibiting the objects in Germany before Nigeria even when it is clear the Nigerian audience has a more direct connection with them is a disservice to the country. It also smacks of neocolonialism and rudeness,” the statement added. It also noted that the letter and spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the commission and the German partners on the project have been breached, alleging that scholars from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and the University of Jos, are yet to be properly involved in the project. “The German scholars seem to be exploiting the duplicity and lack of understanding

in the leadership of the commission to appropriate rights to the control and study of the country’s archaeological resources. In 2007, the Germans exported tons of materials excavated from the sites at Durbi Takusheyi in Katsina for restoration and conservation at the Romisch-Germanisches Zentral Museum in Mainz. “These materials went on exhibition in Germany in 2011, with the promise that the materials will return to Nigeria in 2012. To the best of our knowledge, the Takusheyi materials are yet to be returned to the country,” it said. Reacting to the association’s allegations, NCMM DG, blamed the inability of the commission to return the Takusheyi materials on logistic constrains including the completion of the renovation of the Katsina Museum. Usman explained that the materials were conserved and restored at Mainz, where the practice is to show the scientific world the result of their work. “Now that the renovation is complete, a new date for the return of the Takusheyi objects has been fixed,” he said. On the exhibition of the materials in Germany before Nigeria, he said the archeological materials were conserved and restored in Germany and therefore stands to reason to exhibit them there first, to minimise mounting and dismantling of fragile objects, which bringing it first to Nigeria before returning

it to Germany would have required. “The new MoU, which Dr Gundu has immense input in, took this into consideration viz Article 5.H of 2012 MoU,” he said. The DG also dismissed the association’s claim on co-authoring as none issue because Mr Ameje co-authored an article with Prof Breunig and Dr Nicole Rupp. “In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Prof. Jemkur and Dr. Hambolu contributed a chapter each. Duke and I (DG NCMM) wrote the preface and foreword respectively. It is to be noted that Mr. Bitiyong another archaeologist with interest in Nok was actually approached to write a chapter but due to his busy schedules, could not do so,” Usman said. He also reacted to claim on participation of university lecturers in the project, saying that ABU formally accepted the collaboration and indeed nominated a lecturer, Aliyu AdamuIsah, who worked with Prof Breunig recently. In his reaction, Prof. J. F. Jemkur of the Department of Archaeology, University of Jos (UNIJOS) said: “The 2012 signed MOU specifically brought in two Nigerian universities – ABU and UNIJOS as partners in the project. In the first quarter of 2013 the UNIJOS was formally written by NCMM. The university has since accepted the offer and is being represented by its Dept. of Archaeology. It was because of this that I was invited to contribute a chapter to the exhibition (which I did).



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

‘People plagiarise my jokes with impunity’ An event at the Port Harcourt Book Festival was Meet the author, which allowed budding writers to interact with guest authors. Comedian Julius Agwu was one of such authors. He spoke on why he wrote a book, Jokes Apart… to mark his 40th birthday. Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME reports. My music and birthday


DIDN’T want to follow the bandwagon, so, I chose to be a musician with a distinct genre that makes people laugh. When I thought of celebrating my profile, I started gathering my stories as they were. It was my first attempt at writing. I brought in Toni Khan to edit the manuscript. It took me three months to complete before it was launched on April 7, which was my birthday. The book as an item people will always remember and from which other formats can emerge. Already, people are considering turning it into a movie. It is to impact and inspire generations. Right now, I am being motivated to compile my jokes into a book because there is no copyright in jokes. People plagiarise jokes with impurity. Jokes Apart used to be my stage name during my university days, but I returned to my real name later.

Challenges in Nollywood There are a few mistakes in Nollywood such as cheap production. But there are


INTERVIEW rooms for improvement. You find mistakes too in foreign movies. The level of believability can’t be 100 per cent because some viewers know the actors in real life and their antics. However, the same movie is the toast of foreign audience in the West Coast. Apart from stand-up comedy, I present motivational speeches in schools. I always tell the young ones to work harder to succeed. Also, I remind them to make a mark for themselves and leave a legacy. There were times I almost quit the scene because of frustration, especially after I got married. But, thank God. I am just starting.

Childhood days Everything that happened was eventful. While in primary school, I was a perpetual late comer and my teacher would bring me out to dance in class as a punishment, not knowing that my teacher was preparing me for the future. I met my wife at GRA, Port-Harcourt on the day I lost my father in 2002.


As Chioba Village Boy I knew my parents were not well to do. But I was a village rascal. Going to school in town differentiated me from the other boys. Riding about town for me was fun, but it became frustrating because of finance. My father practically forced me into becoming a ‘thief’ (pilfering from my mother’s purse). My mother still sells firewood and that is what gives her joy. My book is an exciting, inspiring and hilarious journey of my life. It will inspire even men of God. It is about focus, knowing what you really want. I was almost a victim of career imposition.

Museum targets 100 monuments for enlistment


ETAILED nomination dossiers on three national heritage sites, Oke Idanre Hills, Kano City Walls and Surame cultural landscape are being fine-tuned by specialists at the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), for UNESCO consideration into its world heritage lists, according to a report by the commission. Of the three sites, Surame landscape’s dossier seems close to ready because it has an advantage of being an abandoned site without any encroachment unlike the other two. Nigeria has two sites, Osun Osogbo and Sukur Palace on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) world heritage lists. The 2012 annual report also revealed that, in the last three years (2009-2012), the commission has been committed to realising its threepoint agenda of establishment of community museums, scheduling of heritage sites and acquisition of artifacts and antiquities, as well as community participation in museums activities. “By the end of the year 2014, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments shall have repositioned at least three quarters of its museum stations nationwide to a position where they can render standard museum services and facilitate establishment of at least one community museum in each geo-cultural zone of the country and at least four specialised museums in Nigeria as well as document 100 properties for scheduling as national monuments and enlist at least one site into the World Heritage List,” the Director-General of the commission, Mr. Yusuf Abdallah Usman, said in the report. Already, the commission, according to the report, has 100 selected monuments and sites for declaration at the Nigeria’s centenary anniversary. NCMN Director of Monuments, Heritage Sites, Mr Oluremi Funsho Adedayo, said the scale of requirements has continued to go up and the commission would keep updating its researches and reports to meet the demand of UNESCO. He noted that UNESCO has requested the commission to establish the relationship between the Oke Idanre Hills and Ife and Benin Moats, which was part of the re-

I formed JAMMIE Theatre earlier to entertain at children birthday parties. If there was no university in my town, I would not have been a graduate today. Before I joined entertainment, I told myself I must be outstanding in dressing. But, when I was in the university, I never cared about what I wore. As a theatre student, I wish I had more time to learn under Prof. Ola Rotimi.

Port Harcourt Book Festival Initially, when I was contacted by the Port Harcourt Book Festival organisers, I asked how much will they pay? But I gave it a second thought that there is no amount of money that can quantify the experience I will gather at the festival.

Nigerian artist wins US competition

By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

By Gbenga Aderanti



ports the commission submitted. On the Kano Walls, he said apart from encroachment challenges, UNESCO also wanted the commission to provide more information on the sites. “Kano City Walls are facing daily encroachment. Also, we need good working relationship with state government to overcome some of these challenges. Interestingly, the current administration in Kano has been working with the commission in this regard,” Adedayo said. He stressed that the inability of Nigeria to get more sites on UNESCO lists is not because it lacks the human capacity to do so. He noted that the commission is partnering with other relevant institutions in order to expand its scope of preparations, adding that the target for realising this objective is next year. Also, the report revealed that the commission has facilitated the establishment of 6 community museums across the country, which will serve as educational resource centres and facilities for the promotion of traditional craftsman. Of the 6 museums, works on their construction have reached advanced stage or completed. The museums are Ogbomoso community museum, Jalingo community museum, Shelleng community museum and Ikot Ekpene community museum. The other two are Potiskum Palace museum collection and Ile Ona Museum collection at Osogbo where conservation interventions are being carried out. The report also showed that in 2012, a total of 1, 708,726 guests visited the 35 museums across the country, with Osogbo Museum leading the pack with 573, 806 visitors followed by Jos Museum (561,806) and Lagos Museum (118,836). The Osogbo record can be traced to the annual Osun Osogbo festival that attracts large tourists to the state. Despite the recurring ethnic crises in Jos, the museum was still able to make second on the list of most visited museums. The museum in Yobe recorded nil, while Maiduguri Museum recorded 64 for the first six months of the year as a result of the crises in the region.

musical work for an audience during occasion or festival period. Buraimoh said he entered for the competition through an invitation he got from the organisers. The award winning Nigerian artist is currently working on new body style of bead painting, which, according to him, “is different from what I have been doing in the past. Few of this new body style painting were included in my last exhibition at Faie African Art Gallery in Chicago, Illinois and some are currently on view at Herbert Bearman Art Gallery at Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum in Baltimore Maryland USA,” he told The Nation in an exclusive interview. He explained that American Art Award is not only for American artists, but for all artists all over the world. Buraimoh disclosed that being an African artist in America is quite challenging but his unique signature, bead painting gave him an edge to compete with other talented artists globally. Still basking in the euphoria of the awards, he explained that “to be awarded a second place in an art competitionwhere entries were submitted globally is a big accomplishment. From the list of awarded artists one can tell that I was the only African artist among other distinguished selected artists to be awarded.” 2013 edition had entries from 18 different countries winning awards in different categories: USA, Canada, Latvia, Macedonia, Switzerland, India, China, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Norway, Belgium, Australia, Slovakia, Italy, England Romania, Mexico . Explaining how the winners emerged, President of, Thom Bierdz, said, “We have professional artists competing with novices but the voting galleries are not allowed to see bios. The images are judged on visual impact alone. Naïve art is a fascinating category as many very well-established artists do this.”

•Passionate Mother was voted third position


WO works of a United States-based Nigerian artist, Lanre Buraimoh, emerged second and third at the 2013 American Art Awards competition. His work, Entertainers, was second best; the other, Passionate Mother, came third in the Naïve Art Human Figure category of the awards. Tagged:, the award is the biggest art contest with 25 of the best American galleries voting on artworks submitted by artists from around the world. Buraimoh said he was honoured to be among the distinguished artists selected to be awarded by 25 best American galleries who voted on works from many countries. According to him, his work, Passionate Mother which was done with thousands of brilliant glass beads and colours was used to communicate the special motherly love indicated by the eight children gathered around, while Entertainers which showed the faces of people with musical instrument represent people who perform dramatic or





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

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

Forte Oil to cancel 6b shares, N56b deficits


ORTE Oil Plc plans to cancel six billion ordinary shares out of its 10 billion authorised shares and offset accumulated losses totaling N56 billion in a share capital reorganisation aimed at removing the last vestiges of the chequered past of the downstream marketing company. In a document for the share capital reorganisation obtained by The Nation, the company indicated it would be reducing its authorised share capital of N5 billion, consisting of 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, to N2 billion, consisting of 4.0 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, thereby cancelling N3 billion, which represents 6.0 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. Also, the company plans to

•Set to declare dividends By Taofik Salako

offset accumulated losses of more than N55.98 billion residual in its reserves with the N62.29 billion balance in its share premium account to remove the deficit and clear the last impediment that had debarred the company from paying dividends from its newly resurgent profit. Shareholders of the company are expected to vote on the scheme of arrangement for the two proposals by the end of this month. According to the scheme, the rationale for the share capital restructuring and offset of the deficit was to enable the company to comply with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and put it in

good stead to reward shareholders from its improving business operations. It should be recalled that the external auditors to Forte Oil, PKF Professional Services, had in the audited report and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2012 noted that the company failed to comply with Section 99 of CAMA, which requires that a company must have a minimum issued share capital of 25 per cent of its authorised share capital. However, Forte Oil has an issued and paid up share capital of N539.37 million consisting of about 1.08 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, representing 10.78 per cent of its authorised share capital. With the planned cancellation of authorised shares,

Forte Oil’s paid up share capital will rise to 27 per cent of its authorised share capital. Besides, negative reserveshare premium swap would positively balance the revenue reverses of the company and put it in good stead to resume dividend payment. However, since the authorised shares billed for cancellation have not been issued, the capital reorganisation will not have any material change on the shareholders’ holdings and ownership structure of the company. Also, the reorganisation will not lead to any tax liabilities on the part of the company or the shareholders. The major shareholders of Forte Oil, according to the latest audit, are Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited, with 23.16 per cent; Thames Investment In-

corporated, 13.19 per cent; ZSL Nominees, 11.84 per cent; ZSL A/C FOZ, 11.34 per cent and Mr Femi Otedola, who directly owns 5.87 per cent of the company. Otedola is also a beneficiary of the shareholdings by Zenon and related entities. Already, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given provisional approval to the scheme of arrangement and the Federal High Court has sanctioned a meeting of shareholders as statutorily required. Market analysts said the prospects of resumption of dividend payment in the light of the company’s improving profitability is a major driver of the company’s meteoric share price appreciation. Forte Oil has the highest capital appreciation so far this year among the quoted companies.

Capital market stakeholders to hold retreat Nov. 27 By Sampson Unamka


•From left: Prof Mbang Femi-Oyewo; Chairman, May & Baker Professional Service Award in Pharmacy Committee Victor Fakulujo; Head, Corporate Communication, May & Baker Nigeria, Mr Eugene Olewuenyi and Executive Director, Pharma Manufacturing Operations, May & Baker Nigeria, Mr Ezekiel Ibidapo, during the presentation of this year’s May & Baker Professional Service Award to Prof Femi-Oyewo.

Terrorism can’t thrive without funding, says GIABA


HE continued security challenges faced by Nigeria through Boko Haram will continue until the government and other agencies, including international bodies are able to drain funding for terrorist activities, Head, Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa(GIABA) Office, Nigeria, Timothy Melaye, has said. The GIABA is a specilised institution mandated to, among others, ensure compliance with International AML/ CFT Standards within the region and provide technical assistance to its member states. Speaking in an interview with The Nation, Melaye explained that just as fishes need water to stay alive, terrorism thrives on funding.

Transactions hit N2tr in e-banking - P 30

By Collins Nweze

Nigeria was last month removed from the list of countries identified as jurisdictions with significant deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes. Melaye said GIABA, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are working to ensure that the suspicious transactions policy is implemented. “For instance, if someone in Afghanistan is sending $10 million to support the mosque in Maiduguri, then there is a problem. It is a suspicious transaction. Although it is a noble thing to do, at the same time, it is a suspicious transaction which must be reported and checked,” he said. He explained that Nigeria

has taken the right steps including the establishment of legal and regulatory framework that will assist it meet its anti-money laundering initiatives. He said the implementation of key laws within the borders must ensure that terrorism funds are not easily moved through the borders, airport or even through banks unnoticed. He said there must be enough systems in place to prevent such transfer or ensure that they are used for the purpose they were meant for. He said, government should also ensure that people do not easily buy weapons by putting in the right structures in place. He said if these structures are not in place, Nigeria can

Investor shun Fed Govt bonds for Lagos bonds

- P32

return to the list of non-corporative countries. He said GIABA and FATF were collaborating with the government to ensure that terrorist financing is curbed. “Even though some of the funds are used by terrorists are stolen, terrorism thrives on funding. Some of them carry AK47. You cannot just get it on the street. It costs a lot of money,” he said. He said money laundering is a derivative crime, meaning that it is not a crime one commits directly; rather it a proceed of crime already committed. He said money laundering still exists in the country, adding that the people who are involved in laundering proceeds, more often are very intelligent, have access to resources, and sometimes influential.

TAKEHOLDERS under the auspices of the Capital Market Committee (CMC) will hold their Third Annual Capital Market Retreat from November 27 30, at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. The theme of the three-day event is “Actualising Nigeria’s economic potential”. According to Chairman of the Organising Committee of the retreat, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Sanni, who spoke at a briefing, “this year’s retreat wil be hosted by the Federal Capital Territory with Minister Bala Mohammed as Chief Host”. She noted that the capital market plays major role in the financial market, which comprise the debt capital market, valued in excess of $38 billion as well as the equity market, with capitalisation in excess of $75 billion. The committee is led by the apex regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headed by Ms. Arunma Oteh. It comprises the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange, Central Securities Clearing System, other capital trade points and capital market trade groups, including issuing houses, stock broking houses and corporate trustees. “It is a retreat at which we have regulators, operators, issuers, agents of the government that are invited and we must at no point forget the members of accountant that are members of the community,” Sanni added. She also added that their last retreat held a year ago.

Creating wealth from waste - P35




Transactions hit N2tr as more Nigerians embrace e-banking • ATMs lead other channels


ESPITE initial doubts, more Nigerians are embracing electronic banking, provoking an impressive growth in transactions. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the value of electronic transactions increased from N1.67 trillion in 2011 to N2.09 trillion,last year. From 355.2 million units, the volume shot up to 382.6 million units within the review period. The CBN said the figure reflected an increase of 7.7 per cent and 25.4 per cent, for value and volume. Data on various e-payment channels for the period under review indicated that automated teller machines (ATMs) remained the most patronised, accounting for

Stories by Collins Nweze

98.1 per cent, followed by pointof-sale (PoS) terminals at 0.7 per cent. Also, web and mobile payments accounted for 0.6 per cent each. Similarly, in value terms, ATM accounted for 94.7 per cent, PoS 2.3 per cent, while web and mobile payments averaged 1.5 per cent each. It said the volume and value of ATM transactions amounted to 375,487,756 and N1.98 trillion. These reflected an increase of 8.1 per cent and 27.1 per cent over the volume and value of 347,569,999 and N1,561.75 billion attained, in 2011. The volume of mobile payments

decreased by 37.0 per cent to 2,297,688 from 3,649,374, while the value increased by 65.8 per cent to N31.50 billion, from N19 billion. Also, the apex bank explained that the value of transactions at the inter-bank funds market declined by 45.7 per cent to N23,811.91 billion. The development was attributed largely to improved liquidity in the banking system. Also, the breakdown of the volume of transactions at the interbank funds market showed that the inter-bank call and the open-buyback (OBB) segments declined by 61.2 and 49.8 per cent respectively from their levels of N37.7 trillion and N6.1 trillion in the preceding year. Inter-bank call transactions accounted for 61.4 per cent of the total, while OBB accounted for the balance of 38.6 per cent.

CIBN, CAC urge on financial sector growth


HE Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) have charged bankers on the need to deploy their services to enhance the growth of the financial sector. CIBN President Segun Aina, who spoke at the weekend after the institute issued practice licences and seal to 27 members, said the instruments confer credibility on the receivers, and serve as an indication of dedication, integrity and assurance of high competence. He said the certificates would make practising licensee more attractive to the clients, which would ultimately impact positively on their businesses and income. He explained that getting the licemce, requires that such applicants would have worked for five years post Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB) qualification, passed the qualifying professional examinations and fulfilled other procedures set by the agency, adding that the banking industry offers a variety and unique career patterns that provide opportunities, advancements and challenging assignments for practitioners. “In approving the introduction of the Practice Licence, the Governing Council has taken the initiative to further empower the Licensees to practice what they know best us-

ing their cognate experiences. We are confident that they will provide invaluable services to a broad spectrum of individuals and organisations in a professional and ethical manner. I therefore take the liberty of this occasion to call on the public and private sector organisations, as well as individuals to give the licensees the opportunity to be of service to them,” Aina said. It said the licencing aligns with the CIBN Act No.5 of 2007 which gives the Institute mandate, to among others; determine the standards of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the profession. Section 16 of the Act also stipulates that a person other than a corporate member shall be deemed to practice as a member of the banking profession if, he engages himself in the practice of banking, or holds himself out to the public as a member of the banking profession. Registrar/Chief Executive of CAC, Bello Mahmud, said the corporation has beefed up its Information Technology connections for easier assessment of processing certificate for company’s registration. Mahmud, who was represented by Aliyu Muhammed, stated that CAC has attained a giant stride of issuing certificates with 24 hours, which is facilitated by the aid of ICT.

Bill to establish global financial centre coming


•From left: Former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Hajia Maryam Ladi Ibrahim; President, Alhaji Sakirudeen Labode and the Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA) in Ireland, Mr Eamonn Siggins, at the 18th annual conference of ANAN in Abuja.

Nigeria’s consumer market estimated at N15tr N

IGERIA’S consumer market is estimated at N15 trillion, with food and drinks accounting for the largest component, the Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited has said. In its Economic Report for last month, its Managing Director, Bismark Rewane, said with a population of about 168 million, majority of which are in the 16 to 35 age bracket, Nigeria is the eighth most populous in the world with a growing consumption base. He said the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector has benefited the most from this young burgeoning population. The sector grew 10 per cent from 2000 until 2010, with its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increasing from 13 per cent to 24.3 per cent over the same period. He said the FMCG sector remains one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, restating that opportunities still exists in this sector. The report said the size of the market is heavily influenced by the country’s demographic dynamics and the profound influence that western culture is having on consumer tastes. “The changing con-

sumer taste has led to food items like pasta and noodles, which are not of Nigerian origin, to now make up a significant portion of the population’s diet as well as consumer spend. This positions the flour millers at the forefront of opportunities in the country,” Rewane, said, consequently, he placed ‘buy’ call on Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, adding that there are several things going in favour of the company. “Fundamentals are stacked in favour of the company, a diverse portfolio of business, a real longterm growth prospect with a series of projects coming out of infancy stage. The firm’s market position, size and the strength of its brand, makes it a compelling ‘buy’ for long-term investors,” he said. The FDC boss said the food unit of the business remained the strongest contributor to revenue and profit line. The food segment contributed 75.5 per cent of group revenue in the first quarter of 2012, up from 66.3 per cent in the corresponding quarter of last year. Of the total profit before tax and gen-

eral costs, the food segment accounted for 85.5 per cent of the total, which is significantly higher than the 49.4 per cent contribution in the same period last year. Rewane said the cement segment of the business saw a decline of 91.1 per cent in revenue as an import ban on cement impacted heavily on the company’s inventory. Stripping out the cement segment of the business, FMN’s revenue grew by a whopping 26 per cent. “While the firm’s peers in the food production sector have seen significant rerating of their share price this year, its share price remain submerged under the waters. The second-biggest flour miller in the country, Dangote Flour Mills Plc has witnessed a 25 per cent appreciation in its share price, while 20.55 per cent of FMN’s share value has been wiped out this year,” he said. He explained that losses at the cement plant coupled with soaring wheat prices, have blurred outlook for the company and have resulted in a lower target price. Notwithstanding, FDC boss said the first quarter results are an indication that Flour Mills Nigeria’s business is sustainable even without the cement segment.

BILL for the establishment of an international financial centre is before the National Assembly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. Its Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who made this known at the launch of the Financial Markets Dealers Quotations (FMDQ) Over The-Counter (OTC) Plc last week, said the FMDQ plan is in line with the objectives of the Financial Services Sector (FSS2020), initiated to develop financial markets. He said the platform is expected to bring about increased liquidity in the instruments of unlisted securities, increase attraction and flow of resources to small and mediumsized enterprises and enhance price discovery and financial inclusion potential, among others. He added that this would lead to a vibrant private sector and increase contribution to the economy. Sanusi said the CBN is keen to see that the strategic objectives are achieved. Of immediate relevance is the objective that relates to the strengthening and deepening of the domestic financial markets – money, bond, currency and derivatives. He said to improve on the governance of money market operations, the CBN executed the Nigerian Master Repo Agreement (NMRA) – an adaptation of Global Master Repo Agreement (GMRA) with banks and discount houses accessing funds at its window. Sanusi explained that one of the reasons the Nigeria financial system is at risk is because the country depends so much on the banks alone for the provision of finance. He said tapping into the pension funds and external parties basically diversifies the sources of long-term funding, reducing risk on banks’ balance sheet. “We all know that the country needs long-term funding for infrastructure development and a deeper financial market. One of the reasons the banking system remains a big risk is because the economy depends so much on the banks alone for the provision of fi-

•CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido

nance,” he said. Sanusi explained that from a banking stability perspective, developmental perspective, financial development perspective and risk management perspective, the FMDQ is great idea. He said efforts of the FMDQ, a professional body for banks, discount houses and other relevant financial institutions, in fostering financial markets development in Nigeria is commendable and has complemented the efforts of government and regulatory authorities. CBN Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Sarah Alade, said FMDQ will enhance market transparency. She said FMDQ will make the market more than before. “From the central bank point of view, you know the channel for implementation of monetary policy is financial markets. So if a market is efficient, the implementation of monetary policy will be efficiently done and everyone will benefit from it. We have been talking about how to channel credit to the real sector, the efficiency with which the financial market operates affect monetary policy,” she said.






Seven years ago, the Federal Government gave the nod for the construction of Inland Container Depots (ICDs) in the six geopolitical zones to address ports congestion and enhance goods clearance. Today, the ICDs have yet to take off, raising questions over the delay. EMEKA UGWUANYI writes.

Delay of container depots stirs anger Background


NLAND Container Depots (ICDs) also called dry ports be cause they are not situated close to sea or rivers, are equipped to handle and temporarily store containerised cargo as well as empty containers. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also defined ICD as “a common user facility with public authority status equipped with fixed installation and offering services for landing and temporary storage of export, laden and empty containers Carried Under Customs Control and with Customs and other agencies competent to clear goods for home use, warehousing, and export, temporary storage for onward transit and outright export.” In view of the importance of the depots, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the construction of six ICDs in the six geopolitical zones of the country under the build, own, operate and transfer (BOT) agreement in 2006. The project was gazetted in May, 2007. The government’s action was informed by the unwarranted but avoidable congestion at the ports, which made shippers to pay huge demurrage on cargoes and miss targeted schedules on clearance of such cargoes. With the gazetting of the initiative, the depots were allocated to six concessionaires. Eastgate Inland Container Terminal Limited got that of Southeast zone located at Isiala-Ngwa (Aba) in Abia State. It has a capacity for 50,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Catamaran Logistics Limited is in charge of the

Southwest zone located in Ibadan, Oyo State and has a capacity for (TEUs), while Dala Inland Dry Port Limited, which is for Northwest zone is situated in Kano, Kano State and does 20,000 TEUs. Others include Duncan Maritime Services Limited for North Central zone in Jos, Plateau State with capacity for 20,000 TEUs; Equatorial Marine Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited for Northeast zone located in Funtua, has capacity for 10,000 TEUs; and MIGFO Nigeria Limited for Northeast zone located in Maiduguri with 10,000 TEUs capacity For effective implementation, the government directed that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) within whose purview the project falls to sign memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and security agencies.

The ICDs now

Seven years after the government approved the construction of the six ICDs, none is operational even though some have reached completion level. It is in view of this that operators in the industry are calling on the government for more intervention to see the six depots running effectively. Some of the operators believe that with the Yuletide drawing close, there would be increased influx of cargoes and consequently increased congestion.

Stakeholders’ view

President of the National Associa-

tion of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Eugene Nweke, described ICD as an equivalent of a seaport located in the hinterland because it receives containers by rail or other system from the seaport for examination and clearance by Nigeria Customs Services. It has all the loading and off-loading equipment needed to handle container and general cargo. He said the group fully supports the NSC and is ready to work them to ensure success of the project because it will hugely facilitate trade in the country. He said the establishment of the ICDs would drastically reduce the numerous trade obstacles being faced by importers. He said: “The current nightmare being suffered in the ports, particularly in Lagos terminals, has made it necessary for the establishment of ICDs”, noting that the problem that would greatly militate against the success of ICDs is the inefficient rail system linking the ports in the hinterland. We appeal to the Federal Government to show more practical commitment to ensuring the ports are linked with rail. This is the only sure way to complete and reward success of the ICDs. “ICDs essentially are targeted at facilitating trade by way of decongesting the ports. ICD also decentralise clearing and boost the economies of other zones. It opens up the hinterland. It is a wonderful concept, but the effectiveness of the project, no matter how beautifully and wonderfully packaged, must have intermodalism, that is, the mode of moving the cargoes from the seaport to the hinterland where the ICDS are

must be efficient. For instance, if you are moving cargo from Lagos to Kano or Aba, and the rail system is efficient, delivery of the cargo would be timely. Currently, the roads are not dependable. “ He said shippers, freight forwarders and other individuals involved in the movement of cargoes out of the ports are desirous of an agency that should be an in-between to serve as a mediator in times trade dispute and the NSC was conferred with the powers not just to mediate but to also protect the interest of Nigerian shippers. Therefore, any initiative the council takes should be in the interest of shippers and those involved in the movement of cargoes from the seaports. He commended the leadership of NSC for embracing partnership with the private sector noting that it is good of the industry.

Benefits of ICDs

The benefits of Inland Cargo Depots (ICDs) are numerous. The Nation learnt that with the ICDs, the establishment of customs clearance facility close to production and consumption centres would be inevitable. It will also improve container usage and result in reduction of movement of empty containers. The Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello, told The Nation that when the ICDs becomes operational, it would improve the turnaround time of ships thereby reducing demurrage and avoiding pilferage and engender a system of efficiency in cargo delivery. It was learnt that ICD will lower

• Bello

freight cost and increase trade flows as well as bring into being optimal use of surface transport. It will also lead to reduction in marine pollution activities around the seaport and pave way to easy and safe access to international shipping facilities in the hinterland giving a boost to inland trading. It will also result in revitalisation of export agriculture leading to multi-product economy, reduce urban-rural drift and increase government’s revenue. It will boost the rehabilitation of the rail transport system and reduce pressure on the roads. Bello noted that the ICD project is part of the transformation agenda of the Federal Government to achieve efficiency at the ports, generate thousands of employment and boost the economies of the states where they are located. He said ICDs will bring shipping services to the door step of shippers across the nation, assist in decongesting the seaports thereby making them more user-friendly, help revive and modernise the railway as a primary mode for the long distance haulage of cargo and assist in the reduction of overall cost of transit cargo to landlocked neighbouring countries. Bello told The Nation that the management of NSC is determined to make the ICD project succeed and the operation sustainable.

Workers kick as firm plans tank farm for ports


IGERIAN Ports Authority (NPA) workers are kicking over the planned building of a tank farm and pipeline by the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO) across the NPA dockyard and waterfront in Apapa. President of Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC) Comrade Omeiza Umar told reporters in Lagos that for safety reason the project should not be allowed. He said if the project is allowed, it would cost the government a lot in revenue, block entry and exit from the Apapa dockyard, subject facilities to explosion and pose serious threat to lives and properties. The Apapa dockyard, he said, had only one entry/exit point, with a pipeline laid by NIPCO. Establishing another pipeline along the quay apron is an invitation to disaster because the only available escape route in case of emergency would have been blocked by the same NIPCO, he said. He said: “If NIPCO is allowed to go ahead with its obnoxious intention, the navigational channel of about 1.5km will be blocked and any attempt to check vessels and NPA tug boats shall lead to collision with

By Emeka Ugwuanyi, Asst. Editor

the pipe and there will be explosion, fire and spillage of product. “There exists a pilotage district within Lagos ports. The Joint Venture Company (JVC) handling the pilotage of Lagos district is located at the dockyard where tug boats and dredgers are berthed. The JVC called Continental Shipyard Limited (CSL), repairs ship and vessels of NPA and other third party jobs. This company repairs the tug boats, dredgers and pilot cutters of NPA with priority preference and at half the cost as compared with charges of similar companies such as Nigerdock.” Besides, he noted that there also exists a dolphin that anchored the floating dock of NPA awaiting repairs to class. This has cost NPA some fortune. We don’t have another dolphin to anchor the floating dock and we cannot afford to give away the existing one for mere piping of petroleum products to NIPCO jetty because without NIPCO Nigerians will not lack products, he added. He also explained that NPA has dredged the waterways and channels of Lagos pilotage district to make them navigable, which cost

•From left: Deputy President, Benson Adegbeyeni; General Secretary, Akin Leoso; Umar and SSACTAC Public Relations Officer Emmanuel Inyang at the briefing.

the government a huge amount of money. This was done for maritime operations and not for NIPCO tank farm and pipeline. Also the port reform that is yielding result would be reversed in the Lagos pilotage district by the unwarranted exercise of NIPCO as congestion at the port will return in an unimaginable level, he added. Umar said: “The ports of Nigeria are neither petroleum ports nor tank farm ports; however, there exists jetties for oil terminals. We advise NIPCO to look for virgin area (green field) like Oando did

at Takwa Bay and established its tank farms there, for instance, Ogogoro village or Snake Island. He said the government should make it a point of duty for investors to invest genuinely not to struggle for existing structures that are of great importance to the economy such as dockyard of Apapa. We members of SSACTAC, will not fold our arms and allow corrupt government officials collude with NIPCO to short-change Nigerians and sabotage government’s efforts at developing the maritime sector.

Reacting, a NIPCO source told The Nation in confidence that the workers were being mischievous, saying the company was not planning to build any tank-farm or pipeline. The source said what the company intended to do, is to build a jetty where ships bringing products to it would berth to discharge. The source explained that the group was there when the company conducted public hearing on the issue, advertised it in major national newspapers and electronic media and other requisite requirements and didn’t complain.





Foreign portfolios hit N801b in Q3

OREIGN investors staked N801.25 billion and dominated transactions on Nigerian equities within the nine-month period ended September 30, 2013. The latest report on the foreign portfolio investment flow by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) obtained by The Nation showed that foreign investors dominated transactions during the nine-month period, accounting for 50.81 per cent of total transactions during the period. The report indicated that total transactions at the NSE within the period stood at about N1.58 trillion, with foreign portfolio investors accounting for N801.25 billion while domestic investors accounted for N775.77 billion. Domestic investors thus accounted for 49.19 per cent within the nine-month period. However, while foreign investors flowed in more funds than they took out in the first half, they took more money out than they invested since the beginning of the second half, showing a sustained trend of profittaking in the second half. But with the significant inflows in the first half, net position by the third quarter still remained positive. Total foreign inflow closed September at N416.73 billion as against total outflow of N384.52 billion. Investment flow so far in the second half has followed the same pattern, with more outflow than inflow. Besides, the foreign portfolio investment report showed month-on-month slowdown in both the total foreign transactions and foreign portfolio inflow while there was an increase in outflow during the period. In September, total foreign inflow was N26.14 billion as against outflow of N27.88 billion, bringing total foreign transactions to N54.02 billion. Total transactions at the stock market during the month stood at N108.19 billion, out of which domes-

•Profit-taking thrives in second half Stories by Taofik Salako

tic investors contributed N54.17 billion or 50.07 per cent. In August, foreign inflow had stood at N31.12 billion as against outflow of N39.76 billion. Total foreign transactions thus stood at N70.88 billion, 52.26 per cent of the total turnover of N135.63 billion recorded for the month. Foreign investors had took out nearly a double of every penny they invested in the Nigerian stock market in July, unusually high disparity between foreign portfolio inflow and outflow, which led to significant decline in net foreign investment in the Nigerian stock market. The seven-month report for the period ended July 2013 had indicated that total foreign inflow stood at N31.81 billion as against outflow of N61.90 billion in July, showing the widest divergence between inflow and outflow so far this year. Total foreign transactions thus slowed to N93.71 billion in July as against N150.24 billion in the previous month. However, foreign investors remained dominant in stock market’s transactions with 62.53 per cent of the aggregate foreign-domestic transactions in July, an increase on 51.13 per cent recorded by foreign investors in June. With the outflow in July, net foreign investment declined from about N73 billion by June to N42.59 billion by July. Total foreign inflow had risen to N90.15 billion while outflow stood at N60.09 billion as total foreign transactions increased to N150.24 billion in June. Total foreign transactions in the Nigerian market for the sevenmonth period stood at N676.25 bil-

Investors shun Fed Govt’s bonds for Lagos bonds


NVESTORS are shifting demand from the Federal Government’s bonds to the Lagos State Government Bond in preference for the relatively higher yield of the state bond. The seven-year N87.5 billion 2020 Lagos State Government Bond opened on Monday and it’s expected to end on November 19. It will be issued by a way of book building as from this week to qualified investors, including pension funds, banks, fund managers, insurance companies, other institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Chapel Hill Denham is the lead book runner. Other joint book runners included Afrinvest, Radix Capital, FBN Capital, FCMB Capital Markets, Marina Securities, Skye Financial Services, Stanbic IBTC Capital, Vetiva Capital Management and Zenith Capital. The Nation’s checks indicated that investors had started withholding and shifting orders from the Federal Government’s bond since the approval of the Lagos Bond last week. Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr Johnson Chukwu, said the shift in demand from the national bond to the subnational bond was because of the higher returns on the sub-national bond. According to him, what is happening is that because Lagos bond is lucrative, it has good credit rating, investors will rather buy up the Lagos bond while it is still in the market instead of buying the Federal Government bonds. He noted that with the seven-year Lagos bond carrying a coupon of 13.5 per cent and the longer 18-year Federal Government bond with some 12.87 per cent, the higher yield

of Lagos bond has redefined the yield curve in the bond market. Chukwu pointed out that though the rating of the Federal Government’s bonds are higher as sovereign issues, the good credit rating and liquidity of Lagos State and the fact that the state is an experienced issuer with unlikely risk of default provided enough comforts for investors to shift demand. “The yield for the FG Bond is now something like 12.87 per cent, that is the highest, that is for a longterm bond that will mature in 2030. Lagos Bond is a seven-year bond and it’s coming out with 13.5 per cent. It means investors will rather buy up Lagos bond while it is still in the market,” Chukwu said. Commissioner for Finance, Lagos State, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, said the bond, regarded as a record issue by a sub-national, was meant to fund critical infrastructure. According to him, the bond was part of the state’s policy thrust that focuses on poverty eradication and sustainable growth through infrastructure renewal and development. He said the bond would contribute to the completion of ongoing infrastructure project to enhance the provision of social services aimed at improving the living standards of Lagos residents. He outlined that the net proceeds of the bond issue would be use to finance the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the Blue Line Metro Rail, the Adiyan Water Works, Ayinke House (Mother and Childcare Centre), acquisition of the entire shareholding of the LCC, the concessionaire of the Lekki-Epe Expressway and shoreline protection works.

lion, 50.73 per cent of aggregate transactions of N1.33 trillion by foreign and domestic investors during the period. Breakdown of foreign transactions during the seven-month period showed inflow of N359.47 billion as against outflow of N316.88 billion. Nigerian investors accounted for N656.85 billion over the seven months. Foreign investors had capitalised on general market optimism in July ahead of the release of the first half earnings reports of quoted companies to monetize and rebalance their portfolios. Nigerian equities had consolidated their bullish rally in July with capital gains of some N581 billion. Aggregate market value of all equities closed July at N12.007 trillion as against its opening value of N11.426 trillion for the month. The All Share Index (ASI), which doubles as benchmark index for all equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and country index for Nigeria, also rose from month’s opening index of 36,164.31 points to close at 37,914.33 points, a month-month average positive return of 5.08 per cent. First-half report on foreign portfolio investment flow had shown that total transactions-including buy and sell deals, by foreign investors totaled N582.64 billion, accounting for 49.24 per cent of total turnover at the NSE during the period. The report had indicated that in most instances, foreign investors flowed in more funds than they took out, leaving the stock market with a positive net foreign investment of about N73 billion within the period. Foreign portfolio inflow stood at N327.66 billion as against outflow of N254.98 billion. Total turnover value at the NSE during the first half was N1.18 tril-

lion with both foreign investors and domestic investors dominating transactions in three months each. But while foreign investors had maintained gradual and steady increase and decline in portfolio adjustments, Nigerian investors showed large fluctuations. Nigerian investors dominated the market within the first two months and were supplanted by foreign investors in March and April. Nigerian investors regained dominance in May and were equally displaced by foreign investors in June. Foreign investors accounted for 36.89 per cent, 39.65 per cent, 52.78 per cent, 64.48 per cent, 48.68 per cent and 51.13 per cent in January, February, March, April, May and June respectively. Portfolio transactions by foreign investors totaled N61.46 billion, N75.97 billion, N80.14 billion, N122.97 billion, N91.86 billion and N150.24 billion in January, February, March, April, May and June. The report underlined the structural outline of Nigerian investors, which was skewed in favour of institutional investors. For instance, institutional Nigerian investors accounted for 66.7 per cent or N95.78 billion of domestic investors’ turnover in June 2013 while retail investors contributed 33.3 per cent or N47.81 billion. The report had shown stronger momentum in foreign portfolio investments in the stock market as the 2013 first half report was substantially above six-month average over the past five years. Foreign investors staked about N4.08 trillion on quoted shares on the NSE between 2007 and last year. Foreign investors had gradually and consecutively increased their investments in Nigerian equities from about 15 per cent of total market turnover in 2007 all through till a high of

about 67 per cent in 2011. Foreign portfolios were particularly the main drivers of transactions on the NSE in the past two years, with foreign investors accounting for average of two-thirds of equity transactions between 2011 and 2012. The report underlined the early positioning of the foreign investors, who had saw through the prospects of Nigerian equities amidst the downtrend and the rampant herd instinct of the domestic investors, who mostly usually look at recovering market. Foreign portfolio transactions increased from N615.6 billion in 2007 to N787.4 billion in 2008. These trimmed down to N424.6 billion in 2009 before rising consecutively to N577.3 billion and N847.9 billion in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Foreign portfolio trades stood at N808.4 billion in 2012. With these, the two-way flow of foreign portfolio investments showed that while foreign investors flowed in about N2.01 trillion during the period, they equally took away about N2.17 trillion. Market pundits said the investment flows at the stock market might underline concerns over the future earnings of banks, following a relatively low fundamental performance in the third quarter. Most banks reported marginal growth in profit in the third quarter as they struggled with reduced income streams and high cost of funds and operations induced by new regulations by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Banks remain the dominant subsector at the NSE, although reduction in number of quoted banks and increased capitalisation of nonbank multinationals have reduced the hitherto overbearing influence of banking stocks on overall market situation.

•From left: Chairman, Starzs Investments Company Limited, Mr. Greg Ogbeifun and the author Mr Demola Akinbola, during the public presentation of Akinbola’s book titled: ‘It’s a BRAND U World’ in Lagos.

FRC holds summit on credible financial reporting


O promote credible financial reporting and good corporate governance system in Nigeria, experts and users of financial reports will brainstorm on the theme of financial reporting framework and governance at the 10th annual corporate financial reporting summit and dinner of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC). In a statement by the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Mr. Jim Obazee, the council indicated that the major objective of the summit, scheduled for December in Lagos, is to provide a opportunity for preparers, users and all stakeholders of published financial statements to meet annually and exchange views on issues affecting credible and reliable financial reporting. It noted that the summit will also create awareness on international best practices that will impact posi-

tively on corporate financial reporting in Nigeria. Major presentations at this year’s summit would include Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting: Asset & Liability Definitions and Recognitions; Financial Reporting for Rate Regulated Activities; Financial Reporting & Valuation Standards in Nigeria: An Expository Analysis; National Code of Corporate Governance: A New Regulatory Benchmark for Nigeria; and Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting: Measurements and other Comprehensive Income. FRC reiterated its commitment to strengthen financial reporting in Nigeria, noting that it had initiated series of programmes aimed at enhancing compliance with the Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards as stipulated in the FRC Act 2011. The guest speakers at the event

include Obazee, Mr Ayo Othihiwa, chairman, Association of Reporting Accountants in the Capital Market; Mr. Atalor Abel, Partner, Muhtari Dangana & Co; Mr. Bode Adediji, President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers and Mr. Victor Odiase, Chairman, Steering Committee, National Code of Corporate Governance. Discussants include Mr Uwadiae Oduware, Partner, Deloitte; Mr. Henry Egbiki, Regional Managing Partner, Ernst & Young (West Africa); Mr. Igho Dafinone, Senior Partner, Horwath Dafinone; Mr. Uyi Akpata, Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, Principal, Kenna Partners; while some distinguished business leaders, including Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, President, Society for Good Corporate Governance Nigeria, would chair the business sessions.



THE NATION INVESTORS Average return on United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc is almost four times the average return in the banking sub-sector and twice the average return in the entire stock market. With most banks, and other financial services stocks, still trailing the average stock market performance, average return of about 68 per cent highlights UBA actively as the leading stock in the core banking sub-sector. On the back of third quarter earnings and year-end projections, Capital Market Editor, TAOFIK SALAKO, examines the prospective outlook for UBA


INANCIAL services stocks have generally been the lowperformers this year. With the exception of a handful of stocks, financial services stocks-from core banking to insurance, mortgage, microfinance, financial services holding groups and asset management, are trailing significantly below average market performance. The benchmark index at the Nigerian stock market, the All Share Index (ASI), opened this week a 10 months and 10 days average return of 34.87 per cent. The ASI tracks values of all equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and thus serves as the realistic barometer of the Nigerian stock market. With the NSE as the only stock exchange, the ASI doubles as Nigeria’s country index. The average year-to-date return of 34.87 per cent highlighted the attractiveness of the equities as hedging instruments. Adjusted for inflation at 8.0 per cent, investors in equities still have average return of about 27 per cent. This compares with unadjusted return of 10.8 per cent on 91-day Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTB) and 7.41 per cent rate on three-month tenured deposit in the banking sector. Ironically, returns on most banking stocks were on the same trend with the rates in the sector. Average return in the banking sub-sector opened this week at 17.42 per cent. This was mainly driven by substantial gains by UBA, Diamond Bank, Sterling Bank and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI). Year-to-date return in the banking subsector indicated average return of 2.43 per cent for Access Bank and 4.0 per cent for Unity Bank. Skye Bank was the only stock with a negative return in the core banking subgroup with -5.81 per cent. Others included Diamond Bank, 43.72 per cent; ETI, 23.12 per cent; Fidelity Bank, 12.66 per cent; Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), 12.83 per cent; Sterling Bank, 31.79 per cent; Union Bank of Nigeria, 38.10 per cent; Zenith Bank, 9.24 per cent while the government-assisted Wema Bank carried a return of 126.92 per cent. With the exception of Wema Bank, which recently secured lifelines from new investors including the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, UBA retained the highest return in the banking subsector at 67.98 per cent. Within the extended financial services sector, Stanbic IBTC Holdings recorded a return of 76.36 per cent. FBN Holdings carried a return of 2.54 per cent while FCMB Group struggled with a negative return of -5.33 per cent.

Facts of the pricing trend

Amidst rising costs and constrained incomes occasioned by

How far will UBA go? regulatory policies, operational earnings in the banking sector have largely been muted. Interim reports and accounts of banks for the third quarter ended September 30, 2013 generally showed banks struggling with declining margins. However, the nine-month report showed that UBA was able to expand its market share as gross earnings rose to N188.02 billion by the third quarter, indicating an increase of 12.5 per cent on N167.07 billion recorded in the comparable period of 2012. Net interest income also increased from N68.56 billion to N78.16 billion. The top-line performance partly reflected significant expansion in the loan portfolio of the bank, as it positions to take advantage of emerging opportunities. The bank’s new loan portfolio position stood at N870.4 billion as at September 2013, representing a 26.7 per cent increase on N687.4 billion on the bank’s loan portfolio for full year of 2012. Further analysis of the report showed that profit before tax improved marginally to N43.43 billion in 2013 as against N42.24 billion in comparable period of 2012. Net profit stood at N37.37 billion as against N39.12 billion. Total assets rose by 13.5 per cent to N2.58 trillion from N2.27 trillion while total equity rose by 17.2 per cent to N225.6 billion as against N192.5billion. Group managing director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza believed that the third quarter performance rather laid the ground for future performance of the bank as it had increased its loan exposures to the power, upstream oil and gas and telecoms sectors. According to him, UBA had recently played active roles in the financing of big ticket deals, especially in the power sector recently, with potential long term impact on the bank’s future profitability. Some of the major deals UBA actively participated in include taking up $120 million, about N19.44 billion, of the financing in respect of Transcorp Ughelli Power Plant. He outlined other deals to include underwriting of the entire facility of $122 million, about N20 billion, for Kann Utilities’ acquisition of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, financing the payment of 75 per cent acquisition of 60 per cent equity stake in Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company and Aura Energy’s acquisition of Jos Electricity Distribution Company, as the lead arranger for N9.6 billion loan to finance the payment of 75 per cent of Aura’s 60 per cent equity stake in Jos Electricity Distribution Company. “We firmly

believe that the effect of the asset creation decisions we have taken this quarter will have a sustained impact on our revenue growth,” Oduoza said.

Analysts’ perspectives

Analysts at the global investment banking giant, JP Morgan, said the return to real banking, as exemplified by loan growth, especially to the real sector, stands UBA in stronger position to outperform its peers. In its equity research for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) titled Nigerian Banks: Return to Real Banking, the United States of America (USA)-based investment powerhouse indicated that UBA currently has an upside potential of 45 per cent. Simply, it implies that investors that take position on UBA shares now have the chance of making as much as 45 per cent return over the next 12 months. For existing shareholders carrying return of 67.98 per cent, their investments would more than doubled within the next 12 months. JP Morgan stated that it expected that the Nigerian government’s reforms agenda in oil and gas, power, agriculture and infrastructure sectors will drive the future banking growth, the sector which UBA has recently been highly bullish on with new loan growth targeted at these sectors. According to the report, UBA offers an attractive 45 per cent up-

side potential over 12 months, among the highest in CEEMEA banks. “We think UBA’s valuation, despite a strong rally since the beginning of the year, offers an opportunity to buy into probably the deepest valuation discount in CEEMEA banks at current levels,” the report stated. The report outlined that investors may be missing out on the opportunity presented by UBA shares despite improving fundamentals of the bank. “We see UBA’s valuation, on the other hand, as an opportunity to buy into what may be the most attractive risk-reward in CEEMEA banks,” the report stated noting that the “consensus is catching up fast – UBA has the best buy, or hold, or sell ratio on Bloomberg consensus.” The JP Morgan report also explained that UBA benefits from significant balance sheet liquidity noting that the bank’s loan to deposit ratio of 37 per cent as at half year 2013 was the lowest among CEEMEA banks covered by the investment bank. JP Morgan however forecast that UBA’s loan to deposit ratio is conservatively expected to rise gradually to 45 per cent by 2016 year end. According to the report, UBA’s loan to deposit ratio is reflected in UBA’s market shares where it is second in Nigeria in deposits with 13 per cent market share, but has lowest lending market share at 8.0 per cent among the four biggest banks tracked by JP Morgan in Nigeria .

UBA pan-African presence is also seen as strength in the bank’s operations. JP Morgan noted that UBA has the highest number of subsidiaries in Africa among the top-tier Nigerian banks with positions in 18 African countries outside Nigeria and potential to drive future revenues on rising intraAfrica trade. “This pan-African presence and valuation discount increases the attractiveness of UBA as a potential take-out story, in our view, given our understanding on larger regional banks (e.g. South African banks) for pan-African franchises such as UBA’s,” the report stated. According to analysts, UBA has the lowest mix of Commission on Turnover (COT) growth in its overall fee income mix when compared with peers. Excluding fee income, average Net Interest Income (NII) growth of is expected at 15 per cent every year from this year to 2016. “UBA’s valuation is an opportunity to buy into what may be the most attractive risk-reward in CEEMEA banks; for a 33 per cent valuation discount versus peers, we estimate UBA offers 23 per cent 2014 year -end premium on return on equity (ROE) and significantly higher dividend yield of 10 per cent by 2014 year end,” the report stated. With its large geographic spread and cross-jurisdiction market as well as deep products and services portfolios, UBA appears to be in better stead to find supports to mitigate adverse impact of operating changes in its domestic market. The potential for the market consideration to rise further is strong, though the extent of capital appreciation may be subjective.




‘PFAs have only received part payment of PHCN workers’ pension’ P

ENSION Fund Administrators (PFAs) have only received some part payments of the pension benefits of workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) who were sacked, the new Chairman of Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), the umbrella body for the PFAs, Misbahu Umar Yola, has said. He spoke to reporters while outlining his plans for the association in Lagos. Yola, who said some PFAs have received payments of the PHCN pensioners from the Federal Government, could not, however, confirm how much they have received as at press time. He noted that certain details and information were still being worked out by the PFAs with the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federal Civil Service, the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), and the PHCN management, adding that when the process is completed, their accounts will be credited.

Stories by Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has given reasons why some of the workers have not been paid their severance packages. He said the delay was as a result of inconsistent information submitted to his ministry and pension fund management companies by some of the workers. Nebo, who spoke at the opening of a new power transmission substation in Ibadan on Friday, said there was a provision for payment to the workers. “We are working hard to ensure that all members of staff of the former PHCN are paid their entitlements. There are about 7,000 left, whose biometrics were not perfect. The problem is that they were inconsistent in the information they gave to us. Some of them opened

more than one bank account and submitted different names to the pension fund managers. We are trying to clear all these anomalies before making the payment,” the minister explained. “The handover of the successor firms was seamless and I appeal to the workers of the defunct PHCN and those with the new distribution and generation companies that the government will fulfil its obligation to them.” Speaking on his tenure just as he took over the mantle of leadership of the association from the Managing Director, Pension Alliance Limited, Mr. Dave Uduanu, Yola disclosed thatplans are ongoing to upgrade the association to an institute. He said a secretariat will be setup in the coming weeks to help coordinate its activities while the association awaits the regulator, the National Pension Commission’s ap-

proval to become an institute. The chairman said his administration would place more emphasis on educating members of the public on the contributory pension scheme noting he will work closely with the media to ensure proper dissemination of information about the sector. He said: “The Contributory Pension Scheme has a safe mechanism to ensure the security of pension funds and pension operators will continue to support the development of the scheme, to ensure protection for workers in retirement. “We are considering a law that will make the funds in the Retirement Savings Accounts of workers to be able to contribute more to the growth of the economy and meet some other needs of the workers even before retirement”. The chairman further said his team would collaborate with the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to encourage saving culture among young people and also ensure that

the open window initiative is achieved. A framework has also been designed by Pen Com and in a few months, it would roll out the guidelines that would enable for the sector. He further disclosed that the PFAs have started engaging the informal sector and have started putting incentives that will attract the informal sector. The new members of PenOp Executive Committee are the Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Closed Pension Fund Administrator Limited, Mrs. YemisiAyeni, who is the vice-chairman; Managing Director, ARM Pension Managers Limited, Mr Sodiq Mohammed, is the Head, technical committee; Managing Director, Premium Pension Limited, Mr. Wilson Ideva, is the Head, Legal and Regional Committee; Managing Director, FUG Pension Limited, Mr Usman Suleiman, is the Head, Branding and Communication; Managing Director, Zenith Pension Fund Custodian, Mrs. Nkem Oni-Egboma, is the Treasurer and Mrs. Susan Oranye, is the Secretary.

LASACO Assurance chairman is dead


• From left: Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs Josephine Oluseyi Williams; Director-General, State Pension Commission, Mr Rotimi Adekunle Hussain and Chairman, House of Committee on Public Account, Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla, during the 9th Retirement Bond Certificate presentation by the Commission in Lagos. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

Lagos pays 3, 884 retirees N21.3b under CPS T HE Lagos State Government has remitted a total of N21.3 billion into the Retirement Savings Accounts of 3,884 retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). It has presented Retirement Bond Certificates to 395 retirees worth N2.4 billion. The Director-General of the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), Mr Adekunle Hussain made this known while speaking during the presentation of Retirement Bond Certificates to the ninth batch of retirees in Lagos. He noted that part of the ninth batch of retirees numbering 185 were paid the sum of N943 million in September this year. He said: “Part of this ninth batch of retirees numbering 185, were paid the N943.1 million in September this year. We are gathered here to witness the presentation of Retirement Bond Certificates being the total accrued rights of N2.4 billion only to another set of 395 retirees. “These particular sets of 395 retirees form the second tranche of the ninth batch of our retirement bond presentation, thus bringing the total number of the ninth batch beneficiaries to 580 retirees.Therefore, with today’s presentation, the Lagos State Government has so far in the history of the CPS remitted a total of N21. 3b illion into the Retirement Savings Account of 3,884 retirees”.

By OmobolaTolu-Kusimo and Temitayo Ayetoto

Hussain also said this was made possible through the commitment and support of the present administration in the state, which ensures that funds are made available for monthly remittances as well as the commitment of the board, management and staff members of the commission, who worked towards this success. He added that earlier, the state had paid total accrued rights of N18.9 billion of 3, 489 retirees, which include the N943 million being the first tranche of the nineth batch earlier paid to 185 retirees during a mini bond presentation in September. Clarifying issues on actual number of the state employees registered under the CPS, he said, the state had registered 135,000 employees. He stressed that the state remained steadfast in its commitment to sustaining full implementation of the pension scheme even beyond the administration and that solid and welldefined structures had been put in place to ensure that the statutory five per cent contribution that goes into the Redemption Fund Account created for redeeming the retirement bonds, is sustained. The LASPEC boss said the state also maintained a Pension Sinking Fund

Account, which is funded monthly to ensure that funds were available to meet unforeseen pension liabilities that might arise in situations where more than those projected to leave the service voluntarily decide to do so. He urged the retirees to assess the situation before choosing either the programme withdrawal provided by the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) or the annuity provided by the insurance firms.

HE Chairman, LASACO Assurance Plc, Edward Akin Leigh, is dead. He was 65. In a statement, the management of the underwriting firm said Leigh who died on Monday, November 4, was an administrator, oil and gas, and business management consultant. He attended the Methodist Boys’ High School and King’s College, Lagos from 1961 to 1967; and graduated from University of Ibadan, Oyo State in 1971. He also attended the Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, United States where he obtained MBA in 1974. He was a recipient of several academic and professional honours and awards. He was a John

• Leigh

F. Kennedy scholar at Ibadan from 1968 to 1971; a Fulbright-Hays scholar at Wisconsin from 1972 to 1974; and National Young Manager of the Year (1975), among others.

U.K. mulls cap on pension fund charges


HE United Kingdom (UK) Treasury is to examine the case for capping the fees that pension funds are allowed to charge savers, in an effort to prevent exploitation of a new auto-enrollment system. According to Bloomberg, while falling prices have meant that the average charge on a fund started last year was 0.51 per cent, the Office of Fair Trading estimates there are more than 186,000 plans, containing 2.7 billion pounds of assets that are paying fees of more than one per cent. Pensions Minister Steve Webb said

in a statement that people need to know they are getting value for money when they save into a pension and not being ripped off by excessive charges. “We are consulting on a cap on pension charges. A range of options will be on the table including an outright ban on all charges above 0.75 per cent per year.” Webb told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Today that the government will also look to promote consolidation among pension providers to get scale and drive costs down.

• Head, Business Development, Stanbic/IBTC, Nike Bajomo (left); Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic/IBTC Pension Managers Limited, Demola Sogunle; Principal Partner, Star Bright Consultant, Emmanuel Olu Ayeni and Chief Executive, Stanbic/IBTC Trustee, Binta Mat-Gbinije, at the pre- retirement seminar by Stanbic/IBTC Pension Managers in Lagos.



SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENUERSHIP Some companies are turning waste to wealth and protecting the environment from devastation. Mrs Cynthia Saka owns such an outfit. DANIEL ESSIET reports.


Creating wealth from waste

RS Titilola Cynthia Saka is the owner of an outfit which collects industrial waste and sells to companies. Her outfit is helping to confront the environmental and social challenges facing the nation. Mrs Saka, chief executive, T. Cynthia Nigeria Limited, has been in the business since 1986, when she was a student of the College of Education in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. She started as a part-time industrial waste collector. As the business matured, she realised how much industrial waste firms discard and the need to process them into other products. She told The Nation her mother, also a business woman, advised her to go into business when she was a student, seeing a great future as an entrepreneur than an employee. With a vision to ‘transform waste into wealth’, the company has withdrawn many plastic and cotton waste and created more than 20 jobs. She also has the support of her

husband. Mrs Saka said industrial waste collection is an alternative to the teaching job she was doing after graduation. One material that holds a great potential is polyester fibre. It has a huge market in many industries and is used as packaging material for beverages, food products, pharmaceuticals, consumer and industrial products. She collects cotton waste. Materials such as aluminum, steel, copper, brass, and glass have a reliable market and make for good business opportunities. Buried among the junk are valuable metals which fetch her good money. She deals with large specialist metal companies, firms and tries to broker deals on scrap materials that leave her with a profit. The major sources of revenue include sale of scrap materials, extracted metals and glass. Those employed process and produce. She hires young men and women as waste collectors.

The combination of cheap labour, relatively low entry costs and more limited regulatory controls make the business a money spinner. She said one could start a business with a small budget. She started with about N40,000; a chunk of it came from the bursary the Ogun State government gave her as a student. Later, she received Local Purchasing Order (LPO) generated by commercial/industrial sources, for plastic and metal waste supplies. What motivates her is giving value to the society by clearing it of the refuse. While there, she learnt the true value of scrap metal. For her, it is about the economies of scale and sorting until it’s sorted as waste. As soon as they are sorted out, they become useful materials. Beyond waste, Mrs Saka developed a working arrangement with a local entrepreneur, who opened her eyes to the commercial opportunities in processed materials. Since she began working with him,

From left: Business Manager, Diamond Bank, Mr Festus Erewele; Head Retails, PortHarcourt Region, Opuriche Agboalahor and Segment Head, Micro Enterprises and Business Development Service, Mrs Adaeze Ume, at the bank’s Diamond xpress business seminar in Port Harcourt.

Tips for water business With the right product, hard work and determination, small entrepreneurs can become big. Mrs Oyin Osibodu, owner of Aqua Vitae Water, is proof that small entrepreneurs can survive in a harsh environment.


N entrepreneur, Mrs Oyin Osibodu is making a difference in her bottle water project in Lagos. A United Kingdom(UK)-trained chemist, Mrs Osibodu is the chief executive of Aqua Vitae Water. She studied Chemistry at the Brighton University and has a second degree in Water Treatment. Considering the large population of Lagos, she decided to invest in water treatment. She started the business while working with the Federal Ministry of Works. Mrs Osibodu saw that safe, hygienic water was in high demand and she decided to explore the business opportunity to help improve people’s lives. She started small. She got a factory around Sabo, Yaba, Lagos. Today, the business is successful. The proof of this is her venture into juice drinks production. She produces 100 per cent natural juice drinks without additives. She produces table water and supplies water dispensers. She is happy. Her company has become popular with its treated water products and water dispensers.

Demand for quality packaged water is increasing as the population grows. This offers many business opportunities. Her company has had a positive impact on many lives. She has employed many Nigerians. Her products are available in supermarkets, large format outlets, convenience stores, restaurants and other food service outlets. For her and others in the business, increased consumption of bottled water has attracted many investors. Soft drink giants have become distributors of bottled water brands. Competition in the market is intense with soft drink giants selling their own brands at extremely competitive prices. There is also intense competition for shelf space. Consequently, bottle water has moved from being a niche or specialty item to a mainstream product. For water bottlers, the domestic market will likely continue to be the most important market for the foreseeable future. The market is sophisticated, and extremely well served which means that competition will continue to be strong.

she disclosed that she has been making money selling reprocessed wastes. She operates from three locations in Lagos, collecting reprocessed materials, aluminium and scrap metal. Haulage is a key factor, so she has acquired trucks to help in the deliveries. Looking ahead, she would like to start working with big organisations would enable her to tap into larger volumes of industry waste. She is increasing the scope of the project by scaling up production capacities. She has buyers lined up and is in talks with other ones. She is also looking to replicate her business model in other parts of Lagos and is negotiating with

•Mrs Saka

large chains for additional supply opportunities. She has taken costcutting measures to improve industry productivity. In making these improvements, she is betterpositioned to compete in the market.

Palm kernel oil and cake processing


ALM kernel oil (PKO) and cake are obtained after processing palm nuts. The oil is in great demand. It is used for the production of soap, candle, cosmetics, edible oil, margarine and other products. Palm kernel cake, on the other hand, is highly demanded by feed millers. Both products have very wide markets because they can be consumed locally or exported to earn foreign exchange. There is a very wide supply gap since of high demand for oil and cake for domestic and industrial purposes. The main raw material is palm nuts obtained from elaeis guineansis (palm tree), which grows abundantly in Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ogun, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers states. The plant incorporates a nut cracking unit, crushing plant, screw press, bucket elevators, screw conveyors, vibrating screws, main shaft expeller system, pulley system etc. Different models of the PKO plant have capacities for processing 1-100 or even more metric tons per day. It is recommended that the investor consider his capital outlay, sources of raw materials, production cost and extent of the market before choosing a plant of any capacity. In this project a model plant of 10 metric tons per day is the focus. The machines are locally fabricated. Two alternative but mutually exclusive methods of processing the raw materials are the mechanical expeller and the solvent extraction system.The former is better and therefore chosen for this project.

By Edwin Agbaike

Decorticated and cleaned seeds are fed into the expeller press where they are grounded, crushed and pressed. The products are palm kernel and palm kernel cake. These are packaged and ready for sale. This project should be sited in the rural area, or better still, in a palm tree plantation, in any part of the Southern belt of Nigeria with abundant raw materials. An opened roof structure for the plant and equipment, fenced round will be ideal for a start. A small scale project with capacity for a daily output of 10 metric tons of processed PKO and Cake will cost between N470,000 and N1.5 million. This amount can be scaled down or increased depending on the financial ability of the promoter. Target markets are aimed at distributors and wholesale dealers in PKO in different parts of the country- they should be contacted. Direct sales could also be made to multinational companies like Liver Brothers, PZ, John Holt, etc., supermarkets, departmental stores and the open market. Feed miller should also be contacted for the kernel cake. In addition to the above outlets, export opportunities can also be exploited. Address of established export markets for the product within the African continent and Europe can be obtained on request. If properly sited and close to source of raw materials, no matter the output, the market is guaranteed, and the project is highly profitable. For more information contact: or call 08023381900.

‘Technology’ll drive SMEs’growth’


•Mrs Osibodu

Increased competition from other non-alcoholic beverages, such as energy drinks and relaxation drinks, has provided consumers with more beverage choices. She faces some constraints which should be addressed to enable her to grow and expand. These include increasing transportation and packaging costs.

HE Director, Southwest Zonal Office, National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), Mr Akindele Famurewa, has said the application of technology to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will grow them. He spoke on the opening of the third trade fair of the Premier Industrial Estate Cooperative MultiPurpose Society Limited, Yaba, Lagos. Famurewa,who was represented by the Principal Scientific Officer and Research Coordinator of the centre, Mr Sunday Amiolemen, said the government’s role and policies were critical to encouraging greater innovation and optimal performance among SMEs. He said though various challenges affect SMEs, the key to enhance performance lies in the “government’s ability to formulate workable policies to drive the sub-sector and their

By Ajose Sehindemi

capabilities to harness and take advantage of intervention schemes. He advocated regular interactions among the key actors of the national innovation system (NIS), noting that “this was critical for developing linkages and enhancing innovation capabilities of SMEs’’. On the fair, the President of the Trade Fair group of the estate, Alhaji Olayiwola Jaji, said it was a sign of good things because “previous fairs had opened the door for industrialists to get financial support’’. He urged the Federal Government to encourage banks to grant soft loan to industrialists through their cooperative societies. The Lagos State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Mrs Olusola Oworu,said tenants of the estate would have a cause to smile as the state government was ready to renovate the estate.




Sales secrets from your customers BOOK REVIEW Author: Barry J. Farber BOOK REVIEW Publisher: Religious Broadcasting Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi



E are examining this book this week because selling is very critical to business success. Farber is the president of Farber Training Systems, Inc., and has trained thousands of salespeople, managers and trainers to reach new levels of sales success. He has been featured on CNN and other international radio and television shows. According to Farber in this book, there is no better judge of a salesperson’s performance level than his customers. The author advises salespeople to give customers the opportunity to discuss what impresses them about them (salespeople) and where improvement can be made to achieve sales success. Farber says this book is based on hundreds of interviews conducted with customers to find out what successful salespeople are doing, and what they could be doing better. According to him, a customer is everyone you come in contact with, especially that you may not know whom your next customer might be. This author says obviously, the people you call upon, people who buy your product or service are your customers. Farber asserts that you should remember that you are a customer, too. He stresses that what all the customers are really saying is that you should find out what their business is and tell them how your product or service can help them run their business better. This book is segmented into five chapters.

In chapter one, attributes such as knowledge, empathy, good organisation, promptness, follow-through, solutions, punctuality, hard work, energy and honesty are identified as some of the things buyers consider most helpful in salespeople. This author educates that based on his interaction with customers, knowledge is a very broad category and the best sales reps are knowledgeable in a variety of areas. In Farber’s words, “They know about their own product, company and industry, and they have detailed knowledge of their customers’ companies and industries. They also know the competition, both their strengths and weaknesses…The more knowledge you possess, the easier it is for you to come up with solutions to your customers’ problems. And that is what gives a rep added value.” On knowledge action steps, the author says you should study your product inside and outside; read industry newsletters; speak to successful sales reps; put extra effort, etc. On the attribute of empathy, Farber discloses that customers want salespeople that are sincerely interested in them and their business; and they do not want to feel like just another stop on the sales rep’s route. As regards empathy action steps, the author advises you to ask questions that will help you understand the other person’s position; listen enthusiastically and focus on ways to make others feel important. In chapter two, Farber identifies the attributes that buyers find most objectionable in salespeople as lack of preparation; lack of information; aggressiveness; undependability; poor follow-through; presumptuousness; “walk-ins”; “gabbers”; problem avoidance; and lack of personal respect. He says, “Customers don’t like salespeople who call them on the phone or come by without a specific purpose in mind. Every once in a while, it’s okay to say, ‘I just wanted to keep in touch’, but it’s better to have a reason for doing so.”

Farber stresses that customers often depend on salespeople as a source of information on a variety of subjects. “They said the worst reps were the ones who lacked specific information about their own products and/or general information about the customer’s business,” adds this consultant. According to him, customers often complain about “pushy” salespeople, ones who argue and try to convince customers to spend more than is necessary. Farber adds that customers feel those reps are only interested in their commissions and do not really care about how they get them. “Don’t walk away from a sale after the goods have been delivered. For the customer, that’s when the sale really begins. Studies show that it is three to five times cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one,” advises Farber. In chapter three entitled “Getting customer feedback”, this consultant examines concepts

such as sales secrets from your customers; telephone surveys; the customer-run meeting; improving your listening skills and magic questions. Chapter four is entitled “25 super sales secrets: Customers tell how to sell”. The author says among these sales secrets are that you should not sell customers your products, rather sell solutions to them; understand customers’ business, industry and their market; understand your product or service very well so that you know every conceivable way it might help to solve customers’ problems or meet their goal; organise your materials so that when you are asked for information, you have it easily accessible, etc. Chapter five, the last chapter, is based on 40 questions to ask yourself in the customerservice questionnaire. Here, Farber educates that some of these questions are: Do I treat everyone I know and meet with respect? When I am a customer myself, do I observe and learn from the salesperson’s strengths and weaknesses? Do I have a thorough knowledge of my product or service? Do I have a thorough knowledge of my customer’s product, company and industry? etc. Conceptually, Farber scores a pass mark on the depth and creativity of the articulated ideas in this book. For instance, he educates that a customer is everyone you come in contact with, especially that you may not know whom your next customer might be. As regards style, this book gets a good grade. For instance, Farber uses customer- interview style, a form of semi-dramatic dialogue to lend credibility to his work and sustain readers’ interest. For every point that he addresses, he first radiates a summary message for easy understanding; offers the key points from the customer interview, as well as prescribes action steps in some cases. This mode of presentation easily ensures detailed analysis. What’s more, Farber also uses reflective illustrations as well as literary and classical allusions to ensure easy understanding on readers’ part. The language is also simple. However, chapters one and four can be harmonised for compactness. If you aspire to enhance your business through unique sales knowledge, then you need to read this book. It is simply irresistible.


Effects of Nigerian English on global business prospects


AST week, we said many Nigerians even argue that “Do-or-die”, a positive idiom that correctly means “Strong determination”, has assumed a negative connotation in Nigeria since former President Olusegun Obasanjo used it during electioneering. We stressed that the error was (and is) due to the fact that many Nigerians had not understood the actual meaning before Obasanjo used it. We discussed what standard connotative meanings are and examined errors of overgeneralisation of rules of English in Nigeria.

Inconsistency/overgeneralisation of rules of English … Apart from blaming Nigerians for errors of overgeneralisation of rules of English, Standard British English itself is also blamed for lack of consistency of rules here. For instance, “Formal” is the opposite of “Informal” but “Valuable” and “Invaluable” are not opposite words. “Flammable” and “Inflammable” are also not opposite words. While “Proprietress” is the opposite of “Proprietor”, “Governor” is not the opposite of “Governess”. While “Useless” is the opposite of “Useful”, “Priceless” is not a negative word with the meaning “Without a price”, but “Too valuable to be priced”. Also the Standard British English word “Offhand” means to say something from the memory. This series of inconsistency of rules makes most Nigerians wrongly use “Offhead” for “Offhand” because they believe hands are not involved. They also think “Invaluable” is the opposite of “Valuable”; or “Inflammable” is opposite of “Flammable”, etc.

Special areas While conceptually-plural noun phrases like “The Underdog”, “the youth”, “the faithful”, “the poor”, “the offspring”, “the folk”, “Three dozen”, “Two aircraft”, etc., are acceptably used without “S”, we surprisingly have structurally-plural but conceptually-singular nouns

By Goke Ilesanmi

like “A species”, “A crossroads”, “a bellows”, “a means”, “a summons”, etc., starting with the indefinite article “A” and still ending in “S”. This inconsistency on the part of Standard British English misleads most speakers of Nigerian English into committing errors of overgeneralisation of rules by removing the final “S” to convey singular.

More information Also, the expression “How do you do?” is correctly replied with “How do you do?” But most speakers of Nigerian English wrongly reply “Fine”. The expressions “What’s more” and “I hope you are okay” do not take a question mark. But speakers of Nigerian English overgeneralise by even adding a question mark in writing. Though, Standard British English is also blamed for lack of consistency here. Also present-tense expressions used in the past-tense form tagged unreal-past such as “I would rather you went there tomorrow”, “It is high time we went home now”, “I wish I met my mother at home tomorrow”, etc., pose the problem of usage in Nigeria. This problem is also blamed on Standard British English for tense inconsistency of using past tense to convey present.

Other examples of Nigerian English errors

Most speakers of Nigerian English wrongly say “Thank you for your patronage” (American English) instead of “Thank you for your custom” (British English). They also wrongly say “It is tasking” instead of “It is taxing”; “It is a lost battle” instead of “It is a losing battle”; “Warm your way into somebody’s heart” instead of the correct Standard British English version “Worm your way into somebody’s heart”. They also wrongly say “He is a Godsent” instead of “It is a godsend”; “As at when due” instead of

“As and when due”; “I will lay ambush for him” instead of “I will lie in ambush for him”.

Additional examples

Most speakers of Nigerian English wrongly say “The president has commissioned the new road” instead of “The president has inaugurated the new road”; “He always speaks big grammar” instead of “He always uses high-sounding vocabulary”; “I am a staff of this organisation” instead of “I am a member of staff of this organisation”. In Nigerian English, it is common to hear the wrong expression “You that is not serious” while referring to one person, instead of “You that are not serious”. Speakers of Nigerian English wrongly say “I that is not afraid” instead of “I that am not afraid”; “Night vigil” instead of “Vigil”; “Wake-keeping” or “Wake-keep” instead of the correct version “Wake”. It is also common to hear “Doctorate degree” instead of the correct version “Doctorate” or “Doctoral degree”; “Electioneering campaign” instead of “Electioneering”. Speakers of Nigerian English wrongly say “We boast of good staff” instead of the correct version “We boast good staff”; “The new manager will resume tomorrow” instead of “The new manager will assume duties tomorrow”.

Last set of examples They also wrongly say “I have scaled through” instead of “I have sailed through”; “He is matured” instead of “He is mature”; “It seems as if” instead of “It seems that”; “That your friend” instead of “That friend of yours”; “It is pepperish” instead of “It is peppery”; “Grinded pepper” instead of “Ground pepper”; “Binded copy” instead of “Bound copy”. Most speakers of Nigerian English also wrongly say “White elephant projects” instead of “White elephants”; “In the company premises” instead of “On the company

premises”; “In the bus” instead of “On the bus”. They wrongly say “Next week Tuesday” instead of “Tuesday Next week”; “Next year October” instead of “October Next year”.

General business implication Just imagine the kind of response your organisation will get from investors or (prospective) business partners outside the country if you send a business proposal or correspondence containing these misused Nigerian English words! This linguistic incompetence becomes worrisome especially that English is necessary for competing in the global marketplace and is the most widely spoken language in the world today! Or better still, imagine how foreigners who visit your corporate website will feel about your corporate level of formal education after reading these misused words, especially that English Language has become an instrument of gauging one’s height on the socio-intellectual ladder! I will advise individuals and corporate organisations to avoid use of the so-called Nigerian English which can impede career or business prospects because it easily leads to communication breakdown. PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details. Till we meet on Monday.

•GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant. Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425 Email: Website:



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A book, Investing in Nigeria (A Country Business Guide for Multinationals and Entrepreneurs), compiled by Frantivic and Associates, a firm of financial experts led by chartered accountant and financial consultant Remi Oyekola, has been presented in Lagos. JOSEPH JIBUEZE was there.

The ‘investment secret’ of books


IGERIA is blessed with abundant natural resources. It is, therefore, not surprising that green was the colour chosen by organisers of the presentation of a book, Investing in Nigeria (A Country Business Guide for Multinationals and Entrepreneurs). The book is sure to arm potential investors with the knowledge required to keep them from falling into the murky waters of the investment world. The presentation, which featured the who-is-who in the accounting and investment world, had Pastor Ituah Ighodalo as the book’s reviewer. The presentation was held at the NECA House, Central Business District, Alausa, Ikeja. From the book cover to the hall decorations, the publishers portrayed their patriotic belief that Nigeria remains one of the most rewarding countries for investors. To them, the land is green enough, and the pasture is even greener. The event was a three-in-one. It was the author, Mr Remi Oyekola’s 20th wedding anniversary, and his wife, Oyenike’s birthday. From outside the hall, it didn’t seem like anything was going on. On entry, the hall took a completely different look. Ushers, in short black gowns, with green scarves as waistbands, welcomed guests to their seats in the well-decorated hall. It added to the beauty of the ambience as they moved around the hall to ensure the comfort of their guests. The hall was also illuminated by a standing decoration to pronounce the aesthetic designs that caught the attention of those who came. Chairman, Premier Lotto Limited, Sir Kessington Adebutu, who chaired the event, said the book, written by a chartered accountant and financial consultant Oyekola, was more than a guide to potential investors on how to navigate Nigeria’s investment terrain. Describing the book as the best public relations book that has come out of this country; he described it as a great publication that has “done us proud as a country. He said the author should ensure the book gets to all relevant government and diplomatic offices, including universities across the country.

•From left: Chief Onafowokan, Prof Anifowoshe, Mr Oyekola and wife, Oyenike (right) and Chief Yemi Ajayi

LAUNCH “The book is pan-African. And Africa is the centre-piece of business. “It has come forward to counter some wrong impressions about Nigeria. In this book, we find a lot of information on investing in Nigeria, and I commend the author for a job well done,” Kessington, who was represented by Chief Remi Ajayi, said. Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, who reviewed the book, praised the author, formerly a staff member of his accounting firm, for a job well done. Ighodalo said: “He has done a lot of work in putting this book together. He has done me proud having served under me. Nigeria has an abundance of resources, and we are inviting many people to come and invest. The author takes it stage by stage, going through what each state represents and what they have to offer. He goes through the procedures for investing in Nigeria – the establishment of a company; the immigration laws; the things investors need to watch out for; what they need to protect themselves against and how to go through these things step by step. “He also enumerated great potential and possibilities in Nigeria – the human resource, the natural resource opportunities, and the government. He concludes by looking at the language, the religion, the culture and etiquette. I have been following Remi’s progress and he has been fantastic. As a former

head of our tax division, he was one of the best hands we had.” As soon as the book was unveiled amid fireworks, a cake was immediately wheeled to the podium to be cut by the couple. Children of Chrisland Group of Schools, where Mrs Oyekola is the proprietor performed a choreographic dance to celebrate her. Their pink dresses added gleam to the performance. The book, the author said, has shown that many entrepreneurs go into various forms of business ventures without adequate knowledge of what is required, thereby getting themselves into unpleasant situations. “This is the more reason the book is important for both existing and prospective businessmen in Nigeria. Investors need information, and that is what the book gives them. It tells them what to do and how to go about investing in Nigeria. If they want to come into Nigeria, how does the immigration system work? They also need information on the legal landscape,” Oyekola said. The chartered accountant believes Nigeria remains one of the best places for any foreign investor to put their money in, adding that with the right leadership, the country would develop. In attendance were Group Chairman, Chellaram Nigeria Limited, Asiwaju Solomon Onafowokan, who co-chaired the occasion and Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Remi Anifowose.

Reinvigorating reading culture

Auction house's hammer falls Monday


fter a successful hosting of its last auction with a total sale of over N124million (88 per cent sales), Nigeria's leading auction house, Arthouse Contemporary Limited, has expanded its collections for the 11th auction beyond West Africa to include works from South Africa and the horn of Africa. The auction, sponsored by Renaissance Capital, will hold at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos on November 18. It will feature 117 lots of Nigerian, Ghanaian, Kenyan, South African, Ivorian, Benin, and Tanzanian. They span the mediums of painting, sculpture, mixed media works and photography. According to the founder of the auction house, Kavita Chellaram, there will be four Charity Lots to assist one of the artists who have in the past donated works auctioned for charity causes. Among the artists, whose works are up for auction, include first timers such as Godfried Donkor, David Asumah, Cyrus Kabiru, Lolade Cmeron-Cole, Jelili Atiku, Emmanuel Adiamah, Wallace Ejoh, Larry Isimah, Micheal W.Soi, Ludovic Fadairo, Atta Kwami, Segun Adejumo, Kofi Setordji, Tete Azankpo, Bob-Nosa Uwagboe, Ola-Dele Kuku, Reuben Ugbine, Frederic Bruly-Bouabre and Andrew Verster. Chellaram disclosed that a group health insurance scheme is being initiated by the house as part of its efforts to assist ailing artists. She said the idea of the scheme, Artists Health Management Insurance, came when Oyerinde Olotu had stroke and the artists' community was thrown into fundraising crisis in order to assist the artist. "The scheme is voluntary as interested artist is expected to set aside a percentage of proceeds from the sale of his artwork at auction for the scheme. Already, four trustees, Chellaram, Mrs Bolanle Austin-Peters, Prince Yemisi Shyllon and Nike Okundaye have been appointed to run the fund," she added. She noted that the percentage to be set aside by artists would vary from one artist to another, adding that the scheme is like a savings. All the works for sale can be viewed online at the Arthouse website ( where the complete catalogue can also be downloaded. Interested bidders must register in advance before the auction or at the auction venue during the viewing, bidders forms are also available on the website or at the viewing venue. Arthouse Contemporary Limited was founded by Kavita Chellaram in 2007 as a venue for transparent sale of fine Nigerian and West art.

T is often said that reading enlightens and impacts on the development of society. However, oftentimes, there is the question of accessibility to books, which, to a large extent, is an impediment to reading. The onus is on the government to encourage and motivate the citizenry to read by creating policies that would make impact on the culture. It is in the light of this that the Niger State Book Development Agency has conceived the idea of the MBA Bookhawker Scheme. The scheme, which is a mobile book distribution outlet, will help to reinvigorate the reading culture, especially among the younger generation for a better society. It was the highlight of this year’s edition of Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (MBA) Literary Colloquium held in Minna, the Niger State capital. As the pilot scheme takes off in Minna, it is hoped that the scheme would be taken to the 25 Local Government Areas of the state. According to the Director, the Niger State Book Development, Baba Mohammed Dzukogi, the core of the scheme is to provide books to the citizenry without stress, adding that it is meant to be a departure from people volunteering to go to book stores to buy books to taking the books to them in their neighbourhood, thereby taking away the burden of going to book stores. For the take off of the scheme, a modern bookshop has been built and along with the library, which will house the MBA Bookhawker Scheme. Both were also commissioned. The books would be conveyed to designated neighbourhoods with Tricycles branded Mba Book Hawker Scheme, it was said. “It is a proactive step towards enhancing reading culture amongst the populace. The scheme is for the time being concentrating on children books as the target audience is children whom society depends on. The proliferation of books would increase the chances of faster cognitive intellectual capacity of the citizenry and by

By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)


•Aliyu From Paul Liam

LITERATURE extension promotion of ideas for scientific and artistic imagination and creation especially amongst the younger generation,” he said. Refuting the possibility of skepticism in the scheme, Dzukogi said, the books would be sold would largely be creative works, works on leadership and the humanity, noting that only books that promote and inspire active and philosophical thoughts would be featured in the scheme. On the economic gains accruable to the state he proffered that the scheme would promote political awareness by the quality of books it intends to supply, he equally opined that the citizenry would benefit in expand horizon by the virtue of books they would be buying and reading from the scheme. •Liam is Assistant Secretary, ANA Niger



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Bishop marks 40 years on pulpit He has spent 40 of his 65 years working in the Lord’s Vineyard. Bishop Basil Edohasim is marking his 40 years on the pulpit with “joy”, reports EVELYN OSAGIE.


ISHOP Basil Chinagorom Edohasim is 40 on the pulpit. Bubbling with zest for God, the bishop still has much to offer. He marked the anniversary in the midst of family members and friends, with deep recollections. Among his qualities that have motivated many his passion for God is the greatest inspiration. He is one man of God that believes there is no excuse for profanity. And to keep one’s sanctity, according to him, one must commit totally to God. “I am celebrating 40 years behind the pulpit with joy. I have not yet arrived but I am still pressing forward. By the grace of God I will fight the good fight to the end.” Born in 1949, Bishop Edohasim who is a member of the Board of Trustees, Church of God Mission International Inc., began his journey on the pulpit in 1973. From the start, the journey, he said, was not a bed of roses. He did not know he would ever achieve what he did. But for the help of the Almighty, he would have given up, he said. “It was not easy. I did not know then that I would come this far; but thanks be to God who gave me the strength not to give up in the time of adversity. From the beginning of my ministry, the Lord gave me some scriptures to guide me to the end: Deuteronomy 8, Galatians 1, Philippians 4 and II

CELEBRATION Timothy 2. These scriptures remain my guide always,” he said. Ironically, Bishop Edohasim, who is also the chairman, All Nation for Christ Bible Institute Governing Board, got the call on a sick bed. At that time, doctors had written him off due to the illness that left his liver damaged. And just when all hope seemed lost, came divine intervention. He recounted: “I became born again through the Scripture Union (SU) in Aba, Abia State in 1971: I was in Technical College then. A year after it, I fell very ill and it was during this period that I received the call of God. The illness was so serious then that the doctor at the University Teaching Hospital, Enugu, notified my relations that I would not survive from the sickness after they notice that my liver has been damaged by the disease. “That was a really trying time. Although I was a young Christian, I had this faith that God would not let me die even though my condition got worse. Jesus appeared to me as I was praying and showed Himself on the cross. It was at that moment that He touched my stomach and healed me miraculously from the attack of the devil. And subsequently, He called me, saying ‘My son, I have showed you how I suffered on the cross


for the world; arise, go and preach the gospel to your generation.” Notwithstanding his involvement in traditional worship from an early age, that encounter changed his life. Without any hesitation, Edohasim left all to serve the Lord. “It was at that point that I answered the call. I became very committed to God; and I resigned my appointment with the company I was working with then in Enugu. Right from a tender age, I used to join my

father serve idols. I am grateful to God that such idolatry practice did not hinder my new birth because it was done in ignorance and as a little child.” His story would not be complete without mentioning the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa. “He greatly inspired me in the ministry. He not only became my mentor but encouraged me till his home call in 1998.” By 1975, he was ordained at Church of God Mission (Miracle Centre), Benin. Edohasim has since planted many churches under the Church of God Mission within and outside the country, beginning from his local government in Cross River, River, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, and Enugu states; United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malaysia, Ghana and South Africa. I was consecrated a bishop by Idahosa with Bishop David Oyedipo of Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) in 1995. “When the Archbishop discovered what God was doing through him in the East, I was ordained.” For the Bishop, life is a battlefield that deserves focus and determination to win. This belief is not inspired by his background as a former soldier who fought in the Civil War on the side of the Biafran Army (Engineering Unit). He sees himself more as a soldier of Christ. As soldiers on the battlefield of life, he is of the view that Christians should take their faith seriously, while interceding for the church leaders. “Let not long service be an excuse to drift into ungodly lifestyle. We, as leaders, need everybody’s prayers. Forty years can be wasted a years if one allows Satan to lead one astray.” Besides having passion for God, Edohasim is committed to touching lives. He gives scholarships to less privilege within my bishopric. His words for the young are: “It is better to finish strong and take ones crown in eternity by remaining humble to the end, and allowing money and position to lead one astray.”

Who will ‘Save the Child of Destiny’? Philanthropist and peace advocate Dr Precious Onwuzurike has passed on, leaving a big shoe t o be filled, writes EVELYN OSAGIE


T was the sound of her voice that first captivated me. Although it was a year ago, it always seemed like yesterday every time thoughts of her crossed my mind since she died in September from child birth complications. The news of her death was shocking. Thoughts of her became frequent, especially after my interaction with the Project Officer, Child Survival and Health, Chantal Baumgarten, of the Save the Children, a global organisation with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Aside working in organisations that are similar in name and vision, Baumgarten, who was a guest speaker at the GMedia Centre empowerment media workshop in Geneva, reminded me so much of the late Dr Onwuzurike’s passion for children’s health and survival. This African diva from Imo State had a unique personality. She was a woman of many parts as I soon discovered. In some climes, she was known as “evangelist”. In others, she was an “aggressive business woman”; in addition to being an “Amazon with a large heart whose philanthropy knew no bounds”. Touched by the plights of orphans, vulnerable children and widows, the late child rights advocate founded the Save the Child of Destiny Foundation (SCDF), a non-governmental organisation geared towards transforming and empowering the underprivileged. She was also an advocate for peace. Moved greatly by the constant bloodshed and chaos across the country, she initiated a nationwide peace campaign project, which she was

• The late Onwuzurike (in green) with the Wonderful Destinies at the album presentation last year

TRIBUTE determined to take across the country. This time, her weapon was music. As part of the project, Dr Onwuzurike chose to work with a very effective team - children. She discovered the talents among her wards, trained and formed a singing group called the Wonderful Destinies. Passionate “Aunty Precious,” as I fondly called her, believed strongly that children have a major role to play not only in the peace campaign movement but nation-building. You would often say: “If given a voice, their message of peace, can break the hearts of stone”.

Her foundation was said to cater for hundred of vulnerable children and widows. It was a feat, among many others, that drew me that evening. I had called to book an appointment with Onwuzurike. And I wanted not just to see things for myself, but to find out what inspires the diva and makes her commit her personal resources (as I discovered) to bringing succour to others. “Hello. Good evening Madam!” I began on phone and then, came a baritone voice in response, “Good evening...” “Oh, sorry to disturb you, sir,” I said. “I would like to speak with your wife, Dr Precious Onwuzurike, the Evangelist and founder of Save the Child of Destiny Foun-

dation (SCDF). I was given this number...” “You are talking to her,” she replied, laughing, leaving me confused. Embarrassed, I paraphrased my statement, thinking the receiver misunderstood my words. “Sorry sir, I am asking to speak with your...,” that was interrupted by a long loud laugh. “I said you are speaking to her,” she said. Mortified, I apologised, quickly went on with the reason for the call and booked an appointment to see her. Even though she sounded nice on phone, I went over my apology a hundred times in my head as I walked •Continued on page 39



The Midweek Magazine A journey within a journey (2)


O he connects his community empowerment programme in this context, and each village has its cheque to do what they want for themselves. Even when he makes the case for the national question, a debate raging today, he recalls that politics and policy must take its root from our sense of community and the village square sentiment. As democracy goes, this classic is rooted in what scholars call the Greek city states.The struggle between the vast national question for equilibrium of interests must chime in with the various strata of society. Hence he asserts, quoting Lenin, about the “possibility of waging both a class and national struggle together at once.” You cannot miss out in this book his speech to the Verdant Zeal Marketing Cmmunication’sInnovention Series, where he waxes philosophical on the subject of rebranding Nigeria, in which he asserts that the values are the precondition for any branding, and that is why he asserts that “most Nigerians expressed the position that the problem (with Nigeria) was with the brand and not with rebranding.” Other than politics, governance, activism, he also engages piety, not only in his soulful tribute to the late Arch Bishop Joseph Adetiloye, but also in his letter to the new Pope Francis as well as his address to the Apostles of the Marketplace. All three are fascinating. His letter to the new Pope has the resonance and flashes of St. Paul, himself an intellectual,in which Dr. Fayemi interlaces the personal with the pious and philosophical. More potent to me is the address of the apostles of the market place, a name that amuses him. Are they apostles in a metaphoric sense in which case they could be Christian apostates or even atheists? Or




Title: Reganing the legacy Author: Kayode Fayemi Reviewer: Sam Omatseye Pagination: 383


Amanda Consulting

are they Christians who are neo-liberal economists. On reading the speech, it was clear he was addressing Christians in love of capitalism. But what struck me was his blend of the personal and communal. He berates the obsession with materialism and jettisoning of thepuritanical grandeur of holiness in the past. The rigour of intellectual forays did not forget the personal, whether it is tribute to BekoRansomeKuti, or to the towering im-

age of GaniFawehinmi, we cannot but see that the author cruises home with full realization that all we do, whether in the lofty mountains of national questions or battlefraughtvalleys of civil society engagements, we are, at bottom, human. Hence we see him pay tributes to two important women in his life, his wife Labisi whom he calls a renaissance woman and his late deputy, Mrs. FunmiOlayinka. On Mrs. Olayinka he tells the story of their meeting, and the growth of mutual respect and struggle together and how her struggle with cancer was an integral narrative in her public struggle. It comes across as a tender story of humanity that undergirds all we do. That is, in the final analysis, every struggle has its human end and apotheosis. For his wife Labisi, the self-confessed detached and cerebral man in the arena cannot escape spilling well-hidden emotions of love and affection for a wife who is also a fellow traveler both intellectually and in the public good. He documents, as he does in Out of the Shadows, her domestic‘ heroics, and their picaresque narratives as lovers and family. This is a book I recommend for its sincerity, and depth and study in governance on the go. The weakness? The book suffers from an evenness of tone. For a public officer who meets various audiences, we tend to see the same cerebral and linguistic temperament. I would have expected a less intellectual outlay in his June 12 remembrance. But that perhaps is compensated for, if insufficiently,by his tributes to both his wife and late deputy. Well, an intellectual will always be an intellectual. The book is an accolade to a rare feat for a governor in active service who has not delegated his writings to another person or a coterie of speech writers as many do. It is obvious that this is a man who would not let another take his glory, so he has devoted his energies and mind, with lucubration, to a jealous telling of his legacy. And other than his roads and schools and welfare programmes, etc, telling his story is another way of telling his legacy. If you like, you can call it the poetry of poetry. Congratulations.

Nigeria of My Dream (II)


HE author maintains a thorough devotion to the agitation for a genuine national conference in a series of media interviews. Whether he accepts the version recently unfurled by President Goodluck Jonathan, it is, however, not presented in the book. Basorun was pioneer staff member of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which he joined on January 5, 1959, as a clerk and rose to the position of Deputy Director, Domestic Operations Department in September 1979, before he was appointed Secretary to the first civilian government of Lagos State, under Lateef Jakande, in October 1979, a position he maintained till September 30, 1983. He has since then remained a prominent political leader in the state. Nigeria of My Dream contains some of Basorun’s advocacy as a political leader in and out of government. The positions taken at several crucial fora, for example, as member of the Lagos State delegation to the 2005 National Political Conference, are reproduced in the book. It is, therefore, a continuation of his service to the nation and humanity. The book of 347 pages is divided into seven parts, excluding appendices and the photo diary. Part One comprises selected press interviews, granted between October 1998 and June 2013, and there are 34 such emblematic interviews extracted from notable national dailies and edited for book publication. The interviews cover a wide gamut of subjects, which underlie his socio-political and spiritual concerns in the last decade. Part Two is a collection of his memos and papers presented on important occasions, from his days at the Central Bank of Nigeria through his public service stint to the last few years as a party leader. Part Three is made up of his responses to sociopolitical developments in the form of press releases as well as speeches mainly at political gatherings. They reflect some of his propositions towards achieving a saner Nigerian society. In part four, the author’s role as spiritual cum community leader becomes apparent, as he reveals his thoughts on spiritual growth at religious gatherings, especially at significant milestones in the Cherubim and Seraphim Unification Church of which he is Baba Aladura (Spiritual Head).




Nigeria of My Dream


Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun


Habib Aruna



The author returns to political matters in part five, presenting two important letters: a letter to Ibrahim Babangida, former military president, on the subject of unequal distribution of seats in the House of Representatives and a letter to former military administrator of Lagos State, Mohammed Buba Marwa, together with the administrator’s reply. The letters are like reminders hung on the conscience of Nigerian leaders. Then in part six, there are some curious additions to the book such as excerpts from a speech delivered by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in the US; a piece written by Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, entitled “Thoughts about my Country”, and an interview granted by Senator Ayo Fasanmi. Evidently, these are prominent personalities with whom the author identifies. Quite logically, the last part, which is Part Seven, contains commendations and tributes to the author from people, including a 70th birthday letter from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Readers, especially those interested in Nigeria’s political developments in recent years, would find the materials in the appendices very useful as they set out in detailed forms some of the recommendations to important bodies on political reforms. Finally, the photos summarise in graphic form the author’s relations and associations, thus capturing his personal development through the years. Noteworthy in the book is Basorun’s thoroughness in the presentation of his ideas as attested to by Alhaji Femi Okunnu in the Foreword. The genuineness of his agitations is reflected in his painstaking attempts to reproduce persuasively crucial recommendations to panels, committees and commissions set up in the last few years to enrich Nigeria’s public institutions. Indeed, the ongoing attempt of the National Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution is captured in the appendices with a reproduction of the templates presented to constituents for input. An element in the appendices, a treatise by the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, entitled “Mental

Magnitude” reveals the author’s commitment to progressive thoughts and betrays the Nigeria of his dream in more ways than one – a Nigeria driven on the path of egalitarianism by progressive forces. A prolific writer, Basorun has previously published other similarly enlightening books, including “Nigeria of our Dream” (1978); “Life on the Service Lane – Autobiography of Reuben Olorunfunmi Basorun” (2008), etc. It is inspiring to note that this book is coming out at the author’s 75th birth day, a point in life at which many people retire from intellectual exertions. Nigerian youths have people like Basorun to look up to for example in dedication and commitment to leadership and the intellectual enterprise. His example reinforces the fact that Nigeria’s political turf has been peopled not only by political predators and opportunists but also by humane, pragmatic and visionary individuals. Earlier, in the Preface, Basorun wrote: “In the interventions you would be reading in this book, you will discover that I have not only discussed and x-rayed the various challenges inhibiting the development of Nigeria as a country for the rich and poor, I have also, where appropriate, offered suggestions on how to get over the problems. In addition, I have raised issues which all of us (Nigerians) must join hands to tackle in order to get out of the doldrums.” Indeed, it is hoped that everyone that reads Nigeria of My Dream will be conscious of the explanation above. Mr Chairman sir, distinguished guests, I want to commend the author for, again coming out with a lucid narrative to share his ideas for an ideal society. And I want to recommend the book to every believer in the Nigerian project.

Who will ‘Save the Child of Destiny’? •Continued from page 38

to the office on the outskirt of Lagos, days later. It was a massively-built woman that greeted me as I entered her office. “Mama”, as she is fondly called, saw the fear in my eyes, smiled and said: “I get that look all the time. Because of my frame, many think I am hardhearted but I am not. I come in and join the fun” True to her words, her huge frame paled into insignificance when compared to the size of her heart which is seen as she relates with the kids and the women under her care. There was no pretense. Love was in the air. I was immediately drawn into rapturous atmosphere as they prepared for the launch of their album, The Cry for Peace. I became a jury of sort, as they practiced alongside makeshift photo sessions. They did not even know I was a journalist, but thought I was a chorographer recommended by one of the volunteers. I did not mind but asked questions freely without any inhibitions. It was not until late afternoon when I was about leaving that I introduced myself. By then no one cared. I had already been conscripted into their preparations and did not have the heart to say no to the children, who were adorable. That encounter began a journey not only with the passionate Amazon but her team of “child soldiers for peace”. And as we progressed, it was discovered that Wonderful Destinies group were even more passionate and completely sold out to the peace vision. They never failed to express their minds on national issues and what could be done to curb the crises in the land. Hear a thought the group’s leader Joy Ochanya, who was 12 years then, shared with me on the music peace project: “Aunty, our message of peace is for everybody, because, as children, we need peace in this nation for us to survive. If we are leaders of tomorrow, how can we see tomorrow if the problems in the country continue like this. Through the album, which is inspired by God and written by our Mama, Evangelist Onwuzurike, we are crying to God to heal our land and give us peace and our leaders, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters.” Joy represents the passion and breed of the Onwuzurike’s of children. Such zeal not only caught, but inspired my interest. The feat also attracted other journalists, like a friend, comrade and editor of the children pages of The Vanguard, Mrs Funmilayo Amosun. Dr Onwuzurike dreamt of world where the vulnerable would be given a voice. She was particularly concerned about the total wellbeing of the child. To her, education was the best legacy to give to anyone. This inspired the opening a free-education school (Save the Child of Destiny Foundation Schools) last year which gives free feeding, uniforms, books, transportation and more and spoke of her vision to take the campaign across Nigeria. She also hoped of building a home that would house hundred of orphans and widows and their children for free. Before the ending of 2013, she was determined that the peace album would be re-launched across the country. Regrettably, both dreams were shortlived. She died of complications at child birth and was buried last month, the news that came as a shocker to me. What really caused it? Efforts to get more information from the family and foundation proved abortive since they are still mourning their loss. Without a doubt, she would be missed by her husband, Mr Austin Onwuzurike, children and scores of loved ones. However, in death, Dr Onwuzurike passions and dreams motivate the living through her legacies and beliefs. Indeed, her life and times should not be in vain. It calls on the government to do more in alleviating the sufferings of the underprivileged, in addition to combating security problems in the country. It also should motivate all to wake up to the plights of others around them. Even though, one would expect that the vision of the founder is kept alive by the foundation, with the late evangelist and hubby as major financiers, fundraising may be one of the challenges it would have to surmount. The onus now falls on members, family and friends of the foundation to work together to keep her dreams her alive. As I drop my pen to rest, a certain shiver ran through my spine like other times when the thoughts had come to mind, “what becomes of her dreams of a better life for underprivileged…what becomes the hundred of women and children under her care…in short, who will ‘Save the Child of Destiny?’”



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Elders... play on •Senior citizens enjoying a traditional game, Ayo, organised by 50 Plus Entertainmentin Lagos

Farewell, Akeem Balogun

‘Focusing on solution’

From Kehinde Adepegba



ENULTIMATE Saturday, November 3, hundreds of sympathisers besieged the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, enroute Muslim burial ground, Ikorodu, to pay their last respects to Akeem Alani Balogun, a prominent member of the visual art community, who gave up the ghost on Wednesday, October 30. Akeem Balogun, who was a Principal Lecturer in the Department of Art and Industrial Design, Lagos State Polytechnic, bowed to the cold hands of death in far-away India, where he had been flown two weeks earlier for surgery on a heart-related ailment. The news of his death came as a rude shock and it was hard to accept the fact that Akeem Balogun has actually •Balogun passed on to great beyond. The news was even more devastating to the Polytechnic and the visual art communities where he belonged as an astute art teacher and practicing artist. Tears were flowing in torrents in response to this untimely loss from the eyes of sympathisers who are mainly family members, Lagos State Polytechnic staff, students-artists and his professional visual art colleagues who came from all Abeokuta, Ibadan and Zaria, and all over Lagos. Akeem Balogun, aged 53, was born on October 8,1960. He started his art career at the Federal College of Education, Kotangora in 1982, where he obtained his National Certificate of Education (NCE) in 1985. He proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria between 1985 and 1988 for his BA degree in Fine Arts, specialising in painting and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife between 2003 to 2007 for his Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Recently, he started his Doctorate degree at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria which was still on before his death. He joined Lagos State Polytechnic in 1992 as a painting Lecturer in the Department of Art and Design (now Art and Industrial Design), where he has proven his mettle as an astute art teacher and art administrator. Balogun had served as Head of Department on more than two occasions and has also served in many committees in the School of Environmental Studies and in the polytechnic at large. During his first tenure as Head of the Department, he had to take a hard decision of relocating to Ikorodu from Ikeja so as to be close to the Department where he worked hard and ensured an increase in students’ enrolment to the Department by organising and financing art seminars in secondary schools in Ikorodu and its environs. As an artist, Akeem was popular for his expressive style of painting. Apart from staging a couple of solo exhibitions, he had taken part in many group art shows and has executed a number of private and public art projects. He was a financial and cardcarrying member of Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) Lagos chapter, which he served as an executive member and in its various committees. As a scholar, he had contributed to journals and other publications on the practice and theory of art. He had won many awards for his visual art practice and leadership in art sector. Balogun was a different personality to different people. To the Department of Art and Industrial Deign, we have lost a strong member and the Polytechnic did not only lose a staff, it has lost an elected representative of the Congress to the Academic Board. We will remember him for his simplicity, humility and generosity. He taught us the virtues of hard work and dedication to service. Akeem was a shining light to us in the department through his encouragements and advice. He was always willing to share his experience, knowledge and books with his colleagues. The last time we met he gave me a copy of Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foudation (OYASAF) Lecture monograph. He did not tolerate laziness and negligence of duty and would not let such go without making his feeling known. As a sport man, he was a member of LASPOTECH Tennis Club until his death. Akeem Balogun loved football, a game he has played at different level especially for his Alma matter and he was a follower of Arsenal Football Club. As a fellow Arsenal fan, he would call me sometimes to confirm Arsenal game results. I am sure that everybody will not forget him in a hurry his simple and peculiar way of dressing- He was usually spotted in T-shirt tops and jeans trousers and when in native, he was usually in ‘Guinea buba and sokoto’- an identity he has created for himself. Balogun, who was survived by wife and children, will be fondly remembered by family members, friends, associates, Lagos State Polytechnic staff and the visual art community members with whom he had lived a humble and exemplary life. May God grant his family the fortitude to bear this great loss and may his soul rest in peace. Farewell Akeem. •Adepegba is of the Department of Art and Industrial Design, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu.

By Udemma Chukwuma


HE state of the nation remains a major concern for many. For the Chairman, Macmillan Literary Events Committee, Mrs Francesca Emanuel, if corruption and the incessant killings in the North are not checked, such vices would impact negatively on the development of the nation. She said: “Any responsible citizen of this country would be concerned about the perception of Nigerians as, cheats, ritualists, dupes, drug traffickers and terrorists by nations of other countries. A country that was conceived as the Giant of Africa has descended far down the ladder due to character deficiencies in some of her citizens.” Due to the unpleasant names Nigerians are tagged with, Emanuel said, Macmillan Literary Committee will use the 11th Macmillan Literary Night to focus on finding solutions to these challenges facing Nigerians in order to create a better image for Nigerians and the country. Hence, this year’s edition has “Fix it: The Nigerian Character” as theme. The event will hold on by 6pm tomorrow at the Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, Lagos. “Macmillan Nigeria Publisher has resolved to pay closer attention to the solutions instead of focusing on the problems…We are well aware that factors like this endemic corruption, Violence, collapse of the family institutions, among others, are partly responsible for the present bad image of the country. We would not bemoan our fate any further. Rather, we would call out Nigerians, through this event, to recast themselves toward the desired change in character. The change demands that the average citizen of Nigeria plays a prominent role in order to move the country forward,” said Mrs Emanuel, who was represented by the Executive (Operations), Macmillan Nigeria Publisher, Mr Yinka Olaniyan at a briefing at their office in Lagos. The event will feature live performances, such as dance drama, poetry and prose reading. Poems and prose materials would be read by notable screen faces, such as Joke Silver-Jacob, Nobert Young, Taiwo Ajayi, Tina Mba and among others, while Crown Troupe of Africa entertain guest with dance performances and two songs by Joke Oke. “Basically, the poetry, prose and drama that will be featured this year will appeal to Nigerians’ sense of patriotism. But it will go beyond the appeal to highlight some practical, result-oriented option in our quest to rebuild the country’s image in a positive light. Thus, we want to strongly emphasis to all through this event that as long as we continue with our complacent, lackadaisical and nonchalant attitude, the prospect of the country becoming a better one would be lost in oblivion. Macmillan Nigeria Publisher wishes to use this event to make a clarion call to all citizens of Nigeria to be patriotic and imbibe the spirit of togetherness in building a great and prosperous country where every Nigerian can live with utmost dignity. We are challenged to fix and build the country. When this happens, Nigeria would be one of the best nations and every citizen would be proud to say, “I am a Nigerian,” she said.

Cool FM sponsors students to film festival By Miriam Ekene-Okoro


HE management of 96.9 Cool FM radio station has sponsored two Nigerian students, Seun Adebajo and Nneka Chile, to be part of this year’s Notre Dame University International Film Festival. The duo was selected to participate in the festival, having emerged winner of script writing competition from over 400 entries by a team of professional. Seun, a 20-year-old 400 level Accounting student of Babcock University said his script, titled: Maga Don Pay, typifies a romantic comedy set in suburban Lagos. He said the plot tells the story of a young successful businessman, James Bakare, who considers himself knowledgeable enough to identify perfection in a woman but truly finds it hard to find that woman. The engaging script features a lot of twists, turns, expectations and disappointments of Bakare in his ultimate search for the woman of his dreams. Seun said he has always had passion to write, which led him to open up a blog where he often posts his short stories. “I’ve been writing short stories right from secondary school that fetched him awards. But my parents are professionals who believe I should study a professional course that is why I am studying accounting, but in spite of that I did not allow my interest for writing to die, so when I learnt about the entry, I immediately sent one of my scripts and amazingly it got the attention of the experts who screened the entries”, he said. Nneka, on her part, sent in a script ENtitled, Onome’s Tale which chronicles the challenges women face in marriage and how it affects their lives, narrowing the story to ‘Omono’, the protagonist, who suffers post partum depression due to several issues in her marriage. She said her story was inspired by her environment adding that her decision to send in her script was buoyed by the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike. “We’ve been at home for more than four months now and I didn’t want to remain idle so when I learnt of the competition on the radio I decided to give it a try and send my script. My script is a story on what happens within us but we hardly talk about it.”








Assistant Editor LEKE SALAUDEEN examines the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North and its implications for the on-going anti-terrorism campaigns.

Boko Haram: After committee’s report, what next? T HE Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North has submitted its final report to President Goodluck Jonathan. The committee recommended the setting up of an advisory committee on continuous dialogue to advise the President on all matters related to dialogue and resolution of crisis. The implication of the committee’s recommendation is that the Boko Hararm insurgency cannot be resolved by military alone. Many Nigerians have faulted President Jonathan’s approach to the volatile issue. The government had in April set up the Tanimu Turaki Committee, which was given a three month-deadline. The deadline was later extended by two months. The committee was mandated to come up with recommendations on how to end the insurgency. Less than a month after its inauguration, the Federal Government declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, where the Boko Haram group has been on rampage. The government outlawed the dreadful Islamist sect and ordered a military action to subdue them. Critics have said that it is contradictory to declare war on terrorists, while the government claims to be negotiating with them. In reaction, the sect rejected the proposed dialogue. This rejection of dialogue is reflected in the committee’s report. “Some of our difficulties in having a productive dialogue include the refusal of their leaders to submit to dialogue”, the report said. President Jonathan had opted for dialogue with Boko Haram when he realised that the issue truly required a political solution. It was against the backdrop of the fact that the terrorists enjoy sympathy in the North among the political elite and security officers. Many observers felt that the President should have sustained the courage to sincerely discuss with the group, listen to their demands, present the government’s view, proffer solutions and reach a consensus. According to critics, this route was ignored because the government was averse to contrary views in a federation with diverse religious, social, political, economic, cultural, educational and professional interests. Five months after the declaration of state of emergence and the military operation, the terrorists are yet to surrender. The government has extended the state of emergency in the three states by another six months, an indication that the end of the war is out of sight. The President has admitted that the situation is still dicey. He said: “Though, we cannot say we have won the war. But listening to the address by the chairman, we believe that the document you have submitted will help us with the follow up action.”

Is military action the solution? Former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Martin Luther Agwai has said that the Boko Haram insurgency cannot be resolved by the military. “You can never solve this problem with military solutions. The military can always be an enabling force. They will sensitise; they will stabilise the area. It is a political issue. It is a social issue. It is an economic issue and, until these issues are addressed, the military can never give you a solution. If anybody expects the military to give a solution to this problem, it is not possible because it is not a military problem. It is not a war. You are not fighting another country invading Nigeria. So, you cannot get a military solution to that.” An expert in conflict resolution, Mr Gab Okweselise, said that combating the insurgency requires military, political and communal solutions. According to him, the military role is simply to restore law and order, protect lives and properties of citi-

ICC stand on amnesty

• Dr Jonathan

• Turaki

‘Government needs to properly organise the solution by engaging in thorough discussion and negotiation with the terrorists so that, at the end, we will have solutions that can give us sustained peace that we need, instead of living with fear, which the military operation represents’ zens and create an enabling environment for political solution to take place which, he said, the Joint Task Force (JTF) has creditably achieved. Okweselise noted that the JTF’s achievement is based on the premise that the government has the capacity to checkmate the activities of the terrorists and crush them. “Once an enabling environment has been created, concurrent actions should take place with the aim of bringing the menace to an end. The time for political solution to the insurgency is now and the security agencies must remain in a staging position to act decisively and appropriately when the need arise. “On the other hand, the communities have a lot to do in the area of giving timely and credible information and to stop youths from being recruited into the group; otherwise, the Boko Haram terrorism will linger for a long time. All forms of litany will not solve the insurgency, except concerted, coordinated, selfless efforts and resolve of the government, citizens and the security agencies”. A sociologist, Dr Hassan Abdullahi, advised government embrace dialogue in solving the insurgency. He said: “Obviously, dialogue, like in the case of Niger Delta militants, could lead to amnesty. Government needs to properly organise the solution by engaging in thorough discussion and negotiation with the terrorists so that, at the end, we will have solutions that can give us sustained peace that we need, instead of living with fear, which the military operation represents. Abdullahi said the solution approach should have short and long term measures. In the short term, the government should quickly constitute a discussion and reconciliation committee made up of respected leaders in the country. He said that they should be given six months to discuss with

Boko Haram, tender apology for the past mistakes of the government, seek to know their grievances, persuade them to understand the secularity of the Nigerian state, reach a common understanding of what should be the solution to the their problems, reconcile them with government, and allow the government to implement the agreement. “Government may have to rehabilitate the group and this is where the idea of amnesty comes in. For an ideological group like Boko Haram, Nigeria needs amnesty to support the political solution. The use of force cannot provide the needed support and it must be dropped forthwith. Amnesty will assist in moving them out of their thinking, engage them economically and assuage them. “The next stage is to disarm them and discourage them from bombing, destroying and carrying arms to attack fellow Nigerians. Thereafter, government should discretely determine and prosecute any person, who had used and dumped them or who had encouraged them in any form in carrying out their dastard acts. Government needs to provide little support to all those identified to have lost properties or lives arising from the insurgency”. On the long term solution, Abdullahi asked the government to restructure the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to carry out its functions with re-energised focus. “NOA should put in place a national reorientation programme through which they can regularly interact with the idling Nigerian youths. NOA needs to learn how to deepen the use of inspirational leaders from across the world to calm the raging nerves of the youth and gradually identify what else the youths can do to earn a living. It should be able to discover the talents of the youths, retrain them along their talents through robust free education”.

In a move to assist the country in the fight against terrorism, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is making concerted efforts to address the challenges posed by the sect. According to a status report by the ICC Prosecutor on its preliminary investigation, Boko Haram “has attacked religious clerics, Christians, political leaders, Muslims opposing the group, the police and security forces, Westerners, journalists and UN personnel”. Thus, the next phase of the examination by the ICC, according to experts, would be to evaluate the viability of the attempts to prosecute Boko Haram, to which Nigerian authorities would be required to fully cooperate and make all reports and past investigations available to the ICC. The United States has declined the request to list Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation. The President of the Chrisian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, faulted the United States for not classifying the group as a terrorist. He said that one year after he had testified before the Congress, US has not designated Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organisation, even though it has killed citizens of many countries, including Americans. Oritsejafor described America’s ambivalence over the terrorist challenge as a stunning betrayal. He recalled that, after the ‘9/ 11’ disaster, Nigeria was among the nations that cooperated with global efforts on tracing terrorist financing, adding that a designated foreign financial support was uncovered in Northern Nigeria. As a result of the mounting pressure, the US government was compelled to designate some members of the group as terrorists, but nothing was done about the group as a body. Three leaders of Boko Haram tagged as terrorists are Abubakar Shekau, who leads the militant group, and Abubakar Adam Kambar and Khalid el Barnawi are believed to have ties with a branch of alQaeda. Ironically, the ICC position has not stopped the federal government from going ahead with its intention to grant Boko Haram amnesty. A former university don, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), said that the position of the ICC overrides that of Nigeria. He said that, once they (Boko Haram members) have committed crimes against humanity, that decision is overriding. “In other words, whether we like it or not, it is not a domestic matter anymore. So, that is the status now in international law and in the law of any country that is a party to the statute of the ICC of which Nigeria is a party”, he added. The President of Yoruba Youths Assembly, Mr Thomas Olarinde opposed amnesty for the group. He said that it is wrong to reward crime. Olaniran said the issue of amnesty is beyond the Nigerian Government. “It is an international issue. If Nigeria grants them amnesty, the international community will see us as an unserious nation. We at the Yoruba Youths Assembly want the Federal Government to forget about the amnesty to protect the integrity of the country. Government should rather invite the international community to assist the country to urgently address the nightmarish of Boko Haram menace. But definitely, amnesty is no longer the option at this point”, he added. Human rights lawyer Festus Keyamo urged Nigeria to drop the idea of amnesty. This is in view of the fact that the international community has frowned at it. He said: “The amnesty proposal cannot continue. We are aware that the international community frowns on it and never negotiates with terrorist groups. The policy is never to negotiate with any terrorist group. It is therefore going to be difficult for Nigerian government to continue to negotiate with Boko Haram”.



POLITICS ‘If Jonathan has hidden agenda, national conference will not succeed’

All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Senator Akin Odunsi (Ogun West) is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Air Force. He spoke with Assistant Editor LEKE SALAUDEEN on the national security, under-funding of the Air Force and APC’s prospects in 2015.

‘APC is party to beat in 2015’ Y

OU have been a senator for two years. What are your achieve-ments? It was my intention to tackle primary healthcare problems. By the time I concluded campaigns, I found that the problem of mass unemployment was a bigger challenge in my senatorial district. Consequently, I decided to review my programmes and I felt the youth unemployment should be brought to the front burner. I classified the youth employment into two. I thought of helping to fix young men and women in government establishments. I also had in mind setting up the skill acquisition programme for the unemployed youth. I found out that, given the magnitude of graduate unemployment, it will not be easy fixing all of them in government offices. Consequently, I decided to look at skill acquisition programme. For direct employment, I have assisted in placing 32 in Police, Air Force, State Security Service (SSS) and Aviation parastatals. As regards skill acquisition, I have run two successful programmes. I sponsored 30 youths in a programme facilitated by the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) run by the Central Bank of Nigeria. I gave out interest free loan of N3 million to five of them at N600,000 each to set up businesses for which they had written feasibility studies. The progress of the young entrepreneurs is being monitored by my office and EDC. They are today net employers of labour. What of the second programme? The successfully completed second programme was done, in conjunction with National Directorate of Employment (NDE). This programme featured 120 youths drawn from 59 wards in my senatorial district. They were sent on three months training programme organised by the NDE and fully paid by me as a private initiative. The skills in which they were trained include fashion designing, hair dressing, mobile phone repairing, confectionary/ interior decoration, photography and video coverage. I am happy all of them have graduated. I presented them with equipment necessary for the practice of their various vocations at the graduation ceremony held at Ilaro recently. Apart from the 120 that graduated, 22 youths, who took part in the selection process, but were not qualified for the programme, were given N30,000 each to assist them in their various vocations. The police prevented you fromcommissioning the Ijamido Hall, Ota, which was rehabilitated by you on August 24. What do you think was responsible for the police action? Let me correct the impression that I single handedly rehabilitated the hall. The Ijamido Hall was a constituency project facilitated by me. Some people misconstrued the intention and wrote a petition to the police alleging imminent break down of law and order, if the event took place. The police, acting on an order from the above, sealed off the facility and the environment, based on spurious allegation that I claimed to have spent my money to do the project. My challenge is that people should say it in public and not in beer parlours. Let whoever thinks he is behind the petition come out and announce publicly that he stopped it. Let it be known that I contributed to the town hall project like many other notable sons and daughters of the community and friends of the com-

munity as well. On this particular issue, I know the amount I spent after the contractor left the site. Did you sponsor any project of your own? Yes, I did. I have committed two million naira to Ilara Water Project and several bore hole projects across the senatorial district. During my first year entrepreneur programme, I spent over N20 million to buy motorcycles, refrigerator, deep freezers, farming tools, herbicides, sprayers and cutlasses to empower the people in my constituency. In addition, I gave out N30,000 each to 50 women in the senatorial district to assist them in their trades. There was also the education support programme for 24 brilliant, but indigent students and skill training for 120 youths in the senatorial district. I have the fortune of working with the MDG to implement some of the constituency projects facilitated by me. These include Police Primary School, Osuke, which has been completed. Works are on-going on five others in Ado-Odo, Igbesa and Imule. Those of Idogo and Agborogbomo are yet to take off. Work will start on three processing mills tomorrow. Another entrepreneur programme for the youth will start in another week or two. They also include the completion of rural electrification project abandoned eight years ago at Owode-Ketu-Ijama. It will be completed this year. Fifteen transformers were distributed between last year and this year. There are hand pump borehole projects in Ikoga Ile, Idimu village, Imota Asipa. Aparadija/Iroko, Igbo Odo, Koko Atan, Mero village, Oju Iroko, Sunwa village, Osi and Oruba Quartes, Ota. Are you interested in seeking re-election in 2015? Why not? It is save for me to say that, if I have not disappointed my people and I will not by the grace of God. I can still do much more for the senatorial district, if I have the chance to do it again. As Senator of the Federal Republic, do you think new states can be created now, given the stringent constitutional requirements? It is possible, if the applicants meet the constitutional requirements. I think the Senate Committee on Constitution Review is taking a look at the provisions that deal with creation of new states, with a view to amending them to make it easier for new states to be created. The Awori people in your senatorial district want to join their kinsmen in Lagos State. What should have prompted this move? The demand has historical perspective. Awori people have for a long time been part of Abeokuta Province, based on colonial administrative convenience. The Awori towns in Ogun

‘What we are advocating is direct allocation of funds from the Federation Account to local governments, as against the present joint account with state governments. Some states butchered the funds meant for local councils such that what gets to them are used for paying salaries, leaving them with nothing to embark on capital projects’

Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO) chieftain Comrade Linus Okoroji, in this interview with MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE, explains how the proposed national dialogue can resolve the national question and restore hope to Nigerians.


• Senator Odunsi

State today could have been part of the Lagos Colony, but the colonial administrators merged them with Abeokuta Province because of proximity. For as long as I can remember, the agitation has persisted. Perhaps, the agitation has become more pronounced because of what appears to be the total neglect and marginalisation by successive administrations in Ogun State. It is a matter that needs to be looked at critically. The last boundary review carried out by Chief Mbanefo under the late Gen. Sani Abacha regime recommended that Ota and other Awori towns in Ogun State should be merged with Lagos State. The recommendation was waiting for Abacha’s signature before he passed on. Is the merger still possible under the civilian regime? The issue is whether the government has the political will of allowing people of the same ethnic group and historical background to live together in a common area. The Aworis are gerrymandered. Those in Ogun State are scattered everywhere. Do you think local government should be granted autonomy in a federal set up like Nigeria? The present arrangement recognises the states as federating units. Therefore, there is no need to make the local government another unit. But financial autonomy for local government is desirable. What we are advocating is direct allocation of funds from the Federation Account to local governments, as against the present joint account with state governments. Some states butchered the funds meant for local councils such that what gets to them are used for paying salaries, leaving them with nothing to embark on capital projects. However, the state government should retain oversight function on local government. The university lecturers have been on strike for over three months. What is the Senate doing towards the resolution of the crisis? The Senate Committee on Education has been trying to bring the two sides together. As a parent, my appeal to the ASUU is to consider the plight of the students, accept whatever government may have offered and continue to negotiate. It is unfair to abandon lecture rooms and kick out the students. If their demands are in the interest of the students, they should take what the government has given and continue negotiation and reopen the universities. The Federal Government should always fulfil the agreements reached with university lecturers to avoid this kind of problem in future. There were reported cases ofAir Force plane crashing. As the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Air Force, what measures have you taken to stop the plane dropping? It happened long time ago. It was unfortunate. My committee cannot investigate accidents or the causes of accidents, but the committee can tell government during budget appraisal the needs of the Air Force. One thing is certain. The capital allocation to Air Force is inadequate. If we must prepare the Air Force in the state of combat readiness, the government must provide adequate budget for its operations. The issue of training of the officers is also very important.

HAT manner of dialogue should Nigerians envisage? My position is not quite different from our stance on the Sov ereign National Conference (SNA). I think for now, we should accept it with two hands in whatever guise is has come. We should not give them the opportunity to give excuses. We have been clamouring for it for long. The area I am not quite comfortable with is the move to remove the word “sovereign”. Nobody should tamper with the report. There should be a plebiscite.The people will vote in favour or against it. So, it will be the people’s constitution. This should not be the elite issue, and those who have stood up to kick against it are afraid that it would be politicised. Are there antecedents to show that it was hijacked in the past? This is in view of what Chief Olusegun Obasanjo did, what General Sani Abacha did at his own time. Having said that, I have seen some of the people in the advisory committee led by Dr. Femi Okorounmu. He has name to protect and I have no reason to doubt him. More so, he is a Yoruba elite and an Afenifere chieftain. When he was in the Senate, he had advocated for a SNC. So, I cannot doubt his integrity. For now, I think we should accept this with our two hands and see how we are going to manage it. What I think would be the challenge is how to get the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO)’s support, which the conference desires. We should return the country to a true federal system. Each region should control its resources. We should look at the PRONACO document and see its position. Today, there is no state in Nigeria that has a working edict. In the pas,t the Northern Region had its own constitution, the Western Region had its own constitution, the Midwest Region had its constitution and the Eastern Region had its constitution. But all these federal paraphernalia have been thrown away. People like Indians and Chinese understand what it means to decentralise governance according to their nationalities. We should not be a different people. We should look at all of these and see how we can move forward. Some sections of the country are afraid that it will lead to the breakup of Nigeria? What is your view? What is wrong, if the country breaks up? Will the North not survive, if the country breaks? If that is their fear, they should come down to terms with other sections of the country. They should not continue to play the role of a senior brother or owner of Nigeria. If they nurse such fear, they should come down low and give Nigeria the opportunity to survive. The problem we have is the North, which does not want others to survive. They are using the resources of other nationalities, which they want to manage. They should work together with others so that Nigeria will survive in the interest of all and not their own interest alone. That is even the fears of other minorities in the North; the majority wants to trample on them. The oligarchy wants to suppress the minority in their own areas. There is this story we heard from Chief Anthony Enahoro, may his soul rest in peace, that Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, when he was the Prime Minister of Nigeria, in the North, he was not recognised above Sardauna. Sarduana was his boss. That is the way they behave. What do think should guide us during the conference? It is the matter of sincerity and commitment to examine the issues that are germane to our wellbeing as a country. We should aim at making Nigeria a developing, progressive and people-oriented country. We should look at the welfare of the people, the significance of the common good; that everybody who is a Nigerian should be entitled to benefit from the common good. If you are walking on the street of America and suddenly, you collapse and drop, government hospital will pick you up and take care of you. Nobody cares who you are. They take care of you, until you survive, unless such a person is unlucky and die. In Nigeria, we are living like orphans. People who have no parents, unless you have contact with people in government, that is only when your survival is guaranteed. But the time is too short to have a successful conference before 2015... Before the military left, the NADECO had been clamouring for the SNC, even during the Abiola struggle. Our slogan was let us have a Government of National Unity. With the Government of National Unity, we should go ahead to have the national conference. And it was thought that, within four years, we would have achieved the goal. All the efforts were truncated by personal ambitions of those who came on board. They instituted kangaroo conferences because they wanted to remain in power. But, if that is the strategy put in place now, it will fail because Obasanjo failed when he tried it. The truth is that, is he going to succeed? If he diverts attention because of his ambition, what is going to be his own gain? My thinking is that he wants to break away from just being the President of Nigeria to being a hero. What, if the outcome of the conference is finally tempered with by the Nation Assembly? It is going to be wrong to subject it to the National Assembly and, whether they call it National Conference or Sovereign National Conference, it boils down to the end result. The outcome of the conference must not be tampered with by anybody. Once it is tampered with, it means the conference did not hold, no matter how long. And whether a National Conference or Sovereign National Conference, it can only be subjected to a referendum and not the National Assembly. What is the significance of the National Assembly to a National Conference when they are at the House discussing issues that favour them alone and their cronies? The only power to vet the outcome of the conference is the people through a plebiscite. • Okoroji




Second Republic Kaduna State Governor Balarabe Musa spoke with Correspondent TONY AKOWE on the proposed national dialogue, 2015 elections and the chance of the opposition at the polls.

‘PDP will be defeated, if opposition unite’


HE Advisory Committee on the National Dialogue is going round the country. What is your position on this? I have already stated my position and rejected the committee. However, I am presenting my critique to the National Dialogue being organised by President Jonathan that will offer a credible alternative national conference. I will not submit my memo to the committee because I rejected them. I am calling for their rejection by Nigerians. In any case, they are already going against their terms of reference because they were established to discuss and recommend to the President the modalities for the conference. They are not supposed to receive memo because that is supposed to be received by the conference when it is established. This is just a committee and, if they can go this far and go beyond their terms of reference, what happens? Don’t you think that rejecting this conference will be counter-productive? Yes, and what will happen if, for some weak reasons, we accept this committee and the conference. What will follow? The consequences on Nigeria will even be worse because nobody will call for a democratic and popular national conference again. People will go for the alternative which is the Sovereign National Conference because we have a problem. The country is not working; Nigerians are fighting one another and they cannot sit, discuss and resolve the problem amicably. In spite of what anybody will say, Nigeria will not disintergrate, but will continue. Of course, it is possible for Nigeria to disintergrate but after a prolonged period of instability leading to the destruction of everything of value, including human being and property. That is when nothing is left for anybody to lay claim to, then Nigeria can disintegrate. But the instability within the regions will continue because the units Nigeria disintegrate into will continue to fight one another. They are neigbours and they will be hostile to each others because there has been a high level of integration politically and economically among these people. People will say that the Soviet Union disintegrated and nothing happens. In their case, the Soviet Union had reached a high level of development and because of that, the disintegrated units could go on. But that is not the same with Nigeria and I can say that the disintegration of Nigeria will take us back to the stone age or the pre-colonial sta-

tus . Niger State governor has consistently said the North can survive without the rest of the country if it breaks up. What is your opinion about this? This is true of the north, this is true of the Southwest, this is true of the Southsouth. The only zone that may have problem is the Southeast. All these zones can survive, but at what cost? At the price of going back to pre-colonial status? If the north, the Southwest and Southsouth think they can survive because of oil and gas, they will not. We have been having a federal system of government in Nigeria for a very long time. We ought to have recorded high level of socio-economic development in those areas. But have we? In what way is the Southwest more developed than the north except in this 40 years of gap in educational development. But these 40 years gap in educational development, what has it done for the south west? Do you see a higher level of development in terms of industries? What type of industries are available in the Southwest, if you take away Lagos, that you don’t have in the North? So, the whole of Nigeria is grossly underdeveloped and it will be very painful and expensive before we can pick up. We should know that because of the strategic position of Nigeria and, with the resources of the country, once we are balkanised, imperialists will regard us as a hunting ground and will prevent our progress. As I said, if we had developed enough like Russia, Yugoslavia, among others, whose different parts have developed enough to carry on, things will be different. There is this controversy about whether Jonathan should contest the 2015 election or not... As far as I am concern, I don’t care if he runs. What I can tell Nigerians is that if they don’t want Jonathan to run, they should make sure that his party does not nominate him. And, if the party nominates him and you still don’t want him to run and succeed, all you need to do either to vote for him or against him.

• Musa

But don’t mess Nigerians up because it is a simple thing. We say we are in a democracy and in a democracy, it is the votes that decides. So, since your protest for or against Jonathan is causing insecurity and instability in the country; if you are really patriotic and you care, leave that issue until the date of voting. If you don’t want Jonathan to be President of Nigeria in the 2015 election, don’t vote for him, but organise against him. So, for now don’t heat the polity. Do you think that the opposition, as presently constituted, has what it takes to unseat the PDP in the 2015 elections? No, they don’t. Why do you think so? Take strategically the issue of inspiration. Is there a high level of inspiration at the moment in favour of the APC? No. Majority of Nigerians don’t see the difference between the APC and the PDP. In 1993, there was clear inspiration towards the SDP, which was a forced merger. People had confidence in Abiola. Do we have such high level of inspiration now? Secondly, let us talk about the power

structure in the country. The APC controls 11 states, while the PDP controls 25. Then, let us go for resources for campaign because since there is no high inspiration in favour of APC, which can reduce the cost of campaign, it means that they will have to pay for the campaign, just like the PDP. How much resources do they have compared to the PDP. But APC has a tremendous chance and I hope they can use it. What is that chance? The PDP has been discredited and nobody wants them right now, even within the party and the evidence are quite open. The APC can capitalise on this and let Nigerians know the difference between what the APC stands for and what the PDP stands for at least, in terms of the programmes and objectives filed by the two with INEC when they were looking for registration. At the moment, nobody knows the aim and objectives of the APC apart from being an opposition to the discredited PDP. What about the programme and objectives which will show the distinction which has already been filed with INEC? Let us have it and use it to compare. Let us not make the mistake of the PPA in 1983 at a meeting in Benin. We had a meeting of the leadership of the parties under the leadership of Azikiwe, Awolowo, Waziri Ibrahim and a faction of the PRP, when we insisted on the programme and objectives of the PPA. Some of the governors then said we had eminent people in the group and so, we should elect them and allow them to continue with the work. That was not good enough and that was one of the things that made us failed in 1983 to choose between Zik and Awolowo. The APC may be making the same mistake by assuming that because PDP has been discredited so much, they can take things for granted. In addition to bringing out what they stand for, they should open up and show us that they can unite this country and ac-

‘I will not submit my memo to the committee because I rejected them. I am calling for their rejection by Nigerians. In any case, they are already going against their terms of reference because they were established to discuss and recommend to the President modalities for the conference. They are not supposed to receive memo because that is supposed to be received by the conference when it is established’

commodate others. At the moment, the APC is limited to the ACN, the CPC, the ANPP and the APGA. Is that enough? There are credible political parties even among those that don’t control a local government. In any case, where is Labour? Can’t the APC make the compromise and have Labour go with them? So, the APC should keep its doors open? But definitely, the APC has a chance; but it depends on how they utilise the opportunity. Let them not make the mistake the CPC made in 2011. According to our estimate, the CPC would have won at least 12 states in the north simply because of the bankruptcy of the PDP and they would also have been able to win one or two states in the South. Even, if they don’t, they would have been able to get the required one third for national spread to avoid a second ballot. If the second ballot became necessary, the CPC could have won by the require majority, but they ended up with one state because of the mismanagement of opportunity. They thought they could do it all alone because of the popularity and integrity of one man. So, the APC should learn from that. They should learn that they are not the first merger to contest the Presidency of the country. There has been three others in the past and the only one that succeeded was that of the SDP. Even then, because of the composition of the SDP, the same leaders of the party led by Chief Anthony Anenih sold the Presidency to the NRC. I know everything about it because I was part of the whole struggle and how it happened. What we know is that the Babangida government annulled the election. Do you think that the present INEC has what it takes to deliver quality elections in 2015? It hasn’t because it not independent. This has been shown clearly that it is not independent and some of us don’t expect the INEC to be independent. First, the INEC under Jega asked for the money they needed to conduct a free, fair and transparent election leading to a legitimate government and they were given that money without any deduction at all. Did they conduct a free and fair election? Since then, have they conducted free, fair and transparent election? In some places, the opposition defeated the PDP not because of the power of their votes, but because of what I can call balance of terror.

‘Ngige not deterred by antics of mischief makers’ In this piece, PAT ANYADUBALU contends that the plan to blackmail the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr Chris Ngige, by political opponents, ahead of the poll, will fail.

• Senator Ngige


HE governorship election in Anambra State comes up on Saturday. The state is agog with campaigns and the parties employ all manners of instrument, including lies, and campaigns of calumny to outwit their opponents. The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the 2013 election, Dr. Chris Ngige, is undoubtedly the

most unjustly maligned of all the candidates. The campaign of calumny against Ngige has gone so awry that a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain was so troubled that he recently issued a release condemning it. The PDP member pointedly accused the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) of being behind the ill treatment of the APC candidate, a story, the APGA has not denied. The APGA’s diabolic acts towards Ngige reached a dead end recently when it involved the men of God despite the biblical injunctions of God that one should not touch his anointed nor do his prophet any harm. The Catholic Bishop of Awka recently buried his deceased mother at Nanka and expectedly, the event attracted ‘who is who’ in Anambra especially now that

Anambra is in a political atmosphere, there was a minor skirmishes that never involved Ngige nor his aides but the mischief makers suspected to be from the APGA went to town that Ngige slapped a reverend father. The Chancellor of Awka Catholic Diocese, Rev. Dr. Chudi Peter Akaenyi, in the presence of Rev. Fr. Ezeokwonu, (the priest allegedly slapped) strongly refuted the story and averred that no priest was slapped and that no priest granted any interview to any body that a priest was slapped. Earlier, the same mischief makers had accused Ngige of organising a rally on the day Obi of Onitsha held his Ofala festival. They even referred to Benin and Lagos to buttress their argument that no event should have

held that day. The promoters of this mischief forgot that, in the history of Ofala festival at Onitsha, markets and events are not usually prohibited and non was prohibited on that Ofala day as traders went to market unperturbed. Ngige’s explanation of the mix up with the Igwe’s aides was also ignored, since that would have exonerated Ngige. The issue of deportation of Ndigbo from Lagos also came up. Ngige’s explanation that the over zealous Lagos officials, who dumped those people at Upper Iweka Awka, should be punished as well as Peter Obi’s officials who failed to come to receive these our brothers, even after agreement between Lagos Government and Anambra State government, was ig-

nored. This justifiable explanation was interpreted as Ngige’s support to deportation of Ndigbo. Another, campaign of calumny is that Ngige is good, but in a wrong party. One asks the question: what is wrong in being in a national party, a party that has the potential of producing a President of Nigeria from Igbo extraction especially when Ndigbo are clamouring for same. The message for those who malign the just especially Ngige is to learn a lesson from Hon. Justices Egboegbo, Stanley Nnaji and late Ralph Ige. It is God that gives power. Senator Ngige was similarly unjustly maligned during his senatorial campaign. But he weathered the storm and came out victorious. This gubernatorial election may not be different.









•Governor Kwankwaso

Page 49


Kano sensitises women on N1b loan

HE Kano State government in collaboration with the Bank of Industry has held a sensitisation workshop for hundreds of women on a N2 billion loan as part of its jobs plans for women and youths in the state. The Special Adviser to Governor Kwankwaso on Entrepreneurship Development, Muhammad Jamu, who spoke at the event, said though the initiative was not specifically designed for women, they are expected to benefit from 60 per cent of the funds. “During the first workshop, about 700 men turned out with only 21 women in attendance. So we decided to hold another

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

workshop only for the womenfolk so that we can give them an opportunity to participate,” he said. “If the women come out to participate and meet the criteria for obtaining the loans, they will get 60 per cent of the funds. Based on the business plans, some will get N10 million, some will get N1 million, N2 million or N5 million. But we cannot say how many people will benefit from the funds; we expect a large number of business to grow and develop,” he added. Jamu said more than 400 busi-

nesses and cooperative societies have already met the criteria and that more applications are expected to be presented, adding that the disbursement of the funds would begin between November and December this year. He said the state government contributed N1 billion while the Bank of Industry provided the other N1 billion and that the interest rate is about 5 to 6 per cent because the government said it does not want its own interest. In his remarks, the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje commended the women for participating in all the govern-

ment’s empowerment programmes and encouraged them to utilise the funds efficiently in order to achieve self-reliance. The Deputy Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje expressed delight over the massive turnout of women to the sensitisation programme, saying that women, if empowered, will will engender peace and progress in the country. Ganduje, who represented Kwankwaso, said that his administration has rolled out numerous empowerment programmes from which thousands of women have benefitted.


HINGS are looking up for the poor in Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in Cross River State. The lawmaker representing the area at the House of Representatives, Mr Bassey Ewa provided the residents with jobs tools aiming to lift them out of poverty. Items donated included 132 sewing machines, 25 tricycles, 33 motorcycles, 10 fairly used cars and seven welding machines. He also gave financial assistance to widows and elderly people in the area. Presenting the items to the beneficiaries on the grounds of the Yakurr Local Government Council, Ewa said the empowermen tools cost N50 million. He said he was pleased to bring empowerment to his people in furtherance of his commitment to service. The beneficiaries also expressed their joy, saying Ewa had lifted their spirits. The lawmaker addressed the people: “The confidence you have reposed in me to represent you, continues to inspire me daily to seek new ways to justify that mandate. “A great philosopher once said that posperity is the ability to make others prosper. I could not agree less with that insightful revelation. Democracy as an ideology and a system of government seeks the prosperity of mankind. What I seek to achieve is the greatest happiness of the greatest number. “That greatest number for me is the people of Abi and Yakurr Federal Constituency that I represent. “What we witness here today, therefore, is only a continuing episode in a long standing legacy of making democracy dividends for our people a tangible reality, not just a mere rhetoric. “As the concept of empowerment continues to change with the dynamics of time, my emphasis this time is to stimulate the enterprenuerial spirit of our people in tandem with present economic realities. “As you may be aware, my entire political journey has been devoted to exploring unprecedented ways of promoting human development and strengthening our collective identity. You would recall that my resounding ability to negotiate during my tenure as Honourable Speaker, Cross River State

•The jobs tools donated

Cross River community relishes jobs tools House of Reps member fights joblessness

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

House of Assembly, attracted to Yakurr, the present urban status for Ugep, an accomplishment that opened up new vistas for the area including the construction of nearly all roads in Ugep and Ekori, the historic upgrading of Ugep Leboku to an international festival in Cross River State, from where many Yakurr sons and daughters have won various prizes ranging from cars, trucks, sewing machines, refrigerators, cash prizes and more, all to empower them. “As federal legislator in constant touch with his constituents, I have made it a point of duty to always

come home during the Christmas period to celebrate with my people. During this time, I distribute food items, livestock with financial assistance to the people of Abi and Yakurr as my token contribution for them to have a great Christmas. This Christmas will not be different; I will extend the same largesse to our people and party supporters. “I am motivated by the admonishment of the respected Chairman of our great Party, the People’s Democratic Party, Ntufam John Okon and indeed all well meaning Leaders of our Party, that we must ensure that our constituents feel the impact of democracy and that, any such gestures, which fulfill the spirit of our Party manifesto to bring government closer to the peo-

ple, needs to be supported and celebrated. “I hereby present to you, these various empowerment items, ranging from cars, tricycles, motorcycles, sewing machines, welding machines and financial assistance to widows and the very old persons in our society. The philosophy behind this choice of empowerment to meis that, “rather than give a man fish, teach him to fish”. My hope and intention is that, this phase of empowerment will stimulate and promote a renewed spirit of enterprise, that will contribute to making the people of Abi and Yakurr active partners and players, in the emerging Cross River State marketplace and Nigeria in general. I charge the beneficiaries to make judicious use of these items to

improve their lives. “Let me state categorically that, my strength is drawn from the exceptional visionary leadership of His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State, whose economic blueprint for Cross River State has become a national and international reference point, and I extol him. “Inspired by his vision, and drawing from my tutelage under him, i will continue to identify and promote those core values that will enhance the welfare and wellbeing of the great people of Abi and Yakurr. “It is my sincere hope that this empowerment will bring added value and benefit to your lives and your endeavours.” Chairman of the PDP in the state, Ntufam John Okon lauded the lawmaker for the gesture but called on him to do more. Beneficiaries who spoke to Newsextra expressed appreciation to the lawmaker for remembering to look after their welfare and promised they would ensure the judicious use of the items they received. They also called on him and other political office holders to continue in the same spirit to check the rising spate of poverty in the state.










Ogun opposition parties becoming desperate, says govt T HE Ogun State Government has accused some people in the opposition parties of using desperate tactics to undermine the Ibikunle Amosun administration. The government said the opposition elements were uncomfortable with the achievements of the current administration. A statement yesterday in Abeokuta, the state capital, by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the opposition elements were deploying subterfuge measures, including spreading false information, to incite some professional and interest groups against the government.

Olaniyonu noted that when the opposition elements could not fault the government’s infrastructural development, they started instigating property owners on the 32-kilometre SangoOjodu Road against the ongoing construction work in the area. The commissioner recalled that the Sango-Ojodu Road was among the latest projects of the government. He said the government had 14 other ongoing projects, adding that no property owners refused to go to Abeokuta to collect the cheques for their

compensation. According to him, it is ironical that the opposition elements were still campaigning against the government for bringing development to their area. “The method being adopted by some landlords on that road is curious, particularly in view of the earlier campaign by some politicians that the government would not build the road. Now, that the contractor has commenced work, the landlords refused to come to Abeokuta to collect their compensation. They have been speaking in the media

that government has not paid their compensation and that they would prefer that government stayed action on the road construction work. “This has led to suggestion in some quarters that the same set of people who said the road would never be constructed were the ones instigating the landlords not to take the compensation but to continue to blackmail the government through the media,” Olaniyonu said. The commissioner urged the people to stop playing politics with development issues. He added that the government would adopt the same process to pay compensation to affected property owners.

newspapers, informing the public whom it should deal with. “Besides, the claimant through its solicitor wrote a letter dated September 14 to the occupier and requested it to vacate the property but the defendant refused. “Despite receipt of several letters and notices the defendant still refused to deliver up possession of the premises, valued at N40 million per annum,” said OTL. The claimant also stated that it has found a tenant desirous for the property. However, the defendant, Scott’s Cottage Limited, in its counter-affidavit, described

the suit as frivolous and an abuse of court processes. It urged the court to dismiss the suit, adding that it regularly paid its rents to the claimant through its property managers, Omuojine & Associates. Justice Olatunde Oshodi held that OTL ought to have filed a writ of summons, and not an originating summons. He stated that originating summons only apply where there was no dispute on the question of fact or the likelihood of dispute, advising OTL to bring a fresh suit in accordance with Order 3, Rules of Court, if it wishes to pursue the matter.

Court strikes out Ojukwu’s firm’s summons


LAGOS High Court, Igbosere, yesterday struck out an originating summons brought by Ojukwu Transport Limited (OTL), against the unknown occupier of 4, Mcpherson Avenue, Ikoyi. The company, belonging to the late Chief Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, father of the late Biafran warlord, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, had been in court to retrieve some property, including a two-storey detached house, owned by the the late Ojukwu. OTL, in an affidavit in support of its originating summons, stated that the defend-

By Precious Igbonwelundu

ant, whose name is not known to the claimant (OTL), was found to be in possession of the property in dispute. The claimant told the court that it appointed Massey Udegbe of Massey Udegbe & Co as its agent to manage the property. It stated that in a July 10, 2012, letter, its agent wrote to the occupier of the property informing it of its appointment and requested a meeting to ascertain the status of the occupier, but the letter was ignored. OTL averred that it published notices in national

APC elects leaders in Niger From Jide Orintunsin, Minna


HE Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State, Ibrahim Shetima, said the party is set to upstage the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015. Shetima said the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had plundered the state’s resources since 1999, promising that APC was set to salvage the state. The interim chairman spoke yesterday in Minna shortly after he was elected to head the interim management team of the party in the state. Those elected were Kabirs Abas (Secretary), Salihu Shadaffi (Treasurer), Mutala Musa (Organising Secretary) and Solomon Nyaze (Publicity Secretary) The election was supervised by Jacob Lamba, a member of the party’s national interim management committee from Plateau State. Lamba said the emergence of the interim leadership marks the real beginning of APC in Niger State. He said the party is the solution to Nigeria's problem and urged all members to unite.

Musdapher, Suswam for conference


ORMER Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher (CJN) (rtd.), and Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswan, are among dignitaries expected at the seventh annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Legal Practice (SLP) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital. The three-day conference will start on November 18. The conference, which will hold at the Royal Choice Hotel, Old G. R. A, Lobi Quarters, will be opened by the governor under the chairmanship of Justice Musdapher. The theme of the conference is: Justice Delivery, the Challenges and Opportunities for Stakeholders.

By John Austin Unachukwu

In a chat with The Nation, SLP chairman and former Imo State Commissioner for Justice Donald C. Denwigwe said: “ This is a conference to beat. We shall definitely explore and exhaust the challenges and opportunities of justice delivery for Nigerian lawyers and other stakeholders in justice sector.” Denwigwe said Justice Musdapher left a good legacy for the legal profession during his short tenure as the CJN. According to him, Justice Musdapher’s efforts for law and judicial reforms have not been surpassed.




Bullish rally gathers momentum with N126b gain •Investors scramble for Transcorp, Conoil


HE bullish rally at the Nigerian stock market gathered momentum yesterday, as the scramble for Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc’s shares highlighted improving investors’ appetite for emerging equities. Aggregate market value of all equities rose by N126 billion to close at N12.234 trillion as against its opening value of N12.108 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the common value-based index that tracks all quoted equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), also showed similar uptrend with an above-average growth of 1.04 per cent to close at 38,293.59 points compared with its index-on-board of 37,898.30 points. While there were more decliners to advancers at 28 to 25, the overall market situation was coloured by substan-

By Taofik Salako

tial gains by highly capitalised stocks and other emerging stocks. With the 1.04 per cent gain yesterday, average year-to-date return at the stock market climbed to 36.38 per cent. Transcorp was the toast of the investors with the conglomerate accounting for nearly half of aggregate turnover and rallying the maximum daily allowable gain of 10 per cent. Investors staked N455.25 million on 168.27 million shares of Transcorp in 484 deals. Transcorp’s share price rose by 10.08 per cent, 25 kobo, to close at N2.73 per share. Conoil recorded the highest gain of N5.80 to close at N62.55 per share. Forte Oil followed with a gain of N5.50 to close at N115.64. Dangote Cement rallied N5 to close at

N190. Nigerian Breweries rose by N2.50 to close at N178. Beta Glass added 65 kobo to close at N13.75. UACN Property Development Company gained 39 kobo to close at N18.88. Access Bank chalked up 30 kobo to close at N9.62 while FBN Holdings rose by 27 kobo to close at N16.30 per share. On the other hand, Nestle Nigeria led the losers’ list with a drop of N10 to close at N1,205. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria dropped by N2 to close at N103. UAC of Nigeria lost 90 kobo to close at N65.60. PZ Cussons Nigeria dropped by 64 kobo to close at N37.36 while Guinness Nigeria declined by 55 kobo to close at N238. Total turnover was above average with exchange of 357.46 million shares valued at N3.26 billion in 5,055 deals. The deals on Transcorp pushed the conglomerates subsector atop the activity chart with a turnover of 169.27 million shares valued at N507.48 million in 578 deals. Banking subgroup accounted for 85.76 million shares worth N979.61 million in 1,541 deals.





Lagos needs $50b to fix infrastructure, says Fashola T HE infrastructure need of Lagos State for the next decade is estimated at $10 billion, which comes to $5 billion yearly, Governor Babatunde Fashola has said. Speaking yesterday at the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN) 2013 forum, he said the figure was a far cry from the state’s annual budget estimated at $3.1 billion (N497 billion). Fashola, who was represented by the Finance Commissioner Ayo Gbeleyi, said the existence of such funding gap makes Public-Private Partnership (PPP) a welcome strategy for the government to bridge the huge infrastructure deficit. The PPP option allows the state to tap into private sector’s capital and leverage on its managerial efficiency, technology, innovation, entrepreneurial approach and expertise. Fashola, who spoke on the theme, “Public-Private Partnership Innova-

Stories by Collins Nweze

tions in Public Sector Financing”, explained that the PPP option enhances management of scarce resources; ensures better risk allocation, more efficient and cost-effective delivery of public services. He said the state enacted the PPP Law 2011, as well as Public Procurement Law 2011, to institutionalise the policy thrust and bolster investor’ confidence. “There are a number of very good reasons for the public sector using PPP to assist state governments in developing infrastructure. PPP offers both strategic and operational choices to government. It fosters economic growth by developing new commercial opportunities and increasing competition in the provi-

Nigeria’s trade balance declines to $6.3b


IGERIA’S trade balance has dropped from $9.80 billion in the first quarter to $6.34 billion in second quarter, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) External Sector Development report released yesterday has said. It said the decline was attributed to the decline in aggregate exports proceeds and surge in imports. Also, total foreign exchange inflow to the economy in second quarter stood at $38.17 billion, as against $34.27 billion. The figure is against $28.19 billion recorded in the first quarter. Total outflows in the review

period amounted to $12.65 billion as against $6.40 billion and $10.09 billion recorded in first quarter and second quarter 2012. It said a net-inflow of $25.51 billion was recorded in second quarter as against $27.86 billion and $18.10 billion in first quarter and second quarter 2012, respectively. Analysis of foreign exchange utilised by sectors revealed that $7.83 billion was expended on the importation of visible goods into the country in as against $6.63 billion and $7.74 billion in first quarter and second quarter 2012.

sion of public services, thus encouraging crowding-in of private and/ or foreign investment,” he said. The Governor also said PPP remains an instrument that government can use in reforming and restructuring certain strategic sectors of the economy to enhance competition, investment and efficiency. BDAN Vice President, Mrs Foluke Abdulrasaq said banks will have increased role to play in funding PPP projects as well as management of associated business risks. She said Nigerian banks are already accessing proposals from private sector operators who are exploring fund-


Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

S part of the activities to commemorate the 2013 ‘Global Literacy Day,’ employees of Skye Bank Plc have donated books worth millions of naira to Community Secondary School, Nkpolu, a public school in Rivers State. In a statement, the bank said the employees partnered with a non-governmental organisation, Chamagne Foundation, to implement the project. Speaking at the presentation of the books and the official launch of the Book Reading Club in the school in Port Harcourt at the weekend, the Olu Obasanjo Branch Manager of the bank, Mrs. Ania Umoh, said the initiative was a social responsibility scheme designed to promote the reading culture among students across the country. According to her, the books comprised motivational books, literature and others that could expand the

worldview and horizon of the students and make them better individuals since education breaks the cycle of poverty. Umoh said continuous learning was one of the cardinal values of Skye Bank, noting that the bank would continue to help people acquire education through various programmes and schemes. The Chief Executive Officer of


OBB Rate Call Rate

Current Market 5495.33 N552.20


HE dollar rose to a one-month peak against the yen yesterday as investors began to bet the Federal Reserve will begin trimming stimulus sooner than previously anticipated. Bloomberg report said speculation has grown that the Fed will start to reduce its $85 billion-a-month bond-

Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012






56.75 2.48 110.14 13.10 0.81 0.63 1.68 1.76 2.28 1.14

62.55 2.73 115.64 13.75 0.85 0.66 1.76 1.84 2.38 1.19

10.22 10.08 4.99 4.96 4.94 4.76 4.76 4.55 4.39 4.39

GAINERS AS AT 12-11-13 2013-11-11


LOSERS AS AT 12-11-13



O/PRICE 1.80 0.60 23.00 1.24 1.71 1.94 0.88 4.62 1.36 1.14


C/PRICE 1.71 0.57 21.86 1.18 1.63 1.85 0.84 4.41 1.30 1.09

Amount Offered ($) 350m 350m 350m

Amount Demanded ($) 150m 138m 113m

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

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

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Year Start Offer

Current Before

Current After


CUV Start %






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

239.4810 212.4997

244.0123 207.9023

245.6422 209.2910

-2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%


7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

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

23-09-13 11.494.75 36,088.64


% Change -

Offer Price 161.60 9.17 1.10 1.17 0.75 1.39 1,000.00 100.00 143.11 1,865.47 14.43 141.19 11,496.45 0.80

Bid Price 160.55 9.08 1.09 1.17 0.74 1.33 1,000.00 100.00 142.62 1,857.56 13.73 140.70 11,170.99 0.78



19-09-13 11.432.09 35,891.90


%CHANGE -5.00 -5.00 -4.96 -4.84 -4.68 -4.64 -4.55 -4.55 -4.41 -4.39

buying programme sooner rather than later after last Friday’s release of better-than-expected U.S. jobs numbers. The dollar was last up 0.5 percent to 99.65 yen, with the peak of 99.79 yen its strongest since September 13. The dollar faces resistance at 100 yen and at the September peak of 100.62 yen.




Chamagne Foundation, Mrs. Abimbola Ojosipe, told students of the school to embrace reading as it remained the best way to acquire knowledge and know what is happening around them. She explained that the partnership with Skye Bank was designed to encourage students to search for knowledge and broaden the horizon of young people across the federation.


Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

at their risk management structures to ensure that loaned funds are repaid. “Banks funding for infrastructure is a price that needs to be paid in national and economic development for the economy,” she said adding that the lenders need to keep their eyes on risk management.

Dollar climbs to one-month high

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00


Skye Bank donates to Rivers school


ing options from local and international institutions. Abdulrasaq said the forum brought together executive and nonexecutive directors of banks, officials of other financial institutions, regulatory authorities, professional bodies amongst other stakeholders. Diamond Bank Director, Miss Ngozi Edozien said that globally, banks have infrastructure development role which should also be emulated by Nigerian lenders. She said that roads, power and other social services have to be built, and doing so, requires funding which can be provided by banks. Edozien however, said that although there is need to support government in funding infrastructure, banks also have to take critical look


OPEN BUY BACK Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012











Jonathan, PDP governors for Nwoye’s rally From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan will arrive in Onitsha today with governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the second mega rally of the party’s governorship candidate, Comrade Tony Nwoye. The rally, which will hold at the Holy Trinity ground, Onitsha, will be the second one. Last Saturday, Vice-President Namadi Sambo led Gombe State Governor Dan Kwambo, National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, among others, to the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka for Nwoye’s first rally. The Nation learnt that Governors Theodore Orji of Abia, Martins Elechi of Ebonyi, Sullivan Chime of Enugu, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, among others, would join the President for the rally. The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, will address a meeting of stakeholders today at the Women Development Centre, Awka on the need for a free, fair and credible election.

APC informs of 1,973 extra polling units


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has informed voters in Anambra State of the 1,973 extra polling units, in addition to the existing 4,608 in the state, bringing the total to 6,581. In a statement in Benin yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said this information became necessary, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had failed to educate voters on the extra polling units - a development that could disenfranchise many voters. It said the need to alert voters was heightened by the fact that the extra polling units account for over 800,000 votes. “INEC, apparently to facil-

itate the accreditation and voting process on Saturday, has created these extra polling units from those that have in excess of 500 voters. This action in itself may not have diabolical undertone, especially because the extra polling units are expected to be located within the same place as the original ones and presided over by assistant presiding officers. “But in a situation where voters are not aware of this development, there is the risk that some dirty INEC officials could collude with unscrupulous and desperate politicians to move these extra units away from the location of the original ones for secret thumb-printing, thus disenfranchising over 800,000 voters and paving the way for the appropria-

tion of such votes by vote thieves,” APC said. The party implored INEC to give the creation of the extra polling units the necessary publicity; alert voters to the fact that the extra units will be at the same location as the original ones; ensure the deployment of adequate officials to man the extra units on Saturday and make sure that enough voting materials are provided for them. “INEC must be proactive, because lack of adequate personnel and materials for these extra polling units will create chaos on Election Day. Therefore, adequate personnel must be trained to man the extra units, while voters must be educated so that they won’t be looking for where to vote on Saturday. “They must be told that the

extra voting unit created from any polling unit will not be taken outside the location of the original one. If the location is different, then something is wrong,” it said. APC urged its members and supporters to spread the news of the creation of the extra polling units, as well as the fact that the extra units are located on the same premises as the original ones. “Every vote must count on Saturday, and every voter must be allowed to exercise his or her franchise. This is why we enjoin INEC to do everything possible to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised. We also urge voters, especially our members and supporters, to defend their votes,” the party said.

By Musa Odoshimokhe

THE media consultant to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Clementina Olomu, has urged the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to apologise to Anambra people. She said in a statement that APGA’s Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, who accused APC’s candidate, Senator Chris Ngige, of masterminding the stampede at the Holy Ghost Adoration Centre, Uke, and the kidnapping in the state, did so in a bad faith. Olomu said: “Umeh should apologise to Ngige, who has maintained the status of a good elder, despite the propaganda.”


ANDIDATES for the governorship election in Anambra State yesterday shunned a security debate. The debate was organised by the Office of the Inspector-General of Police, Bonangel Ltd, Gallop Polls Ltd and A–Services Ltd and was to hold in Awka, the state capital. The Nation learnt that the organisers had to cancel the debate since the candidates did not show up. The Local Organising Committee, in a statement by Chief A.O. Chigbo, regretted the inconvenience. The organisers gave inability to secure the commitment of the candidates to attend the debate as one of the reasons for cancelling it.

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

‘Umeh should apologise to Anambra people’

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

Obi’s wife woos voters in 14 councils

Ngige describes APGA govt as financial waste THE candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Chris Ngige, has described the Governor Peter Obi administration as financially reckless. In a statement yesterday in Awka by his Media and Publicity Committee member, Mr. Tony Icheku, Ngige said the All Progressives Grand Alliance’s (APGA’s) call for him to resign from the Senate was the cry of a drowning man. “The beauty of democracy will manifest on November 16 as I see Ndi Anambra casting away the yoke of Obi’s eight years of the locust by rejecting his godson, Willie Obiano, because Obi’s eight years are an ordeal of plunder and mismanagement of resources,” Ngige said.

Candidates shun security debate

•ALL FOR NGIGE: Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha (right) decorating states’ co-ordinators of Rochas Voters Club, ahead of door-to-door campaign in Onitsha...on Monday.

Tinubu: don’t subvert people’s will


ATIONAL Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to subvert the will of the people. He spoke in Benin City during the fifth year anniversary of the Governor Adams Oshiomhole administration in Edo State. Tinubu said Nigerians had been taken for granted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government, adding that they are now wiser. The former Lagos State governor said starting with the Anambra governorship election on Saturday, the people would defend their votes. He urged INEC to be upright and follow due process, saying: “We need your electoral blueprint in the Anambra governorship poll on Saturday. Tinubu went on: “We are sending a message to INEC that Anambra people will

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

not tolerate the kind of open stealing, cut-short and manipulation of election as they did in the senatorial by-election in Delta State. “APC will give Nigerians and Anambra indigenes a good leadership, a direction needed, if they do the way they always do. We will react; we are sending a strong message to them. “INEC should show Nigerians that it is truly independent. If not, we will react if it dares manipulate the Anambra governorship poll. The election must be oneman one-vote.” He said the PDP-led Federal Government had not given Nigerians a purposeful leadership. Tinubu lamented that the people had been fed with lies, as government claims of growth in the GDP had not translated into a better life for the masses. He said: “We have been fed with lies by this government. This is why we are now more

poised to reclaim power from them to give Nigerians a purposeful leadership. “We are aware that power is not easy to surrender, but in the face of recent happenings in the PDP-led government, we will get this power and it will be in a genuine way. “They keep telling us about growth in the economy, yet, we have millions of unemployed youths roaming the streets. People now experience more hardship than before.” Another APC National Leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, said Nigerians must brace themselves for a change in 2015. He said APC was interested in two things - security and a better economy. Gen. Buhari, a former military head of state, urged Anambra people to stand by the principle of one-man onevote. Oshiomhole, who listed his achievements in the last five years, promised more people-oriented projects before the expiration of his ten-

•Asiwaju Tinubu

ure in 2016. Advising INEC to stand on the path of honour in the Anambra election, he urged the people to defend their votes. Dignitaries at the event included the Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Tom Ikimi, Audu Ogbeh, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Bello Masari, a former governor of Edo State, Chief John OdigieOyegun, a governorship aspirant in the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Chief Solomon Edibiri, national and state lawmakers and traditional rulers.

IFE of Anambra State Governor Mrs. Margaret Peter Obi yesterday solicited votes from rural women in 14 local governments in Anambra South, Anambra Central and Anambra North. Speaking in Awka North Local Government, she urged the rural women to vote for the All Progressives Grand Alliance’s (APGA’s) candidate, Chief Willie Obiano and his running mate, Dr. Nkem Okeke, on Saturday. Mrs. Obi was accompanied by Chief Obiano; Dr. Okeke; the incumbent deputy governor’s wife, Mrs. Sibeudu, and the member representing Anaocha/Dunukofia and Njikoka Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Iyom Uche Ekwunife, Others are APGA’s Woman Leader Mrs. Nwokedi and the member representing Awka North and South Federal Constituency, Mr. Emeke Nwogbo, among others. Mrs Obi described the duo as formidable. She said they have what it takes to continue the transformation agenda her husband started. Mrs. Obi remindedAnambra women that they were never abandoned during the eight-year rule of her husband. She enjoined them to ensure that their children were not used as thugs and that they should protest anytime anybody was found doing something wrong during the poll. Ekwunife, appealed to the women to ensure that APGA was voted into office again, as there was no alternative to the party in Anambra State. Nwogbo said with the support and love shown to the people of Awka North and South by the Obi administration, the election would be a walkover for Obiano. Mrs. Obi’s campaign train will today move to the remaining seven local governments to solicit votes for the APGA standard-bearer.





Taraba Speaker defies court order

HE Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly Josiah Sabo Kente yesterday defied a court order by screening six commissioner-nominees sent to the Assembly by Acting Governor Garba Umar, despite a court injunction restraining him. Umar, on Monday, submitted the names of Hajiya Batulu Mohammed; Musa Tende; Matthias Danazumi; Iliya Ali; Ate Sale and Sa’adu Shehu to the House. The court order, dated November 11, was signed by Justice Ali Ibrahim Andeyangtso of the High Court, Jalingo. It sought to stop the Speaker and the Assembly from “screening and approving the appointment of commissioners, pending the hearing and determination of Governor

•Screens commissioner-nominees

From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

Danbaba Suntai’s motion on notice filed on September 2". Some of the lawmakers walked out of plenary yesterday. The screened nominees were immediately sworn in by the acting governor. Former Speaker Istifanus Haruna Gbana and former Deputy Speaker Abel Peter Diah were among those who walked out during the screening, saying it was illegal to go ahead with the exercise. Diah said: “We decided not to participate in the sitting because we were served the court order restraining us from screening the nomi-

nees. On receiving the order, we advised the speaker on the right step.” Diah said the lawmakers, including the speaker, saw and went through the court order. The speaker, however, denied being served the court order. Kente claimed he would have respected the court, if the order was received. Sources said photocopies of the court order were pasted on the premises of the Assembly but were torn by policemen on the speaker’s directive. Kente’s emergence as speaker was thought to be a way out to end the impasse that has bedevilled the state

since Suntai returned from a 10-month medical trip abroad in August. That hope has been dashed following yesterday’s disagreement. The speaker belongs to the G-16 which stopped Suntai from resuming duties, despite his letter. Kente is accused of acting out a script prepared by the acting governor. Chief Bailiff of the High Court Markus Gaddas claimed he was beaten up and “dehumanised” in the Office of the Speaker while carrying out his legitimate assignment. He said on reaching the Assembly, “I asked for the clerk and I was told he was not in.

So, I asked of the speaker because I did not know him in person. “When the speaker arrived, I followed him to his office and was waiting for him in the reception. When he eventually came, I gave him the order and showed him my identity card. After reading the order, the speaker pushed me away. “Before I knew what was going on, someone else came and told me that the speaker has directed that I should be thrown out of the Assembly premises. “Outside the premises, I tried to paste the order on the main gate but that was not possible because one of the policemen came and tore the order into pieces, hitting me with his boot.”

•From left: Pastor Banji Ajayi, Akinola Omojola; President, Campaign for Democracy Joe Okei-Odumakin; Eyinade Omojola and Comrade Funmilayo at a procession for Comrade Baba Omojola in Lagos...yesterday.

‘North Central vehicles not insured’


From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

SSISTANT Director, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Lucky Fiakpa, yesterday said 99 per cent of commercial vehicles in the North Central zone are without insurance policies. Fiakpa spoke yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, at a stakeholders’ forum on motor insurance. He added that most vehicle owners in the zone are sceptical and fear that insurance companies do not pay claims. The NAICOM boss said Nigerians do not like to pay insurance because they don’t know the benefits accruable in different insurance policies. He added that third party insurance policy transfers all risks in the event of accident to insurance companies while the vehicle owner is saved from loss or embarrassment. "When you pick genuine insurance policy, you can have access to prompt and effective medical attention, there will be succour to families of dead victims, and you have rest of mind because you have paid a token amount of money to an insurance company to take care of the risks."

Two Anambra PDP lawmakers HERE was a drama join APGA


yesterday at the Anambra State House of Assembly when two lawmakers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) joined the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on the floor of the House. The action of Obinna Emeaka (Anambra East) and Vivian Okadigbo (Oyi) raised dust in the House as the place was turned into a market. Some lawmakers- Valentine Ayika (PDP Njikoka 1); Tony Oneweek Muonagor (APC Idemili North); Ebele Obi (APC Idemili South); Kenechukwu Chukwuemeka (APC Awka South 1) and Gabriel Onyenwife (PDP

From Nawnosike Onu, Awka

Ayamelum) objected to the act. Ayika said: “I am totally ashamed at the crop of politicians we have today. “We are supposed to be standing in for our people at all times even when it matters most to us. But what do we get, some politicians only fight when they gain but when the road seems dark, they turn their back on the people. “I am not against anyone cross-carpeting, it is allowed but it should be done in a respectful manner in any constituted authority.”

Jonathan, Mark, Fayemi condole with Shema From Augustine Ehikioya,



RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday condoled with Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema on the death of his father, Shehu Shema, at the National Hospital, Abuja. Jonathan, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, urged the governor and his family to thank Allah for the elder Shema’s life. He believed that at 86, the governor’s father would return to his Maker in peace, having produced worthy offspring like the governor, who will proudly carry on his legacy of worthy and selfless service. Senate President David Mark also commiserated with Shema. In a condolence message, he said the late Shema lived a life full of passion and sacrifice. In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Kola Ologbondiyan, Mark urged the family to see the death as the utmost will of God and remember that only God gives and takes at will. Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi also condoled with Shema. The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Olayinka Oyebode, urged Shema and the family to be consoled that their father lived a long and fulfilled life as an accomplished farmer and notable community leader.

Our plane didn’t crash-land, says airline


AX Air Limited yesterday in Kano dismissed as false reports that its aircraft, carrying the last batch of pilgrims from Saudi-Arabia, crash-landed at the Sultan Abubakar International Airport, Sokoto. Speaking to reporters, the airline’s spokesman, Ibrahim Dahiru, said the report was not true. According to him, the 464 pilgrims on board the Boeing 747 aircraft landed safely, “without any hitch

•Firm refutes Sokoto incident From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

in Sokoto”, adding that the airline has brough home the 41,568 pilgrims allocated to it. Dahiru said: “What really happened was that as at the time when the aircraft was about to land, the pilot observed that the light on the runaway was too bright for safe landing. “He, subsequently, alerted

the Control Tower and urged them to regulate the light on the runway. “In the process of making the second attempt to land, he observed again that the light was not bright enough and ordered the Control Tower to slightly brighten the runway. “It was during the correction of the runway light that the aircraft was hovering in the air and after the correc-

tion was effected, the pilot landed safely with all the pilgrims on board. “So, you can see that there was nothing like crash-landing.” He added that the same aircraft took off from the Sokoto Airport to Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, one hour later. He noted that had it been the aircraft crash landed , the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) would have been aware.

Kidnapped Sokoto businessman recounts ordeal


BU Dankure, the Sokoto businessman, kidnapped last Wednesday, said his abductors treated him well. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Sokoto after his release on Monday night that he was not manhandled by the abductors. “I was blindfolded from the time I was kidnapped till I was released opposite the Sultan Abubakar III Juma’at Mosque, Sokoto, on Monday night. “Theyallowed me to pray, ease myself and sleep. They never starved me.They spoke Hausa and English and some of them prayed but not in congregation.” Dankure added that the abductors did not stay in one place but

“changed location between some villages.” “They removed my gown and dressed me in Jeans, shirt and a round hat, and I was in that outfit up to the time they dropped me in Sokoto on Monday night.” He, however, did not confirm whether ransom was paid for his release,


saying: “I will not comment on whether N50 million or N51 million was paid before my release. “Whatever it was, I thank God and I am happy that I am now free and I have peacefully reunited with my family.” NAN reports that 68-yearold Dankure has four wives.

He praised Governor Aliyu Wamakko, clerics, security agencies, journalists and the the people for their prayers and support throughout his abduction. Commissioner of Police Shu’aibu Gambo confirmed his release but declined comments on the alleged payment of ransom.

Obi submits N140b budget proposal

NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi yesterday presented a budget of N140 billon for the 2014 fiscal year, as against N110.955 billion this year. The budget is an increase of 26.18 per cent over that of 2013. This is the first time in his eight-year tenure that Obi has presented a budget early. At the budget presentation yesterday, Obi said N100.29 billion was for Capital Expenditure and N39.71 billion for Recurrent Expenditure.

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

The governor added that an estimated N100.29 billion was expected from capital receipts next year, an increase of 41.35 per cent over the N70.96 billion for 2013. He said the government’s emphasis would be on poverty reduction. The economic sector was allocated 42.82 per cent of the total capital budget. The Speaker, Ms Chinwe Nwaebili, assured that the House will give the Bill accelerated hearing.




CITYBEATS LINE: 08023247888

Customs destroys 1,225 cartons of poultry

Estate agent charged with N30.7m fraud


HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned an estate agent, Peters Nwogu, before a Lagos High Court, Ikeja for allegedly defrauding some would be tenants of N30.7 million. Nwogu was arraigned before Justice Kudirat Jose. The defendant is facing a 20-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences and issuance of dud cheque. He was charged with two of his companies, Diplomatic Service Consulting Limited (DSCL) and the Christian Business Defence Fellow-

By Adebisi Onanuga

ship. EFCC counsel Mr Francis Usani alleged that Nwogu, between February 2007 and January 2010, collected money from different individuals and companies under the pretext of helping them get houses in Lagos. The EFCC said Nwogu promised to lease the victims the buildings located at No. 4, Kingsley Emu St., Lekki Phase I, Lagos and No. 35, Joel Ogunaike St., Ikeja, respectively. Some of these he allegedly swindled are Messrs

Emmanuel Dimgba, Kayode Komolafe, Tochukwu Orakwe, Alumaco Plc, JMG Nigeria Limited and Nuramal and Sons Nigeria Limited. Usani accused Nwogu of issuing a December 7, 2009 Oceanic Bank Cheque for N48 million payable to one Dr F.A. Ajayi from the account of DSCL. The prosecutor said the cheque was dishonoured when it was presented because there were insufficient funds in the defendant’s account. Usani said the offence contravened Section 1(3) and 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud

and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006 and is punishable under the same section. The offence, he added, also contravened and is punishable under Section 1 (1) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. When the charges were read, Nwogu pleaded not guilty. Justice Jose ordered the defendant to be remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison custody pending the hearing and determination of his bail application on November 19, 2013.

Lagos insists on special grant to cope with transportation needs


HE Lagos State Government yesterday demanded from Federal Government a special transport system grant to enable it meet the challenges of transportation. Commissioner for Transportation Comrade Kayode Opeifa, who spoke at the opening of the technical session of the 13th National Council on Transport at the City Hall in Lagos, said the government should provide yearly special transportation and transport systems grant to states with population of over five million and vehicular density above 50 vehicles per kilometre of road length. Opeifa also pushed for the

By Adeyinka Aderibigbe

declaration of emergency on all roads and rail system networks in the country to facilitate the development of multimodal infrastructure to meet the country’s mass transit. In a paper titled: “Transformation in transport infrastructure: Catalyst for socioeconomic development”, Opeifa said since transportation encompassed the management of the process of free flow of goods, services, people, and products, the definition of multi-modal system must change from merely identifying rail, road, sea (maritime) and air to in-

clude pipeline systems, logistics management and supply chain management. He said as the demand for transportation services increased, so must the transport infrastructure to match the pace. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr. Nebolisa Emordi, expressed the hope that the meeting would develop a concrete master plan for the development of a transportation infrastructure to boost the economy. The meeting, he said, would afford members the opportunity to review the implementation of the resolutions adopted at its last meeting in Makurdi, the


By Uyoatta Eshiet

HE Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Western Marine Command (WMC), Lagos, yesterday destroyed 1,225 cartons of contaminated poultry foods sized from smug-

glers. The Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Audu Zaka, assisted by a representative of the National Agency for Food, and Drug Administration NAFDAC, Mr Adamu Isiaku and some other senior officers of the Command, supervised the destruction. Zaka said 55 bags of rice and 1,225 cartons of frozen poultry were seized in three days, adding that the total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the intercepted items was N8, 576,844.50 The consignments, he said, were smuggled into the country through Benin Republic to Awode Apa on the Nigerian side to Kese where the smugglers wanted to cross the Novo Creek to Ilasa in Ogun State. The feat, he said, was made possible because of the synergy with the Central Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Command and the Comptroller-General’s Task Force. “The excellent information sharing between the command and the CIU is helping the command in its anti-smuggling functions. We monitored this consignment right from the border up to the point we intercepted them at Kese”, he said. Zaka said on October 31 and November 4, the Command intercepted 950 and 210 cartons of frozen poultry products, adding that the DPV was put at N6.175 million and N1.365 million.

Lagos to jail parks, garden violators

T •Opeifa

Benue State capital. The Conference of Commissioners of Transportation and allied ministries will begin tomorrow. It will be opened by Governor Babatunde Fashola; the Minister for Transport,Senator Idris Umar, will chair the session.

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

HE Lagos State Government will no longer tolerate the violation of its Parks and Garden Regulations, the Parks and Garden Agency Managing Director, Mrs Titi Anibaba, said yesterday. Defaulter will either be fined or jailed. Mrs Anibaba said offences punishable by the law include neglect, failure and refusal to landscape and beautify the perimeter area of a resident’s property. She said felling of trees without obtaining required permit from the agency, walking on lawns and gardens, urinating and defecating in any park, garden or open place would henceforth, attract penalties. Mrs Anibaba reiterated the government’s commitment to environmental regeneration, adding that the private sector should partner government to achieve results. She said the tree planting initiative was adopted as the cheapest way to combat global warming, which is threatening the human race.

FOREIGN NEWS Liberia: President Sirleaf welcomes 'drug bust'


IBERIAN President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has welcomed the arrest of six people, including policeman Perry Dolo, for allegedly smuggling marijuana from Sierra Leone into Liberia. Drug traffickers needed to face justice, her office said. However, it denied an earlier police statement that Mr Dolo headed the presidential motorcade and had used the lead escort vehicle to allegedly transport 297kg (654lb) of marijuana. Mr Dolo has not yet commented. On Monday, Liberia's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said Mr Dolo had been caught with three other people while travelling in "Escort 1". "We want to speedily send them to court... because the case is too high. Using a presidential car? It's too big," DEA head An-


•President Sirleaf

thony Souh said. In a later statement, Ms Johnson's office said the escort vehicle had been "decommissioned" and returned to the police two years. It confirmed that Mr Dolo was a policeman but denied he was commander of the presidential motorcade. It added that Mr Dolo had been arrested with five other people - another Liberian policeman, a Sierra Leonean military officer, a businessman, a taxi driver, and a former member of the armed forces.

Syria's opposition coalition picks cabinet


YRIA's internationally recognised opposition group has approved nine "ministers" for an interim government charged with running Syrian territory that is in rebel hands. The move by the National Coalition late on Monday followed its announcement earlier in the day that it planned to attend proposed peace talks with the Syrian government, if certain conditions were met. It also stipulated that President "Bashar al-Assad and those with the blood of Syrians on their hands have no role in the transitional phase

and Syria's future". In a statement issued after two days of meetings in the Turkish city of Istanbul, the National Coalition said it would take part in the Geneva peace talks only if humanitarian aid is allowed to reach besieged areas and the government releases political prisoners. The National Coalition has struggled for months to cobble together an interim government, in part because of infighting among the various exile groups involved, ranging from secular intellectuals to Islamist activists.

Typhoon Haiyan: UN launches $301m Philippines aid appeal

HE UN has launched an appeal for $301m (£190m) to help relief efforts in typhoon-hit areas of the Philippines. At least 10,000 people are feared to have been killed by Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the central Philippines on Friday. The UN says more than 11 million people are believed to have been affected by the storm and some 673,000 displaced. Several countries have deployed ships to help the relief effort, but bad weather is hampering aid distribution.


The BBC's Jonathan Head, in the badly-hit city of Tacloban on Leyte island, says the main road from the airport to the city is clogged with refugees and debris, and that residents are becoming angry at the lack of progress and increasing breakdown in security. Valerie Amos, the UN's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, has arrived in Manila to head the aid operation. "We thought it was our last day": Survivors talk to the BBC She told the BBC the storm had been far worse than ex-

pected, and that people in the affected regions were "absolutely desperate". "They need food, they need water, they need shelter. People need to be protected," she said. Helicopters were also in urgent need to help with assessing the damage, she said. Baroness Amos told reporters the UN would work alongside the Philippine government, and that efforts would focus on "food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and also protection of the most vulnerable". "I very much hope our donors will be generous," she said.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes, at the UN in Geneva, says the operation will be one of the most challenging the body has ever mounted. Survivors are scattered across several of the 7,000 islands which make up the Philippines, says our correspondent, and many areas have not yet been reached, so the figures of those in need and the estimated death toll of 10,000 - could rise. The UN had already released $25m to address the immediate needs of survivors. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the situation as "heartbreaking".

2011 after a peace deal to end years of civil war. The UN held talks with the government and Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to carry out vaccinations from 5 November to 12 November but "unfortunately we have been filibustered with process

and discussions and disputes which have amounted to no access", Mr Ging told journalists, after briefing the Security Council. It should use its "significant authority" to force the government and SPLM-N to let health workers in, he said. China's UN ambassador Liu

Jieyi, who is the current president of the UN Security Council, said the lack of access was "disturbing". However, he did not refer to any action that the Security Council intended to take against the government and SPLM-N, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Sudan polio vaccination blocked, says UN

FFORTS to vaccinate 165,000 children against polio in Sudan have been blocked by the government and rebels, the UN humanitarian chief says. John Ging said the two sides should stop "filibustering" and give health workers access to children in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The government and rebels had ignored a Security Council resolution to give health workers access, he said. The UN fears that conflict in the two states could lead to a polio outbreak. According to the UN World Health Organization, Sudan has been polio-free for more than two years. South Kordofan and Blue Nile border South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in


Iran blames Western powers for nuclear talks’ failure

RAN's foreign minister has blamed divisions between Western powers for the failure to agree on a deal on its nuclear programme on Saturday. Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's claim that Iran had been unable to accept the deal "at that particular moment". He said "no amount of spinning" could change what had

happened in Geneva, but it could "further erode confidence". Mr Zarif appeared to blame France for "gutting over half" of a US draft deal. Representatives from Iran and the so-called P5+1 - the US, UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany - will meet again on 20 November. Iran stresses that its nuclear programme is for peaceful pur-

poses only, but world powers suspect it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Some reports said the latest talks failed because France had wanted to place tight restrictions on the heavy-water reactor being built at Arak; others that the Iranian government's insistence on formal recognition of its "right" to enrich uranium had been the major obstacle.





ENIN City, capital of Edo State was a carnival-like yesterday as the All Progressives Congress (APC) was launched in the state. It was an occasion that also marked the fifth year anniversary of the administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Roads leading to the Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia stadium venue of the launch wore new looks as banners from different associations adorned the streets and the stadium. Youth, women, students and several organisations were at the stadium to grace the occasion. The crowd gave their affirmative support that the state was in support of the APC after a question was put to them by APC leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. First Executive Governor of Edo State, Chief John Oyegun Oyegun said God has planted a grenade in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that the grenade is separating the sheep

Buhari, Tinubu, Ikimi launch APC in Edo From Osagie Otabor and Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

from the goats in PDP. Chief Oyegun warned that the battle for 2015 would not be easy even if the G-7 governors joined the APC. According to him, “The battle ahead of us is not an easy one. We must be ready for every possible eventuality. The PDP will not surrender power. The APC must seize power. That can be achieved by all of us. The mobilisation must start today for us to seize power. We must make it expensive for anybody to attempt to rig the 2015 election. The APC is a serious party. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Chief Tom Ikimi said the people of the state are determined not to go back to what the state was 10 years ago. He said “The PDP is dead and

buried. It is finished. It is dead, in Edo, Kwara, SOkoto, Kano and all over Nigeria . Arising from the ashes of the burial of PDP is the APC.” Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri, predicted that the APC was destined to rule the country. Former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari said the APC was out to solve economic and security problems of the country. “We know the difference for five years now in Edo state. We are happy that the governor is coming along with the APC. The APC would ensure peace and stop terrorism and reconstruct the infrastructure for Nigerians to enjoy. It is important for you to pass the message to others that APC is determined to take over in 2015 and manage the country effectively. Nobody will ensure that the votes count excepts

you”. Tinubu hailed the people for snatching victory from ‘election thieves.’ And congratulated Oshiomhole for making the people the cornerstone of his developmental policies. He described Edo as the state on a shinning hill that brightens Nigeria saying Oshiomhole redefined the sense of patriotism because it is about the people. To him, the destination of the APC is the federal government at the centre. He explained that they came out with APC for a lasting change in the country. Tinubu lampooned the federal government for lying to the people on economic growth of the nation saying people were still suffering. He said, “Power is not easy to surrender but we want it in an honest manner. We are tired of failure. How do you give statistics that the economy is growing

Suspension in bad taste, says Saraki Continued from page 2

governor has written the President that his colleagues are ready for the meeting, but I doubt whether the latest scenario would allow such event to hold. “Where it would lead to, I don’t know. It depends on the action taken by the leadership. The party just played into the

hands of those who don’t believe in reconciliation. “In politics, you win people to your side; you don’t gain anything from losing people. When seven states representing one third of states being controlled by the PDP are aggrieved, they should be taken seriously. The suspension of Oyinlola a day after he was to

resume in office was done in bad taste and this would not help the party at all.” On local government election in Kwara State, Saraki said: “There are evidence to support that the National Executive of the PDP participated in the local government election. “There are documents to

show that they were part of the process. Unfortunately, 24 hours to the election, the National Executive got a lawyer to write a letter saying this is the new list of candidates. How did the list emerge? “These are some of the actions that we are seeing in the party and before it is too late, this action must stop.”

Contract sum jumps from N42b to N116b Continued from page 2

nin-Shagamu-Ore road, the Second Niger Bridge and the Oweto bridge, linking Benue and Nasarawa states. According to the Minister, N85.5 billion was spent on the roads in 2012 from SURE-P, while the ministry paid N61billion. Also in 2013, N93.4 billion was expended on the roads, out of which over N67 billion was paid from SUREP. On the over 170 per cent increase on the Abuja-Lokoja road, the Minister said the original contract was awarded without the requisite designs. He added that the consultant for the road project had been

blacklisted by the ministry for not taking appropriate technicalities into consideration before approving the road design. Onolememen also said the construction work on these four major roads and two bridges have reached advanced stages, expressing hope that the Abuja, Abaji, Lokoja road would be inaugurated by the end of next year. He said that if all monies allocated to the ministry under the SURE-P is released, the Abuja-Lokoja highway project would be completed next year because most of the companies handling the job have reached 70 per cent completion. The lawmakers also grilled

Amuchi over the allocation of N1.3 billion as operational and labour cost out of the N4 billion it got from the SURE-P programme for road maintenance and rehabilitation last year. Ningi lamented that facts before the panel suggest that FERMA has turned the SUREP money into “Father Christmas” by spending N1 billion on labour cost in the name of paying 6000 youths it was said to have engaged as direct labourers. Amuchi had informed the panel that the agency pays each of the engaged youth the sum of N18,000 monthly. However, Ningi said it was not necessary since the Feder-

al Ministry of Labour and Productivity had already engaged the youths under the same SURE-P arrangement. Ningi also directed the FERMA boss to submit details of all the beneficiaries of the programme to the committee within one week. The lawmakers also queried what they called duplication of projects by FERMA in 2012 and 2013 budgets as contained in their submissions. Although, Amuchi explained that FERMA purchased equipment with the money but the lawmakers said having procured similar tools in 2012, there was no need for the agency to repeat the same items in its 2013 budget.

Only PDP NEC can suspend Baraje, Oyinlola Continued from page 2

withstanding any other provisions relating to discipline or suspensions, no executive committee at any level, except the National Executive Committee [NEC] of the PDP, shall

entertain any question of discipline or suspension as may relate or concern a member of NEC, provided that nothing in this constitution shall prelude or invalidate any complaints submitted through the NWC to the NEC concerning

any person whatsoever.” Section 58 [3] said: “Notwithstanding any other provision relating to discipline, no executive committee at any level, except NEC, President, Vice President, Governors, Deputy Governors, Special

Advisers, or members of any of the legislative houses.” Elisha said based on the provisions, only NEC can suspend Oyinlola. He urged party faithful to disregard the suspension.

some positions to our great party, the PDP. “However, it is no longer news that there is an ongoing disagreement in principle between some top stakeholders of our party, of which I am among on the one hand and the current leadership of the party on the other. “This quagmire has upturned my belief in the present leadership of our great party and has consequently made my continued stay as the Chairman of the NRC Governing Board uncomfortable. “Realising that the position of the NRC chairmanship was allocated to the party and of which I am supposed to symbolise, I would appreciate if your good office could please convey to His Excellency, Mr. President of my intention to relinquish this position with immediate effect because I can no longer represent the inter-

est of the party whose leadership I no longer believe in. “While pledging my continued loyalty to the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration, I

would like His Excellency, Mr. President to please accept the assurances of my highest regard and consideration.”

Baraje resigns as NRC chairman Continued from page 2

ty’s leadership, it was better for him to resign. The letter reads: “Please refer to your letter with Ref No. SGF/19/S./81/XV/430 dated May 22nd, 2013, which conveyed Mr. President’s approval of my appointment as chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Governing Board. “I hasten to express my sincere gratitude to His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebelo Jonathan (GCFR), the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through your good office for the confidence he placed in my ability to have appointed me to such an exalted position as the Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation. “His Excellency, Mr. President will recall that this appointment came from his esteemed discretion in allotting

PDP’s peace moves reach dead end Continued from page 2

seeking committal of Tukur and others to prison for disobeying the order of the Court of Appeal, and the need to stop Dikko’s Disciplinary Panel from addressing

complaint, if any, against Oyinlola. “The PDP National Secretary is used to the legal battle, he will not waiver at all.”

Abducted American sailors freed


WO American mariners kidnapped last month off the coast of Nigeria have been released the United States State Department said yesterday. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. welcomes the release of the two Americans, but said privacy concerns prevented her from disclosing any details about how they were freed. U.S. officials earlier identi-

fied the two as the captain and chief engineer of the U.S.flagged C-Retriever offshore supply vessel. Nearly all foreigners kidnapped are released after ransoms are paid. Nigeria’s navy has rescued at least two hostages this year and reported killing several pirates in counterattacks to prevent ship hijackings

and we are still suffering? You have GDP that is growing and we have army of unemployed youth. We have to change this government. “The APC has come with a rescue boat to rescue Nigeria from the thieves. They steal in hundred, of billions. We have to send them out. Oshiomhole has enough ambulances to send them out of here, out of Abuja and out of Anambra.” Governor Oshiomhole said his administration had delivered on electoral promises in building infrastructures and creating environment for businesses to thrive. He said the painful decisions he took have led to building of roads, providing water and schools across the state. Oshiomhole said “the challenge is to focus on the economy. Having spent so much to build infrastructure, this is

meant to create enabling environment for business to thrive. I am happy at the response we are getting. The private sector, from agriculture to palm oil, they are all coming to Edo State to set up business”. “We have people who are coming to Edo state to set up fertilizer plant. We are refocusing on security and appreciate the role of our security agencies. Our House of Assembly have risen to the occasion and has approved death penalty for kidnappers and Edo state is no longer safe for criminals because this governor will sign death warrant as soon as it comes my way. “We are delivering and not just talking. In our second term we have started commissioning projects. Over the past three days we have commissioned five roads and the five junction and we have more than one hundred projects to commission between now and December, you will see all the things that we have been doing with your money.”

Iyayi dies as Kogi governor’s convoy crashes into bus Continued from page 2

ed in the welfare of its members”. He said the recklessness of drivers attached to Wada’s convoy could prolong the strike, noting that the lecturers stuck to all road safety measures as they drove on the highway. Injured Monye-Emina, who spoke to our reporter in a soft voice, said the governor’s convoy was on full speed. “The governor’s vehicle left its lane and rammed into our union vehicle. The impact made our bus to somersault several times. It was by the grace of God that I survived but we lost Prof Iyayi and I learnt Dr Iloh is critically injured,” he said. The Kogi State Government, in a statement on the incident said the governor’s convoy was “on a speed of 80 kilometers per hour when a bus collided with the escort van”. “Sadly, in the storm, it was discovered that a renowned academic and respected human rights advocate, Prof. Festus Iyayi, who was in the other vehicle, died in the accident. There were other victims with varying degrees of injuries from both sides. “The victims were immediately evacuated to the State Specialist Hospital in Lokoja

on the governor’s directive. The injured are responding to treatment. “The Governor has ordered full scale investigation into the matter and paid a visit to the injured. Capt. Wada sympathised with the victims and their families. He wished the deceased a peaceful repose of his soul.” Lagos Lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) said last night that he would push for the prosecution of the driver who drove the governor’s convoy’s vehicle. But, he stressed that the Nigerian state killed Iyayi. “The trip would not have been necessary, if the President did not wait till now to resolve the ASUU matter. If the train had been working, may be they would have gone by train,” Falan said.


OLABANJI I, formerly known as MISS OLABANJI AMUDAT OLANSHILE now wish to be known and addressed as MRS OLANREWAJU AMUDAT OLANSHILE. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public please take note. DUROSINMI I, formerly known as MISS DUROSINMI, BUKKY MARY now wish to be known and addressed as MRS AKINYEMI, BUKKY MARY. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public please take note







NEWS •Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN, sixth right) with lecturers during the presentation of vehicles to state/ federal higher Institutions at the Lagos State House, Ikeja, Lagos... on Monday. PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES.

•Ogun State Governor’s wife Mrs Olufunso Amosun (front row), second left; Group Managing Director, Emzor Group Mrs Stella Okoli and pupils at the 2013 De-worming for public schools in Ogun at Obafemi/Owode Town Hall.

President, Northwestern Union of Seventh Day Adventist Church, Pastor Oyeleke Owolabi (middle) addressing a news conference on the coming Lagos for Christ 2013 Evangelists meeting at Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Ogun State. With him are Secretary, Pastor Okei Okonkwo (left) and Treasurer, Elder Marcus Dangana. PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

•International Inner Wheel Club District 911 Chairman, Mrs Olanrewaju OlomofeKufeji (right) decorating Mrs Oluwemimo Olasanya as the Charter President of Inner Wheel Club Igbe, Ikorodu at Uncle Bayus College, Ikorodu, Lagos

•Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu; (left) with the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LASSTF), Mr. Fola Arthur Worrey, at a lovers party to ushere in the yearly Lagos countdown celebration, in Lagos

•Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Comrade Ayodele Adewale (right) with his son Tomiwa; his wife Princess Zainab (left); Mrs Tomi Akingboye (second left); and the Supervisor for Health, Prince Adesina Ado, at the routine vaccination of children under five years old against measles at FESTAC Town.

•Dr. John Olusegun Oshinyimika, Permanent Secretary, Office of Youth and Social Development, Lagos, Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources Taofiq Tijana, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, Special Adviser on Environment Dr. Taofek Folami, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Obasa Iyabo and Mr. Olalekan Akodu, Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office at a one day workshop on Petroleum Industry Bill PHOTO: ABIODUN held at the Folarin Coker Staff Cinic, Conference Hall, Alausa, Ikeja.


•From right: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Nebolisa Emordi, Chief host/Lagos State

Commissioner for Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa and Permanent Secretary, Motor Vehicle Administration Agency, Lagos State, Mr Akin Hanson, at the Federal Ministry of Transport ‘s 13th National Council on Transport opening ceremony held in Lagos. PHOTO: DAYO ADEWUNMI

•From right: Justice Taofikat Abdullahi-Oyekan; Nasru-lahi-l-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NAFSAT)National Women Affairs Secretary, Alhaja Nofisat Arogundade; Alhaja Husenat Gbeleyi and Alhaja Hamdalat PHOTO:ADEJODAVID AbdulKareem at the NASFAT’s 14th annual Women’s Week in Lagos.





16 arrive in Eagles’ camp E NGLAND-BASED stars Mikel Obi and Victor Moses were among the 16 players who were part of the



Super Eagles first training in Calabar on Tuesday. Despite local flight hiccups, only nine Super Eagles players missed Tuesday’s training ahead of Saturday’s World Cup play-off against Ethiopia. By Monday afternoon, coach Stephen Keshi had led all members of the technical crew and other officials into the city now described as Nigeria number one tourism destination. Few hours later, Chippa United of South Africa central defender, James Okwuosa arrived camp to become the frist player from outside the shores of Nigeria to arrive. Top team official Dayo Enebi Achor, had said after Okwuosa’s arrival that all other players were already in the country and he was praying for flights to be on schedule to Calabar so that all of them will be at the first training session of the team. He was right on point. Immediately after lunch Tuesday, John Mikel Obi breezed in with John Ogu and MLS star, Bright Dike.

Everybody was getting animated. Few minutes later Victor Moses arrived with Godfrey Oboabona in tow, Nnamdi Oduamadi remained the punctual player he had always been and just as training commenced Elderson Echejile joined his mates at the UJ Esuene Stadium. Add that to the five home based stars who opened camp on Monday and you will know how exciting camp has been. Keshi was delighted at the turn out of players but insisted that he would want all his players to arrive camp at the same time, but has no control over flight schedules and the way the aviation sector runs. He also called on Nigerians to remain very positive because by Saturday, Nigeria’s flag will be among those to be hoisted at the Brazil 2014 World Cup. It was expected that by dinner time on Tuesday all players listed for the encounter should be at the Transcorp Hotels camp of the team in Calabar.

Senate to host Golden Eaglets

HE Senate yesterday unanimously resolved to host the Golden Eaglets for the lifting the FIFA Under 17 World Cup. The resolution followed a motion entitled: "Congratulating Nigeria on the success of the Golden Eaglets at the Under-17 FIFA World Cup Tournament" sponsored by Senate Leader, Victor NdomaEgba and 107 other senators. In his lead debate, NdomaEgba urged the Senators to note with pride that on Friday, 8th November, 2013, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria beat Mexico 3 - 0 to win the Under-17 World Cup trophy at the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja He urged them to further note that the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria had won the trophy a record four times, making it the most successful team at the FIFA Under -17 tournament, the first time being in China (1985), Japan (1993), South Korea (2007) and now UAE 2013. The lawmaker representing Cross River Central observed that the Golden Eaglets scored a total of 26 goals at this year's tournament "making it the highest goals scoring side ever in the history of the tournament which started about 28 years

ago." He also enjoined his colleagues to appreciate that with the victory, "Nigeria has once again stamped its supremacy in this cadet age competition and hopefully this victory will provide the launch pad to win the coveted senior World Cup." Majority of the Senators in their contributions eulogised the Nigerian boys for the superlative feat. Senate President David Mark said the country has many lessons to draw from the football victory. Mark noted that the Golden Eaglets have shown that they have what it takes to take over from the present Super Eagles.

Federations must fund their programmes—Minister


PORTS Minister Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has told National Sports Federations’ Boards to use resources at their disposal and strong contacts to get funds for their programmes as the National Sports Commission will only compliment their efforts and will not foot the bills of their programmes. The Minister who doubles as the Chairman of the National Sports Commission, disclosed this yesterday at the inauguration of the 2nd batch of National Sports Federations’ Boards held at the VIP section of the Abuja National Stadium. The Minister, who also advised that any Federation boss that wish to depend on the

From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja

Commission for full funding should think twice and offer to resign before the inauguration, however, promised to assist the Federations with the little the Commission could within the limited resources at their disposal. “You will recall that on Friday, May 17, this year, the Boards of 21 National Sports Federations were inaugurated at this same venue. The inauguration of 11 Boards today (yesterday) implies that 32 of the 41 National Sports Federations have successfully conducted their elections. Elections into the Boards of Nigeria Football Federation and the 8 Para Sports

Federations are not due yet. “I wish to congratulate you all and I am happy to note that all the Federations conducted their elections without rancor. This is an indication that the core values of sports which are fair play, social justice, equality, discipline are entrenched in sports governance and adminis-tration. “As a further step towards the full democratization of our sports, all Federations are enjoined to encourage their sports associations to imbibe the culture of constituting their Boards through democratic process. The practice of selecting people for sports association is against the norm of international sports federation”, Abdullahi warned.

Weightlifting coach urges NSC to upgrade facilties


weightlifting coach Johnson Obeh, on Tuesday called on the National Sports Commission (NSC) to upgrade training facilities at the National Stadium, Lagos. Obeh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that when the facilities at the stadium were upgraded they would enable athletes to train without hindrance. According to him, the poor

state of the facilities has made it impossible for athletes to train to their optimum level. He said, ``If they want the country to come out in flying colours, it should not be only the special sports that will come with gold and they want other events to come with the gold. Let them go back to the basics and they shall see the good result. Let them come and fix the place for athletes to train, and then, and see what result

will be achieved. And let there be competitions here and there like before, they will see what will come out of it.`` He added that most of the athletes, who currently train at the stadium, are potential world beaters; but lacked the platform to fine-tune their skills. The coach described the weightlifting gymnasium as one of the worst training centres, compelling most weightlifters to alter their training schedules.




AST week, I ended this column on the note that a national conference of the country’s ethnic groups is a non-starter. I then promised to make this conclusion the subject of my column some other time, possibly this week. I believe the idea of a conference of ethnic nationalities, sovereign or otherwise, couldn’t be more reactionary. I shall, however, discuss this only next week, God willing. For today I will round up my critique of the last two weeks of Professor Ben Nwabueze’s thesis in his recent essay on the 1914 amalgamation of Nigeria that Northern Nigerian unity and identity was a dubious British fabrication which was, and remains, a threat to the country’s unity because, by its sheer size and population, the British intended it to hold a veto over the country’s politics. Our learned senior academic lawyer claims the idea of a “Northern Nigeria” has “impacted adversely on the unity of Nigeria and the evolution of one Nigerian nation...through (its) persistent demand for power shift to the North which reared its head since the end in 2007of the eight year rule of President Olusegun Obasanjo, a southerner.” Apart from his contention that the North had monopolised power for 30 of the 33-year period between 1966 and 1999, he said, in effect, the region has no moral right to demand for power shift back to it because, first, it had, and continues to date to, monopolise military and security power and, second, some of its political, traditional and religious leaders have sponsored the current Boko Haram insurgency “in pursuance of an agenda aimed at promoting northern domination and the supremacy of the Moslem religion in the affairs of Nigeria.” When the professor says the North has “monopolised” power for 30 of the 33 years between 1966 and 1999, the man is clearly indulging in an abuse of language. The common sense definition of the word monopoly is complete possession or control of something by an individual, group or organisation. By this definition it is obviously wrong to say the North ever monopolised power in the country. Dominated power, yes. But as the professor knows all too well as a senior lawyer who knows the importance of precision and clarity in language and as the minister of education under General Babangida, no military head of state ever ruled this country without consulting and sharing power with his military colleagues from other parts of the country, at least most of the time. Second, our learned lawyer cannot eat his cake and still have it; he cannot divide the North into “True North”, Middle Belt and other states without a label in between the two and still insist that the region had “monopolised” or even dominated power. He cannot, in other words, talk of a united North when it suits his argument and a divided one when it doesn’t. It is precisely because he has tied himself into knots over this that he finds it difficult, if not impossible, to understand why someone like Chief Paul Unongo, would insist, quite rightly, that being a Middle Belter and a Northerner are not necessarily mutually exclusive. It is also why the professor is baffled by how the much


T is strange, indeed a touch stranger than fiction. A colleague said he never imagined people at that rarefied state of wantlessness (if we can use that word) would ever have a reason to feud. It is akin to dwellers of paradise quarrelling; whatever for? Mrs. Clara C. Chime is a young beauty betrothed to Mr. Sullivan Chime, the governor of Enugu State. She is not the first wife the governor ever took; she was about half the age of his beau or more graphically, Clara is about the age mate of Sullivan’s first son by his first wife. It was a fairy tale wedding between Clara and Sullivan about five years ago. Young Clara, fresh from school and her family, nay, her entire kindred down to far-flung villages must have been over the moon at the prospect of that matrimony. Good fortunes don’t come in better and bigger packages. The ceremony, which set Clara’s community abuzz for many weeks, was the dream of every young woman. Governors trampled on governors, royalty stepped on royalty; while black,

VOL.8 NO.2,666

‘Chime should not only toe the path of honour by taking his wife to any good hospital for adequate treatment, he should also do a comprehensive self-appraisal to see if there are some of his actions that may have caused the woman severe depression’’ DELE AGEKAMEH


People and Politics By


Nwabueze’s distortions of Nigeria’s History (III)

•Prof Nwabueze lamented late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, a Yoruba Christian from the North, would gladly accept to chair the Arewa Consultative Forum for years and eventually die in active service trying to strengthen the region’s unity in all its diversity. The professor also objects to power shift to the North any time soon because of what he calls the region’s “complete” control of the security of the Nigerian state, something which he adds “has remained largely undismantled up till now (August 2013)”. The only evidence he presents for this sweeping statement is a quotation from Bishop Mathew Kukah’s book, Witness to Justice: An Insider’s Account of Nigeria’s Truth Commission, in which the bishop listed General Abacha’s chief security officer, national security adviser, chief of defence intelligence, inspector general of police and head of a then newly created counter-terrorism agency, as all Northerners. The man’s insinuation in listing the Muslim sounding names of all these officers was obvious; they were all not only Northerners, they were also all Muslims The problem with this evidence was that one of the Muslim sounding names, AVM Idi Musa, the chief of defence intelligence, was a Christian. It also conveniently ignored other security services like the Navy, the Air Force, the State Security Services and the National Intelligence Agency, whose officers and other ranks were, and are, hardly dominated by Northern-

ers or Muslims. Another problem with the learned professor’s evidence is that in the case of the army, where Northerners had dominated coup making, he did not do a count of the country’s army chiefs since Major-General J. T. U. Aguiyi Ironsi took over from Major-General C. B. Welbey, as the first indigenous army chief in 1965. If he did, he would have found out that of the 24 army chiefs we have had between Ironsi and Lieutenant-General Ihejirika today, six were from the South. However, out of the 18 from the North only five (Hassan Usman Katsina, Abacha, Mohammed Aliyu, Alwali Kazir, and A. B. Dambazau) were from the “True North” the professor apparently loves to hate. Of the remaining 13, eight were Christians from his beloved Middle-Belt, with the remaining five being Muslims from the same sub-region. All of which is to say that to date Nigeria has had 14 Christian army chiefs and ten Muslim; hardly the stuff of monopoly by any group. As to the man’s claim that the “True North’s” so-called monopoly of the military and security services has remained “undismantled to date”, anyone who has been living in Nigeria since President Obasanjo returned to power in 1999 knows that officers from the region were by far the hardest hit by his massive purge of so-called political soldiers from the military no sooner than he moved into his office. Since then only one “True Northerner”, (Dambazau), has been an army chief. It is also interesting to note that the current army chief should have retired more than a year ago, having since served out the 35 years of service for mandatory retirement. Under him it is a notorious fact that recruitment into the rank and file of the army has been blatantly skewed against Muslims, North and South. Also the army chief’s retention beyond his 35 years of service has fuelled speculations of the possible, even probable, use of the military, along with other security services, to rig the 2015 elections and violently suppress any attempt at protest against any such rigging. Not only does our professor claim, obviously wrongly, that the predominantly Muslim North has monopolised the country’s security services. He also claims that Muslims

have been given an undue advantage in the country’s judiciary through “the long rule of Northern military heads of state.” Few claims could be more tendentious, if not downright dishonest. The learned senior lawyer’s evidence is the fact, as he put it, that except for one Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) from the Middle Belt, who he himself said was “a northerner” – there we go again with his self-inflicted confusion about whether there is only one North or two or even three – all our CJNs “for the past nearly twenty years” have been Muslims. As in the case of the security services, a more balanced examination of the Supreme Court should have included its history from our independence in 1960 up to 1987 during which all the CJNs were from the South, and, except for Atanda Fatai-Williams and Teslim Olawale Elias, were also all Christians. Equally, a more honest view would have acknowledged the fact that since 1987 when Mohammed Bello became the first Northerner Muslim CJN, the unbroken string of Northern CJNs has come about not by design but because, on average, most justices of the court from the South have been older before joining the court than those from the North due essentially to the longer history of Western education in the South. As our legal professor knows all too well, it is the combination of this and the court’s mandatory age of retirement at 70 that has led to a higher turnover of Southern and Christian justices of the court than Northern and Muslim. Still on his claim about Muslim judges being favoured in the judiciary, if our learned senior lawyer was honest with himself he would not have isolated the more visible Supreme Court but would’ve included the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Courts where Northerners and Muslims are clearly the underdogs in number. Again a more honest view would have acknowledged the fact that the CJN, like all his colleagues in the Supreme Court, has only one vote and cannot veto the majority which had been and, with its present number of 19 justices, remains Southern and Christian. Besides, whatever anyone may say of our courts, the last thing they can be accused of is voting for ethnic or sectarian considerations. For example, in the General Muhammadu Buhari versus President Olusegun Obasanjo case of Election 2003, the panel of judges voted unanimously for Obasanjo regardless of their region or religion. Again, in the 2007 case between the two where the panel split evenly between the two, the CJN, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, a Northerner and a Muslim broke the tie in favour of Obasanjo. Finally, to our learned senior lawyer’s claim that Northern politicians, traditional rulers and Muslim leaders are the sponsors of Boko Haram in pursuit of an agenda of Northern domination of, and Islamic supremacy in, the country. Of all his reasons for North- and Islamophobia, this one is the most absurd. Next week, God willing, I’ll attempt to show why before discussing the fallacy of a “conference/dialogue/ conversation” of ethnic groups which our learned professor is a great champion of. •For comments, send SMS to 08059100107


•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Chime vs. Chime: crisis in paradise

She said further that, “The strategy of my estranged husband (mark her word) is to subject me to the most horrific and intolerable of conditions to cause my demise but my strength and will to live has kept me alive.” What eerie cry of anguish from a haunted paradise. Her husband the governor and his minders were so much rattled by her petition which drips with such intense sorrow that they tried some damage control by debunking her claims and to insist she is mentally challenged and in need of help. But it is obvious that Clara’s soul has been tortured almost to the point of damage. Clara may need help but away from her estranged paradise and her “estranged” husband. She eventually broke free from ‘bondage’ last Monday remarking most defiantly never go back there again and not even to wish her enemy such a marriage as she fled from. Sullivan too probably needs even more help but if only he can be extracted from his exertions of purportedly running a state. Finally, Clara and Sullivan sorely need our compassion and prayers.

glistening jeeps were almost piggy-backed on top one another to find parking space at the ceremony. It was a wedding that happens once in the lifetime of a people. It was of course a marriage made in heaven for a sitting governor to have found out this belle, Clara, among all the belles in the whole wide world. She was magically transported from being another gal on the street to a First Lady. For the benefit of readers who cannot fathom the magnitude of this tale, in Nigeria’s queer polity where a state governor (or president) is the closest thing to the modern version of an absolute monarch, his wife is the queen of the realm. The First lady is the de facto second in command (first in one or two cases) and the prime-commissioner if we might create such a post. Appointees, contractors, party stalwarts, favour seekers and friends of the governor/ president would ignore a first lady at their peril.

Such is their power, influence and status in Nigeria. Lately, we have upped the ante with what we call the Office of the First Lady (OFL). This is not just a title but a physical structure set up with all the trappings and authority of office second only to the office of the governor/president. Today, five years down the road, Clara and Sullivan have turned full cycle from an enchanting fairy tale to a horror story. The marriage has broken down to the point that Clara, the sitting First Lady of Enugu State is crying out in anguish and calling on anyone out there to come rescue her from her paradiseturned-to-hell. “We do not have a relationship anymore and the situation inevitably led to my nervous breakdown. I have been diagnosed with severe depression and at some point was quite suicidal,” Mrs Clara Chime sobbed.

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The Nation Nov 13, 2013