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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Hope Harriman dies at 79

Dangote gives floods fund N2.5b NEWS

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NEWS Page 6

•Southsouth chief passes on in US

•Jonathan hails industrialist

VOL. 7, NO. 2304 FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2012



•National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Batch ‘C’ members saluting during their swearing–in ceremony at Wailo, Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State…yesterday


Buhari’s stand on Boko Haram rattles Presidency Senate to probe alleged arms supply to bandits by policemen


HE Presidency seems rattled by former Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on the Boko Haram sect. Gen. Buhari, who has rejected the sect’s nomination to moderate its proposed

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

talks with the Federal Government, says he does not know any member of the group, which has killed many innocent Nigerians, including women and children. Besides, in Gen. Buhari’s

view, the Federal Government has lost control of the security situation. But, to the Presidency, Gen. Buhari’s views are not right. Addressing journalists in Abuja, presidential aide Dr. Doyin Okupe maintained that it would be out of place for

Gen. Buhari to accuse the Federal Government of being behind Boko Haram when he, according to him, had once advocated violence. He referred to Gen. Buhari’s claim that Boko Haram is a creation of the government as “ridiculous”.

Gen. Buhari, rejecting Boko Haram’s mediator role, said: “I don’t know of any religion that will go and kill people, burn schools.” But Okupe recalled that “during campaign for the election, Gen. Buhari himself campaigned for violence…

it is too late in the day to try to back track.” “Those who sow the wind and the nation is reaping the whirlwind should not try and begin to look good.” Also yesterday, a senator gave an insight into why the Continued on page 4

Oil barons ‘threaten Okonjo-Iweala’s life’


HE used to be as free as the bird of the air. Not for her a well dressed policewoman with a pistol strapped onto her waist and madam’s handbag in her hand. Times have changed for the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi

From Yusuf Alli,

•Globacom’s Divisional Director, Lagos and South West 1, David Maji, (left) presenting a cheque of N12 million to Mrs. Adejoke Adetutu Shittu, winner in the Glo “text4millions” promo at a ceremony in Ibadan... yesterday. With them is Globacom Business Director, Lawrence Okpako.


Okonjo-Iweala – no thanks to alleged threats from indicted oil barons. Now, there is a tight security shield around her. Also, there were indications yesterday that extra security might be provided for other members of the presidential task force on subsidy payments. The Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments initially indicted 21 firms for fraudulent claims Continued on page 4






The day •Vice-President Namadi Sambo (middle); Minister of State for Niger Delta, Hajiya Zainab Kuchi (left) and and Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abubakar Kachalla at a meetng on Special Technical Committee on Critical Issues on Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPH) at the State House... yesterday

For the better part of Tuesday, President Barack Obama was at the Fairmont Hotel, in Chicago, Illinois State. He had voted early and was in this hotel monitoring voting patterns around the United States until he went to the MircCormick Place to give his acceptance speech. For reporters, it was a hell of a day, writes The Nation’s Asst. Editor OLUKOREDE YISHAU


•House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal (right) greeting Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mr. Mike Omeri during the flag off of the Peoples Public Sessions on the Review ot the 1999 Constitution in Abuja.... yesterday. With them is President, Nigerian Union of Jounalists (NUJ), Mallam Garba Mohammed.

•National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande and his daughter, Mrs Elizabeth Ilori, Commissioner of Health in Osun State at the 36th graduation of the West African College of Physician Accra, Ghana where she emerged the best graduate in Community Medicine .... on Monday

•Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Osuolale Akiolu cutting the tape to flag off Med-View Airline’s inaugural flight to Abuja and Port-Harcourt at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos... yesterday. With him are the airline’s Managing Director, Alhaji Muneer Bankole (right); Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), PHOTO: ISAAC AYODELE Dr. Harold Demuren and Managing Director, SAHCOL, Mr Olu Owolabi.

HE polls were opened at the about 50 polling precincts in the city of Chicago at 7am eastern time, which was 2pm in Nigeria on November 6. The precincts we had been advised the day earlier by the Chairman of the Chicago Board of Election, Mr. Langdon Neal and Communication’s Director, Mr. Jim Allen would be in places, such as gymnasium, church lobby and even bars. Allen made it clear to reporters at a briefing the day before at the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chicago that access to the polling places, which we call polling booths back home, could only be possible if a form signed by Langdon was filled out and shown to electoral judges on request. The Board made almost 10 copies of the forms available to foreign journalists, from several countries of the world, including those of us from Nigeria and other West African countries on the trip at the mercy of the U.S. Embassies in our various countries. We had to fill out one for every polling place we chose to visit. The day, for me, began about 4a.m. eastern time, which had become a regular time for me to wake up since I got into the U.S. May be because my body was telling me that was 11am back home or I was just being driven by the call of duty to file reports for our special report section. Later that morning, our hosts, who work for the Foreign Press Centre of the U.S. Department of State, Andy Strike and Jaclyn Cole Adkin, briefed us about how busy the day was going to be. Our first port of call was a polling centre inside the gymnasium of Shoesmith School on 1330 E 50 Street, Chicago, which we chose to go because that was where President Barack Obama casted his ballot in 2008. We would have seen him there, but for the American system which allowed him to vote earlier. He was one of the millions of Democrats who had voted long before the Election Day. Still, we went there to see how things went there. Before we got to the place, we experienced some traffic around Fairmont Hotel. There were policemen everywhere and some roads were partially cordoned off. It turned out Obama was staying in the hotel with his family. At this polling centre, which was not far from the legendary Mohammed Ali’s home, we saw an advance system of voting. To vote took an average of 10 minutes, largely because the election was not only presidential. In different states, people also voted for Senate, House of Representatives candidates and other candidates, may be for County positions. In Chicago, some officials of Cook County were also elected. A form of referendum was also done on an issue of importance to the state. But, as good as the system was to those of us from Africa, some voters complained that they still had to manually mark a paper. They believe everything should be digital like it existed in some other states in the country. They wonder why the early voting was 100 per cent electronic and why the main election was a mix of


Olukorede Yishau Reporting from

UNITED ST ATES STA manual and digital. The day before, Langdon told reporters that the Election Board chose that system to have a backup in case the electronic system messed up or to have physical evidence in case the results were disputed. There were some confusion in the city regarding where to vote. Many voters were confused. They were shuffled around polling places, asked for identification, shouted at by election judges and left holding the wrong ballots. The confusion made the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners hold a news conference to apologise. The board said it received nearly 1,500 calls about voters unable to find their polling places. A voter said: “I am pretty frustrated. I don’t think I’m going to vote. I am pretty disappointed. The people didn’t know what they were doing.” The Columbia College Chicago junior was ready to vote in her first election. She said she had an Obama yard sign, a new voter registration card and a sample ballot reflecting her research on candidates for everything from president to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. But the 20-year-old never cast a ballot. Instead, she said, she trudged around the city for four hours trying to vote after election workers at a polling place near her River West home could not find her name on the list. So began her fruitless odyssey to find the right polling place. “I wasn’t going to give up until it was 7 p.m. and the polls closed or I voted,” she said. While Pilkington was confident that Obama would win Illinois, she said it still was tough not having her voice heard. “This was really important,” she said. “I really care about what happens in our society.” Chairman of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, Mr. Langdon Neal, apologised at an afternoon news conference. “We had a bit of a bumpy ride this morning,” he said. “We apologise for those two hours of a bumpy ride. We think we have righted the ship. About 6:30 a.m., deluged by an unprecedented demand for help, the website crashed, and it didn’t come back online until late afternoon. From there, the problem mushroomed. Also down was the number to text for polling location help. The crashed site then prompted “a tremendous crush of phone calls. “We pride ourselves on being ahead of the voters. Unfortunately, this time we find ourselves playing catch-up. We need a more robust website.” Neal said it took a couple of hours to reroute the Web traffic to the state elections website, and that by 5 p.m. the city site was up and running with beefedup firewall protection. He said his office was still investigating the possibility that there was a deliberate attempt to overwhelm the system, called a denial-of-service attack, but “we have no




Obama’s second term was sealed

•Obama, his wife Michelle and daughters returning to Washington...yesterday evidence to support that at this time.” Neal said the problem also was complicated by a few errant election judges who — trained to facilitate the vote — instead “looked to interfere with the process.” In another, voters legally on the rolls were told to go to another precinct, said James Allen, a Chicago elections commission spokesman. “We have never needed a category in our complaints database for suppression,” Allen said. “Maybe we do now.” Neal said any judges who intentionally tried to frustrate the system would never be judges again. Three election judges were removed for being sleepy, belligerence toward voters and for intoxication. “We call them sleepy, grumpy and drunky,” Allen said. After the rounds of polling places, it was time to get to the Election Night Party of the Obama for Africa at the McCormack Place, Chicago. Getting into this vast empire was not easy. Thanks to Andy and Jacklin, we had credentials or accreditations to go in. But even at that we had to be frisked. Our electronic devices and our bags were physically searched. We had to go under a metal detector and there were dogs around to sniff at any hidden weapon. Time was about 430 pm eastern time

•Obama family alighting from the Airforce One in Washington...yesterday

Fayemi: America truly world’s most enduring democracy


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has said the re-election of President Barack Obama has confirmed America as the most enduring democracy in the world. He described the fresh mandate given to Obama in Tuesday’s presidential poll as well-deserved and reward for hard work by the first Black President in the nation’s history. The governor said the US poll is a challenge to all stakeholders in the Nigerian electoral system on how to organise credible, transparent, free and fair elections. He noted that incumbent political office holders in Nigeria will be saved the distraction of post-election litigations if elections were genuinely free and fair. Fayemi urged politicians in the country and the electorate to allow the latest lessons from the American election to reflect in their conduct in a bid to deepen democracy in the country. He said: “We should imbibe the lessons from the (about 11.30 in Nigeria) when we got into the work stations provided for the media. But frustration awaited us when we discovered that the wireless internet access that we were told existed was almost non-existent. I was sad that I would be in the U.S. and would not be able to file report of the winner of the historic election for my paper’s front page. I was also sad that a Skype appearance at a live

From Sulaiman salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

presidential election in the United States and allow these lessons to reflect in our lives as we hope for a more transparent electoral process. “There was no report of manipulation of voters’ register, militarisation of electoral process, delay of electoral materials and prevention of voters from exercising their rights. “The candidates who contested the election never used abusive language nor assassinated the character of one another. “The loser congratulated the winner because the election was not only free and fair but was seen to be free and fair. “We urge the stakeholders in the Nigerian electoral system to tighten the loose ends that are making the conduct of free, fair and credible polls difficult in Nigeria to deepen our democracy”.

programme organised by the U.S. Consulate in Lagos on the election would not be possible. We eventually settled for a phone format, which also had to be abandoned because of bad reception. Jaclyn offered us her phone’s hotspot, which our colleague from Togo, Silvio Combey, used for a Skype appearance with the embassy in Lome. The hotspot chose to fail when it was our turn.

As the hours roll in and polls began closing, my anxiety began to mount. I spoke with my direct boss on phone telling him the total results might not be ready. I was told the management had decided that the paper for Wednesday must show a clear direction of who would lead U.S for the next four years. He said the editors were willing to wait till 5am (Wednesday) Nigerian time,

which was 10pm eastern time. Luck came my way some minutes before Obama made it past the 270 mark Electoral Votes when a colleague from Ghana, Isreal Laryea, who was one of the few able to get a very slow access to the wireless internet provided by the Obama for America offered me his system to work with. And I was very happy within myself that I was able to send the story at the nick of time. My spirit was lifted when as I called my boss, Mr. Niyi Adesina, that my story was in, he was screaming that Obama had been declared by CNN. It was a proud me who told him: “I have sent the story.” As I cut the call, I heard him say to someone: “check the box, Korede said he has sent the story.” This feat energised me to eagerly wait for Romney to concede and for Obama to make his acceptance speech. I soon received a mail from the Obama for America that he was on his way to where we were to accept his re-election. As we left the venue at about 1.30 am and waited for our driver in the cold morning, I was happy and glad that I was part of history.

$3m bribery scam: Otedola sues Tambuwal, A Lawan, two others for N250b BUSINESSMAN, Mr. Femi Otedola and his company, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited have sued House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and the suspended Chairman of the House Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime, Farouk Lawan, for N250billion. Also joined in the suit filed in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory are the Clerk of the National Assembly and the National Assembly. The two plaintiffs also vowed to expose how a $3million bribe was demanded from them by the first defendant, Farouk Lawan. In the court papers obtained by our correspondent, Otedola and his company gave details on the bribery saga between them and Lawan. The plaintiffs claim against the defendants jointly and severally as follows: The sum of N100billion as general damages for the alleged acts of intimidation, loss of goodwill and patronage occasioned by the acts of the defendants. The sum of N150billion as exemplary damages for their oppressive and arbitrary action In the statement of claim filed by Babajide Koku(SAN) and seven others who are the counsel to Otedola and Zenon Oil, the plaintiffs said they shall “at the trial rely on all call logs, audiovisual records of conversations and/ or meetings held with the first defendant (Lawan) in proof of the case.” They also gave an in-depth insight into how the bribery deal was struck. The statement of claim reads in part:

From Yusuf Alli, Kamorudeen Ogundele, Abuja

“The Ad Hoc Committee set up by the 2nd and 3rd defendants contacted the second plaintiff(Otedola) and informed him that the first plaintiff(Zenon) was going to be indicted by the Ad Hoc Committee for purchasing foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) without importing petroleum products unless the plaintiff parted with a bribe of US$3million. “The Second Plaintiff(Otedola) took pains to explain to Lawan that there was no basis for any such demand as it was not possible to purchase foreign exchange from the CBN through reputable first class banks without importing products. “The second plaintiff(Otedola) called Lawan’s bluff. To the consternation of the plaintiffs, the first defendant(Lawan) persisted in making calls to the second plaintiff(Otedola) threatening to include the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas in the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee which was about to be laid before the third defendant(The Clerk of the National Assembly). With findings and recommendations grossly adverse to the interest and corporate image of Zenon Petroleum and Gas unless Lawan’s demand for

payment was made. “Lawan continued to make harassing phone calls to Otedola calculated at intimidating the plaintiffs to meet the unlawful demand of the first defendant(Lawan) for bribe. “Otedola, faced with Lawan’s unrelenting barrage of intimidating calls became distressed and contacted the security agencies to report Lawan’s unlawful conduct. “The plaintiffs were advised by the security agencies to play along and handover marked notes to the first defendant(Lawan) and his cohorts for the purpose of gathering evidence of their nefarious activities. “On the 18th of April, 2012, Lawan presented and/or laid the report of the Ad Hoc before the 3rd defendant(the Clerk of the National Assembly) indicting the first plaintiff(Zenon Petroleum and Gas).” Otedola explained how the bribe was offered to Lawan and the Secretary of the Ad Hoc Committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo. The statement added: “Notwithstanding, Lawan kept harassing the plaintiffs, promising them that he could get the 3rd defendant to delist Zenon Petroleum and Gas name from the report if the US$3million bribe was paid to him by the plaintiffs. “The plaintiffs, on the advice of security agencies, handed over marked

notes totalling US$620,000 to Lawan and the Secretary of the Ad Hoc Committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo in the following manner: “On the 24th April 2012, US$500,000 was handed over to Lawan by Otedola. “At the request of Lawan, US$120,000 was handed over to Boniface Emenalo by Otedola. “On the morning of the 24th April 2012, Lawan at the plenary session of the House of Representatives moved the House to delist Zenon Petroleum and Gas from the list of indicted companies which request was granted. “After the 24th of April, 2012, Lawan persisted in making intimidating phone calls to the plaintiffs, harassing them to pay up the balance of US$2, 380,000. “As a result of the distress caused to the plaintiffs by Lawan’s persistent calls, the plaintiffs reported the matter to the police which invited Lawan and the plaintiffs for investigations. “Notwithstanding the ongoing police investigations and Lawan’s admission of receiving money from Otedola, the 2nd(Speaker) and the 4th (National Assembly) conspired to relist the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas to the list of indicted companies to embarrass the plaintiffs and their corporate and business image. “The plaintiffs shall contend at trial

•Otedola that the conspiracy by the Speaker and the National Assembly to re-list the name of Zenon Petroleum and Gas indicted by the Ad Hoc Committee is without basis, given that the committee’s finding was arrived at without proper verification of documents submitted by the plaintiffs to aid their enquiry. “The plaintiffs further aver that the action and conduct of the defendants were oppressive and arbitrary and thereby also resulting to their suffering substantial loss to their reputation, goodwill and business.” Tambuwal filed an objection through Mr. Kehinde Ogunuwuniju from the chamber of Chief Afe Babalola, stating that it is only the Federal High Court that can adjudicate over such matter. Justice Peter Kekemeke of the Abuja high Court however adjourned the case till November 23.



NEWS Oil barons ‘threaten Okonjo-Iweala’s life’ Continued from page 1

•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi (third right) after laying the foundation for Onitsha Hotel and Convention Centre...yesterday. With him are other officials

Ribadu panel’s report full of loopholes


NE week after the Nuhu Ribadu headed Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force (PRSTF) submitted its report to President Goodluck Jonathan, the Presidency is still fretting over issues raised by the chairman of the Task Force. At a news conference yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, took up issues with the former anti-corruption agency chief, questioning the neutrality and fair mindedness of Ribadu and his team. Ribadu could not be reached for comments all yesterday as he did not take his calls. With a wave of the hand, Okupe declared that the job of the Task Force was incomplete, as the team failed to engage consultants, as stipulated in the terms of reference of the Task Force. Okupe said: “The intention of President Jonathan was for the committee to do a holistic investigation into the intransigent challenges of our oil and gas industry in the past 10 years. Unfortunately, the committee has passed the job of verification and reconciliation back to the Federal Government. “One of the major terms of reference of the committee was

•Stakeholders back Alison-Madueke over reforms From Gbade Ogunwale, Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja and Emeka Ugwuanyi

to work with consultants and experts to determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes, royalties, etc) due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria. But this aspect of the committee assignment was left undone. “Unfortunately and most regrettably, this paramount duty of the PRSTF committee could not be accomplished as stated in paragraph four of the covering note signed by chairman and secretary of the committee.” Specifically, Okupe faulted paragraph 4 of a November 1, 2012 covering memo from the PRSTF to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, signed by Ribadu and secretary of the Task Force, Mr. Olasupo Shasore SAN. The paragraph reads: “The date used in this report was presented by various stakeholders who made submissions to the Task Force in the course of our assignment at various dates, which have been disclosed in relevant sections of the report. “Due to time frame of the assignment, some of the data

used could not be independently verified and the Task Force recommends that the Government should conduct such necessary verifications and reconciliations”. According to the President’s aide, the implication of the said paragraph is that the committee had issued a disclaimer on its own report. “This makes it impossible under our laws to indict or punish anybody, except and until the Federal Government fully verifies and reconciles the facts as recommended by the committee in its submission to the government”, Okupe stated. He, however, assured that a white paper would be issued on the report and that the recommendations would be implemented by the administration, after the Government must have “rectified the incompleteness of the document”. Okupe deplored what he described as the politicisation of the report and covert attempts in certain quarters to disparage the genuine efforts of President Jonathan to instill sanity in the oil sector. He continued: “There is a major public disinformation deliberately calculated to over-

heat the polity and cause disaffection and opprobrium against the President for doing what is right, what is needful and profitable for the nation. “Ribadu, to some extent, deliberately or inadvertently encouraged this negativism by his claims on his facebook page; that he resisted overtures to make him compromise the report. “I challenge Ribadu to make public those that wanted him to doctor the report. His claim of an overture to him to compromise the report is perfidious and false. “We respectfully enjoin Mallam Ribadu to be patriotic enough to name the proponents of this compromise. Ribadu claims that by serving on the committee, he is on the side of the Nigerian people. “Then on whose side is President Jonathan whose idea it was in the first place to set up the Task Force and who approved the appointment of Mallam Ribadu as chairman of the committee?” Okupe condemned the leakage of the report to a foreign news agency, Reuters and other international news media. According to him, two versions of the same report are in Continued on page 59

that cost the nation N382 billion but the list was later increased to 25 by the Federal Ministry of Finance, based on fresh evidence. The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, said of the N422 billion scrutinised, N18 billion was found to be duplication; N21 billion was cleared. But following investigation of the indicted marketers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Minister of Finance had been under threats. No fewer than a dozen armed anti-terrorism squad agents, policemen and State Security Service (SSS) operatives have been deployed in the Federal Ministry of Finance to protect the Minister. The Minister’s residence is also under 24-hour surveillance. A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some of the indicted oil marketers and barons have been threatening to deal with Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala for insisting that those behind the fuel subsidy scam must be punished. “The reality is that the Co-

ordinating Minister has stepped on toes by being adamant on allowing justice to run its full course on those who amassed ill-gotten wealth through the fuel subsidy scam. “Her major sin was the publication of the list of the indicted firms by the Ministry of Finance instead of other relevant organisations. “Besides elaborate character assassination, planting seed of discord within the cabinet, there are fears that these oil thieves might engage in ‘physical harms’, if all other options fail to get her out of the way.” Responding to a question, the source added: “What we have done so far is to beef up security around her in the office and at home. Also, her itinerary is now a jealously guarded secret.” Some of the indicted oil marketers are believed to be under watch by security agencies. One of them is said to have been isolated for championing anti-OkonjoIweala campaign and threats. Security agencies may prevail on the court to revoke his bail anytime from now, it was learnt.

Amnesty to govt: Address issues of rights abuses


MNESTY International (AI) yesterday urged the police and the army who criticised its report on human rights abuses in the country to address the issues it raised. It said the attack on the report that documents human rights violations by the police and the military is a diversionary tactic. Amnesty said it amounts to “shooting the messenger” when the security forces should really be concentrating on putting their house in order. It added that anyone who reads the report entitled: Nigeria: Trapped in the cycle of violence would see that it condemns the unlawful actions of Boko Haram in just as strong terms as it does those of the government forces.

By Joseph Jibueze

The group said prior to the publication, it had asked the police and the army to respond or comment on specific cases mentioned, which would have formed part of the report, but no response was received. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, speaking through the Chief of Civil/Military Affairs, Maj.Gen. Bitrus Kwaji, had said: “We want to point out that the methodology of arriving at the (Amnesty) report is based solely on a one-way research approach, which is the visit to Maiduguri, Bauchi, Kano and FCT. They claimed they interviewed the Boko Haram people. From all these, it is clear they did not seek the opinion of security agencies.” Continued on page 59

Buhari’s stand on Boko Haram rattles Presidency Continued from page 1

Boko Haram sect took to violence. According to him, the activities of the police “pushed the Boko Haram people to the wall”. Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe East) is a former governor Yobe State, which - along with Borno - is the epicenter of Boko Haram activities. He is also one of those nominated by the sect’s leadership to moderate its proposed talks with the Federal Government. Senator Ibrahim spoke on the floor of the Senate yesterday while contributing to the motion entitled “Recent banditry attack on Kabaru village in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.” The motion, sponsored by Senator Marafa Kabiru Garba (Zamfara Central) chronicles attacks in various parts of Zamfara. Ibrahim said he initially wanted to oppose the motion because its content is a daily occurrence in the Northeast. He described what is hap-

pening in the country as “really very sad.” The senator said contrary to the claim by Chief of Army Staff Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, Boko Haram is not the number one killer organisation in the country. Security agencies, he insisted, “are the number one killers in term of number.” Ibrahim said: “I am surprised that the other day the Chief of Army Staff said Boko Haram killed 3,000 people. The security agencies have killed a lot more than 3,000 people. “When this thing started, on the first day that this crisis erupted in Maiduguri , over 5,000 people were killed. “Boko Haram is just like any other religious sect; it has existed for ages. It is not a new phenomenon altogether, but it is the activities of security agencies, particularly the police, that pushed the Boko Haram people to the wall by killing their leaders, killing thousands of other innocent people. “That is what forced them to

come out against the Nigerian State. “It is the attitude of the security agencies, the way they operate, that really makes it worse not any better. “Of course, naturally, common criminals will take advantage of the situation to extort money from people and then the armed robbers are the second killers, and this is happening in Zamfara. “I fully support this motion because it is relevant to what is happening in other parts of the North, not just Zamfara State and I think the National Security Adviser, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff and other leaders should really take a close look and probably investigate the activities of security agencies. “They are killing people; many people, day in, day out. “If one army officer is killed in an area, they will come and cordon off the whole place and kill people they can get hold of and then burn all property in that area.

“What has property got to do with people killing security agents on the road? “If a security agent was killed on patrol, they will come and burn the whole area.” Senator Ibrahim explained that common criminals have cashed in on the situation by intimidating people and extorting money from them. “If you refuse to give them money, they will come and kill you in your house. People are now being forced to partially fund Boko Haram as a result of threats,” he said. Marafa, in his lead debate, said he was alarmed by the attack on Kabaru village on October 29. He noted that the attack was carried out by about 60 armed men, who killed 18 villagers, including the village head, Alhaji Maiyara. The lawmaker said that he was aware that an earlier attack of Guru and Tungar Baure communities in August 2011 resulted in the death of many villagers. He recalled that a similar at-

tack on Lingyado, Guru and Sammaje villages in September led to the mass killing of over 25 villagers as well as the reported house-to-house raid in June of Dangulbi district by armed bandits, who killed 27 people. He noted that the spate of attacks, besides resulting in loss of lives, had disrupted economic activities and livelihood of the communities in the surrounding villages and districts. Senator Sahabi Ya’u (Zamfara North) noted that what is happening in Zamfara State can only be described as “barbaric, inhuman and unfortunate.” Of more concern to him is the discovery that bandits are getting arms from police officers. He said: “The other day, an armed robber that was caught confirmed that a serving police officer supplied them with arms and ammunition. “To confirm what the armed robber said, a call was made through him (the armed robber) to the said police officer to Continued on page 59

•Gen. Buhari

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NEWS Constitution amendment: ANPP seeks health sector reform

Jonathan lauds Dangote over N2.5b donations to flood victims


ELIEF may have come the way of the flood victims as prominent Nigerians and institutions yesterday donated cash into the special fund set up by the Federal Government. Business mogul, Aliko Dangote, who is a co-Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation (PCFRR), led the pack when he made a donation of N2.5 billion and another N150 million for the running of the secretariat of the PCFRR. This philanthropic gesture did not escape the mention of President Goodluck Jonathan, as he described Dangote as a rare-breed that is always willing to give back to the society. The President of Dangote Group who had earlier donated N200 million to the Kogi State Government during his visit to the flood rav-

aged areas in the state, said it was the responsibility of Nigerians to bring smiles to the faces of the victims. President Jonathan at a fund raising dinner held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa had in his address of welcome, lamented the unpleasant situation the victims have been subjected to, which necessitated intervention by the Federal Government with the release of N17.6 billion. While urging Nigerians to respond to the call to help the flood victims, he said though the nation had witnessed several natural disasters in the past, none could be compared with the recent ones across the states. The President noted that the rampaging flood had rendered millions of citizens homeless, in addition to the scores of lives lost to the flood, while property and

farmlands have been destroyed. “Economic activities in the highly impacted area have also been affected. Although the economic losses are difficult to quantify at the moment, there are indications that they may be higher than our projections. We have witnessed several natural disasters in the past, none of them compares to what we currently experience in scale and scope,” President Jonathan said. He said he had a first-hand experience of the flood during his recent tour of some of the affected states and was shocked by the extent of devastation caused and the plight of the victims, who are exposed to the inclement consequences. Dangote said his visit to Kogi State was an eye opener, saying that “sometimes, we need to have the genuine

experience of deprivation and poverty in order to appreciate the need to be our brother’s keeper. We should be problem solvers and ready to make people happy when the opportunity comes. Nobody says ‘thank you’ for growing a profitable company, but people will say ‘thank you’ when you give.” While urging other Nigerians to donate generously to the cause, Dangote said the soul of business is not making money but making people happy. “I believe that people make the difference—and not the balance sheet. We impact positively on the lives of the people, not by how much money we have accumulated, but by how much goodwill we have accumulated.” Assuring that every kobo donated would be put into judicious use, Dangote said the fund would be transpar-

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja


ently managed and that as part of the transparency drive, the amount contributed or pledged will be displayed on a website: created to monitor the donations and the use they are being put into. To boost the donations, Dangote challenged the telecoms operators to consider donating N1 for every SMS sent through their network, to the victims in order to help ameliorate their condition.

Kolade okays varsity autonomy From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo


ORMER High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, has called for full autonomy of the country’s university administration. Speaking yesterday at a lecture marking the 50th anniversary of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, he said the university autonomy would provide a good platform for the success of the education sector in the country. In the lecture, entitled: “Possessors at the Gate”, he said the university autonomy was not an end itself. The former diplomat said the autonomy would rather provide the platform from which decisions that led to success should be taken. He challenged the management of Nigerian universities to set the best standard and train the students in the best way, which would help them acquire good character and knowledge. Stressing that knowledge without character is an incomplete outcome of the learning experience, Dr. Kolade said each university should decide which course to teach, what research to pursue and how the advancement of members of the faculty should be determined. Said he: “Though universities were created initially by government decision, it was recognised that such institutions must have a considerable autonomy.” Kolade, who decried the corruption in the country, which he said had permeated all sectors of the economy, noted that poverty and greed were responsible for corruption. He urged university authorities to carry out research into this problem. He said: “For instance, if corruption is our enemy number one, are there research efforts ongoing now that have the potential to generate original ammunition for fighting this enemy?”

•Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State (middle), Comrade Peter Adaymi, Regional Vice-President, Public Service International (right) and Comrade Mike Okeme, Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Matters, during the launch of Africa Municipal and Local Government Unions Network, held in Abuja... yesterday.

We are meeting security challenges, says Jonathan


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has restated that the country is winning the battle against terrorism. He spoke when he received letters of credence from the Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Mr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel. According to him, Nigeria has made significant progress in meeting security challeng-

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja


He said: “We are making progress in meeting our security challenges and we shall continue to improve. Investors have nothing to fear.” The President, who received three other ambassadors at different ceremonies, urged them to encourage business delegations from their coun-

tries to visit the country. Said he: “Nigeria is a huge market with many green areas waiting for investors. I enjoin you to prepare the ground for robust economic relations between our two countries.” President Jonathan told the new Egyptian Ambassador Mr. Ashraf Abdelkader Elmorsi Salama that the two countries have a crucial role to play in the African Union,

especially because of their strategic locations and population. The ambassadors said they were impressed by the opportunities in Nigeria and expressed their determination and commitment to improve trade and other mutually-beneficial relations with Nigeria. The other ambassadors are Mr. Svante Kilander of Sweden and Dr. Joachim Oppinger of Austria.”

THE All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) yesterday urged the National Assembly to have health reform entrenched in the ongoing constitutional amendment. It said the restructuring of the reform will help Nigerians get the basic minimum package of health that is affordable, sustainable, equitable and qualitative. ANPP also enjoined the Senate to fast-track the passage of the revised version of what it describes as a long overdue National Health Bill. According to a statement issued in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Emma Eneukwu, “the attention of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has been drawn to a media report yesterday about an assertion by the Senate Committee on Health that the country is losing N80 billion annually to medical trips abroad by Nigerians. Also in the report, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Mohammed Ali Pate, said the Ministry of Health got N278 billion in the 2013 budget, of which N14.5 billion was for capital expenditure. Bearing in mind that it is only the affluent in the society who can afford to travel for medical tourism, our party condemns this outrageous trend. More so, it is abominable that this Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government and its self-centred public officers abandon health reforms in Nigeria, in their misguided confidence that they could get proper medical treatment overseas. We believe that health is not the prerogative of the rich only; it is the right of every Nigerian. “It is unacceptable for the government to map out a budget for the health sector with less than 10 per cent for capital expenditure. Capital projects are needed for innovative intervention in the diminishing health status of the Nigerian people. Is it not a shame for a manifest giant of Africa that life expectancy in Nigeria is now 47 years, making it the lowest among West African countries? Yet this position is 30 per cent below the world’s average life expectancy, a situation that is attributable to some health factors, including high death rates in children and women, spread of polio virus, deaths due to carnage on Nigerian roads and epidemics.

el-Rufai’s trial: Plot 1201 in Asokoro belongs to the then Minister of Power, Power Holding Company of PHCN, says witness informing him that Plot 1201 Nigeria (PHCN) for the buildhad been encroached upon by ing of a sub-station.



WITNESS in the trial of former Minister of the FCT, Nasir el-Rufai, Mr. Michael Okoye, said Plot 1201, Asokoro District, was originally allocated to the

Okoye, a retired Assistant Manager (Works Services) at the PHCN, who testified before an Abuja High Court, said the land was for the building of a 132/33 KVA transmitting/injection sub-station. el-Rufai, Altine Jibrin, former Director-General of the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) and its former General Manager, Ismail Iro, are standing trial for abuse of office. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is charging the trio with illegal conversion of Plot

1201, a land meant for the building of a transmitting/injection sub-station for the PHCN in Asokoro. They were also alleged to have conspired and converted Plot 3352 in Maitama, belonging to NIPOST, for the building of a district post office. el-Rufai is accused of allocating 10 plots of land in Asokoro District to his family, including his two wives, Hadiza and Hasiya. The EFCC alleged that they committed the offence between 2003 and 2007. Led in evidence by EFCC’s

counsel Wahab Ibiwole, Okoye, who was also in charge of the Project Department of the PHCN, said the land was allocated to the company in 2003. The witness said due to encroachment on the land, PHCN was unable to build the power station and utilise the plot of land for the purpose it was meant. He also said to the best of his knowledge, there was never a time PHCN indicated that it did not need the plot of land. “When PHCN realised the encroachment, we wrote to

unknown people. “The PHCN also told the minister that it still needed the land for the building of the station, which would improve power supply to residents,” Okoye said. During cross-examination by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel to Iro, the third accused, Okoye agreed that before 2003, Plot 1201 was not allocated to PHCN. Justice Abubakar Umar adjourned further hearing in the case till December 11 for continuation of cross-examination of Okoye.



NEWS ‘Govt loses N32b to rice smuggling’ By Daniel Essiet


BOUT N32billion was lost to rice smuggling this year, a group, Rice Millers, Importers & Distributors Association of Nigeria (RIMIDAN) has said. The group urged the government to check the activities of smugglers as it is threatening food security and jeopardising the income of local rice farmers. Speaking in Lagos, yesterday, the President, Tunji Owoeye, warned that if rice smuggling is left unchecked, it would continue to be a barrier to the attainment of rice sufficiency and food security programmes. The quantum of rice being smuggled from the Republic of Benin, Owoeye observed, is increasing daily. An estimated 30,000 metric tonnes of rice, he said ,is being smuggled monthly into the country. The group donated rice worth N58 million to flood victims. They were presented to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA’s) Zonal Office in Lagos.

Reps, NBA bicker over referendum for Constitution Review T HE House of Representatives and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) once again took opposing views on the planned public sessions as part of the constitution review process. The process begins tomorrow across the 360 federal constituencies. During the opening of the public sessions by the Emeka Ihedioha-headed Ad hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution yesterday, the NBA reiterated its position on the style adopted by the House. NBA President Okey Wali (SAN) said the association would have preferred a referendum to infuse the position of the grassroots and the average Nigerian. The NBA chief said the argument proposed by the House that referendum is not in the constitution is the same argument that should bar the House from continuing with the planned public sessions as such a process was absent in the constitution. Wali said some of the issues the NBA would want addressed are indigeneship and state creation and that this should be by referendum.

Two held over failed bid to smuggle N38.2m

•Tambuwal kicks off people public sessions •Stakeholders laud lawmakers’ initiative

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

But Speaker Aminu Tambuwal expressed misgiving over the call for a referendum. He said: “While acknowledging the public compliments that have greeted the peoples’ public sessions initiative, I also note the well intentioned suggestions for alternatives, the most prominent being the referendum. “The House is conscious of the fact that in Section 4 of the constitution, legislative powers are vested in the National Assembly and in Section 9, the procedure for altering the constitution is expressly prescribed. “We also do not lose sight of Section 14, which encourages the promotion of popular participation by the citizenry in governance. “I consider it imperative, both in my capacity as Speaker and a lawyer, to say our preference is for the peoples public sessions rather

than referendum. “As an institution, we have sworn to defend the constitution. This implies that whatever our zeal in responding to public and even popular opinion on issues of critical national importance we must at all times be guided by the spirit and letter of this constitution.” Ihedioha, who is the Deputy Speaker, said the House had been concerned on how to achieve constitution amendment by involving the people. “It is in pursuit of this goal that the House leadership asked members of the House to go to all the 360 federal constituencies to mobilise the participation of Nigerians in the process. Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters Senator Joy Emordi, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan, lauded the House “for the wonderful initiative to give us a people oriented constitution.”

She said the constitution amendment in 2010 “left some grey areas” adding that “creation of states is an areas that must be looked at.” Senate Deputy Leader Abdul Ningi, who represented Senate President David Mark, urged the the National Assembly to stop trying to legitimise the constitution amendment. “Section 9 of the constitution spells out that the National Assembly has the power to review the constitution, so the legitimacy is given. “We were able to amend the constitution in 2010 and it’s an indication that we have the power. Anyone that has problems with that should get the people’s mandate correctly. They should come to the National Assembly.” He said the National Assembly is not amending the constitution by whims and caprices but by the will of the people. President of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Garba Mohammed said the union would want the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act included in the constitution review. “We want an Act on the public media whereby it will be independent, particularly where it concerns the ruling party,” he said. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) hailed the House for engaging Nigerians in producing a truly Nigerian constitution. Its President, Abdulwaheed Omar, said: “Being the true representatives of the people, you have done well in engaging all Nigerians in the constitution review. “I know with this we’ll have a credible, workable and reliable constitution that will be acceptable and owned by Nigerians. “The Congress is advocating for local government autonomy in the new constitution.” The National Council for Women Society caused a stir when its President, Mrs. Nkechi Uba, sought for a constitutional recognition of the First Lady’s office. “This is so we can put them in the budget for empowerment of women in the country,”Mrs Uba said.

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said it has arrested two suspects over a failed bid to smuggle more than $238,858 (N38,217,280) through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja . A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said: “One of the suspects, Abdulrasheed Ibrahim was nabbed on Wednesday as he was about to board an Ethiopian Airline flight to Dubai. “About $188,858 was found on him but he had declared only $45,000. Further search revealed an additional $143, 858. “He was also carrying £40 and 5753grammes of gold worth N34,518,000. The suspect is still being interrogated. “The second suspect, Hyginus Ezedimbu, was apprehended at the Abuja Airport on November 3 as he was about to to board an Ethiopian Airline flight to China . He was caught with $50,000 but he declared $49,971. “Apart from under-declaring the money in his possession, Ezedimbu could also not explain the ownership of the money, or produce the receipt with which he purportedly purchased the forex from a Bureau De Change. “The operator of Majia Bureau de Change, Musa Adamu, who allgedly sold the currency to Ezedimbu, has been questioned. “ The suspect has been released on administrative bail, pending the conclusion of investigation.”


Hope Harriman dies at 79


NE of Nigeria’s foremost businessmen, Chief Hope Harriman, is dead. He died in the United States on Wednesday. He was 79. His daughter,Temi, said the late business mogul was not really ill before his death. He was said to have travelled to Washington from Europe and was taking notes on the just-concluded US election. According to her, plans were on for his 80th birthday in January. His wife, Roli, a judge, was by his bedside. The late philanthropist was born in Warri, Delta State. He was a prominent Itsekiri leader, who played a major role in settling the Ijaw and Itsekiri crisis. He was a businessman. He studied at the Government College Ibadan, North Western Polytechnic, London and Christ’s College, Cambridge between 1955 and 1958. He was a Chartered Surveyor and a fellow of the

By Innocent Duru

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of which he was a former president. The deceased was also a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management. He was a member of Mobil board and Chairman, West African Milk Company (WAMCO). He joined the board of Evans Medical Plc on December 17, 2003. When our reporter visited his Lekki, Lagos home yesterday, the place was deserted. Only a driver, Godwin, was there.

•The late Harriman

•From left: Exhibitor, Dr Bruce Onobrakpeya; Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole; Chairman of the occasion Dr Tony Marinho; Director, Institute of African Studies Prof. Olawale Albert at the opening of an annual convocation fine art exhibition at the university…yesterday.

Reps to investigate Excess Crude Account, others


AVING declared the Excess Crude Account illegal, the House of Representatives has announced its intention to investigate the account. This is also in addition to an enquiry into the operations of the Stabilisation Fund Account, Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) Account as well as the Ecological Fund Account, among others. The House Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) has said individuals, corporate organisations and government officials have been indicted in its yet-to-be-presented report on the backlog of the Auditor-General’s report from 2003 to 2009. Chairman of the Committee Solomon Adeola yesterday said the Committee’s action should not be perceived as acting beyond its mandate.

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

He said the PAC was constitutionally empowered to carry out its investigation beyond government domain. The lawmaker said the discoveries by the Committee has exposed financial irregularities in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA). He said: “All is not well with the financial system of this country. A lot of revenues are going down the drain that are unknown to Nigerians. “The Excess Crude Account can not be found anywhere in the constitution and as such, it is illegal. “The account was not budgeted for. Who administers the account? “As members of the House, we do not have access to that account and the debit and credit. All we know is that there is an account by the

name of Excess Crude Account where excesses from crude oil sale go into. “However, let it be known that the committee is empowered by the constitution to investigate anybody but the way it goes is that we are looking into the AuditorGeneral’s report and the Federation Account, particularly which constitutes more than 60 percent of the report. “Contained in the B part of the report which is the Federation Account, were various kinds of accounts that includes the Ecological Fund Account which we are investigating. “Aside that, the Stabilisation Fund Account, which is under the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) is also being investigated. “An enquiry into how the account is administered is underway.

“As a result, there is no way that an account being reported by the Auditor-General report cannot be investigated by the PAC. “As such, we can now use the report where the Excess Cride Account was mentioned to ask for further accounts. “I must, however, tell you this, all is not well with the financial system of this country. “For instance, the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) Account is another area where we have the signature account. “How money is being paid and withdrawn from that account is not known to anybody. “It is just one of a series of accounts we are gong to investigate. “One way or the other, we are going to ask for that account and bring it to the attention of the public.”




Ikuforiji bags award By Oziegbe Okoeki

SPEAKER of the Lagos State House of Assembly Adeyemi Ikuforiji has been praised for promoting harmony between the legislature and the executive. Presenting him an award for Political Leadership at the Assembly complex on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Lagos State Ministry of Information Chapel of the Nigerian, Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Mukaila Sanusi, said under Ikuforiji’s leadership, the Assembly has become more credible and effective. According to him, the Assembly has effectively carried out its oversight functions without any rancour with the executive. Sanusi said: “The award is part of activities marking our press week in the Lagos State Ministry of Information Chapel of NUJ. Speaker Adeyemi is a friend of the media and he is my brother, he stood by me when I used to publish an Islamic journal years back. The House of Assembly has progressed under his leadership.” Ikuforiji praised the NUJ for the award, saying since he became the Speaker, he had been wary of receiving just any award. He said he accepted the award because it came from the Fourth Estate of the Realm. “The award of the state Ministry of Information Chapel of NUJ gladdens my heart. I am proud of it, not only because it is from the Fourth Estate of the Realm, which happens to be the watchdog of the society, but because I don’t even know how they arrived at the award. They have never invited me to any programme, I have never given them money for any project and they have never solicited for funds from me,” Ikuforji said.

‘Govt not behind uniform sale’ By Eric Ikhilae

THE Lagos State Chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has denied rumours that the government is planning to sell uniforms to drivers and conductors. NURTW Chairman Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede Agbede said yesterday that the information was untrue. He said that the arrangement the government has with leaders of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria(RTEAN) was for both unions to design appropriate uniforms for drivers and conductors. The unions and not the government are also to be responsible for the production and sale of the uniforms, he said. government. Agbede said the unions were discussing and would soon come out with uniforms that will be acceptable to all. He explained that NURTW, as a law abiding organisation will continue to partner with the state government to ensure peace and orderliness in the state.

08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:-

Traffic law challenges won’t last, says Fashola


AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday prayed for the people’s understanding over the Road Traffic Law, saying its inconveniences and challenges are only for a short time. Speaking at the 2012 edition of the Lagos State Community Day Celebration at the Police College,Ikeja, he urged residents to bear the inconveniences, especially the restriction of commercial motorcyclists, operation. He said the problems were characteristic of the introduction stage of every life -changing law and policy, adding that the legislation would benefit residents in the long-run. Schedule II of the law, which came into effect on August 2, restricts the operation of commercial motorcyclists on 475 routes across the state. Some of the routes include Ikorodu Road, Funsho Williams Avenue, Agege Motor Road, Lagos-Abeokuta Express Way, all roads in Lagos Island and Ikeja and all

Govt: Okada robberies, accidents have reduced R OBBERIES and accidents on commercial motorcycles have reduced following the coming of the Road Traffic Law, the Lagos State Security Council (LSSC) has said. Briefing reporters after its meeting on Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Mr Tunde Sobulo said the law’s enforcement has curtailed crime. Sobulo, who spoke at Lagos House, Marina, said there had been a drop in people taking an Okada for N3000 from Iyana -Ipaja to go and rob in Lekki or Victoria Island. He thanked the public for its understanding, adding that the security agencies are enjoying the people’s cooperation on the law’s enforcement. Sobulo said there was no going back on the restriction order because “it is meant to promote safety and security on the roads. “There are only a few ones left and they are the ones that do not belong to any union. They are operating on their own. By Miriam Ndikanwu

major bridges and highways. But commuters are complaining that the restriction has compounded transpor-

Customs foils travellers’ attempt to smuggle out N1.3b


HE Customs yesterday said it foiled attempts by some travellers to smuggle out over $8,297,000 (about N1,327,531,520) through the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, in the last three months. The Customs Area Comptroller Eporwei Charles Edike told reporters that the latest suspect was arrested with $137,435 (about N21.3 million) at the international wing of the airport yesterday. The passenger, Mr. Chukwuonu Nnaemeka John, was travelling to China with textbooks published in Nigeria with the purpose of reimporting them back to Nigeria, contrary to the copyrights law. Edike said Chukwuonu only declared $70,000 but another $67,437 was found hidden in the books following a

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

search. He said the area command would hand Chukwuonu over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), just as it did in similar cases in the past. The Customs chief said his office had been collaborating with the EFCC since September 24, adding that there is a working arrangement with the commission to fight the cash flight. The collaborative efforts, he said, were paying off as many travellers had been caught and handed over to the EFCC. “Also, in September, one Sheriff Abubakar Tijani was found with $4.5 million. He was also handed over to the EFCC’s Lagos Liaison office, which is working in tandem with the currency seat officer at the Lagos international Airport for further necessary action.”

Residents’ registration begins in January AGOS State Government has said it would begin the registration of all residents in January. Dropping the hint yesterday at the Lgos International trade Fair, the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LSRRA), Mr. Akin Akiniyi, said the agency has held a pilot exercise with public servants. He said the project is aimed at providing a database for all residents for better planning and governance. “Over 21 million people are estimated to be living in Lagos and there would be need for government to have their data base. “The exercise is equally necessary in view of the security situation and the influx of illegal aliens into the


state,” Akiniyi said. He said all residents, irrespective of ethnic background, as well as foreigners— including tourists— would be captured in the exercise scheduled to hold between January and March 2013. “Government has the responsibility to cater for everyone residing in Lagos, regardless of their state or the country they came from, “ he said. Akiniyi said identity cards would be issued to those who are captured during the exercise, to differentiate between legal residents and illegal immigrants. He said government would be able to accurately determine the overall resources required in formulating and implementing policies, projects and programmes, after the exercise.

Besides robbery, Okada accident is reducing by the day. “The accidents involving Okada is going to zero, using Okadas to rob in hold ups, or during closing hours have been reduced. Following people from banks to their houses to snatch their money has also disappeared.” He said by the end of the year, the crime rate would have reduced significantly as there is no society without crime, adding that the security agencies will keep on doing what they should do to protect law-abiding citizens. With Sobulo during the briefing were Commanding Officer, NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Navy Commodore Martins Njoku; Commander, 9th Brigade, Ikeja Cantonment, Brig-Gen. Pat Akem; Commander, 435 Base Services Group, Nigeria Airforce, Air Commodore Tony Omenyi and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Major Tunde Panox.

tation problems as they now wait for hours at bus stops. Apparently responding to such complaints, Fashola said: “There will be no gain without some pain. You should be ready to sacrifice if you want some reward. “Every time we inconvenience you because we are constructing a road, or

building drainage, within a short time you begin to drive on the road and see your environment flood free by the next rainfall. “This is the kind of way in which we can work together, sharing responsibility. The idea that everything should be done by the leader is an idea that robs you of your responsibility. “People who should or-

dinarily live fruitful and productive lives are in their graves today because of road accidents especially caused by commercial motorcyclists. “So, the Road Traffic Law is meant to keep you safe and alive. Okada will not be our transportation model in this state. Other states have banned it and heavens did not fall in those states. Our state will not be a dumping ground for motorcycles. “Instead of banning it here, what we have done is to restrict their operation on 475 roads out of 9,000 roads. I think with that, we have been extremely generous. “What we want from residents is some sacrifice. When we were building BRT corridors a few years ago, people complained of some inconvenience, but now the BRT has been accepted by everybody. “We seek understanding and sacrifice on this Okada restriction. It is for the safety of lives. It is for the state`s development.” The governor said the state would continue to explore ways to improve its transportation system and tackle some of its challenges. He said work on the state‘s light rail project was going at a fast pace, adding that when completed, it would boost the transport system.



NEWS Honour for Jakande, others A MAGAZINE, The Nigerian Education Times, is to honour former Lagos State Governor Lateef Jakande at its sixth Award of Excellence ceremony in Lagos. Secretary of the Award Committee Tunde Ogunsola said former Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs. Sinatu Ojikutu; secretaries to the state governments of Kogi, Abia and Imo, Profs Olugbemiro Jegede, Mkpa Agu Mkpa and Tony Anwuka will also be honoured. The event will hold on November 15 at the Auditorium 3 of the Centre for Management Development (CMD), Lagos. Former Minister of Youth Development Akinlabi Olasunkanmi will deliver a lecture, entitled: Nigerian Youth and the Challenge of National Development. Minister of Education Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I and Governor Babatunde Fashola will be Special Guests of Honour at the event to be chaired by Dr. Onaolapo Sholeye.

Mark: lawmakers have no hidden agenda S

ENATE President David Mark yesterday said the National Assembly has no preconceived agenda on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution. Mark spoke when a delegation of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), led by its President, Okey Wali, visited him in Abuja. Mark said: “All we are interested in is mobilising Nigerians involved in the process of the constitution amendment. “We have no agenda but that which majority of Nigerians desire. “I have heard people criticise my position on the desirability of state creation.

From Onyedi Ojiabor,

Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

“There is no part or geopolitical zone in the country that has not requested for a state. “ It is not a David Mark agenda. We shall weigh the scale and respond to the genuine desire of Nigerians. “This is a democracy; everybody should be allowed to express him or herself. “What we oppose is a situation where a vocal minority wants to impose its views on the majority.”

Mark said the amendment would be guided by the dictates of the constitution. “We shall not do anything outside the constitution,” he said. He said public hearings would be held in the 109 Senatorial Districts. The House of Representatives will visit the 360 federal constituencies to get the views of Nigerians on the amendment. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu told the NBA that the process of constitution amendment does

not require a referendum. Also, Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba restated that the process of constitution amendment would be all embracing, assuring that no group would be sidelined. He stressed that referendum as a process can only be accepted if the Constitution is amended to accommodate it. Wali suggested a referendum as a process for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution. He said it is only when all Nigerians participate in the process that the Constitution can be truly called the Constitution of the people of Nigeria.

Why some people want me sacked, by Alison-Madueke


HE Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani AlisonMadueke, has attributed the call for her sack to her “insistence on doing things the right way.” The minister said the few people calling for her sack were doing so because she has refused to continue the “business as usual” tradition in the oil and gas sector. She noted that those labelling her as corrupt and inefficient are people who are afraid of the reforms in the

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

sector. The minister, who spoke with reporters in Abuja, yesterday assured that she would continue to push for the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan in the oil and gas sector. Mrs Alison-Madueke said those fighting the government in the media “were doing so because we have been able to frustrate their efforts in strangulating the economy

at the expense of the people.” “I would not want to join issues with those criticising me because they are crying foul. “What is hurting them is that we have policies in place where they can no longer cheat the government.” The minister hailed the cordial relationship between her and top officials of the ministry, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petroleum Pricing and Marketing Company

•Mrs Alison-Madueke

(PPMC), Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) as well as other parastatals of the ministry.

We’ll transform education, says Wike •Jakande


INISTER of State for Education Nyesom Wike has said the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration would improve the quality of education in the country. The minister spoke in Kaduna yesterday at the opening of the Third National Teachers Summit for Education Stakeholders. He said education is the key to the realisation of the government’s Transformation Agenda. “Education is at the heart of Mr President’s Transformation Agenda and no effort will be spared in making it a reality.

“The Executive is passionate and committed to leaving a legacy of transforming Nigeria.” Wike urged stakeholders to support the administration’s efforts at reviving the sector. The minister hailed the management of the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) for programmes aimed at improving the qualiity of teachers. He said the summit would help to improve the quality of teachers. The theme of the summit is: “Enhancing Teacher Education Quality and Professional Development”.

‘Nigeria has never bought a sniffer dog’ From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


HE Director-General of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Femi Ajayi, yesterday said Nigeria has never purchased a sniffer dog to aid security operations in the country. He said the dogs being used by the agency were handouts from friendly countries, including the United States, Germany and South Africa. Ajayi spoke in Ado-Ekiti at a five-day Annual Congress of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association. Ajayi lamented the gross underfunding of the agency, saying “we don’t even have up to 10 dogs in the agency.” The congress, which attracted veterinary specialists/professionals across the country, has the theme: ‘Veterinarians in Agricultural Transformation and National Security’. He said: “It is more expensive to maintain a sniffer dog than a human being. “NDLEA is one of the poorly funded agencies. Capital budget for the agency in 2012 is N100 million but just N40 million has been released. Last year, N42 million was released out of N84.5 million. “All the scanners in the four international airports were donated to the country. “If we are serious about controlling the borders, we are not showing it in the funding of the agency.” Governor Kayode Fayemi, who spoke through the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Babajide Arowosafe, said Nigeria is witnessing a transformation, which must bring changes in the economy.

Fed Govt okays $250m for project From Augustine Ehikioya and Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja


HE Federal Government has approved the transfer of about $250 million to support the Integrated Implementation Framework (IIF). The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Dr. Precious Gbeneol, said this at a briefing on Nigeria’s partnership on the IIF yesterday in Abuja. The IIF is an initiative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban KiMoon. The project is aimed at tracking financial and policy commitments made towards achieving the MDGs. Ms Gbeneol said: “President Goodluck Jonathan has approved, through the Office of the MDGs a transfer of $250 million for the implementation of the IIF. “Nigeria alongside South Korea and Canada made the pledge to the UN SecretaryGeneral. “The framework pools together all existing information on the international community’s financial and policy commitments. It will be a tool to ensure accountability and transparency in the attainment of the MDGs by 2015.” She explained that the project, which reflects Nigeria’s contribution to United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC), will enable all stakeholders to monitor and comment on the actual implementation of MDG projects in the country and across the world.

Ajimobi for book launch


YO State Governor Abiola Ajimobi will be the Special Guest of Honour at the public presentation of the book, Home Away From Home...History of Ogbomoso people in Jos, on Tuesday at the Eko FM Multipurpose Hall, Ikeja. The book written by Olayinka Oyegbile, Deputy Editor, The Nation on Sunday, is a chronicle of the history of Jos through the eyes of Ogbomoso people, who arrived there as traders in the 19th Century. It takes a dispassionate look at the development the city has witnessed and how Ogbomoso people, through their business acumen, helped developed the city. It also took a cursory look at the Action Group (AG) crisis ,which started in Jos in 1961, involving the late Chief Ladoke Akintola, the then Premier of the Western Region and a prominent son of Ogbomoso and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market Ayo Adeseun will chair the occasion while the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, will be the Royal Father of the Day. Others expected are Mrs Mulikat Akande-Adeola, Majority Leader, House of Representatives, former Governor Adebayo AlaoAkala. The Chief Presenter is Prince Abidoye Ayoola.



NEWS NCAA Director-General urges Medview Airlines on safe operations


HE Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, yesterday urged the management of Medview Airlines to be conscious of safety, zero fatality and accident among airlines. Demuren, who spoke at the inaugural flight of Medview Airlines at the new domestic Terminal Two of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, said the pursuit of air safety is the collective responsibility of the airlines, industry regulators and aeronautical service providers. He enjoined the carrier to offer premium services that will fill the gap created since the crash of DANA Air, leading to drastic measures in the industry that have reduced the number of domestic operators. Demurin said passengers were finding it difficult to secure seats on airlines after the steps taken to reposition the industry for profitability. He added that the com-

Commissioner urges churches to develop communities


HE Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, has urged churches to mobilise members to develop their communities by clearing gutters and drainages, to prevent flooding. Ayinde, who spoke yesterday at the Revival 2012 Ministers’ Conference with the theme: “Rebuilding the Waste Places”, organised by the Upper Room Baptist Church, Ketu, Lagos and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in conjunction with the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) of Chicago, United States of America (USA), said churches have a role to play in the development of the communities. He said government alone could not develop the communities, adding that churches should complement its efforts by embarking on developmental projects. The General Overseer of the Upper Room Baptist Church and Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Kosofe province, Pastor Leke Akinola, said members of his church ensure the development of Ketu, Kosofe and environs by embarking on community development projects. Speakers at the conference are Mr. Dave Clark from USA, Dr. Bethany Dudley from USA, Prof. Timothy Nubi and Mr. Gregory Ijiwola.

Baptists hold Night of Breakthrough


AGOS East Baptist Conference (LEBC) will hold a spiritually-enriching programme, tagged: “The Night of Breakthrough”, today. The Conference President, Rev. E.A. Awotunde, said the programme would be held at the First Baptist Church, Oshodi, Lagos, from 10 pm.

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

mencement of flights by Medview will offer alternatives to passengers. Demuren said it took the NCAA a rigorous process to issue an air operator certificate to the airline, adding that the authority scrutinised the manuals to ensure that the operations would be safe. He said the airline carried out 50 hours and 45 minutes of demonstration flights without carrying passengers to ensure the safety and competence of the airline, its aircraft and flight. The NCAA Director-General said it took the aviation authority 18 months to look at the books of the airline be-

fore approving its operations, which he explained would reduce the burden of passengers in the sector. The inaugural flight was also witnessed by Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu, who urged the management to adhere to safety procedures. The Chairman of Medview Airlines, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, solicited the cooperation of industry players to keep the airline afloat. He promised that the airline would offer prompt and reliable services that will add value to air transportation. The former Managing Director of the Nigeria Airways, Mr. Yomi Jones, enjoined industry players to cooperate to guarantee the

UI matriculates 6,945 students From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan



progress of the aviation sector. The Managing Director of Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited, Mr. Olu Owolabi, promised to provide ground handling services that will enhance the operations of Medview.

HE University of Ibadan (UI) yesterday held a matriculation for 6,945 Distance Learning Centre (DLC) students admitted for the 2011/2012 session. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Adewole, urged the students to shun indiscipline. He said 9,850 students applied for the programme, of which 7,000 were offered provisional admission, adding that 6,945 accepted the offer. “It is important to emphasise that DLC education involves self-paced and learner-centred study that enables a student to have the benefit of higher education from any location with minimal face-to-face contact. In view of the pronouncement and clampdown on part time programmes in some Nigerian universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC), it is important to stress that we don’t run any part-time programme,” Adewole said. The VC urged the new students to be IT-driven because the operations of the centre are technological-based. He said: “Academic excellence is founded on the kernel of hard work and character. This university is getting noticed for its emphasis on hard work and high moral standard. We are committed to a truly distance learning provision. This is why the centre has embarked on various reforms. Apart from an enhanced IT- aided learning, the students will benefit from two rounds of interactive sessions and a final revision as against one omnibus interactive session.”



NEWS Lawmaker, Compass MD in stable condition

Ondo gets four more judges From Damisi Ojo, Akure

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

THE National Judicial Council (NJC), Abuja, has approved the appointment of four Judges in Ondo State. They are the Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Prince Aderemi Adegoroye; the Deputy Chief Registrar 2 (DCR2), Mrs. Lara Adejumo; the Director of Civil Litigation in the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Rotimi Olamide and Mr. Peter Ikujuni of the State High court in Okitipupa. This brings the number of judges in the state to 21. Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi of the NJC said: “We have 25 High Courts in Ondo State and Judges. Now that we have four new Judges, they would occupy some of the vacant courts.”

Osun CJ frees 14 inmates OUTGOING Chief Judge of Osun State Justice Olaniyi Ojo yesterday pardoned 14 inmates, who were awaiting trial. Eight were freed at Ilesa Prison and six at Ile-Ife prison. They include Adewale Okeowo and Arogundade Abiodun, who had been awaiting trial for alleged armed robbery for 11 years. Justice Ojo said the cases of the freed inmates were unjustly delayed. He urged the freed inmates to be well-behaved. The Deputy Controller of Prisons in Osun, Mr Kunle Babalola, said the CJ’s action has decongested the prisons and advised the beficiaries to make good use of their chance to be responsible citizens.


•From left: Prof. Wole Soyinka; Chairperson, Women in Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), Mrs. Adeola Azeez and the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Ms Evelyn Oputu, at the WIMBIZ 2012 Annual Conference...yesterday.

Oyo, UK firm sign MoU on N4b Soya milk firm T

HE Oyo State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a United Kingdom (UK) milk producing company, Kama Milk Industry, for the production of Soya milk. The establishment of the company will cost N4 billion. The company is expected to produce about 750,000 metric tons of soya milk annually and provide 100,000 jobs when it becomes operational. At the signing of the MoU in his office in Ibadan, the state capital, Governor Abiola Ajimobi said the

GUS 9: Luck runs out on Priscillia


riscillia Ezeh walked through the proverbial valley of the shadow of death several times on Gulder Ultimate Search 9. Scathed on many occasions, she managed to scale through Gatekeepers’ tasks and puzzles. The tasks she failed – fortunately for her – were not Gatekeeper’s tests; hence she escaped evictions many times. She got away with “slaps on her wrists.” She was the first GUS warrior to bear the burden of the Stump of Shame. Her initial humiliation was followed by a string of successes and her elevation to the position of Head Warrior – twice and backto-back. There was also the dramatic comeback against Bornford Patience, who at a point during the games was a threat against even the male contestants. But fate has dealt her a wicked blow. Her exit was further buoyed by the disobedience of James Adah,

Ifet Iniobong and herself, for their group’s failure to adhere to the instructions of Chidi Mokeme, the Anchor man when they abandoned the construction of the Guard Tower. The day’s task involved the warriors solving a riddle; after which the Gatekeeper would point them in the direction of an obstacle course where they would get three pieces of a clue. Washing the back of the clues would reveal co-ordinates which would lead them to the hidden keys with the aid of a compass. By the time the remaining warriors had found the clues, Priscillia was still battling with the first phase of the challenge. James won the challenge. Ifet’s discovery of the 6th hidden key sealed the fate of Priscillia. GUS 9 continues tonight on AIT, African Magic World (DSTV), Real Star (Star Times), AKBC, Uyo and ITV, Benin at 10pm.

From Oseheye Okwuofu and Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

company’s decision to invest in Oyo was the product of his many foreign trips. He said: “The MoU is one of the products of our promotion. We are now having a company involved in the large manufacturing of Soya milk, which will be the second largest in Africa.” Assuring the firm’s management of an enabling environment, Ajimobi said:

“We are ready to partner you and provide an enabling environment for you to succeed.” He said the company would be provided with 25 hectares of land for the production of soya beans for animal feeds. The governor said apart from the land being provided at the Industrial Park on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the company would also be given a large farmland in Oke-Ogun,

which would serve as a feeder. He urged the management to ensure that the company begins operation within three months. Ajimobi said: “I expect that in the next three months, we will be able to turn the sod in Oyo State and have that factory. I will like to open the factory by September next year.” The Managing Director of Kama Milk Industry, Mr. Dipak Mirchandani, assured the governor that the company would boost the state’s economy.

MEMBER of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr. Bamidele Ojo and the Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief of Compass, Mr. Adesina Kawonise, who were shot by gunmen in separate attacks, are in a stable condition, it was learnt yesterday. A source at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, where both of them are on admissioned, said they are recuperating fast. Ojo, who is representing Ibadan South East II on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was shot by gunmen in Ibadan on Sunday morning. The hoodlums snatched his Toyota Avensis car. Ojo has undergone two surgeries, in which bullets were extracted from his body. Kawonise and his security detail were shot by gunmen on the Akure-Ilesha Highway on Monday night. They were rushed to a private hospital. The policeman was transferred to the Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa, Osun State, and Kawonise to UCH. The source at UCH said: “Both of them are in a stable condition. They are recuperating fast. Kawonise was shot in the leg and doctors had to do grafting for him. He is responding well to treatment. Ojo is also doing well. He is improving.” Also yesterday, the Oyo State Police Command reshuffled Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and Divisional Crime Officers (DCOs) across the 27 divisions. In a statement, police spokesman Ayodele Lanade said Commissioner of Police Joseph Mbu took the decision to reposition the command.

Oyo Assembly clears two commissioner-nominees


HE Oyo State House of Assembly yesterday confirmed the nomination of Alhaja Mutiat Adeyemi, daughter of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111 and a former Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Taiwo Otegbeye, as commissioners. Though their portfolios are yet to be announced, The Nation gathered that Alhaja Adeyemi may be posted to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Otegbeye the Ministry of Information and Orientation. Their names were sent to the House on Monday after Governor Abiola Ajimobi sacked three commissioners and reshuffled the State Executive Council. When the nominees appeared before the House yesterday,

•Extends tenure of council chiefs amid tight security From Bisi Oladele and Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

Otegbeye was drilled and Alhaja Adeyemi was told to take a bow and leave. Otegbeye said he would provide timely and truthful information on the administration’s programmes and policies, if deployed in the Information Ministry. The lawmakers also extended the tenure of transition committee chairmen in 29 local government areas. The extension, which is for six months, is the third since the inception of the Ajimobi administration. The motion for the approval of the extension was moved by the Majority Leader, Mr.

Oyeniran Akande, and was unanimously supported by the 32-member House. Speaker Monsurat Sunmonu said the chairmen had been screened and approved to govern their councils for the next six months. Chairman of the House Committee on Local Government Affairs Femi Adelakun said the approval was based on the performance of the chairmen. Over 60 heavily armed policemen, an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and various bomb detection devices were on the premises of the Assembly Complex to maintain law and order. Adelakun said the heavy presence of security agents was due to the information that some

miscreants were planning to disrupt their sitting. Mr. Yisau Adesope said the security operatives were on ground to ensure their safety, following recent attacks on lawmakers. Adesope said: “We are not safe again, Hon. Bamidele Ojo was shot by robbers on Monday and he is still in the hospital. Hon. Fakorede Farintan was also attacked by hoodlums and his vehicle was snatched. The homes of two lawmakers were also burgled. Some people are after Oyo lawmakers.” The lawmaker said they cannot perform their legislative functions in an unsafe environment.

Ogun PDP suspends Olurin, four others


HE Chief Adebayo Dayo-led Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State yesterday suspended the parallel Executive Committee Chairman, Senator Dipo Odujinrin and four others backing his “illegal office”. Others are the party’s candidate in the 2011 governorship election, Gen. Adetunji Olurin (rtd.); PDP National Auditor Bode Mustapaha; Mr. Dapo Adeyemi and Mr. Yahaya Ahmed. In a statement by its Secretary, Mr. Semiu Sodipo, the Dayo-led executive said the sus-

•Faction sacks Kashamu, five others From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

pension was in accordance with Article 21.1 a, b, f, h, j and Article 21.4 of the party’s constitution. It accused the suspended members of indulging in “excessive, illegal and provocative actions”. The statement reads: “All legal pronouncements by the Federal and State High courts have clearly stated that the Dayoled executive remains the only PDP executive in Ogun State until March, 2016. “It is public knowledge that the impostor Odujinrin group

invaded the state’s party secretariat with armed thugs to intimidate officers and staff of the party. All efforts to get the police and the State Security Service (SSS) to redress this anomaly to date have proved abortive. “The Odujirin group has been undermining the legitimate function of the Dayo-led executive by taking illegal actions in violation of the reconciliation efforts by the hitherto separate groups belonging to the former Minister for Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril MartinsKuye, former Governor Gbenga

Daniel and Prince Buruji Kashamu. “It is hoped that this disciplinary action would rein in other divisive tendencies in the party and enhance the ongoing reconciliation and integration of the major groups.” The Publicity Secretary of the Odujinrin faction, Mr. Bidemi Osunbiyi, said his faction has in turn suspended Kashamu, Dayo, Chief Pegba Otemolu, Sodipo and Mr. Segun Sowunmi. Osunbiyi said: “The suspension is for 30 days, during which they will face the State Disciplinary Committee to answer to the charges against them.”





Eurobond yields slip after S&P rating


IELDS on Nigeria’s $500 million Eurobonds fell after Standard & Poor’s raised its rating on the country. Borrowing costs on the 6.75 per cent dollar debt maturing in 2021 slipped one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 4.42 per cent at the London trading, the lowest level since their January 2011 issue. Yields on the Eurobonds have tumbled 169 basis points this year. The naira was steady at N157.3 a dollar on the interbank market in Lagos. S&P increased Nigeria’s credit rating to BB-, three levels below investment grade, yesterday, as the country increased foreign-currency reserves because of high oil prices and due to the government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies in January, raise electricity tariffs and privatise the state-run power industry. Moody’s Investors Service separately assigned Nigeria a Ba3 rating yesterday, the equivalent of its grades at S&P and Fitch. “S&P cited the country’s strong external reserves which have held firmly above the $40 billion threshold in recent months as underpinning its improved outlook on the country,” Oludare Fajimolu and Gloria Obayagbo, Lagosbased analysts at CSL Stockbrokers Limited, wrote in an e-mailed note yesterday. “The rating agency also hinted at improved optimism about progress with on-going financial and power sector reform programs.” Yields on Nigeria’s 16.39 per cent local currency bonds due 2022 declined one basis point to 12.77 per cent, according to yesterday’s prices compiled on the website of the Financial Markets Dealers Association. “Nigeria’s rating upgrade holds the potential to improve the global attractiveness of the local debt market, in our view,” the CSL Stockbrokers analysts said. Ghana’s cedi rose less than 0.1 percent to 1.8806 a dollar in Accra, the capital.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -10.5% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending -22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $35.8b FOREX CFA -0.2958 EUR -206.9 £ -242.1 $ -156 ¥ -1.9179 SDR -238 RIYAL -40.472

The $75 benchmark price will safeguard what is precious to the economy which is the macro-economic stability of the country. - Dr Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Minister of Finance

2013 budget: Reps insist on $80 T oil benchmark HE House of Repre sentatives has accused the Presidency of playing politics with the benchmark for the 2013 budget, saying its decision on the $80 oil benchmark is final. It said the Executive was against the position of the House over the increase on the benchmark from $75 to $80, stating that some people benefit directly from the sharp practices inherent in sourcing internal loans for the Federal Government from banks and financial institutions in the country. At a briefing with reporters, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed, said the Presidency had been crying wolf over the increase without advancing any superior argument, insisting that the position of the House on the $80 per barrel benchmark was closed. The benchmark for the 2013 budget has been generating controversy between the Executive and the Legis-

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

lature. While the Presidency proposed $75 per barrel of crude oil for the 2013 budget, the House insisted on $80 as a means of reducing internal borrowing. While domestic debt of the country stands at N6.3 trillion, the Federal Government has proposed domestic borrowing of N727 billion in the 2013 budget proposal. But the House is saying the $5 increase if used to service the debt will bring the domestic debt down to N230 billion, freeing funds for the private sector to access. The Reps spokesman said if the nation has a thriving private sector, the economy will be vibrant and many people in the various constituencies will have jobs

and live better lives. His words: “We are the representatives of the people; we are with them the whole time. We know how they feel and nobody can bully us into what we know is not right. It’s a matter of semantics. “It is the politics of the belly. Nigerians must be given value for their money and that, we insist, must happen. In apparent response to the position of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala who, while appearing before the House Committee on Aids, Loans and Debts advised the National Assembly not to politicise the benchmark issue, Mohammed said the Minister’s position does not hold water, as the House did not pluck the $80 benchmark out of the air. Okonjo-iweala had said: “I do not want to enter into dis-

cussion on the benchmark, but I do want to urge the honorable members to please bear with us because benchmark price is really something that is based on professional and technical work. “It is not really a political matter. It is a technical issue and it is underpinned by a module like in many other countries. And I would really want to say that in Nigeria, we should not politicize the issue of benchmark. “We should be professional and technical about it. In countries like Chile, for instance, they even have a committee of experts that determine their benchmark.” In his response, Mohammed said: “With due respect, we have professionals in this House, we didn’t just come up with a figure for the benchmark, We have Chartered Accountants and Economists, of even better standing than some of those who believe they have the

monopoly of knowledge to run this government. “We have said, give us superior argument on technical grounds. Rather than say ‘don’t politicise it’. The economy is the life-wire of any nation and as legislators, if we refuse to correct what we perceive as being wrong, posterity will never forgive us.” The lawmaker debunked the insinuation that the House was being vindictive because of welfare issues relating to paucity of funds from the Presidency to members as incentives to give the 2013 budget a speedy passage. He said: “At no time did the House demand for money from anybody, and I say whoever has proof should come and tell us the people that asked for money for certain things to be done, and that’s why we’re taking this stance.It is not everybody that money can buy.

Cargo airports coming for Abuja, Lagos, others From Bukola Amusan, Abuja


• From left: Group Managing Director, Diamond Bank, Dr Alex Otti; Executive Director, Corporate Banking. Uzoma Dozie and Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, Nkechi Nwosu, at the unveiling of a new identity of the bank, at Southern Sun Hotel, Lagos ... on Wednesday. PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHAEL

Senate queries NNPC over $500m NPDC revenue


HE Director-General of the Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogwu, yesterday failed to explain to Senators why the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) did not include the projected revenue accruable annually to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Ahmed Makarfi had asked Okogwu, who appeared before the lawmakers to defend his 2013 budget estimates why the NNPC failed to include the amount in the budget framework. A member of the Committee, Senator Bukola Saraki, noted that such revenue

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Asst. Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

accruable to NPDC, a subsidiary of NNPC, could be in the threshold of $500 million per annum. Okogwu tried unsuccessfully to explain the omission but the Senators were unmoved, saying only the NNPC could provide it with satisfactory answers. The Budget Office helmsman told the lawmakers that the NNPC had an agreement with Federal Government, which predated the present administration where it was allowed to spend revenues accruals from NPDC to run its operation. He said: “The understanding is that they need money

to run the organisation since provision was not made for them in the annual budget.” But Senator Saraki berated the Ministry of Finance for not capturing the revenue at a critical period when the Federal Government is looking for money to finance the budget. The former Governor of Kwara State said: “I think this idea contravenes the constitutional provision that requires that all revenue must be paid into government coffers. “We must take a second look at this because we are looking for money everywhere and such a huge item that could be up to half a billion dollars is not captured in the budget?” Makarfi said that the NPDC revenue and others

might lead to adjustment in the revenue profile for the 2013 budget. He said: “We are going to invite NNPC to shed further light on this. This is one of the adjustments that will be made to the revenue framework.” The Senators also asked Okogwu to explain why the independent producers also pay zero amount for royalties from the marginal oil fields that they acquired. Okogwu said the revenues from the marginal fields were insignificant because the fields had been exhausted before they were acquired. The lawmakers insisted that the royalties could not be zero. They mandated the directorgeneral to furnish them with accruals from the marginal fields profit tax.

HE Federal Govern ment would construct six bulk-produce cargo airports in Abuja and five other states, the Minister of State for FCT, Ms. Olajumoke Akinjide, has said. The Minister, who stated this yesterday during a meeting with members of the Local Organising Committee on Agricultural Show & Exhibition in the Abuja, said the cargo airports to be sited in Lagos, Rivers, Benue and Plateau states, would be used for transporting bulk agricultural produce. She reiterated the government’s commitment to making the country sufficient in rice production by 2014. “The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working assiduously for Nigeria to be rice sufficient by 2014. “The government in collaboration with states have initiated a Rice Mills Programme and is procuring rice mills which would be distributed across the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The FCT is expected to get two of the rice mills which will be located in Abaji and Kwali Area Councils,” she explained. Endorsing the agricultural show and exhibition, Ms. Akinjide advised the youths to take up employment in agriculture which she stated, is financially rewarding. “The Federal Government has revolutionised the agriculture sector with the development of a new policy aimed at commercialising agriculture. The Government has introduced the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) aimed at revamping the agriculture sector, ensuring food security, diversifying the economy, and enhancing foreign exchange earnings.




Senate okays N250.8b for NDDC


HE Senate yesterday a p p r o v e d N250,857,925,434.00 for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the 2012 Budget. The upper chamber had on September 20 considered the request of President Goodluck Jonathan to approve the 2012 budgetary proposal of the commission. The proposed budget was, thereafter, referred o the Committee on Niger Delta for further legislative action. Yesterday, the proposal was unanimously endorsed by the lawmakers. Senate President, Senator David Mark, however, cautioned the commission over late presentation of its

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Asst. Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

budget. He noted that a situation where a budget is presented two months to the end of the year was unacceptable. The Senate President warned that the management of the Commission must present the 2013 budget before the end of the year if it wanted it to be considered by the Senate. He noted that since 1999, the management of the commission has made it a habit of presenting its budget late, resulting in little or no implementation of the budget. He said: “This is totally unacceptable. How do they intend to spend N250 billion

before the end of the year? “Such has been the issue since the beginning of this administration.This is not right and if we don’t get the budget for 2013 before the end of this year, they should forget it.” He added that the management and staff of the commission should know that their integrity is at stake. He charged the Senate Committee on Niger Delta to step up the oversight of the commission, saying they have a lot of work to do. The approved budget included Personal Expenditure of N10,218,484,743, Overhead Expenditure of N7,565,400,131,00, Capital Expenditure (internal) Ex-

penditure of N1,017,825,000 as well as Projects (Development) Expenditure of N232,056,215,560. Chairman of the committee, Senator James Manager, explained that the nonproject expenditure, such as Personnel, Overhead and the Internal Capital totaling N14,555.28 million represented 7.5 per cent of the total proposed budget for the year as against 6.7 per cent in 2011. The Committee also noted that due to peculiar nature of the NDDC budget, it is necessary to separate the Capital budget meant for use internally by the Commission from the Capital budget for projects development.

States to establish One-Stop Investment Centres, says Aganga


HE Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has said the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) is working with states to ensure that they establish their own One-Stop Investment Centres. The Minister disclosed this at the closing ceremony of the Eighth National Conference on Investment (NCI) in Abuja, with the theme, ‘Creating jobs and wealth through increased investment in small and growing enterprises in Nigeria.’ He said the NCI is to sensitise the public on the investment opportunities and incentives available in the various states. He said: “The NCI was initiated to, among other

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

things, provide an avenue for sensitising the investing public on the investment opportunities and incentives available in the various states and also serve as a platform for stakeholders to interact and evolve strategies that will make Nigeria the preferred investment destination among the emerging markets. “There is on-going collaboration between the NIPC and some states of the federation, to establish Onestop Investment Centres and investment promotion outfits in the different states. This is to ensure that OSIC facilities are available at the grass roots. He said the NCI has made progress, especially by ensuring that harmony existed between the Federal and state governments in investment incentives, adding that all the tiers of governments are working to develop a sector-specific investment policy document to provide a level playing field for investors. Aganga said before 2004 when the NCI was initiated, there was only a small synergy in the investment promotion strategy of the Federal Government and the states. He said this was not in the interest of the economy, as all levels of governments were working at cross purposes with conflicting signals being sent to investors about Nigeria’s readiness to attract investment. “For instance, while the Federal Government on the one hand was ready to waive the corporate tax for industries with pioneer status, some states still introduced myriads of taxes thereby nullifying the benefits of pioneer status incentives to investors.

NAMA spends N15b on facilities’ upgrade By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor


IGERIAN Airspace Management Agency(NAMA), yesterday said it is operating its air navigation services with modern technology restating that it does not run the agency on obsolete equipment. NAMA’ss General Manager, Public Affairs , Supo Atobatele, explained that the airspace agency spends about N15 billion annually on the upgrade of its operational facilities. He said : “ Facilities like the radar, Instrument Landing System(ILS),Very High Omnidirectional Radio Range(VOR) and the VHF radio system are all digital and their installations at airports across the country over the years, have enhanced the safety of the nation’s airspace. These equipment are all working at a optimal level, while training of staff has been intensified to sustain the safety drive. The agency added that as part of the ongoing transformation of the industry,t he Federal Government has paid almost 95 per cent of the cost to the foreign contractor handling the AIS automation.




‘Check destructive impact of invasive insects’


O guarantee food security, crop protection expert, Dr Daniel Gwary has called on the government to check the destructive impact of invasive insects on crops. Gwary, who is of the Department of Crop Protection, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, made the call in the light of the changes caused by climate change, adding that the effects of these insects on crops and food stuffs are now more acute. Speaking with The Nation, Gwary cited the devasting floods that ravaged some geopolitical regions of the country as an example, saying that faming communities have been affected. He said the floods have in its wake acted as a transportation agent for some of these insects He said there is need for more surveillance to stop such invasive species from entering the country as they could cause massive crop damage. According to him, many species are carried into the country by people who are either unaware of the laws or are trying to beat them. He said fruits, vegetables and spices tainted with insects or infections, could destroy crops. According to him, the insects target farms and agricultural regions, and that the climate change make it easy for foreign species to survive

Stories by Daniel Essiet

and reproduce in their new homes. He said the government needs to put plant and insect scientists along customs officers at the borders to stop the country’s exposure to destructive insects and infections. He said plant-protection professionals have to be sent to identified pest-stricken areas. According to him, farmers are likely to confront more aggressive and invasive insects with increased use of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Where increases in water and chemical inputs become necessary, he said this will increase costs for the farmer. The Northern region suffers from food insecurity issues, including locusts which invade the area threatening local agriculture and intensifying food shortage crisis. According to him, locusts also pose a threat to crops as they can migrate over huge distances. He said there is a high risk when the number of locust increases. ‘’If they aren’t controlled, the locusts could move across the region. If nothing is done,’’ he said, ‘’there is the potential for another plague.’’ He said the governments in the North mobilised teams into the remote locust areas to control the spread, adding that campaigns are carried out to help the affected areas.

Monarch seeks support for small farmers


HE Emir of Bauchi, Malam Rilwanu Suleiman, has called on agricultural engineers to give priority to the needs of small scale farmers. He made the call when he received members of the Nigerian Institution of Agriculture Engineers in his palace. He said such attention would boost the transformation agenda in the sector. The Emir, who was represented by the Galadiman Bauchi, Alhaji Saidu Ibrahim, said the small scale farmers need agric engineering infrastructure. “As a farmer, I sometimes find it difficult to find capable hands to take care of the machinery in my farm. I have to leave the farm which is far from the town to come and look for mechanics when there is a breakdown. “’I think these are areas which agriculture engineers should look at,

address them and ease the challenges faced by small farmers in their quest to go universal,’’ he said. He added that the level of food availability and value additions would be improved if necessary measures are taken by the government and other stakeholders in the sector. In his remark, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Alhaji Bukar Tijjani, said the Goodluck Jonathan administration was committed to uplifting the standard of living of Nigerians through agriculture. The minister, who was represented by Alhaji Mohammad Yusuf, a Director in the Agriculture Ministry, said the members of the institution would dwell on ways of implementing the government’s agenda. He said it was the desire of members to see that the agricultural value chain was maximised to the benefit of farmers.

• From right: Osun Commissioner for Agriculture Wale Adedoyin; his Women Affairs and Social Welfare counterpart, Mrs Mofolake Adegboyega; President, Association of Farmers, Saxon Anhalt, Germany, Prof Fritz Schuman; Professor of Soil Processing & Chemical Biology, Martin Luther University, Saxony Anhalt, Prof Bruno Glasser; Director, Department of Renewed Energy, and Dr. Heinke Schimpf and Dean, Faculty of Natural Science, Prof Peter Wycisk, during the experts’ visit to the state.

Agency urges Africa to embrace biotechnology


HE Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Solomon Bamidele, has urged African nations to embrace modern biotechnology application to achieve food security. He made the call at a workshop by the African Bio-safety Network of Expertise (ABNE), under the auspices of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja. He stressed the need to modify genes as well as transfer them to enhance agricultural productivity, adding that the technology would address the challenge of food security in Africa. He said: “Other continents have been adopting genetic modifications and transfer of genes to address their immediate problems. “We are required to also develop genes that will serve African demands and that will portray our technological advancement in food production.’’ Bamidele appealed to the Presidency to pass the Bio-safety bill into law, adding that the enactment would engender regulation in biotechnology.

•From left: Special Assistant to lagos State Governor on Agriculture, Dr Nureni Funsho; Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olajide Bashorun, during the press conference on Lagos Sea Food Festival. PHOTOS: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

He noted that the delay in the passage of the bill would affect biotechnology development in the country. According to him, the delay in the enactment of the law will lead to “efforts in futility’’and will neglect the potential of the biotechnological practice in Nigeria. The Director of ABNE, Planning and Coordinating Agency in NEPAD, Dr Diran Makinde, urged the President to give accent to the Bio-safety Bill, to enable Nigerians to benefit from the new technology. He lamented that the delay in the enactment of the law was an obstacle to agricultural productivity in Nigeria, adding that the new technology was capable of enhancing food production and adding value to the economy of the nation. He said that NEPAD was ready

to support biotechnological development in Nigeria. He said the Bill Gates Foundation had proposed a special grant to achieve biotechnology development in the country. “Ours is partnership and we are ready to partner with organisations and develop their existing structures. “Other African countries have enacted their bio-safety laws since 2006 and Nigeria is yet to enact the laws to ensure adequate regulation of the biotechnology application. Also speaking, the Desk Officer of the Bio-safety Office in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr Rufus Ebegba, expressed the readiness of the Ministry of Environment to regulate bio-safety practices in the country. He assured of the inter-agency’s cooperation to achieve biotechnology development in the country.

Flood: Rice processors urge restraint on importation


HE Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) has called on the Federal Government to resist the call for massive importation of rice to mitigate the impact of the recent flood disaster in the country. Chairman of the association, Mohammed Abubakar, who made the call in Abuja at a news briefing, said there was no need to entertain any fear as “there are adequate stocks of rice in the country to meet immediate demands. “It is our view that there exists 600,000 tonnes in the country and with rice harvest starting in November, additional stock of up to half a million tonnes will be added to the national food stock.’’ While urging the government to avoid orchestrated panic and doomsday projection, he said government should carefully consider appropriate measures and response that would not “damage our national interest,’’ adding that from preliminary investigations in the flood affected areas, it is estimated that about 40 per cent of the rice crop may have been lost, particularly in the lowlands and swampy areas near the major rivers. “This may create a supply shortage of about 1.5 million tonness in the local availability of paddy,

translating to milled rice shortfall of about one million tonnes. “This should not create a major food crisis or food shortage to the level being touted by rice merchants and speculators, who are advocating massive rice importation.’’ Applauding the government’s policy on rice production, the association said investment in rice processing had exceeded N200 billion in the past four years. Noting that the Federal Government was working on the establishment of 40 new rice mills in 2013 in addition to the existing 15, the association expressed belief that the country would in the next two years stop importation of rice. It, therefore, called on the government not to allow the efforts put in place to be jeopardised by saboteurs of the economy. It also called for the establishment of a minimum producer price for paddy harvested to enable farmers to survive and rise from the adversity. “If it becomes inevitable to meet the shortfall from local capacity, then it can be done through importation, and the import permits should be issued to bona fide local investors in the relevant subsector.’




FCTA launches 20 vans for meat haulage


HE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has launched 20 vans for meat haulage. Speaking on the occasion in Karu, the Minister of State for FCT, Ms Olajumoke Akinjide, said the project represents the first phase of the FCT meat haulage programme aimed at ensuring hygienic meat consumption. Ms. Akinjide, who was represented by the Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mrs Olvadi Madayi, said: “The importance of consuming hygienic food in improving the quality of life of the populace cannot be over emphasised; meat being a perishable product, must be handled right or it may endanger public health. “This administration views the existing way of transporting meat in rickety vehicles, motorcycles among others with disdain hence the launching of this pilot scheme with 20 vehicles.” Ms Akinjide said because of the number of animal slaughter centres in the territory, there was a need to expand the pilot scheme to cover the entire slaughtering points. She said the programme was being operated under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement and called on interested individuals and organisations to participate in the

Stories by Daniel Essiet, Agric Correspondent

venture. The minister said the specified vehicles for transporting meat are dedicated meat vans and tricycles with a meat haulage compartment. She said the internal coverings of the meat compartment of the vehicles must be made of stainless steel sheets to ensure non-metal contamination of meat in line with NAFDAC standards. Ms Akinjide said the administration had concluded arrangements with a private investor to build and operate an ultra-modern abattoir in TunganMaje. “This abattoir when operational will serve the Federal capital city and introduce meat processing and packaging in the territory,’’ she said. The Minister called on stakeholders, such as NAFDAC, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Nigeria Police Force, and Federal Road Safety Commission, among others, to assist in the enforcement of the meat haulage policy. Earlier in her speech, Mrs Madayi, who was represented by the Director of Administration and Finance, Mr John Obiahu, said the programme was being operated by her office and Lead Automobile

Company. “Lead Automobile Company Ltd has been an important key player in the meat Haulage policy actualisation and the company made substantial input to the formulation of the policy,’’ she said. Dr Joseph Nyager, the Director, Federal Livestock Department, said the transformation in the livestock sub-sector was aimed at developing the value chains in key livestock commodities of beef, dairy, poultry, leather, small ruminants and pigs. He said the launching of the FCT meat haulage programme was in line with the beef value chain initiative of the livestock transformation agenda. According to him, the socio-economic importance of abattoir development, hygienic meat processing and distribution cannot be over emphasised. “Hygienic meat processing and distribution will go a long way in improving the supply of safe and wholesome meat and meat products. “It will also facilitate local, interstate and foreign trade in meat and meat products,’’ Nyager said. He said the initiative would also strengthen disease surveillance, improve data collection on prevailing animal diseases, generate employment and create wealth for the teeming youths in the FCT.

Oil benchmark, agric and related issues


HE conflict over the oil benchmark price has as, usual put the budget on the front burner. According to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala and her team, pegging the oil benchmark price for the 2013 Budget at $75 per barrel will make the economy less susceptible to economic downturns. Besides suggesting a review of the fiscal policy to target diversification of the economy and reduction of the cost of governance, Okonjo-Iweala also emphasised increased savings by maintaining a solid foreign reserve to serve as a shock absorber. Agriculture, her ministry believes, will enhance the economy. She is also an advocate of in-


creased foreign reserve, which stood at $42 billion as at last month. This is in line with the ministry’s goal of hitting a foreign reserve of $50 billion before the end of the year. The National Assembly has a different view of what the benchmark for the 2013 Budget should be. The Senate wants $78 per barrel; the House of Representatives, $80. Their reason for this is to enable the country wipe out fiscal deficit. Can the National Assembly be right in its position? The answer is no. The Ministry of Finance has raised some profound points. According to the ministry, the advantages of savings will, among oth-

ers, spur foreign investment into the country. The foreign reserve is used as index by potential foreign investors to ascertain the strength of the host country; its economic viability to foster and sustain business interests as well boost confidence in the country. Increased savings also enhance the capacity of the Central Bank to intervene in the foreign exchange market and to control any adverse movement and further stabilise foreign exchange rates to provide a more favourable economic environment. The finance minister sounds like she knows what she is saying. She should be allowed to do what she knows best than follow the lawmakers lock in step.

Expert warns on overfishing

HE nation’s fish population is suffering from overfishing, a university don, Prof Matins Anetekhai, has said. He said with increasing over consumption, the nation’s fish supply is tilting towards extinction. Anetekhai, who is of Faculty of Science, Department of Fisheries, Lagos State University (LASU), ex-

plained overfishing occurs when fish are caught faster than they can reproduce, warning that if left unchecked, this could jeopardise the food security in Nigeria. He said fish population near the shore depletes more quickly when they are overfished and take much longer to recover. Anetekhai expressed concern that overfishing takes place where there is no adequate regulation or

policing; areas where rogue fleets, equipped with high-tech ships can poach without consequences. According to him, slight fluctuations in temperature could cause fish to seek new habitats. He explained that increases in temperature from global warming can cause climatic shifts that harmful to ocean life, undercutting the supply of key food sources and causing the collapse of some fisheries.

• From left: President, Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr Sayina Riman; Southwest Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Julius Odeyemi, his Southsouth counterpart, Mr Martin Odey and the Cocoa Transformation team leader, Dr. Peter Aikpokpodion, at the two-day workshop on 2012 progress report and 2013 plan design held at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan


Kwara open for investment in agric


ITH a total land area of 34,600 square kilometres and annual rainfall of 1,500mm, Kwara State is richly endowed in agricultural terms. The state has leadership in production and export of a number of agricultural commodities. The principal cash crops are cotton, cocoa, coffee, kolanuts, tobacco leaves, beniseed and palm produce. There is potential for further large increases in productivity from known technologies. Agriculture is diversified and its exports are successful internationally. Exports of industrially processed foods are on the rise. The government of Kwara State has identified agriculture as an essential tool for fighting the problems of poverty and unemployment and ensuring food security. Agriculture also has the capacity to effectively bring about sustainable rural transformation and improvement in the general wellbeing of the people. The government sees developments in the agriculture sector as necessary for industrialisation and exports in order to keep domestic prices low and raise revenue for investment in other areas of the economy. The state is investing in education, irrigation and rural roads. The result is that agriculture continued to grow, but also that the sector now only provides half of rural jobs but that farmers take advantage of the investment to diversify. Gradually, agricultural development is facilitating its transformation into an urbanised economy based around manufacturing. There have been two phases: rapid agricultural growth based on utilisation of underused land and labour; and, as farming began to shed land and labour, slower but continued growth through higher productivity. Much has been achieved through private initiative. The state has played an essential role in setting the investment climate and supporting agricultural credit to small farmers. The launch of the State’s agricultural master plan promises to significantly turn around the state’s economy. The government is working towards producing highly competitive exports, based on increasingly diversified and specialised farming. In collaboration with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, the state has tried to build up cassava yield and also develop processing capacity. This has been aided by the Cassava Resource and Technology Transfer Centre (CRTTC) in Ilorin, where the state has set up a large cassava processing factory for the production of high-quality cassava flour and cassava chips. The administration has also made available substantial funds to tackle the problem of inadequate funding and poor infrastructure. Some 22 new tractors and 22 sets of Baldan implements were purchased to help with the cultivation of 711.14 hectares of land for the production of cassava, maize, rice and soya beans, as well as land cultivation subsidised. The government also established a cashew processing industry in Ogbondoroko in Asa Local Government Area in partnership with a private company. So the state boasts the OLAM

•Governor Ahmed By Daniel Essiet

cashew processing factory. The plant has over 1,500 workers on its payroll, all of whom are provided with free accommodation and a subsidised transport system. At full capacity, the factory is capable of processing 13,000 metric tons of cashew nuts every year and the state is now seeking more investors in this sector. Managed by an Indian company, it is exporting processed cashew nuts to Europe. The state is well-known with Shonga Farms, involving 13 Zimbabwean farmers who have now relocated and settled in the Shonga area. Each farmer was given 1,000 hectares of land with a long commercial farming lease. In view of the huge capital outlay required to fund an agricultural project of this magnitude, Shonga Farms Holding Limited was incorporated as a special purpose vehicle to facilitate the funding and working capital needed to mobilize the public- private partnership. The project was centred on three different farming activities: dairy, poultry and mixed. By providing subsidised inputs and guaranteed credit facilities to small-scale farmers, crop production has also grown dramatically. The government has unfolded an ambitious plan to make the state the agricultural capital of West Africa and attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the sector. Investors have Kwara as an immediate market for their produce . The state shares a border with Benin Republic. There are already some cross border business activities taking place, especially in cattle and meat.he state government is committed to provide favourable conditions for investors. serious investor are provided suitable land within a few weeks. The administration is to assist investors with infrastructure, such as roads, electricity and water. The sector has many investment opportunities. With vast areas of arable land and enough manpower the conditions are really favourable. One can invest in direct production, processing, transport, the provision of agricultural inputs and even marketing. There are orchards that produce many fruits such as oranges pineapple, cashew and mango for processing investors. Processing is one area that holds much promise for investors.There are numerous opportunities in cattle, poultry and fish farming.






Council to compensate fire victims Akwa Ibom




Oshiomhole to boost fish production

N40m splashed on constituency






Page 17


Anambra begins flood victims’ resettlement


•Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo

FTER a bumpy start, the Federal Government’s Amnesty programme, introduced to rehabilitate ex-militias in the Niger Delta, is beginning to yield positive results. Next month, some 46 members of the former combatants who were sent on a ninemonth course to OGES Training Centre “Gregore Loachim”, a petroleum training institute in Romania, shall be graduating in various technical courses in oil and gas. Speaking to our correspondent in Abuja, the coordinator of the contingent, Dr Mandy Okechukwu, said the Amnesty agenda is indeed yielding good results as the boys who were almost written off as miscreants shall be moving up the social ladder, having exhibited exemplary character and above average mentality, contrary to the apprehension of those that knew them in their dark days in the creeks. “The boys are giving a good account of themselves, a kind of a surprise to many people who had seen them as belligerent loafers; they are in the last lap of their training programme and barring any unforeseen circumstances, they should all be graduating by December and coming back home to be gainfully employed in their various fields of study which is oil and gas. “In fact, one of them has gained admission into a university to study Chemical Engineering,” says Mandy. Dr Mandy who holds a doctoral degree in Industrial Economics from one of the universities in Romania, averred that the hitherto skewed perception of the boys about the society before they left Nigeria literally fizzled away, the very moment they arrived at the Bucharest airport where they were received by the Nigerian ambassador to Romania, Mr.

HE resettlement of people displaced by flood in Anambra State has begun in earnest, with the committee set up by Governor Peter Obi visiting communities hit by the disaster to assess the extent of damage. The team led by Secretary of the State Government, Mr Oseloka Obaze, said their major concern is how to prevent an epidemic in those areas. The committee received the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Relations, Senator

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

Ben Ndi Obi, at the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Awka. Senator Obi responded to the call by the governor for more support to the victims of the flood with over 300 tubers of yam, 21 bags of rice, 21 bags of semovita, garri, beans, among others. Obaze said: “The bigger challenges are yet to come which is resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the victims

and again, the biggest of them all is hunger”. “We are going to need more help from our people; my own house is under water but my concern is for those who have no means of fixing themselves back because some of us are not equal; I can take care of myself. “Yes, Mr President approved N17 billion for the victims while Anambra that is in the A-list got N500 million; when the water recedes, you will see that some trillions of naira will be required.”

Senator Obi commended Governor Obi for his quick intervention on the situation which he said equally ravaged some parts of the country. He warned that if the situation is not properly tackled, the effect of epidemics would be devastating. This, according to him, was the major reason President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated a committee, the same reason the Obi committee •Continued on Page 46


•Ex-militants being trained in South Africa

46 ex-militants to graduate from Romanian institute Beneficiaries express gratitude to govt From Faith Yahaya, Abuja

Mba M. Mba, accompanied by the head of the Chancery and the First Secretary, including a team from the training school, led by its head, Professor Ioan Filipas and the press. “It was an emotional moment for the trainees going by the cali-

bre of dignitaries that welcomed them to the city. “They were given inspirational talk by the Mayor of the city, the Nigerian ambassador to Romania, the head of the training school and my humble self on the need for them to take their destinies in their hands and not to forget that what they put into the

program is what they will get out of it. “Not oblivious of where they are coming from, we were impelled to cater for their spiritual needs as well. Therefore, a branch of The Redeemed Christian Church of God was opened near the school headed by one Pastor Femi.

“All these, coupled with the close guidance of their supervisor and project manager, Engr. Marius Crisan were like combatanonic that helped to boost their self esteem in readiness for the rigors of learning a new trade in a new environment“ Mandy said that the trainees are in high spirits, stressing that many of them never believed that they could ever leave the shores of this country, let alone become students again, and be trained to work in the oil industry. One of the boys, Solomon Komawei Gbonwei, the spokesperson of the contin•Continued on Page 46



Council to compensate fire victims

Edo to boost fish production


•Governor Oshiomhole


HE Edo State government says it is ready to boost fish production following the payment of N10 million as counterpart fund under the ECOWAS Fish Fund Project. The Director of Fishery, Edo Ministry of Agriculture,Mr Joseph Ugiagbe, stated this in an interview with newsmen in Auchi. He said the payment had qualified the state to participate in the project which is available to all member countries of the regional body. Ugiagbe also said that under the second phase of the project N200 million credit facility would be available for access by fish farmers in the state. According to him, the second phase has been expanded to include fish pond owners, fish

Local govt holds public hearing on HE ongoing public sessions on the review of the 1999 Constitution of the constitution review Federal Republic of Nigeria taking

place in all the Federal Constituencies in the country holds in the Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency 1, Lagos State, tomorrow Scheduled for 10am at the Bright Vile Hall, No. 33, Adeyemi Street, Arowojobe Bus Stop, Oshodi, Lagos, a statement by the Constituency Office of the member representing the area in the House of Representatives, Hon. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, said the public session, which will draw participation from all segments of the society, including traditional leaders, community leaders, religious groups and leaders, members of all political parties with presence in the area, market men and women, non-governmental organisations and civil society groups, artisans, trade unions, various ethnic groups, transport unions and students and youth representatives, among others will discuss and take a position on the various sections of the federal constitu-

tion that have been slated for review by the house. The statement further added that the forum would as well welcome, discuss and adopt fresh memoranda, suggestions and recommendations that would not only enhance any of the sections slated for review but would give the country a truly people’s constitution. Amid ranging public debate, including calls for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) or a National Conference to evolve a truly peoples’ constitution for the country, the House of Representatives came up with the idea of the public sessions across the federal constituencies in the country to collate opinions, ideas and recommendations of their constituents as well as get their endorsements for the proposed sections of the 1999 constitution earmarked for review by it.


Edo processors, distributors and marketers. He explained that all the 36 states and the FCT would participate in the second phase. Ugiagbe recalled that only 11 states participated in the first phase of the project, hitherto limited to only the fishermen. He said the fund was with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), ready for disbursement. The director, however, expressed regrets that some fish farmers in the state may not be able to access the loan until certain conditions of the bank are met. According to him, the bank had insisted that 85 per cent of the previous loan obtained by fishermen in the state should be paid before they can take another. He said that 111 farmers out of the 214 who benefited from the scheme between 1993 and 2006 had failed to repay their loans. Ugiagbe noted that the farmers still owed more than N11 million. “The bank is insisting that the defaulters must pay up to 85 per cent of what they owe for it to start disbursing the new loans,’’ he explained.

•From right: Leader, Oshodi Isolo Local Government Legislative Arm, Hon Azeez Shobayo presenting a merit award to Dr Abdulateef Akegbeyale (middle) during the Oshodi Nobel Heritage award. With them is Dr Soliu Balogun



HE Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has awarded contracts worth N900 million for the rehabilitation of dilapidated roads in Cross River State. FERMA Maintenance Engineer in the state, Mr Effiong Bassey, told journalists in Calabar that the contract was expected to last for one year. Bassey said work had already begun on the affected roads since September. According to him, they include CalabarIkom, Ugep-Ikom and Calabar-Atimbo roads.

He explained that three different contractors were expected to handle the CalabarIkom road and Ugep to Aleize road in Ikom due to their sorry state. “We started from Km 123 in Ugep up to km 160 plus 700 as one section, Km 160 plus 170 to km 182 for two sections and Km 182 to Km 188 for section three. He also told newsmen that the contract sum ranged from N294 million to N296 million. Bassey said the agency would also spend about N44 million to repair failed portion of

By Duro Babayemi

from a dirty environment to a clean environment, with the acquisition of the truck”. He charged the environmental unit of the council to ensure proper use of the equipment in order to achieve the purpose of its acquisition, while adding that the truck will also be used to clear waste generated by public primary health centres in the council as well as public primary and secondary schools and waste gathered by street sweepers. In his remark,the council manager, Babatunde Olaide Mesewaku acknowledged that the purchase of the truck was an achievement for the council in the area of environmental sanitation. He praised Bamigbetan and the council’s executive for seeing the acquisition of the truck as a necessity, while charging the environmental unit to make the best use of it. The Head of Environment Unit in the council, Mrs Olatunde Sherifat, expressed appreciation to the council chairman for providing the facility, saying that the truck will assist the council to tackle its environmental problem.

•Hon. Bamigbetan(right) and other council officials inaugurating the truck

HE Esit Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has promised to provide relief materials for the victims of fire incident at Ndon Eyo Uquo community in the area. The chairman of the council, Chief Ibanga Etang, made the promise when he visited the community to commiserate with the victims. “It is rather a pity that at this time when most people are finding it difficult to have a meal, this can happen to somebody. “The local government will see what we can do by way of sending some relief materials to the families to alleviate their immediate sufferings,” he said. Etang urged the victims to bear the misfortune, promising that the council would also assist in rehabilitating them. It would be recalled that fire last Sunday, gutted some buildings in the community and destroyed valuables, documents and an undisclosed amount of money. The incident happened at 2.00 am when most families had gone to church for vigil. He said that the council would embark on an enlightenment programme to teach

Akwa Ibom the people on measures to take to prevent reoccurrence of fire disaster in future. Etang added that the council was supporting the state government’s plan to establish fire stations in all local governments by providing accommodation for the firemen posted to the area. He said the presence of such personnel would nib in the bud fire incidents in the future. Chief Okon Ekpo, the village head of the community, who spoke on behalf of the victims, appealed to the council to hasten the assistance to cushion the effects of the disaster on the victims.

the Calabar-Atimbo road. He explained that the road project would cover km 14 to km 29, and attributed the bad portion of the road to the rainy season. “It is the rainy season that caused the road to collapse and fail. If the road had failed when we were preparing the proposal, maybe it will have gotten up to N100 million,’’ he said. Bassey, however, said that the agency had put measures in place to monitor the performance and quality of work on the roads. “I have posted some of my staff to work with the contractors to ensure that what we ask them to do is exactly what they are doing. “On my own part, every week I must make sure I reach the project site to see the progress the contractors are making on the field,’’ he said. He warned that any contractor who failed not leave up to expectation would be sanctioned. “I will not pay any contractor who does not leave up to expectation, if he doesn’t do what we ask him to do, I won’t pay him.’’ Bassey said the agency had also released more than N4 million to patch potholes in the state, adding that work on Calabar Odukpani road would start before the end of the year.

T was all smiles last Fridayas five students of Saint Jude’s Secondary School, Festac Town, Lagos received different cash prizes for emerging as first beneficiaries of My Education Quiz Play organised by Foundation for Effective Leadership and Development, a non-

Honour to a community leader

•From left: Mr Aminu Muritala, Technical Manager, StarTimes; Mr Song Wei, Director StarTimes Mobile TV; Engr Broder Eduke of NTA and Mr Yomi Badejo, CMC Connect during the media briefing on Merry Saver promo by NTA-STARTV Network Ltd (StarTimes) PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA and Merry held at NTA premises, Victoria Isalnd, Lagos

Group seeks end to marginalisation


SOCIAL group, Owolawule Club, made up of Igede, Benue State elite in Lagos, has urged Governor Gabriel Suswam to begin the process of restructuring the state’s power sharing formula in line with the ethnic groups. In a statement by its chairman Mr Andrew Onah, it urged the governor to urgently correct “the in-balance” in the state’s “socio-political and economic distribution” which is skewed against the Igede ethnic group. It said Igede risks going into political extinction if something is not done to correct the situation. Owolawule said Igede, being the third largest ethnic group in the state is grossly marginalised in terms of political appointments, employment opportunities and noncreation of a first class traditional stool. The statement said: “It is regrettable that Igede’s political growth between 1999-2007 when Igede ethnic group was able to produce the state deputy Governor, Chief Economic Adviser to the president and deputy speaker of the State House of Assembly has nosedived to the lowest ebb under the current dispensation. “In 1999, Chief Ogiri Ajene, an Igede political leader was elected the state deputy Governor while Prof. Ode Ojowu was the Chief

By Joseph Jibueze

Economic Adviser to the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. “Between the years 2007 to 2011, an Igede man, Hon. Edor Williams Ogbole was the deputy speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly. Today, all these positions have been taken away from Igede without any equivalent compensation. “Right now, Igede has no relevant political presence at the federal level in terms of appointments. At the state level, the Igede people are only given two commissionership slots. This cannot be equated to all the prime positions taken away from our people. “In the area of federal employments allocated to Benue State, the Igede people are completely neglected in the sharing of the positions in line with the requirements of the federal character principle. “An example is the recent employments at the federal level where all the slots allocated to Benue were appropriated by the Idomas and the Tivs. In the employment, 50 slots were given to Benue state for the Nigerian Army recruitment where the Idomas took 40 slots, Tivs 8 slots and only two slots were given to Igede.


he St Augustine’s Catholic Church Ikorodu Lagos has honoured the Managing Director of ABVIC Executive Hotel Ikorodu Lagos State, Chief Victoria Abiola with Solid Gold Carple award. The award was in recognition of her contributions and achievements towards church and community development. She was the first president of St Michael’s Catholic Church Owutu; an outstation of St Augustine’s Catholic Church. Being a foundation member of the church, she made immense moral and financial contributions in order to move the church forward. Abiola had her early education at the Sacred Heart Convent School, Idikan-Ibadan and her secondary education at St Theresa’s College, Oke-Ado in Idikan-Ibadan. She proceeded to the Polytechnic Ibadan for her tertiary education where she studied Electrical/Electronics in the Department of Physics/Electronics, University of Ibadan for her degree programme. She joined the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission in 1999 and rose to the position of Education Officer in March this year. As a result of her uncommon commitment to family and community development in both Ikorodu and Ibeju Lekki, she was honoured with the traditional title of Yeye Ogidi Omo of Oke-Eletu and Yeye O k a n l o m o Atunluse of Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State . •Chief Abiola

•From left: Mr Osakwe,Miss Elochukwu, Master Obi, Chibuzo Patrick, Executive Director Meljenstin Youth Empowerment, Ini


ESPITE his admittance of a dwindling internally generated revenue (IGR), the Chairman of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area, Apostle Oloruntoba Oke, on Tuesday swore in 64 new aides. The aides, made up of 52 special assistants, five members of revenue generation committee and seven members of the road maintenance committees, Oke said were carefully selected by leaders of the party in the area to help drive development and propel responsible grassroots governance. He said the new team would further consolidate the string of achievements of his administration in the past one year. He said: “This formidable team of men and women of integrity will help actualise and consolidate our dream for the local government.” Oke said his composition of the road maintenance committee was in fulfilment of his campaign promise of ensuring zero potholes in the

•Governor Akpabio

Cash rewards for winners of quiz competition I

FERMA awards N900m road contracts

Council procures refuse truck HE Ejigbo Local Council Development Area,in Lagos State has procured a new refuse truck to boost sanitation in the area. Commissioning the truck at the council secretariat in the presence of the council’s executive members, top management and staff of the council, the council chairman Hon Kehide Bamigbetan stated that the decision to acquire the truck was based on the numerous complaints by residents that they are not getting the best service from PSP operators. He said: “the acquisition of this refuse truck will enable us to attend to emergency sanitation situation, as the truck will be available on a 24 hours basis”. Speaking further, Bamigbetan said: “The truck will be used to complement the job of PSP operators, particularly in areas where they don’t have access to. Our truck, because of its size, will get to these areas, clear the refuse and the council get paid for the service by residents”. The council chief while expressing his appreciation to the council’s executive for approving the purchase of the truck said: “Ejigbo in no distant future, will now move


governmental organisation. Miss Chidinma Ezugwu got N155, 000, Miss Precious Onwudinjo N120,000, Miss Adewole Toluwanimi and Adindu Obi received N55,000 respectively, while Miss Ikoabasi Melody also got N10,000 having participated in an exciting quiz play penultimate Saturday in Lagos. According to the Project Coordinator, Mr. Godfrey C. Osakwe, “My Education Quiz Play seeks to support, encourage and motivate students in secondary school and tertiary institutions both at the under graduates and post graduates level. The game is designed as a fun way of learning with particular emphasis on school curriculum of participating groups with general knowledge questions as well. It is billed to be a weekly educational game and will serve as a veritable platform for students to showcase their brainpower and inspire others to action, with constant studying. The students are excited and we are happy with the response so far and the game will soon hit the airwave” Osakwe assured. The coordinator said the game provides participants opportunity to help secure their education via the prize money in scholarship form. He said the project has as its primary objective, the pursuance of a vision of sustainable development based on good governance. The foundation seeks leverage to achieve sustainable growth in the society bearing in mind that education remains the bedrock of development of any nation.

Council chair appoints 64 aides By Yinka Aderibigbe

council area. He, therefore, charged members to go all out in ensuring regular maintenance of all the council roads to ensure they stand the test of time. He equally tasked members of the revenue generation, which included the council’s legal adviser Mrs. Olayinka Gbosanya and two former councillors, Isaac Adeoye, and Sesi Smith to deplore their wealth of experience in shoring up the council’s depleting IGR. He said administration’s capacity to provide needed amenities and infrastructural facilities would be greatly enhanced if the financial position of the council improves. Oke urged all the new aides not to see their

appointment as “a tea party,” to share the booty of office, but; “a call to duty and selfless service to help spread development to the grassroots.” The chairman who restated his commitment to running an open door policy urged the aides to put their wealth of experience to bear on their new assignment. Mrs Gbosanya later conducted the oath off office and allegiance instruments on the new aides in the presence of the executive council members among who were the Vice Chairman Babatunde I. Q Raj-Label, the Secretary to the council, Mrs. Olayemi Oke-Osanyintolu, Leader of the legislative arm Mr. Olaniyi Fadare, other councillors, heads of departments and supervisors and one of the party leaders in the council Dr. Olu Adewale, and other party faithful.

Briefly Church anniversary ACTIVITIES marking the ninth anniversary of Wonderful Apostolic Gospel Church Worldwide will start from Thursday, November 22 to Saturday, 24. The event, which runs from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily will comprise morning, afternoon and evening sessions respectively. It will end on Sunday, November 25, 2012 with a thanksgiving service at Wharf Road, Ebute–Ikorodu, Lagos State. The theme of the programme is “God Never Fails” (Olorun Koseunti). The General Overseer of the church, Prophet Ezekiel Oke who is the host, said the convention will make provisions for various thought-provoking lectures. According to him, it will help Christendom and improve Christians’ lives. He added: “Anyone who attends the programme will divinely be protected from sudden death, even as he said that women waiting upon the Lord will conceive.

•From left: The Legal Officer Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Mrs Olayinka Gbosanya, Council Manager, Alhaji Adeniyi Otunuyi, Hon. Sesi Smith, Hon. Isaac Adeoye and Council Treasurer, Mrs Funlola Adebanbo Ogundare, during the swearing-in-ceremony of the LGA Revenue Committee





An invigorated second term

Indecorous conducts •Were Oronsaye and Otti put in Ribadu panel to make it fail? HAT could have provided the right ambience for President Goodluck Jonathan to restate his resolve to chart a new course for the petroleum industry was marred with impolitic conducts largely perceived to have the imprints of official conspiracy. The occasion was the presentation of the report of the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa. Out of the 21-member task force, two chose to spoil the bouillabaisse with conducts quite unbecoming of their standing in the society. Steve Oronsaye, deputy chairman of the task force and former Head of Service of the Federation publicly charged at Ribadu, accusing him of following ‘flawed’ process in compiling the panel’s report. Bernard Otti, also a member equally claimed that the report was not seen by members of the committee before its eventual submission to the president on that day. Two things: Oronsaye in the course of the committee’s work took up appointment on the board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Otti, during the same period, also got appointed as director of finance of the corporation. The former did not deny that he never participated in any of the committee’s deliberations; neither did he deny it when it was put to him by Ribadu that he flew into the country on the day of that submission just to effect that hatchet man’s job. Both men also could not deny the fact that being part of the management of a corporation being probed by their committee was inappropriate: They could also not convincingly respond to assertions by Sumaila


Zubair, acting secretary and Ignatius Adegunle, a member of the committee, to their position that other members were not parties to the report’s compilation. Sadly, a reputable man like Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), also a member of the committee was present but maintained an undignified silence in the face of alleged official complicity against Nigerians clamouring for probity in the oil sector that the report seeks to combat. The conduct of these two men was disrespectful to the exalted office of the president. Whether by previously held positions or by their current positions, they ought to know that committees that are set up by governments do have minority reports submitted alongside the main reports. If Otti can be pardoned, the case of Oronsaye was inexcusable, being a former permanent secretary and Head of Service of the Federation. Where have the civil service etiquette and rules that he imbibed over the decades fled to? Could Oronsaye have been motivated by other factors other than the noble as reflected in his conduct before President Jonathan, which was beamed live to the world? We disagree with President Jonathan’s position at the occasion that establishment persons are needed to bolster the jobs of such committees. If at all this was right, such establishment persons must not serve on committees that are beaming the searchlight on the affairs of such officials’ agencies or parastatals like it happened in this circumstance. So, the president’s statement that such persons could only ‘explain’ certain things but not influence someone like Ribadu negatively is too cheap and

patronising. We praise Ribadu’s courage and indefatigable spirit in the face of suspicious official conspiratorial intimidation. We have always known that the entire assignment was designed to compromise him but he ensured that his conscience triumphed over the traps laid on his path. Above all, the president must prove that the committee’s recommendations on how to enhance government’s oil revenue and ways of guaranteeing transparency and accountability in that important sector are not jettisoned. Except this is done, Nigeria will continue to remain a country where embarrassing theft of crude oil will keep occurring. It will also show this administration as unserious about its professed mantra of ridding the oil sector of corruption.

‘Oronsaye in the course of the committee’s work took up appointment on the board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Otti, during the same period, also got appointed as director of finance of the corporation. The former did not deny that he never participated in any of the committee’s deliberations; neither did he deny it when it was put to him by Ribadu that he flew into the country on the day of that submission just to effect that hatchet man’s job’

What next? •With repair completed on Third Mainland Bridge, attention should shift to other roads OUR months after its partial closure for repairs, the Third Mainland Bridge was re-opened on October 30, amidst jubilation by motorists who had endured heavy traffic jams while the repairs lasted. While declaring the bridge open, the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, said that the repair works carried out on eight expansion joints had been 100 per cent completed 10 days ahead of the scheduled date of November 5. The repairs started on July 6. Officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) as well as petty traders and residents also celebrated the end of their travails. For the traders especially, it was back to business after they had been starved of patronage for four months. We take the people’s jubilation as normal under the Nigerian circumstances. Construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and their maintenance are an obligation any good government must perform regularly. What made the jubilation over the re-opening of the Third Mainland Bridge special was the contractor’s completion of the job 10 days ahead of schedule. This is a feat in a country where contractors have always worked behind schedule, giving all sorts of excuses, including requests for extra money in form of variation. In some cases, the projects are recklessly abandoned after collection of mobilisation fund that is diverted to personal use. But the Third Mainland Bridge is just one of the many bridges and roads begging for repairs or rehabilitation nationwide. There is the famous Onitsha Bridge linking the rest of the cssountry with the


South-East and South-South, the BeninOre dilapidated road, the much neglected Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and many others scattered all over the country, all of which are crying for rehabilitation or expansion. We do not know the fate of the old Carter Bridge in Lagos. What is common to all the federal highways is criminal lack of maintenance. But then, we cannot confidently say that the roads were constructed according to international specification. In the advanced countries which our government officials love to visit, roads have foundations of up to at least five feet before bitumen is applied to the surface. This is to guarantee that the roads will last for years before they are due for major repairs. But in Nigeria, our contractors, many of them incompetent, only scratch the surface and paint it back with bitumen. After one year, the roads begin to develop potholes. Another contract would be awarded to incompetent politicians whose duties at road construction are to make money. And the cycle of awarding and re-awarding of contracts for the same roads continues while motorists and commuters groan under the yoke of bad roads executed at exorbitant costs. What we are saying is that while it is the duty of contractors to complete their projects at the scheduled time and without fraudulent variations, the government should make it mandatory that all roads constructed should have a life span of about 10 years for asphalt roads before they require major rehabilitation. Bridges constructed should last for at

least 30 years before any major repairs are deemed to be necessary. But all these depend on some factors, including regular maintenance. The government should, therefore, ensure regular and proper maintenance of the roads and bridges while the initial repairs should be done by contractors who handled them ,in case anything happens within their stipulated life span. This way, the contractors would be forced to meet the required international standards of road and bridge construction. Strict requirements for road and bridge construction will save the nation unnecessary waste of funds through endless awards and re-awards of contracts for the same project.

‘But the Third Mainland Bridge is just one of the many bridges and roads begging for repairs or rehabilitation nationwide. There is the famous Onitsha Bridge linking the rest of the country with the South-East and South-South, the Benin-Ore dilapidated road, the much neglected Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and many others scattered all over the country, all of which are begging for rehabilitation or expansion’


ARLY Wednesday morning, as sleep-deprived supporters rallied for a final cheer, President Obama concluded his re-election campaign with a promising glimpse at what the fight was all about: a second-term agenda that can make real progress on issues neglected in the first. Without question, the president intends to build on and improve the significant accomplishments of the last four years, particularly the full implementation of health care reform and the use of government policy to keep the economy growing. But the president went beyond that in his victory speech and added some less familiar words to his policy vocabulary. Children should live in a world that is not burdened by debt or weakened by inequality, he said, but also one “that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” That suggests he knows he has an opportunity to address climate change with more vigour, going beyond auto-mileage standards and renewable-energy jobs to possibly advocating tougher carbon emissions standards. The president also said he was looking forward to working with Republicans to fix the immigration system, giving him a chance to do more than promote the Dream Act for young immigrants. He could lead the way to comprehensive reform that combines strong enforcement with a path to citizenship for immigrants already here. He also hinted that combating poverty might move higher on his priority list. And he spoke of tax reform, an issue that will immediately begin to grow louder with the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts at year’s end. Mr. Obama won re-election on an unambiguous promise not to renew those cuts for incomes of $250,000 or more, and his supporters expect him to stick to that vow. In coming months, after he persuades Congress to keep taxes from rising on the middle class, he should push to restore a fair estate tax and raise the low capital gains rate to the level of ordinary income. He even mentioned the need to fix a balloting system that left thousands of people standing in long lines to vote this week, a tantalizing hint that electoral reform might become a priority. All these agenda items require the same ingredient: ending his standoffish attitude toward Congress and working closely with any leader or lawmaker willing to make real progress. That may be easier now that Senate Democrats (and their independent allies) have expanded their majority by two seats to 55, many of them filled with newcomers more liberal and feisty than their predecessors, most notably Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The new Democratic caucus’s first order of business should be a reform of the filibuster that prevents its routine abuse by Republicans, and the majority leader, Harry Reid, suggested Wednesday that he supported some modest changes. The newcomers, along with the White House, should forcefully advocate that he go as far as possible. A newly energized Obama administration and Senate could have the effect of isolating the supplyside dead-enders in the House. John Boehner, the House speaker, announced Wednesday that nothing had changed; he and his caucus still oppose higher tax rates for the rich and still want to pursue Mr. Romney’s defeated goal of raising revenue by lowering rates and cutting unspecified loopholes. Standing up to Republican recalcitrance on this and many other issues will require bringing to bear political pressure from the coalition that gave Mr. Obama a commanding victory in the Electoral College on Tuesday. The president’s victory was decisive, and many who didn’t support him nonetheless told pollsters that they agreed with his positions on taxes, health care and immigration. He now needs to use the power that voters have given to him to enhance and broaden his agenda. – New York Times

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IR: For the past few years, it has been difficult to understand the stand and body language of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Abuja in respect of the fulfillment of its constitutional obligations to Nigerians. While its mandate is clear and unambiguous, the outcome and effect of its operations on the country are not so clear. Apart from ensuring that the total Revenue of the country is paid into the Federation Account, the most important assignment of this organ of the constitution is to present and recommend a sharing formula

Kudos to Fayemi


IR: Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti state deserves commendation for his laudable developmental giant strides in the state. He is a man who works quietly while positively impacting on the lives of his people. Before he came on board, many people in the state had looked on with gloom concerning the state of affairs in that land. Indeed, people were not happy at all with the administrations of his predecessors in office. However, all that have changed now. The people of the state are once more proud to associate themselves with the affairs of the state. Every weekend, people troupe into Ado Ekiti from different parts of the country to spend the weekend. Fayemi has made it possible for the capital to wear a beautiful look, such that people feel at home to unwind and discuss matters amicably. Until now, it was not like that. So, let the governor and his able team continue to push on; continue to provide for the people. Let Ekiti people continue to feel the impact of a gifted leader ready to serve without recourse to rancour or undue attention to himself. Ado is now a wonderful place to be. The roads are motorable and the people themselves wear cheerful looks on their faces now. Things have begun to look up once more for all of us in the state. This is more kudos to Fayemi and his people. • Serifat Oye, Ikare, Ekiti State.


Revenue commission and revenue allocation formula of the country’s resources among the three tiers of government. This of course should be done after appropriate research, data collection, information gathering in the country at large must have been conducted. After all these processing, a document would emerge which would be presented to the National Assembly via the president. The president is of course obliged ordinarily to forward the recommended formula to the National Assembly. There are certain extreme occasions when the president, by fiat, may refuse to take action on the document and instead arbitrarily allocate figures among the three tiers of government. The circum-

stances must be extreme indeed and it is difficult to find a precedent when this ‘abnormal’ step would be taken twice. As far as I can remember, the Commission has produced recommendations to this effect at least twice in the last decade, and this was done after extensive tours involving millions of naira and contacts made with important institutions and personalities of this great country. Quite unfortunately, nothing came out of these exercises. As of today, it is doubtful whether Nigeria has an operating legal system used in distributing its wealth and resources among the various governments that constitute our constitutional order.

The result is that more resources are available to the Federal Governments than necessary. The States and Local Governments which constitute the centre of development are unnecessarily starved of desirable funds. The billions that disappear literarily everyday is a direct result of too much money available to the Federal Government. If the proper things had been done for example, and every fist is tight, there would be more prudence in the use of public funds. There is evidence to show that the National Assembly is waiting to receive and consider and pass a new revenue sharing formula. There is perhaps the argument that the Revenue Commission does

not have the resources to conduct a nation-wide survey. This argument cannot hold. There are documents and data in the records and archives of the Commission which it could update, using acceptable data and methods. Moreover, Commissioners need not travel to every village and hamlet in Nigeria to be able to update the figures and datas available to the Revenue Commission. This nation is suffering. The state are grieving with debts, it is time all institutions and organs of government take a plunge, a reasonable plunge to arrest the decay in our national life. The Revenue Commission should be bold and conduct its affairs fearlessly. The stability of our country depends, among others on its readiness to perform its constitutional duties. The National Assembly, with all its structural defects, is waiting to perform its own duties. • Deji Fasuan (JP) is a retired Permanent Secretary

Why reform is failing in Nigeria


IR: The nation’s budget for year 2012 is largely dependent on oil to the tune of about N5 trillion despite the fact that India is expecting, for the same period, $70 billion (N10.5 trillion) from software exports alone. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of where both India and Nigeria are coming from. In the 1980s, when the Delta Steel Company (DSC) was being built by a consortium of foreign companies, Mecon of India was serving as consultants to DSC. Mecon seconded many of its experienced engineers to DSC, helping to groom their Nigerian counterparts. While these highly experienced expatriate Indians were chauffeur-driven in brand new, airconditioned, official Peugeot cars, people in DSC were usually surprised to hear of how some of

them were receiving letters from their home office, informing them of the approval of their motorcycle loans! This was at a time fresh Nigerian graduates looked forward to buying new cars after just a few years of working. This was before our present addiction to“tokunbo” products. But India has since transformed into one of the sensational economies including Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) while Nigeria is retrogressing deeper into poverty, which according to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has worsened from 54.7 in 2004 to 61.9 in 2011. Our state governors are busy bickering over statutory allocations, while their counterparts across the world are aggressively harvesting the infinite opportunities created by globalization. While we remain on rev-

enue allocation, the world is moving in the direction of technological creativity. The real tragedy is that even with the pitiable state of our nation, our entrenched interests are still fighting viciously to ensure that nothing changed. More tragic is the fact that they are using the rest of us, to bring down anybody that tries to change things! We are helping our entrenched interests to ensure that nothing changes, and to deal with each officeholder that refuses to toe their line. The Goldman Sachs’ research report for 2007 listed Nigeria among its ‘Next 11’ group of countries expected to catch up to the fastest developing BRIC economies. That reform might even have been most providential, considering what could have become of the Nigerian economy if the glo-

bal meltdown that soon followed had met us with a financial sector driven by fragile, under-capitalised banks! Similarly, the all-important Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which had clearly forgotten the destination of the 12-year journey it started since 2000 with President Olusegun Obasanjo’s “Oil & Gas Reform Implementation Committee” (OGIC), is now suddenly contemplating reality! This means that all those years of regulatory uncertainty, blocking billions of dollars of oil-sector investments, are coming to an end. Again, for the first time in our petroleum history, we now have a “Nigerian Content Development Act”, which has transformed the capacity for local participation in the sector. •Gabriel Zowam, Reform & Process Improvement expert, Abuja.




Revolutionary rascals (2)


HE gecko thinks if it quits the roof to live in the forest long enough, it will become an alligator. Will practice make the cat’s meow boom like a lion’s roar? Let us accord our leaders their rights to everlasting madness, Nigeria shall soon be rid of them. Until then, we will get the quality of leadership that we deserve. I have seen all sorts of revolutionary marches and I’ve come to the conclusion that the Nigerian revolutionary is an incurable idiot. It doesn’t make a darn bit of difference what his causes are. It’s worse if he’s in his youth –because then he fully immerses into the backwardness into which he has been born…evolving quite brazenly like a barbarian, badgering onto the stage for acclaim through the trapdoor. The conscientious and the just, the honorable, gracious and humane; the unselfish and the intelligent may begin a movement—but soon it slips from their grasp turning them from leaders of the revolution into victims of the revolt; thus their seemingly desperate inclinations to distance themselves from every revolutionary march. However, the Nigerian youth believes himself staggeringly capable of revolt, although he does not know how to revolt. In his desperate bid to rebel against the established and much dreaded order, he propagates the contradiction of that lifestyle which cultivates sincerity and at once frustrates it. Thus the Nigerian youth remains his own greatest en-

emy and the most inimitable adversary to the Nigerian dream. No revolution can be successful if the human elements serving as its force of change are wholly incapacitated to see to the fruitful end, the ideals of the insurrection; which brings me to the quality of youth mooting the revolt. Revolution is never the rebellion against a pre-existing order, but the setting-up of a new order contradictory to the traditional one. How different could an order anchored by the current crop of Nigerian youth be? They are not yet the patriots they are meant to become. This citizenship business confounds them. They have learnt too little and they have too little to pass on, save quackery, insolence, incompetence and greed. In the daily lives of our youth, fear plays a greater part than hope: they are more filled with the thoughts of possessions they may acquire and that others may take from them. Russell would say “It is not so that life should be lived”but the Nigerian youth could not be bothered even if they knew that much. Many whose lives ought to be fruitful to them, to their friends, and to the world in entirety are hardly inspired by hope and sustained by joy; they seek in imagination the vanities that might be and the way in which they are to be brought into existence. Ultimately they choose the path of decadence. In their private relations they are pre-occupied with the vacuous lest they should lose such affection and respect as they receive; they are engaged in giving


RESIDENT Barack Obama won against his hard fighting Republican opponent, former Governor Mitt Romney in the November 6th 2012 presidential election. Obama, the first ever black President of the most powerful nation in the World in history, was born to a white American mother and a black Kenyan father. Obama incidentally emerged as the youngest person to emerge President of the United States of America in 2008 at the age of 48 and as the 44th President of that country. Obama’s phenomenal spell in politics began when he was elected to the Illinois state Senate. Little wonder then that Obama is seen as the friend of the poor especially when during the campaigns, his rich rival Governor Romney was caught on tape castigating poor Americans for dodging payment of tax and even stated that almost 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income taxes. Obama’s re-election could be considered a tough victory considered to be one of America’s most expensive electoral contests in history with over six billion United States Dollars going down in the estimation of a commentator on the Cable News Network (CNN). America’s campaign funding mechanisms are however water tight and transparent. Substantially, the just concluded election was focused on the thematic issue of the declining economy of the United States even as the eventual winner and the incumbent President

‘For us in Africa, Obama’s emergence as the first ever black American President was interpreted to mean that our continent and our largely impoverished citizens may witness advancement and development given that the United States apart from being the world’s richest economy also ranks as the largest trade partner of much of Africa

affection and respect at a price and the reward often comes by their desperate quests. In their work they are haunted by jealousy of competitors, and are least concerned with the actual task that has to be done. In politics, they spend time and passion defending unjust privileges of their benefactors, godfathers, class or ethnicity, even as they make their world less happy, less compassionate, less peaceful, more full of greed and compatriots whose growth is perpetually dwarfed and stunted by oppression. A spectre is haunting the Nigerian youth. Knowingly and unabashedly, they have entered an unholy alliance with the ruling class. They do not constitute formidable opposition to keep the ruling class on its toes neither do they offer invaluable support to keep our leaders on track. Their approach to politics complicates the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is splitting up more and more into two great hostile camps, the ruling class and the working class; the proverbial middle class got lost somewhere at the crossroads where the bourgeoisie swallows up the proletariat. Though youth does not really have the means to stop the economy, the ruling class dreads the youth, as was discernible when a wave of panic seized the Nigerian government by the jugular in the wake of the Occupy Nigeria protests. What do they fear? It’s without doubt the frequency and the potentials of youth mobilizations. Massive youth mobilizations were taking place across the globe and with often grievous and far-reaching consequences in the affected nations; the Nigerian leadership no doubt dreaded a Nigerian manifestation of the Arab Spring. The fear of the Nigerian leadership was however hardly far-fetched

given the radicalism of the Occupy Nigeria movement. In a violent society that has no future to offer them, the Nigerian youth have very little to lose; thus their lack of hesitancy in confronting the State. The wish to abolish status quo was widespread among the nation’s youth as they romanticized the idea of a revolution as the protests dragged. In spite of the youth’s passionate struggle against the incumbent leadership’s utter insensitivity and cluelessness, the eventual result was basically, an opportunistic contract between the exploiters (the government) and a part of the exploited (labour leadership), at the expense of the rest of the exploited (you, me and everyone) – something Noel Ignatin would call “the original sweetheart agreement.” Says a lot of the Nigerian youth’s revolutionary potential. Eventually, the nation’s youth were written off and their grievances dismissed as the crazed rant of a pathetic mass of revolutionary impostors. The youth were eventually dismissed as essentially hopeless and misdirected. Despite the fervor of the Occupy Nigeria movement, the youth remain exploited and perpetually exploitable –victims of what George Bernard Shaw, terms “the stupid system of violence and robbery which we call Law and Industry.” Most of the time, youth mobilizations and revolutionary movements attract sympathy from the workers and the population, as if the youth were saying loudly what the majority couldn’t afford to say. Thus, in many instances, youth mobilizations restore to the social camp the confidence in the masses’ ability to resist; and in some cases other working sectors engage in mobilization, following the youth. The Nigerian youth however, presents a contradiction to the benefits of such rela-

tionship of trust. He is accustomed to keep his head down like one eternally doomed to be adept in all the arts of the beggar. He even presumes a little upon the possession of talents which, as he ought to know, can never compete with cringing mediocrity; in the long run he comes to recognize the inferiority of those who are placed over his head, and when they inflict greater hurt upon him, he becomes refractory and shy, turning round to crawl into the wall when he is backed against it. This is hardly the way to get on in the world but very few Nigerian youths are conversant with the words of Voltaire: “We have only two days to live; it is not worth our while to spend them in cringing to contemptible rascals.” But what if”contemptible rascals” also qualifies a greater percentage of the nation’s youth? • To be continued…

‘However, the Nigerian youth believes himself staggeringly capable of revolt, although he does not know how to revolt. In his desperate bid to rebel against the established and much dreaded order, he propagates the contradiction of that lifestyle which cultivates sincerity and at once frustrates it. Thus the Nigerian youth remains his own greatest enemy and the most inimitable adversary to the Nigerian dream’

Obama’s re-election implication for Nigeria By Emmanuel Onwubiko came under considerable pressure for failing to keep to virtually all of his noble electoral promises which he rode on to defeat senator John McCain of the Republican party in the 2008 presidential poll which became a landmark/watershed event for producing the first ever African- American president for the united States of America. Few months before the November 6th 2012 poll, the influential The Economist magazine of theUnited States ruled out the possibility of President Obama’s re-election on merit considering what the editorial team saw as Obama’s colossal failure to deliver on any of his lofty electoral pledges since four years of becoming President. For instance, theSeptember 1st-7 th 2012 edition of The Economist magazine reduced the reasons why Obama may lose his re-election bid into one major issue- for importantly failing to create new Jobs and save the United States economy from a free fall. According to The Economist; “Three million more Americans are out of work than four years ago, and the national debt is $5trillion bigger. Partisan gridlock is worse than ever: healthcare reform, a genuinely impressive achievement, has become a prime source of rancour. Business folk are split over whether he dislikes capitalism or is merely indifferent to it. His global-warming efforts have evaporated. America’s standing in the Muslim world is no higher than it was under George W. Bush, Iran remains dangerous, Russia and China are still prickly despite the promised resets, and the prison in Guatanamo remains open.” The Economist wrote further; “The defense of Mr. Obama’s record comes down to one phrase: it could all have been a lot worse. He inherited an economy in free fall thanks to the banking crash and the fiscal profligacy that occurred under his predecessor; his stimulus measures and his saving of Detroit carmakers helped avert a second Depression; overall, he deserves decent if patchy grades on the economy. Confronted by obstructionist Republicans in Congress, he did well to get

anything through at all. Abroad he has sensibly recalibrated American foreign policy. And there have been individual triumphs, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.” For us in Africa, Obama’s emergence as the first ever black American President was interpreted to mean that our continent and our largely impoverished citizens may witness advancement and development given that the United States apart from being the world’s richest economy also ranks as the largest trade partner of much of Africa. Obama’s last four years has however been anything but good for Africa just as most analysts say Africa under Obama suffered the worst neglect in the framing and implementation of the United States foreign policy. Andrew Beatty, an analyst who contributed a well researched work to the Africans review online was of the considered opinion that Africans never benefited much from the last four years of the Obama administration. Mr. Beatty recollected that when President Obama paid his first post election visit to Africa beginning with a stop in the West African country of Ghana, the United States President told Africans in very lucid terms that as a man with African blood running in his veins, his administration would work to better the situation of the citizenry of Africa who are facing widespread poverty; corruption; terrorism; lack of proper democracy and totalitarianism. But did he fulfil these solemn pledges? This writer replied in the negative. Andrew Beatty however offered possible raison‘d’être for why Obama’s Africa’s dream are largely still unrealistic. He wrote thus;”But as America’s Great Recession deepened, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan trundled on and the Arab Spring exploded, sub-Sahara Africa found itself in a familiar spot; on the back-burner.” With his re-election, President Obama in his victory speech also indicated in very subtle way that Africa may indeed not benefit from his second term just as crude oil rich nations like Nigeria, Angola that currently rank as trading partners of the United States may lose out given that Obama has showed clear determination to free America from excessive

dependency on foreign crude oil resources. His second term may be used to developed alternative sources of energy such as the green energy and if this scientific aspiration is achieved, Africa’s and Nigeria’s prized assetcrude oil will inevitably witness a decline in international price. Already, political elite of Nigeria have reportedly stolen over $400 billion from crude oil revenue since the last three decades. Addressing his supporters after his reelection, President Obama said; “Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together – reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.” Writing under the catchy title of “The rich and the rest of us” The Economist edition of October 13th-19th 2012 also indicated that Obama’s second term would be devoted to solving the rising inequality in America and this disclosure is another indication that Africa may not witness much assistance from the Barack Obama’s second term because he has shown remarkable readiness to practice the wise saying that “Charity begins at home”. The Economist magazine had written thus; “Over the past 30 years incomes have soared both among the wealthy and the ultra-wealthy. The higher up the income ladder, the bigger the rise has been. The result has been a huge, and widening, gap-financially, socially and geographically-between America’s elite and the rest of the country”. What Barack Obama’s re-election should truly mean for Africa is that Africans must work hard to bring the needed changes in our collective fortunes by fighting corruption, mounting pressure on the political elite to abide by the tenets of accountability and transparency before looking up to the United States of America for the big brother assistance. • Emmanuel Onwubiko, Head, Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria



COMMENTS ‘The freeman casts with unpurchased hand, the vote that shakes the turrets of the land.’——— Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes OR the better part of Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the entire world stayed glued to their television sets to watch the elections that held in the United States of America (USA). On that day, Americans trooped out to elect their president. To me as a black man, the interest was more than the fact that the world’s most important country elected a president. I was excited that Barack Obama, the first elected black president of that powerful country was seeking re-election. His loss would have made the white supremacists say that his election ab initio was a clanger. But with his re-election, it has been sealed beyond all reasonable doubts that his first election was no fluke. There lies the dynamism of the American society as being truly a land of opportunities, liberty and freedom. Let me make this confession. I do not like America. Yours sincerely hates their arrogance as a nation; that country’s diplomacy is hypocritical. While American leaders lead by example on the home fronts, they lead by precepts abroad, wrecking in the process, havoc of unimaginable proportions on citizens of other countries. But hate or love America, one cannot but admire the love and care it shows for her citizens. In return, Americans not only believe in their country, they see it as a national pride to lay down their lives for it. Americans revere their national flag, they love their country. America is a country that would continue to be admired for the inspiration it offers to its citizens - no matter my reservations. On Tuesday, the country further taught me through its elections of that day why my country will probably for a long time remain a developing country. Afterall, what is the essence of a country without electoral justice? It was long agreed upon that it is wrong for anyone to govern another without his consent; it becomes worse if such consent was fraudulently gotten as was/is the case in Nigeria. For instance, before the counting of votes was fully concluded and the direction of where the pendulum would tilt obvious, the American democratic tradition set in. Former Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential candidate did not just call the winner, Obama, he also addressed his supporters, conceding defeat in the process


“ — no one can even live in Samaria without being a liar, thief and bandit.” Hosea 7v1 (TLB) Y dear 10-year- old daughter, you may be wondering why I have taken our private matter to the pages of a national newspaper when we had discussed the matter at home ad nauseam and you have had to join your siblings in a private school in the neighbourhood? Well the answer is that, yes we have borne our pain and frustration with equanimity but the matter transcends us; it is deeper and of more import than you can understand now. More important, hundreds of other ten-year-old boys and girls like you may have suffered the same inequity and injustice which they have borne quietly as if these were our national ethos. Another reason daddy is speaking up in this manner is that it has gone on for too long that we not only glory in our iniquitous ways, we now make huge capital of it. When you sat for the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) early this year, you were quite optimistic that you would do well having studied very hard. You wanted so much to attend Queen’s College (QC) having heard so much about it and cherishing the idea of living in the boarding house. When the result was released and you scored 147 out of a possible 200 marks, it was not an excellent result but good enough, especially when we learnt that the cut off mark for your state, Imo, is 135. We were quite elated that you stood a good chance until we got to QC in Yaba, Lagos only to find out that the entire admission process is a well choreographed national racket. First shocker was the cut-off point per state pasted on the notice board (see table). I remember how your joy evaporated when you learnt that you did not stand any chance at all because you came from Imo State. At the vice principal’s office, an official addressed us with a hint of rebuff and mockery seeming to wonder why we were bothering them having scored such a (low) mark and coming from Imo. We were treated as if you failed the exam when you actually scored approximately 74%. You were crestfallen; your little mind must have gone into a weird jiu-jitsu, especially upon noticing that your fellow candidates from Yobe State who could have scored zero; yes absolute, stark naked zero could have a chance over you in Queens College, Lagos. Had you come from any state in the North of Nigeria, you would have been top of the class, a champion as the


…And Americans inspire the world

• Obama to the re-elected president. That to me is not only the hallmark but also the majesty of democracy - an attribute that is lacking in successive generations of politicians in my country. One has not said that democracy has attained the eldorado in America but the fact has shown that the country is far ahead of others in its march towards the ideal. It has been admitted by several democratic supporters that the cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy. Perhaps, it has to be stated here that democratic evils can be weakened when countries learn from mistakes made in previous elections. Obviously, this would have been one of the significant reasons American democracy is growing to the ad-

miration of the world. But if we may ask ourselves: Why can’t Nigeria learn from its past electoral errors so that its democracy can truly grow? This is one invaluable question that time and space would permit to answer today. Furthermore: Where are the leaders that will take Nigeria to the land of true democracy? Where are the leaders of conscience that would be genuinely interested in free and fair elections that will be devoid of rigging and irregularities? Are such leaders currently in our midst? If yes, did they watch the majesty of democracy as epitomised by the last elections in America? Are such leaders ready to learn from past electoral mistakes in the country by embracing the American tradition that is devoid of electoral acrimony? Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States in his most quoted excerpts from an address he delivered at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863 stated; ‘…we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’ Whether living or dead, America shows gratitude to their heroes. The country sees them as models that must not be forgotten. Above all, American governments love democracy as shown in the above Lincoln’s excerpt and their establishments respect the views of the citizens. Opinions or perception of Ameri-


SMS O8181624757,


Letter of apology to my daughter highest cut-off mark from there is 120 points (Kwara). The alien logic of a student with zero score getting admitted into any school and another with a very good grade getting shunted must have stunted your growth for days. You had many questions some of them swimming in your now welled-up eyes. Some of your questions almost made dad cry too because I could not answer them with much conviction. “Is it because we are Igbo that is why QC did not take me even though I passed?” “ Well, sort of my dear. More people from Anambra, Imo and Enugu States scored high marks so you needed to score a minimum of about 80% to have stood a chance.” “So why don’t they build more schools like QC so that they can admit all the pupils who passed?” To this question, I really did not have any coherent answer knowing that some of the socalled Unity schools where built by the British colonial government and knowing that no new secondary school has been built by the federal government in the last 20 years or more even as Nigeria’s population grew exponentially. What this has exposed is that government is winking in the dark as regard education, the single most important index of development. What this plainly shows is that government does not have the vital statistics concerning education; concerning school intakes of yesterday, today or tomorrow. And what mad scramble we have in the few ‘good’ schools available. “Daddy, is it true that you were asked to pay money for them to admit

me in QC?” (she must have overheard her mother and I discussing this. One of those forlorn trips to QC, someone who claimed to be a teacher noticing my helplessness, had furnished me a phone number to call for help. When I had called days later, I was told that for a fee of N250,000.00 I could ‘buy’ a teacher’s admission quota.) I was to learn that apart from the quota system and federal character method of allocating the admissions, anyone who was desperate enough and had enough cash got his ward into any of the ‘Unity Schools’ especially after all the top notch government officials must have had their fill of the sordid porridge. My dear daughter, even I did not know that we had reached this low, this nadir where we keep chickens and pigeons in the same coop. I learnt that there are a minimum of 70 students per class in QC; one ‘united’ Nigerian classroom of the good, the bad and the very ugly yoked into one: a perfect picture of a crumbling collage of the Nigerian state writ large in Queen’s College classrooms. A soulless confederacy not spared even at infancy, of the extremely dull, the super bright, the graftassisted and all, meshed with legitimized impunity in a salubrious girls’ college. What recipe for failure for a doggoned country? My dear little girl, this is where our country Nigeria is today. This is probably where we were over 50 years ago. It reminds me of what my respected senior colleague Malam Mohammed Haruna wrote in his column on the back page of this paper (24/10/2012).

cans matter a lot to their governments which is why in their elections, they always ensure that the voice of the people usually triumph. This tradition was what made Lincoln to posit that the ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.’ This definition is perhaps based on the assumption that democratically defiant countries like Nigeria and others will very soon learn their lessons from democratically developed countries like the United States. This lucid attempt assumes that existing defiant countries’ governments must learn to respect the opinions and wishes of their nationals- whether for or against their position on any matter, especially at election period. What should be done now is not to embrace democracy in principle but to also work assiduously towards removing all obstacles on its path of growing- in Nigeria and other parts of the world. In this country, we should emulate the virtues in America’s last elections by playing politics with decency, not animosity. We should ensure that during future elections in the country, it is not voting alone that counts; counting as an important part of the chain of democracy should also matter like we just collectively witnessed in the last American elections. As much as possible too, the electorate of this country must realise how powerful a weapon, their votes could be if they remain steadfast by not allowing themselves to be compromised by the politicians. This is because according to John Kenneth Galbraith ‘When people put their ballots in the boxes, they are, by that act, inoculated against the feeling that the government is not theirs. They then accept, in some measure that its errors are their errors, its aberrations their aberrations; that any revolt will be against them.’ However, the electorate of Nigeria cannot claim collective liability for the errors of their governments today as such could be claimed in America. This is because they most times worked against the sense in Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ aphorism when he said: ‘The freeman casts with unpurchased hand, the vote that shakes the turrets of the land.’ The truth is that majority of the electorate in Nigeria do cast ‘purchased’ votes that cannot shake the turrets of the country positively. That is the bitter truth even as America continues to inspire the world with its democracy. Responding to a point Chinua Achebe raised in his book, There was a Country, Haruna said, “… what Sardauna objected to was the timing (of Nigeria’s Independence) for the simple and understandable reason that for historical reasons the South had a huge head-start over his region in producing the skills required for running the government, and he needed time to do something about the gap.” After 52 years, nothing seems to have been done about the ‘gap’. It has indeed remained more gaping today. Why would the gap close if the North has been enjoying what I call a delirious advantage over other parts of the country in the distribution of our commonwealth? As a State governor, I would loathe, in fact I would be utterly insulted should my State be allotted zero or a derogatory cutoff point in any national exam. Where is the challenge to compete or the will to excel if I can make do with zero score? Mediocrity will only breed mediocrity. This is our story my dear daughter; a country where an Haruna who scored zero per cent would get admission, federal jobs and all the other privileges and an Osuji who scored 74 per cent is denied and shooed away. Take heart my daughter but take note: don’t stop talking about it, don’t stop contesting it, don’t stop protesting it and indeed, fight over it if you must. Accept my apology for I failed you, but the ball is now in your court.


NECO NCEE RESULT Cut-off point Cut-off point State

1. Abia 128 2. Adamawa 72 3. Akwa Ibom 119 4. Anambra 136 5. Bayelsa 75 6. Bauchi 36 7. Benue 111 8. Borno 48 9. Cross River 96 10. Delta 129 11. Ebonyi 111 12. Edo 125 13. Ekiti 119 14. Enugu 131 15. Gombe 53 16. Imo 135 17. Jigawa 33 18. Kaduna 91


Cut-off point

19. Katsina 20. Kano 21. Kebbi 22. Kogi 23. Kwara 24. Lagos 25. Nassarawa 26. Niger 27. Ogun 28. Ondo 29. Osun 30. Oyo 31. Plateau 32. Rivers 33. Sokoto 34. Taraba 35. Yobe 36. Zamfara 37. FCT

60 63 35 117 120 130 67 90 120 123 125 124 85 117 27 29 zero 30 68








Moses happy with match winner




ICTOR MOSES' late winner in the fourth minute of injury time against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday handed Chelsea a 3 2 victory over the Ukrainian champions. The Nigeria international, who has been named by Eagles’ coach Stephen Keshi for next week's exhibition match with Venezuela, in his post match comments to Sky Sports he said he was delighted with his winning goal. Moses, a summer arrival from Wigan, told skysports : ''We deserved to win the game today. Particularly second half, we dominated the game. "I came on and only played about 10 minutes on the pitch but it was


great to get a winning goal and I thought we deserved it.It's been great for me so far so I'm just delighted." The 21 - year - old has netted four goals in his last six appearances for club and country. But Moses has set his sights on a victory in Italy as Chelsea look to avoid more nail-shredding moments like his last gasp winner in midweek. “We're delighted with the three points,” said the Nigerian after his header clinched victory. “That was my first Champions League goal, and I'm delighted with it. “It was a vital goal, not just me, but other players as well. Everyone has been working hard for the past few weeks. It was good to get a win. “We've got Juventus coming up it's not going to be an easy game. But we need to go there with 100 per cent trying make sure we get the three points out there as well.” There is the small matter of Liverpool in the Premier League to contend with first and having lost top-spot to Manchester United, Moses wants to get back to winning ways. “It’s going to be a great game,” he added. “We're looking forward to it. We just need to get our heads back together now and make sure we get the three points on Sunday.”

Ideye to join Eagles Nov 12 •Calls for winning mentality By Akeem Lawal UPER EAGLES of Nigeria and Dynamo Kyiv of Russia year’s Nations Cup. striker, Brown Ideye has “With the numbers of Nigerian hinted that he will be joining up spread all over the world, I with the Super Eagles camp appreciate the invitation as one of November 12 ahead of their those foreign based players international friendly match invited for the game. I will be against Venezuela on the 14th of joining the Super Eagles on the this month in Miami, USA. 12th because we have a game on Ideye is one of the 11 foreign the 10th, so I’ll be leaving on the based players invited by Coach 11th to arrive on the 12th. “The S t e p h e n K e s h i f o r t h e game against Venezuela is a build international match which also up to the Nations Cup and right serves as a preparation for the now we are trying to build a new 2013 Africa Nations Cup holding team that will go to South Africa in South Africa. and win the trophy, Speaking so I think right now ahead the we just need to have encounter, that mentality of the former winning to make a Sochaux point in South Africa. p l a y e r The most important believes the thing for me right team must now is to make sure I have the concentrate on the winning game and make sure I mentality to do my best because I be able to know that it’s only make an dong my best that impression will make me remain •Ideye a t n e x t in the team.




Galatasaray are second on four points, CFR Cluj and Braga both have three points apiece. Like it was last month at Old Trafford, Braga went in front against United on Wednesday night before the English Premier League top guns fought back to win 3-1. “We came very close to winning this game but in the end United’s experience shone through,” Nigeria international defender Elderson told


•Explains Osaze, Emenike snub •Vows to stop experimenting From Andrew Abah, Abuja

Wednesday next week in Miami, Florida USA. Speaking to Nationsports in Abuja, the Big Boss said, “Yes I spoke to Osazee and he we have both resolved whatever problems that had existed in the past. But he begged that I should leave him out of the friendly match against Venezuela because his wife is pregnant and should be putting to bed within that period. He said it is ideal that he be around during that period, so I understand with him, and left him. On Joseph Yobo, he is still recuperating from an earlier injury which made him not play the match against Liberia in Calabar last month. He called me some days ago, and said that he is getting better and has started training, but will not ready for this friendly match. He said

that he would be ready before the Nations cup. Same to Emmanuel Emenike, he is also recovering from an injury, and I hope he would also be well before the preparation”. The former International pleaded with Nigerians to always show understanding with some of the players as they are determined to defend the name of country. Keshi only on Wednesday released the list of eleven foreign based players to compliment the fifteen home based players that he is expected to release their name later today. Among those foreign based players invited are: Mikel Obi, Shola Ameobi, Austin Ejide, Victor Moses, Brown Ideye, Nosa Igbiebor, Raheem Lawal, Apam Onyekachi, among others.

He has also made it clear that once the team's camp for the Afcon opens on December 17, no new players will be called up. Keshi said he will stick to only players that will get the chance to feature for Nigeria at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa. "By December 17 the camp for the preparation to the Nations Cup will open. At that time we will only stick to a handful number of players who will be part of the Nations Cup proper. "There will be no room for new players neither will there be room for experimenting as we will plan towards the Nations Cup. Between December and January we will have just a month to prepare and we will only need to stick to players who will fit into our plans for the Nations Cup," said Keshi. The Nigerian manager has picked Faro in Portugal as the camp venue for his team's pre-Afcon exercise.

Apam celebrates Eagles’ return A

FTER being left out of the Super Eagles’ team for over two years due to long term injury spell, Stade Rennes of France defender, Apam Onyekachi has expressed happiness over his return to the Super Eagles fold and has now promised to give his best following his recall into the Eagles against Venezuela. Apam relieved his time out during injury days and also express delight at his return to the team ahead next year’s Nations Cup. “Everything has been fine because I concentrated a lot during my long time injury. So

By Akeem Lawal

I was doing my best to recover my feet, that was the most important thing for me. I just thank God to be called again into the national team, it’s a pleasure and I’m very happy about it and I promise my fans that I will make them proud and deliver my best to the country and to my fans”. Meanwhile, former Super Eagles’ striker, Jonathan Akpoborie has criticized the recall of Stade Rennes defender, Apam Onyekachi to the team. Speaking further, Akpoborie said that inviting

Apam and the other lads that hasn’t been part of the team during the qualifiers is not good for the chemistry of the team. “Calling Onyekachi Apam , why hasn’t he been inviting these people to come and play for everybody to see in Nigeria. Why must it be now that we don’t have time that he is calling all of these people now to come and join? Why didn’t he call them when we were playing friendly games before, why would he call them now? That actually gives me the reason to actually worry, maybe he is confused, I don’t know. Because all of

Sharks deny thug attack




ELTIC star Efe Ambrose has described as unforgettable a 2-1 home win against ‘mighty’ Barcelona in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League clash. Celtic remain in second place on seven points, two points behind leaders Barcelona. Benfica are third on four points, while Spartak Moscow drop to bottom with three points. They will travel to Benfica on November 20 before they host Spartak Moscow in a final group game on December 5. The former Ashdod FC of Israel defender told that it was befitting way to celebrate the 125 years of existence of the Glasgow giants. "Victory is always good, but this one over Barcelona was sweet. We avenged the loss from the first leg and this victory was also a great anniversary gift for the team, you know the team clocked 125 years on Tuesday,” he declared. “We really deserved the victory because we worked

progress excites Keshi

HE recent FIFA ranking that saw the Super Eagles move almost ten position higher has been described as a positive one in the right direction. According to the Head Coach of the team, Stephen Keshi, that is a positive situation. The Super Eagles are now 57th position in the World and 10th in Africa. Keshi said “I am excited with the new ranking, that shows that we are working. But that is not where we are supposed to be. We know the level belonged to, and would continue to work hard until we get there. I want to assure Nigerians that I would not rest on my oars until such a time when the Super Eagles would return to the 5th position it was occupying in the world in the past”. He appealed to all Nigerians to continue to support the team, as they are poised to ensure that that come into reality in the shortest possible time. Meanwhile, Keshi has given reasons why he left out the likes of Osaze Odenwingie, Emmanuel Emenike, Joseph Yobo out of the Venezuela friendly match slated for

Braga will bounce back, Echiejile vows LDERSON ECHIEJILE has promised Sporting Braga will bounce back from a 3-1 home loss to Manchester United in the Champions League. Manchester United have already won Group H as the win in Portugal has seen them amass 12 points, while the race for the second group ticket to the knockout Round of 16 of the competition will be between the remaining three teams.

Ambrose relishes win against Barcelona

HE general manager of Sharks Football Club of Port Harcourt, Chief Okey Kpalukwu has described the news of his been beaten up by thugs during Sharks training session on Wednesday at the Sharks stadium as embarrassing. Speaking with NationSport in his office at the Sharks secretariat on the said altercation, Chief Kpalukwu said he was never even at the said training session and could not have been beaten by anyone. He also noted that Sharks training session was never disrupted and that the coaches has been training with their players. He also did not fail to finger the media for not confirming the story before going to Press.

•I was never beaten—GM

Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt. "The media is supposed to protect our interest. They should have confirmed the story before publication. Sharks is still training for instance as against what was quoted on the paper that the club has stopped training because of the incident. "They trained yesterday. I wasn't even at the stadium yesterday, I worked throughout in the office because we had couple of meetings, I don't know wether the thugs came here to beat me or if they came to my house to beat me. "There was no even such a thing and the media are

supposed to verify such story before going on to publish a something as serious as that but they refused to do that, its quite embarrassing." Asked if he is not aware of the origin of such story as the news did not just fly to the papers, Kpalakwu said, "I don't care where the story originated from because stories can originate anywhere but it is the duty of the media to ensure that whatever that is been put on their medium is right and that is the only way that people will have trust in such medium. I was never beaten or attacked by anyone", he concluded.


OSEPH Yobo has denied reports in a section of the Turkish media that suggested he had ruled himself out of Thursday's Europa League clash against Cypriot club AEL Limassol because he needed more




Falcons have no excuse for failure—Mabo



Yobo: I’m ready to play against AEL

these things are uncalled for, if you say you are rebuilding, you are rebuilding and you’ve been playing games more than a year now, you never called Apam to come and play. All of a sudden, we’ve qualified, everybody is putting pressure on you and you are calling different people all around the place. He should just stand up now and represent himself because if he fumbles, he’s the one that is going to get sacked”.

ORMER Super Falcons’ coach, Ismaila Mabo has stated that the current team has no excuse whatsoever for failing to reach the final of 8th African Women’s Championship holding in Equatorial Guinea. The Super Falcons failed to defend their African title after losing their semifinal match 1-0 to the Banyana Banyana of South Africa at this year’s edition on Wednesday. According to Mabo, it is now clear that the team did not learn anything from their similar ouster at the 2008 edition. “How could we lose to Bayana Bayana, its most unfortunate. With the history we had, increase in their bonus is as if they have been given everything by the Nigeria Football Federation and then the support and prayers from patriotic Nigerians, I’m not happy with what is happening to

hard for it. It was not an easy game, many people don't expect us to win but we were focussed and determined, we give God all the glory for crowning our effort. “We won't let this victory get into our head but rather we will build on it for the remaining two games in the competition." Like it was in Barcelona, Nigeria international Ambrose was again outstanding against the onslaught spearheaded by World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi.

By Akeem Lawal Nigeria’s women football now. Didn’t we go through the reports of Jossy Lad, because we played in Equatorial Guinea in 2008 and that was where we lost our championship and I am sure Jossy Lad might have written a report, why didn’t they revisit that report and then look at us going back there to lose to Bayana Bayana, we never lost to them before.” Meanwhile, Former Super Falcons coach in 2008 when they fail at the same stage and venue, Joseph Ladipo (Jossy Lad) said Nigeria ouster was perhaps divine because it was the same story four years ago. According to him, Nigeria’s exit has now paved way for the host who defeated Cameroun 2-0 in the first semi final, to win the AWC title. “It is very sad, but there is nothing we can do about it. It’s what God wanted

that has happened. I believe with the caliber of players we have can do the job. That was the way it happened in 2008, but I tipped Equatorial Guinea because Nigeria was my favourite before, but now that we are out, the next team is Equatorial Guinea. They are playing at home; they have a number of fans and everybody that matters are there to root for them. Together with their antics, they can lift the cup.


therapy to overcome his latest injury setback. ''These claims are ridiculous, absolutely not true. Currently, there is no problem, I'm ready to play. AEL Limassol match, I'll play. Completely overcome my injury,'' the defender was quoted as saying by The Nigeria skipper has started Turkish lessons to enable him communicate better with his teammates and the technical staff. ''Turkish is very difficult. Lessons are hard. But there's breakthrough, progress is also good. I'm trying to learn. I'm sure going to get way on this subject,''says Yobo to the Turkish website. In conclusion, Joseph Yobo picked Fenerbahçe's Volkan Demirel as the best goalkeeper in the world, ahead of Iker Casillas and Buffon.

Osaze wants Lukaku stay


ETER ODEMWINGIE has urged West Brom to keep strike partner Romelu Lukaku until the end of the season. Chelsea's Lukaku is on loan with The Baggies until June 30, 2013, but there is a clause in the agreement stipulating that the European champions can recall the teenager to Stamford Bridge in the next two months. ''If we want to finish top seven, we need him for the rest of the season and hopefully he will stay. If we want to do something better than before, we need to keep hold of players now and not let anyone go. ''Then in May we can say, yes, that was the right decision,'' Odemwingie, who bagged a brace in Monday's 2 - 0 win over Southampton, told Birmingham Mail.

In the current campaign, the 19 - year - old Belgium international has netted 3 goals in 312 minutes played.






Foam manufacturing giants Vitafoam rounded off its golden anniversary celebrations with a dinner/gala night in Lagos. NNEKA NWANERI reports.

•From left: Alhaji Ankwa recieving a plaque from Chief Bolarinde. With them is Alhaja Ankwa


OR years, Alhaji Idi Mohammed Ankwa has been relating with foam manufacturing giant Vitafoam. Last week, he was honoured with the platinum award by the firm during a dinner/gala night to round off its 50th anniversary celebrations. He beamed with smiles when he was presented with a brand new Volkswagen truck to aid his business. He was with his second wife and daughter. For the Vitafoam family, the evening couldn’t have been any better. They took out time to relax. It was also a day to reward many workers for their industry and enterprise. Many of them looked regal in their attires. The colour code, as indicated on the invitation card was ‘a touch of orange’. Virutally, all the guests had a touch of orange in their wears. There were beautiful ushers dressed in dinner gowns made from the customised ankara for Vitafoam at 50. The men wore fitted suits with orange tie and cosset, others were in native attires and orange caps. Some women wore iro and buba with orange gele. Others had a touch of the colour of the day on their wears. The decor was breath-taking. The hall looked enchanting because of the exquisite decor. To the left and right of the Shell Hall were inscriptions of Vitafoam @ 50. They

50 garlands for Vitafoam were made flashy and brighter with white lightening woven around the inscripted words. The stage was decorated with orange and white cloth. About 50 ‘V’ signs, made of cloth were on the wall of the stage. Each member of the band was dressed in the Vitafoam at 50 ankara. With the master of ceremony and popular stand-up comedian, Teju Jacob Oyelakin, aka Teju Babyface, there was never a dull moment. Not only did he dish out rib-cracking jokes, he anchored the programme so well that the evening did not last into the late night. The Managing Director of Vitafoam, Mr Joel Ajiga said the dinner climaxed activities marking the firm’s 50th anniversary. Thus, the night was of perfect relaxation and enjoyment. The Chairman, Chief Sam Bolarinde, recalled that the company’s head office, located on Oba Akran, Ikeja, Lagos is always a beehive of activities. On the dinner, Bolarinde enthused: “I will ensure that the gala is here for another 50 years.” Mr Bolarinde bagged the lifetime of service award, and Dr Dele Makanjuola bagged

the award for leadership and service. For the quiz competition held for the Vitafoam staff, Mr K. Salawu of the Aba factory won the third price of an I Pad and cash. Cyril Tafuamen Oso of the Kano factory, second and Johnson Samuel of Lagos first. Distributors that improved in terms of sales and distribution got plaques and others prizes. The bronze winner: a generator set; silver, double sided door fridge and the distributor with the highest turnover got the gold prize of a brand new pickup van. President Jonathan praised the management of Vitafoam for having not left the country despite the difficult situation. “Vitafoam is important to the economy. They did not lose faith to go to neighbouring countries of Ghana but stayed loyal to the Nigerian people when things were difficult. Viatfoam is truly a Nigerian manufacturing company that creates jobs and values to the economy with 700 direct employees. It is a six year consecutive award winner of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). With 20,000 shareholders, it has since 1978 paid dividends unfailingly. They have innovation and have met with all the standards of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.

With 100 per cent code of good governance in their company, it has for more than 50 years been exporting raw materials,” He said. A happy Alhaji Anwkwa in response to his award said despite the security trends in the northern part of the country, he still stood firm and proved that the northern part of the country is and still remains a viable part of business in the country. Notable attendees were President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga; representative of the Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dr Oscar Onyema; Mrs Tawa Peterside; Dr Sunny Kuku of EKO Hospital; the Managing Director of Vonofoam Mrs Titi Bakare; former president of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Femi Deru; MD of Vitapaul Mr Oluwole Adisa; Dr Dele Makanjuola; Vitafoam’s technical Director Mr Taiwo Adeniyi and his Finance counterpart Mr Brass Ogbodi and Mrs Florence Seriki; former MD of Dunlop Plc, Mr Dabez Dawuyi; MD of Insight Communications, Mr Jimi Awosika and former MD of Mainstreet Bank, Mr Patrick Motu among others. •More pictures on page 26




•MrAjiga (left) presenting a plaque to Mr and Mrs Charles Okafor •Alhaji Lasisi (left) and Dr Aganga

•Yeye Otunba Gbemi Oduntan and Mr Muyiwa Olusa

•Mr Kayode Akinsowon and wife Gbemisola

•Mr and Mrs Emeka Okafor

•Alhaji Bashiru Adeniran (left) and Mr Ladi Opanubi

•Mr Deru (left) and Oliver Eniola Johnson

•Mr Toyin Bankole and wife Folasade





SOCIETY The 11th Annual Leadership Lecture and Role Model Awards, organised by Leadership Watch, was held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, last Friday. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO was there

In pursuit of peace, stability


T was a three-in-one event - Leadership Lecture, Role Model Awards and Workshop on Information Communication Technology (ICT) – but the lecture took the shine off the others. The organiser, Leadership Watch, is a nongovernmental organisation (NGO), committed to the promotion of good governance and responsible leadership through research, documentation, capacity building, training, trade and investment promotion. The group works in partnership with many international institutions The roads leading to the event’s venue Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, were unusually free of traffic that day. Although attendance was low, the high table paraded eminent men. The calibre of personalities at the special guests section made the audience’s day. Different banners of corporate organisations were hung at the entrance of the auditorium. The event began with an opening prayer, followed by the National Anthem before Mr Ayo Opadokun, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), who chaired the event, gave his remarks. Decked in black Agbada and a cap, Opadokun congratulated Leadership Watch for putting the event together. The NADECO chief said the organisation's insistence that he chairs the occasion demonstrated the resilient attribute of a strategist who is always unrelenting in pursuing a desired goal. He promised to continue supporting every positive action geared towards establishing a much-more effective and efficient national security. There were keynote addresses and goodwill messages from other guests. Opadokun said insecurity in the country calls for concern, asking for innovative strategies to tackle the problem.

•From right: Dr Iwuanyanwu; Prof Anya; Mr Opadokun; Mr Ahmed and Mr Oyebanji

The guest lecturer, Prof. Anya .O. Anya, took the audience on a long speech. His lecture was entitled Today's Insecurity: What it portends for the future. The Chairman of the Alpha Institute for Research in Science, Economics and Development (AISED) said violence and insecurity in Nigeria had their root in the precolonial era, as violence was then used as an instrument of social control. He said violence and insecurity went through various stages until the emergence of the Boko Haram sect, whose activities became more political than religious or ethnic as being painted. Prof Anya said Nigerians should not think that they would never get good leaders. "The Nigeria of our dream could not be built in the climate of negativity and depreciation of all leaders. Nigeria cannot survive the present level of hypocrisy, insincerity and general sense of amorality that seems to dominate our progressively materialists society," he said. Anya said pragmatic nation building ef-

forts involved patient and cumulative brickby-brick construction and some degree of myth-making and even symbolism, founded on the ability to select and amplify desirable elements. He said: "Yet the picture is not all gloom. All over Nigeria today, there are young men and women, often under 50, many under 40, who are well educated, very professional and who have done incredible things even in this inclement environment. Some have relevant international experience. They are not bound by geography, ethnicity or class. The challenge is how to build a network of these unusual men and women, imbue them with new values based on merit and excellence and challenge them to take on the onerous duty of socio-political redirection." Prof Anya got a standing ovation for the thought-provoking and eye-opening lecture. The awardees were presented with plaques by Leadership Watch President Dr. Martins Iwuanyanwu after reading their citations.


They included Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola - Leadership Role Model; Managing Director of Mobil Oil Nigeria Mr Adetunji Oyebanji - Leadership Role Model; Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service Mrs Rose Uzoma went home with Excellence in Leadership award. Fashola, represented by his Special Adviser on Information, Alhaji Lateef Raji, thanked the organiser for recognising the government’s effort at making life easier for the populace. He said reward for hardwork begets more work, promising to continue offering selfless service to Lagosians. The governor dedicated the award to the young people at the function. Mrs Uzoma was represented by the Assistant Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr Abbas Ahmed. Ahmed said Mrs Uzoma popularly called mother of immigration truly deserved the honour. He said securing the nation is the responsibility of all Nigerians.


•From left: Prince Tokunbo Sijuwade (left), Senator representing Osun East Senatorial District, Senator Babajide Omoworare and ACN Chieftain, Ojuolape Olagbaju

•Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade




•From right: Otunba Ashiru; Prince Odedire Addona and Prof Otubajo


•Hon Ojelabi (left) and Mr Lateef Lawal

The Lagos State Ministry of Rural Development has held a dinner to mark this year’s Community Day. NNEKA NWANERI was there.


ESPITE the chaotic traffic, they remained undaunted. They were going to Victoria Island, Lagos, but the traffic was hell. But because they were going for what they considered important, they braved the rod. They were on their way to Villa Medici Restaurant on Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, for a business dinner ogranised by the Lagos State Ministry of Rural Development to raise funds for its projects. There was a red carpet from the restaurant gate to the entrance of the arena. Different banners of the sponsors were mounted at strategic positions. The walkway was lit by the moon which was full that evening. Among notable organisations were Skye and Guaranty Trust Banks and the Dutch bank, which officials graced the event. In the cool ambience of the restaurant, soft music played in the background. Many were corporately dressed in suits having come from work. In the hall were six large round tables, well set to comfortably accommodate 10 guests. All tables were filled as guests wined, dined and discussed the way forward for the rural

A lift for rural dwellers dwellers Anchoring the programme was Mrs Eunice Adewunmi, who said the dinner was to make all aware of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Lagos. Thus, it has come to be a concept in which companies integrate social and business concerns on voluntary basis, to provide suitable environment for business to thrive in the state. According to her, the objective of the ministry is to ensure adequate provision of basic social and economic infrastructure in the rural areas of Lagos. Prof Femi Otubanjo, in his keynote address, noted that the dinner was held to create an avenue to brainstorm on ways of development through Public Private Partnership (PPP). He said: “The problem of underdevelopment is because 80 per cent of our expenditure is not well spent. So we are to enhance

resources available to government and bring development more cheaply with efficient management.” Otubanjo listed the dangers of PPP as political instability and supervisors who look out for themselves. The best was saved for the last. The Commissioner for Rural Development, Hon Cornelius Ojelabi, recounted what the ministry was doing to solicit support. Ojelabi seemed very different from everyone else and he turned up simply dressed in a traditional garb and cap. With the aid of a power point presentation made visible to all present, the commissioner showed projects that included: rural electrification and water projects, provision of jetties for those in the riverine areas, construction of roads and covets and the equipping the security personnel called the neighbourhood watch.

He complimented the effort of the Lagos government for its community drive projects, giving a rundown of how communities bring its problems to them. Soliciting the support of corporate bodies in complimenting the efforts of the state government, Hon Ojelabi formally opened the dance floor while other guests followed. The event featured musical display by Toju, cocktail, photograph and interview session on the red carpet. Toju sang R & B solos entitled Ololufe and too little too late The guests include the Managing Director of Equity Assurance Plc, Mr Dolapo Balogun who chaired the occasion; Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry Otunba Bimbo Ashiru; former Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly; Hon Titi Oseni; Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Rural Matter, Mr Babtunde Humpe; Directors of the Ministry; Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on PPP, Mr Ayo Gbelyi; Project partners and members of the Lagos State government Corporate Social Responsibility advisory partners.




HE National Governing Body of Inner Wheel Clubs in Nigeria will today start its International Seminar on women empowerment. The seminar, according to the Coordinator Women for Africa (WFA), Mrs Oluyemisi Alatise, is to make women self empowered and educate them on the need to take care of their health. According to her, resource persons have been invited from within and outside the country to talk on peace, education and mothers’ world, network for renewable energy for Africa, create awareness on common women medical diseases, micro credit empowerment among others. The opening ceremony will hold at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Mobolaji Bank Anthony way, Ikeja. It will be followed tomorrow with an awareness campaign on common female medical diseases and reduction of mortality from (cervical, cancer and fibroid).

ODAY, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor will be celebrating 40 years in the service of God and 25 years of the creation of his church, the Word of Life Bible Church. The anniversary with the theme Empower to change the impossible will hold at the International Gospel Centre, 118 – 120 Ajimimogha Road, Warri, Delta State. Guest ministers expected at the event include Dr Mike Murdock; Bishop John Francis; Bishop Johnson Clayton; Bishop Paul Morton; Bishop Tudor Bismark; Evang. Tim Storey; Bishop Mike Okonkwo and Bishop Felix Omubude.

Constitution Review


•Mrs Alatise

The seminar will come to an end on Sunday with a visit to the Lagos House of Assembly and presentation of communiqué.



•Pastor Oritsejafor

Expected guest artistes on the occasion include Sammie Okposu, Yinka Ayefele and Asu-Ekeye.


UEEN Elizabeth Udodilim and Chukwuemeka Earnest Igbonekwu will tomorrow be joined in holy matrimony at the Umuoji Civic Centre Hall, Olodi, Apapa, Lagos.

SESSION on the on-going public sessions on the review of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria taking place in all the Federal Constituencies will hold on Saturday in the Oshodi/ Isolo Federal Constituency 1, Lagos State. The public hearing will hold at Bright Vile Hall, 33, Adeyemi Street, Arowojobe Bus Stop, Oshodi, Lagos. The session will be witnessed by political office holders, traditional rulers and members of the public. It would be presided over by the member representing the area in the House of Representatives, Hon. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai.



HE Anambra Satate University will today hold the fourth edition of its annual convocation ceremony at the convocation Arena, Uli main campus. The convocation will also feature installation of the institution’s Chancellor, conferment of honorary degrees, award of higher degrees and Bachelors’ Degree. The state Governor, Peter Obi is the special guest of honour.



HE commendation service for Mrs Marian Aderonke Olatunde will hold today at Agbeni Methodist Cathedral, Ibadan. The funeral service will hold after at Otipete Methodist Cathedral Cemetery. It will be followed with an outing service on Sunday at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Irewon, Ijebu Ode. •Governor Obi

•The late Sheila



NTERDOMINATIONAL service for the late Mrs Sheila Solarin will hold today at the Mayflower Junior School Sports field, Ikenne Remo, Ogun State. Her interment follows immediately at her family compound, Ikenne Remo. •Hon Akinderu-Fatai


Vol 4. No. 1775

The Williams sisters - Serena and Venus - are tennis prodigies. Beyond that, they have become a brand. They were in Nigeria last week on a brand synergy drive with Amstel Malta. WALE ALABI writes.


T was a synergy that broke marketing bounds. Through it, Gilette and Duracell evolved a working arrangement mutually beneficial to them. Gilette created a range of battery-powered razors, the battery of choice. These branded batteries appeared in all the advertisements and illustrations of the new razor. Duracell is a powerful brand, just like Gilette. The product gets the positive image of both brands and the group advertises its products in just one advertisement. Another case in point is the Nissan 350Z on the cover of Gran Turismo 4. Both products have a positive image, and as such, some people will be drawn to the game because of the car, while others will be drawn to the car because of the game. Ideally, both brands don’t belong to the same group, but on intense negotiations must have gone out making a financial agreement for the operation. At the heart of the brand synergy dynamics is the understanding that a company’s most valuable asset is its brand visibility which has ground breaking impact when two or more agents work in a way that the total effect is greater than the predicted sum of the agents working alone. Impressed with the Williams sisters strides in tennis, Amstel Malta, the number one premium low sugar malt drink from the stable of Nigerian Breweries Plc, recently demonstrated the driving force of brand synergy with its partnership with them through the Breaking The Mould initiative. The objective of this epochal was to ensure that Nigerian youth become the best wherever they go. The William sisters’ visit, which was their first to Nigeria, was to share their stories with youth, especially girls. The Williams sisters were accompanied by their mother, Mrs Oracene Price. Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Walter Drenth, at a press briefing in Lagos, described the initiative as an opportunity to emphasise the brands’ commitment to consumers to “be the best you can be” at all times. “Amstel Malta’s partnership with the BTM/Williams Sisters’ Tour”, he said, “is one that the brand is particularly proud of as it showcases a synergy between what the brand stands for, that is, “being the best that you can be” and, the greatest sisters in tennis history individually and together – Venus and Serena Williams. “Amstel Malta is the No.1 premium low sugar malt drink with a rich Amstel inter-

•From left: Serena, Venus and Drenth at the event

Amstel Malta, Williams’ sisters brand synergy deal national heritage that is filled with refreshment and energy for that youthful person who lives an active lifestyle and needs to replenish lost energy so that he or she can be the best at all times”. He added that Amstel Malta Showtime, the brand’s sponsorship platform is positioned to give young people the opportunity and platform to perform live on stage with the best of Nigeria’s finest artistes in the entertainment industry. The brand synergy between Amstel Malta and these iconic sportswomen led to a noble project called ‘‘Breaking The Mould’’. “Breaking The Mould” platform is a natural and credible extension that would not just empower girls in school but women as a whole. The prolific Williams sisters rise through the ranks is a source of inspiration to other women females who are battling with sex stereotypes and challenging economic circumstances. The Williams sisters’ success narrative is based on recipes, such as passion, determination, hard work and belief which can turn

dreams into reality, despite obstacles that one may face. Serena Williams spoke on their desire to come to Nigeria to support young girls. “We have always desired to come to Nigeria as a pair. We appreciate the platform that has made the “Breaking The Mould” initiative, which is a reality in Nigeria. We are looking forward to mentoring and inspiring young Nigerians, especially young girls”. Similarly, Venus expressed delight at the reality of visiting a great country like Nigeria for the first time. She also spoke on her excitement that the visit heralded before their coming. “I cannot tell you how daily we have being getting tweets from followers in Nigeria who have anticipated our visit, tweeting to ask if truly we are coming. I will be glad to meet some of these fans”. Also speaking at an exhibition match by the sisters which Venus won and at the gala night held in their honour, Brand Manager Amstel Malta Adedoyin Owotomo, said the synergy between the two brands has been

‘The Williams sisters’ success narrative is based on recipes, such as passion, determination, hard work and belief which can turn dreams into reality, despite obstacles that one may face’

rewarding since Amstel,through its brand activation, Amstel Malta ShowTime is interested in youths showcasing their talents just like the Williams’ sisters have been doing for years now. She added that the brand will continue to impact youths and ensure they live their dreams, just like the sisters have been doing. The Williams’ sisters have had the honour of being ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association as the World No. 1. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus and Serena were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. During the 2010 French Open, they became the coworld No.1 players in women’s doubles. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus and Serena were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. During the 2010 French Open, they became the co-world No.1 players in women’s doubles, in addition to holding the top two positions in singles tennis as well. Both sisters have also won four gold medals at the Summer Olympics Games, one each in singles and three in doubles – which they won together – the most by any tennis players. As a duo, they have also completed the Career Golden Slam in doubles. There are a few strategic assets available to a brand through synergy that can provide a long lasting, competitive and water tight advantage in spite of the nature or category of the brands. According to Byung Chul, Park, Jongwon, Wyer et al in their book Brand Synergy Effects in Multiple Brand Extensions, the appealing effect of brand partnership can have a positive influence on market evaluations independently of parent extension similarity.




Trade Fair: Dangote offers consumers ‘pocket-friendly prices’ T O reach more customers, the Dangote Group has promised them pocket friendly prices for its products holding at the Lagos International Trade Fair at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Onikan. Companies in the group exhibiting at the fair include Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Flour Mill, Dangote Agrosacks, National Salt Company of Nigeria (NASCON), Dangote Pasta, Dangote Cement, Dangote Noodles and Dansa Foods Limited. Some of the products to be displayed include Danvita, Alkama (wheat meal), confectionary flour, noodles, sugar, salt, tomato paste, various ranges of fruit juice products and bottled water from Dansa

Stories by Wale Alabi

Foods. Dangote Sugar will be offering customers its 500 gram granulated sugar at the fair. According to Head, Corporate Communications of Dangote Group, Mr Anthony Chiejina, visitors to the group’s pavilion at both fairs will have the opportunity of buying products of these companies at reduced prices. A unique offering from the Group is the Dangote Combo pack. The pack contains products from the stable of different companies

within the Group and is offered to participants at the fair at a much reduced price. The statement indicated that, the economy pack which will contain household products, such as Dangote Noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, sugar packets, and Dansa Fruit juice products range would be combined in a pack at a giveaway price. The combo pack, it stated further will offer participants at the fair an opportunity to purchase all consumable product range in Dangote Group in a single buy. There will also be free samples

of the products for the visitors. Dangote Noodles will be offering free samples of several varieties of its noodles to visitors to the kitchen/restaurant which will be attached to the Dangote stand to wet their appetite. Dangote Flour is also holding a free sampling of its popular Alkama wheat meal and other wheat based meals while Dangote Pasta is ready to thrill participants at the fair to pasta meals prepared in several ways. Dangote Group is of the view that the trade fair is coming at an ap-

propriate time which affords dealers the opportunity to stock their shops for the fast approaching Christmas season while end consumers can also buy and stock for the season. Subsidiaries, such as Dansa and Dangote Noodles will be hosting students on specific days. The student-visitors to the stand will get special gifts, such as pens, pencils, erasers and notebooks. The Management of the Dangote Noodles said the company would be giving its customers a good treat at the fair saying it has added to the richness of the product and embarked on an expansion of its distribution network to make the product more readily accessible to consumers.

Maltina Dance Gig berths in Benin, Warri


• Guv’nor, NiteShift Coliseum, Ken Calebs Olumese (middle) presenting the keys of a brand new Toyota Corolla car won by Miss Glory Edem-Sam in the ongoing Star Time To Shine promo. With them is actor Gideon Okeke.


ANASERV Nigeria Limited, authorised service agents for Panasonic consumer electronics products, in conjunction with Panasonic Corporation, Japan has unveiled the latest product lines for 2012. The unveiling took place during the 2012 annual Panasonic dealer’s convention held in Lagos. Some of the products introduced include air conditioners, flat screen televisions, home theatres and music systems, digital still cameras, camcorders, home and kitchen appliances. Over the years, Panasonic Corporation has maintained a firm grip on air conditioning technol-

Panasonic unveils products ogy, leading the way with landmark product innovations that impact living. The 2012 model Econavi dual sensor and Super Alleru Buster Filter with Econavi mono sensor air conditioners are completely inspired by nature, with great emphasis on energy conservation and optimal performance. Econavi dual and mono sensor air conditioner utilises human sensor and control programme technologies to detect where energy is normally wasted and self-adjusts cooling power to reduce energy waste. Panasonic air conditioners now

guarantee a consistent supply of comfortable, clean and healthy air with minimal use of energy and inbuilt air purifying. According to the Promoter, Panasonic in Nigeria, Bhujraj Rupani, “Panasonic air conditioners now come with a new air purifying system called nanoeG which utilises nano technology fine particles consisting of ions and radicals to purify the air in the room. It works effectively on airborne and adhesive micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and mold thus ensuring a cleaner living environment.

Panasonic air conditioners remain the most reliable in temperate regions like Nigeria with its highly durable super tropical compressors which have been tested and proven in severe temperature conditions in desert regions of the Middle-East and Africa. The exhibition at Panasonic Dealer’s Convention also unveils Smart viera infotainment televisions with Swipe and Share. The new Smart viera infotainment television series encompasses Progressive 3D full HD, LED/ LCD and plasma televisions.

ONSUMERS, especially youth in Benin and Warri had an exciting time during the second phase of the Maltina dance gig activation for the Southsouth zone. At the grand finale of the Benin activation, Nelson Abraga won in the male competition. He got a 2.5 KVA generator, Tana Steveson came second, winning a 21-inch plasma TV; Maxwell Aigbekan won a home theatre system as the third prize. In the female contest, Stella Ebioge came first while George Titilayo and Isoso Ekhoguagbon came second and third respectively winning the same prizes as their male category. In Warri, after the different stages of the competition, Desmond Afure of 5, Odigbo Street, emerged victorious in the male category winning the 2.5 KVA generator prize. Osibere Roland came second winning a 21inch plasma TV, while Leo Eromosele, an admission seeker, won the third prize of a home theatre system in the male category. Emilia Johnson of 22, Ekpan Street, Udu Road came first while Sajere Somia and Eva Turner came second and third respectively winning the same prizes as their male category. The fourth placed male and female contestants were also given a consolatory prize of sling bags each while the audience had the opportunity to relish their favourite premium malt drink-Maltina and also got branded gift items. Speaking during at the event, the Account Manager, Bates Cosse Limited, the agency handling the activation, Mr Olatunji Aikomo, described the turn out and the performance of the participants as very impressive. He announced that the ‘Ginger Your Swag’ train will be moving to Anambra State next week for the continuation of the activation.

Cadbury to reward consumers in Bournvita promo


OOD and Beverage giant, Cadbury Nigeria Plc is set to reward consumers of its flagship brand with a new consumer promotion tagged, “Cadbury Bournvita yummy Life promotion”. At a media briefing at its corporate office to herald the flag off of the promo, Marketing Director, Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Dele

Anifowoshe, said: ”The Bournvita ‘yummy Life’ promo is a distinctive and unique reward programme as everyone who purchases either the 450g or 900g promotion jar from now till January 17,2013 is a winner upfront.” “The promo is aimed at delighting, rewarding and providing a superior life for our consumers in Ni-

geria. All consumers will enjoy instant 10 per cent extra free products and still stand the chance of winning any of the prizes worth over N200,000,000.” On the promo mechanics, Cadbury Nigeria’s Marketing Manager (Food Drinks) Mrs Chioma Afe, said consumers are expected to buy 450g or 900g jar of Bournvita pro-

motion pack, open it and peel off the foil to reveal a special code which will be sent via SMS to the short code provided. She advised consumers to keep the foil for authentication as prizes are redeemable only with valid promotion foil. According to Mrs Afe, “Cadbury Bournvita will continue to demonstrate its leadership position in the

food drinks market as the pride of the pack, offering consumers yummy nourishment for non-stop vitality. During the promo, 11 consumers will become instant millionaires winning N1million cash each, 11 others will win N250,000 each, 65 will win N100,000 cash and 300,000 consumers will win N500 worth of airtime each.”




Airtel seeks action on facilities protection •Praises govt for proposed ‘Right of Way’ policy


IRTEL Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to expedite action on declaring telecoms facilities critical national infrastructure because of threats posed to them. Airtel made the call at a briefing on “Recent developments impacting telecommunications operations and quality of service.” It was drawing attention to the harmful impact of terrorist operations in the North, floods in the South and Middle Belt, the challenges posed by multiple taxation and levies and damage to telecom infrastructure. It’s Director of Regulatory Affairs & Special Projects, Mr Osondu Nwokoro said the government’s action in fast tracking the declaration would confer priority and protected status on the facilities. He headed the Ministry of Communication Technology and Ministry of Works for articulating a national Right of Way policy, the government in collaborate with states and local governments to ensure the elimination of discordant policies. He said: “Airtel commends government’s resolve in addressing multiple regulation incidents with various states and the FCT, including the recent policy on Rights of Way (RoW) and ongoing work

By Raji Rotimi Solomon

through the Industry Working Group on Multiple Taxation. We urge further action in that regard, especially in relation to the following cases which have become critical: LCC, UFRU and Katsina State.” LCC refers to the Lekki Concession Company, the firm that got the right from the Lagos State government to expand the Lekki-Ajah Express way. While carrying out its work, LCC deliberately and maliciously damaged telecom fibre belonging to Airtel while asking for payments of more than N1 billion. Airtel said this was a case of request for double payment as the company had made Right of Way payments on the same road to the Lagos State government before the concession. In Katsina State, government officials are imposing various taxes and frustrating efforts by Airtel to add fibre cables to expand and improve quality of service in the state. These challenges according to Airtel are in addition to the damage caused by terrorist activity in the North and the flooding in parts of the country. It said the challenges had increased operational costs three folds and had adversely

affected quality of service subscribers receive. According to him, this deplorable operational landscape is even made worse by the whimsical implementation of law and order issues in some states as construction workers on some locations across the country find it easy to maliciously severe fiber-optic cables that crisscross the land while operators hemorrhage from multiple and conflicting taxation and regulatory intervention. Nwokoro, however, assured Nigerians and subscribers on the Airtel network that the company had taken decisive steps to mitigate the damage done to its facilities by sealing facility-sharing agreements with other telecom operators. Airtel has also engaged highly efficient private security companies to protect its facilities and is collaborating with security agencies to ensure maximum protection of telecom facilities across the country. Airtel is also rapidly replacing damaged facilities where possible to ensure customers do not lack service. It has revived 112 of the 193 cell sites bombed out of service by terrorists in Northern Nigeria while working to restore the balance.

Indomie wins Brand of the Year award INDOMIE Instant Noodles has emerged the winner of the Brand of the Year award at the 2012 edition of the MarketingWorld awards organised by the publishers of the leading marketing and brands magazine, MarketingWorld Magazine. Indomie emerged the winner in the Brand of the year Award sub category in the individual award category in a stiff and keenly contested competition with other leading brands including leading telecommunication giants-MTN and Etisalat as well as First Bank and Coca Cola. The 2012 edition of the MarketingWorld Awards, which is in its second year, is an annual showpiece event designed to promote organisation excellence in Branding & Marketing Communications in Nigeria was held at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos. Speaking at the awards, the Group Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of MarketingWorld Magazine, Mr Akin Naphtal, said the awards pay tribute to organisations that present products distinctiveness and continuous improvement process with long term returns in terms of goodwill and revenue growth. “MarketingWorld Awards aims at highlighting brands that deliver a full spectrum of maintain the highest standard of quality, exemplify creativeness, developing a corporate culture and provides positive benefits that exceed customers and stakeholders expectations” he said.

Harp ignites spirit of friendship with sports HARP Lager, a Guinness Nigeria brand, has announced a partnership with the 18th National Sports Festival, EKO 2012. The partnership was unveiled at a formal signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between EKO 2012 and Guinness Nigeria, at the organisation’s headquarters at Oba Akran in Lagos. Speaking at the signing, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Guinness Nigeria Plc Mr Seni Adetu, said the partnership is one that will foster friendship and camaraderie throughout the games. “We are delighted to work with the Lagos State government towards the upcoming festival. We all know that Harp Lager is ’Best Enjoyed with Friends’ and so for us this partnership is one that will help push that message to Lagosians and Nigerians. We want to identify with the message of the festival ‘ignite the spirit of friendship’ and we believe Harp is best placed to drive that message home for us.” Signing the MoU on behalf of the state government, Chairman, Marketing and Sponsorship Sub-committee Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas expressed gratitude to Guinness Nigeria Plc, makers of Harp Lager, for their support to the Local Organising Committee and the Lagos State government. “This is indeed a great partnership we have gone into with Harp. It is particularly exciting because we are staging the first ever private sector driven sports festival. This partnership will enable us deliver on the objectives of the event which include the promotion of mass participation in sports from the grassroots level throughout the country and identification of talents for further development.”

StarTimes begins Xmas promo ONE of the fastest growing pay-tv companies in Nigeria, Nta-StarTV Network popularly called StarTimes is offering its subscribers and customers the best Santa Claus gifts this Christmas season with a bumper promo called “StarTimes Merry Saver Promo.” The promo, which officially commenced on November 5, will run till January 31, 2013 and will allow new subscribers to walk into any StarTimes business outlet and buy a StarTimes decoder for N2,900 and instantly recharge one month of any bouquet of choice. Monthly subscription for Basic bouquet is N1,000; Classic bouquet is N2,000 while unique bouquet cost N4,000 monthly. Existing subscribers will only need to recharge their decoder with N3,000 for any bouquet and instantly get rewarded with N1,000 worth of subscription within the promo period. Speaking at a press briefing to formally announce the promo to the public, the Marketing Director, NTA-Star TV Network Limited, Mr Eric Liu disclosed that the promo is aimed at giving back to the society that has supported the company in the past years that the organisation has been in Nigeria. “The slash in price of our decoder for this Christmas period is a way of showing appreciation to our customers and as well as giving opportunity to people that are yearning for our decoder to acquire one” he said. •From left: Former APCON Chairman, Chris Doghuje presenting the Gold award to Head of Marketing, Insight Communications, Franklin Ozekhome

Advertising: Insight tops LAIF awards


NSIGHT Communications has clinched 25 awards at the Lagos Advertising Ideas Festival (LAIF) 2012. Organised by Advertising Agencies Association of Nigeria (AAAN), LAIF is Nigeria’s most prestigious awards for creativity by marketing, advertising and brands communications agencies in Nigeria. A breakdown of the award shows Insight won four gold, 10 silver, 11 bronze followed by Rosabel Advertising with three gold, one bronze. Centrespread Advertising won two gold, one silver and one bronze to clinch the third spot on the creative table for 2012. The Ikeja GRA, Lagos based creative agency came top at this year’s LAIF by creating the most innova-

By Wale Alabi

tive advertising for its clients which include Nigerian Breweries Plc (Heineken, Gulder, Legend), PepsiCo/Seven-Up Bottling Company (Pepsi), Cardbury (Bournvita) MTN (Youth segment) and Flour Mills (Golden Penny Noodles). Only two weeks ago, Insight clinched the ‘Creative Agency of the Year’ award at the MarketingWorld Magazine 2012 Awards; and in August, the agency won the ‘Telecom Marketing Company of the Year’ on the strength of its work on the MTN Youth Segment business at the eight edition of the Nigerian telecom awards held in Lagos. Commenting on the awards, Managing Director of Insight, Mr

Jimi Awosika said: “From day one, Insight has been a company that frees the mind and frees creativity. This has always been a part of us; that is, the concept of fame and fortune is extricable liked to all that we do. The most successful brands attract talkability, facilitated by distinctive product performance and communications that is grounded in unique consumer insights.” An elated Gbenga Boglo, Senior Creative Group, Head at Insight, shares his perspective on Insight’s history of being the most awarded agency in sub-Saharan Africa: “We have a philosophy that drives through our internal systems and processes – top quality creative solutions.

Bank unveils corporate identity DIAMOND Bank has unveiled its new corporate identity. It’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mrs. Ayona Aguele-Trimnell, said the bank had undertaken an overhauling of its brand in a bid to position itself as a major player in the industry. She said the green in the new identity symbolises growth, the red, vibrancy, the orange, “passion of our people” and the blue, commitment to innovation. She added: “What we have done with our corporate identity is to refresh elements of our brand look and feel to identify with our growing customer base and usher in a period of renewed focus and commitment to our business. “Our colours reflect the bright optimistic colours of the Diamond spectrum using green as a base colour with complimentary colours of red, orange and blue. “These colours also bring us closer to our customers by making us more visible and accessible in the market place as the Bank consolidates its leadership in the retail banking segment.” Aguele – Trimnell further declared that as the industry becomes more viable and competitive, Diamond Bank will continue to leverage on its over 20 years of existence and good corporate governance to satisfy its customers. “Our new visual identity re-affirms our commitment to delivering improved profitability and growth for all stakeholders as well as providing our customers with innovative products and services to meet their banking needs. We are a bank that partners with our customers and support them in the achievement of their goals,” she added



Telecoms tops Ad spend in 2011

Keke ADs: Transit media leverages new tech


EKEADS, the transit media system patented by Smate and Smate International Limited, is introducing the Plalight Reflective to its media offering in order to extend the exposure of clients’ campaign messages. The transit media operator has entered into a strategic partnership with Advertange, the media agency behind the reflective printing technology that allows advertising campaigns placed on the Keke Display panels to continue to be visible to commuters at night time. Most out-of-home advertising is invisible and lost at night due to poor lighting and a lack of electric power. Advertange’s reflective material illuminates advertisements when the reflective micro prismatic cells used in its production gives the display maximum visibility at night. The displays printed on the reflective material are visible at distances up to 200 meters and do not require an energy source. When panels placed at the back of Kekes come into contact with vehicle headlights, the graphics are even more magnified and magical. “We believe this will be captivating for the target audience – the commuters who find themselves frequently behind the Kekes in traffic while on the move and will usher a new revolution to outdoor advertising in Nigeria.” says KekeAds operations manager, Jessica Nwosu. Brand advertising can be enhanced with 3D effects, bright colours and high resolution and they come alive while the Kekes carrying the panels take campaign messages to all the nooks and crannies of the cities in the country where the fast growing motor tricycles popularly known as Kekes are found. Several brands such as Etisalat, Unilever, Top Tea and Tom Tom have benefited from the reflective display materials used on many of their outdoor advertising campaigns. The use of the reflective material effectively increases consumer recall rates and brand recognition for the campaigns. Other notable brands spotted at night using the technology include Omo, Guinness and Glo. Amina, a manager at Advertange said: “We hope to encourage brands to enjoy extra exposure during the dark hours with the printing technology. When used on the KekeAds innovative display system, the panels printed using Advatange’s reflective material stands out and are very easily spotted on the roads.” The KekeAds team has announced its plans to challenge big brands and their advertising agencies to become more creative and pioneering by adding the Keke transit media system to their media plans. Smate and Smate International Ltd, the company behind the KekeAds system have developed a creative competition aimed at encouraging creative graphic designers to design exciting campaigns for their clients’ brands using the Keke transit media. Esona Onuoha, the Managing director of Smate & Smate says: “We want to make the case for advertising agencies to positively contribute to business and society by getting the industry to think about itself, adapt, restructure and apply its considerable skills to the issues we face as a country, as profes-

sionals and as citizens promoting learning, exposing issues and embracing the changes we currently face, and those that we will face in the years to come.” The organisation expects the agencies to come out with answers to pertinent national questions and believes that some may even come out with more questions but claims that after the Creative Challenge, none will come out the same. The agencies need to come out and embrace change and participate in the Keke Transit Media 2012 Challenge. The Challenge is to design and write up Keke Display posters, using the inside and back panels, that would entertain, inform and inspire Nigerians as they commute daily, inside or behind the Kekes motor tricycles. There will be two categories; the first is for Public Enlightenment entries whereby creatives will demonstrate that the inside panels of the Kekes remain an effective tool that can hold passenger attention using the panel to address social issues that affect Nigerians. Entries are expected to tackle issues such as Safety & Security (e.g Anti-terrorism, Road safety), Health (e.g. HIV), Entertainment (e.g. Festivals/Carnivals) or any other social causes desirous of the exposure the panels will give such a campaign. The second category will provide an opportunity for brands to be showcased on the back panels highlighting with confidence that the panels posses the power to persuade consumers as a key communications channel as well as its ability to reach some of the most valuable and attractive advertising audiences. The average Nigerian leads a tough life. Long hours in heavy traffic, packed commutes and the hustle and bustle of urban living can make it hard to keep things in balance. Kekes play a vital role in restoring the equilibrium, providing affordable transportation to the millions of people who live and work in Nigerian cities. An advertising executive added that, “As creative advertising practitioners, we want to reach commuters at what is probably the pinnacle of their stressful lives. The goal is to remind them of the brands that enrich their lives and to enlighten them on the issues at their doorstep, encouraging them to relate with the brands and finally to gently remind them of the role they can play in making the country better.” Smate & Smate has put up a cash prize of N250,000 for the winners and is expecting to receive over 200 entries from across the country and in doing so highlight the passion that remains in the industry for creative advertising. The challenge will be the required catalyst to encourage a legion of creative people in the industry to showcase their skills and their belief in the power of the synergy the Keke motor tricycles have with commuters who are also consumers. Deemed by many advertising practitioners as an appealing effective way to target a wide segment of consumers such as pedestrians, road users and Keke passengers, it is clear that the Keke Advertising display system will dominate the streets in many cities where it is operational.

‘We hope to encourage brands to enjoy extra exposure during the dark hours with the printing technology. When used on the KekeAds innovative display system, the panels printed using Advatange’s reflective material stands out and are very easily spotted on the roads’


ELECOMMUNICATIONS product category recorded the highest spend of N20.118 billion out of a total of N102.755 billion spent in Above- TheLine in 2011, followed by Personal Paid announcement with N8.654 while Entertainment, Leisure & Tourism was third in the product category with N5.976 billion. Mediafacts, an annual publication of MediaReach OMD, Nigeria’s most influential media independent agency disclosed this in its 2011 edition which was released today. It said in the telecommunications product category, MTN topped the list with N6.381 billion followed by Globacom which spent N5.704 billion while Etisalat and Airtel spent N4.255 billion and N3.439 billion respectively, adding that all the four brands topped the list of the top 20 brands in terms of ad spend last year. The publication also noted that television advertising amounted to N46.076 billion as against the N39.656 billion recorded in 2010, radio recorded N13.142 billion as against N12.807 billion spent in 2010, the print media had N15.395 billion lesser than the N16.524 spent in 2010 while outdoor expenditure was N28.142 billion, lesser than N28.562 spent in 2010. The report also noted that, Nigeria has the potential to build a prosperous economy with its large reserves of human and natural resources, adding that Nigeria witness major changes in the eco-

By Jimi David

nomic sector in 2011 some of which were the Federal Government amnesty programme that resulted in higher oil production, growth in the insurance sector and consistent growth in the telecommunication sector amongst others. Mediafacts 2011, published in one volume in English and French contains media trend information on nine West African countries and three central African countries. This covers some of the countries where Media Reach OMD operates. Media Reach OMD is a specialist media company that provides a host of mediarelated services to advertisers and or their representatives. Its services include communications and media planning, media strategy developments and implementation buying and control services among others and its business offices are located in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. Mr. Tolu Ogunkoya, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of MediaReach OMD said: “We understand that creativity is the sustainable source of differentiation and competitive advantage for ourselves and our clients. We pride ourselves on delivering innovative media solutions to our clients’ marketing challenges at the keenest possible prices.” OMD, the parent company of MediaReach OMD is one of the largest and most influential media communications specialists in the world.

‘We understand that creativity is the sustainable source of differentiation and competitive advantage for ourselves and our clients. We pride ourselves on delivering innovative media solutions to our clients’ marketing challenges at the keenest possible prices’

Ad spend hit N103bn in 2011


IGERIA recorded an increase of 5.3 per cent that is N102.755 billion, spent on Above -The -Line advertising activities (television, radio, outdoor and press) in 2011 as against the N97.549 billion spent in 2010. According to the publication, of the N102.755 billion, television had N46.076, radio N13.142, outdoor N28.142 while N15.395 was spent on the press. It noted that in 2011, Lagos region accounted for 54 per cent or N55.778 billion, north 20 per cent or N20.130 billion, the east N11.485 billion or 11 per cent while the western part of Nigeria accounted for the remaining 15 per cent or N15.46 billion. From the total ATL advertising, Telecommunications product category spent the highest N20.118 billion, followed by Personal Paid announcement with N8.654 and Entertainment, Leisure & Tourism was third in the product category with N5.976 billion. In the telecommunication category, MTN topped the list with N6.381 billion followed by Globacom which spent N5.704 billion. Etisalat and Airtel spent N4.255 billion and N3.439 billion respectively. All the four brands topped the list of the top 20 brands in terms of ad spend last year. Another highlight of Mediafacts 2011 is

that of television advertising which amounted to N46.076 billion as against the N39.656 billion recorded in 2010. Radio recorded for N13.142 billion as against N12.807 billion spent in 2010 while the print media spent N15.395 billion lesser than the N16.524 spent in 2010. Outdoor expenditure was N28.142 billion also lesser than N28.562 spent in 2010. The report also noted that, Nigeria has the potential to build a prosperous economy with its large reserves of human and natural resources, adding that Nigeria witnessed major changes in the economic sector in 2011 some of which were the Federal Government amnesty programme that resulted in higher oil production, growth in the insurance sector and consistent growth in the telecommunication sector amongst others. Since March 1999, MediaReach OMD has steadily grown to become a highly reputed firm within the marketing communications’ services industry and a respected member of the OMD global network The company believes in powerful ideas, driven by meaningful insight to deliver compelling results. •JIMI DAVID is Brandweek Special Correspondent

*Editor - Wale Alabi *Consulting Editors - Rarzack Olaegbe, Sola Fanawopo * Correspondent-Jimi David * Business Development - Kenny Hussain * Legal Adviser - Olasupo Osewa & Co Brandweek is powered by Brandz Republic Consulting and published every Friday in THE NATION newspaper. All correspondence to the editor - 0808.247.7806, 0805.618.0040, e-mail: © All rights reserved.




Role of judiciary in evolving sustainable Nigerian nation Text of an address delivered by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), former president, Nigerian Bar Association and pro-chancellor and chairman of Council of the University of Ibadan at the opening of the Ondo State Judiciary Legal Year at Akure, Ondo State on November 6. Prologue Pioneer judges of the Ondo State High Court


F my recollection is accurate, upon the creation of Ondo State in 1976, four serving Judges of the then Ondo Province who were indigenes of the Province, but serving as Judges of the defunct Western State were immediately deployed to the newly created Ondo State as the pioneer Judges of the State. They were: Honourable Justice T. Akinola Aguda (who was as at then, the Chief Judge of the Western State and who also automatically became the first Chief Judge of Ondo State), Honourable Justice Olajide Olatawura, Honourable Justice Michael Ekundayo Ogundare and Honorable Justice J. Olakunle Orojo. While the Honourable Justice J. Olakunle Orojo succeeded Justice Akinola Aguda as the second Chief Judge of Ondo State, at different times, both Justices Olatawura and Ogundare first got elevated to the Court of Appeal Bench and later to the Supreme Court. The foundation of the Ondo State Judiciary was laid on a solid rock. The chartered Judges were among the very best of the best in the legal profession in terms of learning, diligence, industry, incorruptibility, maturity, fear of God and good character. A man who would brood no nonsense or any shred of interference from the Executive, Honorable Justice Akinola Aguda had to resign from his exalted position as the Chief Judge of the State when the Military Executive under General Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to dictate to him, the way and manner he should handle two political cases involving two leading legal practitioners, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN and the late Owolabi Afuye who wanted to go to the Constituent Assembly, but whose elections were truncated by the then Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) and Aguda as the Presiding Judge rightly cited and punished the Electoral Commissioner for the State (Chief Adegorioye) for contempt. In assuming jurisdiction over the case itself, Justice Aguda appreciated the fact that complex constitutional cases should be handled by the Chief Judge himself; hence he transferred the case from the Honourable Justice Adeloye (a relatively young Judge sitting at Ado-Ekiti) to himself at Akure. He did not want the young Judge to face any burden, intimidation or harassment from anybody, including the Military dictatorship. In his words, “They (the cases) were time bombs and I could not continue as Chief Judge whilst permitting my Judge to face the impending catastrophe.” Justice Michael Ekundayo Ogundare also served in a dual capacity as the pioneer Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of this State. It was him who laid the very solid foundation for the State Ministry of Justice, a foundation which succeeding Attorneys-General have improved on. Justice J. Olakunle Orojo was a teacher of teachers, a mentor of lawyers and Judges as well. He was the first indigenous Director of the Nigerian Law School. Justice Olajide Olatawura was sagacious, neat, intelligent and good mannered. My noble Lords who are gathered here this morning are heir apparent to these great men of letters, knowledge, intelligence and industry. Coincidentally, all of them have translated to the great beyond. On an occasion like this when we are celebrating the new Legal Year of the Judiciary of the State, I think it is apt, if my Lord, the Chief Judge, would allow all of us to rise up for a minute of silence in their memory. I was fortunate to serve as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of this State between 1992 and 1993, that is, shortly after I took the Silk in 1991. In that capacity, I worked closely and related intimately with one of the best characters I have met in my life–in the person of the late Justice Folarin Adeloye, who was the then Chief Judge of the State. He was a gentleman par excellence, as well as an exceeding pride to the Judiciary in particular and humanity in general. He maintained and coveted the independence of the Judiciary and never allowed for any executive interference. For the two years I was the Attorney-General, he had and enjoyed my unflinching support in his focus to maintain and protect the independence of the Judiciary. He wanted the best in terms of learning, knowledge and good character to ascend the High Court Bench of the State. I was a member of the State Judicial Service Commission under his robust Chairmanship. I can also say without any fear of contradiction that he was absolutely incorruptible in the discharge of his judicial functions. By way of digression but for record purposes, permit me to quickly narrate an incident that occurred in December, 1992 and which almost made the learned Chief Judge collapse. The Committee of Local Government Chairmen in the State, under their Chairman dropped a Christmas hamper at his official residence and he innocently accepted it in the spirit of the Yuletide, without knowing that an envelope containing fifty thousand naira was tucked inside. On this amazing discovery, the learned Chief Judge called my land line in panic; his voice was trembling and I could realize that he was also panting. All he could muster was “Aburo mi AG., jowo se o le wa si’le mi kia kia” meaning, “my younger brother Attorney-General, can you please try to come down to my house urgently.” I quickly dressed up and drove myself in an emergency manner to his residence, and on getting there, he was sweating profusely. I tried to calm him down, but all he could say or do was to stretch the envelope to me and pointing at the direction of the hamper. I opened the envelope and saw the money inside, but could not reconcile it with the Christmas hamper. At last, the learned Chief Judge mustered some strength and narrated to me how the hamper was brought and the envelope containing the “exhibit” was neatly tucked inside. I asked him whether the Committee of Chairmen had a case before him or before any of the Judges and his answer was no. But he quickly added that it did not matter whether or not they had a case before him, or his Court, as they might likely have and that to him their intention was not altruistic. He pleaded with me to help him return the money and the hamper and that in doing so, I should ensure that two or three Chairmen of the Local Governments were present. He further pleaded that on his behalf, I should thank the Committee for the expression of love to him and his family at Christmas, but that he was returning the hamper because the envelope tucked inside had tainted the very essence of it. I did exactly what his Lordship

•Chief Olanipekun

asked me to do and reported back to him. One of my noble Lords here present this morning was/is not unfamiliar with this incident , as he worked closely with me in my two-year “sabbatical” as the Attorney-General. Honorable Justice Sunday Akinola Akintan and the recently retired Justice Olufunlola Adekeye – all Justices of the Supreme Court were also first appointed as Judges of the Ondo State High Court. In other words, within a very short life span, Ondo State Judiciary has contributed the likes of Olatawura, Ogundare, Akintan and Adekeye, all highly respected, distinguished, cerebral and quintessential Justices to the Supreme Court Bench. You should all be proud of your heritage and also pray for more. But in so doing, you might also consider the later part of this paper.

Celebrating a new legal year It is customary for Judges and judicial formations all over the world, particularly in the Common Law jurisdictions to come together and celebrate a new Legal Year, under the watchful eyes of God the creator, praying to Him, as the ultimate Judge, who will, in the day of the last judgment, judge both the Judges of this world and the litigants and lawyers who appear before them. This is expected and reasonable, as most of us, irrespective of our religious leanings and backgrounds believe in the almightiness of God, the maker of heaven and earth. I am sure that before this lecture, my noble Lords have all gone to different places of worship including churches and mosques, to offer the usual traditional prayers. I also want to believe that both the Bishops and the Imams have rendered their respective homilies, reminding your Lordships of the very essence of justice. I wonder if any of the Bishops (for those of your Lordships who are Christians) have referred you to what God said in the book of Deuteronomy to the effect that Judges are not to be unjust or show partiality in their judgments; that they are not to accept bribes, “for gifts blind the eyes even of wise and honest men, and cause them to give wrong decisions.” To those of our noble Lords who are Muslims, I also wonder if the Imams adverted your attention to what the Quran says to the effect that we should all stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God and that we should not distort justice or decline to do justice. May the God of heavens strengthen, assist and encourage your Lordships in the discharge of your daunting duties this legal year and ever.

The topic considered The topic itself is topical. It is very appropriate and timely, considering all the variables and the vicissitudes which our country and Nigerians of different shapes and sizes are going through today. Never in the history of this country has the legal profession been made the cynosure, not only of all eyes, but also of all ears, thinking and imaginations. It is common nowadays to see and hear people asking lawyers and Judges what they are doing about the myriads of problems confronting the country, including the ones that are not directly related to their calling. We cannot blame them because our profession places a lot of responsibilities on us and these responsibilities have their own attendant burdens.

The early judges The first glimpse or idea of a human being presiding as a Judge over the affairs of his fellow citizens is as recorded in the Bible,

‘... the Judiciary had/has been actively involved in the evolution of any sustainable nation. In effect, by so doing, the Judiciary has been carrying out and discharging God - given assignments and jurisdiction. The laws of man ape the laws of God, as well as the institutions created by the Almighty. I have deliberately referred to both the Bible and Quran to remind us that it was not modern civilization or democracy that created the institution of the Judiciary per se, but God Almighty Himself’

when Moses told Jethro, his father-in-law that “when they have a matter, they come unto me, and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.” Thereafter, Jethro advised Moses not to wear himself out, but to appoint able men, such that fear God, men of truth who hate covetousness to be rulers and Judges, to judge the people at all seasons, particularly in respect of all diverse and small matters, but the great ones, they should bring to Moses. Thereafter it is written “And they judge the people at all seasons; the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judge themselves.” I want to believe that the appellate court system of appeals, coming from the Magistrate Court to the High Court, then to the Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court was borrowed from this Biblical institution. God Himself made use of a number of Judges to govern and rule over his people before the advent of the kingship in Israel. These include Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, Deborah, Samuel e.t.c. Indeed the Seventh book of the Bible is titled ‘Judges’. One can safely say and conclude that no other profession in the world has a whole Chapter in a Holy Writ devoted to it, except the profession of law, and particularly the calling of Judges. Juxtaposing this analysis with the topic of today, we are to remind ourselves that from time immemorial, the Judiciary had/ has been actively involved in the evolution of any sustainable nation. In effect, by so doing, the Judiciary has been carrying out and discharging God - given assignments and jurisdiction. The laws of man ape the laws of God, as well as the institutions created by the Almighty. I have deliberately referred to both the Bible and Quran to remind us that it was not modern civilization or democracy that created the institution of the Judiciary per se, but God Almighty Himself.

The USA example In terms of sound economy, fair or substantial adherence to the doctrine of the rule of law, good governance rooted in democracy and separation of powers, public institutions that are working and reliable, respect for the dignity of man without undue adherence to religiosity, accountability to the people by those in Government, respect for the will of the people as demonstrated through the ballot box, universal or global acceptance and usage of the national currency etc, the United States of America (USA) represents and vividly comes to mind as a modern day example. Let us briefly remind ourselves that until 1776, the USA was a Colony of Britain. At independence, her Constitution was uniquely fashioned to suit her peculiar circumstances and environment, bearing in mind the long years of suffering and servitude under the British Colonial rule. We do not need in this lecture to go through the labyrinth of the contents of the American Declaration of Independence, leading to the fashioning of the new Constitution. Howbeit, the American Constitution itself, like any other Constitution in the world has no life of its own. It is the Judges, after forensic advocacy of lawyers in the presentation of their cases, who, through their incisive judgments that breathe life to the words, contents and even intentions of Constitutions all over. The American State as we have it today should have been dead shortly after arrival, but for the doggedness, foresightedness, industry, dynamism and pragmatism of the American Supreme Court in the celebrated case of Marbury v Madison. Simply put, it was that case that breathed life into the US Constitution. It was the judgment of Chief Justice John Marshall that saved the American State from collapsing. In the words of Ian Mc-Dougall, “With a persuasive stroke of a pen, Justice Marshall defined what ‘checks and balances’ meant in practice and he clarified the role of the Supreme Court of the United States in shaping our culture. Marshall confirmed that the US Constitution was the supreme law of the land and the Supreme Court was the final arbiter of all legal disputes regardless of the parties involved – in this instance a part of a co-equal branch of the US government. Marshall, starts with a critical premise with which no one, other than those who would champion revolution, could argue – the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and, as such, the Constitution explicitly provides that the judicial power of the United States culminates in the Supreme Court whose power is expressly extended to all cases arising under the laws of the United States.” In other words, while the representatives of the pioneering thirteen states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgina fashioned a Constitution for America, it was not until the decision of the American Supreme Court in this celebrated case that the American revolution was ignited. The decision also set in place a most formidable Judiciary. It also established its real jubilee. No wonder, it is in America that you can have an Attorney-General appointed by a sitting President who would commence criminal proceedings against the same President who appointed him, as demonstrated in the equally celebrated case of United States v Nixon, President of the United States. May I humbly remind this gathering that the same Chief Justice Marshall who championed the judicial revolution in this case was also the Secretary of State to President John Adams, under whom the Judiciary Act of 1801 was passed, an Act which came for construction in Marbury v Madison. Marshall rightly came to the conclusion that the Supreme Court possesses both the power and jurisdiction to critically examine Acts of Congress and see whether they are in tune with the Constitution, and if not, they would be rendered void. Hear him, even from his grave, as he enthused thus: “It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflicts with each other, the court must decide on the operation of each. If Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.”





N every crowd of horizontal men there is always one vertical man who deserves honour not much because of his vertical position but because of the significant difference which that position makes to the crowd” Time flies. It was six years last Tuesday that His Eminence, Dr. Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar III, CFR,ascended the throne as the 20th Sultan of Sokoto. The historic date was November 6, 2006. Until then, this lucky man’s name did not ring any bell in Nigeria. And he probably was not conscious of the royal blood in him. If he was at all, his humble nature did not reflect it. But the thinking of man is quite different from the will of Allah. And when the thinking of man clashes with the will of Allah, the latter’s automatically prevails. For Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, ascending the throne of the great Sokoto Empire was like the rise of the sun anon meridian. When it beams its rejuvenating light, all the stars in the galaxy take their bow. History and man are like Siamese twins or a pair of scissors. The one cannot do without the other. History makes man just as man makes history. And the reciprocal baton continues to change hands between them as long as they remain in existence. Thus, the emergence of Brigadier General Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar as the successor to the exalted throne of the great Sokoto Empire without any controversy came as a surprise to many Nigerians. At 50 years of age then, many people believed that he was one of the youngest men to become the Sultan in many decades. But he disagreed with such suggestion recalling that his own father, Sultan Abubakar Saddiq III who died in 1988 ascended the throne at the age of 37. There is something mysterious about name which humanity is yet to comprehend fully. A puzzling secret seems to exist in the vocabulary of life which sticks to every man like a second skin. That secret, pearled in the yoke of name, is an effective evidence of destiny in man. Our names are the light that glows at night to lighten up our ways through the threshold of life. And when the dawn comes to render the glowing light ineffective, the bearer bows out into the recluse of death leaving behind an indemnified signature on the sands of time. This was the case with Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the greatest man who ever lived on the surface of the earth. Even as an unlettered son of Arabia who was born in an era of blatant ignorance, he introduced into the world, an unprecedented civilisation that opened the eyes of humanity to everlasting guidance. In recognition of his exemplariness, Allah said in Q 33: 21: “You have a good example in Allah’s Apostle for anyone who looks to Allah and the Last Day and remembers Him always”. The name Muhammad which means ‘Praiseworthy’ was never known to have been borne by anybody in Arabia before the birth of the Prophet. And no other person was known for bearing that unique name in Makkah and its environs until after his call to the office of Prophet-hood when Muslim parents started naming their children after him in appreciation of his greatness and in emulation of his exemplary character. Today, at the mention of Prophet Muhammad anywhere in the world, everybody around responds with thunderous traditional chanting of ‘Salla Llahu alayhi wa sallama’ meaning: ‘Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him’. This is even sometimes chanted unconsciously by some non-Muslims. Sultan’s first name is Muhammad which he bears in emulation of the Prophet. His second name is Sa’ad meaning ‘Good ‘Luck’ which makes him a namesake of one of the Prophet’s disciples (Sa’d bn Abi Waqqas) who was a great Army General of Islam. And his (Sultan’s) surname is Abubakar which means ‘father of youths’, a name which he shares with the first Caliph in Islam (Abubakr Siddiq). In every one of these names is a profound meaning with profound influence on the personality and conduct of the Sultan. As an Army General, like Sa’d bn Abi Waqqas, Sultan is demonstrating the courage of a brave leader. As the father of the youths, like Abu Bakr, he bridges the gap between leadership and follower-ship by breathing a breeze of hope into Nigerian Muslim youths. A leader is known, neither by the office he occupies, nor by the enormity of the power he wields but by the magnanimity with which he exercises the power entrusted to him and the humility he demonstrates in his interaction with the people. This is the lesson which Prophet Muhammad taught Muslim rulers in his Hadith when he said: “A powerful person is not the one who can suppress others (with the instrumentality of office) but the one who can resist the temptation to use such power”. Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III seems to have fully imbibed this prophetic

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Six years so soon?

•Sultan Abubakar

teaching as a Muslim ruler and a faithful one for that matter. And through his humble interaction with all Muslims in Nigeria irrespective of tribal or geographical boundaries, he is the first Sultan to have created a strong feeling of a united Muslim Ummah in Nigeria under a competent leadership. At his instance, the Abuja National Mosque has been reorganised in such a way that no Muslim part of the country feels neglected again. Today, the Friday sermon in that Mosque is not only delivered in the three major languages (Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba) in addition to Arabic and English, three deputy Imams have also been appointed to join the Chief Imam in leading the Jum‘at Salat in rotation. These Deputy Imams are from the North, the Southwest and the Southeast respectively. Besides, a number of committees have been set up to take charge of certain necessities concerning the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the National Mosque. And by speaking out incessantly against policies which may seem to deliberately impoverish ordinary Nigerians, irrespective of tribes or religions, Sultan Abubakar III has brought a lucky era to this country and the Muslims are the luckiest for it. Such a leadership deserves absolute allegiance, loyalty and regular prayer from the followers. The itinerary of his Eminence’s exemplariness is not limited to Nigeria. He has severally been invited as guest lecturers on interfaith and conflict resolution as well as peace management in many international fora including Harvard University in the United States and Oxford University in Britain. And in all these, he has proved to be a worthy leader. Today, he is on the list of the 50 most influential Muslims in the world and as a matter of fact he ranks 16th on that list. It thus becomes obvious that with a very solid military background combined with a unique diplomatic experience and a global modern travelling exposure, this Sultan has become a millennial royal Captain divinely designated to pilot the affairs of Islam and the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. Philosophers who assert that every new century has a way of producing a great leader may be right after all. The example of His Eminence, Dr. Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar III, CFR, is a manifest attestation to that assertion. Ever since he assumed the exalted royal office six years ago, this great man has convincingly exemplified all the qualities of genuine leadership. Every statement he has made socially, religiously or politically and every action he has taken privately or publicly has proved to be a school from which all well-meaning people have learnt one lesson or another. An American President, Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), once described a true leader as “a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do and like it”. Through his activities and functions so far, Sultan Abubakar III has proved Truman right by demonstrating to Nigerian Muslim Ummah that the time has come

for the reformation of the Sultanate and the unification of the Ummah. When he first assumed office in 2006, he hinted that the Sultanate would be put on the internet to enable all educated Muslims have access to their leader. And in this age of computer, can anyone lay claim to any serious information or knowledge without adequate access to the internet? That is why he decided to start the reformation of the Sultanate through the instrumentality of the internet. And as an exemplary leader, he demonstrates his intellectual prowess with mastering fingers on the computer. In Islam, education is the first law. That was why the very first Qur’anic revelation to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) ordained education thus: “Read in the name of Allah who created; He created man from clots of congealed blood; Read! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One, Who taught man by the pen; He taught him what man did not know…”Q. 96:1-4. And to further emphasise the compelling need for education in Islam, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said “knowledge is a lost treasure. Muslims should look for it and pick it wherever they can find it”. Without education there can be no information. And without information there can be no knowledge. And without knowledge, there can be no progress. That is why the Sultan started his reformation of the Sultanate from the premise of education. It is only with education that most problems in this world can be solved without much ado. The Sultan also believes that education without social harmony is like a virtue without value and that there can be no harmony in a society where people are overwhelmed by ignorance and penury as is the case with Nigeria. Thus, he has consistently championed the campaign for both. At his installation as the Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University last November, His Eminence told the crowd that the current socioeconomic indices in Nigeria were a clear indication that the country had begun to drift. He lamented the dwindling standard of education and the growing rate of poverty in the land despite the nation’s unprecedented wealth which he said had failed to aid national development. In his words: “Corruption has emasculated our progress even as poverty and unemployment have pushed citizens to the brinks thereby fuelling social conflicts and inter-communal crises which have extracted heavy toll in both human lives and property”. He went further by saying: “Persistent insecurity has generated panic and anxiety; our social and physical infrastructures are far from meeting the needs of the nation; the country appears to be adrift and at the core of all these is moral decay engendered by ignorance and greed.” He also noted that the reform of the tertiary education sector could not be effective without putting in place, the required progressive developments at the basic and senior secondary education levels insisting that “our state governments, especially those of the North, must begin to realize the enormity of the challenges facing the education sector and take urgent and necessary steps to address these challenges.” That the a renascent Sultan for you, a man who is at the topmost echelon of the tree of comfort but feels so much concerned about the condition of the peasants who feel deliberately consigned to the weeding of shrubs at the bottom of that tree by the system in place. At home in Nigeria, he has never relented in his advocacy for good governance and denunciation of corruption and religious intolerance just as he has consistently campaigned for religious peaceful coexistence at the international fora.When he was invited in January 2010 as a Special Guest of Honour to a religious seminar organized by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) with the theme:

‘Knowing Your Muslim Neighbour’, Sultan Abubakar delivered an historic speech that reverberated meaningfully across the entire world. And in May, same year, he also invited the leadership of CAN to a special conference of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) held in Kaduna. The theme of that conference was: ‘Islam in the Eyes of the Christians’. He is the first Nigerian first class Monarch ever to engage in such an interfaith affair at the national level and his speech on that occasion was also electrifying. Please read an excerpt from that speech as presented below:”....we initiated, as we had done for the Jama‘atu Nasril-Islam (JNI), a thorough review of the activities of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs [NSCIA] and an extensive reform of its structures. It is our firm belief that these reforms are not only desirable but necessary to reposition the Council to play its strategic role as the apex Islamic body in the country and to respond, effectively and meaningfully, to the challenges facing the Muslim Ummah in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society. We have had extensive consultations over the last one year and have received very useful inputs on the reform agenda from all the constituent bodies of the Council. Our strategic objectives in this exercise had been and shall remain: First is the promotion of Muslim Unity and Solidarity to accord the Ummah the ability to speak with one voice and to act and work together for the advancement of Islam. Second is the development of Education and Economic Enterprise, to enable the Muslim Ummah play an active role in the socio-economic life of Nigeria. Third is to promote peace and religious harmony both within the Muslim Communities and between the adherents of Islam and Christianity. Fourth is to establish effective linkage with Government, at local, state and federal levels, to safeguard the interest of the Ummah and to build consensus on those vital issues that bind us together as a nation....It is therefore our hope that as we bring this reform process to its logical conclusion, we will receive the support and patronage of the entire Muslim Ummah as well as the co-operation of all stakeholders including State Governments and indeed the Government of the Federation”.”....the task of overcoming Nigeria’s problems calls for sacrifice, dialogue and understanding; and all national stakeholders must overcome the myopia of greed and self-centredness to move this great nation forward and safeguard its strategic interests....we must begin to look into the future with hope and confidence and to ensure, first and foremost, that we shore up the foundations of our political system. The National Assembly and indeed all tiers of Government should not relent in their current efforts at Electoral Reform and in ensuring that Nigerians have a genuine electoral process that guarantees free and fair elections. Unless and until we do that our nation will continue to be haunted by unholy alliance between fraudulent elections and illegitimate electoral outcomes the consequences of which we all know very well. We must break away from this vicious circle and confer on Nigerians the power and indeed the ability to decide, freely and willingly, who leads them at all levels of governance. “....there is also the urgent need for us to re-evaluate our conception of leadership as a nation.... needless to add, that there is no way we can make genuine progress as a nation when a significant number of our populace wallow in abject poverty unable to secure the requisite means for their sustenance and to cater for the health and educational needs of their families. Democracy must build a humane society capable of looking after the legitimate needs of its citizenry. For it to be truly successful, it must be able to bring real progress for all sectors of our diverse society. “Finally we must all work hard to limit the influence of wealth in our society and to support those values that promote social responsibility, excellence and hard work”.That is Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III a leader who knows the problems of his followers and associates with them in solving those problems. Through his humble interaction with all Muslims in Nigeria, irrespective of tribal or geographical boundaries, he has become the first Sultan to create a strong feeling of a united Ummah under a competent and kind leadership. And by speaking out incessantly against policies which seem to deliberately impoverish ordinary Nigerians irrespective of religions, this Sultan has brought a rare hope to Nigeria and the Muslim Ummah is the luckiest for it. Such a leadership deserves not only allegiance and loyalty but also regular prayers from the Ummah.‘The Message’ hereby joins millions of other Nigerians home and abroad in saying CONGRATULATIONS to His Eminence on his sixth anniversary of his royal regale on the throne praying for Allah’s continuous guidance to accompany him in his life’s odyssey. Long live the Sultan! Long live the NSCIA! Long live Nigeria




•From left: Oni Of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade; Olori Faramade; ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and Osun State Deputy Governor, Chief Titi Laoye-Tomori

•From left: Sons of the late Oba Olashore - Olalekan; Kehinde Olashore and his wife Lawunmi

•From left: Mrs. Atinuke Olashore; Olori Mary Olashore; Olori Modupe Olashore and Mr Abimbola Olashore

•From left: Oba Rasaki Aluko; Oba Johnson Obaleye and Oba Aderemi Obaleye

•From left: Dr Tunji Abayomi, his wife Foluke and Mr Dimeji Owofemi

From left: Mr John Darlington; Mr Seyi Ase; Mrs Adun Abe and Mr Henry Onukwba

•From left: Chief Richard Ahonaruogho; Mr Kolade Amire-Kola and Otunba Dele

From left: Mrs Yemi Opayemi; Mr Duuni Opayemi and Mr Noah Oyeneyin PHOTOS: SOLOMON ADEOLA



SOCIETY A send-off has been held for the Apex Chief Nursing Officer of the Mushin Local Government, Mrs Olufunke Olaleye, in Lagos. AMINAT ADESHINA report.

Her day of joy


HE Abimbola Fashola Hall at Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State was decorated in green and gold. It was the send-off for the Chief Nursing Officer, of the council Mrs Olufunke Olaleye. She looked resplendent in green Iro and Buba with gold Ipele and matching head gear. The celebrator, accompanied by her husband, Reverend Ola Olaleye, was ushered into the hall amid songs, by her colleagues who formed a big circle around her singing Oni lojo Ayo re (Today is your day of Joy). Pastor Fadele preached the sermon and the Bible reading was taken from Galatians 6:7. The cleric urged all to live a good life. Little Miss Olufunmilayo Ategbero was called to mimic the celebrator’s lifestyle; she received praises for doing a good job. Chief Nursing Officer Taiwo Balogun read the celebrator’s citation. Shortly after, the chairperson on the occasion, Mrs Adenike Oluwo, thanked all present. She described the celebrator as a worthy woman and the best Apex she had ever worked with. “She has been fantastic in every way, anytime she calls; I look forward to picking her calls because she is like a mother to me. She is soft spoken with humility and calmness,” she said. The Head of Nursing Administration, Mrs Adekeye Adegboyega, described her as “a goal getter.” “She is an active, devoted and committed woman. We thank God for her life and her contribution to nursing profession,” she said. Revd Olaleye, who looked charming in a light green Agbada with green cap to match, described his wife as a wonderful woman and pillar of support.

“I’m not surprised today seeing all these people present and all the encomiums poured on her is nothing but the true fact because that is exactly who she is. “I thank the Mushin (community) for making her shine, because Mushin brought out the best in her,” he said, while giving his wife a kiss on her cheek. The Head of Nursing Administration, Mrs Toyin Odukoya, described Mrs. Olaleye as a woman of substance and passionate woman. Mrs Odukoya said she is humble and down to earth. “I always feel comfortable leaving the office for her because I know she is always in control. I so much appreciate and love her for whom she is. She has never disappointed me. She is retiring but she is not tired. She is a disciplinarian and a no nonsense woman, I can always count on her in all ramifications.” Miss Ategbero, also described her as a great mentor. “Under her tutelage, I have indeed gained a great pleasure of professionalism knowledge,” she said. Mrs Olaleye was later led to the cake by her husband, her daughter and friends amidst songs. She was helped in the cutting of the two cakes decorated in green and gold by her husband. Her first daughter, Mrs Oluwadamilola Ajadi, who works as a human resource manager at Tunnex Laboratory Engineering Limited, described her as a fabulous woman. “I feel so happy for her, it has not been easy even from the beginning but thank God she is retiring today and I’m happy she is,” she prayed.

•The celebrator, Mrs Olaleye being assisted by her husband Revd Olaleye to cut the cake

•Hon Emmanuel Bamigboye and Mrs Yemi Oluwatayo

•Mrs Odukoya Oluwatoyin and Pastor Olayinka Ogunsanya


•From left: Executive Director, Ecobank, Sir Patrick Akinwuntan; the Apetumodu of Ipetumodu, Oba James Adegoke and the Chairman, Planning Committee, Mr Kunle Oyatomi

•Representative of Osun State Governor, Dr Olalekan Yinusa (left) presenting an award to Alhaji Muraina Iyiola




•From right: Olorigun Felix Ibru, his wife, Matilda and Dr Ezenwa Chizea

•Emmanuel Ijewere and wife Jayne

•Chief Chizea Nicholas and Ambassador Foluke Marcus-Bello

•Nicholas Nwenze presenting a frame to Mrs Claire Chizea

•Mr. Andy Egonmwan, his wife, Prof. Rosemary •Dr John Nwaiwu (left) and Senator Victor Odili

From left: Mrs. Gloria Moweta; Mrs Azi Idoko and Mrs Catherine Okoesuade

•From left: Revd. Ethelbert Ukpabi; Chief John Edozien and Senator Victor Odili PHOTOS: DAVID ADEJO



SOCIETY A Kano-based businessman, Chief Godwin Agbo has been installed as Life Patron of Nkanu Development Union (NDU), Kano branch. KOLADE ADEYEMI reports.

Honour away from home


YPICAL of Sabon Gari in Kano on a Sunday, people

were trooping in and out of fun spots. The Ado Bayero Square, in the heart of the non-native enclave is a major sports and event centre. In no time, many in gorgeous dresses started trooping into the square for the investiture of Chief Godwin Agbo as the Life Patron of Nkanu Development Union (NDU), Kano branch. Agbo, born in Awkunanaw, Nkanu Local Government Area of Enugu State, joined the Nigerian Army in 1972 and served in the Electrical and Mechanical Department. In 1973, he was sent to Abeokuta for full military training, and later attended the Nigeria Army School in Yaba, Lagos, from where he graduated as an Army Engineer in 1977. He resigned from the military in 1978 and joined UAC Nigeria Ltd. The celebrator was described by many as a man of the people. They were not disappointed, anyway, as they were treated to various dances by cultural groups. For many, the event provided the much-needed rest from the hustle and bustle of the week. The atmosphere became charged when Chief Agbo, clad in full traditional attire, came in with his amiable wife, Mary-Rose. It was all cheers, praises and drumming as he was welcomed into the arena.

•Chief Nwogu (left) hands over NDU Life Patron certificate to Chief Agbo and wife, Mary-Rose

According to the NDU branch President, Comrade Patrick Akaeme, Chief Agbo, the Chinyere Ugo 1 of Nkanu, was chosen as the Life Patron of NDU because of his outstanding leadership qualities and unparallelled contributions to the development of Nkanu and its people in Kano. “The union in recognition of excellent service to our people, thought it wise to bestow such honour on a deserving member strictly on merit. Hence, its entrenchment in the union’s constitution in Article 6, Section 2B. This yielded its first fruits on August, 16 1992 when the late Chief Ferdinand Nwafor was unanimously appointed first Life Patron of the union,” Akaeme added. He noted that, following all laiddown rules, Agbo was unanimously elected on November 19, 2011, to succeed the late Chief Nwafor who died on April 19, 2010. Describing Agbo as an astute gentleman and philanthropist who reaches out to people without recourse to tribal or religious

sentiment, Akaeme said “Agbo is one of the pioneer members of NDU and his role in the procurement of what is today known as Nkanu House remains indelible; and his financial, advice and other contributions made Nkanu the first community in Enugu State to have its own hall and among the first 10 Igbo communities to achieve same in Kano. “At turbulent times, when some odds rear their heads in the union, aimed at disintegrating us, his fatherly advice and interventions were always the saving grace because he is a man respected by all and sundry.” His Royal Highness, Igwe Boniface Ibekwe, Eze Ndigbo IV in Kano, who decorated Chief Agbo as the Life Patron of NDU, Kano, described the recipient as a man of honour and integrity. “Chief Agbo is a man of integrity. He served in the cabinet of my predecessor, the late Chief Nnadi, Ezedioramma 111 of Ndigbo in Kano. He is also a member of my cabinet and one of the most respected elders in Igbo

Community Kano. I praise the Nkanu community for honouring him and I want to urge other communities to look out for men of such caliber for honour and recognition,” Igwe Ibekwe said. Hon. Nicodemus Nwobodo, a leading member of NDU described Chief Agbo as man of peace,. “He is a father to many people here. We are proud of him. He is a man at home with his people. He is a man of integrity, very accommodating, and he is not quarrelsome. This is why we have decided to honour him,” he said. The celebrator and his wife, Mary-Rose, was full of appreciation. This they showed to the mammoth crowd when they patiently went round the arena, accompanied with Nkanu cultural dance to greet all the groups that graced the occasion, including members of the Igwe-in-council, Igbo Community Association executive led by its President, Chief Chi Nwogu, executives of Enugu State Community, Enugu Youths Association, NDU Women Wing

and the Christian community represented by Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Mbah. Chief Agbo said he was mesmerised at the way his people, friends and well wishers turned out en masse to honour him. His words: “You see, I am very happy with what is happening. I never knew people love and appreciate what I do this much; and I can only thank God for his mercies and opportunity given to me to touch people’s life in different ways. In fact, what I have witnessed today has further spurred me to render even more selfless service to the community and to humanity. I am really thrilled.” His wife, Mary-Rose who is also the Matron of NDU Women Wing, said her family was happy at the honour given to the patriarch. “Daddy is a father to all. We are not surprised he is being honoured because I know my husband as a man of the people. Our promise today is that we will continue to encourage him to render more help to the people and the community,” she said.



•Ambassador Solomon David Oke Eke (middle) receiving the honorary distinguished member of the Centre for Democratic Governance in Africa award from Director -General of the centre, Dr Dafe Akpocha in Lagos. With them is Pere Olutu of Ijaws in Lagos, John Asolai (left) PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLIAMS

•Former Miss Olaniyi Olutoyosi and her husband Mr Kehinde Akinpelu during their wedding at Christ Herald Church (District Headquarters) Brethren Avenue, Ejigbo, Lagos



SOCIETY Adeola Asa, a medical practitioner and Olufunmilade Odunayo, a banker have been joined in holy matrimony at Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church Cathedral, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. ADEOLA OGUNLADE was there

•The couple Adeola and Olufunmilade with Mrs Orelope-Adefulire (third left) and their parents


HE Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church Cathedral, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, venue of the holy matrimony between Adeola Asa, a medical doctor, and former Miss Olufunmilade Odunayo, a banker, was lively. Friends of the couple, well wishers and family members came from far and near to witness the wedding. The bride and her groom looked resplendent their wedding attires. they were ushered into the church withy a processional hymn, Praise to the Lord Almighty. Declaring the ceremony open, the Presiding Bishop of the Lagos West of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Ademola Ademowo, said marriage is a holy mystery in which a man and a woman become one flesh. Afterwards, Bishop Ademowo declared the lovebird husband and

‘She is my all in all’ wife after exchanging marital vows. He prayed for them and the congregation. The couple and their parents signed the marriage certificate. Then came the photogrph session. the couple posed for photographs with family members and guests. The wedding train moved to 10 Degree Event Centre at Alausa Central District, Ikeja, Lagos for the reception. The decor was breath-taking. The hall was transformed from the everyday hall to dream world. From the entrance of the hall were designs of voile with lightings spread across the over 1,000-seater hall. The bridal stage was decorated in brown and white. Each table was designated for a

different group or association. It was an impressive wedding as many decked in their best fashionable wears and wore their dancing shoes. The colour code, as indicated on the invitation card was ‘a touch of brown’, and guests turned out ravishing in their dressings. All had a touch of brown in their outfits. Beautiful women dressed in red dinner gowns ushered the guests to their respective seats. Many turned out in colourful Iro and Buba with brown matching headgear for the women with men wearing Sokoto and Buba and caps to match. The master of ceremony and popular stand-up comedian, Tee A, had

guests laughing gustily with his jokes. He dished out rib-cracking jokes on love and patience expected of a newly wedded couple. programme of events so well. Guests entertainment was upped when King Sunny Ade took the band stand. He played many of his evergreen songs and some new ones,too. Chairman on the occasion, The Asiwaju of Remo Kingdom, Solomon Onafowokan, congratulated the couple. Nigerian weddings, Asiwaju Onafowokan said, are always to celebrate God’s grace. He prayed for the couple to continue to demonstrate love and committment to their marital

vows. Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who supervised the cutting of the cake, urged the couple to always show selfless love and understanding. She said there are bound to be differences and challenges, but “God will always be there to see you through if you rely on Him always for grace and strength on the journey.” For the couple, it was a dream come true. Adeola described his wife as “pretty, caring and lovely.” “She is God-fearing and humble. I love her for who she is; she is all in all for me,” he said. Olufunmilade thanked God for giving her a “wonderful man” as husband. The were enough delicacies and drinks for everyone. Guests took home several souvenirs.


•The couple Chibuzor and Edward flanked by their parents (from left) groom’s father Mr Paul Ezeh; bride’s mother Mrs Stella Okafor and her beau Benson and groom’s mother Mrs Theresa Ezeh after their wedding at St Jude’s Anglican Church, Omole Phase I, Ikeja, Lagos.




•Bride’s parents, Amb and Mrs Isiaka

‘He is my perfect man’ •The couple Oreoluwa and Mosopefoluwa

Ambassador Kola Isiaka has given his daughter, Oreoluwa in marriage to Mosopefoluwa Samuel at the Foursquare Gospel Church, Ojodu Road, Akute, Lagos, reports AMINA ADESHINA


HE weather was cool and inviting; it was neither sunny nor cloudy. The Foursquare Gospel Church, Ojodu Road, Akute was filled to capacity with well wishers who came to witness the holy matrimony of Oreoluwa Olaide, the daughter of Ambassador Kola Isiaka, and Mosopefoluwa Oluwasegun Samuel. All stood up as Oreoluwa was led into the hall by her father with the processional hymn, O worship the king. They stretched to catch a glimpse of the new bride who looked beautiful in a flowing white gown. The Chapel of His Power choir from Ado-Ekiti got guests on their feet dancing. The officiating minister, Revd Moses Alawode, urged the couple to always put God first in everything they do. After the minister declared them husband and wife, they signed the marriage registrar with their parents before receiving the marriage certificate. The party train then moved to The Stad Events. The hall was decorated in purple and gold by Blossoms Event Solution.

Guests looked elegant and suave in purple Ankara. Fathers of gthe couple wore flowing Agbada made with purple stone lace while the mothers appeared in the same material with matching headgears. The couple was led into the hall by the brida train amid the song This is the day of joy. The bride shone in flowing gown with a purple bouquet in her hand; she was led in by the bridesmaids who were all dressed in a short purple gown and golden shoes. The groom, Mosopefoluwa, looked charming in a grey suit, purple shirt and gold bow tie while the groomsmen were decked in black suits, purple shirts and gold ties. There was a small canopy on the podium mae for the couple which had a gold arm chair; they were led to the chair amid dancing. Reverend Toyin Adetunji said the opening prayer. Mc Fefele emceed the event. He got all laughing with his hilarious jokes. Mr Tokun Makinde, who chaired the occasion, urged the couple to be tolerant. Marriage, Makinde said, is like a

•Mr Makinde

•Groom’s parents, Mr and Mrs Samuel

journey or a school. “You learn new things about each other. Every day, new things will unfold but it takes only tolerance to be able to scale through the hurdles,” he said. He prayed God to give them the spirit of perseverance. After cutting the cake, the bride performed her first assignment of feeding her husband. She knelt down and fed him a piece of cake. Mosopefoluwa helped her up and a kissed her. The mother of the groom, Mrs Ronke Samuel, described her daughter-in-law as a God-fearing woman. She urged the couple to always love each other and to make God the head of their family

The bride’s father, Isiaka, a Universal Peace Foundation Ambassador, described his daughter as a woman of good virtues who is very respectful. He prayed God to grant them long life and for them to live peacefully as husband and wife. Oreoluwa, a graduate of Business Administration from Ekiti State University, described her husband as a man she would love to spend the rest of her life with. “He is the man of my dream and my perfect man. I know by getting married to him, my relationship with God is going to be more cordial because he is a man of God,” she said. The Oyo-born bride described the day as the best in life.


The elated groom, a graduate of Public Administration from Ekiti State University, described his bride as a zealous woman who is always ready to work for God and to help other people. ‘’I feel fulfilled because I can now preach the full gospel, when counselling about marriage, you need the practical and theory aspects of it; I have been preaching about the theory and people looked at me like, see the person preaching, he is not married so he doesn’t have any knowledge of marriage. But now, I can preach both because I am now a married man, said the Oyo-born clergy man. Guests were treated to choice foods and drinks by Akass Place. Segun crown was on stage dishing out scintillating music.

AWARD •Alhaja Ramat Ogunmuyiwa receiving award from Mr Wasiu Amoo, a lawyer during the Oshodi Noble Heritage Merit Award in Lagos

•From left: Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori; wife of Oyo State Governor Mrs Florence Ajimobi and Mrs Folasade Ajasin-Olubunmi at the induction of New Board members of Zonta Club of Ibadan, Oyo State.







It is four years since Adams Oshiomhole, a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), was handed the mandate of the people to run the government of Edo State. He was rewarded with re-election last month by about 70 per cent of the electorate. What has been the experience so far? What will he be doing differently in the second term? The governor spoke with journalists in Benin City last weekend. Group Political Editor BOLADE OMONIJO reports.


OU came in as an activist, but today, you are on the so-called ‘other side.’ How did you handle the transition? As far as I am concerned, I am still an activist and a militant in government. It is a matter of definition. Even as a governor, I am not, in a sense, an establishment man. Sometimes, I am more worried about certain things, about the country as it was when I was in the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). In every sense of the word, I consider myself an activist and I think we need more activism if we are going to refocus the country and reconcile the wealth of our nation, the prosperity of our people. Perhaps, the only difference for me is that I have spent more or less all my adult life doing revolutions, writing communiqués, advocacy, mobilizing people, confronting power, speaking through to power and now, being in a position, to be able to execute what you believe in, rather than recommending to someone. But unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that there are still a lot of issues on which I still have to lobby, I still have to recommend and mobilize. For me, there isn’t much difference because at the heart of our struggle as activists is the whole question of public welfare. Who is getting what; at whose expense and why? Why are we going right when we should go left? For every public policy, who are the winners, who are the losers? Why should the majority keep losing and fewer people keep winning? Those are the issues and even now, as a governor, my task is to see how I could reconcile such that majority becomes the winner. I think in a sense, I have been able to make some statement in Edo State because politics and governance is not value-free. It is virtually value-driven. We have built some roads in Edo State. I have not built any road in what is generally called the GRA where the big people reside and that is a conscious decision I have taken to put public resources in those depressed neighbourhoods where the forgotten majority reside. I would rather prefer to build an ultra modern hospital which is currently under construction. Where majority of the people can have access to, rather than a government house where they will be locked out. Again, it is the cost of choice. If you ask me how, I have enjoyed the opportunity of doing those things that have always been dear to my heart. I am only constrained this time, by resources whereas where I was before, I could see the guy doing the wrong thing, you make recommendation to him and he chooses not to listen and there is not much you can do. In a sense, the life of an activist in government is a more pleasurable one than the one on the barricade. It hurts when you can see what is wrong, you can identify those who are responsible for what is wrong and yet you do not have the capacity; you are not in the position to stop them. What you can do is to appeal, sometimes you harass but oftentimes, in spite of that, they continue to do those things that affect you negatively. When you came on board, people were looking forward to what you would do. Being on the other side now, how do you feel whenever people misunderstand you? One of my prayers in life, after many years of struggle, is that God should one day, put me in a situation where I will be able to make decisions and some other persons will protest. Some persons protest all their life and others have the privilege of being protested to. I think the balanced life is one in which those who are protesters in the morning to certain persons, in the evening; they are in charge so that they can have a full view of the reality of life and I think God has done that for me. So when people protest, I’m at home, because I understand the logic of protest and I appreciate that it is one way to show that whereas you and you alone have the power to make decisions, these guys need to organise numbers to put pressure on you to make policies in a way that would favour them and that every position you take, you cannot really be neutral. There are winners and there are losers. While the winners are jubilating over the policies, others are protesting against the same policies. The question is who do you choose to align with? Somebody told me that while she was flying to Benin, there was a conversation in the plane. Some people said the comrade has done very well and there was a pool of praises. This person was meeting me for the first time. Some other people said that he just aban-

• Gov Oshiomhole on parade round Benin City streets shortly after he was declared winner of the October 20 governorship election.

Good of majority my priority, says Oshiomhole doned the GRA, nothing has happened there. He hasn’t done anything for us. But the majority of the people who have benefitted say this is the best thing that has ever happened to us. Some people are celebrating for the very reason that others are protesting. So, you were not moved by the protests over your actions on tax deductions... As a governor, my own people must support me by paying their taxes. Professionally, it is the right wing people who hate taxes because they think they have enough that they can build private roads. If your roads are bad, they can use their aircraft to fly and the air is clean. It is only subject to weather condition. They can arrange their private medical doctors and even have clinics. They can fly to the best hospital anywhere in the planet; they can take their children to schools of their choice because the whole world is their constituency. For the working people, they want the state to provide these things. So, we take from everyone according to his abilities and provide for everyone. Or rather take from those who have and provide for those who do not have. For me, we had to re-educate the people that it is in the interest of the poor that taxes are paid. For every one naira you pay, someone else will pay a million naira. The good news is that what then accrues from the process will be put to public use in a way that it is not value-free, but one that is deliberately skewed to deliver the greatest goal to the greatest number. You have displaced the former godfathers. Are you the new godfather in town in Edo State? The contest in Edo was not to replace one godfather with another. It was to liquidate godfatherism. If you look at the billboards in 2007, I said we must say no to godfatherism, we

must fight against godfatherism. My problem was not that we had a bad godfather but that we didn’t need godfathers, because by their very nature in politics, they can only exert negative influence. If I saw having godfathers as something negative, then I cannot plot to liquidate one and replace him myself. I think Edo is now free of godfatherism. The people have taken charge and the difference is clear. We will never return to godfatherism. Was there anything you planned to achieve in your first term that you couldn’t achieve because of finance? Of course, there are quite a number, but I have always known that in the life of a nation, there is no country that has all the resources to do all the things that it desires. That is why in every business, you have what you call prioritisation. Because you can’t do everything, you have to reorder your priorities to reflect your hierarchy of needs. If resource was not an issue, I would like to rebuild all our hospitals, all our schools, have Ambrose Alli University transformed to a first class university, all our roads paved and a couple of things we would have liked to do. There are several things that I would have liked to do if we have all the resources. We came in at the peak of the so-called world economic crisis, when revenue from the Federation Account crashed and we had to build up, fall back on and tried to generate internal revenue by way of improving efficiency, tax collection and so on. Even now, there are many things I would like to do which one is not able to. Edo needs a first class conference centre, a five star hotel. We need to make massive investment in tourism, many roads are begging for attention, many rural communities need roads, water supply, electricity; name it. There is still so much to be done. In all

‘My problem was not that we had a bad godfather but that we didn’t need godfathers, because by their very nature in politics, they can only exert negative influence. If I saw having godfathers as something negative, then I cannot plot to liquidate one and replace him myself. I think Edo is now free of godfatherism. The people have taken charge and the difference is clear. We will never return to godfatherism’

my reports, I have always pointed out that as much as I believe we have done much, but only relative to the resources available to us. In terms of what needs to be done, we still have so much to do. Can you tell us the priority as you start a fresh term? I think we must sustain our current level of investment in infrastructure- roads, schools, and social infrastructure. Human capital development is number one. It is the key to the future, healthcare, provision of water, extending electricity to rural areas, sustaining our urban renewal programme, working hard on erosion and flood control. In other times when the rest of the country was safe, Benin never looked forward to the rainy season because of flooding, but this year, other people were crying and Benin people were smiling because of the investment we made in erosion and flood control, but we still have a lot to be done. We have seen the dividend of the labour we put in over the past three and half years. We have to sustain those. Having made such level of investment in infrastructure, we want to now focus more on the economy. We have opened up roads to rural areas; can we now attract investors to agriculture, taking advantage of the fact that a lot of the rural communities are now accessible? We have provided water; can we now get people to locate businesses in some communities? We have to focus more on agriculture, we have to focus more on industrialisation, we are to emphasise job creation, not just in public but also in the private sector. Of course, with the privatization of the power sector, we are looking at how we can make Edo a hub because we are strategically located, we are blessed with a huge gas deposit from which we can fire independent power projects and we think that given our location, we have a comparative advantage in several aspects of economic activities. In concrete terms, what are you doing to build the capacity of the people, especially the younger generation? One area in which I think we have made a bold statement is education. We have made a lot of investment and we have returned integrity to public schools, primary schools, junior secondary schools and senior secondary schools. In Edo State, we are not talking of universal basic education in terms of primary and junior secondary schools; we have abolished school fees even in senior secondary schools. So the first 12 years, six years in primary, three years in junior secondary and three years in senior, all of that is now free and qualitative, when you look at the •Continued on page 44




‘Good of majority my priority’ •Continued from page 43

quality of our classrooms. And we are sustaining those. We are also making massive investment in tertiary institutions because human capital is the most important of all the factors. If you get everything right and get that one wrong, you can’t move on. Even the roads we are building, to be able to maintain them in the future, we need competent human capital development. To succeed in this knowledge driven world, we will need the right investment in education. We still have challenges at the level of tertiary institutions. We haven’t got it right yet at the university level. We need to make more investment there, we need radical reforms and we need to revisit the issue of funding for the university. This is also true of the College of Education, Ekiadolor and one or two other tertiary institutions. Those are areas that we are going to focus on. We need to make more investment in agriculture. Government can’t go into farming, but government can create conditions to attract large-scale farmers into the State and we are beginning to get a lot of people showing interest in those areas. In this year’s budget, we are looking at making more investment in technical education, shifting focus away from general secondary schools in favour of technical schools which means secondary education with technical content so that we can produce people who can handle POP, bricklaying, woodwork, laying tiles, all sorts of things. You will be surprised that as much as there are people who are unemployed, a lot of things we need, even to build a simple gallery, we don’t have the skills that we need. To get plumbers to manage your plumbing work can be a huge challenge. We think that when we shift focus to technical education, we can produce technicians who will have the requisite skills to contribute money into the economy and who will be more employable. In terms of the bid to fight examination malpractice, would you say that you have done enough to stamp out examination malpractices? And is your administration’s investment in education justified by the performance recorded in external examinations? I think it is too early to talk about the outcome because we are talking about what we have done over the past two years. The first year, we couldn’t do much because the PDP-dominated House of Assembly frustrated our effort by not making the necessary budgetary provision. In a democracy, you need the budget to be able to do those things. So, we are talking of two years, but already we are noticing very encouraging response. The number of children leaving private schools to public schools has increased. Public school enrolment has almost doubled over the past two years and we think it will quadruple over the next four years if we are able to sustain investment in public schools. Nobody wants to take a child to a mushroom private school when you have well-furnished, equipped and properly manned private primary and secondary schools and I think that the result will also reflect in WAEC and NECO performance. Hence, over the past few weeks, I have been going round the schools to ensure that, having made so much investment, the teachers are doing what they are supposed to be doing so that we have a complete renewal and restore integrity to public education. We should be able to get quality dividend from those. It is like switching from NEPA to generator. There is always a time lag between when you take the right decision, when you execute and when you begin to get the result. I think it is clear that we will get commensurate result. You have been suspending school

principals. Could that be part of your attempt to turn things around? It is not just sacking school principals; we have promoted some, demoted some. Ultimately that is not the solution but symbolically, we have promoted three teachers, demoted two and asked for dismissal of another. I believe that leadership is basically about your capacity to have a correct mix between the stick and the carrot. We must have a way to discipline those who are incompetent and reward those who have demonstrated competence and excellence. We have done that just to make a point that wages must be earned. You can’t stay in your home and you get your salary as and when due. It will not happen. That is why we call ourselves wage earners, not wage awardees. Wages are not paid out of pity because people are hungry. It is paid in reward for your effort. We needed to drive that home because far too many people get sentimental about these things. You retain a position because you earn it. There is a country and you must serve it. If you don’t serve it, you lose it by going home and give chance to those who are willing to do it. Even in the world of labour, workers remove their presidents or secretaries who don’t perform. It is all about performance. If you have a contract, you must service it. What we tried to do by demoting and promoting, dismissing and employing is to say that nothing is permanent except performance. You have a contract, you better service it. If you don’t service it, you lose it. I had to service my contract to be re-elected. So, who are they to have a permanent contract if they don’t service it? I think the reaction has been very positive. Teachers rush to school now and try to be there on time. If that is sustained, then the result of our WAEC and NECO will improve. You recently approved the execution of some people on the death row. As a humanist and activist, why did you decide to do so in view of the campaign for the right to life? It is not me; it’s the Nigerian law. Why did you decide to sign? I am convinced that those people needed to die in the interest of society. The law is different from resolution by some NGOs and nations are not governed by NGO resolutions. You and I know that people have been executed in some parts of the world when they were perceived to be enemies of the nation. Nations are governed by laws and values. Amnesty International has to know that the views they parade are inferior to national laws. When it has to do with capital punishment, it is a battle of values. Some people believe that those who kill have a right to live. Others believe that if you kill, you are entitled to be killed also. I am a Christian. The bible tells me that thou shall not kill; so if you kill, you have no right to life. Nigeria is not governed by a resolution of amnesty international. Amnesty can have a point if a man is killed under extrajudicial circumstances. If Nigerian law says that if you are guilty or murder, that you too shall die, and the Supreme Court agrees that you are guilty of murder and have found the death sentence, that is the supreme law in Nigeria. As a governor, I subscribed to the oath of office which says that I shall obey the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, including all laws, without fear or favour. I cannot be afraid to sign the death warrant of a man who has been found guilty of murder. It is part of the oath of office I have taken. I have no

• HRH Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen, the Egbaen of Siluko and Vice President, Association of Enigies (right) presenting a congratulatory card to Governor Oshiomhole for his re-election during a visit of Enigies (royal fathers) in Edo South to the Governor.

apology. I didn’t sentence them to death. I am not the one who accused them. They have been accused by those they harass, they have been tried, they have taken advantage of the appellate court, all the way to the Supreme Court of the land and they have been found guilty. The issue is, the law also says that having been found guilty and sentenced to death, the governor could exercise mercy and I say I have no mercy on those who kill. But why when the death penalty has been abolisghed in many developed countries? Why should you compel me to have mercy on those who kill? I think that is the issue. It is also very opportunistic on the part of Amnesty international. They cannot behave as if they are holier-than-thou. We know the history of nations where they are coming from. When did they abolish death penalty, where? We know. In this battle of values, we must not behave as if some other people’s values are superior to ours. If you believe that those who kill in your country should have right to life and we believe in our country that they should be killed, and it has been reflected in our laws, until you reverse those laws, they will apply. The rule of law is a very problematic concept. Someone was involved in armed robbery, under the Nigerian law, once you are found guilty or armed robbery, the penalty is death. In what circumstances do you then exercise your prerogative of mercy? In exercise of my prerogative of masses, when it has been found that although the man was involved in armed robbery but he did not kill in the process, I believe we can have mercy on him. Although, he deserves to die under the law, and because they have sentenced him to death, I can exercise mercy in his favour and I have done so in one or two cases of persons who did not kill but have been condemned to death. My logic is, if they didn’t take life, then the state shouldn’t take their life. In two cases, I did not only refuse to sign the death warrant, I even decided to pardon them and to release them from prison and give

them small cash to start life afresh because they did not kill. Although they used firearms to frighten their victims to submission, they didn’t kill and they have been in prison for 20 years for stealing a television set, radio set, some cash, some jewelry. I have released two people like that. A young man was 16 years old, he brought out a knife gave it to another one to kill. I said, at 16, it is arguable whether he knew that the knife would be used to kill. By law, he is guilty of conspiracy to murder and he is imprisoned at the pleasure of the government. I decide let him go home. Someone else robbed. After robbing, he killed the victim and dismembered the body. In the words of the judge who read the judgment at the Supreme Court, he said this man is not just a murderer; he is a kind of cannibal. He said people like this are only fit for the Hades. And the Supreme Court was unanimous. It will be irresponsible of me, in exercise of the prerogative of mercy to say I set him free. I believe he deserves to die and I have signed. He must be executed. We must have a balance view of human rights, in which the rights, not only of the man they killed, the rights of his relations but most importantly, to send a clear message to his would-be murderers that when you kill a human being and you are caught, you are likely to die. If you don’t want to die, abstain from killing and if criminals abstain from killing, fewer people will be killed by robbers or other murderers. So, if you tell me that a man killed but he has a right to life, I refuse that and amnesty should not be hypocritical about it. We have the record worldwide. Nations are governed by their national values and it is debatable whether those who excuse murderers in the eyes of God whether they are better human beings than those who insist that if you kill, you too should be killed if found guilty of killing. When do we expect the Local Government elections? We will do that within the next three months because under the law, we must give notice to all the parties. There are issues about the status of the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission.

‘The first year, we couldn’t do much because the PDP-dominated House of Assembly frustrated our effort by not making the necessary budgetary provision. In a democracy, you need the budget to be able to do those things. So, we are talking of two years, but already we are noticing very encouraging response. The number of children leaving private schools for public schools has increased’

We are going to settle those ones now. The court has resolved it, so we would find a way to reconstitute and make sure that they are people who are not card carrying members of a political party and then we will proceed. What is your position on the issue benchmark on the issue of projects? We have the executive branch, we have the legislative branch. The executive branch is saying let’s save for the rainy day, good point. The House is saying let’s reduce the deficit; I also believe it is a good point. The question for Nigerians to resolve is should we save X and borrow Y to meet our requirements? It seems to me that both sides are patriotic and you can’t refuse any of their argument. It makes sense to me to say we shouldn’t borrow because right now, we are borrowing at the federal level. Almost the entire amount required for capital projects, about 30 percent of the budget. The House is saying reduce the borrowing but the executive is saying we want to save some. When you look at the how to fund the deficit, you will see that you still have to fall back on the so-called excess crude. On balance therefore, for me, it remains arguable whether it makes economic sense to borrow so much and save so little. What is the best way to safeguard the future of our children? To leave them with debt overhang or leave them with low savings? It is not as complicated as it is made to look. As a father, you ask yourself, should I borrow N100m for my children to pay and save N50 for them also in a bank account or I leave them with no savings, I also leave them with no debt? Given the challenges that we have, I will rather abstain from borrowing so much and spend a little money which I think is the argument of the House. But, after last year’s elections, you were reported to have fired some commissioners because they did not deliver their constituencies… It was not because they couldn’t deliver, but because they consciously worked against the party. If people don’t vote for you, it is not your fault, but if you worked against the party because your preferred candidate was not selected by the majority, that is unacceptable. That is what we fought against; that the person who emerged as a candidate, some people didn’t like him so they decided to work against him. They are free to express support for a preferred candidate, but once a candidate emerges, we are all obliged to work for the candidate.





•Cows from presidential aid, Nwankpo for the victims at Onitsha

•Items donated to the flood victims •Continued from Page 17

was set up. “This is not the issue of politicking but the welfare of our people is paramount; all wealthy people in this state must join hands with Governor Obi in making sure that we avoid epidemics and resettle the victims” the Senator said. He said he came to complement the efforts of the governor in making sure displaced Anambra people were taken care of. Responding to the call by the state government and individuals to help the displaced persons, President Jonathan’s aid, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, gave out 15 cows, 40 big bags of Beans, 40 bags of garri, among others to the victims. The items were shared according to the most affected areas like Ayamelum, Anambra West and Ogbaru which got four

Anambra begins flood victims’ resettlement cows and 10 bags of those items each. Not only that, Nwankpo has relocated to Anambra State with a team of individuals, corporate organisations to raise funds for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of the victims. The programme is tagged

“Anambra Responds Because More is Needed” which is being championed by Dionysious Nwankpo Foundation. The flood which began in September 2012, had displaced over 700,000 persons from about 60 communities in seven local government areas. Now that the flood had started

This is not the issue of politicking but the welfare of our people is paramount; all wealthy people in this state must join hands with Governor Obi in making sure that we avoid epidemics and resettle the victim

receding in some communities, Nwankpo said it was time to resettle the victims, rehabilitate them and reconstruct their homes. When he visited the traditional ruler of Aguleri, Igwe Christopher Idigo, the monarch who was almost in tears, said some buildings had started collapsing as a result. Also, he said despite the recent threats by Kogi State to Anambra State over its oil producing status that many displaced persons from Kogi found refuge in Aguleri and were well accommodated. Before now, Governor Obi had created six camps in the state for the displaced persons with some of the camps accommodating over 6,000 persons. Nwankpo said: “This flood is massive; it has displaced over 700,000 people in about 60

communities. It has damaged residential homes, businesses, schools, churches, community infrastructure and washed out farmlands. “The current efforts of everybody is focused on the first line action of relief; we must now get ready for the main task of resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction”. He said the foundation would follow the displaced persons to their different communities to know first-hand, those things to do, either rebuilding their homes, their roads and more importantly, preventing diseases with different groups. “We will restore hope and confidence in the affected victims and help to demonstrate that Ndi Anambra are their brothers’ keepers.”

46 ex-militants to graduate from Romanian institute •Continued from Page 17

gent, who had a telephone chat with our correspondent along with some of his colleagues from Romania on their experience. Solomon said before they left Nigeria for Romania, they were not happy with the government in spite of being kept in a camp, fed and paid some allowances. The Delta State-born father of two who said he is a Tom Polo boy, said: “The whole camping exercise was like a jamboree to us, which we thought was a secret plan by government to collect our guns, gather all of us in one place and begin to feed us like chickens. “My brother, we didn’t have faith in them, but now, things don change. I am now an oil drilling engineer and I can also work in production. We thank God, we

thank the government and we are happy with Kuku.” Solomon said he is a very happy person today and would want government to train more of the ex-militants to make them more useful to themselves and the nation so as to finally lay to rest the restiveness in the Niger Delta. ”If they don’t train more of our people, there would still continue to be small, small problems which is not good for everybody including those of us who have benefitted from this Oyinboland training,” he admonished. Charles Adebiyi, another beneficiary from Ilaje area of Ondo State, said the amnesty agenda of the Federal Government is one of the best things to happen to youths of the Niger Delta even as he asserts that his life would never be the same again when he returns to Nigeria “I’ve learnt here

My brother, we didn’t have faith in them, but now, things don change. I am now an oil drilling engineer and I can also work in production. We thank God, we thank the government and we are happy with Kuku

in nine months what would take me more that five years to learn in Nigeria,” an exuberant Charles disclosed. Charles who would be graduating in Geology and Mining in eight weeks time said he would want the programme to continue so that more youths who are still restive can benefit. “It is about vocational training which can lead to employment and which in turn will lead to fulfillment and development,” he said. Asked what his advice would be to other youths in Nigeria who are still spoiling for a fight, Abednego Douperegha, another beneficiary of the Amnesty training who is studying Drilling and Production, said his co ex-militants should be patient and try dialogue rather than violence. ”We have been in that position before and today we can say that the government is real and genuine. Let us all embrace dialogue; it is the best for any disagreement. Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria, long live Kuku.” Speaking further on the conduct of the trainees, their supervisor, Crisan, an engineer, said that the boys surprised most of the teachers, as they worked very hard and were able to cope with-

out much prompting. “Initially some of them had academic challenges, but because of the strong will to learn and return to their country with a certificate, they were able to catch up quickly,” Crisan said. “Where we had our fears was their social life which we had thought would be a problem to us going by the stories we have read on the internet about Nigerian militants, but so far they have proved us wrong.” Crisan said he hopes the training programme would continue so as to further the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Romania, recalling that in the 1970s many Nigerians came to Romania to study under government crash programme and that

•Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta

many of these people are gainfully employed in the oil industry in Nigeria today.



We cannot avoid to be a Nigerian of today but of the future. Nigerians are ready to cross the rubicon. They are ready to take the bull by the horn

•Dr (Rev) S. A. Oladele, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ifako-Ijaiye (third left) receiving the brand new 30-seater bus from Otunba Ogunnusi


N fulfilment of his election promise, the member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Otunba Yomi Ogunnusi has supported Ifako-Ijaye/ Ojokoro Federal Constituency with empowerment community project valued at over N40 million. The event, which was held to mark the Salah celebration, witnessed the donation of boreholes, generation set to

•The tricycles Otunba donated

Rep splashes N40m on constituency individuals of the area, and cash donation to all the 41 wards and party executives. Also, religious groups were not left out of the largess as League of Imams and Christian Association of Nigeria got a brand new 30-seater-bus each. Scholarships were also

awarded to students, with 10 new tricycles given to individuals. The beneficiary of the scholarships were: Sunday Ogunrinde - Ogun State Polytechnic, Igbesa; Gbolahan Ibrahim - Lagos State University (LASU); Wale Akin University of Lagos and Yemisi Adefolahan – School of Nursing,

Idi-Araba (LUTH). Speaking at the occasion, Hon. Ogunnusi said: “We cannot avoid to be a Nigerian of today but of the future.” Nigerians are ready to cross the rubicon. They are ready to take the bull by the horn. If the Nigerian Navy can build a “warship” locally, why can’t the

police do wonders in scientific state and effective community policing. The future is ripe for ‘True federalism’ and six more states in the six geo-political zones should be created. Hon Ogunnusi made a total cash donation of N15 million to the different communities.

Ex-militants help Cross River flood victims


IGER Delta ex-militants who passed through the Amnesty programme of the Federal Government have donated relief materials to flood victims in Cross River State to cushion the effect of the disaster. Presenting the materials to the deputy governor, Mr Efiok Cobham, at the premises of the State Energy management Agency in Calabar, Technical Assistant and Head of Reintegration in the Presidential Amnesty Office, Mr Lawrence Pepple, said the 26,358 beneficiaries of the amnesty programme considered it necessary to contribute part of their allowances to aid the flood victims. Materials donated included bags of rice, beans, garri and salt; cartons of Maggi, milk, tea, biscuit, diapers, toothpaste; jerry cans vegetable oil and palm oil; insecticide treated mosquito nets; yams; dry pepper; palm oil; mattresses and pillows; blankets; sanitary towels; disinfectants and medical supplies among others Pepple who represented the Special Adviser to the president on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, said the ex-militants contributed N2, 000 each from their October stipends and allowances which totalled about N52.7 million from which they bought the materials for distribution to Cross

•Mr Lawrence Pepple hands over a carton of noodles to Deputy Governor Efiok Cobham. With them is DG, SEMA, Mr Vincent Aquah (right) PHOTO: NICHOLAS KALU

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

River, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Bayelsa States. According to him, the gesture was part of their effort to give back to the society so as to “cushion the effects of the flooding disasters on their mothers, fathers, brothers and

sisters in the Niger Delta.” He expressed gratitude to the Cross River State Government for granting that the demobilization phase of the amnesty programme take place in Obubra. Deputy governor, Mr Efiok Cobham, said, “Of all the organizations and individuals that have

donated towards the cause of flooding I am very touched by this gesture. It may be small, but it is not the size of the gift that is important, it is the mind behind it. This gesture speaks volumes in many ways. If you look at the background of those who are making this donation, these are people a few years ago you would not want

to touch them with a pole, but today, not only have they been transformed, but on their own they have started contributing towards the betterment of the livelihood of people who have been disadvantaged by natural forces, and by extension contributing towards their own nation and the uplift of humanity.”














Listing of FGN bond in JP Morgan Index to attract N234b foreign capital


HE listing of Nigeria’s sovereign bond in the JP Morgan Government Bond Index-Emerging Markets (GBI-EM) could result into a total inflow of $1.5 billion or about N234 billion into Nigeria’s bond market before the end of this year. Nigeria had on October 1, 2012 joined the GBI-EM, thus becoming the second African country after South Africa to be included in the widely followed index. Global Head of Sales and Trading, Dunn Loren Merrifield (DLM), Mr. Malcolm Gilroy, said that there were indications that the upward weight review due to the listing would attract as much as $1.5bn into the domestic bond market before the end of the year. Speaking at the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria’s (CAMCAN’s) Forum in Lagos yesterday, Gilroy noted that in spite of conditions of the global financial markets, the inclusion has

By Tolu Osundolire and Josephine Owede

helped the capital inflow into the Nigerian bond market. According to him, the market has witnessed increased flow from offshore investors since the announcement in August 2012, and has contributed to the significant decline in average yield to 13 per cent, from N15 per cent in August. He however pointed out that there is huge risk in investing in bond noting that a short term bond is more secured than a long term bond, which is usually done by the Pension Commission and the insurance companies. Gilroy argued that investment in equity may give more yields, but it is more risky when compared to investment in bond. He said that with the inclusion of the country in the JP Morgan Government Bond Index, interest rate will likely continue to go down.

He projected that by 2013; there would be many infrastructure bonds from companies and operators seeking to explore the funding gaps for infrastructure. He outlined that factors that causes yield changes include supply and demand, issue of new bonds, new investors , change in inflation rates, Gross Domestic Products and Monetary Policy Committee decisions. Meanwhile, the Nigerian stock market remained on the upswing. The benchmark index at Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the All Share Index (ASI), appreciated by 0.34 per cent to close at 26,883.76 points. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities improved by N29.15 billion to close N8.57 trillion. The market performance was driven partly by gains recorded by Dangote Cement Plc, which added 148 kobo or 1.22 per cent growth. Other highly capitalised stocks that impacted positively on overall market situation included Julius Berger, United Bank for Africa, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Mobil Oil Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, UACN Property Development Company, Skye Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.





NDIC pays N6.6b to depositors of liquidated banks


HE Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corpora tion (NDIC) has paid N6.68 billion to depositors of 48 deposit money banks in-liquidation as at August 31, 2012. NDIC Managing Director,

Stories by Collins Nweze

Umaru Ibrahim made this known this yesterday at the Corporation’s Special Day at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair. This represents an improvement

from N6.63 billion paid to 527,942 depositors as at December 31, 2011. He explained that cumulative liquidation dividend of N77.38 billion had been paid to depositors whose claims were in ex-

cess of the insured amount in the 48 closed commercial banks as at August 31, 2012. This is against N73.55 billion that was paid during the same period last year. Ibrahim said a total of

CBN may involve AMCON in N500b Intervention Fund


HE Asset Management Corporation of Nige ria (AMCON) may by special approval, be allowed to participate in the N300 billion Power, Aviation fund, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. It however, said that the corporation’s participation would be with respect of acquired projects of national economic importance. The apex bank in a statement released yesterday said that it also approved the investment of the N500 billion Debenture Stock to be issued by the Bank of Indus-

try (BOI) in accordance with Section 31 of the CBN Act 2007. It said the fund was meant to catalyse financing of the real sector of the economy, adding that N200 billion has been set aside for the refinancing/restructuring of Small and Medium Enterprise SME/ Manufacturing portfolios while the sum of N300 billion will be applied to power and airline projects. “The objectives of the Fund are to fast-track the development of electric power projects, especially in the

identified industrial clusters in the country; fast-track the development of the aviation sector of the Nigerian economy by improving the terms of credit to Airlines and serve as a credit enhancement instrument to improve the financial position of the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs),” the apex bank said. It said the refinancing of existing loans for captive power projects for corporate entities that are not power companies will only be eligible if the investments are not older than two years from the date of the application.

For the avoidance of doubt, this restriction according to the banking watchdog, will not be applicable to captive power projects implemented and managed by power companies. It said the fund also allows for moratorium in the loan repayment schedule. “The moratorium on principal shall depend on the type and nature of the project and shall not exceed either the construction period of the project (which shall not exceed five years or the time required to complete the project,” it said.

FirstBank offers customers specialised MasterCard


IRST Bank of Nigeria Plc is offering its custom ers through ‘expressions’ a new card product, the freedom to capture their individuality on the debit Naira MasterCard. The bank said in a statement that with ‘expressions’, the bank’s customers assume control of the look and design of their Naira MasterCard by exercising the freedom to print images of their loved ones and favourite moments of their lives on their cards. “Flashing

the card whenever one is out shopping or having it tucked away safely in one’s wallet is sure to evoke in FirstBank’s card holders a feeling of being in charge,” a statement from the bank said. “Talk about a card you can really call your own, that’s what ‘expressions’ is all about. Rewarding our esteemed customers with the freedom to determine the design of their Naira MasterCard is the bank’s way of appreciating their patronage and restating our com-

mitment to constantly seeking creative ways of delighting our customers,” the bank’s Head, e-Business Group, Chuma Ezirim said. He said the process for requesting for the product/designing the card is initiated on the bank’s website where the customer is at liberty to select a picture from an existing bankmanaged gallery or from a personal collection, which would serve as the artwork on the front of his/her card. After submitting the selected

design, the personalised card would be delivered in 72 hours for Lagos locations and five business days for upcountry locations. Ezirim explained that ‘expressions’ card product has security features powered by an embedded microchip and a four digit Personal Identification Number, noting that the naira denominated card can be used for domestic and international transactions wherever the MasterCard logo is displayed.


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

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

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%


Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012




10.70 1.61 1.85 109.70 2.21 0.93 0.51 1.05 1.06 0.54

O/PRICE 18.78 8.59 4.10 6.00 1.70 1.08 9.89 0.53 0.58 25.75

development plans for staff was outstanding. Chief Human Resources Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Napoleon Esemudje thanked the organizers of the award for working assiduously hard to improve the industry. He said that the award is a great testimony and result of the Board and Management’s commitment to improve not only the welfare of staff members but also achieve professional excellence and brand image in Fidelity Bank.


11.39 1.69 1.94 115.00 2.31 0.97 0.53 1.09 1.10` 0.56


0.69 0.08 0.09 5.30 0.10 0.04 0.02 0.04 0.04 0.02

C/PRICE 17.85 8.17 3.90 5.71 1.62 1.03 9.50 0.51 0.56 25.00

CHANGE 0.93 0.42 0.20 0.29 0.08 0.05 0.39 0.02 0.02 0.75

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

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


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

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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

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%

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


LOSERS AS AT 8-11-12



IDELITY Bank has been adjudged the Best Con tributing Employer in Human Resource Development in 2011 by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). The bank said, in a statement, that it emerged tops among several other organisations nominated for the award primarily because of its commitment to staff training and development. At an interactive forum held for Human Resources/ Learning & Development Practitioner, the ITF said that the lender’s robust career

Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m


Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year

Fidelity wins ITF award



OBB Rate Call Rate

tives to sensitise the public about its activities. He said that the theme of the fair “Promoting Trade for Sustainable Economic Transformation” is an indication of government’s commitment to Vision 2020. He said the safety, soundness and stability of the financial sector cannot be downplayed in the economy of any nation. He added that the key mandate of the corporation is to provide financial guarantee to depositors of the insured financial institutions in the event of failure with a view to enhancing public confidence in the nation’s banking system. “The NDIC has a crucial role to play towards the safety, soundness and stability of the financial system,” he said.




N2.45 billion had been paid to depositors of the 103 closed microfinance banks as at August 31, 2012 contrary to N2.25 billion that was paid to insured depositors of the closed MfBs as at the end of December last year. He said a cumulative liquidation dividend payment to shareholders of Alpha Merchant Bank, Nigeria Merchant Bank and Pan African Bank stood at N373.04 million, N620 million and N293 million respectively during the period. The NDIC boss said that deposit insurance has been facing low-level public awareness in most jurisdictions worldwide, adding that the Corporation has mapped out a number of public awareness initia-

Offer Price

Bid Price


9.08 1.00 125.92 124.84 0.76 1.11 0.94 1,129.87 9.94 1.33 1.80 9,827.59 191.08 1.62



Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




NEWS Ezekwesili, Obi to start N40m project


FORMER World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, and Anambra State Governor Peter Obi will, tomorrow, begin a N40million Social Centre and Motherless Babies’ Home in Ukpor, Nnewi South Local Government Area. The President-General of Ukpor Born-Again Christian Association (UBACA) Inc., Pastor Anyaoha Pius, announced the project when he addressed reporters in Nnewi. The cleric said Dr Ezekwesili and Chairman of the Abia State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), among others, would be honoured at the ceremony. The social centre will have

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

a camping centre for people to have quiet times in prayers, a skills acquisition centre and youth training centre. Anyaoha said a fund raising for the project and a Cord 64-powered printing press, to be established in Ukpor, would be launched that day. The programme is being organised in conjunction with the Ukpor community. Obi will be the guest of honour. The Chairman of the Anambra State chapter of the PFN, Bishop David Eberechukwu, is the guest speaker; Dr Uzoukwu Igwegbe, the Chairman of the UBACA Integrity Committee and Pastor Dr Izuka Elkanah Okeke, the National Secretary.

Okorocha to Ojukwu’s wife: face your job



MO State Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha has cautioned the widow of the late Dim Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, to stop meddling in the state’s politics. Okorocha was responding to a statement credited to the ambassador, that the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, made him the governor. Through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, the governor said the MASSOB leader was not a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and did not have the power to anoint candidates. The statement reads: “The state government does not take pleasure in joining is-

sues with anyone, owing to its commitment to transform Imo under the Rescue Mission Agenda. However, it is pertinent to put the records straight, for the sake of unsuspecting public, that the MASSOB leader was neither a card-carrying member of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) nor had the power to anoint candidates for the party. “The relationship that existed between the late Igbo leader and Owelle Rochas Okorocha is symbolic; it could be better described as one between father and son. This assertion no doubt came into fruition when the mantle of leadership was willingly handed over to Okorocha by the good people of Imo State during the 2011 governorship election. “We recall vividly that during the last governorship election in the state, APGA lost woefully in Chief Ralph Uwazurike’s booth, ward and Onuimo, his local government area. As if we are not aware, the MASSOB leader worked for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate and we strongly believe that Mrs. Ojukwu is aware of this fact.”

Property, cash gone in Onitsha market fire


ROPERTY and cash estimated at billions of naira were lost to a fire that razed the Ogbosisi Market, Onitsha, Anambra State, on Wednesday night. The fire reportedly started around 1:30am. The traders yesterday protested to the government, accusing the security men at the market of causing the fire. They alleged that the vigilance group and former executives of the market conspired to raze the market. Their suspicion of the vigilance group was fuelled by the alleged absence of four of them when the traders arrived yesterday morning to assess the damage. Police spokesman Ralph Uzoigwe said an investigation was underway. Uzoigwe promised that the vigilance group members

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

would be investigated. The President-General of the Onitsha Bridgehead Traders Association, Mr. Emeka Ilonze, ruled out an electrical fault as the cause of the fire. The businessman alleged that the vigilance group was suspect. He said: “I have been here since 3am, when I got information that the market was on fire. I called the police and the fire service; they responded on time. That was why the fire could not escalate to the entire bridgehead market. Several millions of naira and equipment have been lost to the inferno.” Ilonze conducted the Transition Committee Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Mr. Ugochuk-

wu Ezeani, round the burnt market. The union leader dismissed the insinuation that the fire started from an electrical fault. Ilonze said: “There is no way it could be caused by a machine or electrical fault. But for now, only God and the security men know what caused the fire.” The traders were downcast. Their colleagues were consoling them. A trader, who reportedly lost over N100million goods, Mr. Michael Okoye, said he could not save anything from his shop. According to him, he kept cash in his shop. Okoye said: “I just got a contract yesterday and the money paid for it was among the cash that got burnt in the shop. Also, my goods that I offloaded yesterday are all gone with

the fire. I had a giant machine that cuts wood into various sizes; it was also burnt. I lost over N100million to this fire.” Another victim, Mrs. Maria Olikeze, said the cause of the fire was a mystery. The trader said she lost everything in her shop to the fire. The businesswoman urged the state government and individuals to save her and her family from imminent starvation. Ezeani said he was saddened by the damage the fire caused. He, however, urged the traders to remain calm till investigation is concluded. The council chairman said the government would ensure that the security agencies apprehend the perpetrators. He added that the police would probe the vigilance group’s alleged complicity in the incident.

• Obaze (right) addressing the protesters in Awka...yesterday

Anambra traders protest ‘high’ levies


VER 500 traders from the Ugwuagba Obosi Market in Onitsha, Anambra State, yesterday protested what they called high levies imposed on them by government agencies. They stormed the Government House in Awka, seeking a redress. The situation would have been violent but for the intervention of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Oselloka Obaze. Before the SSG’s appearance at the entrance of the Government House, security operatives had tried to stop the protesters. This caused a shouting match from both sides. The traders sang, we no go gree, we no go gree!!! as they approached the Government House. The leader of the group, Sir Titus Aninwa, told the SSG that those he described as hoodlums and touts invade the market daily to demand taxes. He said the levy collectors claimed to work for the government. The businessman said the levy collectors harassed the

•SSG: we’re addressing it From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

traders and prevented their containers from being offloaded. Aninwa said: “Sir, nobody has a monopoly of violence. We are here because we have respect for the administration of our amiable Governor Peter Obi. Otherwise, the story would have been different. “We have come to appeal to the government to intervene in this matter, to prevent a breakdown of law and order at the Ugwuagba Obosi Market.”

Obaze said the traders’ protest was legitimatebecause they were peaceful. He said: “The governor is aware that you are here and has ordered me to tell you to be patient. We do not want anybody to collect illegal levies. That is not the style of this administration. “I have read some of the things on your placards. The government is aware of these and we are trying our best to address your grievances. Let us handle this matter peacefully. If we try to be violent, things will go bad. We should look for those

behind this. Please, we should exercise a little patience.” The counsel to the traders, Ndubuisi Onwuka, has petitioned Obi, the House of Assembly Speaker and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Awada, among others. The petition is on the activities of the executives of the Anambra Market Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATAS). The lawyer urged them to call the association to order. The petition was copied to the Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Chike Ohamobi, for his alleged role in the crisis in the market.

Anambra lays foundation for hotel, convention centre


NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi yesterday said he would restore the lost glory of Onitsha. Obi spoke when laid the foundation stone of the multi-billion naira Anambra State Hotel and Convention Centre in Onitsha. The facility is one of the development projects to be sited in Onitsha. The governor said before the end of the year, his administration would also lay the foundation for an international shopping mall in the town. The Nation learnt that the construction has

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

reached the fourth floor. Obi said similar shopping malls would be built in Awka and Nnewi. The governor said the project was part of the initiative to restore the glory of the commercial city and attract businesses as well as generate employment. He said the projects would provide suitable facilities for investors. The governor said measures were in place to boost power supply to enhance socio-economic activities.



NEWS Yobe hails Dangote for donations to widows, orphans

Benue Speaker resigns as ‘thugs’ invade Assembly

From Duku Joel, Damaturu


HE Yobe State Government has hailed the Dangote Foundation for donating to the less privileged, especially the widows and orphans in the state. Governor Ibrahim Gaidam spoke yesterday in Damaturu, the state capital, at the distribution of food items to widows, orphans and other vulnerable persons donated to by the foundation. He said: “…We have found this partnership to be a veritable strategy for achieving our policy objective of assisting the orphans, widows, destitute and other less privileged persons amongst us to enjoy the dividends of democracy. “I am glad to note that some non-governmental organisations (NGO), including the Dangote Foundation, have started identifying with our policies and programmes in this regard. They have gone further to donate food items in support of that.” The governor said his administration, since 2010, has released over N22million to the Orphans and Vulnerable Welfare Committee, which is responsible for the welfare of the orphans and widows, among others. The money, he said, was for food materials and clothing for the less privileged in Damaturu and its environs. Gaidam urged other wealthy individuals and philanthropists to emulate Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of the foundation. The governor promised that the government would partner people-friendly initiatives for the benefit of the people.

Policeman loses four children in Gusau fire


POLICE corporal, Jeremiah Yusuf, lost four children in a fire at Tudun-wada Quarters of Gusau, Zamfara, on Wednesday. Yusuf told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) a neighbour’s house where he was receiving sympathisers, that “I watched all my children burn helplessly before me and I could not do anything to save them.” Yusuf explained that he became aware of the incident at about 1am when his sisterin-law, rushed into his bedroom shouting that the four-bedroom house was on fire. “When I woke up I noticed that even the mattress that I was lying on had also caught fire and that was when I thought of my children, who were all sleeping in the same room,’’ he said. The bereaved corporal said that before he could do anything the ceiling had caved in and killed them. He said that his wife had travelled to Benue with his last son, adding that she been informed of the incident. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Hassan Atto, urged Yusuf during a condolence visit to consider the tragedy as an act of God. Atto promised that the government would assist him to reduce the effects of the loss. The SSG said the government would reposition the Fire Service to meet eventualities, especially “as we enter into harmattan.”

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

Iorhemba. There was no objection from the members as the Deputy Speaker declared the Speaker’s seat vacant. Iorhemba had reportedly tendered an unsigned resignation letter after his entreaties to his colleagues failed. The reconciliation effort was said to have brought Deputy Governor Stephen Lawani to the Assembly. But the members reportedly rejected the resignation letter on the ground that it was not signed. The Speaker later brought a signed resignation letter, which the members accepted. As the lawmakers were

planning to elect a new Speaker, a man was said to have jumped into the main chamber. The Clerk reportedly guided the intruder out of the chamber. It was learnt that the intruder led 20 thugs into the chamber. Some of the thugs allegedly snatched the mace and bundled Iorhemba into his car and drove away. Security operatives at the Assembly were said to have watched helplessly. The thugs reportedly took over the chamber, beating the lawmakers and snatching handsets. Amidst the confusion, members, Assembly workers and reporters ran for cover.

Police kill two in failed Kogi bank robbery From Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

THE police in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, yesterday foiled a bank robbery. Two of the six robbers, who reportedly invaded a new generation bank in the town, were killed. Two were arrested and two other escaped follow•Iorhemba ing a gun battle with the police. HE crisis in the Benue An eyewitness said the State House of Assembly armed bandits arrived the yesterday reached an bank around 11am and anti-climax as Speaker David were confronted by the Iorhemba resigned. police. At the sitting, presided over Police Commissioner by Deputy Speaker Stephen Muhammed Musa Omeje, the members unanimously signed the impeachKatsina said the robbers attempted to snatch money from customers. Katsina said the hoodlums were from Imo State and that they had taken positions for the robbery when intelligence report got to the command. According to him, the hoodlums engaged the police in a shootout as they attempted to escape. Katsina added: “Luck ran out on the robbers when they ran into the bush and still engaged the police in a gun battle. Two of them were gunned down, two were arrested and two others escaped. “We are on the trail of the escaped suspects to arrest them and their accomplices.” The police chief named those arrested as Kenneth Nnorom and Vincent Madu. He urged the public to always allow police armoured vehicle the •Osun State Deputy Governor Titilayo Laoye-Tomori (middle); State Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Prophet right of way. Abraham Aladeseye and Special Adviser to the Governor on Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Mr Ladipo Soyode, at the Katsina said a pistol, farewell service of this year’s intending pilgrims to Israel. rounds of cartridge and a power bike were recovered from the suspects. ment notice of the Speaker. Based on the impeachment notice signed by 29 of the 30 lawmakers in the House, Ode, representing Otukpo, moved the motion for the impeachment. He cited several sections of the 1999 Constitution, which he said empower the Assembly to remove the Speaker. Ode’s notice was seconded by Benjamin Adayin, representing Makurdi North. Ode noted that the members alleged highhandedness, gross financial impropriety and misrepresentation of the Assembly before the Executive against


Gunmen kill family of three in Plateau


UNMEN, suspected to be Fulani, have killed a village head in Kachim, Kura Falls, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, Da Timothy Gyang, his wife, Rebecca, and their seven-month-old baby. The killers reportedly in-

From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

vaded the village head’s home on Wednesday night at 9pm. Police spokesman Emmanuel Abuh confirmed the attack.

He said two of the suspected assailants were killed by policemen attached to the Special Task Force (STF), code-named Operation Safe Haven. Abuh said the STF policemen pursued the assailants as they attempted to escape

and killed two of their members. STF spokesman Capt Salisu Mustapha also confirmed the attack. He urged the public to use the numbers given to them for distress calls during any attack.

Kwankwaso opposes constitution review


ANO State Governor Musa Kwankwaso yesterday said most members of the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu-led Constitutional Review Committee are sponsored mercenaries with a hidden agenda to satisfy a certain geo-political zone. The governor told reporters in Kano that he was against the way the committee is handling the matter. According to him, in a normal circumstance, the committee should have told the public the criteria and modalities it is using. Kwankwaso said: “I think the committee should have opened up so that Nigerians would know or to tell Nigerians the criteria it is adopting for the exercise. Instead, the committee has its own mindset. To me, this is quite unnecessary.” The governor explained that his passing a vote of no confidence on the committee is because two of its principal offic-

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

ers came from the same region. He alleged that they are out to protect the interest of their own region at the detriment of national interest. The former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives in the aborted Third Republic noted that the Constitutional Review Committee is biased about constitutional amendment. Focusing on the creation of more states, Kwankwaso noted that the committee might favour a particular region. The governor said he has lost confidence in the committee because it has shown it might not protect the yearnings of all Nigerians. According to him, a critical understudy of Nigeria’s political situation shows that reviewing the constitution now will not be in the best interest of the country. He noted that the review would further heat up the polity.

Kwanwaso, who was a member of the 1996 Constitutional Review Committee, suggested that tidying up the 1999 Constitution is a better option, instead of dissipating time, energy and resources when the nation is facing so much political challenges. He said: “We don’t need any constitutional amendment now in this country. What we need is to test the 1999 Constitution though it is perceived that it is a military constitution, what we need to do is to study it properly and know the gray areas, because to me, I saw nothing wrong in it.” He also spoke on state police, insisting that such idea remains out of place in a country where its democracy is yet to mature. Kwankwaso further noted that if governors are allowed to be fully in charge of security agencies in their states, they can abuse the privileges and used their position to intimidate their opponents and perceived political enemies.


He also advocated for two party system I the country, saying that such system remains ideal to the country, “I will support two party system and I know that this country will graduate into two party system.” He also lamented the spate of political violence and intolerance in the country, where politic is played with bitterness, pointing out that such trend is as a result of multi-party system.

Four suicide attack victims buried FOUR victims of the October 28 suicide bomb on St. Rita’s Church in Ungwan Yero, Kaduna, were yesterday buried in the church. They were among seven people who died when a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber drove a car into a section of the church during a morning mass and detonated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Archbishop Matthew Ndagoso of Kaduna Archdioceses gave the names of the deceased as Labi Sule, Sarah Yohanna, Samuel Ishaya and Bitrus Simon. The wife of Governor Patrick Yakowa and some government officials attended the funeral amid tight security. Three other victims had been buried at separate locations by their families. The burial of the four in the church compound followed the church’s request. Speakers at the funeral called for an end to religious intolerance and attacks on churches.



NEWS Bayelsa tightens security in disputed oil communities


AYELSA State Governor Seriake Dickson has met with security chiefs to tighten security in communities sharing borders with Rivers State. Both states have been quarelling over the ownership of some oil wells. At the meeting, which was held in Yenagoa, the state capital, the State Security Council mapped out areas susceptible to attack and resolved to buy more gun boats to strengthen surveillance. Dickson said it was necessary in view of the boundary dispute in Oluasiri, Nembe Local Government Area. He said: “Effective patrol of the area would go a long way in forestalling a possible breakdown of law and order.” Dickson said Bayelsa had been rated as one of the most peaceful states. He urged security agencies to sustain the peace. Speaking with reporters after the meeting, operatives of the Joint Military Task CHANGE OF NAME OGUNDIPE I. formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogundipe Olajumoke Eniola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Akintade Olajumoke Eniola. All former documents remain valid. General public should take note.

From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, assured the people of Oluasiri and Soku of adequate security. JTF Commander in the Niger Delta Maj.-Gen. Johnson Ochoga said: “The command is worried by the complaints of the people of Oluasiri that JTF officials deployed in Soku are neglecting Oluasiri. “I assure them that the JTF covers the nine states of the Niger Delta and is on ground to protect life and property in those states. “Whether the deployment is at Soku or Oluasiri, we are here for all of them. If there are security challenges, they can reach us and we will take appropriate measures. “Our physical presence at Soku should not bother anyone, because we are there for everybody.” Commissioner of Police Kingsley Omire said: “The waterways have been mapped out to identify areas where we have security challenges. At the next Security Council Meeting, areas where we have security challenges would be reported.” Omire said security agencies would work with community leaders to maintain peace.

LOSS OF DOCUMENT This to inform the general public of the loss of Certificate of Occupancy(C of O) No.BN C2899 dated September 14, 2001 and issued by the Benue State Government. The said document belongs to Professor Emmanuel Iornumbe Kucha of University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM) and LGEA Primary School, Branch Umenger, Guma Local Area, Benue state. All Efforts to locate he said C of O have proved abortive. If found please contact Professor Emmanuel Iornumbe Kucha of University of Agriculture Makurdi (UAM), on phone number 0803742361. LEGAL NOTICE ‘IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE PROBATE DIVISION BIRNIN KEBBI, KEBBI STATE. WHEREAS THE PERSON WHOSE NAME IS SET OUT IN THE FIRST COLUMM HERE UNDER DIED, DATE AND PLACE STATED IN THE SAID COLUMN. WHEREAS THE PERSON WHOSE ADDRESS HAD CLAIMED RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SAID DECEASED IS SET IN THE SECOUND COLUMN HERE UNDER HAS APPLIED TO THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE FOR GRANT OF LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION OF THE PERSONAL PROPERTY. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE SAID LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION WILL BE GRANTED TO SUCH PERSON UNLESS A NOTICE TO PROHIBIT THE GRANT THERE OF IS FILED IN THE PROBATE REGISTRY HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE BIRNIN KEBBI, WITHIN TWENTY ONE DAYS FROM THE DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THIS NOTICE. SCHEDULE Name and Address of Deceased Applicant Name and Address Danjumma Mohammed Yelwa Idris Musa Ganwo Nigeria Immigration Service, Sokoto State Command. Haliru Abdu Quarters B/kebbi, Kebbi State. WHO DIED ON THE 4th DAY OF JUNE, 2012 DATED AT BIRNIN KEBBI ON THE 1st DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2012. SIGNED; SABIU BALA SHUAIBU PROBATE REGISTRAR


DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole yesterday presented next year’s Budget proposal of N150,045,377,060 billion to the House of Assembly. He said the proposed budget, christened “Taking Edo State to the next level”, would consolidate on the achievements made in the last four years and accelerate economic growth. Oshiomhole said: “The 2013 budget is not only targeted at the completion of ongoing infrastructural projects, but also at accelerating economic growth. We are committed to expanding the conducive environment already created for economic development and, above all, the empowerment of the citizenry. “We shall take measured steps to smoothen practically all the rough edges in the delivery of services to our people across all sectors.” In the proposed budget, N87,407,475,855 billion, representing 60 per cent, is voted for Capital Expenditure; N62,637,901,205 billion, representing 40 per cent, for Recurrent Expenditure. To speed up development, Oshiomhole said the government would concentrate on the completion of on-going projects; technical education, skill acquisition; improving Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR); job and wealth creation as well as youth empowerment. He said: “In line with our tradition, we are concentrating the bulk of our Capital Expenditure on our key priority areas. The proposed N87.40 billion Capital Expenditure will be allocated to the following priority areas: Works (Road), N33.35 billion; Education, Drainage and Sewage/Environmental Protection, N13.29 billion; Health,N2.80 billion; and Water, N1 billion. “The allocation for roads will be used to complete ongoing intra and inter-city roads and fund new projects. The designs of these projects are ready. “Of the N13.29 billion proposed for Flood and Erosion Control as well as Environmental Protection, N8 billion is allocated to the execution of projects under the Benin City Storm Water master-plan. Also, a substantial sum has been earmarked for the continued desilting and dredging of the Benin Moat. “Similarly, N2.55 billion is set aside for erosion and flood

Oshiomhole presenting the proposed 2013 Budget...yesterday.

Capital projects take N87b in Edo’s N150b budget •Coalition hails proposal From Osemwengie Ogbemudia and Osagie Otabor, Benin

control infrastructure in Edo Central and Edo North senatorial districts and N1.20 billion for Beautification and Urban renewal projects across the state. The governor said N116, 479,778,045 billion is proposed as recurrent revenue, with N51 billion as Statutory Receipt and N26.97 billion IGR. The projected capital receipt amounts to N64,341,876,840. There is a projected deficit of N23,065,599,015 to be funded through the World Bank Budget Support Facility and additional credit lines. Oshiomhole said: “This budget estimate is intended to strengthen our administration’s resolve to

galvanise our people towards developmental action and make the state competitive economically as well as increase self-reliance.” The Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa described the proposed budget as a “budget of project completion”. In a statement by its National President, Alhaji Dada Akpeji, the group said: “We have no doubt that Oshiomhole has already hit the ground running since the people gave him a second mandate. This budget proposal is a reflection of the goodies Edo people should expect in the first year of Oshiomhole’s second term in office. “When the budget is approved by the Assembly, the governor would focus on the completion of ongoing

projects and take advantage of the coming dry season to complete road projects. “We applaud the courage of the governor and his intention to sanitise the system and accelerate development. We also salute him for giving priority to roads, education, the Benin City Storm Water Masterplan, flood and erosion control. “His allocation of resources to the various sectors is very reasonable and we urge the people to support the governor in implementing this budget when it is passed by the Assembly. “It has not been business as usual since Oshiomhole assumed office and I believe he would not disappoint the people when he is sworn in on Monday for his second term.”

Oyerinde’s murder: DPP exonerates Ugolor, others


HE Edo State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has said the murderers of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the former Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, may be walking about free. In its advice to the Oredo Magistrate’s Court handling the case, the DPP said the police had no prima facie case against an environmentalist, Dr. David Ugolor, and others who were arrested in relation with the crime. Chief Magistrate Francis Idiake, on August 31, ordered that the case file be sent to the DPP for advice. The DPP, in a letter to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) on October 29 and signed by Mr. Ade Irehovbude, said two of the suspects, Danjuma Musa and Muritala Usman, had

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

been in police custody since April 24 for unlawful possession of cartridges. He said the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) interrogated the suspects, who confessed to killing Oyerinde on May 4. The DPP said it was “evidently incongruous” for people who had been in custody since April 24 to have killed Oyerinde on May 4. He said the cut-to-size gun and a cartridge the suspects confessed was used to kill Oyerinde were recovered on April 24 by the Esigie Police Division. The letter reads: “This is alleged to be a weapon used during the robbery on May 4 and it is another incongruity. Could a weapon recovered and

in possession of the police be confirmed by suspects to have been used for the commission of the offence?” The DPP said a prima facie case of conspiracy to commit robbery and murder was made against Garba Maismari, Auta Ali, Moses Okoro and Usman Adamu, who confessed to the crime. He said a prima facie case of receiving stolen goods was made against Hassan Babete and Idris Adulhamid, who both confessed. The DPP said no prima facie was made against Ugolor and ordered that he should be released, if still in custody. He said the confession of an accused person is not admissible evidence against a co-accused. The DPP advised that Wilfred Iserhienrhien be released because no prima facie case

was made against him except for the sale of the cartridge. The three suspects arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) denied involvement in Oyerinde’s killing. They said they confessed under duress and torture. Ugolor said the DPP’s advice has exonerated him and alleged that the police framed him up. He said: “We have come to a glorious end of the battle to enthrone justice in my case and I thank God Almighty, who used great citizens to fight oppression in this country. “My case has ended, but the battle to free innocent people held captive and end the culture of impunity among law enforcement officers has just begun. We are going to start a campaign for police and prison reforms.”



NEWS Buhari’s stand on Boko Haram rattles Presidency Continued from page 4

get some arms to the armed robber. “To the surprise of those who were there, within minutes, the police officer brought arms to the robber.” Ya’u said that the same thing was happening in Jos, Plateau State where, according to him, police officers are arming armed bandits. He said: “Even in Jos, some caught armed bandits said that it was serving police officers that supply both Christians and Muslims with arms.” To Senator Ayogu Eze (Enugu North), what is happening in Zamfara State is as a result of “system failure”. Eze said that it is unfortunate that the system that cannot dictate when robbery is being planned and hatched. He said: “We should go beyond bringing motions and get the security agencies to be up and doing. “The National Security Adviser should be up and doing because for a 60-man bandit to operate successfully in broadday light is a failure of intelligence and failure of the security. “Today, it is Zamfara State , tomorrow it could be another state.” Senate President David Mark said the revelations by the lawmakers are serious allegations

that should not be left unattended. Mark said the Committee on Police Affairs, Intelligence and National Security, Defence and the Army should investigate the allegations. He said: “These are weighty allegations and I, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs should meet with the IGP to investigate the allegations and find out if they is true, that (serving policemen are supplying arms to bandits.) “It is after it is confirmed that we will get to know what to do. But it is a weighty allegation indeed that should be looked into. I don’t think any Senator can just get up and say what is not backed up with facts. I am sure he (Ya’u) has his facts. We should, therefore, find out the truth about it.” On the allegation that soldiers are killing innocent people, Mark said: “It is not for me to defend or speak for the Armed Forces, but the Armed Forces find themselves in a very difficult situation when they have to do internal operations or streetto-street fight. “What I would suggest is that in areas where we have these types of problem, people must give as much information as possible and as quickly as possible because once you kill a member of the Armed Forces, the natural reaction is for them

to do what perhaps is happening now. “It is very difficult for a Commanding Officer to see two or three of his people killed and then he begins to search around looking for the fellow who committed the atrocity. “It is explainable. “For the police, I think as much information as you can give to them but there are serious allegations that have been raised here and I hope that the Committee on Police Affairs and Intelligence and National Security, Defence and the Army that will take up some of these. “But I know that Senators have complained to me about the action of members of the security agents and I want either the Chief of Defence Staff or the Chief of Army Staff to listen to their own side of the story too. “The fact of the matter is that it is neither here nor there. When there is insecurity so many things can go wrong and that is why we must make every effort to bring the situation to normalcy.” The Senate also resolved to call on the Federal Ministry of Works to, in view of the growing danger, prioritise the construction of F128 and F129,ie, Anke-Dangulbi-Birnin Gwari and Dayi-Tsafe-Dangulbi federal roads as a means of opening up the area and linking it with neighbouring communities.

Ribadu panel’s report full of loop holes Continued from page 4

circulation but that the Federal Government will only work with the report that was officially submitted to it by the Task Force. But Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said the government has set machinery in motion for the implementation of the various Petroleum sector reports. He said the President has set March next year deadline for the completion of the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) and complete rehabilitation of three refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri. The reports were submitted to the president last Friday by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deziani Allison Madueke. The three committees that submitted report last Friday are Special Taskforce on governance and controls, the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force and the committee on national Refineries. Abati said: “The president has not only commended the committee on refineries, but he also made it clear that part of the determination of his administration is to make sure that Nigeria stops the importation of fuel and he subsequently directed the minister of petroleum resource to take that report and look into It and then come up with action plan as to

what can be done going forward. He also directed that a technical report be prepared on how to get the refineries working. I just came back from a meeting now in the President’s office where the minister of petroleum resources together with her team made a presentation. The major issue at that meeting had to do with the refineries. “The Kaduna refinery is able to produce per day now about 110,000 barrels per day, the Port Harcourt refinery 210,000 barrel per day and the Warri refinery 125,000 barrel per day and what steps can be taken to improve the capacities of these refineries to make them perform at their optimum function for the objectives outlined by Mr President to be achieved”. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was yesterday commended by some stakeholders in the industry for her efforts toward sustainable transformation of the oil and gas industry including her renewed commitment to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The stakeholders’ under the aegis of the Association of Good Governance and Probity in Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation, said the fact that Alison-Madueke wasn’t partisan in appointing members of the task forces showed she

wanted a lasting reform in the oil industry. Commenting on the sincerity of purpose and openness of the minister in setting up the taskforces, the spokesman of the group, Mr. Daniel Agada, said “members of the task forces are affiliated to different political parties but are time and tested professionals and technocrats, apart from the others from labour and civil society; they were all brought together to design the way forward for the oil an gas industry for greater good of the people of Nigeria.” The group also condemned the leakage of the report of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenues Task Force before submission, which according to them doesn’t show competence because the report is strategic part of national roadmap that should be jealously guarded. The group also condemned the disagreement between members of the taskforce at the submission of the report noting that there is mischief somewhere because all conflicts ought to have been resolved within the committee. They criticised the allegations made in the report as the taskforce was not a probe panel or commission of enquiry. It was set up to find ways to streamline and improve the revenue collection machinery of government in the oil and gas industry by plugging all leakages, they said.

Amnesty to govt: Address issues of rights abuses Continued from page 4

Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, was quoted as saying that the fact that most of the sources of the report were not named puts the “authenticity, credibility and legitimacy of the report in question.” Amnesty said in a statement: “The report fully reflects Amnesty International’s fundamental commitment to objectivity and impartiality in research, analysis and advocacy of human rights issues.

“Researchers for Amnesty International interviewed victims of violence perpetrated by both Boko Haram and the security forces in compiling the report. They spoke to judges, magistrates, doctors, teachers, health and education professionals, journalists, lawyers and representatives of nongovernmental human rights organizations. “The final report presents research gathered during numerous visits to Nigeria over two years between 2010

and 2012. It includes information gathered via telephone interviews and draws on court cases, legislation, policy documents, medical reports and video and photographic evidence. “It also includes information provided by representatives of the military, the police and several branches of government following meetings with representatives of Amnesty International in July 2012 to discuss the preliminary findings and observations.



FOREIGN NEWS •Pakistani Muslims arrive to attend one of the world’s largest Islamic religious meeting, the Tablighi Ijtema, in Raiwind, near Lahore yesterday. The Tablighi Ijtema is an annual feature, founded by religious scholars more than five decades ago and focused exclusively on preaching Islam. PHOTO: AFP

Earthquake kills 48 in Guatemala


UATEMALA suffered its worst earthquake in decades on Wednesday with at least 48 people dead and 155 injured, authorities said. Twenty-three people remained buried under rubble, President Otto Perez Molina said. The quake hit most strongly in the south-western departments of San Marcos and Quetzaltenango near the border with Mexico, where it was also felt. Molina put the country on its highest alert, placed the military on standby and travelled by helicopter to San Marcos, where 40 of the vic-

tims died. In the San Marcos towns of San Pedro Sacatepequez, El Recuerdo, San Francisco, El Quetzal and other communities, numerous houses collapsed. In the neighbouring department of Quetzaltenango, adobe houses crumbled, killing four people and burying six others, rescuers working in the area said. Guatemala’s seismological institute Insuvimeh said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured 7.5 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was around

42 km under the Pacific Ocean, 56 km south-west of Retalhuleu, Guatemala, and 61 km south-east of Suchiate in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, The U.S.-based agency said. Molina said the quake was the worst to hit his country since 1976 when a tremor killed 23,000 people. Wednesdays’ quake caused panic in Guatemala City and led to the evacuation of high buildings on fears of aftershocks. The quake cut phone lines for a time. It was felt as far away as Mexico City although no damage was reported in Mexico.

Three minutes later, an aftershock measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale caused panic and evacuations in central and southern Mexico. The aftershock’s epicentre was 15 km south-east of Rio Grande in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. It caused no damage. Thousands of people fled Mexico City buildings after the quakes, which rattled lamps and furniture. Helicopters flew over the city to assess potential damage, and the underground service was temporarily suspended. Mexico City was ravaged in 1985 by a quake that killed an estimated 10,000 people.

Homes burnt over alleged Darfur attack site


EACEKEEPERS said they that had found burnt homes, dead animals and ammunitions littering the ground in a Darfur village allegedly attacked by pro-government forces last week. Their report gave a rare closeup description of the conflict in the remote region, where rebels demanding greater political and economic sway for their ethnic minorities took up arms in 2003. Events in Darfur are often hard to verify because access for journalists is restricted. An AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) team that went to Sigili on Tuesday found the village “completely deserted, with apparent signs of an abrupt departure,’’ the peacekeepers said in a statement on Wednesday. “It also noticed several signs of destruction of housing and property, killed animals, and burnt houses while ammunitions were also found in different sites across the village.’’ Last week, UNAMID said government forces had blocked an earlier attempt to access the site, which is about 40 km southeast of North Darfur’s capital El Fasher. While violence in Darfur is down from its peak in 2003 and 2004, banditry, tribal fighting and clashes between rebels and government forces have continued to plague the region. On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said 13 civilians including two infants were killed in Sigili on Nov. 2, when scores of armed men in vehicles and on camels attacked the village, firing on civilians and looting and burning shops and homes.


One dead, 12 injured at rock concert in Cape Town

NE woman died and 12 people were injured after a billboard scaffolding collapsed in strong winds at a concert by rock band Linkin Park in the South African city of Cape Town, officials said on Thursday. The U.S. band’s concert went ahead as planned in front of about 45,000 people in the city’s main stadium late Wednesday. “We wish to express our deep sadness and concern for those injured and our heartfelt condolences to the family of the fan who died as a result of injuries,’’ the band posted on its Facebook page, saying it was informed about the accident after the show. The scaffolding, which collapsed just as crowds were gathering, held a large advertising billboard immediately outside the stadium. Officials said the tower was approved as safe prior to the concert. Police investigations are under way.

Military court to grill Abdel Jalil over General’s death


military court ordered prosecutors on Wednesday to interrogate Mustafa Abdel Jalil, former chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), over the 2011 killing of a rebel commander. The court in the port city of Benghazi ordered that Abdel Jalil be questioned over the killing of rebel Gen. Abdel Fatah Younes. Younes, who led the 2011 uprising that ousted former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s regime, was killed in July 2011 by gunmen after being recalled from the front line for questioning by the NTC.

Abdel Jalil 60, was justice minister under Gaddafi but defected a month after the Libyan uprising started in January 2011. The NTC acted as a transitional government during and after the 2011 Libyan uprising, in which rebel forces aligned with the NTC to overthrew Gaddafi. Abdel Jalil governed Libya for 10 months, and at the end of the war he led the country to general elections, which led to the establishment of a National Congress on July 7. The former chairman handed over power to the newly elected assembly on Aug. 8.

Turkey searches Armenian plane en route Syria


URKEY has ordered a Syria-bound Armenian plane to land and searched its cargo on Thursday, airport officials said. This is the second of such actions in a month to prevent the use of Turkish airspace to supply the Syrian military. The cargo aircraft was searched in the eastern Turkish city of Erzurum in a previously agreed step, as in mid-October when another Armenian plane was allowed to continue its journey after confirmation it was carrying humanitarian aid as stated. Officials at Erzurum airport said Turkey had allowed the plane to leave after a search of around four hours and that none of the Air Armenia plane’s cargo had been seized. Turkey has become increasingly assertive in challenging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad amid growing tensions along the border. It banned Syrian aircraft from its airspace in October after saying it had found Russian munitions believed to be destined for Syria’s armed forces on board a Syrian plane.

China’s communists open congress to change leaders


HINA’s ruling Communist Party on Thursday opened a crucial congress that would change its leadership for the first time in a decade. Party leader and Chinese President Hu Jintao read a key report to the 2,300 delegates, promising to continue gradual economic and political reforms. After the seven-day congress, a new Central Committee was expected to appoint Vice President Xi Jinping as Hu’s successor on Nov. 15. The congress was scheduled to approve Hu’s report and an amendment to the party’s

constitution to reflect changes in its guiding ideology. Hu, Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior figures must step down after the congress under retirement rules linked to age and tenure. Vice Premier Li Keqiang was expected to replace Wen and be joined by several rising leaders on the powerful Standing Committee of the party’s Politburo. The congress, held every five years, opened at Beijing’s“ Great Hall of the People”’ amid the tightest security since the city hosted the 2008 Olympics.

Turkish civilians hit by Syrian gunfire


WO civilians in Turkey’s Hatay province were wounded by gunfire from Syria on Thursday, a Turkish official said. Two Turkish citizens in the border town of Ceylanpinar were struck by stray bullets fired from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain just across the border where Syrian rebels are fighting government forces. One woman and one young man were wounded, the official said. Turkish state-run Anatolian news agency said both casualties have been taken to hospital and that Turkish security forces have increased their presence along that stretch of the border. Turkey has been bolstering security along its 910-km border with Syria and has been responding in kind to gunfire and mortar shells hitting its territory. On Wednesday, officials said they had asked NATO to deploy Patriot surface-to-air missiles along the border to guard against the possibility of a further spillover in the violence.




Saudi Arabia beheads Pakistani over heroin smuggling


AUDI authorities on Thursday beheaded a Pakistani national after a court convicted him of attempting to smuggle heroin in his intestines into the kingdom. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the convict admitted committing the offence during investigations

and was executed in the capital Riyadh. The beheading brings to 63 the number of death penalties carried out in Saudi Arabia this year. Last year, 79 people were executed for crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery, and drug smuggling. Saudi Arabia, where a large

community of foreigners work, enforces a strict version of the Islamic sharia law. According to the human rights group Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia carried out the third-highest number of executions worldwide in 2011, after China and Iran.

German gets 15 years for killing four of criminal culpability, tried to GERMAN man was on his children kill himself but survived with Thursday sentenced to severe injuries.


15 years imprisonment for stabbing to death four of his children in their sleep with a carpet knife after his wife left him. In the gruesome case which shocked the nation, the 37year-old man, who was admitted in a psychiatric ward murdered his three sons and 12-year-old daughter in their family

home, a terrace house in Ilsede in the state of Lower Saxony. The mother was on holiday in Denmark at the time and learnt of her children’s’ deaths in an SMS text message sent by her husband. The man, not named under German privacy laws, who the judge said was in a near-psychotic state and therefore had reduced

Witnesses said the man had previously been known as a loving, patient and committed father who lived for his children. A psychiatric expert told the court that the man was likely less motivated by a wish for revenge over the marital separation than by a desperate desire to be united with his children in death.

Syria mortar bomb lands in Israeli village Opposition meets in Doha




MORTAR bomb fired from Syria hit the Israelioccupied Golan Heights on Thursday, the Israeli military said, as the spill-over from the conflict in the Arab country rises. An Israeli military source said the mortar bomb landed in an Israeli village but had not gone off. No casualties or damages were reported. A military spokesman also said that a few mortars had earlier been fired, but all of them errant and were not aimed at specific Israeli targets. The incident follows several similar events in the past week, as fighting has flared in closeby Syrian villages between Syrian rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. “Israel now needs nerves of steel,’’ Israeli Home-front Minister Avi Dichter said, pointing to the difficulty of pinpointing those

Migrants boat with 300 stranded


MIGRANTS’ boat in Maltese territorial waters, carrying some 300 passengers, has launched a distress call after drifting at sea for four days, the Italian coast guard on Thursday said. The coast guard was alerted by a Habeshia, an Italian charity organisation run by a priest whom the migrants said is from Eritrea, who had called the coast guards via a satellite phone. On Wednesday, Habeshia picked up another SOS message from a migrants’ boat off the Libyan coast. Italian authorities rescued 81 passengers overnight and took them to Lampedusa, a small island in the sea channel between Sicily and North Africa. Thousands of people escaping from poverty or persecution each year embark on the perilous journey from North Africa to Malta and Southern Italy.

RESIDENT Bashar al-Assad scotched any suggestion he might flee Syria and warned that any Western military intervention to topple him would have catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and beyond. Speaking in an interview with Russia Today (RT) television to be broadcast on Friday, Assad said he did not see the West embarking on a military intervention in Syria and said the cost of such action would be unbearable. “I think that the cost of a foreign invasion of Syria - if it happens would be bigger than the entire world can bear. This will have a domino effect that will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific,’’ he said. “I do not believe the West is heading in this direction, but if they do, nobody can tell what will happen afterwards,’’ he added. Assad’s defiant remarks coincided with a landmark meeting in Qatar on Thursday of Syria’s fractious opposition to hammer out an agreement on a new umbrella body uniting rebel groups inside and outside Syria amid growing international pressure to put their house in order and prepare for a post-Assad transition. The U.S. and other Western powers have grown increasingly frustrated with the opposition over divisions and in-fighting which have undermined the chances of ousting Assad. Backed by Washington, the Doha talks underline Qatar’s central role in the effort to end Assad’s rule as the Gulf state, which funded the Libyan revolt to oust Muammar Gaddafi, tries to position itself as a player in a post-Assad Syria. responsible for firing the mortar bombs for possible military action against them. With “no return address’’, he wrote, Israeli defence officials have to adopt “a very careful response policy’’. On Saturday three Syrian tanks entered the de-militarised zone in the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria and Israel has

asked the UN Security Council to act on what it said was “a dangerous escalation’’. Since then an Israeli military vehicle was hit by a stray Syrian bullet, a round of mortar bombs landed in the de-militarised zone and a landmine was set off by more stray firing, sparking a small fire.

Sudan’s Bashir vows painful response to alleged Israel bombing


udan’s President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday promised his country would respond robustly to what he believes was an Israeli bombing of a Khartoum arms factory. He said he was in “perfect health’’ after undergoing surgery in Saudi Arabia. Sudan last month accused Israel of carrying out an air strike on the Yarmouk arms factory in the south of Khartoum, causing a blast that killed four people. Israel has not commented on the charge, but has long accused Sudan of channelling weapons from Iran to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. “I am in perfect health, and our response to Israel will be painful,’’ state radio quoted Bashir, 68, as saying in a brief text messag sent to mobile

phones. Bashir, who came to power in a bloodless 1989 coup, left hospital in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday after undergoing a “small, successful’’ operation, state media said. Sudanese blogs and newspapers had begun to speculate about the president’s health because he has held fewer public rallies in the past few months. He underwent surgery on his vocal cords in Qatar in August, an official said last month. Over more than two decades in power, Bashir has weathered multiple armed rebellions, years of U.S. trade sanctions, an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, waves of student protests, and the secession of oilproducing South Sudan last year.




Keshi pleads for understanding


UPER Eagles Head Coach Stephe’n Keshi has played down on the inability of the NFF to provide him with accommodation and a car almost one year after he assumed duty. The Big boss told NationSport in Abuja, “I know very well that the NFF is supposed to provide me with these facilities to make my job easy, but I really understand them, because of the paucity of funds they are facing now. Nigerians also need to understand with them, it is not easy for the Federation, they are striving to

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja

keep all the national teams moving, and moreover the funds are not there. I know that, as soon as, they have the money they would provide me with those things. But that is not my major concern now. My concern is to return the Eagles to that viable position where they belong to in Africa and the World. Let us go to the Nations cup and win, qualify for the World cup, then, I know for sure, that these things would come naturally”.

The former International also confirmed that the NFF are also working assiduously to ensure that he gets the car and accommodation before the Nations cup “they are working on it, I know that it would ready soon”. He confirmed to Sportinglife that the team would spend its Christmas and new year festivities in camp here in Abuja “we would start our camping here in Abuja, before moving Portugal where all the foreign based players would join us for two weeks before we move to South Africa” he concluded.

Eagles, Football College in six-goal thriller


HE Super Eagles played their first test match since returning to camp after CAN 2013 qualification on Thursday at the training pitch of the National Stadium in Abuja and at the end of the day, Head Coach Stephen Keshi, simply said the team is still work in progress after they were forced to a 3-3 draw by amateur side Abuja Football College. The game started at about 7:20 am, and the national team which started with the home based first eleven save for skipper, Chigozie Agbim, quickly went into business dominating play and restricting the Ahmed Ahmed tutored side to their side of the pitch. Dan Akpeyi, who was in goal for the Super Eagles hardly had a feel of the ball before the national team opened its accounts in the fifth minute. Impressive right back Kwambe Solomon, who shone like a million star in the encounter, floated a freekick that was neatly converted by Sunday Mba. The Eagles continued their dominance of the game but were unable to increase the tally until 35th minute into

•…Ahmed gives Keshi tips the encounter when Francis Benjamin long ranger from about 40 yards rolled into the net of the sprawling Abuja Football College goalie. In the 43rd minute Ubale Mannir made it three for the Eagles and from then on the thinking was that there will be a rain of goals for the national team. How wrong the thoughts were, as the Football College team, came forcefully into the second half determined to upset the national team. The national team technical crew also did the obvious by pulling out the team that started the first half for a new team in the second. By this time Chigozie Agbim, Papa Idris, Zango Umar, Ejike Uzoenyi and Gambo Mohammed held sway for the national side. But it was the more determined Football College side that got the opening goal of the half when John Ajaiyi ran past a tentative Idris to score the first goal for his side in the 63rd minute. In the 78th minute Kingsley Olieh fierce shot

was pushed back into play by Agbim for on-rushing John Abraham to get his side’s second goal. The third goal was in the same fashion as Agbim fumbled a back pass from Zango for on-rushing Saiq Umar to lob home. Football College Coach, Ahmed Ahmed, doing a post mortem of the encounter said that his wards were overwhelmed in the first half by the intimidating central defence pair of Godfrey Oboabona and Azubuikie Eguwueke. “When they were removed in the second half I told my boys to go through the central as their replacement were less troublesome and intimidating. But I know that the national team merely took the game easy with us, but we also gave them a good fight”. The national team is expected to file out again on Saturday for another test match at the training pitch of the National Stadium, before the home based lads for the trip to Miami, USA, against Venezuela will be announced.

AFCON duties: NFF congratulates Oneya, Ojo-Oba, Bassey, others


HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Thursday congratulated eminent Nigerians who have been appointed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to help deliver a successful 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals. Former NFF President, Brigadier-General Dominic Oneya (rtd) is a member of the Organising Committee of the Africa Cup of Nations and will therefore be in South Africa. Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Oba, immediate past NFF General Secretary and a CAF Match Commissioner and Instructor, will serve as Security Officer during the tournament. Ojo-Oba only returned to Nigeria on Monday from Egypt, where he had gone to command proceedings as Match Commissioner in the CAF Champions League final, first leg match between Cairo giants Al Ahly and Cup holders Esperance of Tunisia.

Member of NFF Technical Committee, Etubom Paul Bassey, has been appointed by CAF as General Coordinator for Group A of the tournament. The well-travelled foremost journalist, who is also a CAF General Coordinator, was invited to the Draw Ceremony held in Durban last month and subsequently bagged the appointment as the Super Eagles were thrown in a different pool for the group phase. Bassey, a former member of the CAF Media Committee, will superintend proceedings in Johannesburg and Durban, where host South Africa, Angola, Morocco and Cape Verde will do battle in the group phase of the tournament that will take place between 19th January – 10th February. Bassey will automatically be in the thick of organization of the opening and closing ceremonies, with Jo-

hannesburg’s choice theatre, Soccer City, set to host both mega shows. Coordinator of the Women National Teams, Aisha Falode is a member of the CAF Media Committee and will also serve in that capacity at the finals, while Mr. Samson Adamu will work as an Assistant General Coordinator. NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, said: “The appointment of these prominent and hard working Nigerians is further proof of the high regard that the Confederation of African Football has for our people, and how much they value our contributions to the African game. We are very proud of them and their work and we wish them another flawless and blameless output at the Africa Cup of Nations.” The Super Eagles will play in Group C of the finals, in Nelspruit and Rustenburg, alongside Cup holders Zambia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.




Hamilton blasts Falcons F

ORMER Nigerian manager, Paul Hamilton said it is uncharitable for the Super Falcons to fail to win the AWC title for retiring Perpetua Nkwocha. Nkwocha, who set a 15-goal target and scored two goals so far at the ongoing AWC in Equatorial Guinea, has served a notice to quit international football at the end of the fiesta on Sunday. The Falcons were stunned 0-1 by South Africa's Banyana Banyana in Wednesday's second semifinals in Bata. The former Nigerian player said the defeat to the South Africans has been there waiting for the right time to unfold. "It wasn't a surprising result because in recent times South Africa has been trying to upstage us and they cashed in on the AWC semifinals clash to inflict the pain on us. "It's an unfortunate situation. I was thinking that the Falcons would have tidied things up and give their retiring colleague, Perpetua Nkwocha a well deserved parting gift. The title would have been appropriate to a player who has brought laurels and smiles to Nigerians. Maybe they are not thinking

along that line. "The Falcons have been magicians shoring up positive results in the past with the poor state of the women's league at home. "Nigeria's domination has been challenged. Of course, women's football has come of age on the continent. This is a wake-up call on us to immediately start the rebuilding process. "I think time has come for the likes of Stella Mbachu, Precious Dede and a few others to quit the stage," said the former Super Falcons' manager to Hamilton will want Falcons' manager, Kadiri Ikhana spared of hard knocks for failing to win the AWC title. "It's an adventure for Ikhana, I know it will be a bitter pill for him to swallow. Football is about you win some, you lose some. "He remains a good coach despite failing to win the title. I think for him to agree to manage the team is a big plus. He shouldn't be crucified," he said. The Falcons will fight for the third place match against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon on Sunday in Malabo.


showing at the opening field. Most of the players said they expect this tournament to be more competitive than what they had experienced so far on the West African turf, adding that the prize money is a major Attraction. Globacom is offering N62.5m in prize money at this four-city pro-am tour which has been described as the biggest ever in West Africa. There is also a brand new Toyota Corolla for any player, pro or amateur who plays a-hole-inone. The Asaba leg of the tour continues Friday with more pros contesting for the megabucks at stake. On Saturday, amateurs will file out for honours on the greens of Asaba along with more pro action. The Glo Golf tour will take the players from Asaba to Sagamu, Abuja and Oturkpo and last from November 8 to December 10, 2012.



Jonathan, Mutiu storm Lagos for Glo Soccer Academy


HE Legacy pitch at the National Stadium, Surulere Lagos will come alive this weekend as “Headmaster” Mutiu Adepoju and Jonathan Akpoborire storm the Glo Soccer Academy screening centre to work with the academy’s technical team at the three-day exercise. The exercise starts on Friday and ends on Sunday. The arrival of Mutiu and Jonathan, both former national team players, at the screening centre would rekindle the optimism in the boys who will scramble for the five slots at the Lagos centre. In addition, their visit to the screening centre will evoke some nostalgic feeling as it


Yabatech, Unilag share basketball glory


ALE basketball team of Yaba College of Technology and the female team of the University of Lagos, Unilag were winners of the dunking game of the 4th Lagos Tertiary Games. Yabatech boys were too much for their counterparts from Lagos State University, LASU as they out dunked them 75-68 points in the final decided at the basketball court of the Yaba College of Technology on Wednesday, while the Unilag ladies proved their supremacy their Yabatech counterpart in another explosive final. The final was a carnival like with students of the winning teams came in their numbers to cheer their schools to victory. The winners in both the male and female categories won the sum of N420,000

By Femi Shittu each. The runners LASU and Yabatech in the male and female categories respectively were given the sum of N250,000 each, while Unilag and Lagos State Polytechnic that came third in the male and female categories respectively pocketed the sum of N130,000. The teams were given trophies and medals with their coaches. Mayowa Afainiya, captain of the Yabatech team that won the male event, was glad that his school defended the basketball event they won in the last edition, adding that the Tertiary Games has added value to the schools that hosted events in the games in terms of infrastructural development. He said: “The organisers have helped us to refurbish the courts in the school and I’m

Gov Dickson charges athletes to make Bayelsa proud AYELSA State medallists to the 2011 National Sports Festival in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital have been assured of Government’s willingness to accord them proper recognition. Governor Seriake Dickson gave the assurance when a delegation of the state contingent to the forthcoming National Sports Festival Eko 2012 paid him a courtesy visit in Government House Yenagoa. Commenting on the non- payment of their entitlements and other issues relating to their welfare, the Governor promised that he would interact with them before their departure to Lagos, while steps would be taken to address their grievances. He noted that even though most of the issues were carried over from the previous administration, he has decided to give them the desired attention, adding that government is a continuous process. While responding to the problem of determining the actual number of medallists to be accorded recognition, the State Chief Executive said he would not be associated with any sharp practice in honouring the medallists.

Glo Golf Tour: Nigeria's Odoh leads as Pros file out IGERIA' s top golfer, Martin Odoh had a promising start at the Glo Golf Tour, Day One, at the Asaba Golf and Country Club, Asaba, South South Nigeria, when he recorded 71 under par to lead the stage. However, before the end of the day, Edet Umoh levelled up to share the top spot with Odoh. The day's field paraded 99 top pros including Cameroon's number, 1 Ebela Desire and Ghana's number 1, Emos Korblah. Okoh was closely followed by Desire in the keenly contested duel. The Cameroonian amassed 72 under par. Speaking after his game, Desire expressed optimism that he would dominate the field at the end of the day. Ghana's Korblah would have done better but had a big challenge in Agwom Luka and others who put up a great


sure that is what happened in other schools that are hosting some games in the tournament. Generally, the organisation of the tourney is good. The organisers can improve on the monitoring of the schools on eligibility of their students.” Meanwhile, the beach volleyball and beach soccer event end today at the Kuramo Beach on Lagos Island. The final ceremony will hold on Saturday at the Yaba College of Technology. The relay finals in the male and female categories and the football finals will round off the weeklong tournament. The Office of the Senior Special Assistant, SSA, on Grassroots Sports Development to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola facilitated the championship, while it was organised by relevant sporting associations in Lagos State.

would be a re-union with some of their former colleagues at the national team. The Glo Soccer Academy Technical Team comprised of Victor Ikpeba, Tijani Babangida, Anthony Baffoe and Zion Ogunfeyinmi, with Segun Odegbami as the chief consultant. Surely, they will remember their days when they used to practise at the Legacy pitch before the main matches at the main bowl of the National Stadium. The duo are expected to encourage the boys on their planned foray into soccer as a career, share their personal experiences in age-grade football as well as their career in both national and international football. In the same vein, they are expected to put heads together with the Technical Team to pick the five boys that will be outstanding during the screening exercise. The screening exercise in Lagos will close the curtain for the Nigerian leg of Glo Soccer Academy screening, and the technical team would beam their search for talents in youth football on the streets of Benin Republic. Already, 15 youthful players have been selected from similar exercise in Ghana. The Lagos screening is expected to attract thousands of youthful footballers within the age bracket of 14-17 years as thousands of boys have been trooping en masse into the Gloworld Shops across Lagos and other Western states to register their participation in the screening exercise. Selected players from all the screening centres in Nigeria, Ghana and Benin Republic will be pruned down to 33 who will head for the Glo Soccer Academy in Lagos, where they will be trained by top coaches from West Africa and Manchester United Football Club.

Expressing government’s commitment and passion for Sports development in the state, he urged those who participated to work with the Commissioner for Sports Development to identify the athletes who won medals as well as those who achieved 5th positions in their events for proper recognition. Governor Dickson also charged the contingent to Eko 2012 to put in their best and win medals for Bayelsa State, assuring that their efforts would be rewarded. Explaining the rationale behind the small contingent to the forthcoming Sports Festival, the Governor said the measure was borne out of the need to plan effectively within available resources for subsequent editions of the festival to achieve success. According to him, government is already putting critical Sports infrastructure in place and also upgrading existing ones to enhance the training and discovery of talents. In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Sports Development, Chief Mitema Obodor said, medalists who participated in the last Sports Festival were yet to be hosted by the state government.

NDDC donates World Class Squash court to PH Club


world class Squash court donated to the Port Harcourt club 1928 by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has been inaugurated in the Squash section of the club in Port Harcourt. The state-of-the-art ultra modern facility rated among the best in the world, has two courts with pavilions, insulated floors to protect the knees and hips from hard surface as well as armoured glass-back. Inaugurating the courts, Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Dr. Christian Oboh explained that the gesture was in line with the commission’s determination to “bequeath a peaceful, secure and developed Niger Delta region using sports as a tool”. Represented by his Media Adviser, Honour Sirawoo, Dr. Oboh restated the commitment of the present Board to add value to the lives of Niger Deltans through infrastructural development, requesting that

“we need your prayers and support; we need you to assist us talk to our brothers and sisters to think more of the growth of the region”. While commending the leadership of the club established in 1928 for its achievements, he disclosed that the commission was prepared to explore areas of partnership with sporting clubs in the region to enhance sports development and social networking. The Club President, Barr. Golden Tamuno who commended the NDDC for its role in sports development pointed out that by this singular effort the Commission has continued to improve the very essence of existence through sports. Captain of the squash section, Engr. Bowadua Ngiangia thanked the NDDC for the donation, describing the complex as “a state-of-the-art glass-back courts which are without any iota of doubts, the best of its kind any where south of the Niger”.

Sammy selected for England Under-21s


FTER an absence of almost a year, Sammy Ameobi is back in the England Under-21 squad for next week's friendly against Northern Ireland. Stuart Pearce's side qualified for next year's European Championships following their two-legged victory over Serbia last month and now the ex-Newcastle left-back is giving players the opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the squad. And Ameobi - who has won two caps previously - has been named in the 21-man party for the match at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road on Tuesday, 13th November (kick-off 7.30pm). The 20-year-old received the news hours before United's Europa League Group D clash

against Club Brugge, where he will start alongside his older brother Shola for the first time. In November 2011, he made his England debut as a substitute in a 5-0 win over Iceland before starting against Belgium four days later, but suffered an injury in a Reserve game against Wigan last January which ruled him out for the rest of the campaign. However, he has been hugely impressive since returning to action in recent weeks and last month told "I'm trying to get back into the first-team so I can get back into the England setup. "That's the next step. Hopefully I'll be able to show what I'm made of and get back into that team as well, not just Newcastle's."




HE United States presidential election of 2012 is now history. But it is one that leaves behind a lot of memories, not many of which are pleasant. The campaign was nerve-racking and torturous. For those candidates including former Governor Mitt Romney, who had to go through the primaries to secure the party nomination, it was an experience that they would not wish for their enemies. In one important respect, the Republican primary sealed the fate of the nominee as a general election loser. But more on this later. The general election was hijacked by money bags who took advantage of the Supreme Court decision in the landmark case of Citizen United to unload their green wares with a determination to make Barack Obama a one-term president. One individual contributed over $50 million to the Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. There must be some intense gnashing of the teeth when Romney appeared at 12:55 am to concede defeat. The ad war was particularly fierce, especially in the battleground states. Through multiple media outlets—television, radio, Internet, Facebook—innocent citizens were inundated with attack ads. A five-year old got so upset that she broke down in profuse sobbing: I am tired of all these Obama, Romney, Obama, Romney! Leave me alone, she agonisingly pleaded, as if the ads were aimed at her. But it is the nature of the beast. It is the civil war model of democracy, the type that advocates of no-party democracy lament. The campaigns were particularly unsettling in the cruel insight they provided into the inner workings of human nature. They demonstrated the embarrassing reality that one may want something so badly that, in the quest for it, one really loses the soul that is supposed to be the beneficiary of the thing. But is it worth it? That is the question that ambition relegates to the back burner in the echo chamber of political brigandage where shamefaced lies, character assassination, hyperbolic narratives, and pettiness of mind rule the day. In the strategic positioning that is required to win the Republican primary, Governor Romney settled himself to the far right of the most conservative candidates in the pack. Forced to pander to the extreme right wing of his party and their rejection of the Affordable Health Care Act that they mocked as Obamacare, Romney denounced his own singular policy achievement as governor of that is for PURE WATER?

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In our hands



Massachusetts and vowed to repeal Obamacare. One cannot appear more desperate. Independents and moderates watched in amazement. It got weirder. Romney defined his conservatism as “severe” and attacked Governor Perry of Texas for compassionately making in-state tuition available to children of undocumented immigrants. He also placed himself on record as an advocate of self-deportation, which translated to making life so unbearable for undocumented immigrants that they would just consider checking out on their own. Members of the Hispanic community, the fastest growing demographics in the United States, paid close attention and were not amused. Still making up to the Tea Party crowd who controlled the base of his party, the governor publicly opposed President Obama’s use of federal funds to bail out the auto industry. Even before the primaries began, Romney had authored an op-ed with the provocative


TODAY IN THE NATION ‘After 52 years, nothing seems to have been done about the ‘gap’. It has indeed remained more gaping today. Why would the gap close if the North has been enjoying what I call a delirious advantage over other parts of the country in the distribution of our commonwealth?’

‘It was the moment of truth. It brought to the fore the obvious truth that in a true democracy, voters have the final word. Money doesn’t vote. Advertisements don’t cast ballots. People do’ title “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” The auto industry is the economic equivalent of natural oxygen for the key battleground states of Michigan and Ohio where one in eight jobs is tied to the industry. Working class families in these states took notice. With his demonstration of loyalty to the cause of extreme conservatism, Romney’s posturing paid off big in the Republican primary as he clinched his party’s nomination. And with a publicised “etch a sketch” strategy, he was poised to wiping off any record of his primary positions in the general election campaign. It almost paid off as evidenced in the performance of President Obama in the first debate. Having prepared to debate Romney on his avowed severe conservatism, Obama was befuddled by Romney’s sudden affirmation of moderation and championing of middle class values. This would earn a democrat the title of flip-flopper-in-chief as John Kerry can attest. But Republicans are a different breed.



O matter how passionately President Goodluck Jonathan pleads with the governments and people of Rivers and Bayelsa States to end the ongoing media war between them and curb rising communal tensions and animosities, there may be no one to heed his appeal. It is not because they intentionally want to defy the president or simply because they love to fight, or even because they do not appreciate the implications for the Nembe and Kalabari Ijaw from Bayelsa and Rivers States respectively. The reason is oil wealth and the power and possibilities it affords. The dispute between the two states assumed national dimension when Rivers alleged that the federal government appeared to have taken sides with Bayelsa over the boundary dispute pertaining to oil wells between the two states. The Soku oil wells, Rivers claim, are in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, not in Bayelsa. The state also alleged that the federal government took sides by “recently” releasing to Bayelsa monies previously fixed in escrow account consequent upon the ongoing case before the Supreme Court. Pursuant to the dispute, eminent Kalabari sons and chiefs organised protests in Abuja drawing national and international attention to what they said was unfair handling of the dispute by federal government agencies, including the National Boundary Commission (NBC), security agencies, and Surveyor General’s office. Bayelsa not only insists the oil wells justi-

Oil politics and oil wars fiably belong within its borders, it also condemns Rivers for blackmailing the president, a Bayelsan by birth, and unnecessarily stoking tensions and passions between the two states. The Bayelsa government also insisted a few days ago that the state had received no monies from any escrow account. It recommended that Rivers should go and get its facts right. Perhaps, soon, Rivers will give the public proof of how and when the escrow monies were released. It is also hoped that the Boundary commission will publish the 12th edition of the Administrative map of Nigeria to set the facts straight. Hopefully, someone will tell Nigerians why the 11th edition adjusted the map in 1999 to put the oil wells in Bayelsa, and why for more than 12 years the 12th edition has remained in the works. Neither this column nor any state, nor yet any group should take sides in the controversy just yet, no matter their private suspicions. But everyone is disturbed that from all indications both the Kalabari people in particular and Rivers State in general are wary of the camp the federal government seems to support. It is recalled that when the dispute began in 2000 with the publication of the 11th edition of the disputed map, the presi-


The 1 percent supported Romney with all they had. Pro-Mitt Romney Super PACs spent more than $600 million in political ads. And while pro-Obama PACs did not match that figure, they also spent above $400 million. The Romney donor who gave over $50 million to the campaign was reported to be just a little “disappointed but not discouraged.” That is to suggest that a repeat performance next time around is not out of the question. It is this attitude of the one percent that may partly explain the outcome of the election. Majority of the electorate believed that Romney did not understand their situation and cannot represent their interests. If a big donor can shrug off the loss of a $50 million investment in a presidential campaign, and would lose no sleep over it, how can their candidate feel the pain and suffering of the ordinary folk? As they watched, ordinary voters resented what they saw and determined to take their destiny in their hands. On Monday, November 5, Obama made his final pitch in the last campaign of his political career. In Des Moines, Iowa, he wowed the crowd with his now familiar oratorical style. Then he told them that the outcome of the election was in their hands. It was the moment of truth. It brought to the fore the obvious truth that in a true democracy, voters have the final word. Money doesn’t vote. Advertisements don’t cast ballots. People do; and if they choose to ignore the torrent of negative or positive ads because they have a good idea of who is best to represent their interests, no matter the amount of money poured into the airwave, it wouldn’t matter. A bagful of special interest money couldn’t undo the self-inflicted harm that Romney’s “severely conservative” credential caused in the Republican primary. Exit polls showed that the majority of voters made up their minds on who would get their votes back in September even before the first debate. For the sophisticated ones, the debates must have revealed another unflattering side of the candidate when he bold-facedly presented himself as a severe moderate on all issues. The one percent lost the election. But they are not going out without a fight. And when they still hold the purse string of the economy, they cannot be written off in the harm they are capable of wrecking. The day after the election, with teeth clenched, they gave a hint. The stock market was down by more than 300. Ouch! That was our retirement portfolio taking a thumbing. Still it is in our hands. •For comments, send SMS to 08082036515

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above dent was then deputy governor of his state, Bayelsa, and so was quite acquainted with the facts of the case. There are already insinuations the president could find it hard to detach himself from the dispute. But he has moved very quickly to douse such insinuations by twice calling the disputants to a meeting in Abuja and requesting (not order, as some newspapers reported) the quarrelling states to cease media war on the dispute. The states have of course gingerly ignored the admonition and interpreted the Supreme Court ruling on the matter very creatively. It is in the interest of everyone that the president should be successful in finding a just solution which the situation demands, not an amicable solution to the dispute as he and his aides announced they wanted. The reason is that all eyes are on him to see whether he would do justice, or he would embrace expediency. Already, because of the crisis of leadership bedevilling Nigeria and the rest of Africa, most continental leaders have sunk to the abysmal level of luxuriating in primordial sentiments. This is evident in the manner Nigerian leaders site projects in their communities so that they will have a community to happily retire to. The hugest challenge before Jonathan is to get Rivers and indeed all Nigerians to trust his sense of impartiality and judgement on the Soku oil wells dispute when even he, like many of today’s governors and unlike First Republic leaders, could not resist the parochialism of siting a federal university smack in the middle of Otuoke, his beloved town.

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The Nation November 09, 2012  
The Nation November 09, 2012  

The Nation November 09, 2012