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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

News PHCN workers begin action over troops at facilities Sport Uche brothers sink Zambia in international friendly Business High Court restrains nationalised banks over assets

P58 P62 P11

VOL. 7, NO. 1946 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2011




•Sylva writes INEC •Balarabe Musa faults Jonathan •Aspirants gang up against Dickson

N37.91b loans: Lawyers abandon Bankole’s trial Case reopens in six days

Govt rejects BA’s 20% fare cut offer

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern

•ACN hails

Operation, Abuja


ORMER House Speaker Dimeji Bankole and his deputy, Bayero Nafada, are shopping for new lawyers to fight their legal battle. Six days to their trial for alleged corruption, their lawyers have withdrawn from the case. Bankole and Nafada are standing trial at both the Federal High Court, Abuja Division and in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory. They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged inflation of contracts and obtaining over N37.91billion loans during their tenure. The loans were used to pay jumbo allowances to members of the sixth House of Representatives. Part of the loans was a N12billion facility obtained by the House leadership three days to the end of its tenure in May. The allowances were allegedly paid outside the approved Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the extant Revised Financial Regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 2009. Continued on page 4

By Kelvin Osa- Okunbor and Gbenga Adanikin


•GUNNING FOR N5B: Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) founder, soccer star Kanu Nwankwo (MON) answearing reporters’ questions at the Press Conference on the KHF Cardiac Centre Fundraiser held in Abuja ... yesterday. Story on page 62.

RITISH Airways has proposed a 20 per cent cut in fares on the Lagos-London and Abuja-London routes. But the Ministry of Aviation has requested for further cuts, having considered the proposal as “insufficient”. The first class LagosLondon one-way fare is $5,408 whereas the same booking for a passenger on the Accra-London route is $2,399. A business class LagosLondon one-way fare is $3,685. On the AccraLondon route, it is $2,049. The proposed cut and the guarantee of additional flying slots to Arik Air on the Abuja-London Heathrow route are the Continued on page 4




Hurdles before Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, some days back, said the global community has come to realise that Nigeria is the new investors’ haven. However, a day after his assertion, a report indicated that the country has lost N1.33 trillion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) owing to the security challenge posed by the Boko Haram Islamic sect, writes Assistant Editor OLUKOREDE YISHAU


IX days ago, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin AbdulAziz Alsaud was a guest of President Goodluck Jonathan. The Prince, who is ranked by Forbes, Time and many other influential publications as one of the most influential investors in the world, said hisKingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company was set to invest in the country. Alsaud, who is Saudi’s richest man, said: “Any investor in Africa who does not come to Nigeria has not started and has a long way to go.’’ He said his company was interested in hotels, banking, oil, and cement production in most African countries. “I want to activate a strong relationship with Nigeria in whatever area we may find suitable and funds are not a constraint,” he said. Jonathan directed the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) to facilitate investment relations between Alsaud’s company and Nigeria. Jonathan said: “With a population of 167 million, a robust economy, extensive oil and gas reserves, a largely un-exploited petroleum downstream sector, Nigeria is the ideal place for serious investors. There are also opportunities in such strategic sectors as agriculture, energy and mining, with a robust plan by government to transform the nation.” The president was silent about the challenges facing businesses in the country, such as epileptic power supply, growing insecurity, infrastructure deficits and high cost of doing business. A day before Alsaud’s visit, another man rated by Forbes as one of the world’s influential businessmen, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, toed the Prince’s line. Dangote said: “People forget that whoever captures the Nigerian market actually captures the entire ECOWAS region’s market. It means you are producing for over 300 million people. I keep on telling people that if I have $20 billion, I will invest everything in Nigeria because there are so many sectors one can invest in.” President Jonathan, not surprisingly, said the country was the best place to invest. Speaking at the 17th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) in Abuja, he said: “There is now as a global understanding that Africa and Nigeria, in particular, is the

Investment factsheet





The trillion Nigeria lost in FDI

Nigeria’s position on the Forbes list

Billion Nigerians invested in Ghana so far

FDI flow into Nigeria in billion in 2010

new investors’ haven. We are taking necessary steps to put in place appropriate legislation to guarantee and protect your investments.” Jonathan, Alsaud and Dangote had hardly finished painting the Nigerian economy in glowing terms when the World Investment Report (WIR) of the United Nations Conference Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was released. It indicates that the economy has lost N1.33 trillion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) owing to the security problem posed by the Boko Haram Islamic sect—which Jonathan wants investors to ignore and pump their money into the economy. The report indicates that FDI flows to Nigeria fell to $6.1 billion (N933.3 billion) in 2010, a decline of about 29 per cent from the $8.65 billion (N1.33 trillion) realised in 2009 fiscal year. It shows that FDI represented about 78.1 per cent drop from $3.31 billion in 2009. Statistics from the 2010 annual report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) show that the total foreign capital inflow into the Nigerian economy in 2010 was $5.99 billion. A new Forbes report on the country also supports the WIR statistics. Last year, the country was in the 87th position in investmentfriendliness. In the 2011 report, it is on the 101st position in global business competitiveness, economic growth and development, a development analysts said is evidence that the nation’s economy is distressed and in search of reengineering, refocusing and redirection. The report, entitled “2011 Best Countries for Business Report”, released last month, rated Nigeria as one of the countries with least attraction for Foreign Direct Investment (FOI) among the 134 countries covered in the survey. The rating, based on Gross Do-

mestic Product ( GDP ), per capita income, corruption, technology and public debt records as well as innovation, property rights, and investment freedom, placed Nigeria far behind South Africa , Zambia and Ghana. South Africa was placed 40th; Zambia was 56th; and Ghana 72nd. Nigeria was not mentioned in the top 10 African countries. It placed 11th among the African countries rated. The World Bank estimates that Africa requires more than $90 billion annually in investment in maintenance and new projects, but is spending less than half of that. The bank estimates that the Nigerian manufacturing sector must bear additional indirect costs amounting to 16 per cent of sales because of bottlenecks in the business environment, much of it related to infrastructure. Losses due to power outages alone amount to 10 per cent of sales. Certainly, many Nigerian investors still prefer to invest their money in Ghana than at home. Four days ago, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre said 17 registered firms owned by Nigerians had invested 1.5 billion dollars (about N325 billion) in Ghana’s economy. The agency’s Chief Executive Officer Mr George Aboagye, presenting the investment opportunities in Ghana at the ongoing 2011 Lagos International Trade Fair, said the investments were recorded between September 1994 and June 2011. He said investments were expected to grow by $500 million (about N75 billion) by 2015. Such investments are in agriculture, manufacturing, building, liaison services, tourism and the general and export trade sectors. He said Nigeria was his country’s 5th and 6th largest source of investment in terms of value and number of projects registered. Aboagye said: “Ghana is richly

endowed with human and natural resources. These resources present numerous business opportunities in oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, energy and property development. Whenever a Nigerian comes to do business, the knowledge and experience he brings always proved very useful to us in Ghana.” He revealed the incentives with which his country has been luring Nigerians to include: relief from double taxation, location incentives of between 25 and 50 per cent tax rebates for manufacturing companies and automatic immigrant quotas, depending on the paid up capital. Of recent too, many international airlines have found the Kotoka International Airport, Accra irresistible. The low cost of aviation fuel and other aviation related activities are the attractions for the airlines. The country’s decision to begin exploration of oil is also believed to have opened it up to more passenger traffic. The National Co-ordinator and Chief Executive Officer, the Nigeria, China Business Council and Africa, Chief Matthew Uwakwe, urged the Federal Government to formulate policies that would encourage the private sector and create an enabling environment that would encourage foreign investment and make the cost of doing business cheaper. He said: “The Federal Government must formulate policies that will encourage the private sector and create the enabling environment for them to thrive, if she is to be amongst the industrialised nations in the year 2020. “No nation can develop without paying attention to SME. Because SME contributes 30 to 40 per cent of most countries, like Germany, United States and some European countries.” Uwakwe said the Federal Government should diversify the economy by encouraging investment in the non-oil sector. “We must develop non-oil based economy in favour of our economy. We should not have a nation that solely bases their revenue income on oil. We have a whole lot of solid minerals in the northern part of Nigeria and in some other states,” he said. The US Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley said the coun-

try still has to put some measures in place for the investors to troop into the country. He said: “Investors require a safe harbour for their investments. They want a place where the rule of law obtains, where contracts are respected, and where all companies enjoy a level playing field. Absent these conditions, investors are reluctant to engage, economic growth is less robust, and opportunities to create jobs are lost.” A former National President, Association of National Accountant of Nigeria (ANAN), Dr. Sam Nzekwe, said the level of insecurity posed by the Boko Haram is preventing the inflow of FDIs into the country. Nzekwe said the sect’s activities have put the country on the group of terrorist nations, which is scaring foreigners away. An international rating agency, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) last week said the country’s economic climate was still risky. The S&P, in a statement, said: “Nigeria is a country with a high political risk, low GDP per capita, and large infrastructure needs, all factors that contribute to a volatile and risky operating environment for banks. Nigeria has large natural resources, low government debt, and high economic growth potential, which partly mitigate these risks. The slow recovery of the domestic economy has slowed credit growth and kept the stock market muted, limiting economic imbalances.” Jonathan agrees there is need to make the business environment friendlier. He, however, believes that the indices on ground show that Nigeria is where to invest. He said: “There are many strong indications that the global community has renewed its confidence in our great country. “Messrs. Fitch also affirmed the short term rating at ‘B’ and Country Ceiling at ‘BB’-. For me, this means that the effort we have made so far is yielding dividends. I can only but thank the organised private sector for supporting the government in achieving this target. “We must, however, not relent in our effort. Instead, the recognition of our efforts by the ratings agencies should ginger us to be more diligent and strategically focused, in our response to the challenges we have as a country.”




quest for foreign investors

•A Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) sub-station in Maryland, which does not guarantee regular supply to businesses in the environt; Members of emergency services working at the scene of an explosion at the police headquarter after a suspected suicide bomber was killed and many vehicles were destroyed in Abuja on June 16; Aboagye; and Usman

‘Corruption is a disincentive to investment’ United States Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley, at a lecture on impunity and corruption, declared that corruption is a disincentive to investment. Other prominent Nigerians, including President Goodluck Jonathan and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, have recently spoken on the investment climate in the country. Excerpts:






As Nigeria’s president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s enthusiasm about the country is understandable. He said: “There is now as a global understanding that Africa and Nigeria in particular, is the new investors’ haven. We are taking necessary steps to put in place appropriate legislation to guarantee and protect your investments. We are not unmindful of the security challenges that confront us. Government is taking firm steps to address the problem. We will continue to fight crime, punish offenders and do everything necessary to make our country conducive for everyone to live in and engage in genuine enterprises. To members of the global investor community, I want to tell you that our economy has maintained its growth, in the face of the global economic downturn. Meanwhile, our external trade and tariff policies are being reviewed, even as we recognise the need to promote and protect domestic industries. We are committed to creating a more responsive tariff policy which will make our prohibition list more manageable.”

The American ambassador to Nigeria believes in the country. During a lecture last week, he said “corruption is an unquestioned disincentive for investment.” He added: “The Chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank was in Nigeria recently, and he recounted a conversation with the CEO of a major U.S. company, where the latter noted ‘capitalism is a coward.’ What I think he meant by that is that investors require a safe harbour for their investments. They want a place where the rule of law obtains, where contracts are respected, and where all companies enjoy a level playing field. Absent these conditions, investors are reluctant to engage, economic growth is less robust, and opportunities to create jobs are lost. In Nigeria, this can result in a large cohort of unemployed youth who may turn to other activities to stay active and make money, including criminal activity like internet fraud or other scams, arms, drugs or human trafficking, and even recruitment into extremist groups.”

At a meeting during the recently concluded CHOGM in Australia, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spoke like one who is aware that funds from external sources are in short supply. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said there was the need to look inward for funds to drive the economy. She said: “The world’s economy is obviously in a very difficult state at the moment, with what is happening in Europe, the debt crisis and what is happening in the United States. What this means for us is that we have to drive towards sources of growth for our own economy. We have to work doubly hard in order to drive our own economy not just depending on external finance but also on internal finance. That means we have to work hard to make domestic investments and domestic consumption to work harder for us. So, that is one piece of news. The good news is that we have the capacity to do that. I think we have been having fairly robust growth and what we will like to do, with the President having really made his own mark, is to turn that growth to job creating growth.

The Prince, who is ranked by Forbes, Time and many other influential publications as one of the most influential investors in the world, has investment in Africa championed by his company, Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company. The investments cut across hotels, oil and gas, cement production, banking and so on. But he believes he has not quite done it by not having invested in Nigeria. During a meeting at the State House with President Goodluck Jonathan, he said he was set to invest in the country. Alsaud, who is Saudi’s richest man, said: “Any investor in Africa who does not come to Nigeria has not started and has a long way to go.’’ He has not decided the area in which to invest yet, but given his company’s interests in hotels, banking, oil, and cement production in most African countries, he may choose one or more of these areas. “I want to activate a strong relationship with Nigeria in whatever area we may find suitable and funds are not a constraint,” Alsaud said.

He is an ardent believer in the Nigerian economy. He believes Nigeria is the safest country to do business without fear, despite the security challenges. “The perception has not really been fair to Nigeria because the benefits of investing in the country are there. This is because sometimes people are just a bit too lazy to go out and find out the real situation of the issue. Are you saying that Brazil is safer than Nigeria? Definitely no. Sometimes I drive myself around in Lagos. We are all global investors and we know that somebody who just shares my name cannot drive in a car in Brazil. He has to do that in a helicopter. I mean with due respect I am just comparing. Even Iraq, which has not been stable for some years now just had an investment forum in London, it was over booked. We are even lucky. We were eight in number that went but they could only accommodate four of us,” he said.



NEWS Govt rejects 20% offer

•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (right) watching as Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi (second right) presents the Inspirational Woman’s Award to the Co-ordinator, After Graduate Development Centre (AGDC), Mrs Ibukun Awosika, at the opening of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) conference at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos ... yesterday. With them are: Chairperson, COWLSO, Mrs Abimbola Fashola (second left) and the wife of Lagos House of Assembly Speaker, Mrs. Mayowa Ikuforiji (middle). Story on page 6.

Continued from page 1

highlights of the two-day talks between the Federal Government and British Airways over frequency reduction. The British authorities cut Arik Air’s frequency into London airports. The Federal Government, in a retaliatory measure, cut BA’s LagosLondon frequency from seven to thrice weekly. Following a peace initiative, the talks were held. But they are inclusive. Special Assistant (Media) to Aviation Minister Mrs Stella Oduah, Mr Joe Obi, in a statement on the talks yesterday, said: “The Nigerian government and the British Authorities held high-level negotiations yesterday and this morning. These discussions

are still on-going. The outcome thus far are as follows: “With respect to the high fares charged by British Airways and the associated regional imbalance, the airline made an offer of a 20 per cent reduction in the lowest Business Class fare between Nigeria and the UK. “The Nigerian side considered this as insufficient. The Nigerian government is still very concerned about the regional price disparity. We still strongly believe that this regional imbalance should be dismantled. In other words, BA should offer the same or similar fares from Nigeria to the UK as is the case in any other equidistant destination within West Africa. Continued on page 10


Bayelsa PDP crisis deepens as aspirants gang up against Dickson


HE crisis that hit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary in Bayelsa State continued yesterday. Aspirants insisted that ward congresses failed to hold, contrary to the claims by the Wakili Momud-led committee and the campaign team of Hon. Seriake Dickson. Yesterday, some members of the divided State Working Committee (SWC) and some of the aspirants called for Dickson’s disqualification for the role he allegedly played during the Monday ad-hoc

•Balarabe Musa faults Jonathan From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa, Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

delegates Congress. Dickson denied the allegations against him. Three governorship aspirants – Chief Christopher Enai, Mr. Bolubo Orufa and Austin Febo – called “for the immediate suspension of Dickson from the Party and his disqualification from contesting the elections on account of his false claim and misrepresentation of truth

that has brought the party into disrepute in the state”. They spoke at a news conference in Yenagoa. The aspirants also called on the national secretariat to call to order members of the Committee for the ward Congress. They pleaded that a new date be scheduled for the ward congress. “The national secretariat should send unbiased officials to conduct a scheduled ward congress, set up a committee to investigate the activities of

the Wakili Momud-led committee, suspend the date of the primaries and slate a new date for the primaries,” they said. Disqualified Governor Timipre Sylva yesterday got support from an unlikely quarter. Former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa faulted President Goodluck Jonathan for his disqualification. Speaking in Abuja, Musa, who is the Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), described

Sylva to INEC: stop primary


HERE seems to be no let-up in the raging battle for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket for February’s Bayelsa State governorship election. Governor Timipre Sylva, disqualified by the party from bidding for the ticket, yesterday asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to pull the brakes on the primary election. Sylva says his name should be sent as the PDP candidate on the basis of the January primary election, which he won. He said a fresh primary election will amount to substituting his name, which is against the provision of the Electoral Act. Sylva is claiming the ticket through a letter to INEC chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega, by his lawyer, Mr Femi Falana. The letter is dated November 15. The PDP conducted the primary election in January ahead of the April governorship elections. But a Federal High Court, judgment, upheld by the Court of Appeal stopped INEC from conducting governorship elections in five states, including Bayelsa, where rerun elections were held. The other states where elections were postponed are: Cross River, Kogi, Adamawa and Sokoto. In his letter to INEC, entitled: “Re: Decision of the Peoples Democratic Party to conduct fresh governorship primaries in Bayelsa State”, Falana said: “Our client is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party

(PDP) in Bayelsa State and currently the Governor of Bayelsa State an the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. “Following the publication of the Time Table of Activities for 2011 General Elections by your Commission, the Peoples Democratic Party duly set in motion the machinery for the conduct of governorship primaries in Bayelsa State to nominate its candidate for the Governorship election in Bayelsa State that were scheduled to be held in April, 2011. “The governorship primaries were duly held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on 9th January, 2011 and at the end of the exercise (which was observed by officials of your Commission), our client emerged the winner, having scored majority of the valid votes cast. We attach herewith Result of the Gubernatorial Primary Election and the Report of the Electoral Panel for Gubernatorial Primary in Bayelsa State dated the 10th January, 2011 as ANNEXURE “AA” and “BB” respectively for reference purposes. “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) consequently submitted the name of our client to your Commission vide a letter dated January 24, 2011 but received on January 27, 2011 as its governorship candidate in Bayelsa State as required by Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). Attached herewith as ANNEXURE “CC” is a copy of the said letter. “The Governorship election was scheduled to hold on 15th April, 2011 by your Commission. However, your Commis-

sion later postponed the conduct of the election to a later date following the judgment of Federal High Court, Abuja Division delivered on 23rd February, 2011 in the case of CHIEF TIMIPRE SYLVA & 6 OTHERS v. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & 2 OTHERS which decision was later upheld by the Court of Appeal. “Recently, your Commission announced that it would conduct the governorship election in Bayelsa State in February, 2012. Our client has since started campaigning for votes throughout the nooks and crannies of Bayelsa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the governorship election. Your Commission did not call for fresh nomination of candidates by the political parties. “However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has published a paid advert in the national dailies of its intention to conduct a fresh governorship primaries in Bayelsa State and has even gone ahead to schedule 19th November, 2011 for the fresh primaries despite the protest from our client whose nomination has been forwarded to your Commission as the party’s candidate for the governorship election. “We wish to state, without any fear of contradiction, that our client has not withdrawn his candidature to contest the governorship election in Bayelsa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). As you are no doubt aware, the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) are

the PDP’s move as bad politics. He also warned President Goodluck Jonathan to learn from the mistakes of the past. He said: “According to media reports, the President is directly responsible for the situation because he has a problem with the governor. But we know that other incumbents tried this before, with serious consequences on them. It is unfortunate that Jonathan cannot learn from that mistake.” “Secondly, he is the President; Bayelsa is his home state. It is very wrong of him to have done that. As far as the governor is concerned, as long as he has gone this far, he should not give up.” Stressing that the CNPP cannot do anything on the

matter,Bayelsa he said: “The people of Bayelsa know better the reason for the disagreement which led to this political problem. They should insist on their freedom to choose a candidate of their choice and unite to solve the problem. “There ought to be some level of freedom but that does not appear to be the case here. It is the duty of the people of Bayelsa State to ensure that justice is done and make sure that their will prevails.” To Musa, the scenario in Bayelsa State is another exposure of the lack of democracy in the country. The Bayelsa situation could undermine Nigeria’s democratic aspiration, he said.

Lawyers abandon Bankole’s trial Continued from page 1


now very clear that once a political party has submitted the name of a candidate to your Commission for a particular elective office, the political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute the name of that candidate. Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides as follows: “A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted pursuant to Section 32 of this Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.” “By scheduling to conduct a fresh governorship primary in Bayelsa State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is about to change or substitute the name of our client as its candidate for the governorship election. “It is against the backdrop of the above that we urge you to use your good offices as recognised by Section 86 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) to direct the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to conduct a fresh governorship primary in Bayelsa State as same will amount to a contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act.”

Although the trial judge at the FCT High Court, Justice Suleiman Belgore, has devoted next week for the trial of the ex-Speaker and his deputy, their counsel sent two notices yesterday, announcing their withdrawal from the two cases. The counsel are Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), Dr. Awa Kalu (SAN) and Prof. Charles Ilegbune (SAN). One of the notices, dated November 15, 2011, reads: “Take notice that the law firm of Adegboyega Solomon Awomolo(SAN) along with Dr. Awa Kalu(SAN) and Prof. Charles Ilegbune(SAN) herewith withdraw appearance/representation for Hon. Dimeji Bankole forthwith. “Take further notice that all processes be served on him personally or through his appointed counsel.” The lawyers were, however, silent on why they have decided to withdraw from the case. But, according to sources who pleaded not to be named, the accused persons and their counsel had some “irreconcilable disagreement”, which neither side was ready to disclose. A source, who spoke in con-

fidence, said: “The withdrawal is a setback and we are suspecting a ploy to delay or frustrate the case. It is like starting the two cases all over. “When a new counsel comes in now, he will begin a new kind of rigmarole, claiming that he has just been briefed. “It may not be unconnected with the fact that the scenario has changed, with the new practice directive by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Dahiru Musdapher.” “And with the withdrawal from the cases by counsel, there is no way the trial of the accused persons can start earlier than 2012 when it is obvious that one of the trial judges has fixed a week for speedy trial of Bankole and Nafada.” Justice Musdapher last week directed that corruption cases must be disposed of by Judges within six-months. The CJN ordered Judges to either conclude corruption cases within the period or strike them out if there is no diligent prosecution. He spoke last Thursday in Abuja at a lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) and conferment of honourary Fellowship of the Institute on distinguished personalities.

CORRECTION The story with the headline “Tribunal withdraws Senator’s certificate for Aliero” published yesterday is inaccurate due to the mix-ups it contained. The tribunal has not delivered its judgment despite the impression the story suggested. The story was not published to embarass the tribunal, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) or anybody. The error is regretted.

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20 dead in Ogun drivers’ clash T ‘ I don’t know the number of casualties. For now, I don’t have the exact WENTY people were killed yesterday in SangoOta, Ogun State, when factional members of the National Union of Road Transport Union (NURTW) clashed over the control of motor parks. The violence, which started around 4 am, disrupted traffic and commercial activities. The violence occurred almost 24 hours after an Abeokuta State High Court struck out an application challenging the conduct of a proposed election by a faction of the union in the state. There had been a lingering crisis in NURTW following the failed attempt to conduct an election after the tenure of the executive led by Chief Tajudeen Ibikunle (a.k.a Baruwa). Some aggrieved members instituted a case at the High Court in

number. Nobody can say somebody is dead; a medical doctor has to certify By Titilayo Banjoko

Abeokuta, which ruled that the union should go on with the election. A member of the Caretaker Committee set up to conduct the election, Alhaji Yusuph Bamgbola, told reporters that his committee got wind of the violence and petitioned the state government. He said: “What I can say is that since last week, we got wind of the

fact that some people were planning to cause chaos and commotion in Ogun State and I immediately wrote to the state governor to draw his attention to the illegal activities of some hoodlums who are parading themselves as members of national union, using the name of some government functionaries, who they said directived to go and invade motor parks. “If the security agencies have been given the power, this thing

should not have happened in Ogun State.” When The Nation visited the scene of the clash, there were 12 bodies between “under the bridge” and the main Sango garage. Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Muyiwa Adejobi confirmed the clash, which he described as minor. The PPRO said he could not give the accurate figure of the casualties until he gets the report of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO). He said: “I don’t know the number of casualties. For now, I don’t have the exact number. Nobody can say somebody is dead; a medical doctor has to certify. ‘’The CP has not given us the exact figure. We have deployed armoured personnel carriers. Everybody should go about his lawful business.”

Nasarawa governor turns teacher to mark birthday From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia


ASARAWA State Governor Tanko Almakura yesterday returned to the classroom. He taught JSS 3 pupils of the Government Science Secondary School, Lafia to mark his 58th birthday. The governor, who taught the pupils Social Studies, urged them to always be contented. The governor is a former teacher at the Government College, Makurdi, Benue State. He said: “I don’t usually celebrate my birthday with fanfare and parties. As a teacher, teaching is very exciting and enjoyable to me and there could not be a better way to celebrate than imparting knowledge on the young impressionable minds. “There couldn’t be a better way than to come and teach and look at these impressionable minds and see how we interact. They have made my day. Don’t be surprised by the time I am through with this public service, I will go back to the classroom.”


From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja


ORRIED by the burden of disease and premature deaths in the country, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, has declared that the high trend is unacceptable. The minister spoke during the National Flag-off Ceremony of the November 2011 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) at Kunchingoro Primary Healthcare Centre, Abuja. He said thousands of women, children and newborn babies die from preventable causes. Noting that the burden of disease and premature death is high in Nigeria, he said several factors have been responsible for the increase, including low coverage of the eligible population with quality health services and human resource shortage at primary health care level. He said: “The Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) strategy deals with the operational and technical impediments to deliver quality health care to mothers and children using the right strategies and interventions through formalised arrangements to more than 80 per cent of those who need the services in a cost-effective manner.” “The Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week is a welcome intervention that would facilitate rapid reduction in maternal and child deaths and contribute sustainability to the achievement of improved health indices for Nigeria.”

NAFDAC enlightens bakers on banned chemicals By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha


•Almakura, with the pupils...yesterday


Rampaging robbers kill three in Lagos HREE people died yesterday and four others were injured in a robbery incident on the Oshodi-Oworonsoki Expressway on the outskirts of Lagos. The operation lasted for about 30 minutes. The robbery began at about 6:30am. It was learnt that about five armed robbers blocked Olopomeji Bus Stop at Oworonsoki, forcing all oncoming vehicles to stop. A driver, identified as Akanni Kamorudeen, in a red Toyota Camry with registration number NR307-KJA, tried to escape and was shot dead by the robbers. The owner of the vehicle, a First Bank, Adeyemo Alakija branch official, who preferred anonymity, said she warned Kamorudeen not to move, but he defied her and tried to escape. She said: “We were three in the vehicle; my colleague, the driver, and me. We were heading towards the office when the hoodlums blocked our vehicle and ordered us to stay put. I doubt if the robbers were after us, but I guess they wanted to use our vehicle to block another vehicle which they intended to rob. “Kamorudeen, who wanted to quickly escape, was immediately shot in the chest after the robbers sprayed my car with bullets. My

‘Premature deaths unacceptable’

Police assure Lagosians of adequate security


AGOS State Police Commissioner Yakubu Alkali has assured Lagosians of adequate security and a crime-free festive period. He spoke yesterday at a public lecture organised for police officers in the command. The police chief said the command was battle-ready to combat crime, adding that his men would work with other security operatives. Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, Suleiman Fakai urged officers to be vigilant. Hakai said people with criminal tendencies are usually active during the last months of the year. Fakai said: “Any effort made by young officers will not be in vain, because we are seriously watching them and we are ready to appreciate any hard working officer. ”Senior officers should be sure that their men are seriously supervised when they are outside to be sure they are doing the right thing.” By Titilayo Banjoko

colleague and I were not affected as we buried our heads between our knees so that the bullets wouldn’t hit us. “What infuriated the hoodlums was that the vehicle they were actually after was able to escape when Kamorudeen moved the vehicle. So, they transferred their anger to him.” The incident caused a heavy traffic snarl, as some motorists left their vehicles and fled the scene. Policemen, officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and sympathisers moved the body from the car. The President of the Oworon-

shoki Youth Development Association, Mr. Ignatius Babajide, said the armed robbers leveraged on the fact that the Oworonsoki Expressway, which leads to the Third Mainland bridge, usually experiences heavy traffic, which makes it easy for robbers to operate unhindered. After escaping from Oworonsoki, the armed robbers moved to Oshodi Bus Stop, where they operated for about 20 minutes. They killed two people. Four others were injured. A newspaper vendor, who identified himself as Pius, said the hoodlums were shooting indiscriminately at people.

He said: “I stay at Oshodi and have witnessed many robberies. Most of the ones I see, the robbers usually shoot in the air. But the ones that operated today were shooting at innocent people so that they would not obstruct their way. “Oshodi is usually a very busy area. So, they shot at people and vehicles so that people would not obstruct their way. “I heard they came from a robbery operation on Oworonshoki Expressway. They came in a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), about five of them. They wielded sophisticated guns and they were all big in stature. “People who were waiting by the Bus Stop to board a bus were shot at. A young guy was shot in the head. A woman, who was crossing the road, was shot in the stomach. Another woman, in a commercial bus ,was killed after being shot in the neck. Two area boys were also shot in the leg.” Pius added that the robbers ambushed a vehicle, which was carrying money. “The robbers searched the vehicle and made away with cash. A policeman was abducted by the robbers before they sped off, passing through Plaza Road,” he said. Police spokesman Samuel Jinadu said he was yet to be briefed on the incident.

HE National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) yesterday said the ban on potassium bromate as an enhancer in flour milling and bread baking has not been lifted. NAFDAC’s Director-General Dr Paul Orhii spoke at a workshop for members of the Association of Master Bakers, Lagos State branch. He said other banned chemicals in bread baking are: alum, baking powder, hydrogenated oils, ammonium chloride and colouring agents, such as Blue 1, Red 3 and Yellow 6. Orhii said these could cause ailments ranging from multiple sclerosis to tumours. He said: “NAFDAC has discovered the continued use of potassium bromate as a criminal choice by some bakers in Nigeria, mainly because of its cheapness, and ability as an efficient oxidising agent. It has been removed from the list of bread improvers generally regarded as safe (GRAS) ingredients by the FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives worldwide since 1992. “In summary, potassium bromate used as bread enhancer is capable of causing cancer, kidney failure, deafness, redness and pain of the eyes and skin. It also causes the breakdown of the essential vitamins in bread and other bakery products.” He identified other chemicals also used in the production of substandard bread as nitrogen trichloride and ammonium persulphate, which cause brain disturbances, skin allergy (Bakers Eczema), and the depletion of Vitamin content of flour.



NEWS EFCC arraigns US-based Nigerian lawyer over alleged fraud By Eric Ikhilae


HE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned a United States based Nigerian lawyer, Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye, before a Lagos High Court for allegedly stealing $94, 948, belonging to his client, Sola Adeyo. He is being charged with stealing and fraudulent conversion of $94, 948 property of Adeyo while acting as his attorney. The charge sheet revealed that sometimes in 2007 within the Lagos jurisdictional district, Ugwuonye allegedly received $94, 948 from Adeyo while acting as his private attorney and refused to give the money back to him. Ugwuonye was also alleged to have converted the said money to his personal use contrary to Section 383 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State. Efort by defence lawyer Mr. Bamidele Aturu to move bail application for the accused was rejected by Justice Christopher Balogun. The court held that it could not hear the application because there were many contending suits before it. Aturu told the court that Ugwuonye had been in EFCC’s custody since October 24. EFCC’s lawyer Festus Afeiyodion urged the court to fix the suit for trial, adding that the Commission had already filed an objection to the bail


application. Justice Balogun, in a ruling, fixed hearing of the bail application till November 17. The substantive issue would be heard on January 24. He ordered that Ugwuonye be remanded in EFCC’s custody as requested by his counsel. The accused is also facing a similar charge before a Federal High Court in Abuja for allegedly defrauding the Federal Government of $1,55,000.00. The crime was committed in the United States. Agents of the State Security Services (SSS) arrested Mr. Ugwuonye last month at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. He had been on the EFCC “watch list” after federal officials concluded that he had a case to answer in a series of real estate transactions with the Nigeria Embassy in Washington DC.

CJN rejects plea-bargain for corrupt politicians, officials T

HE Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher has rejected plea-bargain for corrupt politicians and public officers. He described it as “a novel concept of dubious origin”. “It has no place in our lawsubstantive or procedural. It was invented to provide soft landing to high profile criminals who loot the treasury entrusted to them. It is an obstacle to our fight against corruption. It should never again be mentioned in our jurisprudence”, he said. Justice Musdapher spoke at the Fifth Annual General Conference of the Section on Legal Practice of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja yesterday. Represented by Supreme Court Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the CJN said the theme of the conference: Legal Practice in Nigeria: Venturing beyond Usual Borders-would expand the scope of service to humanity through the practice of law.

•Condemns holding charge

‘It has no place in our law-substantive or procedural. It was invented to provide soft landing to high profile criminals who loot the treasury entrusted to them’ From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

NBA President Joseph Daudu (SAN) challenged lawyers to specialise. Justice Musdapher blamed Judges who grant holding charge against suspects to law

enforcement agencies while looking for evidence to nail them. He said: “Every legal practitioner is familiar with this term by which citizens are dumped in prison by a court which lacks jurisdiction to try them. It is largely responsible for the congestion in prison across the country. The state cannot incarcerate its citizen while scrambling for evidence to build a case against him, and if it has a case it should take the accused to a court of competent jurisdiction. As often in the case when he is set free because he has no case to answer he goes home in shame, a damaged man, without apology, without compensation”. “Trial by public parade of a suspect even when he is not yet an accused person on pages of newspapers and on the

Amaechi, Fashola seek key positions for women to tackle corruption


IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and his Lagos State counterpart, Babatunde Fashola, yesterday said women should be entrusted with the management of the country’s treasury to curb looting of public funds. The duo spoke at the 11th Women National Conference organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO). Amaechi, while opening the conference, explained that the pressure of the society faced by men had made them vulnerable to corrupt vices. “I am not saying we men are the ones stealing public funds. But the pressures of the society are more on the men. The more women you have in the cabinet, the more you reduce cases of corruption. Women have greater roles to play to make our economy great. But they are often taken for granted not knowing they play the role of father and mother most of the time.” He stressed the need for the country to have more good leaders to pilot the affairs of the party affiliation, saying parties don’t produce performers. Amaechi praised Fashola’s initiative to have given seven slots to women in the Executive Council, describing it as the pure recognition of the seriousness and natural endowment in women especially those in the Southwest. According to him, “Lagos and the Southwest are blessed with array of women capable of not only moving the state ahead of other equals, but also capable of contributing their unending quota to the

By Miriam Ndikanwu

development of the country as well as curbing corruption in Nigeria.” Urging them to continue in their quest for political power across the country, Amaechi enjoined women not to be too far away from their divine role as home managers. “As you come to the positions of decision making in the country, you must understand your husband; please re-orientate our society and reintroduce those missing values that once stabilise homes and communities,” he urged. Fashola lamented that Amaechi came on board as the chairman of Governors’ Forum amidst crises ranging from oil subsidy and reduction of allocations to states. He said he was impressed with the way and manner with which he has been piloting the affairs of Rivers and the forum. Speaking on this year’s theme: ‘Women, how relevant are we?’ Fashola declared that relevance of women in the daily governance activities contributed to the forceful emergence of women in political scenes, especially in Lagos State where we produced a senator. He described women as “Vessels of life and drivers of very existence, “I recognise their critical roles”. COWLSO Chairperson Mrs. Abimbola Fashola said the theme was strategically chosen for the women to engage themselves in self appraisal, regarding the role they play and the contribution they are making towards addressing challenges of modern society.”

•Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi (right) and former Ogun State Governor Aremo Segun Osoba at the Murtala Muhammed Airport-2, Lagos…yesterday. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE

television is unfair. It is difficult to convince an average person that one who has been so paraded has not committed any offence”. The CJN, however, cautioned Judges to avoid granting injunctions against law enforcement agencies in favour of accused . This, he said, may not serve the best interest of justice and the fight against corruption. Explaining his position, he said: “The guilty are afraid and when a man who has abused the public trust reposed in him feels the heat of the approaching long arm of the law, he rushes to a Judge with flexible conscience who makes him untouchable to the law enforcement agents. It is another obstacle to the struggle to uproot corruption in this country”. Justice Musdapher challenged the forum to take a position on the issues he raised which he lamented “constitute a blot on our criminal process. Your voice will be heard and change will be made for the better. May I also draw your attention to our prisons where fellow human beings are reduced to the barest level of humanity. I think time is ripe to include a provision for suspended sentence in the criminal procedure code and the Criminal Procedure Law, after all, as Roscoe Pound said in his Introduction to the Philosophy of Law (1922): “The law must be stable but it must not stand still”. The NBA President challenged lawyers to improve their knowledge so as to keep in tune with modern trends in law practice. He lamented that the category of lawyers who the conference was organised for did not turn up. Eighty per cent lawyers go to international conference for extra curricular activities-for shopping. Some never see the halls of the conference and they end up saying they have attended International Bar Conference. Former NBA General Secretary, Dele Adeshina (SAN) urged lawyers to work towards a goal while cross-examining witnesses.

How Akingbola made N18.6b ‘irregular’ payments to Akingbola’s counsel, Mr LAGOS State High his companies, by witness Deji Sasegbon (SAN) and Court, Ikeja, yesterday Chief Felix Fagbohungbe heard that a former


Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr Erastus Akingbola made “irregular” payments amounting to N16.8 billion to companies in which he is a director. A firm, Tropics Finance Limited, sent a letter addressed to Akingbola requesting for the payment of N10billion for share purchased for the bank. The payment was approved, the court was told. Intercontinental Bank’s Chief Inspector, Abdulraheem Jimoh said the money was shared among three companies – Tropics Securities Limited, Tropics Properties and Bankinson Limited. “Dr Erastus Akingbola is a director in the three companies and also a signatory to their accounts. His wife Anthonia is also a director and a signatory to the accounts of the three companies,” Jimoh added. He was testifying at the trial of Akingbola and General Manager of Tropics Securities Limited, Mr Bayo Dada. Both

By Joseph Jibueze

were charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with 22 counts of stealing Intercontinental Bank’s N47.1 billion. Jimoh said several original documents of questionable transactions authorised by Akingbola were missing from the bank. He tendered photocopies of some of them. According to the witness, the bank’s management asked him to investigate other irregular payments. He discovered that a further N8.6billion was paid the three companies. His words: “I discovered that N8.6billion was improperly paid out from the bank’s account between May and June 30, 2009. The payments were to Tropics Finance Limited, Tropics Properties Limited and Bankinson Limited. In all cases Dr Akingbola had interest in these companies.” Jimoh said Akingbola authorised via an unsigned memo the transfer of 1.3million pounds

to a foreign law firm, Fuglar Solicitors from the bank’s Nostro account, which was against normal banking practice. “Instructions should normally be in writing. It is not the practice to give verbal instructions,” he said. According to Jimoh, the money used to pay Tropics Finance was taken from an account which had depositors’ money and placed in the bank’s prepayment account (also known as general account). Manager’s cheques were subsequently issued in the amount stated in the letter for the beneficiary companies, Jimoh said. On how he got the details, he said: “They were traced to the companies’ accounts in Access Bank where they were given value. We wrote to Access Bank asking for information on the promoters of the companies, to which they replied.”

(SAN) opposed most of the documents tendered by EFCC counsel, Mr Godwin Obla, because they were photocopies and were not part of the original proof of evidence. Sasegbon said: “This is not how trial is done. This is trial by ambush. This style of trial is bizarre. It has been turned to a summary trial, not trial by information. “These were documents handed to us this morning. We need adequate time to go through them with the defendant to prepare our defence.” But in each occasion, the trial judge, Justice Habib Abiru, overruled Sasegbon and admitted the documents in evidence. The court also refused the defence lawyers’ request for an adjournment to enable them study the new evidence. This was after Obla argued that the EFCC had the right to bring whatever evidence it wanted at any time. Trial continues today.




House queries new number plates, driver’s licence A LMOST three months after its introduction, the House of Representatives yesterday critcised the number plates and driver’s licence by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), saying it is not only economically oppressive but also lacks value to national security. The House directed its Committee on FRSC to investigate the rationale, necessity and circumstances of the planned phasing out of the extant vehicle number plates and present licences. The FRSC has also been advised to put on hold the implementation of the policy on new vehicle plate numbers and licences pending the outcome of the investigation. According to the Corps Marshal of FRSC, Osita Chidoka, a minimum of N192 billion will be generated from the issuance of the new driver’s licence and number plates in the next one year. Of the amount, N72 billion would be realised from driver’s licences while the remaining N120 billion would come from the sales of vehicle number plates. President Goodluck Jonathan, who launched the new driver’s licence and vehicle number plates on September 2, paid N6,000 for his new driver’s licence. Drivers and vehicle own-

Lagos to begin issuance today


HE Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA) will begin the issuance of the new vehicle number plate today. A statement by the Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, said the number plates would be issued to only owners of new and unregistered vehicles in the next four weeks. He said renewal and replacement of old number plates would begin later. The staggered exercise, the commissioner said, is to enable the MVAA clear the backlog of registration applications arising from the non-availability of number plates nationwide. Opeifa said the number plates for motorcycles would not be issued for now. He said owners of Standard Motor Vehicles would pay N15,000 for the new plate while existing owners would pay N10,000 to replace old number plates. He said the state-owned Number Plates Production Agency (NPPA) has sufficient stock of the new plates to satisfy the needs of fresh applicants and has put in place a production schedule to meet the needs of prospective renewal applicants to enable them meet the August 31, 2012 deadline. From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

ers in Nigeria have till August 31, 2012, to comply with the new rule when they will pay for a private driver’s licence and number plate at N6,000 and N15,000. The Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Bussiness, Sam Tsokwa, yesterday brought up the issue under Point of Order

and as a matter of urgent public importance. He noted that the FRSC has veered off its responsibilities of managing road traffic and maintaining safety on Nigerian roads by turning itself into a money-making agency against constitutional provisions. Tsokwa argued that since inception, the FRSC had, at will, phased out, introduced and re-introduced new

number paltes and vehicle licences when it pleased, without considering the feelings of Nigerians. He said: “At every instance that new vehicle number plates and vehicle licences are introduced and implemented, vehicle owners get poorer as they are made, against their wishes and desires, to pay more than before for the same commodity. “It is worrisome that the new introduction would cost Nigerian vehicle owners at least additional 40 per cent of the existing rate to purchase new number plates and licenses.” The lawmaker queried the rationale behind the commission’s disregard for the Constitution, saying rather than concentrate on ensuring safety on Nigerian roads, the agency has made itself a court for prosecuting, judging and convicting traffic offenders. Tsokwa said: “As a creation of a statute, there is nowhere in the law where the Commission is mandated to generate funds for the government. But because it has decided to convert itself into a revenue-generating agency, without consultation, it would just change the number plates and licences, backed with lofty reasons that are mostly debatable at the end of the day.”

•Police vans stationed at the entrance to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Headquarters in Abuja as its workers began strike... yesterday.

Nigeria is safe to visitors, says Jonathan


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said the visit of the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Alain Juppe, to Kano last Saturday, as well as the trip of outgoing French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jean-Michel Dumond, to Kebbi and Sokoto states, has proved that Nigeria is safe to visitors. The President spoke in Abuja during a welfare visit by Dumond to the State House. He said: “Your visits to Kebbi and Sokoto states, after the French Foreign Minister visited Kano, all in the North of Nigeria, confirm that the country is safe to visit.” The President recalled that the French Prime Minister visited the Niger Delta in 2009, when other nationals were reluctant to visit the re-

•President warns criminals From Vincent Ikuomola , Abuja

gion. Dr Jonathan praised French President Nicolas Sarkozy for his assistance to Nigeria and Africa have enjoyed from France, especially on the restoration of peace and democracy in Cote d’Ivoire, Niger Republic, Guinea and Liberia. The President yesterday warned criminals to either change or prepare to face the wrath of the law. He urged security agencies to go after promoters of terror and other anti-social activities and bring them to justice. Dr Jonathan noted that the nation’s justice system needs

to be reformed. The President said the nation should focus on human rights and address areas of abuse. He spoke at the inauguration of the reconstituted Presidential Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, headed by the Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN). The committee is coming three years after the expiration of the former committee, whose tenure expired in 2009. Jonathan said: “Let me seize this opportunity to reassure the nation that I have initiated a very rapid and robust process to enhance the capacity of our security forces to protect life and property. Even as our

nation overcame past security scares, I am confident in the ability of our security agencies to overcome the present ones as well. “We are resolute in our charge to the security agencies to go after all promoters of terror and other anti-social activities in the country and bring them to book. “If you undermine the state, be prepared to face the full wrath of the law. “Our review of processes and institutional reforms are, indeed designed to strengthen and realign all the instruments and agencies of crime prevention, interdiction and punishment. My administration will not rest on its oars until the spirit of the law runs across the land. We promise to deliver swift and certain justice for criminal elements.”

Suswam blames attack on aide on ACN •It’s all lies, says Akume From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi


ENUE State Governor Gabriel Suswam has said the attack on his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, was allegedly masterminded by the leadership of the

Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state. Addressing reporters after visiting Akwaya at the hospital, the governor alleged that some ACN chieftains in the state had written President Goodluck Jonathan, vowing to make the state ungovernable for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He alleged that the attack on Akwaya was part of a plan to make good the threat. But former Governor George Akume of the ACN debunked Suswam’s claims, saying they were lies. In a statement by his media aide, Becky Orpin, Senator Akume described the allegations as “outright falsehood, ill-motivated and mischievous”. The statement reads: “The attention of Senator Akume has been drawn to spurious allegations contained in major news bulletins on Radio Benue, Makurdi, on Sunday, November 13 and some national newspapers, in particular National Accord of Monday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 15, and The Guardian of November 15, credited to Governor Suswam and his Information Commissioner, Mr Conrad Weghgba, alluding that he (Akume) masterminded an attack on Akwaya, the Media Adviser to Governor Suswam. “This allegation is outright falsehood, ill motivated, mischievous and a calculated attempt by these political novices to tarnish the image of an elder statesman who has devoted a better part of his life to service to the people of Benue State and the nation.

Tribunal nullifies PDP candidate’s election in Bauchi •Declares ACN candidate winner HE State and National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Bauchi, yesterday nullified the election of Idi Shehu Tiyin of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The lawmaker is representing the Warji State Constituency in the Assembly and he is the Chairman, House Committee on Security. The tribunal declared Hamza Gawo of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) winner of the April election. Gawo had challenged the election of Tiyin for non-conformity with the Electoral Act 2010, as amended. He alleged massive rigging, illegal thumb-printing, ballot stuffing, ballot-snatching and presentation of fake results to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and presented several witnesses to prove his claims. An official of Certificate Evaluation Department of the Federal Ministry of Education testified to Tiyin’s academic qualification. The Standard Certificate of Education from an American school also testified before the tribunal, dissociating itself


From Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi

from Tiyin’s claims. Tribunal Chairman Justice Maria Sanda Zukogi held that the petitioner proved the criminal allegations against the respondent beyond reasonable doubt. He said the tribunal was convinced that as at the time of the election, Tiyin was not qualified to contest the election. He declared Gawo, who polled the second highest majority of lawful votes, winner of the election and ordered INEC to issue him the certificate of return. The tribunal also dismissed the petition by Ishaku Adamu of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). It upheld the election of Bilyaminu Usman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the member representing Burra Constituency in the House of Assembly. Justice Zukogi held that the criminal allegations on electoral fraud, electoral irregularities and the breach of Electoral Act 2010, as amended, must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Cisco promises to support Fed Govt •Unveils solutions to aid SMEs By Adline Atili


ECHNOLOGY solutions giant, Cisco Systems, has promised to work with the Federal Government to assist Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME) to enable them contribute to the economy. The General Manager, Emerging Markets at Cisco, Carlos Marques, spoke in South Africa when he unveiled the new technology solutions to help organisations and individuals in effective business collaboration. Marques said the company would work with the Federal Governemnt to formulate policies to help SMEs grow and drive Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools in businesses. According to him, the absence of technology deployment hinders the expansion and growth of SMEs, which he described as a key componenent of any emerging economy. He praised the government for establishing the Ministry of Communications Technology, assuring that Cisco would work with the new ministry to assist the SME sub-sector. He said: “The Government of Nigeria has taken a commendable step in establishing the Ministry of Technology, putting ICT on top of the agenda. The challenge, however, is broadband. “As part of our strategy, we’ll work with the government to formulate policies to help Small and Medium Businesses and Telcos in the country. However, because of the sheer size of the country, it may take some time to begin to see results.”



NEWS PHCN workers allege foul play


OWER Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) workers yesterday shut their office in Alausa, Lagos, against customers. The staff, who were inside the office, said they needed time to pray to God to correct the anomalies they accused the Federal Government of perpetuating. State Chairman of the National Union of Electricity Workers Comrade Lawal Adewale urged the Federal Government to reverse some policies he said are inimical to the sector and Nigerians. Adewale said: “We see a case of corruption and an attempt by certain people in authority to sell the company cheaply to themselves in the proposed privatisation by the Federal Government. “For instance, the Ikeja Distribution Zone was valued at N73 billion. But presently, the monthly revenue of the zone is N3 billion. With the new tariff that would be implemented next year, it will go up to N9 billion. “What that means is that, annually, total revenue of N109 billion is guaranteed.” Adewale questioned the rational behind selling a

By Miriam Ndikanwu

company that could generate N109 billion annually for N73 billion. He said the Federal Government has also stationed military officers at the various power stations to intimidate and harass them. Adewale said: “We say no to military presence at our installation stations nationwide. We were not trained to work under gun point command by soldiers and such practice is an abomination under a democratic dispensation.” He said the disruption of operations in PHCN offices is the first step in the measures to be adopted to compel the Federal Government to rescind these decisions. Another worker, simply identified as Mr. Ganiyu, said: “The Federal Government is playing with fire. It will not get away with these cases of corruption in the power sector and the maltreatment of workers. “We just allowed those in the generation section to carry on with their duty today. We may change our minds and strategy soon and ensure total blackout in the country.”

Oyo to reduce bank accounts from 118 to 21 •Govt screens babies for sickle cell


HE Oyo State Government is to reduce its accounts in various commercial banks from 118 to 21. Commissioner for Finance Zacheaus Adelabu said this yesterday at a meeting with regional bank heads in Ibadan, the state capital. Adelabu said the government would no longer operate more than one type of account in each of the banks. He said the operation of multiple bank accounts by the past administration was an avenue for fraud. Adelabu said the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi is determined to curb revenue diversion. He said the administration has adopted the policy of centralised treasury for all ministries, depart-

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

ments and agencies to ensure accountability. Also, the government has started screening babies for early detection of sickle cell anemia. It is working in partnership with the University of Chicago and Global Sickle Cell Alliance. Commissioner for Health Abdullateef Olopoenia said early detection will ensure better care for sickle cell patients and reduce mortality rate. Olopoenia said the University College Hospital (UCH); Adeoyo Maternity Hospital, Yemetu; Oni Memorial Hospital (all in Ibadan); and the General Hospital, Ogbomoso, have been accredited for the exercise. He said funds for the diagnosis and care of affected kids had been included in the ministry's budget. Prof. Paula Jaudes of the University of Chicago said parents of children with sickle cell anemia would be educated on how to manage the disease.

PUBLIC NOTICE NWANDIKO FOUNDATION The general public is hereby notified that the above named association has applied for registration under Part “C” of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Mr. Basil A. Nwandiko 2. Mr. John C. Nwadiuko 3. Mr. Gibson O. Nwaebo AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: 1) To teach and educate orphans and other needy children. 2) Psychological rehabilitation and social integration of the poor, homeless and needy. 3) Such other charitable purposes as the Trustees in their absolute discretion from time to time think fit. Any objection to the registration should be addressed to the Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420 Tigris Crescent, Off Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja within 28 days of this publication.

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (second right); Asiwaju Musulumi of Yorubaland Alhaji Tunde Badmus (left); President, League of Imams and Alfas (Southwest), Sheik Mustapha Ajisafe (second left); and the Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola; at the Ileya Party at the Government House in Osogbo, the state the weekend.

‘Oni paid Cuban eye specialists N1b yearly’ T HE Ekiti State Government has revealed that the administration of former Governor Segun Oni paid Cuban specialists hired to run the Ophthalmology Centre of the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, N1 billion yearly. Commissioner for Health Wole Olugboji spoke with reporters yesterday. He said the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi did not renew the contract with the expatriates, when it expired on March 31. Olugboji lamented that the annual income realised from the centre, which was gulping N1 billion annually, was just about N15 million.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

He said specialists trained by the expatriates are now running the centre. The commissioner said: “The state is not all that buoyant in terms of revenue earnings from the Federation Account, so it cannot afford to be paying such a huge amount, when the money can be deployed to the care of patients suffering from other ailments.” He regretted the poor condition of primary health care centres in the state and stressed

the need to take them out of the control of the Local Government Service Commission. Olugbogi said the administration’s Free Health Missions were interventionist initiatives, adding that when the Primary Health Care Development Agency Bill, which has passed its first reading in the House of Assembly, becomes Law, it would improve the funding and performance of the 293 primary health centres in the state. He said the Dialysis Centre donated by telecommunication giant, MTN, to UTH is functioning well.

The commissioner said the government is working towards implementing the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) and Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS). He said: “The State Government has agreed to pay the CONMESS and CONHESS to workers in the primary health sector, but we have to know those qualified to receive them. “As things stand now, some unqualified personnel are still in that sector and they will not benefit from it. We are not going to purge them out of the system completely, but they will be redeployed to other departments where they can function.”

‘We weren’t consulted in Ogun farm sale’


HE former General Manager (GM) of Ogun State Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), Mr. Babatunde Runsewe, yesterday told the Ogun Lands Commission of Enquiry that the corporation, which oversees state-owned farm plantations, was sidelined by Gateway Holdings Limited (GHL) in the sale of some farms. Lomiro Oil Palms Plantation was concessioned to JB Farms Limited for 10 years at N450 million by GHL. GHL Managing Director Mr. Ajibola Adebutu said JB Farms has only paid N30 million to the government since it took over the farm two years ago. Runsewe said the Lomiro Oil Palm Plantation in Ogun Waterside Local Government was running profitably before its “bazaar-like concession to JB Farms” during the administration of former Governor Gbenga Daniel.

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

He said: “Lomiro was not only making profit, but was also ploughing back part of it for the future of the plantation. I knew nothing about the concession. I did not take part in interviewing the bidders/ investors or drawing the concession agreement.” Runsewe was reacting to the evidence given earlier by Mr. Kunle Salami of GHL that ADC was involved in the sale of the farm. He said: “To give it out to a private individual was not in the best interest of the government. Government did not benefit from the arrangement. I told GHL to allow ADC monitor the concession process, but it denied us the chance. The former Commissioner for Forestry intervened, but GHL ignored us.” Runsewe said he only took investors, both local and for-

eign, to see the farm at different times, based on letters from GHL requesting him to do so. Asked by the Commission Chairman, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, if he was qualified to say the concession was improperly done, Runsewe said: “ADC has experts with several years of experience and has been involved in similar sales in the past. ADC would have made more profit for the government.” There was mild drama when the commission was about to hear a petition on Apoje Farms Limited in Ijebu–Igbo. There was an argument between representatives of the concessionaire company, EGJA Miramar Nigeria Limited, and their counsel, Mr. Oyewole Olurin, on whether he should speak for the company or not. Olurin, who mounted the witness box, had scarcely begun to give evidence on the matter, when he started to

show signs that he was not abreast with the situation of things. A shareholder in the company; the Ogirimadagbo of Ilodo–Ijebu, Oba Isiaka Olajide Ajede, stood up and pleaded with the five-man panel to tell Olurin to step down from the witness box before he endangers the shareholders’ interest. Oba Ajede said: “My lord, I plead with you to let this man step down. I have interest in the company and I’m a shareholder and I have laboured for the progress of the company and the state. I don’t want him to say things that would affect my interest in what I have laboured for.” But the counsel stayed put, arguing that he has “partial mandate of the company to represent” her at the commission. Justice Abiodun said adjourn till November 24 to enable them put their house in order.

No plan to dump LP for PDP, says Mimiko


NDO State Governor Olusegun Mimiko will remain in the Labour Party (LP), Commissioner for Information Kayode Akinmade has said. Akinmade was reacting to rumours that the governor was planning to dump LP for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He urged the public to disregard the rumour, which he said was being peddled by mischief makers. In a statement yesterday, the commissioner said Mimiko will remain in LP and build it into a formidable party. He said: “The governor will remain in LP and build it. Nigeria practises federalism and

the people of Ondo State reserve the right to join any party of their choice. “Our decision to support President Goodluck Jonathan in the last general election was based on our conviction that he could represent the interest of Nigerians better than other contestants. “We would continue our

bottom-up approach strategy, based on our Caring Heart agenda to implement programmes and policies aimed at bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. “On-going urban renewal in our local communities would make Ondo State a model for Nigeria and the African continent.”




Kaduna villagers sue ex-governor Pilgrims protest at Kano airport T Lekwot for alleged trespass From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano


BOUT 233 residents of Rijana village on the Kaduna-Abuja road, Kaduna State have sued former Military Governor of Rivers State Maj.-Gen. Zamani Lekwot for alleged criminal trespass and intimidation. The former governor is expected to open his defence on November 30 at the Kaduna Chief Magistrate’s Court presided over by Chief Magistrate Mohammed Adamu Hamza. The villagers are accusing Lekwot of allegedly trespassing on their farmland at


From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

Rijana village and intimidating them with the men of the state’s anti-crime security outfit, Operation Yaki. Chief Magistrate Hamza said the court had established a prima facie case against Lekwot. The charges showed that Lekwot, sometime in 2009, committed criminal trespass on a farmland in Rijana village, an offence contrary to Section 348 of the Penal Code. He was also accused of using armed men of the Operation Yaki to arrest, detain and

interfere in the lawful activities of the complainants, thereby committing another offence contrary to Section 396 of the Penal Code. The former governor pleaded not guilty to the twocount charge of criminal trespass and intimidation. He said the allegations against him were borne out of “malice and aimed at tarnishing” his image. Lekwot challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit. His counsel, Yajeh Haruna, argued that since it was a land ownership matter, the court

must first determine who holds the title to the land before delving into criminal trespass. He argued that Lekwot purchased the land from the original owners in 1980, adding that his client was in possession of the documents to prove ownership. The lawyer averred that the villagers encroached on the land when the former military governor went on an assignment abroad in the early 1980s. Counsel to the villagers, Garba Shehu, called 11 witnesses before closing his case.

Court orders retrial of Kwara ACN candidate’s petition

HE Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, has ordered the retrial of the petition filed by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for Ilorin South (Kwara State), Mallam Tajudeen M. Asunnara, in the April 26 House of Assembly election. The appellant challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Saadu Tanke, as winner of the election. But the lower tribunal used a copy of the declaration of the

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

result (Exhibit A) to grant victory to the PDP candidate. It said: “In the final analysis, we hold that the suit of the petitioners was stale, statute and time-barred and it is accordingly dismissed.” In a unanimous judgment, the three Justices of the Appellate Court, Tijjani Abdullahi, Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh and Ita George Mbaba, set aside the ruling of the lower tribunal delivered on September 15, saying: “The

petitioners’/appellants’ petition is remitted to the tribunal to be heard on the merit by another panel of judges. “Exhibit A was a product of mischief, which should be investigated and, if found to be fraudulent, the author and the producer, who presented it, should be prosecuted in a criminal court for forgery and perjury. “The date of announcement of the result of the election, if at all an issue in the case, could only have come from the filings by the appellants,

or determined at the hearing of the substantive matter.” In his lead judgment, Justice Abdullahi said: “I am of the firm view that the documentary evidence, heavily relied upon by the respondents, is incapable of resolving the conflict in the affidavit evidence adduced by parties. “Generally, documentary evidence, as can be seen under the provision of Section 132(1)(a), can be contradicted, altered, added to or varied by oral evidence. However, there are exceptions to this general rule, which can be found under the proviso to the section.”

HE 500 pilgrims on board a Yola-bound Max Air aircraft, which made an emergency landing at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano on Monday, yesterday protested being abandoned at the airport. Their protest disrupted flight operations temporarily. The angry pilgrims, it was gathered, blocked the runway, thereby disrupting flight operations for a few hours, as no plane could take off or land during the protest. It was gathered that the pilgrims’ protest followed the alleged ill-treatment they were reportedly subjected to by the airline’s management. The passengers, it was learnt, wanted the airline’s management to fulfil its promise to convey them to Yola, Adamawa State, yesterday. The delay in conveying the passengers was said to have caused the protest. When the protest became rowdy, the management reportedly arranged for an alternative aircraft from Sokoto to convey the stranded pilgrims to Yola.

Tribunal returns Makarfi to Senate •CPC candidate’s election nullified


HE National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Kaduna, has declared former Kaduna State Governor Ahmed Makarfi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the April 28 election for Kaduna North Senatorial District. It nullified the election of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed. The tribunal directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Baba-Ahmed. Makarfi had challenged the conduct of the election, alleging multiple thumb-printing, ballot stuffing and the use of unsigned and unstamped ballot papers,

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

which he alleged were counted for Baba-Ahmed. Tribunal Chairman Justice Daniel Kalio noted that in the course of the trial, about 300 exhibits, including the Certified True Copies of Forms EC8A and ballot boxes, were tendered and admitted in evidence. He added that of the number, about 97 exhibits were rejected because they were not pleaded by the petitioner in his petition. He noted that after deducting the unsigned and unstamped votes from the total votes of the both candidates, Makarfi emerged winner with majority of lawful votes. He polled 364,801 against Datti Baba-Ahmed’s 356,579 votes.




President Goodluck Jonathan (left) presenting former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi with his award in Abuja ...on Monday

•Olowo of Owo Oba Victor Olateru Olagbegi receiving his award •The President decorating Deputy House Speaker Emeka Ihedioha

•Chairman of Arik Air, Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide (right) being congratulated by the President

•Industrialist Oba Otudeko(right) after receiving his award from President Jonathan

•Former Ekiti State Governor Adeniyi Adebayo (right) receiving his award

•Senator Smart Adeyemi (right) being decorated with his award

•Former Ondo State Governor Olusegun Agagu (right) receiving his award

•Publisher, The Source Magazine, Ms Comfort Obi taking her turn PHOTOS: AKIN OLADOKUN

Fed Govt rejects British Airways 20 per cent fare cut offer Continued from page 4

“The British authorities requested to be given an opportunity to carry out an independent study of the regional pricing disparity in the UK/Nigerian aviation market. We expect the conclusion of this study by the end of the year to facilitate a conclusion on the subject. “With respect to slot at Heathrow airport, seven slots per week from Abuja have been secured by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for Arik Air at prevailing commercial rates. “As you are aware, FAAN is renovating and upgrading their airports. These efforts will require a review

of current slot allocations and additional funding. Towards this end, FAAN is considering applying commercial slot rates for slots into Murtala Muhammed International Airport in the spirit of Bilateral Air Service Agreement. “The Nigerian flying public is advised to make wise choices about which airlines they fly as regards the pricing of their tickets. “The Federal Ministry of Aviation assures Nigerians that their interests with regard to safety, security, comfort, service and affordability will remain our priority.” The Federal Government yesterday got support from an unusual quarter on its

‘The Nigerian flying public is advised to make wise choices about which airlines they fly as regards the pricing of their tickets’ demand for full respect for the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between the country and Britain. It got the full backing of

the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party hailed the way the issue has been handled by the Aviation Ministry. “If British airlines must fly to Nigeria unhindered, under the framework of the BASA between the two countries, then Nigerian airlines must fly to Britain without hinderance. Any move to the contrary is an attempt by one party to gain an unfair advantage over the other, and must be resisted to the hilt. “The explanation by the Minister of Aviation that

the face-off between the two countries is more about respecting the spirit and letter of the BASA between them, than any other consideration, gladdens our hearts, as it shows that Nigerians as well as the country’s corporate citizens can be sure that their government will stand up to defend their rights when necessary. “This is in consonance with what our party has always said: That the government must stoutly defend Nigerian citizens at home and abroad, to ensure that their dignity is not trampled upon anywhere. This is the only way our country and its citizens can stand tall in the comity of na-

tions.” The party urged the government not to relent in its ongoing efforts to ensure that Nigerian airlines flying into Britain are not shortchanged, and also use the opportunity presented by the development to carry out a holistic review of the agreements entered into with other countries, with a view to ensuring full respect for such pacts. It said at a time the Jonathan administration is committing many unforced errors due to poorly-conceived policies, the action of the aviation ministry represents what his government can achieve if it will only allow itself to be guided by the national interest.





Nigeria is a fertile land for investors and with the coming of the Saudi Arabian crown prince, we both have a lot to gain at the end of the day.. -Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman Dangote

Naira firms on CBN dollar sale speculation

Court restrains nationalised banks


FEDERAL High Court in Lagos has restrained the three recently formed banks -Mainstreet, Keystone and Enterprise - from further dealing in the assets, businesses and operations of the nationalised banks Afribank Plc, Bank PHB Plc and Springbsank Plc. The ex-parte order by Justice Charles Achibong, upon an application by some share holders of the banks, is to subsist pending the determination of the motion on notice in a suit filed by them. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it was not aware of the injunction served the three nationalised banks to halt their operations. But CBN’s spokeman, Mohammed Abdulahi, described the court order as

• CBN:we are not aware • Analyst: it’s absolute nonsense

AIRA erased declines against the dollar on speculation that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold U S currency directly into the market. The Nigeria currency strengthened as much as 0.7 per cent to N157.575 per dollar before trading less than 0.1 per cent up at N158.763 in Lagos, after losing as much as 0.7 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The apex bank “intervened” on the interbank market today (yesterday), Access Bank Plc’s treasury group wrote in an emailed note. Mohammed Abdullahi, a spokesman for the CBN, couldn’t immediately comment on the report of dollar-selling when contacted by phone yesterday. The banking watctdog is comfortable with the naira trading at between N154 and 158 against the dollar on the interbank market, CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The bank is taking a “wait-and-see” approach before it adjusts the official naira target, he said. The naira depreciated at a currency auction yesterday, after the CBN sold $250 million, less than $694 million demanded by lenders. The naira at N155 to N156 per dollar would be an “equilibrium” level, Sanusi said. Sanusi also commented “a couple of weeks ago that the official exchange rate may be lowered to N155 to 156 per dollar on the back of oil prices and substantial demand from importers,” BNP Paribas SA strategists, led by London-based Bartosz Pawlowski, wrote in an e-mailed note today. The amount the central bank sold at yesterday’s (Monday’s) auction was “significantly lower” than that demanded, he said.



-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -10.3% 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 $32.820b FOREX CFA EUR £ $ ¥ SDR RIYAL


0.2958 206.9 242.1 151.8 1.9179 238 40.472

“rumour”. “We heard the rumours, we have spoken to our lawyers, who said no process has been served in respect of the nationalised banks. So, the whole thing is a rumour as far as we are concerned,” he said. The shareholders, Boniface Okezie, Adeyemi Kehinde, Adebowale Bolanle and Cole Alexander in a motion ex-parte sought for an order restraining the three new banks, the CBN, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCN) from further dealing in the assets and businesses of the nationalised banks. The shareholders had

gone to the court to challenge the nationalisation of Afribank Plc, Bank PHB and Springbank on the ground that the action violates their rights to freedom from compulsory acquisition of property guaranteed under the constitution and the prohibition of nationalisation of enterprises contained at Section 25 of Nigeria Investment Promotion Council Act. Joined as respondents in the suit are; the three new banks, the CBN, NDIC, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Others are the Nigerian Stock Exchange (SEC), the nationalised banks and the Minister of Finance. In the suit, the shareholders argued that the revocation of the licences of the

nationalised banks by the CBNGovernor, Lamido Sanusi is prejudicial to their rights to invest in public quoted companies in accordance with the NIPC act and the Investment and Security Act (ISA). A frontline analyst, Bismark Rewane, has however, described the court injunction as ‘absolute nonsense’. He said it was an abuse of court process. “How can a court stop the operations of nationalised banks? “There is no justification for it. It neither makes any political, economic nor social sense. It is an unNigerian activity,” he said. Hearing in the substantive motion has been fixed for November 28.

• From left: Skye Shelter Fund Manager, Mr Patrick Ilodianya; Executive Director, Skye Bank, Mr Gbenga Ademulegun and Chairman, Skye Shelter Fund, Mr Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, at the fund’s Third Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: DAYO ADEWUNMI

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$115.3/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS

By Eric Ikhilae

Economy slows in third quarter


IGERIA’s economic growth slowed slightly in the third quarter of the year to 7.4 per cent year-on-year from 7.72 per cent in the previous quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said yesterday. Statistician-General of the Federation, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Yemi Kale, who disclosed that consumer inflation rose to 10.5 per cent in October from 10.3 per cent in the previous month. Briefing reporters in Abuja on the latest data on the economy, Kale said the biggest contributors to the rise in inflation were high prices of kerosene and diesel. He said the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a key indicator, which gauges the health of a country’s economy recorded a negative growth owing to decrease in oil production. “While the non-oil sector grew with major contributions to growth coming from agriculture, wholesale/re-

• October inflation rises From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

tail trade, telecommunications, manufacturing and finance/insurance sectors, the oil sector output, however, recorded a negative growth during the third quarter of 2011 arising from a decrease oil production,” he said. He, however, said that the 7.4 per cent growth in third quarter of the year was impressive even though it showed a 0.46 per cent decline from 7.86 per cent in the corresponding quarter in 2010. Kale said food prices, the largest contributor to the consumer index, rose 9.7 per cent year-on-year in October from 9.5 percent the previous month. He attributed the rise to increasing cost of yam, cooking oil and fish. He said the non-oil sector increased its contribution to GDP last quarter, rising 8.81 percent from a year earlier,

compared with 8.38 per cent growth in the corresponding quarter of 2010, “largely driven by improved ... agriculture, manufacturing, telecommunications, wholesale/retail trade, finance and insurance and other services sectors.” “With a total contribution of 85.73 per cent to total GDP, the non-oil sector continued to be a major driver of the Nigerian economy in the third quarter of 2011 when compared with the corresponding quarter in 2010,” Kale said. Nigeria plans to change the base year for its GDP in January to 2008 from 1990, a move that could lead to a “huge jump” in the estimated size of the country’s economy. Reuters noted that Ghana made a similar move to recalculate its GDP last November, its estimated output shot up by 60 percent, catapulting it into the ranks of the middle income countries. The Central Bank of Nigeria

(CBN), which will hold a ratesetting meeting next week, has said it will prefer consumer inflation to remain in single digits. Analysts expect the CBN to raise rates again next week. It has increased its benchmark interest rate six times already this year to help curb high inflation and support the naira currency, which plunged to its weakest ever against the US dollar in the interbank foreign exchange market last month. Finance Minister and Coordinator of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has promised to unveil the 2012 budget this month, which is expected to show an increase in overall spending, while plans to remove subsidies on petrol beginning next year are also expected to put upward pressure on inflation. Africa’s largest oil exporter produced an average of 2.36 million barrels per day of crude in the third quarter 2011, down from 2.49 million bpd in the same quarter of 2010, the NBS said.

Nigeria to add three oil cargoes in December


HREE extra tankers of Nigeria’s Bonny light crude oil stream are due to load in December, traders said yesterday, adding nearly three million barrels to the loading programme. The cargoes of 950,000 barrels each, according to Reuters News, are expected to load on December 8-9, 15-16 and 25-26, although traders said they are waiting for final confirmation of dates. The volumes amount to around 92,000 barrels per day and were allocated to Oando Plc, trading house Vitol and Sahara Oil, traders said. “These are injection cargoes. They were probably there all along, just not put in the original programme,” said a West African oil trader. The revisions to the December programme left planned Nigerian supplies at 1.99 million barrels per day (bpd) and the highest forecast level since September, Reuters data showed. The original loading programme forecast exports of 1.9 million bpd. Reuters, however, said monthly oil loading programmes are often subject to change since they are based on production forecasts. Bonny supplies have been variable in the past few months due to supply disruptions, prompting operator Royal Dutch Shell to declare force majeure in August. The extra supplies were offset by lower expected volumes of the other main Nigerian grade Qua Iboe. A tanker of the Qua Iboe grade has been dropped from the programme and at least one other cargo has been delayed, traders said on Monday. Operator Exxon Mobil declined to comment.

Qatar Airways gives discounts


ATAR Airways has launched a three-day global sale offering incredible savings on return fares to and from over 100 destinations worldwide. Passengers anywhere in the world, where Qatar Airways operates to, can avail themselves of the special fares. Economy Class prices are up to 25 per cent off the normal tariffs, while Business Class passengers are able to take advantage of up to 20 per cent off their ticket prices. Speaking on the three-day sale booking window, the airlines’ Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker, said: “Through this incredible worldwide offer, we are saying a big ‘thank you’ to our customers reflecting their loyalty towards flying with Qatar Airways. “We continue to strive for excellence in all we do, to ensure our customers receive the best service both in the air and on the ground.”




Fed Govt appoints new heads for PPPRA, DPR A MAJOR shake up was carried out yesterday at two key parastatals in the oil sectors as President Goodluck Jonathan announced a change of guards at the Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). The incumbent Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Mr Goody Chike Egbuji and Director of the DPR, Mr Andrew Obaje have been replaced by Mr Reginald Chika Stanley and Mr Osten Oluyemisi Olorunsola. No reason was given for

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

the change. But stakeholders say it might not be unconnected with the proposed fuel subsidy withdrawal. A press statement by the Media Adviser to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati , said the appointments are with immediate effect. “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has approved the appointment of Mr. Reginald Chika Stanley as the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). Mr Stanley, who is currently the Group General

Manager in charge of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s New Business Development Division is to replace the incumbent Executive Secretary, Mr. Goody Chike Egbuji. “President Jonathan has also approved the appointment of Mr. Osten Oluyemisi Olorunsola to replace Mr. Andrew Obaje as the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).Mr Olorunsola is currently the Vice-President (Gas) at Shell Upstream International. “Both appointees have many years of experience at senior managerial levels in

the petroleum industry. In his over 32 years in the industry, Mr Stanley has served as Marketing Manager, NLNG; Executive Director, Duke Oil Company, UK; Executive Director (Commercial), PPMC; Managing Director, PPMC; and Managing Director, Hyson Limited. He hails from Abia

State. “Mr Olorunsola, who has been in the industry for 31 years, has served as Strategic Business Adviser to the Minister of Petroleum Resources (2008-2009); Manager, Opportunity Delivery and Studies Centre, Shell; Reserves and Technology Manager (Africa), Shell

(E&P) International, Netherlands; Business Interface Manager (Russia), Shell Technology (E&P) International, Netherlands; and Petroleum Engineering Manager, Shell Nigeria. He is an indigene of Kogi State. “Both appointments take immediate effect,” the statement added.

Air Nigeria resumes flight


NGINEERS of Air Ni geria have called off their strike to pave way for the resumption of flights by the embattled carrier. This followed the intervention of the Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella-Oduah Ogiemwonyi and the Director-General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren. Air Nigeria’s operations were disrupted last Monday by its engineers at the instance of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers ( NAAPE), to protest sundry issues including the alleged sack of the head of the Maintenance Unit.

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

Addressing reporters yesterday, NAAPE National President, Isaac Balami, explained that issues raised before the strike have been resolved to enable the airline to resume flight. He said both the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the NCAA have raised a team to look into all the issues to ensure that safety is not impaired. The chief executive officer of Air Nigeria he said, will address workers on the way forward for the airline. In a statement signed by the spokesperson of Air Nigeria, Mr Sam Ogbogoro, explained : “Air Nigeria con-

firms the recommencement of flight operations this morning – November 15, 2011, following disruptions yesterday due to the strike of its engineers. The airline reaffirms that it operates in strict compliance with safety regulations and has at no time compromised on standards. ”We regret the inconveniences that the disruption caused our passengers and are working to ensure all impact of the disruptions from yesterday are seamlessly managed. ‘’We would also like to encourage our valued customers and the public to please make their flight bookings and proceed for their flights as usual. “

• From left: President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Otunba Femi Duru, Assistant Director, Marketing, Industrial And General Insurance (IGI) Plc, Mrs. Assumpta Udo; IGI’s Director, Risks Management Services, Mr Uwem Udonquak, and Chairman, LCCI Trade Promotion Board, Alhaji Remi Bello, during IGI’s Special Day at the just-concluded International Trade Fair in Lagos.

‘Insurers get Fed Govt’s N9b fund’


HE Federal Government’s N9billion group life insurance for its employees has been released, The Nation has learnt. The Commissioner for Insurance Mr Fola Daniel, who confirmed the development, said the underwriters have been paid. He explained that the delay in the release of the fund was due to administrative challenges. Daniel noted that the preparation of the group life fund was concluded around August, adding that there was no way the government would have paid when the

By Chuks Udo Okonta

process was not effectively concluded. He said: “The group life fund has been released and underwriters have been paid. The truth of the matter was that the group life of this year was not concluded on time. The Head of Service Department delayed it to August and if the government paid in late October or early November, that is two months after it was concluded.The government could not have paid before the conclusion of the process.There was administrative delay in

concluding the process.” Chairman Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mr Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi, said he was not aware if the fund has been released as he has been outside the country. He noted that the delay in the release of the fund has impactedinsurance operations negatively. “Well, I am not on top of that. I do not know if it has been released. I only heard that the money would soon be released. I cannot tell you specifically whether it has been released, but I know that it was about to be released, that is all I know about it.

Minister flays influx of touts at port


HE Minister of Trans port, Senator Idris Umar, has condemned the heavy human traffic at the Lagos seaport and urged the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to develop an appropriate traffic management strategy to stop the influx of touts into the ports. The Minister also frowned at the way terminal operators are handling empty containers at the port. He said an acceptable plan for handling empty containers and taking full account of the in-

By Oluwakemi Dauda

crease in the volume of cargo should be evolved to address the situation. Addressing reporters at the opening of the interministerial/agency retreat on the harmonisation of the Transport sector reform Bill in Ikoyi, Lagos, yesterday, Umar said he was appalled by the unc-ordinated human and vehicular traffic within and outside the vicinity of the Tin-Can Island port. He expressed displeasure that the port has been taken

over by those who have no visible business there and accused the illegal visitors of constituting an obstacle to the smooth flow of business activities at the port.Umar, therefore, directed NPA to evolve an effective way of controlling and managing the traffic in and around the port, and eliminate the current rowdy atmosphere which, he claimed is inimical to efficient port operation, stressing that NPA must stop those who have no visible business from entering the port.

Cash-strapped Greece sells off new mobile licences


REECE has com pleted its auctions for new mobile spectrum, with all three of the country’s mobile operators securing licences and generating 380.5 million euro for the cash-strapped government. The Greek regulator, The Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (Greek: Ethniki Epitropi Tilepikoinonion kai Tachydromeion or EETT), has awarded airwaves in the

By Adline Atili, with agency report

900MHz and 1800MHz bands to Cosmote, Vodafone and Wind under 15 year licences. Cosmote,the market leader, claimed to have been the highest bidder in both the 900MHz (2x2.5MHz) and 1800MHz bands (2x10 ÌÇz), investing 118.8 million euro in total. “The allocation of said

spectrum rights until the year 2027 is expected to promote the development of high-speed wireless broadband technologies, such as 4G and LTE, foster the growth of the market via the competitive provision of new services, and contribute to the bridging of the digital divide between urban and rural areas in Greece,” EETT Chairman, Leonidas Kanellos, told AFP.



ISSUES After five decades as a non-profit organisation under the control of some individuals and institutions, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is set to transform to a public-owned company. TAOFIK SALAKO reports on the far-reaching implications of the change.

Metamorphosis of the stock market T

HE Stock Exchange consists of the primary and secondary markets. The primary market is the new issue market where companies can raise capital; either initial or supplementary. The secondary market provides a platform for shareholders to trade their holdings, thus enhancing the attraction and liquidity of corporate shareholdings. In institutional representation, the NSE represents and symbolises the secondary market as a formal institution for trading and exchanging of securities.

In the beginning Established as the Lagos Stock Exchange (LSE) in 1960, it was conceptualised as a limited by guarantee not-for-profit organisation thriving on the goodwill, reputation and integrity of its members. The doyen of accounting, Mr Akintola William, is the only surviving initial signatory to the founding memorandum of the NSE. The membership list of the NSE has always included “the movers and shakers” of the economy. Besides stockbroking firms and other capital market operators that are dealing members, associates of the NSE include Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Alhaji Abdul Rasaq (SAN), Chief Ernest Shonekan, the late Chief Jerome Udoji, Chief Chris Ogunbanjo, Chief Bayo Kuku, Dr Lateef Adegbite, the late Dr Chris Abebe and Mr Gamaliel Onosode. Others are Mr Isaiah Balat, Alhaji Isyaku Umar, Mr Oba Otudeko, Otunba Adekunle Ojora, Mr Pascal Dozie, Mr Paul Ogwuma, Chief Phillip Asiodu, Rear Admiral Alison Madueke, Senator Udo Udoma and Senator David Dafinone, among others. Several state investment companies are also institutional members of the NSE, allowing the states input into the operations of the NSE. These include Adamawa Securities Limited, Kaduna Investment Company, Kano State Investment and Properties Limited, Katsina State Investment and Property Development Company Limited, Kwara State Investment Corporation, New Nigerian Development Company Limited, Niger State Development Company Limited, Sokoto Investment Company Limited and Yobe Investment Company Limited, among others. Altogether, the NSE has some 350 individual and institutional members including some 255 active dealing members. The NSE has operated for nearly five decades under a consensual rotational arrangement in which the presidency of the national council rotated across the regional economic influences. Members of the council were also appointed by sectoral groups including stockbrokers under the aegis of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS). NSE then operated to a fuller extent as a self regulatory organisation (SRO).

Regulatory intervention However, the protracted internal crisis that bedeviled the Ndi-Okereke Onyiuke-led management and the presidency of Alhaji Aliko Dangote led to the intervention of the SEC, which sacked the board and management and constituted an interim board and management in 2009. NSE has since remained under the direction of SEC, which oversees the appointment of council members and top management executives.

Changing the status quo But the NSE appeared firmly on the path of a radical change in ownership and other related structures with the renewed plan to demutualise the bourse. SEC recently inaugurated a technical committee on the demutualisation of the NSE. SEC Chairman Senator Udo Udoma, who inaugurated the technical committee headed by commercial lawye, Mr Asue Ighodalo. said the core mandate of the committee was to review and advise on the processes of demutualisation of the NSE in line with international best practices. The committee, which included the Dean of Lagos Business School, Enase Okonedo, and the Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema, was given three months to complete its terms of reference. Udoma said the committee would review the current structure and ownership of the Exchange; examine regulatory policies, management, operation, governance and financial issues in demutualisation of Exchanges. The committee would also review various demutualisation models and experience including valuation model for demutualisation while it is expected to recommend best demutualisation model for the Nigerian market as well as practical timeline for the completion of demutualisation of the Exchange. Demutualisation is the process of changing a memberowned stock exchange, otherwise known as mutual exchange, to a corporate entity owned by shareholders. In a

• William


‘Undoubtedly, the critical link to successful demutualisation of the NSE lies in the protection of the general public interest and fairness to private interests of existing members of the NSE, both of which fall within the cardinal roles and objectives of SEC. It’s only left for SEC to be dispassionate in the pursuit of these roles’ mutual exchange, the three functions of ownership, management and trading are concentrated into a single group. Here, the broker members of the Exchange are both the owners and the traders on the Exchange and they manage it as well. This can sometimes lead to conflict of interest in decision making. A demutualised Exchange, on the other hand, has all these three functions clearly segregated, i.e. the ownership, management and trading are in separate hands. Udoma said demutualisation would make the NSE globally competitive and operate in tandem with best practices. With increasing capital-intensive nature of stock exchange, many Exchanges feel that mutual-ownership does not provide the flexibility to adequately meet these new challenges. Hence demutualisation is seen as the panacea for their problems. However, implementing a demutualisation programme is not trivial. It represents a wholesale corporate cultural transformation - changing every dimension of an Exchange. Exchanges are seen as platforms for creating fair and efficient capital markets, with a duty to protect the public interest. In mature markets, Exchanges face competition and are typically not saddled with an exclusive public policy role. Accordingly, demutualisation programme has a greater probability of success and facilitates a truly global business.

Advantages of demutualisation There are obvious advantages to demutualisation. Demutua-lised entities have wider access to capital and can

have wider horizons compared with mutualised Exchanges. This gives the demutualised Exchange a competitive edge in winning business and a better position to embrace the technology evolution. The NSE has grappled with the challenge of maintaining cutting-edge technologies with its reliance on incomes from members and operators. The major weakness of a mutual exchange is its constitution. Mutual exchanges are ultimately geared to maintaining their members’ interests. The interests of the members are not necessarily the same as those of the Exchange; they are disparate. The separation of shareholders, management, and users in a demutualised exchange makes for better strategic decision-making, rather than protecting vested interests. Many Exchanges have converted from being mutual member-owned entities to limited liability companies. These include the Singapore Stock Exchange, Japan’s Nikkei and New York’s NASDAQ. The Australian Stock Exchange demutualised in October 1998. London Stock Exchange was demutualised in 2000. The process of demutualising all the broker-run Exchanges in India actually started with the Bombay Stock Exchange, which was demutualised in August 2005. Director-General of SEC, Arunma Oteh, said given the outcome of demutualisation around the globe, the Commission believed demutualisation was critical for the growth of the Nigerian capital market. According to her, as a regulatory body, SEC has interacted with more than 100 experts across the globe and the outcome was not only that demutualisation allows mar• Continued on page 14




Metamorphosis of the stock market • Continued from page 13

kets to grow, but it also addresses the issues of technology and governance among others. “We believe at the SEC that given the outcome around the world, demutualisation is very important for the growth of the Nigerian capital market,” Oteh said.

Downsides of share-based entity However, demutualisation also comes with certain challenges that may have lasting impact on the performance of the Exchange unless they were adequately addressed at the review and implementation stages. One of the most difficult aspects of demutualisation is the adoption of the correct corporate structure. Corporate structure is the first rung of the demutualisation ladder and will adversely affect all other stages unless the optimal solution is implemented. There are no blueprints or templates for this so it’s easy to get the wrong structure for the organisation. In considering the corporate structure, there are several thorny issues that need to be addressed including type of share structure to be put into place, allowable percentage shareholding per shareholder, mechanism for resolution of conflicts of interest between different interest groups, composition of the operating board structure - non executives, market practitioners, users, shareholders and the disposal of the residual power of the self-regulatory organisation (SRO) status of the Exchange. There are a whole range of issues that need to be analysed and considered: what is driven the demutualisation- a genuine desire for change or demystification of the all-powerful SRO? What infrastructure needs to be in place to achieve the desired results? What is the appropriate corporate governance structure for an Exchange? How does the demutualised entity provide for stakeholder value and profitability? Besides, there are also thorny issues regarding the regulatory roles of the NSE as an SRO. The potential issues that need to be addressed included the conflict resolution mechanism in case the Exchange finds itself in a commercial conflict with another company listed on its board and enforcement of disciplinary action especially where such enforcement would hurt the Exchange’s bottom line. Also, a shareholding structure spread across large number of shareholders without a major controlling shareholder may unduly delay decision making as vested interests jostle to carry the votes while a controlling core investor with larger-than-majority shareholding could return the NSE into a worse private ownership. Chief Executive Officer, Oxford Finance Group, Reben Lee said moving from mutual structure to a demutualised structure may harm the self regulatory structure, noting that as a self regulatory Exchange, there are different kinds of conflicts that can occur if an Exchange is moving from mutual to demutualised system. According to him, for a vertically integrated structure, the move from mutual to demutualised structure will be more problematic. Thus there is need to look at the cost benefit analysis of the movement. So the balance is for the demutualisation to provide a wide ownership without necessarily undermining the integrity of the NSE and the stock market.

What’s the driving motive for demutualisation? Some critics had described SEC’s active involvement in the demutualisation of NSE as meddlesome but the regulator has reiterated that its oversight and supervisory roles entail such crucial issue as the demutualisation of the NSE. Demutualisation of the NSE has been on the agenda of the Exchange for several years but it has been dogged by controversies on allegations of vested interests and undue interference. In the twilight of the Ndi OkerekeOnyiuke-led management of the NSE, the issue of demutualisation degenerated into a cat-and-mouse game between the NSE and SEC. While NSE had engaged consultant to fast-track the process of demutualisation, it

suddenly suspended the process after SEC indicated that it would oversee the conversion process. Even now, many are still concerned about the roles of SEC as the supervisor of the demutualisation. Several members of the NSE who spoke on condition of anonymity said the infraction in SRO status of the NSE, which has brought key appointments unto the board and management directly under the apex regulator, has significantly undermined the credibility and independence of the demutualisation process. They argued that SEC should first mediate and resolve the leadership crisis that disrupted the selection and administration model of the NSE as an SRO and thereafter leave the Exchange to determine the course of its demutualisation. Shareholders under the aegis of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) and Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) have said the involvement of SEC in the management and council of NSE has undermined the independence of the bourse. But several operators and market pundits have thrown their weights behind the ongoing effort to jumpstart the demutualisation process, noting that NSE is a strategic national asset, which ownership change must be well-guided in the overall national interest.

•Mrs Okonjo-Iweala


Finding the right model However, what may colour the entire demutualisation is the choice of the model to be used for the conversion of the NSE. One of the models under consideration is the Federal Government’s privatisation model. Under its privatisation programme, Federal Government pre-allots equity stake to each state of the federation alongside sale of certain percentage to core investors. Investors from each state will buy up to the limit of the pre-allotted shares while state government may choose to buy unsubscribed shares on behalf of their citizens. In the event of under-subscriptions within some allotments, these are subsequently spread over oversubscriptions from other allotments. This ensures that the shares of the privatised companies are spread across the country moderated by investment appetites of the people. Market sources said SEC may adopt a modified form of the privatisation model to encourage popular participation and avoid the allegations of hidden agenda and vested interests that have dogged the demutualisation process. Under this arrangement, institutional and individual members of the NSE who currently owned the self regulatory organisation (SRO) would be given opportunity to own up to a certain percentage of the proposed share capital while the larger equity stake would be sold to the general investing public with priority for small-stake investors and spread across the federation.

Case studies The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) of Kenya recently in consultation with the Demutualisation Steering Committee (DSC) for the Nairobi Stock Exchange recently came up a draft policy document to govern the demutualisation of the Nairobi Stock Exchange. The exposure of the regulations gave all stakeholders including members of the public an opportunity to provide their comments by August 30, 2011. Among the recommendations considered included the proposed authorised and paid-up share capital of the demutualised exchange with the number of shares to be issued. Stakeholders were also given opportunity to preview the names of members of the Exchange proposed to be the initial shareholders of the demutualised

•Ms Oteh

•Oba Otudeko

exchange and the number of shares to be allotted to each shareholder. According to the plan, post-demutualisation, the shareholding will see pre-demutualisation members get an 80 per cent stake while the Investor Compensation Fund receives a 10 per cent stake. The government, through the Treasury will receive a further 10 per cent of the bourse. Nairobi Stock Exchange has 20 members. Under the Indian government’s scheme for demutualisation of stock exchanges, the representation of stockbrokers on the governing board of each exchange was restricted to a maximum of one-quarter of the board’s strength, the remaining three-quarter of the directors being appointed in the manner specified by the capital market regulatory agency. Also, the aggregate shareholding of broker-shareholders (i.e. shareholders having trading rights as brokers) was limited to a maximum of 49 per cent of the Exchange’s equity capital while a minimum of 51 per cent of the equity capital would be held at all times by public other than broker-shareholders. Besides, no broker-shareholder is allowed to have more than five per cent voting rights.

existing members and the regulatory concerns of SEC is the only viable option to achieve a smooth demutualisation of the NSE. President, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) Alhaji Rasheed Yusuf, said the technical committee set up by SEC could only act in advisory capacity to the Commission within the purview of its supervisory roles rather than determining the design, model, timeline and other issues that are exclusive preserve of members of NSE. According to him, the committee can only advise SEC on what can be done to have a seamless transformation and anything outside that will be considered as illegal and unjustifiable. “Demutualisation is a very important and strategic process but regulators and operators must take a dispassionate view of it. Both really need to sit down together and look at the processes and agree on them. Whether mutual or demutualised, there is the possibility of conflict of interest between operators, regulators and other stakeholders,” Yusuf said. First president of the CIS, Mr. Gamaliel Onosode underscored the importance of dialogue and constructive engagement of all stakeholders in the process. He said demutualisation - whether good or bad - is not really the issue, but appropriate time should be given in defining the optimum moment and process for which it will be introduced in Nigeria. “There has to be a mechanism to make sure that public interest is protected,” Onosode noted. Undoubtedly, the critical link to successful demutualisation of the NSE lies in the protection of the general public interest and fairness to private interests of existing members of the NSE, both of which fall within the cardinal roles and objectives of SEC. It’s only left for SEC to be dispassionate in the pursuit of these roles.

Consensus as nexus for smooth conversion Most stakeholders agreed that an all-inclusive process that relates the interests of

‘Demutualisation is the process of changing a member-owned stock exchange, otherwise known as mutual exchange, to a corporate entity owned by shareholders. In a mutual exchange, the three functions of ownership, management and trading are concentrated into a single group










Cashless banking: Lagos to get 40,000 PoS in Dec. T O ensure a smooth take-off of the pilot scheme of cashless banking in Lagos in January 2012, the state will get 40,000 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals next month, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. The PoS will be installed by banks and other payment firms. According to a CBN statement, the adoption and implementation of electronic payment schemes will attract huge benefits to banks, customers and the economy. The PoS will be helpful in ensuring that more people have access to e-banking facilities. It said the policy would drop banks’cost of operations substantially, lead to cheaper loans for customers and engender a stronger economy. The apex bank also said a sustainable economic growth requires a wellfunctioning, efficient payment system. Such system will also engender stability of the domestic currency, financial markets and re-

Stories by Collins Nweze

duce high operational costs for institutions. The apex bank will be going forward, focusing on ways of strengthening institutional framework, and paying more attention to financial inclusion to see more people go into virtual accounts both in urban towns and rural areas. In terms of infrastructure, the CBN has appointed four manufacturers for the provision of Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals for the Nigerian market. PAX Technology, Bitel, Ingenico and Verifone. The four firms that made the list were selected after a thorough scrutiny by a committee comprising key stakeholders in the payments system value chain. It said the deployment of the PoS is

expected to create an enabling environment for the take-off of the new cash policy in Lagos State. It said unless the move by the apex bank to reduce the dominance of cash in the system is embraced, the cost of managing cash in the economy may exceed N192 billion by next year. CBN statistics showed that the cost of managing cash by the apex bank and commercials banks in the country stood at N114.5 billion as at 2009. He insisted that the cost of cash to the country’s financial system was high and increasing. “The target is getting the cost reduced by 30 per cent in three years; through enforcement of four-pronged initiatives, namely reduction in cash management cost, enhanced electronic payment system, Information Technology and centralised back-office system,” the statement added. •CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

Rise in forex demand likely


FRINVEST West Africa Limited has predicted a rise in forex demand and further depreciation of the naira in the coming weeks. Report from the research and investment firm said a total demand for the dollar at the official market last week stood at $515.3million, 32.8 per cent less than the $766.4 million demanded at both auctions in the previous week. The CBN offered a total of $380 million at both auctions last week. “We expect to see an increase in demand this week and also may see the naira depreciating this week, on the back of this increased demand,” the report said. Also, a recent Banking Sector Report released by the research firm, showed that banks are still undervalued when placed side by side with their peers in other emerging markets. It said when Nigerian banks are benchmarked against comparable entities in other devel-

oping markets, they are shown to run conservative balance sheets, have higher non performing loans and lower profitability. This, it said, was as a result of recent sweeping reforms and restructuring in the sector. The gap is also expected to narrow against the backdrop of a recovering economy and the attendant impact on earnings growth. Afrinvest maintained that rescued banks will collectively play a pivotal role in determining the outlook for the sector going forward. “For most of 2011, monetary policy has mainly been directed at managing liquidity and price levels in anticipation of inflationary strains resulting from public sector wage increases,” it said. The CBN has pursued tightening policies with the primary aim of curtailing aggregate demand levels, in light of huge projected fiscal injections and active contraction of credit growth.

•President, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Senator Omar Abubakar Hambagda (right) receiving an award from its Director-General, Dr Eddie Onwuchekwe, in Lagos.

‘Investment key to Africa’s growth’

NDIC recovers N22.158b from liquidated banks

ROWTH and development of African economies can only materialise with investment in infrastructure and business segments capable of creating jobs and boosting the productive sectors of their economies. Business leaders, who participated in the Vodafone African Business Leaders Forum, in Accra, Ghana, at the weekend, said although Africa is the next investment frontier, it has to be ready as opportunities in the continent become clearer to investors. Alec Erwin, chief executive officer, UBU Investment Holdings, South Africa, highlighted the need for African leaders to have a focused developmental strategy in order to attract investment. “It is important to have clarity of purpose. We need to attract resources


BOUT N22.158 billion of the N179 billion with the banks liquidated in 1994 has been recovered by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). NDIC Managing Director Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim said the debts were recovered between 1994 and August 2011. He said the corporation recovered N8.33 million from the shut microfinance banks (MfBs), adding that efforts were being made to recover more debts. He said the NDIC has appointed some Debt Collection Agents to enhance the pace of debts recovery and payment of uninsured deposits, adding that NDIC is taking discussions with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to facilitate the disposal of some secured debts of the rescued banks. He said: “As at July 2011, the cu-

By Akinola Ajibade

mulative insured deposits paid in the 35 banks in liquidation stood at N3.304 billion out of N5.25 billion, representing about 63 per cent. The cumulative liquidation dividend paid to the depositors and other claimants of the affected banks was N6.162 billion out of N16.85billion.” Ibrahim, said NDIC in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC), Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFFC) are working together to proffer solutions to the problems created by illegal fund managers and Wonder Banks. He said N106.94 billion was lost to the activities of illegal fund managers and Wonder Banks, adding that the situation has implication for

the financial industry. He said: “ The committee further observed that 36 companies accounted for N104 billion or 98 per cent, while NOSPECTO Oil and Gas Limited alone accounted for two per cent. With the efforts of the Committee, the Court, appointed a liquidator to wind up Sefteg Company of Nigeria Limited, one of the illegal fund managers. The Liquidator had realized about N500 million from the assets of the company and had commenced payment to verified investors of the company. He urged Nigerians to be wary of illegal banking operators, stressing that they come under different umbrella or names to innocent Nigerians to obtaining deposits from them. The NDIC boss observed that many of the illegal operators started as fund managers, and later transformed into deposit-taking organisations.

‘CRR increase stifles credit to the economy’


PERATORS have predicted a credit sleaze in the economy, as the implementation of the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) from four to eight per cent gets underway. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had increased CRR- the proportion of cash which banks are expected to keep in their vaults, alongside Monetary Policy Rate (MPR). The review, typical of the apex bank’s normal check on the economy’s barometer, has since been affecting certain sectors of the economy. The Executive Secretary, Association of Foods Beverages and Tobacco Companies, Mr Aderemi

By Akinola Ajibade

Adegboyega, said the increase in CRR has aggravated the condition of the real sector operators in the country. Adegboyega said the full weight of the adjustment of cash reserve requirement would soon be felt among many operators. He said the increase in CRR signifies more problems for the real sector, arguing that the issue is going to have ripple effects on all aspects of the economy. He said: “The banks’ liquidity position is going to be worsened by the increase in cash reserve requirement. Now that CRR has been

moved up, it means banks would keep more and give out little cash to the investors. When this happens, the manufacturers would be starved of funds and would not be able to produce optimally. Already, the lending rates to the real sector operators stand between 23 and 26 per cent. Some banks charge higher, after factoring other costs into it. There is an indication that banks would move up the lending rates, since they would be contending with small cash. The issue would aggravate the situation of real sector operators. They would suffer low capacity utilisation, down size, and increase the cost of goods”.


in order to develop infrastructure in Africa, and we will only be able to do this through establishing public private partnerships,” Erwin said. He emphasised that only by stabilising the economy, legal system and capital markets, can African countries gain the foreign investment that they require. “It can’t be done by proceeding with ‘business as usual,’” he added. “It means changing the way we govern in Africa.” Dr. Iraj Abedian, Chief Executive Officer, Pan-African Capital Holdings, South Africa, agreed. “If we don’t actively engage and take the appropriate action, we will miss out on investment opportunities in Africa. We need to graduate from being subject, to being citizen. A responsible citizen is an engaged citizen,” Abedian said.

ISO 27001: Fidelity, FirstBank, Bank of Ghana made list


IDELITY Bank Plc has become the third financial institution in Sub-Sahara Africa to get IS0 27001: 2005 registration certificate. FirstBank of Nigeria Plc and Bank of Ghana were the only two banks that have the certification in the sub region. ISO 27001: 2005 certification is issued to organisations that have the highest standards of information security.It serves as a guarantee that relevant laws and regulations are met by the bank in every transaction. Also, the certification puts the final seal of credibility, trust, and efficiency in the bank’s services, and ensures that the bank played at topmost level of international business where integrity is the key asset. Speaking during the presenta-

tion in Lagos, Fidelity Bank’s Managing Director, Mr Reginald Ihejiahi, said the certification would help the bank to provide more quality services to its customers. He said the data and other related information belonging to the customers are now more secured and protected. Ijejiahi said the bank’s customers are in for better and improved services as the bank becomes the third financial institutions to be certified in West Africa sub region after Bank of Ghana and the FirstBank of Nigeria Plc. He said the journey to certification startsed in 2009 when the Board of the bank decided to consolidate on the successes and progress recorded in the nation’s banking sector.





Achebe’s point •The literary light exposed the cheapness of our National Honours


ROFESSOR Chinua Achebe, renowned literary icon, did the appropriate thing by rejecting the National Honour offered him by the Federal Government. It was the second time in seven years that he would be turning down the offer. Seven years ago, the Obasanjo presidency awarded him the title of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). He rejected it again this time because the conditions under which he rejected the award in 2004 still exist. So, “it is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again.” Achebe’s consistency in this matter is soul-lifting; his principled stance unassailable. We commend it to all patriotic Nigerians. At his age, he had an idea of what dreams they had of Nigeria at independence and there is no doubt that what exists in the country today is a far cry from that aspiration. It is sad that a country with such high hopes in the 1960s has suddenly given way to despondency and a state of anomie in which anything goes. We recall, rather sadly, that Anambra, the home state of this great Nigerian, was in the firm grips of malcontents and

‘The fact however is that the federal government has cheapened the awards with a long list of undistinguished Nigerians, some of them failed ministers, decrepit social figure and others of questionable integrity’

lawbreakers who behaved as if they were a law unto themselves in 2004 when the Obasanjo government gave Achebe the award. In spite of all the atrocities they committed, the Presidency did nothing. How could anyone with conscience accept an award from a government that condoned such illegalities? Nigeria is no less dangerous today; therefore silence cannot be golden. Perhaps now is the time, more than ever before, for patriots to speak up about the parlous state of affairs. The country is still contending with the Boko Haram Islamic sect that has made life unbearable in parts of the country, with the government seemingly clueless on how to rein in its members. Electricity supply is still epileptic, the roads are generally bad, schools are in a state of disrepair and hospitals remain mere consulting clinics. To worsen matters, Nigeria, a major producer of crude oil, has been importing petrol for years while its refineries produce at far below capacities. So, how do we give awards to represent various sectors of our lives when the same sectors are down the drains? Who are the heroes of electricity, education, infrastructure, culture, health, all of which suffer extreme afflictions? The awards contradict a society of sores. What did the awardees do to lift our lives if the society is going down by the day? For a man like Achebe, it would have been inconceivable that the country could ever have sunk this low. Of course, he had taken a few awards in the past. These included the Nigerian National Trophy for Literature, the first of its kind that he got in 1961; the Nigerian National Order of Merit and the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) both in 1979. Twenty years later, he bagged National Creativity Award. The country was not the El-Dorado that was expected when he got these awards,

but there was still hope that someday, leaders committed to the national cause would emerge to crystallise the dream. Today, that hope has evaporated. Unfortunately, the leaders do not seem to get this message. If they did, President Goodluck Jonathan would not have been shocked that Achebe rejected the honour despite what he (Jonathan) has done, whatever that meant. Nigeria’s list of honourable men is depleting fast. That is why all manner of people are now getting national awards which have become so cheap that even government could not keep track of the exact number of people to be honoured. Hence, we had shortage of medals at the ceremony on Monday, the second such national embarrassment within one year. We had a similar experience during the celebration of the country’s 50th independence anniversary in October last year when medals could not go round the 50 people that government honoured. But it should not be a surprise if the same people who could not make medals for only 355 people are honoured next year, given the depth to which public service had sunk in the country! No doubt some of the awardees deserve the honour. The fact however is that the Federal Government has cheapened the awards with a long list of undistinguished Nigerians, some of them failed ministers, decrepit social figure and others of questionable integrity. It is not compulsory that the awards must be given every year. We should look ourselves in the face in moments of truth and tell one another that no awards would be given in a particular period because we are not making progress as a nation. And where the government wants to distract us by organising the ceremony, true patriots should be bold enough to do what Prof Achebe has done. May be the government would understand that language.

Unaudited accounts • MDGs’ lack of accountability casts a stain on an otherwise noble institution


ENATE President David Mark’s call for the sack of the heads of Millennium Development Agencies that have never submitted their annual audited account to the National Assembly as required by law is commendable but it is also an indictment of the Senate that he leads. This is even more evident when he boasted that he has been in the Senate for long, and cannot remember the Senate ever receiving any account from the auditorgeneral, as well. What he did not say however was that he had been the President of the upper chamber for nearly five years and had all the while condoned such flagrant breach of the law. It is also rather unfortunate that Senator Mark’s awakening to this constitutional responsibility arose from a reminder by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmad Lawan of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). According to the senator from Yobe State, out of the 494 federal agencies required to submit an annual account to the Senate, only 70 of them are up to date in accordance with the law. So, while about 315 are in various degrees of arrears, 107 of such agencies have never submitted an account. Clearly, those agencies concerned have breached the law and should be sanctioned, but the Senate leadership also deserves as much condemnation for condoning the illegality. After all Senator

Mark also openly confirmed that the nonsubmission of account is a national malaise involving even the auditorgeneral and he has been around in the chambers, indeed since 1999, long enough to know. Thankfully, the public accounts committee is headed by a senator from the ANPP different from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has dominated the Senate since the inception of our current democracy. So, while praising Senator Lawan for alerting the nation to this absurdity, he must summon the courage to insist that those agencies be sanctioned and forced to do the right thing. The presidency must also share in the blame for this hypocrisy. When as many as 315 or more, out of 494 agencies of the government are disregarding the provisions of the law on something as fundamental as the audit of their accounts, on what basis, we may ask, does the presidency base its socalled transformation agenda? Would a government that has shown scant regard for due process blame any citizen who believes that it is still business as usual, with mere empty slogans to give the impression that something is going on? It would also be helpful to publish the names of the agencies concerned that have contravened the laws for this long, so that Nigerians would know them. Such measure would help the public understand those who have contributed to the glaring failure on the part of the country to achieve the Millennium

Development Goals. It may also be helpful to haul the heads of those agencies to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to answer charges that will border on economic sabotage. While pushing for the Senate to shed off its lethargy, the office of the AuditorGeneral of the Federation should immediately send in auditors to the concerned agencies. The Federal Government must realise that when Nigeria is rated high on the corruption index, the solution does not lie in occasional public grandstanding; rather, it lies on hands-on enforcement of due process in all facets of governance.

‘So, while praising Senator Lawan for alerting the nation to this absurdity, he must summon the courage to insist that those agencies be sanctioned and forced to do the right thing. The presidency must also share in the blame for this hypocrisy. When as many as 315 or more, out of 494 agencies of the government are disregarding the provisions of the law on something as fundamental as the audit of their accounts, on what basis, we may ask, does the presidency base its so- called transformation agenda?‘

They Like transparency, until they don’t


HE New York City public advocate, Bill de Blasio, has started an investigation into why the city fails so miserably to release even the most routine data requested under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. Mr. de Blasio cited a request his office made last November for documentation on delays in school bus service. He is still waiting for the documents, but he recently got one of many “lovely letters” that explain how the Department of Education is still working on his request. He is not alone in his experience or his frustration. City agencies “over time have optimized their ability to game the system or not comply at all,” says John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, a group that promotes transparency in government. Too often news organizations, advocacy groups and others have had to turn to the courts to pry public information from the city. In recent years, the New York Civil Liberties Union had to sue to get stopand-frisk data from the police, details on the race of people shot by officers and shooting reports since 1997. Most recently, the group has filed a suit on behalf of an online columnist asking for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s calendar. The department has argued that the commissioner’s whereabouts are secret for security reasons. Civil liberties lawyers note that the president’s schedule appears daily on the White House Web site, so why not Mr. Kelly’s? Similarly, The Times was forced to go to court to get fuller access to police data. A judge ruled early last month that the New York Police Department had improperly withheld information about pistol owners and the locations of hate crimes. Such effort and expense to get public information is simply wrong. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has vowed to promote more open government, should tell his administrators to comply with the Freedom of Information Law quickly and thoroughly. – New York Times

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye

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IR: The spate of paid media advertorials by the National Universities Commission, (NUC ), on the accreditation of Law programmes of the Lead City University, (LCU), Ibadan, in Oyo State is raising questions about the motivations behind such expensive campaign. Indeed, many are asking about what is so special about the tirade which justifies the level of publicity accorded the whole issue. What is further worrisome is the fact that the veracity of most of the information given by the NUC appear questionable when weighed in the light of the commission’s own documents displayed in LCU ‘s counter claims. Should the commission not have done its homework properly before going to press to ensure there are no discrepancies in the information being placed in the public domain? For instance, in the first set of advertorials from the NUC at the beginning of the year, it claimed that LCU never applied to it for accreditation of its Law programme. However, the university proved that it not only applied but that both approval and accreditation were granted since 2008. Then in August this year, a Federal High Court in Ibadan, presided over by Justice J.E. Shakarho, on the basis of evidence before him upheld the legality of the Law programme of the Lead City University, admonishing the NUC to release the university’s 2008 accreditation report. In the judgment which came in suit number FHC/B/CS/ 50/2009, instituted by a First Class graduate of Law of the Lead City University, Rev. Segun Alli, the judge described the NUC’s action in declaring the law programme illegal, as unlawful. Instead of the commission to abide by the verdict, it resorted to wasting tax payers’ money on series of irrelevant publications disparaging the judgement- an action that propelled the court to charge the commission’s executive secretary, Prof.Julius Okojie for contempt. Meanwhile the vendetta is being pursued agaist the university with a renewed vigour in another series of


NUC versus Lead University: persecution or prosecution? advertorials confusing the public further by splitting courses in such a way that those taking out of their mother disciplines which had been duly approved before now are been declared as new courses in an apparent show of constructive malice. Even new programmes usually needs to be advertised to gauge public interest or otherwise in such before expending resources to mount them. From all indications, it seems the bad blood created by the face-off between the NUC and LCU has assumed the level of persecution, as against the supposed desire of the

former to ensure the latter followed due process. Now, one cannot deny the fact that NUC established in 1962 as an advisory agency in the Cabinet Office, and in 1974, it became a statutory body has in its over 47 years of existence, transformed from a small office in the cabinet office to an important arm of government in the area of development and management of university education in Nigeria. In line with its statutory duties, it has been granting approval for all academic programmes run in Nigerian universities, ensuring quality assurance of all academic

programmes offered and has the duties of channeling external support to the Nigerian universities. These are herculean tasks especially going by the current sorry rating of the nation’s public universities. The Commission’s eight Departments – that of Academic Standards, Department of Inspection and Monitoring, Management Support Services, Students Support Services, Research and Innovations, Information and Communications Technology and Finance have recorded a lot of successes right from the days of its first executive

secretary, Professor Jubril Aminu. For instance, it has closed down many illegal universities with terrible academic profile and unqualified lecturers. But this cannot be said of LCU whose list of academic and nonacademic staff and lecture halls will baffle any unbiased assessor. And the fact that it has complied with due process as confirmed by the erudite judge makes the current war of words especially at this period when universities are taking on students for admission very absurd, in bad taste and smacks of vendetta. Prof. Okojie s refusal to obey court orders and continual waste of resources over the issue, and glaring passivity of both the Education Minister and President Goodluck Jonathan, who claims to be very committed to the rule of law is also a cause for concern. • Toba Ijadola, Ibadan, Oyo State

Is citizen diplomacy dead?


IR: Tales of tears, terror, torments and trauma is the apt description of the experiences undergone by hundreds of stranded Nigerians who fled Libya at the heat of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion to escape targeted assassination by the rebels of the National Transitional Council of Libya. In voices dripping with emotion, the Nigerian returnees who reportedly spent two months in the notorious deserts from Libya to Nigeria arrived in late October through Borno State with sad stories of the series of gang rape, armed robbery, and physical torture that majority of them suffered in the hands of the xenophobic Libyan rebels. One of the returnees, a student of Civil Engineering at the Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Edo state who reportedly abandoned his Higher National Diploma program midway in search of the proverbial greener pastures in Libya early last year, told the media that many Nigerians and blacks in Libya were principal targets of the rebels because they believed that the now

murdered dictator Colonel Muamar Gaddafi recruited blacks to fight his compatriots who wanted his 42 year tyranny ended. Amid these genuine complaints from stranded Nigerians and other black Africans that they are undergoing tumultuous xenophobic attacks from the rebels who have taken over political power, the Nigerian government has failed to galvanize the Africa Union to convoke emergency session to brainstorm on measures to be adopted to ensure that the growing racism in Libya and the targeted extinction of all blacks in that country is brought to an effective end. The question that begs for an immediate response is why the Nigerian government has up until this moment failed to concretely take action to protect the fundamental rights of her citizens who were unfortunately caught up in the civil conflicts in Libya and are currently subjected to horrendous regime of targeted abuses, humiliations, physical attacks and extra-legal execution in

the hands of the new big boys in Libya. Nigeria ought to have initiated transparent probe of these groundswell of allegations of human rights violations in Libya through its embassy in Tripoli even as the nation ought to have current and reliable data of the Nigerians that live outside our shores and their legal status in such foreign countries. The concept of ‘citizen diplomacy’ was couched by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s civilian administration from section 19 of the Nigerian constitution which clearly spells out Nigeria’s foreign policy objective as the promotion and protection of the national interest. What then is more of our national interest than ensuring that Nigerians in all parts of the world are treated with dignity and offered the universal plat form for the promotion, protection and safeguarding of their fundamental human rights as human beings and members of the civilized global village?

Nigeria has become so unfriendly and economically inclement to her younger citizens that hundreds of thousands of young Nigerian girls are sold into modern day prostitution rings in Italy and other Western European countries whereby they are subjected to all manner of human rights violations. What has happened to the doctrine of citizen diplomacy introduced by the immediate past People Democratic Party’s administration so much so that Nigeria is still ranked as one of the worst nations to live in? Only recently, the National Assembly discovered that several billions of tax payers fund running to over N400 billion, grew wings and disappeared in the last one year in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC]. With these type of monumental frauds not tackled radically, how can the doctrine of ‘citizen diplomacy’ work? • Emmanuel Onwubiko Abuja




Fuel ‘substitution’ not subsidy; Power ‘subsidy’: 100,000 not 4,000Mw Pls!


HE ‘Nigerian Association for Change’, sounding ominously like the ‘Association to Better Nigeria’, has enough money to take paid Tony adverts costing millions Marinho on NTA to tell Nigeria that ‘few’ benefit from ‘fuel subsidy’ which is not a subsidy but a ‘substitution’ for systemic policy failure. Let every foreign ‘economic’ advisor with this wrong view ask his driver, cook, security, nanny, barber and vendor if ‘removal’ will affect them ‘economically’. All Nigerians are ‘economists’ reporting how increasing the current price will affect them. About 50 million Nigerian workers use fuel for work travel, 100 million visit markets daily for food and five million market women travel for work and 10 million landlords use fuel at home and will increase rent of their tenants. School fees, pocket money and food allowance to 60 million ‘Mrs’ will increase. Result more poverty! The solution: government admit is mistake! Activate refineries; promise NNPC petroleum deliveries to all ‘new’ refineries; cut out the ‘broad loop’ of our fuel production. Refineries should be our new ‘Job creation secret weapon! Then the ‘few’ will not benefit. It was the Nigerian state that made a ‘few’ billionaires instead of dividing the megacontracts among more Nigerians. Government is guilty for this fuel debacle. Make refineries work, get new refineries, guarantee them oil. In 2011, with power as the key to daily life and death and economic survival as a nation, we are told that Nigeria has installed capacity of 8,000 Mw but just 4,000Mw available. South Africa, under apartheid, had 45,000Mw. We are a laughing stock. We want to ‘increase the price of fuel’ to cover our nakedness of not having functioning refineries! Now we want to raise the electricity tariff but no one is apologising to Nigerians. Those who misused our money were frauds, nothing less. In fact they should be tried for anti-Nigerian activities while in the offices they seized at gunpoint –

supposedly to lead us –into darkness, abi? At least let them apologise to us as a precautionary tale for future coup plotters. But we have been democratic since 1999 and have four percent of the total power we need currently -100,000Mw. So who is the fool? We are told that PHCN is introducing a new tariff structure to encourage foreign investment in power delivery but there will be ‘subsidy’ for the poor. That word again? When the ministry is allocating this electricity subsidy, let the decision be taken at a public meeting with no magomago. It is well known that certain parts of Nigeria pay most of the national PHCN bill regardless of supply. Many companies are forced to pay PHCN large fixed sums monthly though they are unmetered. Meanwhile there are poor people in every city of every state and not just the north –where the ‘subsidy’ has existed for 40 years. Working hard and having a good job is not a reason to be targeted by PHCN with extra bills. The National Assembly (NASS) committees overseeing PHCN should examine the practice of this ‘subsidy for the poor’. It is open to abuse. The information on this ‘poor tariff’ should be published by PHCN and not kept as a secret. The NASS committees on PHCN must ensure that the ‘poor tariff’ is applied uniformly on both sides of the River Niger. Remember that every hamlet and town also has the poor. There are poor in Lagos, Ikoyi and Abuja and Port Harcourt. Every rich street also has the poor and every poor street houses some rich people. How will the PHCN offer this ‘poor’ tariff nationwide? It is well known that there were many untouchables, individuals, cities and groups who did not pay adequate PHCN bills and they are not poor. Do they pay now? Will they pay in future? And by the way, as with the fuel ‘subsidy’ mistake, the minister is getting the tariff subsidy wrong. The minister and the NASS oversight committees must know that PHCN is haemorrhaging perhaps 30-50%, many billions, of its recoverable revenue due to illegal connection by its own staff who collect ‘rent’ going into their own pockets instead of remitting the funds to PHCN coffers. There are millions of these ‘Ghost PHCN customers’. If there were proper PHCN revenue drives aimed at the

‘connected but not paying’, ghost PHCN customers, PHCN would be awash with legitimate extra billions. PHCN would then not need to cheat its customers by deceptively introducing extra charges like rent and ‘maintenance charges’ for the prepaid meters. How much is a meter that in four years we pay N48,000 = £180 just to ‘maintain’ it when there is no maintenance performed or needed? Is this not criminal deception – can we sue? Please Google ‘electricity meters’ for the cost of your meter. Is there a 3-4 tier system of PHCN charges which is largely secret? The PHCN tariff formula should be publicised. There should be a ‘Power Arbitrator’ especially for company customers who are allegedly often ‘screwed’ by PHCN. PHCN misuses the term subsidy just as the NNPC does. Before new tariffs, PHCN needs a nationwide audit of all illegal connections and to gather the funds leaking from those illegal connections and issue monthly bills. Nigeria has no freezing temperatures and snow yet but they could come with the environmental changes world wide –global warming is a global warning. Therefore PHCN should give Nigeria not 10,000Mw but 100,000 Mw ASAP. Enough of being the laughing stock of Africa, power-wise.

‘If there were proper PHCN revenue drives aimed at the ‘connected but not paying’, ghost PHCN customers, PHCN would be awash with legitimate extra billions. PHCN would then not need to cheat its customers by deceptively introducing extra charges like rent and ‘maintenance charges’ for the prepaid meters’

Honouring deserving Nigerians


NE person was ‘missing’, as it were, from the recipients of the National Honour awards on Monday in Abuja. That person was Femi Gbajabiamila, a member of the House of Representatives representing Lagos State on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. He had politely turned down the award. To some, it may seem that a thread of politics runs through the whole issue. I do not think so. The man simply exhibited an uncommon spirit of patriotism. Gbajabiamila had rejected the ‘offer’ on the ground that he had sponsored a bill against the indiscriminate award of honours to undeserving Nigerians in the past, and that, though the bill did not sail through, he intended to reintroduce it in the nearest future. He also alluded to the fact that, in his own estimation, he had not done enough for the country to merit such an award at this time. Good point. Good reason. The question is: how many Nigerians will see things from Gbajabiamila’s perspective? We tend to celebrate criminality in this country. We have seen some people who got these national awards in the past only to appear in handcuffs the following day. Just look around. There is no use mentioning names. For me, Gbajababiamila deserves commendation. That is the stuff a highly principled man is made of. If he did not take the award for the reasons he gave, we still need to honour him in our minds. That is what Nigerians should emulate. However, the National Think-Tank

was on song last Monday as two of its leaders were recognised by the federal government. One of them is Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, one-time Minister of External Affairs, easily one of Nigeria’s finest academic. Vibrant, vivacious and cerebral, Akinyemi is a study in discipline, decorum and decency. His carriage befits the ever-engaging diplomat that he is. Professor Akinyemi is an incurable optimist who is very passionate about his convictions. He comes round as one of the radical political scientists of our time whose intellectual proboscis penetrate deep whenever they are let loose. Remember his “concert of medium powers” and the Technical Aids Corps, which were both designed to toughen the African continent against the imperialism of the West. Though the Technical Aids Corps is one of the signets of his achievements as Foreign Minister, his postulations on the concert of medium powers is an idea which Africa and other smaller nations might revisit if they must liberate themselves from the feeding spoons of the imperialists who are fast becoming more desperate these days. In the last six years, I have had the privilege to interact intimately with Akinyemi as chairman of the National Think-Tank, a policy advocacy group, and I have found him to be a democrat who believes that only the freedom of expression can guarantee development in the country. This, according to him, includes freedom to choose our leaders, to criticise them when they err, and engage

‘Like Gbajabiamila, we must learn to reward only excellence in Nigeria and not accord undue recognition to fraudsters, armed robbers and cheats whose diabolical efforts have brought down the country to its present kneels’

them in constructive and robust debates at all times. These are the pillars on which the National ThinkTank is built and has been nurtured these past six years. Akinyemi has been involved in different diplomatic conferences across the world. He is to proceed to the Gambia as Head of the Commonwealth Monitoring Group to oversee the elections in the country later this week. And he has not made any noise about it. As preparations for his 70th birthday celebration on January 4, 2012 enter the top gear, no other bouquet can be more appropriate for this giant son of Africa than this award as Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR. As for Professor Steve Azaiki, the irrepressible campaigner for justice for the Niger Deltans, his award as Officer of the Order of the Niger, OON, may not be adequate for a man of his prodigious stature. Those who have come across him know that his strength of character lies in his humility. Azaiki is one man at peace with himself and, by extension, everyone around him. His wealth of experience and intellectual capacity are enough to dazzle Aristotle. In the National Think-Tank, which we both founded, he has deployed his meagre resources and robust intellect to lead the organisation as its National Coordinator. The story of Azaiki’s national honour is something to be shared. Steve, as he is widely known, is the quintessential statesman, an epitome of love who has traversed the globe. He was out of the country when I got a call from Ibrahim Shagari, who said he had been trying to reach him. When he (Steve) returned from Canada where he attended the World Environmental Conference, I told him to get in touch with Ibrahim. Two days later, he called me to say he had called Ibrahim and was told that former President Shehu Shagari got a letter asking him to nominate a Nigerian for national honour.

Shagari believes that, like Saro Wiwa and others, Steve has contributed much to peace in the Niger Delta. Besides, the elder Shagari believes the formation of the National ThinkTank, his previous contribution to sustainable development in Africa as well as his intellect, academic contribution and administrative prowess deserve recognition. Shagari’s confidence and recognition of Steve reminds me of what Ibrahim Babangida told Michael Zuokmor, the then Commissioner of Police (CP) of Niger State, now CP Federal Capital Territory, that he had great respect for Prof Azaiki and believed Steve was one of Niger Delta’s most distinguished sons. Babangida repeated this when a delegation of the South-South, including Godsday Orubebe, the current minister of the Niger Delta, visited him to discuss Jonathan’s candidacy for President. Steve had told me that though Babangida had reached out to him, unfortunately, his professional engagement never made it possible for them to meet. Unlike Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon, Ernest Shonekan, Shagari and Abdulsalami Abubakar, Steve said he had never met Babangida one on one. In 2004 when Steve launched his book, Inequities in Nigerian Politics, former President Obasanjo, who was the Special Guest of Honour, said: “I have decided to honour this invitation because of Steve’s civilized approach to issues and his contribution to peace in the Niger Delta region.” What other tribute can we give to a man so much admired, so much respected in a country where role models are in short supply? Having said all these, this year’s national honours awards are unique in certain ways. A rundown of the list shows that the President went back 30 years to honour deserving Nigerians. People like Ibrahim Alfa, the late one-time Chief of Air Staff and Victoria Gowon. Victoria is one

Dele Agekameh person who carries herself with grace, poise and humility. She was completely at the background during the nine years her husband called the shots, a direct opposite of the flamboyance and extravagance that now pervade the office of first lady in Nigeria. Another good side is the decoration of Aliko Dangote with the award of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON. Nobody can deny the fact that in the last few years, Dangote has been building industries in Nigeria and across the African continent. Through this, he has been creating massive employment. Whatever the rumoured source of his wealth, he has touched humanity. After all, those who embezzled billions of naira in Nigeria, where did they plough their loot? We must accord this young generation of billionaires some modicum of recognition, not for making the money, but the use for which the money is put. Like Gbajabiamila, we must learn to reward only excellence in Nigeria and not accord undue recognition to fraudsters, armed robbers and cheats whose diabolical efforts have brought down the country to its present kneels. Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)




‘Be inspired to greater sacrifice’ Text by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s speech at the 2010/ 2011 National Honours Award and Investiture Ceremony at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Monday


T gives me great pleasure to address you today on this auspicious occasion of the Investiture Ceremony of the 2010 and 2011 National Honours Award to citizens and residents of this country who have distinguished themselves in various capacities. Today is particularly significant because we are gathered here to publicly acknowledge and reward the efforts of those who have contributed to the development of our nation. The significance of an occasion like this goes beyond the ceremony itself. It reminds us that our country can only make progress on a sustainable basis, through individual and collective efforts. We are a nation with a proud and rich heritage that dates back into antiquity: a nation of great warriors, poets, traditional artists, great musicians, scientists who have distinguished themselves on the world stage, brave athletes, and persons in all stations of life with memorable achievements. And just as persons distinguished themselves in the past, Nigerians of today continue to do so in all walks of life, in manners that are at once memorable and impressive. A ceremony such as this recreates that great value and offers us a platform for celebration and reflection. It is this that continues to give us hope, that whatever may be our differences or the difficulties on our path, we can remain confident that we are a nation of many blessings. We must work harder not to forsake this special feature of our collective being. We must make a determined effort to pull our individual efforts together to build a virile, economically viable and politically stable country. Our nation will always need men and women of good character and courage, in our collective march towards national transformation. Nation building requires the sacrifice of all citizens, both the governed and their leaders. It is this awareness that informed our decision to offer ourselves for service for the purpose of creating a new Nigeria where good governance, respect for the rule of law, due process, transparency and accountability in the management of public resources are accorded topmost priority. You will recall that on the day of the inauguration of this Administration, we made a pronouncement on our resolve to move this country forward through the Transformation Agenda. The thrust of the Agenda is to evolve a strong and virile nation through employment generation, poverty reduction, value re-orientation and the rebuilding of confidence. We have followed up with concrete measures, and the train of national progress, I want to assure you, has since embarked on a steady journey. I want to seize this opportunity once again to call on all Nigerians to join the Transformation Train for a better Nigeria.

12. For our nation to make progress, we need nation builders at all levels, not nation destroyers, not persons who by their words and deeds, sabotage the collective interest of all. 13. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, in the quest for a better society, we may have to take decisions which would at inception be unpleasant in some cases, but we must face the reality, be honest with ourselves and ensure that we do our best for our country at all times. I wish to emphasise that one salient characteristic of democracy is that it is participatory. It is in the light of this fact that I call on the distinguished recipients and indeed all Nigerians to see themselves as stakeholders by joining hands with us and fully participate in re-evaluating, re-designing and re-formulating the country’s development programmes. With the steadfast support and productive partnership of the good people of our dear country, I am confident that we are well on our way towards actualising our set objectives of tapping our limitless potentials for national growth and development. I am informed that since the inception of the Award Scheme in 1963, a total of 3,924 persons have received National Honours. Even though the award is the prerogative of the President, the recipients are usually chosen on the advice of a National Honours Committee, guided by a set of criteria, which emphasises contribution to national development, individual distinction and merit. HE National Honours Award is an expression of a national need to con tinue to iconise people, and identify symbols of public life. I am pleased to note that in this year’s list of awardees are persons who have truly distinguished themselves: artists, public servants, businessmen and women, scholars and researchers. 18. I congratulate all the awardees who have today joined the family of National Honour Recipients and urge each and every one of you to view this national recognition as a motivation to rededicate yourselves to continue with your good services to the nation and humanity in general. Let me also use this opportunity to appreciate our non-Nigerian recipients for your belief in us as a nation and a people. You can be assured that we will continue to provide the requisite enabling environment to allow you undertake your legitimate business anywhere in the country. 20. I assure all recipients that your selfless service has been particularly recognised by a grateful nation because you have individually and collectively made useful and instructive impact. As you receive the symbols of your investiture, you must do so with a solemn pledge to continue to remain “faithful, loyal and honest” to your country, and to continue to “uphold her honour and glory”. 21. I would like to commend the Chairman and members of the National Awards Committee for their selfless effort in han-


dling such a delicate responsibility. 22. One thing I am aware of is that there have been criticisms of the National Award nomination and selection process. I have since directed the appropriate departments to note the concerns that have been expressed and to take steps to ensure further improvements, so that the National Honours Award, can continue to serve its purpose. National Honours are not merely decorative. They remind us of an important part of our responsibility as citizens; we all must endeavour to do the best for our country, even as we realize with deep humility that all human beings are fallible. We must look forward with confidence and hope, that our country, through each and every one of us, can indeed put its God-given endowments to the best possible use. (Speaking extempore, the President adds): “Let me re-emphasise again, how some of the people are selected because there are comments from very young people who are a bit confused about how people are selected for National Honours. As I have mentioned, even the most celebrated Nobel Peace Prize is being criticised so definitely you will expect criticisms. But in Nigeria you have three awards, two are parallel, and we gave two today, the GCFR and GCON series and of course, the Nigerian National Merit Award. “The Nigerian National Merit award is meant for scholars and not just scholars, but scholars with distinction and the committee that will select those who will receive that award are among the eggheads. “The President plays almost no role in selecting who wins the merit award, because that is for academic division. The President plays the ceremonial position of just decorating or presenting the award to those scholars. “But the National Honours criteria is different. It is based on what an individual has contributed to his community, his state, his country and how you have projected this country outside. It does not depend on how many certificates you have, it does not depend even on the size of certificate you have and it does not even depend on the status you have in the society, so I need to mention that. “The traditional birth attendant that probably works in an area where there is no doctor and successfully delivers hundreds of babies can be awarded and recognised by the President. So is a sportsman who is illiterate, but a good footballer, wrestler or a boxer who projects the image of this country globally and wins laurels and bring us to limelight could be recognised in these honour’s series. “Also in the case of the military, an officer, a corporal or even a private soldier could be given a medal that probably a colonel or general might not have for show of gallantry and that guided the National Honours. “So the position you occupy does not give an automatic award except for some positions like the GCFR which is given to anybody who becomes the President of this country or the GCON given to anybody who be-

•Dr. Jonathan

comes the vice president or the head of the National Assembly or the head of the Judiciary. These are given by virtue of their positions, but others are given by virtue of what you have contributed to the society not necessarily because of the office you hold. “For you to be recognised and honoured, we will want to see what you have used that position to achieve for us. Do you use that office to destroy us or do you use it for the development of your domain? So also is a youth leader, a woman leader or an elder, do you use that position to bring development and peace to your people at your community level, local government level, state level and the national level or use it to bring crisis or destruction to our people? This is what guides the selection of this award and that is why you see a mixed group of people being recognised. “You can see today that we have recognised Aliko Dangote with the GCON because we must recognise enterprise. This is a man who has been able to employ thousands of Nigerians as we heard it from the citation. “Today, I am having the GCFR the highest in the land by virtue of the fact that I am the President of this country, but if I am not the President another person must be the President of Nigeria, but if Aliko did not have that business acumen to build that empire probably we wouldn’t have had somebody to employ thousands of Nigerians. O, those who by their innate abilities and creative energies have been able to make impact in our society even deserve more honour than those of us holding political offices. So, we would continue to encourage enterprise, creativity and Nigerians who, have excelled in whatever form. “A welder, electrician or anybody who by virtue of what you do, you’ve done it with much dedication and impacted society significantly can be honoured by the president.” Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me once again heartily congratulate all the awardees, their friends and families, on behalf of the Government and good people of Nigeria, and wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Thank you and may God bless you all


Yoruba language is dying, say Omole, Adeniyi


ROMINENT Yoruba leaders have warned that Yoruba language would fade away, unless parents and governments insist on the propagation of the ethnic group’s culture, customs and tradition. They decried the collapse of core values of integrity and honesty, lamenting that Yoruba youths now run after money instead of good names. Former Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile-Ife, Professor Wale Omole, foremost journalist Chief Tola Adeniyi and former Rector of Lagos State Polytechnic Olawumi Gasper said Yoruba language has been damaged by the influence of the western world, stressing that youths are now ashamed to express themselves in their language in public. They spoke at a one-day workshop for master trainers in the Southwest zone on vocational training organised by the Yoruba Education Trust Fund (YETFUND), in part-

By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Political Editor

nership with Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB). Open the workshop at LASTVEB office, Ikeja, Commissioner for Education, Mrs Funmilayo Oladunjoye, who was represented by the Tutor-General, Mrs. Adeyinka Oyemade, said: “This initiative to preserve Yoruba language must not die in the interest of the future of the race”. Five papers were presented at the workshop attended by teachers, school administrators and government officials from the six Southwest states. Professor Omole spoke on the Yoruba cultural concept of “Omoluabi”. Adeniyi spoke on “Character”. Andy Jibunoh spoke on “Best standard and practices in construction”. Arinola Adeniyi focussed on “Best practices in hairdressing and cosmetology” and Sola Kotun spoke on

“Best global practices on house-keeping and child care”. Omole recalled that the initiative to preserve Yoruba language started two years ago, saying if Yoruba youths cannot speak the language, it would be difficult for them to express themselves well in English Language. He said: “We have to build capacity in our youths. If you cannot think well in your language, you cannot think realistically”. Tracing the genesis of the eclipse of the language to colonialism, the retired university don said the colonial masters buried our culture by asking Yoruba to forget their culture, religion and dressing. He added: “They disconnected them from their parents by calling Yoruba a vernacular. They taught them how to cram or memorise. Fundamentally, they changed our mind. We don’t love Yoruba food again; we go to the supermarket. They took our cocoa away

and gave us chocolate. They took our cotton away and gave us textile”. Omole said not only did the British colonised our brain, Yoruba Language was damaged in a way that made people to acquire knowledge without gaining understanding. He lamented that nowadays parents cheat for their children to make it in life the negative way. Urging the race to return to a culture of integrity, he said: “Integrity is lacking among our people; tailors, carpenters and plumbers. Integrity is the hall mark. Honesty was said to be the best policy. My father disagreed, saying that it was the only policy. People don’t believe that God rewards. But I say that it is God who rewards”. Adeniyi said: “In the Yoruba value system, money was No 5, trailing behind industry, value, wisdom and integrity. We need to pray so that money can return to number five”.








Commander drags Hulk Hogan, others to Calabar


MERICAN wrestling superstar, Hulk Hogan, is among the foreign matsmen billed to fight in the Universal Promotional Wrestling Federation (UPWF) championship slated for Calabar next month. A spokesman of the organising committee for the championship told journalists over the weekend that the event will feature, among other exciting bouts, a world heavyweight title defence involving the UPWF champion, Nigeria’s Osita Offor, also known as De Ultimate Commander, against an American challenger. According to the spokesman of the organising committee, Etim Okima, apart from Hulk Hogan, the event will feature such other wrestling super stars as Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin, Slam Shady, Rick Fuller and the tag team partnership of the Powers of Pain, among others. Okima said the “championship is one of the events lined up for the end of the year festivities in Calabar. But above all, we want to use it to

showcase Cross River State as one of the best tourists destinations in Africa. “We have the Calabar carnival, which is one of the things foreigners look forward to every year; so when you add a wrestling extravaganza with the best known stars in the sport to the annual event, you are guaranteed the best of times. This championship has the blessing of the Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, and because of that we are doing everything possible to ensure a hitch free championship.” Okima revealed that the UPWF heavyweight champion, De Ultimate Commander, would visit Calabar for the first time on Thursday, adding that he would use that opportunity to see some of the landmark sites in the city. “The champions will also visit the Power Orphanage, where he will donate food items, clothing’s and other materials to the children before paying a courtesy call on the state Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, at the government House.”

Allies halts Dream Team’s winning streak


HANAIAN National division one side, Inter Allies on Tuesday morning ended the winning streak of the Nigeria National U-23 side otherwise called the Dream Team V in Accra. The Tema-based side forced the Coach Austin Eguavoen tutored side to a 1-1 draw; in a game the Dream team V had everything going wrong for them. Playing on Astro turf for the first time since arriving Accra, the Olympic Eagles endured a goalless first in which they struggled with fatigue after spending over one hour in early morning Accra traffic. The Olympic Eagles broke the deadlock in the 76th minute after a beautiful one two combination from second half substitutes, Sunday Nwadialu and Olaitan Otubanjo, gave the Altetico Madrid midfielder, Otubanjo the chance to jab pass on rushing Allies goalkeeper. Guy Anicent pulled the host level in the 95th minute from a

controversial penalty. “I am disappointed in the result. And my disappoint is in your inability to hold on to your lead. But I also understand, because you have played three games in the space of five days but that’s not enough for us to give away our lead. All the same well done boys I know we can do better” declared Coach Austin Eguavoen at the teams’ post match meeting. The players while admitting that they were not themselves; blamed fatigue, poor communication and poor marking for the draw. “Coach I must confess, we were not in our best of form today. We were fatigued due to the long traffic but aside from that we lack communication of the pitch and our marking was poor” stated the team's captain, Kingsley Udoh. The Dream team V played three matches in the space of six days won two and drew one in their twelve days stay in Accra. The team heads back to Lagos this afternoon.

Pros/Amateur golf tournament ends in Otukpo • Mark, Suswam harp on sport development


RESIDENT of the Senate David Mark and governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State have pledged to develop Sports as a means of a national integration, social engineering, mental and physical fitness. A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Paul Mumeh said that Mark and Suswam spoke yesterday at the closing ceremony of the Professional / Amateurs golf tournament organised to mark the commissioning of the 18 hole green golf course constructed by Mark in Otukpo, Benue State . Senator Mark said that he was impressed by the level of participation which he added has spurred him to continue to promote sports generally especially Golf. Besides being a tool for physical fitness, the President of the Senate noted that sports have become avenue for international politics, unity and national integration. He said, “I am encouraged by the high level of participation in this tournament. I will continue to promote sporting activities. I have passion for golf and I enjoy the game”.

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Otukpo He promised to sustain the “David Mark Pro – Am Golf tournament” annually. His wife, Helen Mark, praised women for their participation at the tournament saying “more women are now appreciating the game of golf because of its contribution to mental and physical alertness of the players”. Governor Suswam in his remarks thanked the President of the Senate for the realisation of the 18 hole green Golf Project and craved for maintenances culture in order to sustain the project. As part of effort to ensure regular use of the 18 hole course, the governor promised to float a Pro – Am golf tournament tagged Gabriel Suswam Pro – Am tournament which will tee-off on January 17, 2012. The statement said that at the end of the tournament, a Ghanaian Golfer, Amos Korblah with 297 points, carted away the star prize of N 1.3 million and a prestigious trophy. His fellow country man V. Torgah from Achimota , Ghana , was the first runner- up with 298 points.

NFF carpets Segun Odegbami T

HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday carpeted former international winger, Segun Odegbami for his attacks and criticisms on Nigeria football, assuring him that Nigeria football will rise gradually to its best ever height despite his prediction of doom and negative comments. NFF Executive Committee member and chairman of the Nigeria National League,Emeka Inyama lambasted Odegbami, saying that the former player has consistently refused to align himself with reality, preferring to operate in the realms of grand illusion. “It is a shame that Odegbami has continued to attack the Nigeria Football Federation for no just cause. He chickened out of the election because he saw the handwriting on the wall, knowing he was facing failure at the polls. He knows virtually nothing about association football and has no sympathy with any Football Association in the country, not even in his Ogun State. We remember he got only one vote in the last Ogun State FA elections. “How can someone who cannot even win support in his home State be talking about running football at the centre? What a joke? Odegbami served on the board previously and came out a woeful failure. Let him tell Nigerians one single venture he has undertaken in Nigerian sports that did not end in a colossal failure”, said Chief Inyama. The NFF Executive Committee member continued: “He started a football academy that now, only exists in his own imagination, several years after. Can anyone compare his academy with the Pepsi Football Academy pioneered by Coach Kashimawo Laloko, which has been churning out talents who have featured in various categories of the National Teams? “The present NFF board is composed of persons of high integrity and achievement in several areas of human endeavour, and despite a few setbacks, no thanks principally to distractions championed by the likes of Odegbami, we are determined to lift the Nigerian game and keep it at the very top. “We are happy to have appointed Stephen Keshi and we believe that with total support of the NFF and Nigerians, he will go places. The likes of Odegbami will sulk and sulk and will only stand far away to mourn their poor vision. “The NFF is fully aware of the gameplan by some persons to try and

instal Odegbami into the NFF through the back door, via a so-called Normalization Committee. This is a pipe dream. “He claims to have spent so much money in the last NFF elections. He might as well inform Nigerians whom he gave the monies to and for what purpose”, said Inyama. The chairman of Nigeria National League warned: “From now on, Odegbami should be ready to receive as much as he gives. Or perhaps, even more than he gives. If he was such an extra-ordinary player, how come he could not single-handedly steer Nigeria to the FIFA World Cup finals in his playing days. “The NFF sees the likes of Odegbami as mere irritants that do not deserve any attention, which is why we have ignored him all this while. But it is now ample time to put him in his place. “He continues to write about ‘illegality’ every week after failing miserably to get anything done about a legally-composed Federation, which won a proper election and has court orders validating its existence. We are aware of Odegbami’s dastard moves but we will meet him fire-forfire from now on”.

England. Moses left the country of his birth aged 11 and played for England's junior sides right up to Under 21

Osaze rejects Russian move


IGERIA striker Osaze Odemwingie has played down reports linking him to Russian outfit Anzhi Mahachkala, saying he is happy in England with West Brom. The Nigerian international striker was heavily linked with a move away from the Hawthorns in the summer following an impressive debut campaign in which he finished top scorer with 15 goals. However, while Odemwingie pledged his future to the Baggies by signing a new long-term contract, it has not stopped speculation linking him with a move to big-spending Anzhi. The former Lokomtov Moscow hitman would not rule out a move in the future, but he revealed that his

immediate future remains in the Premier League. "Here (Russia) Mahachkala are likened to Chelsea and they are often called a Chelsea clone," Odemwingie told "It is true that there are many similarities - they both have millionaire owners and great ambition. "They have been forming a great squad at Anzhi. They have signed (Samuel) Eto'o, (Yuri) Zhirkov and (Balazs) Dzsudzsak. "I wouldn't be surprised if this team goes on to have success in the Champions League. "I doubt that I would accept an offer from Anzhi if I was to receive one. "At the moment I like the English Premier League. In the future, we will see."

level but then appeared to have a change of heart and was selected for Nigeria's friendlies against Botswana and Zambia this month. The 20-year-old did not, in fact, travel to join up with the senior side and his representative Tony Finnigan has suggested the lure of England may yet still tempt him to stick with his adopted nation. 'Let's be honest, if he got called up for the full England squad, could you see him turning it down? I couldn't,' Finnigan told the Wigan Evening post. 'It's Vic's choice at the end of the day and while Nigeria are only playing friendlies he's still able to commit to England. 'He can only do that if he's called up, though, and I'm not sure how many times Fabio Capello's been to Wigan recently.'


TALIAN Serie A champion AC Milan expects Nigeria defender Taiye Taiwo to return to Italy today after yesterday's Nigeria international friendly with Zambia at the Ahmadu Bello stadium, Kaduna yesterday. Taiwo who left his Italy base last week to join the Super Eagles in a two legged friendly matches with Botswana and Zambia is expected to join his AC Milan teammates who are already back from international assignment for their countries. Meanwhile, Taiwo's agent Michael Coker has stated stated that the Nigerian international will stay with the Rossoneri and fight for shirt, stressing that he not leaving in January. Taiwo is being linked with Lyon after a difficult first few months in Italy. "I do not think he will leave AC Milan.Taye will fight until the end to win the trust of the coach and managers. Lyon? He does not want to return to France, but there are some English clubs on him," Taiwo agent said.

• Victor Moses

• Taiwo

Ex-internationals doing their best —Adepoju P

OPULARLY called Head Master by soccer fans in his days, Mutiu Aepoju is one exinternational that can be said to have paid his national dues when it comes to achievement in football. Currently the Team Manager of Shooting Stars Football Club, 3SC, of Ibadan, he did not just return to his home club to occupy space but to fill in the gap - hence, in his first year, he played a key role in bringing the team back to the Premier League. Fielding questions on the recent fumes saying that the exinternationals has failed the nation's football, Adepoju sternly refuses to share such view. He said that the ex-internationals have maximized the few opportunities that has come thier way. "I don't agree that the exinternationals has failed. Who are the ex-internationals that failed? That one person did not meet up does not means that all the exinternationals has failed. "Anything can happen at given anytime, so some don't just have to wake up to say that ex-internationals



• Onuoha


IGERIA-BORN Wigan forward Victor Moses could be prepared to switch his allegiance back to

Milan expects Taiwo back today

From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt has failed, we have all been trying our best to ensure that we bring the game and the teams up with the opportunities we have been given, we have been trying to make a difference - so I don't believe that the ex-internationals has failed unless they are just looking for a scape goat or excuses. There are several other ways we've been trying our best." On what should be done to make the Nigeria football work, Adepoju says its time to get right by doing what ought to be done. "The Nigeria football is a process that has been dragging for a long time. The unfortunate thing that no body wants to happen has happened and we should take it from there. We just have to get it right from there and then we start building because it happened to many other countries, even Ghana. They've gotten it right and they are coming

Benin celebrates Oba of Benin with golf

Blackburn fights Everton for Onuoha

CCORDING to reports Blackburn Rovers are interested in Manchester City centre-back Nedum Onuoha. The Daily Mail claims Rovers manager Steve Kean is eyeing the 24-year-old. It is understood the Scot is eager to strengthen his backline and has the support of his board to recruit the defender who can also play full-back. City are ready to sell the former England Under-21 star and have already held tentative talks with West Brom. Everton and QPR are also believed to be interested.

Moses may dump Nigeria for England

HE month of December is special inside the Benin Kingdom. This is the month people mill around the Palace of the Oba of Benin to celebrate the Igue festival amid endless pomp. This year's festival is coming in another form since the game of golf tops the ceremony of the ever colorful Igue festival. Making this happen is the Benin Golf Club ably headed by Kingsley Ehi Okunbor. Between December 8 and 11, some 250 amateur golfers and close to 150 golf professionals will converge in the ancient city to be part of a glorious event that is bringing into life the good old years of golf where amateurs and pros play along on same fairway. Professionals will go through a whole of four days duel in the multi million naira event. "We have done everything to package a tight programme of this year's Oba of Benin Cup", Captain of the club, Okunbor said. "For instance, we are bringing in professionals to engage themselves in a four-day duel. Not just this, but we equally create an environment where our Pros will play alongside the amateurs. This arrangement will help correct several flaws of amateurs in this game. But we couldn't have place this huge event on ground if not for support

from Access Bank and BGL Securities which put on ground huge resources to ensure the revered Oba of Benin is fully honored"

up again. Even Cote D'Ivoire, they were in the same situation too. "We having such time now, we don't have to think that everything is down or gone, we have the potentials and everything it takes to be there, its just for us to do it the way it should be done. We should look at what we have done to get it wrong all the while - to err is human - we just have to take it right from where went wrong. All we just want is for Nigeria football to move forward". On what is missing in the teams, talents or zeal? Mutiu says its the winning spirit. "There are so much talents but so many things have also changed, especially the economy of the country. Many people now wants to go abroad and play. Most of them lack maturity, they are not really mature the way they are supposed to before they go out. Maybe because they have the opportunity. "Also, in our time, commitment was different too - we also had the spirit, the winning spirit. When we score, we go for more. We did not want to lose and you never saw us lose in Lagos. Those are some of the things that are not there now. Some of the players don't even care if they lose or win. Those are just the difference. Everything else is there but that spirit is what we are lacking", he said.

PH Polo tourney to attract UK, S/Africa teams From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt HE Port Harcourt international Polo tournament which comes up at the peak of the new year in the first week of January 2012 will be hosting over thirty two teams, including teams from both the United Kingdom and South Africa, says the organizers. Speaking on the tournament, the President of the club, Bobmanuel Ibifure noted that about thirty teams from Nigeria and some others from South Africa ad United Kingdom have already registered for the tournament. He also said that there is a tendency of increased participation in the high profile event which will keep the Garden City bubbling for about ten days. Been the only Polo Club South South and South East of the Niger, and also with having been mentioned as one of the best Polo Clubs in the world, this edition of the tournament will intend to maximize and explore the tourism advantages obtainable, the organizers say. "We intend to set higher standards this time", said Bobmanuel. "And Polo been the kind of game it is, showcases tourism therefore, the region stands to benefit alot. "A couple of foreign teams from the United Kingdom and South Africa will be participating and about thirty teams from Nigeria are already taking part in the tournament, so its going to be much more classy", he said.


Unity Bank wallops Ecobank


NITY Stars F C has continued its winning streak by drubbing Ecobank team 5-0. This is the third win by the team and in a stretch. By winning the game played on last Saturday, Unity Stars have booked an automatic qualification into the semi final stage of the Lisadeen Bankers Soccer Championship even with one match to go against Fidelity Bank. Ecobank team showed little resistance from the commencement of the game which allowed Unity Stars to take the commanding role in possession resulting in goals inspite of numerous misses. A penalty awarded to Unity Stars on the 33rd minute when Aliyu Mohammed was hacked down in the vital area and taken by Mohammed Babangida was saved by the Ecobank goalkeeper. The penalty miss spurred the Eco Team and twice they came face to face with Unity Stars goalkeeper Henry but were unable to draw blood. They were to be punished minutes later with Aliyu Mohammed’s blinder off a pullout by Francis Umeogu from the right flank. Five minutes after the curtain raiser, Aliyu was on song again for his double through a similar display but with Abubakar Ibrahim curling a tailored one from Tukur Abdullahi’s pass and ended the first half with Unity Stars up by 2-0.

• Samsung man-of-the-match: Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole (3rd from left), Super Eagles midfielder,Dickson Etuhu and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Aminu Maigari after the Nigeria/ Botswana friendly at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, last Saturday



Youths urged to embrace skills

Jukun storm Lagos for award






A boost for girl-child education Taraba




Page 25


OW can the energies of youth be channelled into wholesome and ceative ventures rather than vice? A solution to this question was provided at a two-day cultural feast of the Ijaw people of the Niger Delta: get them to embrace culture, and it will also help to keep them away from criminal tendencies. The celebration was held in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State. Attracting dignitaries from across the country and beyond, the feast featured traditional drama, masquerade display, dress parade and traditional wrestling, with the accompaniment of thrilling Ijaw music and traditional drumming. But one of the guests, Prof. Tunde Babawale, DirectorGeneral, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), which partly sponsored the festival, diverted attention from the mere spectacle of the feast to address the important issue of youths and vice. Babawale who was father of the day, said youths can indeed avoid criminality and become more useful to the society. He applauded the Ebiks Theatre Salon group which organised the festival, and called on other organisations to emulate it not just to promote African culture but also make the effort to keep youths off criminal behaviour. His words: “I will encourage other cultural organisations to use every opportunity at their disposal to draw youth’s attention to the beauty of African culture. This will in turn discourage them from gangster culture that is gradually becoming a way of life. None of the gangster culture has cul-


OBE State has mourned the third wife of its governor, Hajia Zainab Gaidam who died on Monday October 24, 2011. It was one of the worst days for Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, his family and the entire people of the state. The news of Hajia Zainab’s death filled the air in the early hours of that day as people were preparing to start the week. A medical report said she had a protracted battle with cancer, finally succumbing to the disease at the National Hospital, Abuja in the early hours of October 24. Her remains were buried at the nation’s capital after funeral prayers at the National Mosque,

•Participants at the event

Ijaw rally youths at feast Benin monarch urges unity By Evelyn Osagie

tural values that is worthy of emulation and promotion as the African culture.” The two-day feast was attended by scholars, arts administrators, culture activists, writers, artistes, arts and culture en-

thusiasts, students, among others. Prof Babawale was the keynote speaker. The Oba of Benin was represented by High Chief Godwin Edobor, the Obazughanmuren of Benin, who came with his wife Chief (Mrs) Folashade Edobor.

Monsieur Julien Rolland, Director, Alliance Francaise, Ibadan, was the host. The event was chaired by the Director-General of the National Institute of Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, represented by NICO, Zonal Director (South-

Yobe mourns Gaidam’s wife From Duku Joel, Damaturu

Abuja. It was a long week of mourning for Governor Gaidam as he returned to Damaturu, the state capital, to receive visitors and observe the mandatory three days of mourning. Back home was a mammoth crowd which turned out at the Government House, Damaturu, to share in the governor’s grief. Gaidam who arrived Damaturu enroute Maiduguri, proceeded straight to the Government House Mosque in the company of his Deputy.

Dressed in a sparkling white robe with a traditional Zanna cap to match, the distraught governor shook hands with every member

of groups, associations and individuals present. Among the early callers were some traditional rulers in the state,

Among the early callers were some traditional rulers in the state, including the Commissioner of Police, Sulemon Lawal, Deputy Governor of Borno State Zanna Umar Mustapha and his counterpart in Jigawa, Ahmed Mahmud

west), Louis Eriomala. In his speech, Dr. Ayakoroma said: “It gives me great joy as an Izon man and the head of a Federal Government parastatal that the Izon culture is today being celebrated in far-away Ibadan, Oyo State. This will not only promote the Izon culture and its people but will give the non•Continued on Page 26 the state Commissioner of Police, Sulemon Lawal, Deputy Governor of Borno State, Zanna Umar Mustapha and his counterpart in Jigawa Ahmed Mahmud. A delegation of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Yobe State Council also came, led by its chairman, Mohamed Ahmed Bedu. The local NUJ chief called with members of the Correspondents Chapel. The elders of Yobe and Borno led by Usmam Gaji Galtimari, the Principal Yobe/Turkish International School, Ramadan Isan, the Yobe State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Malam Sadiq Abubakar, •Continued on Page 26



Ijaw rally youths at feast •Continued from Page 25

Izon people the opportunity to experience the rich cultural heritage of the Izon people from the Niger Delta. It is rewarding that the festival will also showcase and discover talents thereby contributing to the socio-cultural development of society.” He commended the efforts of the organisers, saying cultural promotion should not be left in the hands of the government alone. “These types of festivals are usually hosted by state governments or town unions. I commend Mr. Ebika Anthony, Director, Ebiks Theatre, Ibadan, for this bold initiative of single-handedly hosting a festival of this magnitude. I will like to state that the effort of promoting our cherished cultural heritage should not be left in the hands of government alone but for all stakeholders of culture.” It was the maiden edition of the Izon Arts Festival (IZAFEST). On both days of the feast, guests were treated to various displays. Most striking was the dramatic traditional wrestling bout held in the female and male categories. The display by the traditional drummers, particularly the lead drummer Warrant Officer (rtd) Simon Orutu was equally entertaining. The masquerade displays also drew applause from the audience. The royal father of the day, the Obazughanmuren of Benin, and his wife were evidently impressed. In fact, Mrs Edobor joined the Izon women during

I will like to state that the effort of promoting our cherished cultural heritage should not be left in the hands of government alone but for all stakeholders of culture their waist-dance display. Speaking on the show of culture, the Obazughanmuren said: “I was so thrilled with the displays and the programmes, particularly the dances, that I almost stood up to dance. That was when I sent my wife to go and dance with the women to encourage and give them moral support. What these people have done is great. As the grand patron of the Southsouth movement in the state representing the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Ukuakpolokpolo, I must say that with what all that happened here at the festival, there is hope for our culture. The organisers were able to carry everybody along

•Mr Eriomala (left) and Alhaji Tajudeen Okusi, Head, CBAAC Outreach Centre, Ile-Ife, who represented the CBAAC DG

from different ethnic groups, especially the children. Our culture cannot die. This is the beginning of great things for the Izon culture in this part of the country.” He urged Nigerians to embrace peace, saying they are culturally alike. “We, the Edo people believe in promoting culture because we are all culturally alike,” he said. “And that is why we must strive to live in peace with one another.” As the festival progressed, it was evident that organisers of the

event reserved a special place in their hearts for the youth. Children and teenagers were taught how to do the traditional Izon waist-dance. Every part of its festival, IZAFEST organisers said, will be a yearly affair geared towards showcasing the rich cultural and artistic heritage in order to inspire the youths to love their traditional cultures. Director of the festival, Mr Ebika Anthony said: “This festival seeks to promote culture; the Izon’s in particular which is rich

Yobe mourns Gaidam’s wife •Continued from Page 25

a member of the House of Representatives in the state Hon. Goni Bukar, Commissioners, Special Advisers, and some members of the state House of Assembly were all at the Government House to condole with Gaidam. The three-day mourning prayers came with more challenges for everyone. The Ulamas and Imams led the prayers. Several cows were slaughtered and distributed to the crowd to pray for the soul of the late Zainab. An Imam informed that the free distribution of meat and other gifts at the three-day mourning prayers was for the people to pray for the soul of the deceased. “We normally observe the threeday prayers and the sadaka because of the reward it would give to the deceased. Imagine the reward the deceased would enjoy if this crowd prayed for the repose of her soul,” the Imam said. The three-day prayers also witnessed the presence of Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, the immediate past governor of

•Governor Gaidam (right) and sympathisers praying for the soul of the late Zainab Kano State and presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. Other prominent Nigerian who

We normally observe the three-day prayers and the sadaka because of the reward it would give to the deceased. Imagine the reward the deceased would enjoy if this crowd prayed for the repose of her soul

physically came to Yobe to condole with Gaidam were: Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, former governor of Yobe , and now, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal also led a delegation of the house to the Government House, Damaturu. The Association of the Cripples, Yobe State were not left, too. They were led by their chairman Mohammed Abatcha.

and vibrant. It promotes unity and peaceful co-existence between the Izon people and other ethnic groups. “Our culture is gradually leaving us. Our young ones are taking to foreign cultures because of the multimedia influence. The festival aims to resuscitate the love for our culture, especially in our youths. We, at Ebiks Theatre Salon, felt we should showcase our culture regularly so that young ones would be kept abreast of it. By the grace of God, this would be a yearly event.”



Firm rewards reading pupils HREE pupils in Edo and Delta states have been rewarded by Literamed Publications, publisher of Lantern books, for participating in the firm’s 2010/ 2011 verbal and quantitative competition. The pupils were awarded N50, 000, N30, 000 and N20, 000 for first, second and third positions respectively in the competition that was held in the zone comprising Edo, Delta and Ondo states. Gift Ikpotokin of Rock of Ages Primary School in Agbor, Delta State emerged as the overall best while Anita Idahosa and Chijioke Ojumah of Federal Staff School Benin-City emerged as 2nd and 3rd best respectively. Presenting the gifts to the winners, Literamed zonal Sales Manager, Mr Isibor John said the competition was one of the events that were initiated when Literamed as a publishing body, celebrated its 40th year in publishing of educational books in 2009. Mr. Isibor noted that the competition was initiated due to the company's strong concern for the future of the Nigerian child as well as the need to arrest the dwindling standard in the education sector. He explained that Literamed decided to make the competition an annual event to promote reading culture in primary schools. He further stated that in the past two years, several prizes ranging from brand new computer Laptops,

Plateau council boss bids for peace


From Marie-Therese Peter, Jos


fact that "readers are leaders." A brand new desktop computer with a printer was also presented to the Federal Staff School. One of the winners, Anita Idahosa said she was urged to compete in the competition by her teacher and parents.

S Plateau State prepares for the local government election, the Acting Chairman of Langtang South local government area of the State, Hon. Bendel Domfa has cautioned residents of the area especially the youths on the need to be orderly and ensure the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the area is not breached. Speaking at Mabudi, the headquarter of Langtang South local government area, the Acting Chairman called on the youths not to make themselves ready tools in the hands of desperate politicians who may use them to achieve their selfish aim. Domfa further appealed to parents to watch and correct their children maintaining that the peace currently enjoyed in the State needs to endure. He stated his intention to contest the Chairmanship seat of the local government but reminded his supporters that power comes from God hence, there is no need to perpetrate violence because one wants to occupy a leadership position. The Acting Chairman called on other would-be contestants to sensitize their supporters on the need to maintain peace saying, “We should allow our works to speak for us and not engage in illegality because we want a position at all cost”.

our community Akeuleere described Adeleye as a kind-hearted man who is in love with the community. He also thanked the chairman for his kind gesture. The Director of Information, Education and Sports in the local government described the event as a rare opportunity for the community, even as he appealed to all and sundry to support the chairman in order to succeed. His words: “We thank God for having such a kind -hearted, lov-

ing and passionate man as our leader. He has the love for the community and we are not disappointed.’’ Adeleye thanked the governor for giving him the opportunity to serve the people. He described the governor as a man who works hard and is ready to take the state to a greater high. “With the way Senator Ibikunle Amosun is going, we will reach the Promised Land and by God’s grace, Ogun State will soon become one of the best states in the country,” he said.

•Mr. John Isibor presenting gift to one of the winners From Osagie Otabor, Benin

desktop computers with printers, have been given to teachers and schools while thousands of victorious pupils have smiled home with cheques of N20,000 ,N30,000 and

N50,000 which were reserved for 3rd, 2nd and 1st positions respectively. Mr. Isibor also stated that several copies of comics and textbooks have been donated to school to enrich their libraries. This further reinforced the company's belief in the

Council empowers citizens


OR the people of Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State, the administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun will ever remain evergreen in their minds. This is so because it is in his time that they are enjoying the dividends of democracy. According to them, Remo North Local Government Area has performed creditably, even as they maintained that he put smiles on their faces and reduced their suffering by empowering them with tools and materials useful for their jobs. Not only this, many enjoyed free medical treatments. According to Hon. Adebiyi Adeleye, the chairman transition committee of Remo North Local Government Area, his experience imbued him with the knowledge of the poverty level Nigerians and the sufferings they undergo daily. He said: “I was not living in this country; I lived in America. But when I became a chairman of the transition committee, I discovered how poor Nigerians are. In fact, they are more impoverished than I thought.” Continuing, he said: “I received up to 200 people early in the morning in my home. They came to beg for financial assistance. I have paid students’ school fees, paid medical bills for many and even when some women are in labour, their husbands would come to me asking for assistance and this does not happen

•Hon Adeleye By Taiwo Abiodun

in the United States where I was residing. “I had to use my personal money to invite the medical team from the United States to come and give a helping hand to my kinsmen. When I realised how my people are suffering, I then decided to give a helping hand, a least to put smiles on the faces of the people I am living with. “I am not happy with their condition and I spent all my salaries on

I was not living in this country; I lived in America. But when I became a chairman of the transition committee, I discovered how poor Nigerians are. In fact, they are more impoverished than I thought

•The doctors at work

all these programmes,” he said. Among the beneficiaries are Messrs Olusola David and James Soboye who were employed as road managers. Scores of women were given grinding machines, hair dryers and other equipment. Mrs Oyekan Mulikat received hair dressing equipment, Mr Sunday Oduntan was equally lucky as he was given a sewing machine, Hammed Sopelola received certain amount of money to start his business while Alfa Bihaminu Akeulere was given a motorcycle. Mufuau Sotayo benefited from free surgical operations (hernia), Tolu Ogunfunwa benefited from ultra sound scanning services (removal of ear tissue), while Fausat Soyemi had fibroid that has been disturbing her operated upon and removed. Soyemi thanked the local government chairman and the state government for their kind gesture. She said: “I did not spend a kobo for the operation. I thank the state government for what it is doing in




Youths urged to embrace empowerment

Kano challenged on polio eradication T

HE Executive Director of National Primary Health Care DevelopmentAgency (NPHCDA), Alhaji Ado Muhammad, has advised the Kano State government to ensure the eradication of polio virus in the state. Muhammad gave the advice when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso at Government House, Kano, after conducting the second quarterly Polio Awareness Day Campaign, ordered by the Governors’ Forum. He said that the state had the highest number of polio cases in the country, and suggested that it should mobilise resources and the po•Governor Kwankwaso

Yobe partners World Bank on HIV/AIDS

OBE State government has said that it has paid its N15 million counterpart fund in the second phase of the fight against HIV/ AIDS in the state. The Executive Director of Yobe State Agency for Control of HIV/AIDS (YOSACA), Hajiya Farida Mamudo, told journalists that 300 packets of HIV test kit, Anti Retroviral Drugs and co-infection drugs were distributed to 20 health facilities across the state. Farida said HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the state dropped from 2.7 per cent in 2008 to 2.1 per cent in 2010, noting that this was why Yobe intensified efforts to eradicate the scourge. “Yobe is to pay a total of N75 million, while the World Bank contributes 5 million dollars in the next five years. “Yobe government exhibited high sense of commitment to this project and was the first in the North East to launch the second phase of the project and to release its take-off counterpart fund.” The director charged line ministries to forward


Yobe their budgetary allocations, saying “we must evolve a means of funding the project even after the World Bank pulls out because the fight against HIV/AIDS has to be continuous. “For the take-off of the second phase, state government released N15 million, the World Bank paid 350,000 dollars.’’ According to her, every line ministry is expected to pay some amount of money in their individual project account as criteria to access the funds. She said that the agency, line ministries and civil society organisations would launch a massive enlightenment programme on the preventive measures against the scourge. “ Every nook and cranny of the state must be visited to ensure that every citizen is sensitised,”she said


OUTHS in Adamawa State have been urged to take full advantage of the grass-roots socio-economic empowerment programmes of the state government to fight idleness and poverty. The Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Barkindo Aliyu-Mustapha made the call while inspecting containers of tools and equipment imported from China for trainees of the state government’s Local Apprenticeship Scheme (LAS). He said the state government had shown its commitment to empowering the youth and making them self-reliant by taking such


litical will to ensure the eradication of the disease. Muhammad described state governors as the pivot of the efforts to eradicate polio in the country, and expressed the hope that Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso would not shirk in that responsibility. He said the theme of the awareness campaign, Women Against Polio, was apt in view of the need to mobilise women who formed the bulk of the resistance to polio vaccination, if the exercise was to succeed. “Women are the initiators of non compliance to the acceptance of the vaccine,” he noted, and said that the focus of the sensitisation campaign should be on them. The director advised the governor to put the local government councils on their toes in the fight against the disease. Replying, Kwankwaso gave assurance that his administration would ensure the total eradication of the virus. He said the government had re-engaged sanitary inspectors, who would go from house to house to ensure cleanliness of the environment.

•From left: Chairman, Plateau State House Committee on Works, Mr Ponmak Rindap; Chairman, House Committee on Education, Mr Joe Dawam, and Chief Whip of the House, Mr Timothy Golu at the presentation of report on a bill to establish the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission by Joint House Committee on Parastatal and Judiciary in Jos


Kaduna to get independent power projects

ADUNA State government says it is discussing with investors to set up Independent Power Projects (IPPs) in the

state. Governor Patrick Yakowa disclosed this in a message to the Kaduna State Special Day at

Jubilation as 1,017 pilgrims return from Saudi


OY filled the air as the first batch of Lagos Zone pilgrims who were on the 2011 Hajj exercise returned home on Sunday night through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. The batch from Lagos State consisting of 512 pilgrims, arrived the Lagos Airport at 9:05pm while another batch of 505 from Ogun State landed the same night. The pilgrims were immediately disembarked by the carrier, Medview Airline, the official carrier. The general manager of the airline, Mr David Babatunde told journalists that the exercise went on well, adding that it would would be rounded up by the end of the month. Babatunde described the exercise as excellent and promised that it would be concluded 10 days ahead of schedule.He explained that the 19 flights for Lagos Zone were carried out as scheduled by the carrier. He said that the carrier airlifted pilgrims from Lagos, Ilorin, Maiduguri and Port Harcourt with a B747 aircraft made to accommodate 517 passengers. . It would be recalled that no fewer than 8, 213 pilgrims were airlifted from Lagos

Lagos By Tajudeen Adebanjo

Zone by Medview air carrier for the exercise while the carrier also airlifted at least 6, 000 pilgrims from other four zones. "We are very happy for this year's exercise because it went as scheduled. We had little or no hitch at all throughout the airlifting of pilgrims to the Holy Land for the exercise. We used B747 with the configuration for 517 people for the exercise," he said. Speaking on their experience, one of the pilgrims, Alhaji Sulaimon Aliru, said that the exercise had been able to change his perception of life. Aliru said the only way the country could move forward was for the citizenry to continue to tolerate one another irrespective of religious background. Another pilgrim, Alhaja Sakirat Adewuyi, hailed the Lagos State Government for the peaceful conduct of the exercise and urged other state governments to emulate Lagos.

•First batch of 2011 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

Edo students association denies rival group


HE National Association of Edo State Students (NAESS National) has said that it remains the only recognised student body and association that is charged with the organisation and welfare of Edo State students in tertiary institutions nationwide and not ‘Coalition of Edo State Students Association’, (CESSA) led by one Innocent Ebhotemen. At a press conference in Benin City by the National President of NAESS, Comrade Pius Ekuaze said: “our attention was drawn to a publication in The Sun newspapers entitled: Edo State students back Osunbor’s guber ambition, under the aegis of Coalition of Edo State Students Association. We wish to state that CESSA does not exist in its entirety and as such, has no locus standi to endorse or back Osunbor or any other aspirant for the position of governorship in the state. “ This said chairman of the acclaimed association (CESSA), Innocent Ebhotemen, who is impersonating and masquerading as the helmsman of the forum of Edo State Students in all tertiary institutions nationwide, is allegedly facing a severe court case as it relates to the misappropriation of N1.6 million which was traced to his personal account as part of money which was sup•From left: Engrs. P. O. Ogunbanjo ; Shola Ogunshola ; Otunba O. O. Aromolate (secretary), Engrs. A. B. O. posed to be disbursed to inOseni and J. B. Daramola at the inaugural meeting of retired engineers of the Federal Ministry of Works at digenous students in 2008. JOBADY Hotel, Maryland, Lagos.


“It is regrettable that Ebhotemen flouterec the courts’ decision and now parades himself as the chairman of a faceless group, thereby endorsing a gubernatorial aspirant. We also wish to urge all relevant security agencies in Edo State to immediately rise to the challenge of checking, stopping, arresting and prosecuting Ebhotemen for constituting nuisance in the state. “The National Association of Edo State Students (NAESS) wish to notify the entire public to disregard the report from this illegal association as NAESS National is an indivisible and indissolvable arm of the students’ wing of the Nigerian Students.”


Church holds programme THE Holy Ghost Mission International Church is holding an eight-day programme tagged: It's My Turn To Shine, from November 27 to December 4 .The event begins from 5pm daily. The programme precedes its annual convention and it will be held at the church auditorium, Breakthrough Cathedral, behind AATAN Comprehensive High School, Koso, Oyo Town, Oyo State. According to the chief host, Bishop Ezekiel Adeleke: "The convention is an event and it is an instruction from God." Bishop Adeleke assured that participation in the programme would guarantee success to members, the town, council , state and Nigeria as a whole. He enjoined all to attend.

Kaduna the just concluded 25th Lagos International Trade Fair. Yakowa, represented by Alhaji Ibrahim Musa, the Acting Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, said that the IPP would substantially reduce unemployment and the state’s dependence on the national grid. He said that the state government had established new industries including: Kafanchan Foods and Flour Mills, the privatisation of which had just been concluded. Yakowa said that the state government was working on an entrepreneurship development programme to substantially reduce poverty. “The state has abundant opportunities in agricultural products like sorghums, soya bean, yam, beniseed, pepper, maize, among others,” the governor said. He said that potential abounded in the solid mineral sector such as granite, columbite,precious stones as well as investments in tourism. Yakowa said that the state government was also investing in the establishment of a new millennium city with modern facilities. “This would be five times bigger than the present Kaduna ,” the governor said. He said the state government was investing heavily in creating confidence in local and foreign investors by providing adequate security. Mr Olufemi Deru, the President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said that the presence of the state at the fair was an indication of its support for the chamber.

Council pledges support for pneumonia reduction


HE Director of Administration, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA),Ustaz Amin has said that the council would support sensitisation efforts aimed at preventing pneumonia in Nigeria. Igwegde said this at a news conference in Abuja to mark the 2011 World Pneumonia Day, with the theme: Creating Awareness on Childhood Pneumonia. He said the aim of the celebration was to enlighten the public on the negative effects of the disease. Igwegbe said that the step was also to ensure sustainable behavioural change to reduce infection rate in the country. He said that the council had huge responsibility to ensure that people suffering from the disease were provided with the necessary support. According to him, NSCIA will encourage and support research programme on pneumonia within the Muslim and non Muslim communities in the country. Igwegde said that enhancing the provision of equitable and comprehensive treatment, care and support for children suffering from pneumonia would go a long way in tackling the disease. “We will promote and encourage interventions that could address vulnerability of women, youth and children to pneumonia,” he said. He advised stakeholders to consider the theme and national focus for this year’s celebration, adding that such approach would help to renew commitment toward the actualisation of the campaign. “We are to, as a matter of responsibility, promote the health and well-being of all those under our care, especially children, women and the youths”, he said.

Councils inaugurate legislature


MID funfair, the chairman of Yaba Local Council, Lagos State, Hon. Jide Jimoh, and his Ikeja counterpart, Hon. Wale Odunlami, have inaugurated the legislative arms, charging the newly elected councillors to live up to expectation of the people. Jimoh thanked the people for endorsing the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the polls, assuring that his administration would continue to serve them without blemish. He charged the councillors to promote the cause of the council by supporting fostering effective governance through legislative enactment. The chairman unfolded plans to boost internally generated revenue, give welfare package for the aged, and reinvigorate the primary education and health programmes. He stressed the importance of cooperation between the executive and legislative arms so that they could deliver dividends of democracy to the people. The Leader of the House in Yaba, Bola John, and Majority Leader Rotimi Akeju, promised that the law making organ would support moves to take the council to greater heights. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lone councillor in Yaba council, Sodipo Jelili, emerged as the Minority Leader. In Ikeja Council, the six councillors elected Mr. Edward Aragbofoh as the Leader of the House after taking the oath of office and allegiance before a crowd of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) supporters, members of Community Development Association (CDA), religious leaders, traditional rulers, women and

By Emmanuel Oladesu

youth activists. Odunlami implored them to serve the council with faith, adding that their dedication and sense of responsibility are critical to the success of his administration. He charged them to position themselves as willing partners in grassroots development by reeling out creative and constructive byelaws capable of boosting good governance. The chairman also called for unity and understanding among the political leaders in the area, stressing that the council would rely on their advice, support and experience to forge ahead. Aragbofoh thanked his colleagues; Adetoro Adebowale (Health Committee chairman), Ifeolu Akala (Budget, Finance and Appropriation), Adefemi Adeyemi (Public Petitions and Information ), Kabiru Aweoro (Agriculture and Rural Development), and Wasiu Babatunde (Education, Youth and Sports) for electing him as Leader, promising never to let them and people of Ikeja down. He said the House would enact qualitative bye-laws for the rapid development of Ikeja city. He urged the people of Ikeja to pay their taxes, rates, tariffs and dues to the coffers of the local government through designated banks so that the council can provide quality service. At the ceremony were the state Assistant Publicity Secretary of ACN, Chief Funso Ologunde, Dr. Ken Mordi, Comrade Ade Dania and other party leaders.

Adamawa practical steps of training them in their chosen trade and providing them with tools. The lamido said it was now a challenge for the youth to reciprocate the government efforts by acquiring the necessary skills to set up their trade and businesses. Also speaking on the occasion, Adamawa Assembly Speaker Sadiq Ibrahim lauded the government for embarking on various empowerment programmes in farming and technical training. He said the programmes would not only address unemployment but also minimise security threats. Ibrahim advised government to make marks on the tools and equipment to check abuse by any trainees or officials who


•Nyako might want to sell them. In his remarks, the Project Manager of LAS, Alhaji Sani Jada said six containersof assorted tools for various categories of trainees arrived from China.

NGO seeks global rejection on homosexuality

HE Pan-Africa Leadership League (PALL), an NGO, has called for global rejection of homosexuality. This was contained in a statement issued in Kaduna and signed by Mr Stephen Achi, the Executive Director of the organisation. The statement noted that all religions and civilised cultures of the world abhor same sex, gay or homosexuality, and said that they should be rejected to save humanity from possible destruction. The League was reacting to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s threat to withhold further assistance to African countries that failed to enact laws protecting homosexuals. It said that Cameron made the remark at the just concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia. The statement specifically advised African leaders to reject the overture and consider any string attached to aids as a fraud and an insult on the culture and intelligence of Africans. “PALL rejoices with countries like Malawi, Uganda and Ghana that are pushing for antigay legislation in their countries to go ahead

and disregard Cameron’s intimidating threat,’’ it said. “If Cameron insists that British aid should have more strings attached, this means the beginning of the crumbling of the Commonwealth Empire, because African countries would be forced to break away,’’ the statement warned. It urged the world to emulate African Priests that have totally rejected the ordination of gay priests by the World Anglican Communion. “Homosexuality is alien, a taboo, detestable, immoral, sinful, ungodly, totally unacceptable and indecent to righteous people,’’ the statement said. It further warned that the perpetrators of this “abominable act are fully aware that they will go to hell fire on the judgment of day.’’ While urging the Federal Government to review all aid coming to the country and stop any aid from gay countries, the statement advised the National Assembly to reject the same sex bill now before it.

Premier Medicaid boss honoured


R. Kayode Obembe, Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of Premier Medicaid International, a leading health maintenance organization under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has been honoured by the University of Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association (ICOMAA) Worldwide. He was among five icons of the medical profession who were presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award by ICOMAA at its 2011 Alumni Day ceremonies on Thursday, 2 November, 2011 at Paul Hendrickse Lecture Theatre, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. The others were Professor Christopher O. Olopade, Professor Olufunmilola Olopade, Dr. Babatunde Adeyeoluwa (posthumous) and Dr. (Senator) Olu Alabi. According to ICOMAA President, Dr. BGK Ajayi, who presented the award, the recipients were honoured for having typified the Ibadan College of Medicine tradition of excellence and brought credit to the university by their personal accomplishments, professional achievements and humanitarian service.

A former President of the University of Ibadan Medical Students Association and former President of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD), Dr. Obembe is a Fellow of several professional associations among which are the West African College of Surgeons, National Postgraduate Medical College, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners and the International College of Surgeons. He had also served on the management boards of some notable medical institutions in the country including the Board of Management, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Board of Management, University College Hospital, Ibadan and Court of Governors, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. This year’s Alumni Day celebrations also witnessed the presentation of various awards to other icons of the medical profession in Nigeria who are alumni of the University of Ibadan College of Medicine. They included Emeritus Professor Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi who bagged the Golden Lifetime Achievement award.

•Dr B. G. K. Ajayi (left) congratulating Dr. Obembe after the award presentation




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‘Environment is of concern to all’ – Page 31

An alluring evening of reading – Page 35


Dancing to unite two worlds – Page 36

‘I ‘I wept watching Femi Kuti on stage in Bamako’ •A die-hard fan of Fela in Bamako recalled how Femi won the hearts of Malians in a concert. • SEE PAGE 30



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An avid admirer of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s music, Mallam Berry Ibrahim, a Malian photographer, who now trades in art works, remembers the music icon, Lagos and Nigeria with nostalgia. He spoke with OZOLUA UHAKHEME, Assistant Editor (Arts), at a music concert at the Institut Francais, in Bamako, on why he wept watching Femi, Fela’s son, on stage. He spoke also on his memories of Lagos, particularly the Afrika Shrine, among other issues.

‘I wept watching Femi on stage in Bamako’


OR six years, Malian photographer Berry Ibrahim lived and worked in Surulere, Lagos Mainland and as a commercial photographer. His major clients were his fellow Malians. He was a regular face at the Comprehensive Night held every Friday at the late Afrobeat legend Fela Anuikulapo Kuti’s Afrika Shrine on Pepple Street, Ikeja, Lagos, until he returned to his home in 1989. Twenty-two years after, Ibrahim, who speaks passable English, recalled that but for his parents, he would not have returned to Bamako because he was making money from commercial photography in Lagos. “When I was in Lagos, I enjoyed life, I must confess. I left Lagos as a result of pressure from my parents who needed my assistance and care. But when I got to Bamako, I discovered that my camera could not put bread on my table any longer, unlike when I was in Lagos. So, I decided to throw away my camera and looked for something else to do to earn a living,” Ibrahim said. He described Fela as one of the greatest music icons from Africa, saying his music remains a powerful weapon for the emancipation of Africans. He said he wept openly two years ago when he watched Femi, Fela’s son, on stage in Bamako. “When I saw Femi that night, I wept and could not hold back tears from my cheek. I cried because seeing Femi live on stage, reminded me that Fela never died. For me, seeing Femi was auto-reverse, meaning Fela is still alive and younger in Femi. Ibrahim, clad in a long robe with a turban, said while in Lagos, the Afrika Shrine was the place to be. He was drinking and smoking igbo, marijuana. “Every Friday, I must go to Kalakuta to watch Fela perform. I will not leave the place until the following morning. I was taking alcohol and smoking igbo too,” he recalled. His new trade has made Ibrahim to travel to many European cities, such as Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam. Yet, to him, there is no place like Lagos. He said: “I have been to Amsterdam, Paris, and Berlin, but no city like Lagos. Lagos, for me, is the place to be and if am to choose a country to naturalise, it will be Nigeria. I don’t know why, but you are too much. In Lagos, there is no place for idleness as everybody is hustling and on the move.” But one thing Ibrahim regretted about his stay in Nigeria was his inability to visit Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), before leaving the country. He said, if given the opportunity to visit Nigeria again, he would visit Abuja because “I have been hearing many sweet stories about the new city.” Asked if he married before leaving Lagos, Ibrahim

•Femi on stage

said: “I did not marry while in Lagos because as a Fulani , the first son in a family of eight, it is my parents that must marry for me. And I must respect that tradition, hence my return to Bamako.” Ibrahim’s journey to Lagos was a second option. He originally set out to travel to Europe through the desert. But on reaching Niamey, Niger, he was stunned by the harsh weather. He opted for Nigeria because he could not return to Mali. He fought his way through Gao and Kamba border to get to Nigeria. “I left Mali for Europe through Niger and Libya. But in Niger, I was told the weather was too hot and that many died on the way. So, instead of returning to Mali, I chose Nigeria, where I can learn English language. I headed for Nigeria through Kamba border in Niamey, but found my way to Lagos,”he recalled. Ibrahim regretted that he was misled by the craze to travel to Europe, which he described as a big scam among many African youths. He noted that, unfortunately, many Africans often think there is no future in Africa hence they go through all kinds of hardship to leave for Europe.

‘When I saw Femi that night, I wept and could not hold back tears from my cheek. I cried because seeing Femi live on stage, reminded me that Fela never died. For me, seeing Femi was auto-reverse , meaning Fela is still alive and younger in Femi’ •Ibrahim



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•Winners at this year’s Bamako Biennale.


What informed the theme for this year’s African Photography Biennale, Bamako Encounters? It is happenings in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and in the Niger Delta, saw Director-Geneal Pan-African Biennale Samuel Sidibe. According to him, the toxic waste dumped recently in Abidjan, by an international trading firm, Trafigura Beheer BV, the recurring oil spillage in the Niger Delta and the increasing threat of desertification in Africa, are enough indices to justify the theme for a sustainable world. Last edition’s theme was Borders, which examined the multiple issues concerning trans-border migration in the continent. He said Africa could not ignore all these threats while the rest of the world is debating strategies that would secure a sustainable environment. He explained that the theme, is a global issue and is relevant to Africa, though before now, it used to be central to European leaders’ debates. “But today, it is now a challenge to Africa as there are reports of illegal dumping of waste in some countries, oil spillages in Niger Delta region of Nigeria, drought and gold explorations in Mali. So, it is important that artists are using their works to comment on these issues. We can’t continue to live in a society that is in disequilibrium,” he noted. Sidibe stressed that photography is an effective medium that shows, tells, and sensitises the people by drawing attention to issues of sustainable environment. He


‘Environment is of concern to all’ By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)

effort to question issues of democracy and political freedom in the continent. “We asked some artists to work on it. So, in a way, it is deliberate and this year’s biennale is activist in content,” he declared. But still, the biennale, which will mark its 10th anniversary in 2013 is facing some major challenges in the area of preservation and digitalisation of archives, promoting African professional curators and critics and developing economic values for photography on the continent. Sidibe


explained that the National Museum of Mali has developed programmes on digitalising the archives of notable photographers such as Malick Sidibe in order to restore some of their ancient collection. “If we want local public to appreciate photography, we need African curators and critics in the promotion of the medium. Also, we need to discuss it, build the interest with the African scholars as major players. In fact, if the biennale is for African photographers, then we need African scholars, critics and curators in the discussion of photography to the world,” he noted. He stressed that there is also the need to create economic environment that would raise strong interest in photography, thereby giving it added value. He lamented that Africa has failed to develop economic environment for the thriving of art and photography, which he said, is a big challenge. “We may organise a debate on this issue of sustainable development,” he added. To promote the participation of the local people in the on-going biennale, the organisers are working with six graduate schools in Mali, holding photography workshops and arranging tours to the biennale venues. Bamako Encounters, which will run till New Year’s Day is curated Michket Krifa and Laura Serani and featuring 45 photographers, 10 videographers from 27 countries.

‘Writing for children requires special skills’

added that through the exhibits, the artists were able to examine the ways of life of African and if it is sustainable for the future generation. To him, photography is more than what it used to be decades ago, and should be explored to effect social change both in political and economic spheres. He disclosed that the featuring of photographs by Nermine Hamman on The Arab Spring was a deliberate

‘But today, it is now a challenge to Africa as there are reports of illegal dumping of waste in some countries, oil spillages in Niger Delta region of Nigeria, drought and gold explorations in Mali. So, it is important that artists are using their works to comment on these issues’

Akwa Ibom celebrates culture, tourism


O mark the Yuletide, the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Awazon Global, a consulting firm, is planning a major cultural event tagged: Akwa Mbono. The event with the theme: Rebranding and exporting Akwa Ibom State arts, culture and tourism internationally, will begin on December 19 and end on December 24. It will feature a summit at the Civil Service Auditorium in Uyo and a banquet /awards night at the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo. The event seeks to emphasise and showcase the untapped Akwa Ibom State ’s arts, culture and tourism potential for re-brand-

ing for international patronage, as well as facilitate yearly an assemblage of the arts, culture and tourism stakeholders in the state for “collective assessment, stock-taking and charting of a strategic course of action for arts, culture and tourism development.” Mr Joseph Utin, one of the consultants, said the show with the sub-themes “Promoting tourism for sustainable socio-economic development” and “The relevance of public-private partnership in tourism Development of Akwa Ibom” will have the state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, as the Special Guest of Honour, while his Deputy, Mr Nsima Ekere, the Speaker of Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, Mr Sam Ikon and his deputy, Obong Okon Uwah as well as the Minister

for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Edem Duke are billed as guests of honour. The state Chief Judge, Justice Idongesit Ntem-Isua, is also invited as guest of honour, while special guests are members of the state House of Assembly and members of the State Executive Council. The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism will serve as the chief host and give the welcome address for the weeklong event, while stakeholders in the arts, culture and tourism sector are expected as special participants. In the side attractions, an audience of 1, 500 are targeted between Monday, December 19 and Friday, December 23 at Ibom Plaza. Also, a targeted 1, 000 participants are expected at the summit, banquet and awards

night on Saturday, December 24, 2011. The event slated to take place at Ibom Plaza 1 will feature side attractions such as cultural and carnival float, cultural displays, music performances, dancing and singing competition, choral and Christmas carol renditions, comedy and drama. Each section of the cultural display would feature four select local government areas and reflect the ethnic diversities of the state. Others include talent hunts, kiddies and Santa Claus/Father Christmas show, arts and products exhibition, among others. The organisers urged the public to be part of the cultural show as everything has been arranged to make it a delightful event.



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BOOK FESTIVAL Babawale to open Lagos Book Festival


UNDE Babawale, a Professor of Political Economy, who runs the Centre For Black And African Arts and Civilisation(CBAAC), will open the 13th Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF 2011) on November 18, at the Freedom Park on Broad Street, in Lagos. Babawale will be delivering a keynote address with the theme: The Book In My Life. The festival opening session, at 9am, is largely for the young Nigerians (aged 11 to 18), at the Festival for whom the organisers have planned a robust segment. The first of the 10 panel sessions in the adult segment kicks off at 11am. Babawale will moderate that session with the theme: Africa In The Eyes Of The Other. Meanwhile, his opening address to the kids ”is expected to be a summary of the journey of the life of a high achieving individual in society”, according to Ayo Arigbabu, the Festival’s Project Director, “with emphasis on how Books have helped him reach where he is today”. Previous speakers have included Femi Osofisan, the country’s most distinguished professor of Drama, who gave a moving speech, in 2006, on how he discovered literature via the Bible and how reading has enabled him to escape a childhood life of poverty. “LABAF is the one book event with a high children participation”, Arigbabu said. “Last year, we hosted 1,200 kids to workshops on paintings, readings, photography; a range of experiences and, most crucially, discussions around books”.

Publishing online


IGITAL technology and its use in enhancing the business of publishing is the focus of the second annual Publishers Forum, scheduled for tomorow at the Goethe Institutthe German culture centre- in Lagos. “The Forum provides a concentrated space for key publishers in Nigeria to gain critical insight into their current operations within the context of the challenges facing their industry”, explains Ayo Arigbabu, the Forum’s director. “It is also for them to brainstorm on their findings and identify key steps that can be taken as individual businesses to improve their bottom line”. Arigbabu expects “participants to add value to their businesses through the intervention of key facilitators, critical feedback on their processes, input on the most challenging areas they have to deal with, all in the space of the four hours earmarked for this instructive business forum”. The event kicks off at 10am, and will be followed from 5pm to 6.30pm by a conversation (open to the public) tagged: Wooing the mass market where two publishers will share from their current work and their future plans, by discussing a selection from their publishing lists. “This year, we will have two publishers discuss their efforts at publishing online literary journals and what mileage the internet afforded them in their efforts. A digital display of past editions of their journals will be presented. The discussions will be brought to a close with a cocktail”. Mr Arigbabu describes the Publishers’ Forum as a ‘focus group’ or a strategy session with key facilitators as guide. “The forum is targeted at principals of publishing houses who seek to grow their market and are willing to engage in creative thinking towards identifying strategies that can make this possible for them whether within a collective or through their individual operations”.


Visual soliloquy as bouquet •Photographers on duty on the street


FTER a successful hosting of Auchi Polytechnic art workshop last May, the duo of Sam Ovraiti and Lekan Onabanjo in conjunction with the Fullworks Foundation is organising a joint art exhibition tagged: Contemporary water colour: A Visual Soliloquy, at the Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos, between December 10 and 15. It is also a way to round off the year as well as to inspire younger Nigerian artists to embrace the medium many perceive as difficult to handle, the organisers said. Each artist is expected to feature 35 paintings, which will be juried,

By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)

but these works will be mirroring individual artist reactions to daily happenings around in the society, ranging from governance, to environment, youths and family issues, technology and development. According to Ovraiti at a preview of some of the exhibits for the show in Lagos, the joint exhibition is a function of the long working relationship between him and Onabanjo since 1989. “We have been working together, and we found it workable to jointly hold a water colour exhibition to close the year.’ “At the exhibition, we expect viewers

Don laments dearth of authentic African literature


SCION of African Literature and renowned academic, Prof. Kole Omotoso, has described indigenous language as the best medium for projecting African literature and culture.. He said like their colonisers, indigenous African writers who use foreign language to capture the history and culture of the African people, end up making negative representation of their people. He explained that the people for whom the works are written are alienated as only a small percentage of them could identify with the works. Prof. Omotoso spoke at an interactive forum tagged, A Day Out With Professor Kole Omotoso, put together by the Department of English and Literary Studies,

•Omotoso From Damisi Ojo, Akure

Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko. He said the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti made more impression than any writer or artiste because he used ‘the language of the street’, which the masses could identify with. Prof. Omotoso,= noted that efforts to use indigenous languages to write African literature has proved abortive but recommended education as the easiest solution to language prob-

‘At the exhibition, we expect viewers to ‘hear’ our soliloquy as they view the exhibits. The show is a serious outing for us and to enable people buy the works, we are featuring five prints each to complement the original that will be showcased’ to ‘hear’ our soliloquy as they view the exhibits. The show is a serious outing for us and to enable people buy the works, we are featuring five prints each to complement the original that will be showcased,” Ovraiti said. He explained that the show is another way to bring back water colour medium to the fore as there is increasing interest in the medium, especially at the end of one of the recent art auction in Lagos. On why two artists if the show is to generate more interest, he said: “Only two of us are free and ready now to synergise for the show. The venue too is not large enough to take large collection.” lem. He, therefore, urged the government to set up language industries that will help students to translate, interpret, and make neologism of the indigenous languages. Prof. Omotoso, who spoke on “African Literature: The Past, The Present, and The Future”, said: “Our situation in terms of politics and economics has not changed and therefore our literature continues to be that of protest.” The Akure-born Professor noted that the writers persisted in their protest of government’s inadequacies because they were not comfortable with them. He observed that “political independence has not relieved African of the burden of continuous protestation against racism and economic exploitation. The poor quality of African political and economic leadership has made it impossible for Africans in their general representation as workers and peasants to return to the enjoyment of their natural resources supposedly returned to them at independence. “This particular situation of poor leadership and outright thievery of the political class has become a second theme of African literature besides the one of colonial protest of African humanity and humanism.” Earlier, the Dean of Postgraduate School, Prof. Francis Oyebade, who represented the vice-chancellor, Prof. Femi Mimiko, at the event welcomed the guest lecturer and restated the vice-chancellor’s commitment to ensuring that “the university has a Theatre Arts Department.”



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A kick against HIV/AIDS Residents of Abuja have risen against the HIV/AIDS scourge in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). But this time it was at the presentation of Omolara’s Diary at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja, reports TUNJI AJIBADE.


HE need for a united front against HIV/AIDS pandemic has once again been brought to the for with the launch of a new fictional work, Omolara’s Diary, in Abuja. It was an event that was attended members of the society who are concerned with the HIV/AIDS scourge from government ministries, departments and agencies, the public as well as the private sector. Speaking at the event, the Minister of Education, Prof Ruqayyatu A. Rufa’i, said the book was a significant, contribution to the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She expressed pleasure that the book would also help to promote reading culture, which she observed, is a main take in her sector, particularly as it affects the Read Campaign in her Ministry and President Goodluck Jonathan’s Bring Back the Books Initiative. Speaking through her representative, Mrs I.C.I. Mbanefo,the Minister pointed out that the presentation of Omolara’s book was unique in the sense that contrary to the practice of inviting people to book presentation for making money, those who were present at the venue were relevant segments of the society for whom the message in the book was most appropriate. She praised the author, Juliana Ebikwo, a staff member of the Federal Ministry of Education, for writing the book. She expressed the hope that students, youth and in would find it educative and informative. Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, noted that the fight against the scourge is continuous until the

pandemic is significantly checked. He added that book would be beneficial to both members of the society as well as the people living with HIV/AIDS. Speaking through his Representative, Mrs C. A. Babatunde, the NYSC Director-General further noted that no section of the society is left out of the effects of the pandemic as every person knows someone who is closely or remotely affected. The Chairman on the occasion and former Commissioner of Health in Kogi State, Dr Fred Achem, in his address observed that Omolara’s book would be of help to people living with HIV/AIDS and it could help them out of dejection. The book was reviewed by Seyi Adigun, a medical doctor, who noted that diaries are written records which encompass the daily routines, observations or other happenings in the author’s life. He pointed out that these kinds of diaries are non-fictional, while fictional diaries, such as Omolara’s Diary, only employs the diary format and style to tell stories. He recalled fictional diaries of African authors, such as Cameroonian Ferdianand Oyono’s Houseboy (written in French and later translated into English) as well as the Diary of a bad Year by the South African Nobel Prize winner, J.M. Coetzee. The tragic tale in the book began with a road accident that involved the entire Briscobilo family. The mother died and Omolara and her father sustained serious injuries. She was treated and she later resumed lectures at the University of Ibadan. She had brief love affair with Aliyu, a final year student in her faculty. When she later joined other students for an HIV/AIDS sta-

tus check, she tested positive. There opened a long melancholy chapter in her life. In the 333 entries in her diary, Omolara presented to the reader her origin, her family, her personality, her thoughts, spirituality, fears, hopes, and her character. She was a female teenager thrown into a web from which extraction would be difficult. What was unique in her vicissitude was not the burden she had to bear but the rapidity with which they came to her – the loss of her mother, her own injuries,, the subsequent loss of her father, her shaky start at the university, and the discovery of her HIV/AIDS status, all in quick succession. The book has seven chapters (number of perfection), and across these chapters that metaphorically represented her entire life, the protagonist described death, burial, sorrow, mourning. She also painted scenes of love, friendship, resilience, dignity, and hope. And in Omolara’s Diary, the author shows that hope must be kept alive for those infected and for the human race, and that mankind would eventually triumph over scourge. Pupils of Federal Government College, Garki, Abuja, provided live music at the event, and they also made musical presentations to the appreciation of the audience. The event held with the support of Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF). Present at the event was Hon. Hussain Inah Ismail, a member of the House of Representatives, as well as representatives from the National Library, Ministry of Defence, Women Affairs and Social Development, Health, Agriculture, Works, Central Bank, Education Research Centre, Abuja, Education Trust Fund, Tertiary Education Trust Fund and Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

CRAZY to inspire youths



Nigeria FashionWeek goes green All is set as this year's edition of the Nigeria FashionWeek which kick-off tomorrow at the prestigious MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos. With its theme Going Green, the organisers said: "It is meant to draw attention to climate change by encouraging values that will ensure a sustainable environment. To this end, one of the shows of the week, Going Green Collection, will be dedicated to drawing awareness to climate change. During this show segment, designers will be made to use recycled materials to prepare their collection." It will feature daily fashion shows, exhibition/buyers and sellers lounges, workshops and after-event parties. The fashion fiesta, organised by Legendary Gold Limited in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Culture & Tourism and the World Fashion Organisation, will fea-

ture designers within and outside the country. The three-day event will be declared open by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, with a red carpet at 10 am on Thursday, November 17. The last year's edition of the Nigeria Fashion Week was declared open by Nigeria's First Lady, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan. It will run till Saturday, November 19. Each day will feature two shows: the morning show which will begin at 12 noon and that of the evening at 6pm. The fashion feast, the organisers said, is an affiliate event to the World Fashion Week organised by the World Fashion Organisation. According to them, over 32 local designers, as well as international ones are already on ground, expected to showcase their works.

EGRANGE Child Foundation will be launching a new film entitled: 1920 under the Creating Real Avenue for Zealous Youth (CRAZY) on the November 24 in Ogun State. The film project is in partnership with DePrime Foundation. The Project Manager of the Foundation, Abayomi Rotimi Mighty said the film is an intervention set out to address the messy situation of the entertainment and television world by creating platform for empowerment of possessed youth who would have been exposed to the teachings of core moral values. Mighty said: "From the mountain top of Kilimanjoro to the valleys of Obudu, from the rich city of Lagos to the slums of Africa, one will find raw energies of African youths rich enough to bring great changes to Africa and the world, hence Project CRAZY is a dream come true as it will open doors of opportunities for the youths of the African continent, particularly the youth at the grassroots". He noted that the film is a reflection of what young people can achieve when they remain focus, determined and patience in the midst of mounting challenges of life, was shot by young people to raise funds for the construction of their proposed Youth Centre in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. The United Nation Youth Ambassador asserted that report have shown that most of the movies and music released contains unhealthy languages which endanger the psychosocial growth of the children of this generation. He stated further that the foundation has developed 987 stories ready to be scripted into films and 1, 217 songs and other creative initiatives to be developed for the youth. I strongly believe that if the opportunities are created for the youth to develop and express their God-given talents, they will do great exploits and bring great changes to our society particularly Nigerian and the African society", he said.

BOOK FESTIVAL Rolling Dollar, Clark, Idonije for CORA’s birthday party


HE highlife musician Fatai Rolling Dollar is the oldest of the group of media and culture enthusiasts, artists and scholars who will be honoured at the Freedom Park on Broad Street in Lagos on November 19. And he will be performing with his band. November 19 is the second day of the edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival. As a rule, the Committee For Relevant Art (CORA), organisers of the Festival, uses this day to celebrate those culture producers who have had a landmark birthday or the other during the year. “Those who make the list are not just anybody,”says Deji Toye, chairman of the jury that decided on the honorees. “These are people who, in the course of the lives they’ve so far lived, have made significant contributions to the media and arts”. The party, this year is for Fatai Rolling Dollar at 85, the novelist Chukwuemeka Ike at 80, the music critic Benson Idonije at 75; the actress Taiwo Ajai-Lycett at 70; the culture scholar Ebun Clark at 70; the singer/entertainer Charly Boy at 60; the actor Richard Mofe-Damijo at 50; the dancer/choreographer Yeni Kuti at 50, the actress Joke Silva at 50; the music critic and publisher Femi AkintundeJohnson at 50; and the culture scholars Tunde Babawale, Sola Olorunyomi and Remi Raji at 50. “We are having a big feast for them and their families”, Toye explains, “under a massive tent”. The Lagos Book and Art Festival is a comprehensive, three-day events featuring readings, conversations around books, art and craft displays, kiddies’ art workshops and reading sessions, book exhibitions, live music and dance. It’s a festival of the arts with high book content.

Oil executives hold debate


ORMER Director, Chevron Nigeria Bayo Akinpelu, will moderate a conversation between Austin Avuru, Femi Aisida and Dayo Adegoke on the theme: The book as the key to the knowledge economy at the Freedom Park in Lagos on Sunday, November 20. Mr Avuru is the Chief Executive of Seplat Petroleum, the Nigerian E&P company which produces 37,000Barrels of oil a day; Aisida oversees Energy and Mineral Resources(EMR) and Adegoke is Managing Director of Mosenergy. Both companies are hydrocarbon consulting firms. The conversation involves reading, reviews and discussions around four books, including Malcolm Gladwell’s The tipping point, Niall Ferguson’s The ascent of Money: A financial History of the World, and Tom Friedman’s The World is flat as well as Hot. Flat and Crowded. The discussions are taking place as part of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, a three day festival of the written word, now in its 12th year. The festival involves drama skits, music, 10 panel sessions around 26 books, and a lavish party for icons of Nigerian culture landscape headlined by Fatai Rolling Dollar.

ANA Lagos gets new executive


HE Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos branch has got new executives. It held its bi-annual election at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. At the end, Dagga Tolar retained his post as the chapter chair; Amos Onileagbon emerged as his deputy; Ayo Dada (Secretary); Onwuzurike Donald Ejike (Financial Secretary); Chuka Igwe (Treasurer); and Dumbiri Frank Eboh (Publicity Secretary). It was witnessed by Fola Agoi, who represented the General Secretary, Hyncinth Obunseh, among others..



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•Wole Lagunju’s Iyalode

•Shonibare’s Mr and MrsAndrew without their heads

The Tree of Life: Lawino Kituba


R. and Mrs. Andrews Without Their Heads, an installation by Yinka Shonibare, marks the end of African art as we know it. It is a door of no return because the kituba tree in Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino (henceforth known as Lawino kituba) has decapitated the two human figures in Shonibare’s installation. In a similar but distinctive vein, Wole Lagunju’s Iyalode Market, (the subject of my essay last week) defines another cultural no man’s land, a point of no return, as African art marches into complex crossroads to open up new vistas, map out alien pockets of creative ideas, and climb up the Lawino kituba tree if they want. Is this a variation of negritude, this use of “African” fabrics to adorn objects in Shonibare and Lagunju’s works? With Shonibare interrogating figures in literal terms and Lagunju lending a conceptual reading, their works transcend the negritude movement in many significant ways, nor is their approach a neoNegritude invocation. Negritude is a raceoriented philosophy for making and critiquing art. It valorizes and exemplifies the art of black people as distinctive and superior because of the perception that it is more humanistic than the culture of white people—which is perceived as colonising and lacking in humanistic values, thus inferior. One of the leading ideologues of the Negritude movement, Leopold Senghor, asserted that, “Race is a reality—I do not mean racial purity. There is difference, but not inferiority or antagonism.” In other words, Senghor proposed that the art of black people does not have to be antagonistic, although it is necessarily different but not inferior to the western art. Wole Soyinka disagrees. He believes that the artist operates in a wider humanistic context that transcends race, and that the work of the African, black, Caucasian, or Asian artist embraces “the re-appraisal of the whole human phenomenon.” In other words, Soyinka does not propose an African or black aesthetics that considers the culture of the past as perfect. Soyinka regards the art of every society as human, therefore mortally flawed. In his essay The Fourth Stage, he argues that even African gods and goddesses are imperfect, thus perfectly disposed to understanding the flaws of the human communities they serve. Without understanding their own blemishes the divinities would be too judgmental of the frailness of people, thus incapable of supplying human needs and addressing mortal excesses. What makes people human is the balancing of their capabilities within the limitations of their inadequacies. From the tragic pangs of funeral wailing, crying became

The papers on my husband’s desk Coil threateningly Like the giant forest climbers, Like the kituba tree That squeezes other trees to death. —Okot p’Bitek, The Song of Lawino By Moyo Okediji

CRITIQUE an element of music, at the beginning of the world. At that same time and spot that humankind faces the knowledge of their death and deficiencies, the making of images celebrates rebirths and immortalizes the humanity of spiritual values. Shonibare and Lagunju draw on this understanding of the human nature, which compels them to produce works that do not position African art as pure, untainted, or uncontaminated with foreign values. They produce works that places African art in complicated ferments of culture where ideas are constantly shifting, where continents share icons and canons across sea barriers, beyond the racial boundaries drawn in negritude. The figural art of negritude invokes the works of Ben Enwonwu. In his hand, Negritude’s Afrocentric story discovers a dexterous visual artist who rendered with figures, the volumes of romantic lines written by poets, novelists and playwrights mostly in French and English. Negritude poet laureate, Leopold Senghor, had invented a means of weaving romantic verses around political themes, using the black female figure as the poetic thread. Enwonwu gave visual resonance to Senghor’s sensuous verses. Soyinka remarked that, “Senghor’s leaping meters of human passion are equally cries of nostalgia for a distant homeland and for that missing essence of himself which he later celebrated more overtly in the doctrine of negritude. The objects of

his love sooner or later become completely identified with homeland; his invocations take on the urgency of an initiate awaiting fulfillment from ancestral presences.” Enwonwu’s negritude work raises the question of the imminent death of African art in the stranglehold of Westernization, by Lawino kituba. After the contact with Western cultures, does African art face gradual death, squeezed to death by the aggressive contortions of Western influences? Is Western culture the Lawino kituba, the tree of life that, like a boar constrictor, kills any plant it encounters in the forest? These questions faced young Nigerian artists in the late 1950s, and continue to confront them today. In the late 50s, young Nigerian artists studying at the Nigerian College of Art, Science and Technology (now Ahmadu Bello University) in Zaria decided to rebel against the legacy of Aina Onabolu, and the teachings of their Westernised professors. Now known as the Zaria Rebels, these young art students, including Bruce Onobrakpeya, Demas Nwoko, and Uche Okeke, produced manifestos detailing the aspirations of the group for a decolonised new art. The manifestos asked for sentimental innovations. As the Princeton art historian, Chika Agulu-Okeke has noted, “The members of the Zaria Art Society were not alone in that quest for a new art. Several other young artists who formed no associations, but were conversant with the political and cultural currents of the time, were equally involved. They all shared the belief (which differed markedly from that of the ‘Zaria Rebels’) that there was no future for a modern Nigerian art located in, and defined

‘The members of the Zaria Art Society were not alone in that quest for a new art. Several other young artists who formed no associations, but were conversant with the political and cultural currents of the time, were equally involved. They all shared the belief (which differed markedly from that of the ‘Zaria Rebels’) that there was no future for a modern Nigerian art located in, and defined and sustained solely by, indigenous art traditions’

and sustained solely by, indigenous art traditions. For them the spirit of political independence also dictated a replacement of colonial academic art with avant-garde, modern (read Western) forms and ideas.” Enwonwu’s romantic vision gave way to new variants and transformations of neonegritude practices and thoughts in the art of Nwoko, Okeke, and Onobrakpeya. Building on the pioneering contributions of Onabolu’s single figure in urban contexts, and departing from Lasekan’s folksy group figures, Enwonwu’s negritude figures open new departures into romantic composition, from which emerges a lively crop of figural styles. Lagunju’s Iyaloja Market gifted the human figure with an ancient foreign language of fabrics and paints, when he moved to the United States in 1997. In Iyaloja Market Lagunju translates the human figure in to an alien in a lost native land. Lagunju’s paintings are not simply objects but also the subjects of a global dissolution, where strange figure witness and participate in the balancing of market forces. His disposable matter is created, but never wasted or spent, and after the dead rejoins the shelf with enhanced market values, where it is exchanged and recycled within a global capitalist commodity system. It is inside this cyclic architecture that it alienates itself behind a global foreign language. In Iyaloja Market, Lagunju notices the power of globalisation to brand, mechanise, and dehumanise people. But he also understands that the resilient human spirit has learned to resist and survive, and to quickly adapt and rebirth itself from the wastes of its own exhaustion. Shonibare and Lagunju’s textile collages, discarded objects, and installations drive the painted figure beyond the “depiction” or “interpretation” level of popular figural painting. Through the voices of both artists, the human figure speaks a complicated visual language to the world. Their works articulate the alien’s four-dimensional feelers for figuring out things with visual proverbs: in a world suddenly gone strange, the art certainly looks strange after the death of African art inside the constriction of Lawino kituba. Away from the shades of the conceptual kituba tree, Lagunju displays his ware and takes his seat in Iyalode Market; his actual body completes the work. Without harming it, Shonibare’s work coils like Lawino kituba around a Thomas Gainsborough 1750 masterpiece, Mr and Mrs Andrew Without Their Heads. They fit like two trees of life giving a big hug to a long-lost friend; and in this embrace, without one the other feels incomplete. •Okediji is of the University of Texas in Austin, USA.



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An alluring evening of reading The South African-based Nigerian, Yewande Omotoso, has held her debut reading in Lagos. It was a suspense-filled event that left the audience yearning for her book, EVELYN OSAGIE reports.


ECKED in a short blue dress, Yewande Omotoso took her audience into the world of her book that evening at the Jazzhole, Lagos. It was one of dreams, nightmares, curses, myths, excitement and more. "The book is about a troubled young man Leke," began Yewande as she gave a summary of her book entitled Bom Boy. "He is adopted by an academic white couple and lives with them in the suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. He grew up pretty estrange. When he turned 19, his step father gave him a series of letters written to him by his Nigerian father, Oscar whom he has never met. And in reading them, he learns about a family curse which has haunted the males in the family for generations. But you would have to read the book to know what the curse is about." The daughter of a frontline scholar, Prof. Kole Omotoso, proved a vibrant voice to watch as she took her audience on a voyage into her book. Hers was an unconventional sort of reading. She began from this the end of the 255-page book. It was a good strategy because it aroused the suspense of her audience from the very beginning. She held their attention from then on. This inspired in them an desire to go and consume the whole book with a mind of find ing what the curse is and more. She read first from a chapter on Oscar in page 186 entitled: Saturday 17th October 1992. As the day progressed, the audience found that her chapters had dates as its titles. The book, Yewande said, took her two years to write. "The story moves from 2012 and 1992 and further back when Oscar was growing up in Ile-Ife, Nigeria; and his father writes these letters from prison in Cape Town.” She read: “For Leke: I love the thunderstorms that flashed through the campus…Sango the God of the sky had thrown it down to earth… I did have nightmares. Sango and Obatala would fight…" And so she took the audience into the early days of Oscar in Cape Town; and his world of dreams. Like his father, Leke is also caught up in the world of dreams, it was learnt, as Yewande read some chapters on him. More than that, it was discovered that Leke has a psychological problem - one of loneliness and alienation that leads him oftentimes to psychologists just for the fun of having company. Leke, Yewande said, feels estranged because he finds himself a black boy having parents who are white-skinned. Aside the suspense her reading created, she dazzled the audience with the way the words came as she read.The audience felt drawn in by her her accent as well as her accent. They felt a deep sense of connection with her characters, especially Oscar and Leke, protagonist, as she read on about their experiences. The book is not the usual psycho-dramatic novel with weird characters. As an architect, Yewande’s book is a story woven around some Yoruba mythology. This gives the novel a historical and contemporary feel at the same time. The book, she said, was born out of series of researches, adding that at some point her research took her to visiting

•Yewande signing a copy of her book for Mobolaji.


‘My father surrounded us with stories, telling us a lot of folktales. And I read his books on Ifa divination. My father used to sing the song Babalawo mo wa bebe’ a native doctor in South Africa once alongside researching into Ifa divination. "My father surrounded us with stories, telling us a lot of folktales. And I read his books on Ifa divination. My father used to sing the song Babalawo mo wa bebe. I decided to use it in my book," she said. Interestingly, that song was a constant feature throughout the book, it was learnt. Speaking on how much of her background is reflected in her work, she said: "It is not exactly my own story. I did not write it to write about mine. The book is written to challenge South Africa about their stereotypes about Nigeria. When we went to South Africa in 1992, it was pre1994, pre-election dealing with being black: and coming to South Africa then means being black. And being black means been the odd one out. Black middle class was a

surprise. I didn't make friends until three years. You can imagine how it felt being a white-dominated school with kids who were seeing a black kid for the first time. That got me confused. Not being able to always fit in helped me as wrote the book." The event was attended by writers among who were Odia Ofeimun, Mobolaji Adenubi, Akeem Lasisi. For a first book, the audience commended her efforts. Ofeimun praised her style, saying she fresh and unique. Yewande was born in Barbados and grew up in Nigeria with her Nigerian father, West Indian mother and two older brothers. She and her family moved to South Africa in 1992 and have lived there ever since. She is an architect; space and buildings being a passion of hers second only to words and literature. She currently lives in Cape Town working as a designer, freelance writer and novelist.

Dirge for The Nation man Johnson


T was Monday morning, three days after the late Christopher Adekunle Johnson was buried at Sango cemetery, Bodija, Ibadan, in Oyo State, that I observed the unique chair the late Johnson used to sit and tears rolled down my cheek. It also later dawned on me that the exclusive occupier of that seat was no more. The chair is still there waiting for Johnson. Sadly, KJ as he was fondly called, will never be around again. It happened on October 1, Nigeria’s independence day, which was a day of joy and celebration. Celebration in Cross River State will remain fresh in the minds of journalists in that state. It was, indeed, a black day, the day we lost one of our veterans to the cold hands of death. Johnson passed on at about 3.00 am on October 1, 2011. It was a day to mark the 51st Independence anniversary of Nigeria as a nation. All journalists were at the main bowl of the U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar except the THE NATION’s Correspondent, who incidentally, was on admission at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Calabar. Kunle Johnson did not wait to wit-

From Rasheed Zubair

ness the celebration before he answered the Lord’s call after a brief illness. He was a dedicated professional, who believed in objective reporting. Kunle, the journalists’ journalist, who practised journalism with a sense of excellence and bias on adherence to the ethics of the profession was born on January, 27, 1951. He hailed from Ilesa in Osun State and started his career in 1978 with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Ibadan. He was transferred to Calabar in 1988, when he later resigned his appointment and joined the Third Eye Newspaper, from there, to the Monitor and Comet newspapers. He moved to The Nation newspaper where he served as the Correspondent and Bureau Chief in Cross River State until his death. During his lying In State at the NUJ Press Centre, Ibadan, testimonies were given by those who knew Kunle and of note were Alhaji Kola Animashaun, who facilitated Kunle’s entrance into journalism. Bode Oyewole, Enigang Ndem, and Anietie Akpan, The

Deputy News Editor of the Nation’s Newspaper Mr Olubunmi Ogunmodede, who represented Vintage Press Communication, said the late Kunle was never summoned to the head office due to his dedication to duties, hard work and commitment to the growth of the organisation. Condolence from Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State and his wife, Obioma to the bereaved family also showed that journalist’s contributions to the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria, was not in vain. The Best Developmental/Philosophical Journalist of the year in Cross River State in1999 is no more. Death is every man’s destination and will come when it will come. Kunle Johnson lived an exemplary and courageous life. May Almighty Allah give the family, the NUJ family in Oyo and Cross River State, the government and people of Cross River and Osun states the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Adieu Egbon (Brother). Adieu Kunle Johnson, your exclusive chair at the NUJ Calabar is still lying unoccupied. •Zubair works with Galaxy Television, Ikeja, Lagos.

•Late Johnson



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

The dance troupes on stage after their performances; in front, Cantrell and Scantlebury.


Dancing to unite two worlds It was a unique festival of dance. America's Battery Dance Company connected with its Nigerian counterparts through dance, courtesy the United States Consulate General, Lagos. The result was an electrifying sight to behold on stage at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. EVELYN OSAGIE reports.


ast Saturday, the world became one at Dancing to Connect, which brought on stage America and Nigeria dance moves. It was a dance feast that brought together Ameircan and Nigeria’s dance troupes at the Exhibition Hall of the National Theatre, Lagos. Lagosians had a taste of America’s Battery Dance Company (BDC) ‘s world-class moves as they performed alongside Nigerian dance troupes, including the National Troupe of Nigeria and others who were part of the four-day workshop tagged: Dancing to Connect. BDC crew, Robin Cantrell and Sean Scantlebury, took guests beyond the continent with their scintillating moves during their performances. They evoked various emotions in their audience as their dancesteps would often take electrifying turn at each performance. Cantrell’s sole performances were very expressive. Equally, impressive was her combined performances with Scantlebury. They got the audience excited as they played out a typical male and female relationship which in real life, is usually unpredictable - sometimes as turbulent as the sea itself. The audience felt the turbulence in their movements and steps as they fought and made-up. Their salvage dance that came at the end was simply divine. It was a dance of colours, which they would usually take from small calabashes scattered across the stage . "The dance is a divinity one that tries to appreciate what we are together - whether black or white, we are one," Scantlebury said of the dance. Like the other members of the group, it was his first time in Nigeria. And he said of his experience: "It was fantastic being here. It was a great opportunity experiencing your fine dancers." The struggle for recognition and in trying to eke a living is not peculiar to Nigerian artists alone as Scantlebury noted:

‘The whole idea is to unite two international commuities through dance and that is what has happened. Dance is a universal language’ "It is kind of hard trying to live as a dancer in New York because there so many dance companies." According to Barry Steele, Battery Dance Company seeks to connect communities through dance. "This is what we do, bringing free classes, lectures and performances to cities and towns worldwide. We have been to 36 countries reaching across geographic and linguistic borders to relate the vocabulary of dance to the language of everyday life in a way that stimulates and sustains a global appreciation for contemporary. We invite other dancers and artists to share their experience. At the end they designed their piece. Today, the participants themselves will be bringing to you two of the creation from the workshop." As part of its connecting the world through Dance project, American Dance Company held a three-day workshop with 25 Nigerians from various Nigerian dance groups, including a few first-timers. The workshop, was held in collaboration with Society of Performing Artists (SPAN), began on Tuesday, November 8. The resource persons were Cantrell, Steele and Sarah Boulos from SPAN, and Spirit of David. At the end of the workshop, participants had the opportunity of performing on stage alongside their American counterparts. They treated the audience to two performances. Their first piece began in a traditional note; and then moved

into the contemporary. They gave Yoruba-speaking audience something to chew as they started their performance with a folktale of a woman who was barren for 10 years eventually gave birth to 10 children at once after facing years of humiliation. Equally thrilling was the National Troupe's contemporary Kolanut Dance that brought with it the luscious taste of Kolanut. As the saying in this part, "that he who brings Kolanut brings life, the troupe brought live to the stage that evening with its opening. Chants were offered to the Kolanuts in the three major Nigerian languages at the beginning of the performances. The troupe re-enacted through dance the ways Kolanut is used in this part of the world. The marriage part was the most rousing. The event was organised by the Public Affairs Section of the United States Consulate, Lagos. The United States Consulate Public Diplomacy Officer, Peter Piness, said: "We proud to present to the Battery Dance Company from New York City. They have worked hard over the last one week and I know they are excited to present all that they have been working on." Boulos said the dance project goes a long way to show how two communities can relate through dance. "The whole idea is to unite two international commuities through dance. and that is what has happened. Dance is a universal language. As a community-based dance company, the Battery Dance Company, they were wonderful. The collaboration them and SPAN is on because also a community. We would love to bringthem back. We hope that this would mean the beginning of great collaboration between our dance companies. While commending the National Theatre administrators for providing the venue for free, she urged them to make the place available to Nigerian dancers for free. "I challenge the national theatre over this venue to be a place that all the dance groups would be able to come for free as a home,." she said.



Flooded community residents seek help


esidents of Akute, Ogun State, have sought government’s intervention after River Ogun overflowed its bank and flooded the area. A crucial bridge in the community has also been overrun by the flood waters, compounding the challenges of the residents. Making it across the flooded area leaves the people with few choices. Those who take to the water, for instance, hitch their trousers or skirts way up the thigh, moving as slowly as possible in order not to step into a depresion or dash a foot against an object. Those who will not step into the flood waters ride on the back or shoulders of some enterprising youths. One of those youths, Mr. Wasiu Salami, said: “The issue is that the government needs to construct a new bridge so that water will be able to flow well.” Salami also spoke about his new business, saying, “We are only doing it to help people who cannot go into the water by carrying them on our shoulders.” He said a government official has come to look at the level of water and the extent of damage it has caused, adding that the government will look into the situation soon. Speaking with one of the passengers who said she couldn’t enter the water, because its dirty and can also cause sickness if they go through and that she had no other option than to pay one of the boys to carry her across. Transporters have also cashed in on the situation to exploit commuters. Commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as okada riders have raised their fare, as have bus drivers. Owing to the flood, it now takes much more time for people to get to their destinations. Okada riders now charge N250 instead of N100,


S the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, (FUOYE), Ekiti State formally takes off in January next year, Oye and Ikole, which are the host communities, are preparing for the influx of students, workers and visitors to the areas. Pioneer students would start taking lectures in Oye and Ikole campuses of the institution. However,

• Residents wade through the water By Shehu Bello

while bus drivers now charge N150 as against the old fare of N50. At the Jolasco area of Akute, lack of proper drainage system has also led to flooding of the road and the main entrance to Osolo town. The development has mostly confined people to their homes or forced others to find alternative routes to their destinations. One of the residents, Damilare Awolemi appealed to the state government to come to their aid. “The flood around Jolasco is too

much and is giving us a lot of problems,” he said. “I don’t know why government doesn’t want to help us; we are not the cause of the water. Why are they neglecting this place? The water is really affecting our business, even most shop owners have had to close their shops because of the water while cars are breaking down trying to pass through the water.” he said. A tanker driver who simply identified himself as Wale said his tanker has being trapped in the flood for four days.Jonathan

The flood around Jolasco is too much and is giving us a lot of problems. I don’t know why government doesn’t want to help us; we are not the cause of the water. Why are they neglecting this place

Ekiti community lauds Jonathan, senator over varsity By Emmanuel Oladesu

since the institution has no residential facilities, indigenes are cooperating with authorities to solve the accommodation challenges.

Massive recruitment of academic and non-academic employees has been embarked upon by the institution management. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has resumed office in Oye-Ekiti, which hosts the main campus of the uni-

•Iba Local Council Development Area Chairman, Princess Ramota Oseni (left) watches the councillor representing Ward ‘B’ Ismaila Olohunkemo signing his certificate of return. With them is the legal officer, Mrs O. R. Sulaiman (right)

versity. The two towns hosting the university; Oye and Ikole, have ended their disagreement over the location of the institution. FUOYE is taking off with five faculties, namely Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Agriculture and Engineering. The Faculty of Humanities offers courses in English and Literary Studies and Theatre Arts. The Faculty of Social Sciences offers four courses; Economics and Development Studies, Demography and Statistics, Psychology and Sociology. Seven courses are available in the Science Faculty. They are Biotechnology, Microbiology, Industrial Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics and Geophysics. In the Faculty of Agriculture, there are six courses; Agricultural Economics and Extension, Soil Science, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Water Resources Management and Agro-Meteorology, Forestry and Wildlife Management,

and Hotel Management and Tourism. Faculty of Engineering offers seven courses. They are Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronics, Food Science and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Material and Metallurgical Engineering and Agricultural and Bio-Resources Engineering. Oye-Ekiti indigenes in Lagos have congratulated the traditional ruler of the ancient town on the birth of the university. They also praised President Goodluck Jonathan for establishing the institution and Senator Ayo Arise for the positive role he played in ensuring that Oye-Ekiti is the host community. A statement by the association said: “History will never forget President Goodluck Jonathan and Senator Ayo Arise for their roles in the establishment of the first federal university in our ancient town”.

History will never forget President Goodluck Jonathan and Senator Ayo Arise for their roles in the establishment of the first federal university in our ancient town



Mark, Suntai, Danjuma storm Lagos for awards


GALAXY of eminent personalities including Senate President David Mark, the Taraba State governor Danbaba Suntai, and the elder statesman Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma are expected at the maiden edition of the Jukun yearly distinguished merit awards which takes place in Lagos next Saturday. The event which is to recognise the contributions of indig-

By Yinka Aderibigbe

enous Jukun people to the development of their homeland will take place at the Naval Officers Mess, Victoria Island, Lagos. Disclosing this at a press conference held to herald the event, the spokesman of the Jukuns Development Association Mr Benjamin Danburmo, said; “the event is to acknowledge the con-

We plan to make it an annual thing and it is aimed at encouraging prominent Jukun people, especially those who have exhibited some courage in their endeavour and discharged their responsibilities equitably


he Muslium Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Remo ‘B’Area Council, have honoured individuals and groups that contributed to the growth of the real ideals of Islam among youths and indigenes of IperuRemo community, in Ogun State. Islam is a religion of peace, moral rectitude and obedience to Almighty Allah, it said. They chose a Saturday to mark the event at the town’s Multi-Purpose Hall. Students dressed in their uniforms, members of the Ansaruud-Deen, the town’s imams witnessed the double-fold ceremony: transfer of leadership baton and Award Presentation. The new President (Amir) of MSSN, Mr. Sharafdeen Adeyemi succeeded Mr Tijani Misbaudeen.

tributions of some personalities whose contributions have elevated Jukunland.” He disclosed that no fewer than 11 persons among them the Chairman of Comet Shipping Ltd, Chief Musa Danjuma, the Deputy Director of Finance at the National Assembly, Chief David Sabo Kente, a prominent political and traditional leader,Chief Jibril Anfani, and Chief Simeon Dodo, (SAN), would lead other awardees at the event. Danburmo said also packaged as part of the event, is a lecture with the theme: Mobilising for socio-economic development of Jukunland, a new perspective. He added that the event is the first of its kind by the association and “we plan to make it an annual thing and it is aimed at encouraging prominent Jukun people, especially those who have exhibited some courage in


ruler of Jukunland, Aku-Uka of Wukari, Dr Shekarau Angyu Masa-Ibi Kuvyu II, who is expected to put a royal seal on the awards and deliver a motivational talk at the event.

Muslim society instals leader From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

And not surprisingly, the Chairman Ikenne Local Government, Mr Sunday Olufemi, Dr (Mrs) Aishat Ayodele Lawal, Chief, Abdul Fatai Okunuga, among others, were called for recognition and conferment of award. They were given award for their moral and financial support for MSSN in Remo. The outgoing president, Mr Tijani Misbaudeen, in his welcome speech, said leadership in whatever capacity is not an easy task, noting that it entails sacrifice, discipline, sense of purpose, trust, honesty, courage and firmness for one to succeed.

Leading the MSSN in the last few years, Misbaudeen added, was exciting and challenging too, but he added that with the cooperation of members, past leaders and help from those being honoured, he was able to take the Society further than where he met it. He advised his successor to be courageous so that he too can succeed immensely at the end of his tenure. On issues affecting the nation, he said the current state of insecurity in Nigeria especially the recent bomb attack in Damaturu in Yobe State by people suspected to be members of Islamic fundamentalists Boko Haram, is a big threat to

Club inaugurates president



their endeavour and discharged their responsibilities equitably. We also want to use the forum to mobilise the youths for effective contributions to the development of their homeland.” He continued: “Eleven people were selected for the award. Let me quickly say that those who might find their names missing on the honours’ list this year, should understand that it was not due to non-performance, but because the awards are in batches. The spokesman said the award which would henceforth be held every year is meant to acknowledge the contributions of every Jukun sons and daughters who have continued to the growth and development of the town. He disclosed that a royal torch would be added to the glamour as the association is expecting the presence of the traditional

HE Ikeja Club, Lagos, has inaugurated its new president, Mr Oluwanishola Olaofe. The investiture ceremony which was held on the club premises along Obafemi Awolowo Way, attracted relatives, friends and dignitaries. In his acceptance speech, the newly elected President promised to take the club to higher heights during his tenure through developmental projects. Mr Olaofe said the profile of the club will improve under his presidency, and that it will soon be spo-

ken of in the same breath as its other sister clubs within the Lagos metropolis. Some distinguished Nigerians who had excelled in their endeavours were also honoured during the ceremony. They included the Rector of the Lagos City Polytechnic, the first private higher institution in Nigeria, Mr O. Odufuwa, Chief Tajudeen Okoya, chairman/chief executive of Taju Industries, Isolo, Lagos and the chairman of Ikeja Local Government, Hon. A Odunlami.

•From left: Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mrs Idiat Adebule; ACN chieftain, Pa Abiodun Sunmola and Oba of Lagos, Oba Riliwan Akiolu during the swearing-in of Lagos council Chairmen at LTV Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Lagos

collective existence and unity of Nigeria. No fewer than 150 lives were lost in the incident. According to him the incessant bomb attacks in parts of the North, and the continuous Jos crisis can only be resolved by rule of law and making the perpetrators and sponsors to face justice. He equally urged the united Nations and African Union to wake up from their slumber and attend to the state of civil unrest created in Syria and Yemen and other nations that are experiencing the ‘Arab spring’ because its devastation on lives, civilizations and properties. Tijani called on the federal government to declare state of emergency in educational sector of the nation in the light of the persistent mass failure recorded in the National Examination (WAEC and NECO) in the recent time to avoid

state of stagnation in human development. He said there is wisdom in the concept of Islamic banking remain that was subject of heated subjective debate recently, saying it remains one of the the best alternatives and solution to develop and reinvigorate the nation’s ailing economy. ‘’Islamic banking should be accepted and supported by all as it offers options for the attainment of poverty –free Society and for realization of vision 20:20:20.The critics should put sentiment apart and address the issue objectively .Islamic banking is not meant to Islamise the country,”said Misbaudeen. The new President, MSSN, IperuRemo, Adeyemi, commended his predecessor for his leadership qualities that helped to put the organisation on course and pledged to always seek his experience to guide him the new assignment.

Ondo community laments poor education standard


NDIGENES of Ilaje in Ilaje Local Government area of Ondo State have sent a passionate appeal to the state government to find solution to the continual deterioration in the standard of education in the riverine areas. Some of the indigenes under the aegis of Marine Klub of Ilajeland (MKI) stated that there was a need for the government to put infrastructures to make teaching and learning conducive in the both primary and secondary schools in the area. Speaking during the 10th anniversary of the club and 2011 Annual Scholarship Award in Igbokoda, the Headquarter of the local government at the weekend, its President, Mr Goke Jatuwase said the general assessment of the students of the area in awarding the scholarship showed that their performances were dropping on yearly basis. At the ceremony where educational materials were presented to some indigent secondary students in the local government, Jatuwase, attributed the problem to the inability of students to have good study materials and conducive learning environment in the schools of the oil-producing communities. He said: “The inabilities of the students to have access to study materials and a conducive study environment have greatly affected negatively the performance of our students. It is equally of note that most of our teachers that are constitution-

From Damisi Ojo,Akure

ally engaged to teach the students have abandoned their duty post for politics. “By this singular act, the concentration required in teach of the students has fallen and subsequently resulted into poor academic performance. The concept of neutrality that is supposed to exist in the ranks of the teachers as public servant is eroded”, he lamented According to him, the available teachers of public schools in the state, the indigenes of the communities inclusive, were not willing to go to the riverine areas for lack of good teaching incentives . “As a deliberate policy, the government should make rural posting compulsory for duration of of time not less than two years in the career of every teacher and in order to attract qualified teachers to serve in schools in te riverine areas and to ensure their retention, substantial inducement/hazard allowances must be paid to teaching and nonteaching staff,” Jatuwase opined In his remark, a member of the State House of Assembly, Hon Oyebo Aladetan disclosed that the state government was very proactive in raising the standard of education in the state , saying steps were also underway to ensure conduciveness of the riverine areas for teachers to work.



We intend to improve the livelihood of all Bayelsans by increasing the total productive capacities of each rural population on a lasting and sustainable basis


HOUSANDS of rural dwellers gathered at Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, to benefit from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) grants to cooperative societies in the state. Over 58 cooperative groups in attendance were merged into three cooperative groups: Ebigboroye Fish Farmers Cooperative Society exclusively for Women, Tarelade Fish Farmers Cooperative Society, and Bayelsa Gardenia Multi-Purpose Cooperative for both men and women groups. The event was also aimed at preparing the grassroots producers for the formal registration of the approved Cooperative Societies by the USDAF officials being expected in the state. Speaking at the event, Mrs. Precious Eli-Shama,NEPAD Bayelsa Coordinator, said that NEPAD’s mission in the state is to achieve a lasting sustainable improvement in the economic and social conditions of the rural population in the state especially the poorer sections of society and women. “In a nutshell, we intend to improve the livelihood of all Bayelsans by increasing the total productive capacities of each rural population on a lasting and sustainable basis, thereby improving the general economic well being of rural livelihoods,” she said. According to the state coordinator, the vision of NEPAD is also to contribute to the transformation of Bayelsa State into a development hub through grassroots’ mobilisation and truly indigenous participation, local wealth creation and livelihood in partnership with the international Community and development partners. She says NEPAD’s vision would also include raising indigenous awareness to collective responsibility for development that will diversify the economic base of the state for the profitability of the individual and community well being.

•Participants at the event

Bayelsa farmers mobilised for NEPAD grant From Isaaac Ombe, Bayelsa

She added that NEPAD in the state will foster partnership with all stakeholders such as the Federal, state and Local Government Councils; all ministries, departmental agencies, donor agencies, private sector, media, Non Governmental

Organisations, all Communities and leadership and philanthropists in the state. Describing grass roots mobilisation as the target, the state Coordinator added that “NEPAD is a powerful vehicle set up by Africa for Africans to enable practical development in corresponding workable relationship by focused people oriented governments in which

Fed Govt hailed over road maintenance


FORMER member of the governing council of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), representing South West Zone Chief Adeyemi Adedipe has hailed the federal government over its decision to overhaul road infrastructural management. Adedipe, a chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State said road network is a very important aspect of modern societies. In a statement released to reporters in Akure, the state capital, Adedipe likened roads to veins in the human body through which essential ingredients for growth are transported throughout the system. According to him, “this has made road infrastructure a veritable tool for socio-economic development and all over the world, maintaining an effective road network is a gargantuan task that must be handled with all the seriousness it deserves. “That is the reason why all along, some of us have been advocating for a special intervention in the road sector that will go beyond the annual budgetary grants that have proved to be grossly inadequate for the huge task, leading to the rot we currently have in the sector. “All over the world, and examples abound, citizens, rather than relying on budgetary allocations, have to pay a token

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

to ensure construction of new roads and maintenance of existing network, and Nigeria cannot be an exception. “It is on this premise that the decision of government to introduce five per cent fuel tax to form a road fund, the re-introduction of the toll levies, and construction of weigh bridges on the highways and the rejuvenation of the concessionaire arrangement should be hailed by everybody”. The PDP chieftain noted that abandoning bridges that were constructed for major roads like the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was a mistake that should not have been allowed to happen. He observed that the cancellation of toll levies and subsequent demolition of toll gates by the Obasanjo’s regime was totally ill-advised. His words: “Criticisms against the reintroduction of toll levies from the labour movement and other quarters should therefore go beyond mere rhetoric and grandstanding and should consider the positive effects for the general good. “This new development would of course, avail the FERMA and its parent Ministry, of more funding to deliver on their mandate of ensuring smooth rides for Nigerians”


His Excellency, Chief Timipre Sylva in leaving positive mark”. In a paper, titled ‘awareness Creation on general information’, ‘why we cannot benefit from USDAF, ‘ABC of Grant’, presented by Mr. Obuza Kingdom, advised members of the cooperatives to be focused, active, learn it, sell it and be vibrant in your day to day economic activities until you meet your life dream’.

HE selection of a new king in Etikan Kingdom in Ilaje Local Govenrment Area of Ondo State stirred controversy in the land. Four Ruling Houses in the community have petitioned the state government over the alleged imposition of new Olikan of Etikan kingdom by the Interim Chairman of the council, Hon. Banji Okun-omo. The community leaders also accused the council boss of sponsoring a report claiming that one Mr. Adedoyin Oyetakin has been chosen by the kingmakers of the community as the new Olikan-elect. The petition which was made available to Newsextra in Akure, was signed by the Head of Mafemiwa Ruling House, High Chief Omosehin Oroyo, the Head of Kogun Ruling House, Most Rev. Folagbade Mebawondu, Head of Ikumapayi Ruling House, High Chief Olu Ayemo and head of Holo Ruling House, and Chief Owonifari Omodun. They described the publication as baseless, adding that it was an affront on the Etikan native law and customs. The elders explained that the selection process of a new Olikan is the major function of the kingmakers, stressing that the chiefs had set up three teams comprising representatives from each of the four Ruling Houses. They said the process involved the consultation of “Ifa oracle” which according to them favoured Prince Busayo Oroyo who is from Mafemiwa Ruling House. Their words: “The caretaker chairman of Ilaje local council, who boasted openly at Ogwa on October 8, 2011 that he would im-

Kingdom explained to the participants that the programme is being sponsored by the United State Government to help Africans out of poverty through investing in people’s ideas and the Private sector investment in entrepreneurship activities in Africa to improve the economy. A highlight of the event was the grouping into three Cooperatives of the numerous groups that attended.

Monarch selected amid controversry From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

pose his half brother, Adedoyin Oyetakin from Odon family, the female line of Mafemiwa ruling house, as the new monarch of the community, organised an illegal meeting. They described the meeting as an illegal, saying the venue was alien to their tradition The four ruling houses denied that there was election conducted by the council for the vacant olikan’s stool. The elders also alleged that the council chief boasted that the state government backed him to impose his own candidate. But the Council Chairman, Okun-Omo described the allegation as arrant nonsense, baseless, malicious and empty. “I am not a kingmaker and I have no voting right,” he said. “There are four ruling houses in Etikan; I am from Ikumapayi Ruling House, while Mafemiwa produced the new Olikan-elect”. Okun-omo said three kingmakers out of four voted in favour of Oyetakin, while only one supported Oroyo. The chairman pointed out that the local council represented by the secretary is the moderator for the selection process and has the duty of forwarding the name of whoever emerges to the state government. He maintained that in a game of contest, one person should emerge winner, while losers accept the outcome in good faith.







Will Mimiko scale second-term hurdle? The return bid of Governor Olusegun Mimiko is the main issue on the Ondo political platform. While some groups are already drumming support for him, the wave of change in the Southwest, with the Action Congress of Nigeria as the pivot is threatening the move. DAMISI OJO looks at the strength of both the ruling Labour Party and opposition ACN.


NDO State Governor Olusegun Mimiko may not have officially made a declaration, but recent developments have shown that he is interested in staging a comeback after the expiration of his current tenure. Posters agitating for second term for the governor have flooded Akure, the state capital. Even trees, walls and derelict vehicles are not spared of the posters’ ‘invasion’. Some groups acting as though urging the governor to run for the second term are at it. Specifically, a group known as Iroko 2013 Platform has started moving round the 18 local council areas in the state to launch its local government chapters. As at the last count, the team had visited 12 council areas. It is calling on people to prevail on Mimiko to run for second term. The chairman of the group who also chairs the Ondo State Radiovision Corporation (OSRC), Sanya Oyinsan, recently said that though it looked as if second term had almost become a jinx in the state, Mimiko was on the path of making history in that regard. Oyinsan said the group took the position because the achievements recorded within the two years of the Mimiko-led Labour Party (LP) administration in the state had been unprecedented in the history of the state. His words: “In view of the achievements of the administration, we hereby urge and advocate that Dr Olusegun Mimiko should please look beyond this present tenure and consider running for a second term in office come 2013 so as to continue the commendable work he is doing to make Ondo State the cynosure of all eyes and a benchmark of good governance in Nigeria under a democratic system of governance.” However, it is a fact that no elected governor had been able to fulfill a second term ambition since 1976 when old Ondo State was created. The late Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, who was said to be the best performing governor of the state so far, but the second tenure was scuttled by military incursion. Ajasin spent just three months before the military junta took the reins of power. And ever since then, all the former governors who embarked on a similar mission met their political waterloo. Two other ex-governors, the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati and Chief Olusegun Agagu who tried to make such history ended up being sent packing from office, even with Mimiko being instrumental to their failure. Mimiko who served under the Adefaratiled government as a Commissioner for Health left the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to pitch his tent with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His reason: The AD was not ready to allow internal democracy in the party. With a few days to the election, Mimiko and his supporters declared support for the PDP candidate, Agagu, against his former boss. The rest is now history. Agagu edged out Adefarati to become governor in 2003, while Mimiko was appointed as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). As he did to the late Adefarati, Mimiko later pulled out of the PDP to contest on the LP platform. His ambition was boosted with his appointment as a minister, a position he

held before he left the federal cabinet in 2006. He did not leave the PDP alone; he was accompanied by the then chairman of the party in the state, Ali Olanusi who is now the state Deputy Governor. He took him more than two years before he could regain his mandate as he was not declared winner of the April 14, 2007 election. The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin had to send Agagu packing before Mimiko was sworn in on February 24, 2009 as the new governor of the state. Agagu, who ruled from 2003 to 2009 was sent packing because the election that retuned him was perceived to be marred by irregularities. The call by some people on the governor to run for second term has since been eliciting condemnations from the opposition camps, mostly members of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Dr. Tunji Abayomi, one of the ACN governorship aspirants before the 2007 general elections had, at different fora, continued to advise the governor to forget about any second term ambition. At a recent parley with reporters, Abayomi who is also of the human rights community, said: ”We understand that the governor is going to run for another term. Let us also remember that this governor was against Adebayo Adefarati for the second term. He fought mercilessly against it. I was a lawyer to Adefarati. He fought mercilessly against Agagu and ultimately won. We will challenge him with moral standing, legal standing and commonsensical standing. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. “It is not the governor that will decide whether he will run or not; it is the people that will decide. I did not see Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola behaving like our governor.” Abayomi’s stance was corroborated by another ACN chieftain, Bola Ajimuda who said Mimiko had not done anything to merit second term. Ajimuda who had worked in different banks for over 20 years before bowing out honourably, said Mimiko should jettison his second term ambition and focus on how to complete the projects he has started ”We need to begin to drum it to remind our people and to begin to warn Mimiko not to throw this state into an inferno. Sincerely, we have a political tradition in Ondo State. Beginning from the first executive governor of this state, in 1983, when Ajasin finished his government, one of the things that led to his political crisis was his uncoordinated ambition to run for second term. “Again, when Chief Adefarati came, Mimiko was in the forefront of the school of

• Mimiko

thought that did not believe in second term. That was the basis on which he wrecked Afenifere in this state. In 2007, when Dr. Agagu asked for second term, that became is political waterloo as Mimiko again kicked against his ambition.” Joseph Babajide, a business man, urged Mimiko to ignore those appealing to him for second term ambition, describing them as sycophants. Babajide wondered why those serving under the governor as political appointees could be pushing him to declare his second term ambition. Babajide said: “The people are just fighting for themselves. They are not wishing the governor any good. They should have known that no governor has been able to secure second term ambition in the state, it is taboo”. But those in Mimiko’s camp have continued to waive off the argument of the opposition party stressing that the performance of the governor would see him through. Akindele Adeniyi, argued that Mimiko is not a betrayal as being portrayed. Adeniyi, a member of the state House of Assembly, said the governor did not stab his former bosses in the back as being alleged. His words: “Those calling the governor a betrayer are not in their right senses. He never betrayed Agagu or the late Adefarati. ‘From day one, he has shown interest in the seat, so why are people calling him such

‘We understand that the governor is going to run for another term. Let us also remember that this governor was against Adebayo Adefarati for the second term. He fought mercilessly against it. I was a lawyer to Adefarati. He fought mercilessly against Agagu and ultimately won. We will challenge him with moral standing, legal standing and commonsensical standing. What is good for the goose is good for the gander’ – Abayomi

a name? When Agagu was seeking people’s votes in 2003, he said he needed one term. Later, he changed gear when Mimiko had already signified interest in the governorship race from day one”. The lawmaker said the achievements of Mimiko would surely see him through the second term ambition. “I stand to be corrected; I say no governor has performed like Mimiko since the state was created. His achievements are there for everybody to see. The mega schools, Mother and Child Hospital, Arigidi Tomato Factory, empowerment for artisans, building of neighbourhood markets, auto mart and many others are there. “The governor has also embarked on urban renewal programme in Akure, dualisation of Arakale, Ondo and Owo roads; payment of bursary and scholarship awards to students of Ondo State origin and a host of others,” he said. But ACN Publicity Secretary, Gbenga Akinmoyo punctured Adeniyi’s argument, saying the governor had not done enough to deserve a second term. He lamented that most projects embarked upon by the Mimiko-led administration are misplaced, describing the urban renewal programme of the government as failure. He added that despite the huge resources received by the Mimiko-led administration in almost two years, there is little or nothing to show for it. The Idanre-born politician said the Mother and Child Hospital that the state government is showcasing as one of its achievements is a mere maternity. Aside from this, Akinmoyo said the philosophy of power rotation would not favour Mimiko who is from the central senatorial district. The countdown has started. The Ondo political sea is turbulent. Does Governor Mimiko have the appropriate swimming gear? Would the elements cooperate? The next one year may not be as smooth and peaceful as the past three.




‘Government should expose cabal in petroleum industry’ Hon Fort Dike has said Government has been economical with the truth on the reasons given for removal of subsidy on petroleum products. According to Dike, who represents Ihiala Federal Constituency of Anambra State, if removed, every Nigerian would be subsidising government failure to provide good governance. The House Committee Chairman on Inter and Intra Party regulation, who spoke with Correspondent DELE ANOFI, said the House would do all within its constitutional power to block the removal.


OW would you react to the planned removal of oil subsidy? What is happening now is that the exported crude is now refined in another country and brought back to Nigeria. In exporting it, the exporter adds freight cost, insurance and there is profit margin and the refining process there attracts another cost. It means what you are really subsidising is the lack of refining local capacity refining. So if we are able to refine the crude here, we may not need to subsidise fuel and in addition it will create employment. Now, what is wrong in establishing refining capacity? Is it such a high technology? Is it a sophisticated operation? It is not. It has become a very simple technology all over the world. So that is the first thing to my objection to removal of fuel subsidy. My second objection is that you do not throw away a baby with the wash water. You do not rub peter to pay Paul. So you cannot say once you remove fuel subsidy, it has solved their problem because it will introduce another round of vicious circle. As soon as you increase the price of fuel today, transporters will add money, landlords will add money and price of food will go up and it will create another wave of inflation and the money you are paying to people will no longer be adequate, so it will bring about another round of salary increase and in the process, what you have gained on one part will be lost on another part. People will then agitate for salary adjustment again. Even the safety net the government is talking about cannot be equitably implemented, when you talk about safety net for the poor, how are you going to touch every affected poor person? Patronages will come in and so on and so forth and will distort the safety nets that will be introduced whereas the subsidy will be suffered by everybody. So safety net will not work. Even if you put it into job creation, only few people will gain. So how will you now make the safety nets to reach everybody that will suffer the consequence of subsidy removal? So the safety net is not the answer. So, you are suggesting that the policy is misplaced... Government says it wants to remove the subsidy because people that are supposed to benefit from the subsidy are not benefiting. That is the argument that rather than getting to the poor, the middle men are putting the money into their pockets. To me, it is not a strong and viable reason but a laughable reason. They also mention that they know the middle men and if that is true, why can’t they be prosecuted? That is the best option rather than the subsidy removal. Identify the people that are causing the problem and take them on. Don’t make them to be in a position to exploit an advantage, why? Because many fuel marketers don’t ordinarily get allocation. I say this with confidence because am also a petroleum marketer, they are allocated upstairs. The middle men that struggle to get allocation try to take advantage of such allocation and in the process, they increase price. By telling us that the middle men are hijacking the margin, the government is admitting failure to properly distribute the product. It means they don’t have capacity to ensure an ordinary distribution of a product. They are in the position to stop the so-called hijacking that disallowed them properly distributing the product and for

• Dike

that, they have to remove subsidy so that Nigerians have to suffer for it. Anyway you look at it; removal of subsidy will lead to inflation in all items, not items related to fuel only, but including rent and other things. So this is my grouse against it. Are you saying that the government does not even know the cabal behind hijacking of the product or that they really know, but are helpless? How can the government not know the cabal when they are the one allocating the product? It is government that imports even though through dealer. It is government that is controlling the importation of the product. It is government that supervises distribution. So it is government capacity that is in question. It is about distributing the products evenly without being hijacked. When they say it is the middle men that are adding money, it is an admittance of inefficiency in their own capacity because it is government that is handling the product- NNPC gives license, receives; they have even gone into retailing through filling stations. I don’t agree that NNPC cannot find a way for the products to reach the people. If government comes out to say that the products are being smuggled out then what is the use of the security apparatus at its disposal. Government is in charge of the security agencies and not the citizens, it is government that has immigration, not citizens, it is government that has customs, not the people. Whatever the reasons the government is giving, they are not justifiable for that intention. Subsidy should not have existed if they had kept the local refineries running. I am saying that the major part of the subsidy relates to the government’s inability to maintain the operation of a simple refinery. Now that the executive seems to have taken a seeming hard stance on the matter, does the National Assembly have the power to stop him? The National Assembly has its own processes and jurisdiction just like the Executive and there is separation of power. I am however convinced that the presidency would be happy if the process of removing the subsidy would not have to go through the National Assembly. However, if there is any such opportunity it has to go through the NASS and we are convinced that the subsidy should not be removed; we will use every means to block it. As legislators, if we want to live up to our responsibilities to our constituents, we will ensure that their interests are not hurt by Executive policies. As it is now, must it go through the National Assembly? The input of the NASS on the re-

moval of subsidy is dependent on how government has crafted it. There is little or nothing the NASS can do if government is removing subsidy on a product that has not been captured in the appropriation act. It depends on interpretation as far as am concerned. There are certain policies that the NASS ought to discuss or intervene, but if we don’t have the constitutional role on that particular subject, we may not be able to stop the Executive. However, if it is framed in such a manner that has anything to do with sections which that gives us legal authority like appropriation, we will use that opportunity to intervene. On the other hand, if it is done outside our legal appropriation framework, there is nothing we ca do, so it depends on how it is brought up. Could sabotage be the reason for our inability to expand or have functional refineries? It couldn’t have been because of lack of funds or technical capabilities because we can afford both because refinery is a technology is working all over the world, so why won’t it work in Nigeria? So I am not interested in any sabotage or such nonsense, what Nigerians want is efficient service which the government has shown it is incapable of delivering. As the Chairman, inter/intra party regulations, how do you hope to impact positively on the political landscape of the country? It is unfortunate that everybody is clamouring for free and fair election as if democracy is all about free and fair election. Democracy is also all about internal processes in the parties- how candidates emerge. So as political parties clamour for free and fair election, it is also logical that they have to democratize their internal democratic processes so that there won’t be imposition of candidates. As part of the democratic institutions, they ought to democratize their own processes of bringing out candidates to pave way for the broader process to improve on.

North set to ban Arewa elders from politics


F Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State has his way, Northern elders might be barred from partisan politics. The governor blamed the unending tension in the region on the lack of distinction between elders and politicians in the region. Suswam spoke while hosting representatives of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in Government House Makurdi yesterday. According to the governor, since no one can differentiate between an elder and a politician, Northerners are not respected by other regions, noting that it was not like that during the Kaduna Mafia era. He said: “Northern elders have become politicians and there are no elder statesmen to meditate in various social and political problems that have bedeviled the region, particularly the violence occasioned by the Boko Haram sect

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

which has killed many people.” On the planned conference by Northerners, Suswam warned leaders against turning it to an avenue for grandstanding, as according to him, “the present situation in the North calls for sober reflection so that the region can takes its pride of place in the country”. Chairman of the ACF Alhaji Mohammed Gusau, had earlier explained the mission of the Forum in the state. He said the ACF chiefs planned to visit all the 19 Northern states to drum up support for the conference billed for Kaduna. Gusau informed that the conference would serve as an avenue to find solutions to the problems of the region. He commended the governor for investing in infrastructural development, despite limited resources.

ANPP to appeal Kwankwaso’s victory at tribunal


ISSATISFIED with the Tues day November 1, 2011 ver dict of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Kano, which upheld the election of Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the leadership of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Kano, the party has headed for the Kaduna Court of Appeal to challenge the verdict. At a press conference yesterday, the State Chairman of the party, Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro, disclosed that shortly after the ruling of the Tribunal, the leadership of the party held wide consultations with the party’s stakeholders, at the end of which they resolved to challenge the judgment at the Kaduna Appeal Court. “As a result of the consultations, we critically examined the court judgment, and we have resolved to further seek justice at the next court, which is the Court of Appeal, in view of the fact that we are not satisfied with the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal here in Kano.” “As people of faith, we would neither be deterred nor distracted from pursuing what we believe is the course of justice, which the hall-

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

mark of any democracy, as such we are determined to remain resolute in our march towards democratic attainment by ensuring that the people are not only governed by those that are freely and fairly elected.” According to him, ‘the effect and implication of this court ruling is beyond the ANPP or our Governorship candidate, rather it is an affair that has a multiplier effect on the people of Kano State. ‘’Already, we have instructed our team of lawyers to file the appeal, and information available to us indicated that the process is at advanced stage’’ He however added that , ‘our quest for justice in the outcome of the April 2011 governorship election in Kano State continues, as people of faith, we shall come out victorious at the end of the day, God willing’ The ANPP state chairman, who refused to asses the activities of the present administration in the past six months, however disclosed that the relationship of the ANPP and the PDP as a party is cordial.

• Tokunbo, widow of late Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Timothy Ayorinde, and Anglican Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Most Rev. Joseph Akinfenwa, at the Idi Ape, Ibadan residence of the Ayorindes, ... on Monday.




•Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi Oyelese (left) and Chairman of Splash they visited the governor in Ibadan... Governor on Political Matters, Alhaji

(right), former Minister of Special Duties, Elder Wole FM, Ibadan, Chief Adebayo Akande (second left) when last weekend. With them is the Special Adviser to the Fatai Ibikunle

•Managing Director, Nigeria Breweries Plc, Mr Jacco Van der Linden (second right) displaying a bottle of Heineken Magnum after its launch with Fayrouz PET and Legend Can at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos...last weekend. With him are Chairman, Board of Directors Chief Kola Jamodu (right); Chief Executive, Mr Nicolas Vervelde (second left) and Mr Rene Gabriel PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

•Abia State Governor Theodore Orji (right) welcoming Chief Solomon Adaenu before a meeting with members of the Aba State Creation Movement, in Umuahia

•Publicity Secretary, Trade Promotion Board of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs Agnes Sobajo, Regional Manager, Apapa branch of Unity Bank, Mr Yinka Yahaya and Regional Manager, Victorial Island branch, Mr Umar Adaba Mohammed during the bank’s Day at the just concluded 2011 Lagos International Trade Fair in Lagos

•Michael Scholz, a golfer (left) being welcomed by Chief Operating Officer, Southern Sun offshore, Norman Wallace to the Ikoyi Hotel Golf Day and Award Night at Ikoyi Golf Club, Lagos…last weekend. With them are General Manager, Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel Mark Loxley (second left); Managing Director Ernest Orji and a Director, Robert Mbonu PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

•Minister of State for Education Mr Nyesom Wike flanked by Senator Babalola Odunsi (right) and Abdulahi Yola, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice at the 3oth UNESCO conference in Paris, France

•Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke presenting a cheque to a farmer, Mrs. Patricia Ubi during the inauguration of the N1 billion Agricultural Loan Scheme for farmers in Ugep and Yakurr Local Government Areas.

•Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke receiving the keys to the ambulance donated to the Holy Rosary Hospital and Maternity, Onitsha by Governor Peter Obi on behalf of the Anambra State government...last weekend








NAICOM to leverage on life insurance T HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) will leverage on life, micro and takaful insurances to deepen business, the Commissioner for Insurance Mr Fola Daniel, has said. Takaful is a co-operative or mutual insurance, where members contribute to a common pool without the aim of profit making, but to uphold the principle of “bear ye one another’s burden”. Daniel told The Nation that the commission will utilise the country’s high population to achieve its aim, adding that with 165 million people Nigeria should have a thriving insurance industry. He noted that life insurance remains one of the driving forces of insurance across the globe as it provides long term fund for operators. He said NAICOM would also enable operators to go to the grassroots where there are enormous untapped insurance opportunities. Daniel lauded the efforts of insurers who have capitalised on micro-insurance, noting that NAICOM would continue to sup-

Stories by Chuks Udo Okonta

port operators who desire to explore opportunities in life and micro- insurance. He said: “The campaign on the enforcement of compulsory insurance in Nigeria is reaching its climax. The insurance companies are now beginning to key into the project. Beyond sales marketing, some insurance companies have actually joined NAICOM in sensitising the public and creating awareness on the existence of these compulsory insurances through advertisement campaigns in the media. “From early November, the commission will roll out its advertisement campaign to further draw the attention of the public to these insurances, warn and educate them about the benefits and consequences of non compliance. This is preparatory to the actual commencement of on-site enforcement of compulsory insurance in the country with Ibadan, Oyo State capital as the starting point from November 15.”

Daniel noted that NAICOM has entered into a collaboration agreement with GIZ, a German agency for the sustenance development to conduct a diagnostic study on Micro and Takaful insurance in the country. He expressed misgivings on the capacity gap in the oil and gas businesses, adding that NAICOM has setup a committee to explore the possibility of oil and gas pool. “Oil and gas insurance guidelines were rolled out early this year. While it may be too early to adjudge impact of oil and gas insurances on the overall performance of the industry, it has become apparent that we still have a yawning capacity gap in that sub-sector. “This realisation prompted the inception of an industry committee to explore the possibility of an oil and gas pool. The committee is still working and it is hoped that the product of their deliberation will aid our quest for enhanced industry capacity,” he added.

‘How insurers can help society’


NSURERS have been urged to play leading role in the society through engagement in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The President/ Chairman of Council, Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria, Mr Thomas Awagu, who made this call at a forum organised by the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) in Lagos, said through giving

back to the community, insurers would improved the aesthetic values of their environments and created additional job opportunities. He said insurers as professionals play leading and enduring roles in the society by being champions and initiators of CSR, adding that professionals are agents of socio-economic growth and development in any economy.

LASACO pledges to uphold ethics


ASACO Assurance Plc has affirmed its strong focus on good governance and strict adherence to ethical practices in the industry. Its Group Managing Director, Mr Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi, who said this in Lagos, noted that the company is poised to remain a forward looking and dynamic organisation. He stressed that the company is professional in its approach to underwriting and claim settlement. He called on underwriters and brokers to uphold the tents of the industry, adding that the tussle on unpaid premium between underwriters and brokers poses a challenge to the industry. He said: “The issue is that the brokers have claimed that the

premium they have not paid us, have not been received from their clients. And we are now compelled to remove the premiums from our account. It is a very difficult situation, because before you can allege that a broker has collected premium and that he has not remitted it, you have to get a confirmation from the mutual client that he has been paid and this is not easy. So, what most insurance companies are trying to do now is to get to the clients to verify the claims of the brokers if they have actually been paid.” He said the issue, when finally resolved, will help erase credit transactions, adding that the face-off will help underwriters and brokers do their businesses on cash and carry bases.

Custodian and Allied makes N1.7b profit


USTODIAN and Allied Insurance (CAI) has posted a gross premium of N7.6 billion in its third quarter operations, Afrinvest West Africa, has said. According to Afrinvest, a financial and advisory firm, Custodian recorded a 25 per cent growth in gross written premiums to N7.6billion, relative to the corresponding period of 2010. Its Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) also recorded double-digit growths of 25.0 per cent and 25.7 per cent to N2.0billion and N1.7billion respectively. Net margins, however, stayed relatively flat at 22.9 per cent on •From left: The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Otunba Femi Duru; Assistant Director, Marketing, Industrial And General Insurance (IGI) Plc, Mrs. Assumpta Udo; IGI’s Director, Risks Management Services, Mr. Uwem Udonquak, and Chairman, LCCI Trade Promotion Board, Mr Remi Bello, during IGI Special Day at the Lagos International Trade Fair in Lagos.


PenCom to try corrupt officers

O sanitise the pension system, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) will, henceforth, try any director, top management or staff of licensed operators whose actions result in loss to contributions or shareholders funds. This PenCom said is to ensure safety of contributors’ and shareholders’ fund. Where the safety of pension assets are at risk or the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) is carrying on business at the expense of its Retirement Savers Account (RSA) holders or retirees, assets may be transferred to another PFA subject to approved terms and conditions. It said: “Similarly, where the Pension Fund Custodian (PFC) is carrying on business detrimental to the pension assets under its custody, the Commission may transfer the pension assets and funds to another PFC subject to terms and conditions that may be determined by the Commission. “Where failure is imminent or the problem could not be rectified after the implementation of cor-

Stories by Chuks Udo Okonta

rective/remedial actions, the commission may revoke the licence of the operator in accordance with Section 54 of the Pension Reform Act, 2004 if: the commission discovers after the grant of licence, that a statement was made in connection with the application thereof which the applicant knew to be false or untrue in any material particular. “The operator is subject to any insolvency proceedings or is likely to be wound up or otherwise dissolved; the conduct of affairs of the operator does not conform with the provisions of the PRA or any regulations made pursuant to or any direction under the Act; any event occurs, which renders the operator ineligible to manage the pension funds or take custody of the pension funds as the case may be and or the operator is in breach of any conditions attached to its licence.” PenCom noted that it would give 28 days’ notice to the PFA or PFC of its intention to revoke operating licence and consider any representation made by the PFA or PFC within that period as required by Section 54 (2) of the PRA.

It added that when it revokes a firm’s operating licence, it would publish by notice in the Federal Gazette and National Newspapers that it has revoked the operating licence of the PFA or PFC. And that the notice would indicate the reason(s) for the revocation and give assurance on the safety of contributors’ funds in the system; It said: “The Commission in line with Section 54 (5) would appoint Administrators with relevant qualification and experience to supervise the transfer of assets to another PFA or PFC and exercise the powers of the board where necessary in accordance with the PRA 2004. The duties and responsibilities of the Administrators would be determined by the Commission. “The Commission shall cause the Retirement Savings Accounts being managed by the PFA whose licence was revoked to be transferred to another PFA as the case may be; and transfer the pension funds assets being held by a Custodian whose licence was revoked to another Custodian in line with Section 54 (6) of the PRA 2004 subject to terms and conditions to be determined by the Commission.”

a year-on-year basis. Quarter-onquarter (Q-o-Q), gross premiums declined by 18.2 per cent, while PBT and PAT dropped by 22.7 per cent and 23.1 per cent respectively. Afrinvest said: “Top line growth came in strong and was in line with expectations as we had expressed reservations about the sustainability of the one-time surge in the oil and gas portfolio in the corresponding quarter of the previous year, when gross premium spiked 353.2 per cent Q-on-Q. This, consequently, pushed the oil and gas share of premium income from 37.7 per cent to 73.0 per cent.”

Owners kill pets for claims


IRST it was spurious claims for whiplash and other injuries, then it was “crash for cash”. Now a new type of fraud is affecting the insurance industry - pet scams. Dishonest claims on animal policies almost quadrupled last year, making it the fasting growing area of insurance crime. According to, figures from the Association of British Insurers show there was £1,929,900 worth of pet insurance fraud detected last year – up from just £420,000 in 2009. However, the true scale, is thought to be far higher and pushing up the average £220 premium. A total of 2.3 million cats and dogs were insured last year and virtually every type of animal can be covered. The Association of British Insurers is arranging a shared database of information about insured animals to detect fraud. Insurers believe frauds include owners getting rid of the animal - by selling it or even killing it then claiming a payout for early death. The animal may never have existed in the first place. Other owners have injured their

pets in “faked accidents” to cover up pre-existing injuries or conditions that were not covered by their policy. Another scam involves staging the disappearance of an animal, because some policies pay out if a pet is lost or stolen. Other tactics detected include claims for expensive vet treatments that have either not actually been given, or are unnecessary or are more expensive than they need to be. Experts suspect that some vets are involved. In some cases, claims are made for uninsured pets on the policies of other insured animals. One unnamed major insurer has revealed that between 2008 and last year, the number of animal-related claims where deception was suspected or proven increased by 440 per cent. One reason the pet policies are proving susceptible to fraud is because veterinary records for animals can be difficult to trace. Carys Clarke, a solicitor who works as an insurance fraud investigator for law firm Berrymans Lace Mawer, said: “I am aware of cases were owners have maimed their animals in order to make claims on their policies.”




INVESTORS Vitafoam to inject N270m into Vono V

ITAFOAM Nigeria Plc plans to inject more funds into Vono Nigeria Plc which it recently acquired. It may inject N270 million into Vono following its acquisition of the company in August last year. Vitafoam holds 24.96 per cent equity stake in Vono, giving it the majority but not the controlling equity stake. Other significant investors in Vono are Enterprise Bank and BGL, with 5.56 per cent and 7.37 per cent. Vono has nearly concluded arrangements for a rights issue of 525 million ordinary

By Taofik Salako

shares of 50 kobo each, in a move under which existing shareholders will inject about N1 billion into the company. The completion board meeting for the rights issue has been done and parties to the issue affirmed their commitments. A reliable source said Vitafoam may acquire additional shares if there were any renounced rights' shares, citing the new management business review which showed that Vono has immense potential to complement

Vitafoam's market share in the West African market. Vitafoam had earlier granted Vono a loan of N358 million as the latter struggled to avoid liquidation over huge bank loan and dwindling operations. Although the bailout removed the threat of liquidation, Vono's financial position remained precarious, underscoring the need for new capital. Latest audited report and accounts of Vono showed that the company has a negative working capital of N666 million, slightly

worse than N610 million recorded in 2009. Vono's net loss increased to N397 million in 2010 as against N254 million in 2009. Vono's turnover had dropped consecutively from N1.4 billion in 2007 to N629.6 million in 2008 and further to N447.9 million and N437.4 million in 2009 and 2010. The new board and management of Vono,which consisted of three appointees of Vitafoam Nigeria - including the board chairman and managing director, have already initiated major restructurings that would see realignment of the operations of Vono Products.

‘How capital market, can be revived’


OW can the capital market be revived? It is by its having price sensitive information, some stakeholders have said. Speaking with The Nation yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer , Lambert Securities, Mr David Adonri, confirmed speculations that the market might not return to positive path on or before the year end. He said the third quarter results of quoted companies mainly from the banking sector were impressive, but they could not lift the market higher than the level it is. He said: "If the impressive Q3 results of quoted companies, especially the banks could not lift the position of the market then it's a strong signal that the market may remain on declined. The higher the yield on bond and other money market instruments compared to the present return the capital market, is giving is not encouraging. Unless if priced sensitive information comes up to drive the market subsequently, it will remain unchanged." But other stakeholders are expressing doubt over the possibility of a speedy recovery of equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Their view was informed by the continued fall in the All Share Index and the market capitalisation of the Exchange, which have persisted for months. Experts noted that the reforms undertaken by the Central Bank of Nigeria had impacted negatively on the market, adding that the development had made both local and foreign investors to lose

By Tonia Osundolire

confidence in the market. Earlier on, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Atlass Portfolios Limited, Mr Ubale Yahaya, in an online report, aligned with this view, stressing that if at all it would be, it might be in the coming year. "I don't see the market picking up this year. In fact, what we should look forward to now is for activities to gather momentum next year, when investors, among other things, would have been able to adjust to the high Monetary Policy Rate introduced by the CBN." The Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank, had after its emergency meeting on October 10, raised benchmark interest rate by 275 basis points to 12 per cent from 9.25 per cent, making it the sixth time it had increased MPR since the beginning of this year. Stakeholders had earlier described the development as an unhealthy one for the capital market and the manufacturing sector of the economy. "The CBN had done a lot of damage to the capital market because a lot of investors are no longer interested in the market. Rather, they would prefer to watch and see how activities would thrive from afar," Yahaya said. He also noted that the recent holidays and the impending ones might also slow down the recovery of the market, adding that investors' interests were now channelled to the money market. "Of course, the repeated fall in equities was even before the recent

Promasidor plans new investments about the Nigerian market, PROMASIDOR Nigeria is planning new investments to consolidate its market share in recognition of Nigeria as the hub of its pan-African fast consumer goods business. Its Chairman, Mr Mark Rose, said though the company has operations across several African countries, the Nigerian market is important to it. Rose said Promasidor saw its Nigerian operations as a growth business with a lot of potential. According to him, the company is very positive

which has been quite receptive to a lot of leading products including Cowbell milk, Cowbell chocolate, Cowbell flavoured milk drink, Loya full cream milk, Miksi, Onga food seasoning, Top Tea and Amila instant fruit flavoured powdered drink. Promasidor Nigeria has achieved tremendous growth since 1993 when it started operations, and at present employs about 1,015 people across the country. Promasidor holds a leading position in the Nigerian powdered milk market with its Cowbell milk brand that has found its way into the hearts and homes of thousands of consumers.

•L-R: Group Head, Human Resources, Vegefresh Company Limited, Christy Salako; Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute ( NIHORT), Dr Folake Olufolaji and Chief Operating Officer, Vegefresh Company Limited, Mr. Olumide Ojo at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding on agricultural development between the two oraginisatons in Ibadan.

holidays, and it continued after. Considering the fact that we are entering a season of more holidays, I see the market only picking up next year," he said. Also, an analyst with BGL Group, Mr Femi Ademola, said the banking crisis saffected the markets, noting that market recovery might not be imminent.

He, however, advised investors to take advantage of the lowly priced stocks of some quoted companies on the Exchange to make investment, adding that market activities would bounce back when the financial sector stabilised. He said: "People are afraid to invest and it is not their fault. The MPR hike by the CBN did a lot of

Pharmacist wins award DEPUTY Director and Head of Department of Pharmacy, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Dr. Nkechi Anyanwu, has emerged Imo State winner of the May & Baker Professional Service Award in Pharmacy. She was recognised for her outstanding and innovative contributions to hospital pharmacy administration. The award, which has a prize of N250, 000, was presented to her at the 84th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) held recently in Enugu. According to Deji Osinoiki, Chairman of the Selection Committee, Dr. Anyanwu's innovative contributions to pharmacy practice in Nigeria included the use of culture specific pictograms in pharmacy dispens-

ing and counselling of illiterate and semi-illiterate patients, and other innovative applications of pharmaceutical care delivery. The May & Baker Professional Service Award in Pharmacy was instituted in 2005 by May & Baker Nigeria Plc to recognise outstanding achievements and contributions by individual practitioners, public servants, industry operators, academicians and researchers in the study and practice of pharmacy in Nigeria. At the Awards’ presentation , Managing Director, May & Baker Nigeria Plc, , Mr Nnamdi Okafor, urged other pharmaceutical organisations in Nigeria to join May & Baker in promoting the cause of the pharmacy profession by rewarding excellence in practice.

damage, but I believe that in a couple of months the market will find its rhythm and activities will become attractive. "However, shrewd investors should invest now and not relent, because no one can tell when the stocks of a particular firm will appreciate in price, making good returns for the investors."

Forecasts Q4 LAFARGE CEMENT WAPCO Turnover N18.658 billion Profit after tax of N1.02 billion BOC GASES PLC Turnover N2.28 billion Profit after tax N359.6 million ACADEMY PRESS Turnover N591.142 million Profit after tax N8.91 million CHAMS PLC Turnover N2.34 billion Profit after tax N238.1 million UNION VENTURES & PETROLEUM Turnover N283.5 million Profit after tax N1.5 million



THE NATION INVESTORS Global OTC derivatives rise to $708tr T HE nominal values of all outstanding over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives rose by 18 per cent to $708 trillion between January and June, the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) has said. The nominal value, otherwise known as notional value, is the gross nominal or notional value of all deals concluded and not yet settled on the reporting date. The semiannual OTC derivatives market statistics provide data on nominal amounts and gross market values outstanding for forwards, swaps and options on foreign exchange, interest rate, equity and commodity derivatives. The statistics provide reasonably comprehensive and internationally consistent outlook on the size and structure of OTC derivatives markets. Forward contracts represent agreements for delayed delivery of financial instruments or commodities. According to the BIS global statistics, notional amounts outstanding of credit default swaps (CDS)

grew by eight per cent while outstanding equity-linked contracts went up by 21 per cent. However, gross market value of all OTC contracts declined by 8.0 per cent, driven mainly by the 10 per cent reduction in the market value of interest rate contracts. CDS market values were almost unchanged. Overall, gross credit exposure dropped by a further 15 per cent to $3 trillion, compared with a three per cent decrease in the sec-

By Taofik Salako

ond half of 2010. The report indicated that notional amounts outstanding in interest rate derivatives, the largest risk category in the OTC derivatives market, increased by 19 per cent in the first half of this year. Contracts on dollar rates were up 13 per cent just as positions in all currencies increased. However, overall interest rate derivative market values fell

‘Notional amounts outstanding of equity-linked contracts increased by 21 per cent as positions in equity-linked options were up by 26 per cent while those in forwards and swaps increased by 11 per cent’



HELLARAMS Plc and AG Leventis (Nigeria) Plc are two companies of striking similarities. With similar business and ownership structures and almost same market capitalisation, the two companies broadly represent the diversified business sector, otherwise known as conglomerates. As conglomerates, their interests range from manufacturing to distribution and retail while their products span foods and beverages, motorcycles, real estate and household items. Chellarams consists of not less than five subsidiaries while AG Leventis has eight business lines. With their foreign core shareholders retaining their majority and controlling equity stakes, Chellarams and AG Leventis have been quoted on the stock market for more than three decades and are somewhat indicative of the long-term abiding interests of foreign investors in the Nigerian economy. Over the years and with the evolution of the Nigerian economy, they have modified their business interests to meet emerging economic trends. But all through, they sustain a large basket of business interests, which ensure that from time to time, they reflect, to a large extent, the pulse of the economy. Both companies appeared to be trailing the same growth pattern with declines in profitability and returns. While Chellarams witnessed substantial growth in sales, high costs impinged on the bottomline, leaving the company on the same pedestal with AG Leventis which decline in sales had exacerbated declining profitability. Sales Generation Chellarams' turnover grew by 20 per cent during the year ended March 31, 2011, a commendable performance given the sluggish sales trend that characterised the conglomerate and consumer business sectors during the period. AG Leventis' sales dropped by 1.7 per cent during the year ended December 31, 2010 compared with an increase of 21 per cent in 2009, indicating a two-year positive average growth rate of about 10 per cent. Profitability Both companies witnessed worrisome declines in both actual profits and underlying profit-making capacity, with actual profits showing negative growth positions on year-on-year basis as well as recent averages. But AG Leventis re-


by around 10 per cent. Also, the notional amounts of foreign exchange derivatives increased by 12 per cent, with maturities of up to one year growing by 26 per cent while maturities of over five years almost halved with 48 per cent drop. Gross market values of FX derivatives dropped by six per cent. Market values for instruments on yen had contracted by 21 per cent while those on the Swedish krona were down 18 per cent. Notional amounts outstanding of equity-linked contracts increased by 21 per cent as positions in equity-linked options were up by 26 per cent while those in forwards and swaps increased by 11 per cent. Market values of equity derivatives rose by 5.0 per cent in forwards and swaps and by 11 per cent in options. The report further showed that amounts outstanding on commodity derivatives grew by 9.0 per


AG Leventis vs Chellarams: Different sides of conglomerates By Taofik Salako

mained substantially a more profitable company that its competitor with average profit per unit of sale still thrice of that of Chellarams. Chellarams' gross profit dropped by 6.4 per cent in 2011, which worsened to 16.5 per cent drop in profit before tax. Post tax, net profit dwindled by 47 per cent. The actual profits reflected the conglomerate's weakening fundamentals as gross profit margin relapsed from 13 per cent in 2010 to 10 per cent in 2011. Pre-tax profit margin also slipped to 1.5 per cent as against 2.1 per cent, indicating average margin of 1.8 per cent. AG Leventis showed similar downtrend with 4.5 per cent decline in gross profit in 2010. With the top-line faltering, the bottomline performance worsened consid-


Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity

erably. Pre-tax profit crashed by 55 per cent while profit after declined by 29 per cent, leaving the conglomerate with two-year averages of -27 per cent and-8.15 per cent respectively. Beyond the surface, gross margin slipped from 27 per cent to 26 per cent while pre-tax profit margin nearly halved from 13 per cent to 5.9 per cent. Actual Returns Both companies have shown declines in their returns in recent years. Chellarams' return on total assets halved from 4.8 per cent to 2.2 per cent, indicating average return of 3.5 per cent over the past two years. Return on shareholders' funds also halved from 15.2 per cent to 7.6 per cent, representing a twoyear average of 11.4 per cent.

On similar note, AG Leventis' return on total assets dropped from 6.4 per cent to 3.9 per cent, indicating an average return of about 5.2 per cent. Actual return to shareholders, as measured by return on equity, dropped below average to 7.2 per cent as against 10.3 per cent in 2009 and two-year average of 8.75 per cent. On comparative terms, both companies were at par on returns. While AG Leventis posted a higher average return on assets, Chellarams beat the competition in return of equity. The Bottom-line The performance outlooks of the two conglomerates underline the challenges facing manufacturers, especially consumer goods manu-

20.2 -6.4 -16.5 10.3 1.5 -47 2.2 7.6

facturers, which usually are the first casualties in a depressing and inflationary economy. With sluggish industry-wide top-line and declining margins, companies such as Chellarams and AG Leventis have been at the receiving end of the global and national economic depression and financial crises. Poor national infrastructures which have seen most institutions especially manufacturers, and even individuals, functioning as the state generating all basic amenities have compounded the vagaries in the global market. This combination has left most Nigerian manufacturers vulnerable. The diversity of operations of conglomerates is expected to serve as cushions for them in minor economic corrections. But in a crossnational economic slowdown such as witnessed in recent years, conglomerates are apparently not immune from the regressive trend. Both AG Leventis and Chellarams need to rethink the top-line and cost management strategies, especially the negative impact of financial leverage.

AG Leventis (Nig)

Chellarams 2011 %

cent, with contracts on gold rising by 18 percent and options on precious metals and other commodities increasing by 19 per cent. However, gross market values on commodity contracts fell by 10 per cent. While CDS notional amounts outstanding increased moderately in the first part of 2011, positions with other financial institutions inched up by two per cent. Amounts outstanding with central counterparties (CCPs) increased to about 17 per cent of the total market, after reaching 15 per cent on December 31, 2010. Positions with non-financial customers dropped another 23 per cent to $238 billion after a 63 per cent decline in the second half of 2010. They now represent less than one per cent of the market compared with the previous peak of five per cent reached at the end of December 2009. Meanwhile, CDS gross market values were largely unchanged at $1.3 trillion, reflecting a decline of three per cent for single-name CDS, and a five per cent increase for multi-name contracts.

2010 %

Average %

13.2 2.1

10.1 -3.2 -8.25 11.75 1.8 -23.5 3.5 11.4

4.8 15.2

Pre-tax profit margin (Chellarams)

Turnover growth Gross profit growth Pre-tax profit growth Gross margin Pre-tax profit margin Net profit growth Return on Assets Return on Equity

2010 %

2009 %

Average %

-1.7 -4.5 -55.3 26.2 5.9 -28.6 3.9 7.2


9.7 -2.25 -27.1 26.55 9.45 -8.45 5.15 8.75

1.1 26.9 13.0 11.7 6.4 10.3

Pre-tax profit margin (AG Leventis)










Average loss climbs to 18% at NSE


No of Deals 6 6


AIR SERVICES No of Deals 4 27 31

Quotation(N) 7.60

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 21,510 164,266.00 21,510 164,266.00

Quotation(N) 1.81 5.08

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 209,078 379,691.18 259,808 1,339,709.27 468,886 1,719,400.45

AUTOMOBILE & TYRE No of Deals Quotation(N) 1 0.50 15 1.54 16






BANKING No of Deals 129 58 9 27 65 497 399 35 82 27 202 7 8 232 1,777

Quotation(N) 4.80 3.13 1.95 4.01 1.60 9.80 14.98 8.00 4.90 1.14 2.90 0.60 0.58 12.30

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 5,707,585 27,439,995.04 4,066,940 12,205,715.16 130,236 254,414.04 497,200 2,014,242.97 2,357,064 3,714,352.82 28,062,662 274,917,041.46 64,334,715 964,785,128.24 528,900 4,235,190.00 6,863,139 32,546,503.80 6,631,198 7,802,973.17 33,419,858 94,745,255.13 548,754 329,717.40 307,820 178,534.10 8,052,568 97,922,266.44 161,508,639 1,523,091,329.77

BREWERIES No of Deals 58 1 208 267

Quotation(N) 210.00 6.00 91.60

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 1,780,756 373,365,736.90 5,000 28,500.00 8,488,825 777,584,168.05 10,274,581 1,150,978,404.95

BUILDING MATERIALS No of Deals Quotation(N) 48 14.10 32 5.01 25 103.50 42 37.50 147 CHEMICAL & PAINTS No of Deals 2 24 3 1 30

Quotation(N) 9.00 15.16 1.12 0.60

COMMERCIAL/SERVICES No of Deals Quotation(N) 21 2.12 21


No of Deals 1 1



Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 300,000 150,000.00 60,852 93,637.81 360,852 243,637.81

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 591,410 8,321,350.02 1,753,428 8,779,371.28 92,972 9,578,533.20 643,112 24,097,228.19 3,080,922 50,776,482.69

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 14,571 129,681.90 148,630 2,358,997.38 107,658 120,576.96 6,448 3,675.36 277,307 2,612,931.60

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 838,041 1,766,375.69 838,041 1,766,375.69

Quotation(N) 1.38

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 2,783 3,673.56 2,783 3,673.56

Quotation(N) 5.89 30.00 6.11 0.57 29.51 26.00

Quantity TradedValue 1,942 1,135,452 932 9,624,200 118,578 601,724 11,482,828

Quotation(N) 38.43 0.50

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 15,196 579,013.40 35,250 17,625.00 50,446 596,638.40

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 35,513 1,705,024.00 458,271 6,030,942.90 1,123,668 5,761,671.09 1,575,442 7,602,555.05 405,642 25,154,045.18 7,676 22,567.44 50,360 207,743.58 1,560,856 638,336,345.49 11,700 5,850.00 30,135 15,067.50 5,259,263 684,841,812.23


Quotation(N) 0.79 1.29 27.00 2.40 9.52 1.57

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 14,216 10,804.16 61,968 76,220.64 33,810 878,993.00 54,782 128,185.80 14,000 126,700.00 15,760 23,640.00 194,536 1,244,543.60

Quotation(N) 2.88

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 846,875 2,326,660.00 846,875 2,326,660.00

HOTEL & TOURISM No of Deals 25 25



INDUSTRIAL/DOMESTIC PRODUCTS No of Deals Quotation(N) 1 7.10 1 5.87 2 INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION No of Deals 1 1 1 3


INSURANCE No of Deals 81 4 16 2 16

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

subsectors trended upward, the banking sector index and the group index for the 30 most capitalised stocks slipped to lower levels. The fifth index that tracked the oil and gas subsector closed flat. The NSE Banking Index dropped from 290.60 points to 289.94 points, while the NSE 30 Index slipped to 911.62 points as against its opening index of 911.86 points. The NSE Food and Beverages Index meanwhile rose from 565.93 points to 570.54 points, while the NSE Insurance Index improved from 151.16 points to N152.62 points. The NSE Oil and Gas Index was unchanged at 244.23 points. Market analysts said investors were still apprehensive over the future outlook of the banking sector in spite of considerable improvements in third quarter earnings of banks. Nigerian banks appeared to be generally on stronger footings with emerging reports on the operations of banks in the third quarter showing improvements in key fundamentals. Average current earnings yield in the banking industry runs in double-digit, suggesting possible increase in actual dividends by most banks. Interim reports and accounts of nearly all banks showed growths in incomes and profitability during the nine-month operational period ended September 30, 2011, which analysts said

could boost the secondary market valuations of banking stocks. At the opening prices this month, most banking stocks carried double-digit earning yields, with some as high as 21 per cent. Average industry yield stands at 11.4 per cent. With the third quarter 2011 reports, earnings per share within the banking industry was as high as 137 kobo with industry average of 53 kobo per share. But market pundits said investors were still uncertain about the irreversibility of the key decisions that had reshaped the banking sector including mergers and acquisitions, nationalisation, divestment form subsidiaries and new regime of banking categorisation. All the four banks that had acquired other banks in the recent mergers and acquisitions suffered price depreciation yesterday. Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) dropped by 56 kobo to N11.04, Sterling Bank lost five kobo to close at N1.14, Access Bank dropped 15 kobo to close at N4.80, while First City Monument Bank dropped by six kobo to close at N4.01 per share. Meanwhile, Nestle Nigeria topped the gainers’ list with a gain of N9 to close at N410. Okomu Oil Palm added N1.11 to close at N23.41 per share. Eterna gained 18 kobo to close at N4, while Dangote Flour Mills added 17 kobo to close at N5.17 per share. Total turnover stood at 249.26 million shares valued at N3.57 billion in 3,596 deals.


of Shares (N) 10,875.20 34,050,748.50 5,414.92 5,476,794.00 3,437,321.79 15,662,148.94 58,643,303.35


Company Name IKEJA HOTEL PLC Sector Totals


HE Nigerian stock market relapsed to the negative side yesterday, pushing year-to-date loss at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to 17.63 per cent. The downtrend yesterday came on the heels of investor apprehensions over the certainty of key decisions under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s banking reform and increasing focus on the apex bank by the National Assembly. The All Share Index (ASI), the benchmark index that measures price changes of all quoted companies, contracted by 0.11 per cent to 20,404.23 points as against its opening index of 20,426.19. This indicates year-to-date return of -17.63 per cent for the benchmark index which doubles as country index for Nigeria. Underlining the value lost during the cautious trading session, aggregate market capitalisation of all quoted companies dropped to N6.421 trillion as against its value on board of N6.428 trillion. Related to the year-to-date return, the aggregate market capitalisation at the close of market yesterday implied that investors have on the average lost about N1.5 trillion so far this year. The relapse yesterday was particularly orchestrated by losses in the banking sectors and a handful of highly capitalized stocks. While the sectoral measures tracking the food and beverages and insurance

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 7,000 49,700.00 1,745 9,737.10 8,745 59,437.10

TECHNOLOGY Quotation(N) Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 0.50 5,000 2,500.00 2.73 10,000 26,000.00 0.50 7,000 3,500.00 22,000 32,000.00

Quotation(N) 0.50 0.92 2.81 0.55 1.50

Quantity TradedValue 10,376,853 675,000 695,891 174,816 6,992,044

of Shares (N) 5,209,264.02 618,750.00 1,787,522.05 96,148.80 10,450,873.20




0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 1.03 0.50

2,700,000 1,000,000 1,069,444 820,000 2,000 900 1,005,630 18,870,871 72,930 100,000 946,562 45,502,941

Quotation(N) 0.63

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 5,722,718 3,660,588.48 5,722,718 3,660,588.48

OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS No of Deals Quotation(N) 5 0.87 1 0.50 6


PACKAGING No of Deals 106 1 107

Quotation(N) 1.47 13.28

1,350,000.00 500,000.00 534,722.00 410,000.00 1,000.00 450.00 502,815.00 9,435,435.50 36,465.00 98,000.00 473,281.00 31,504,726.57

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 20,000 17,400.00 136,125 68,062.50 156,125 85,462.50

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 754,016 1,118,763.90 300 3,984.00 754,316 1,122,747.90


PETROLEUM(MARKETING) No of Deals Quotation(N) 20 63.86 9 35.00 10 4.00 15 11.61 13 141.00 152 27.30 14 200.00 233

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 83,040 5,049,601.15 3,583 119,193.07 228,250 909,747.20 102,164 1,245,379.16 13,338 1,843,917.00 1,169,890 30,485,389.59 22,775 4,438,190.00 1,623,040 44,091,417.17


PRINTING & PUBLISHING No of Deals Quotation(N) 1 4.20 7 3.70 8

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 30,316 120,960.84 108,341 381,990.32 138,657 502,951.16



Company Name ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL INCORPORATED Sector Totals Overall Totals

REAL ESTATE No of Deals 9 9

Quotation(N) 12.90

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 31,625 392,397.25 31,625 392,397.25

ROAD TRANSPORTATION No of Deals Quotation(N) 4 0.58 4

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 320,000 185,600.00 320,000 185,600.00

THE FOREIGN LISTINGS No of Deals Quotation(N) 7 11.04 7

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 170,000 1,886,892.00 170,000 1,886,892.00







CBN won’t let reserves fall below $30b in 2012, say analysts By Collins Nweze

THE foreign reserves which currently stand at $33 billion as at Monday will not fall below $30 billion in 2012, analysts have projected. The Renaissance Capital, investment and research firm said the $30 billion is equivalent to about seven months of import cover, adding that the reserves have fluctuated between $31billion to 35 billion. It said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has continued to defend the reserves from falling below $30 billion. “If defending a certain exchange rate

required the foreign reserves to fall below this floor, we think the CBN may choose to let the naira depreciate outside the target band of N150/$1 +/ -3 per cent. This occurred on 26 September, when the CBN sold $350 million at N155.02/$1, equivalent to 3.3 per cent above the mid-point of the band; the interbank exchange rate closed at N157.87/$1 on that day. Two days later, the CBN doubled the amount to $700 million, which met total demand.

However, the rates fell back to the target range on 12 October, following the doubling of the dollar offering to $700 million on 28 September, and after the 10 October Monetary Policy Committee meeting. RenCap explained that the CBN has a forex reserves floor it is not willing to breach, even at the expense of defending the naira target band. We think the authorities’ modest devaluation proposals imply the CBN is projecting a modest slowdown in the oil price, but with stable production in 2012. “We

also think the CBN is expecting improved capital inflows in 2012, particularly as low interest rates in the West increase the attractiveness of yields in emerging markets and frontier markets. The research firm, also forecasts a downside risks to a WDAS exchange rate level of N155 to 156/$1. Although Nigeria’s high yields may be appealing, capital inflows could be deterred by global risk aversion, particularly given the significant uncertainty surrounding the current Euro zone financial crisis, it said. “In the interest of understanding how, why and when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) devalues or revalues the naira, we thought we would take a step back and review Nigeria’s exchange rate policy,” it said.

Budget 2012: Experts urge govt to raise capital Also, the Chief Executive Officer, GROUP- Budgit NGO has expenditure Popoola, CRC Credit Bureau Limited, Tunde called on the Federal Gov urged the government to


ernment to increase its capital expenditure from 25 per cent to 75 per cent to fast-track the nation’s economic growth. Speaking during a one-day programme, titled: Budgit Meet Up, the Group Team Leader, Seun Onigbinde, said the preparation, appropriation and implementation of the budget has followed a similar pattern in the past five years, adding that the development has impacted negatively on the economy. Onigbinde , in a paper, titled: “ Review of 2011 Budget and Snapshot of the Year 2012 Budget”, noted that there has been a wide gap between the recurrent and capital expenditures. He said N1.2 trillion out of N4.485trillion budget for 2011 went to the recurrent expenditure, while the capital projects was allowed to

By Akinola Ajibade

suffer. He said the government had spent N3.8 trillion on fuel subsidy in the past five years, when it could have spent a maximum of N2 trillion to put refineries in order. He said: “There has been little or no accountability in the area of budget implementation. The infrastructure has suffered while a lot of money is being spent on salaries, purchase of stationeries and allowances for lawmakers, among others. The National Assembly Committees need to do more in the area of accountability in the subsequent years.” He urged the government to align its aspirations with that of the masses, arguing that there has been a disconnect between the government and the citizens’ objectives.

give education, security, health and infrastructure priorities in its programmes. Popoola said it is unheard of globally that government gives 25 per cent to capital expenditure while recurrent takes a whopping 75 per cent. In his paper, titled, 2012 Nigerian Budget: ‘Bridging the Knowledge Gap,’ he said there is a serious wave to wind down capital expenditure and make recurrent expenditure higher in the country. “ Even the Federal Government’s decision to reduce recurrent expenditure to 70 from 75 per cent is not good enough. There is a misplacement of priority in what government does. Efforts should be made by the government to finance capital projects in 2012 or else the economy would not improve,” he argued.

Skye Shelter Funds profit hit N306m SKYE Shelter Funds, a real estate investment trust being managed by Skye Financial Services Limited, has posted a profit before tax of N306 million for the year ended December 31, 2010. The figure is an increase from the N251 million recorded during the corresponding period in 2009. Net income stood at N235 million as against N175 million in 2009, while net income per unit for the same period was N11.75 compared to N8.73. Unit holders of the fund’s equity also received a massive N9.40 dividend per unit during the review period compared with the N7 payout in 2009, representing a cash return of 9 per cent.

Okojo-Iweala, others to attend FBN Capital conference A statement from the bank said the Conference is an annual event designed to facilitate the development of innovative partnerships and strategies for maximizing investment opportunities in Nigeria.

THE Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, is among dignitaries that will be attending the FBN Capital maiden Investor Conference in Lagos.

Akinwunmi Adesina. The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is expected to host a dinner in which Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria’s CEO, Mustafa Chike-Obi, will attend.

Other keynote speakers are Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, Minister for Trade and Investment Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji and his Agric counterpart, Dr.


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%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011


O/PRICE 22.30 2.02 2.68 2.75 3.82 0.55 0.56 0.56 5.00 491.00

C/PRICE 23.41 2.12 2.81 2.88 4.00 0.57 0.58 0.58 5.17 410.00

CHANGE 1.11 0.10 0.13 0.13 0.18 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.17 9.00


O/PRICE 4.89 11.60 1.90 1.54 1.19 14.69 0.57 0.62 0.65 4.95

C/PRICE 4.65 11.04 1.81 1.47 1.14 14.10 0.55 0.60 0.63 4.80


Offered ($) Demanded ($)


OBB Rate Call Rate

Addressing unit holders at the fund’s Annual General Meeting held in Lagos, yesterday, the Chairman, Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, said the Skye Shelter Fund’s 2010 results marked the third consecutive year of its stellar performance notwithstanding the declining economic fortunes, both locally and globally. Specifically, he said the fund’s assets had grown to N2.7 billion during the period under review as against N2.6 billion during the corresponding period in 2009. According to him, the fund had recorded increase in net asset value of 21 per cent since inception, noting that the increase in net asset was expected to be realised as income in the coming years. In addition, he said the fund managers had consistently and constantly reduced expenses across the last three years covering 2008, 2009 and 2010, and disclosed that the fund had earmarked the sum of N381 million for the development of property project in the new year.




RenCap, said Nigeria prefers a strong and stable naira, given its significant dependence on imports and desire for price stability. In the interest of a stable naira, the CBN manages the naira/dollar exchange rate within a narrow range that is reviewed on an annual basis. The CBN uses the WDAS to supply dollars to banks, and manages the supply of dollars at bi-weekly auctions to keep the exchange rate within the target range, it added. Under the Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS) plan, banks submit their bids, and the CBN allocates dollars to the highest bidder, down to the level that clears the volume on offer, known as the marginal rate. The marginal rate is the lowest level at which the CBN will supply dollars, and is also referred to as the WDAS rate.



Sold ($)

Rate (N)


















Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %




















Bureau de Change 152.0000 (S/N)




Parallel Market






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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%





July ’11

Aug ’11





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% 9.4%

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 118.85 100.28 0.77 1.03 0.89 1,639.36 8.24 1.39 1.87 7,251.90 193.00

9.08 1.00 118.69 99.71 0.74 1.03 0.88 1,634.12 7.84 1.33 1.80 7,149.37 191.08


CHANGE 0.24 0.56 0.09 0.07 0.05 0.59 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.15


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 24 Aug, 2011 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 26, Aug, 2011 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%




04 July, 2011

07, Aug, 2011













ACN, Yari hail Supreme Court ruling HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Akwa Ibom State yesterday hailed the Supreme Court verdict which ordered the re-trial of the governorship election petitions in Akwa Ibom and Benue states. In a unanimous verdict by the five-member panel, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher, held that the petitions could not have been dismissed on mere technicalities, saying pre-hearing notices can be done orally. He, however, ordered that the petitions should be heard on their merit. Prof. Steve Ugbah of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) challenged the election of Governor Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State. In Akwa Ibom, Senator John Akpanudoedehe (ACN) challenged the election of Governor Godswill Akiabro of the PDP. Akwa IbomACN Chairman Amadu Attai said the party is ready for the re-trial.


Ekweremadu worried From Osagie Otabor, Benin


EPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu is worried over the Supreme Court’s judgment ordering re-trials of the governorship election petitions in Akwa Ibom and Benue states. Ekweremadu said the decision of the Supreme Court has raised fresh constitutional issues which was not envisaged by the National Assembly in the amendment of the 1999 Constitution last year. The Deputy Senate President spoke in Benin, Edo State, at the constitutional review conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). He said the National Assembly amended the constitution to reduce the period of election petition to 180 days to avoid election petitions being delayed and elongated for many years. Ekweremadu said the issue at stake is when to start counting. His words: “The National Assembly did not envisage that a judge will wake up and throw out a case on technicalities, I am not saying the decision is right or wrong but I can assure you we will look into the matter.’’ From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo and Kelvin OsaOkunbor

Attai urged supporters to be steadfast, saying the party would retrieve its mandate. His words: “When we sit for the re-trial and present

our evidence that is when the world will know no election took place in Uyo. “We are not here to boast but to present the matter for the court to judge. “The verdict of the Supreme Court is the people’s

ruling. It has restored the hope of the common masses and restored confidence in the judiciary.” The party’s Legal Adviser, Andem Ndem, said the Supreme Court judgment is an expression of the liberation of the masses and a vindication of hope in the judiciary. Ndem said: “The verdict is an expression of the liberation of the people. There is nothing to worry about. The verdict shows that democracy is alive.” Zamfara State Governor Abdullaziz Yari has also hailed the verdict. Yari, who spoke with reporters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, said the Judiciary is indeed the last hope of the common man. He said:”We all must have hope in the judiciary. We have hope in the judiciary because it is the last hope of the common man. “The moment we say we don’t have hope in the judiciary, then, what else again? “So we have hope in the judiciary and we believe the judiciary will do its best to do things right.”

Rivers holds investors’ forum


•Executive Secretary, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Prof. Godswill Obioma (left) and Coordinator, Research Department, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Anthony Ali, at a workshop to develop teachers guides in Enugu yesterday

Traffic warden killed in Delta


USINESSES were shut down yesterday at Motel Junction, Enerhen in Udu Local Government of Delta State, following the death of a traffic warden alleged to have been killed by suspected robbers. Movement of vehicles and pedestrians were monitored as security agents drafted to the

From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri

area performed a stop-and-check. Sources said the robbers were coming from an operation and while trying to escape shot the warden on Udu-Warri road. Police spokesman Atubu Yaro confirmed the incident.

Oshiomhole advises media on security issues


DO State Governor A d a m s Oshiomhole has asked media managers to be more cautious in their reports on security-related matters. He said this at the constitutional review conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Benin City, yesterday. Oshiomhole said the way the media reports issues related to security

may affect the way the country is perceived by outsiders, including investors. He said: “At the end of the day, if we dismiss the country, nobody will be able to engage it. We should defend the green passport. “How much weight we give to criminals may affect how we empower them. The word terrorism is not indigenous to us and we must refuse for our country to be dismissed as the cen-

tre of terrorism. “When they throw it at us, we must be ready to reject it. Let us manage the headlines so that the rest of the world would not look at our country as another hell.” The governor, who advised the NUJ on the welfare of its members, urged the union to stand up to defend the interest of its members when such interests are being undermined.

HE Rivers State Government is to showcase the numerous investment opportunities in the state to prospective investors at an investors’ forum, tagged: “Change that works.” The forum, which will hold from today till Friday at the Government House, Port Harcourt, is aimed at displaying the investment opportunities that exist in the state and its environs. The Chairman, Organising Committee, Atedo Peterside, said the forum would boost economic activities in the state and its environs and to facilitate a turnaround to help Nigeria attain and surpass the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Two brothers held for alleged robbery From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba


WO brothers were yesterday arraigned at an Asaba Chief Magistrate’s Court for their alleged involvement in robbery. Emmanuel (32) and Okoye Chukwuemeka (24) are facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and robbery. Police prosecutor Bassey Eko told the court that the accused and others now at large allegedly committed the offence on August 31 in Asaba. Eko told the court that the suspects allegedly robbed Uchenna Ezealor of a Land Rover vehicle while armed with guns. The vehicle, with registration number XE189 AAA, is valued at N4.9 million. He said the suspects also stole a laptop valued at N80, 000, shoes and sandals valued at N300, 000, $1,300 and a bottle of perfume worth N100, 000.00.

62 get first class in UNIBEN From Osagie Otabor, Benin

IXTY two students have obtained First Class degrees of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Edo State. Vice-Chancellor Prof Osayuki Oshodin announced this yesterday at a briefing as part of activities to mark its 37th convocation and 41st Founder’s Day ceremony. He said 8,782 graduands would be awarded various degrees and diplomas. Oshodin said 1,416 students got Second Class upper; 3,682 Second Class lower; 908 Third Class and five Pass. The Vice-Chancellor said the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and former Head of Federal Civil Service Stephen Oronsaye would be conferred with honorary degrees.


Delta Deputy Speaker’s election upheld


HE National and House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal yesterday upheld the election of the Deputy Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Basil Ganagana. In his judgment, which lasted 62 minutes, Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Bako, dismissed the petition of Raymus Guanah of Fresh Democratic Party, for lacking in merit. Ganagana commended the tribunal for its courage in arriving at the verdict.

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

He called on Guanah to join him in his quest to reposition Patani Constituency. Similarly, the tribunal upheld the election of Eme Mukoro of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) candidate representing Ughelli South Constituency Justice Bako held that documentary evidence could not be traced to any specific units or wards and therefore dismissed the petition of PDP candidate Talib Tebite.

Lawmaker visits victims From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt


EPUTY Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly Leyii Kwanee has visited the people of BunuBagha community in Khana Local Government, who

were attacked by hoodlums last Friday. Kwanee, who represents Khana Constituency 2, said security agencies have been contacted. In the attack, armed bandits killed Kedum Birawee. His mother said the armed robbers laid siege to the community, robbing, maiming and killing the people. The Deputy Speaker said security had been strengthened in the area with efforts being made to apprehend the hoodlums. He promised to assist the family with the funeral expenses.



NEWS Ogun East elders plead with PDP

Three dead in Onitsha road accident


HREE persons died yesterday in Onitsha, Anambra State, when a truck loaded with scraps fell on a crowd of people. Four others sustained injuries. The accident occurred by the bridge around noon. Accordingto eyewitnesses, a Mercedes 911 truck with registration No. Anambra XA 118 KPY was stopped by two urchins suspected to

From Adimike George, Onitsha

be members of the State Task Force on Revenue. The driver reportedly lost control of the vehicle while struggling with the Task Force members. A source, Chinonso Chukwuma, said two Task Force members accosted the driver of the lorry over his alleged refusal to pay

N1,500 emblem fee. Chukwuma said they were struggling the wheel with the driver. He explained that the three persons, who died on the spot, were crushed beyond recognition. Sources said a Task Force member was almost lynched by the mob before the intervention of the police. Federal Road Safety

Corps (FRSC) officers said only one person was confirmed dead. They said the body of the victim had been deposited at the Ifeanyichukwu Hospital Mortuary on OnitshaOwerri road. Onitsha Unit Commander, FRSC, Ben Akunne, confirmed the accident. He urged the government to call the Task Force members to order.

PHCN workers begin industrial action over troops at facilities T HE National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) yesterday deplored the decision of the Federal Government to deploy troops to guard PHNC installations nationwide. They described the action as irrational, considering that talks are still ongoing over the privatization of the PHCN. The union asked its members to embark on peaceful demonstrations across the states to protest the occupation of the installations. President of NUEE, Comrade Mansur Musa said the peaceful marches are intend-

ed to protest the non payment of the 50 per cent salary increment since June as well as the harassment of its members by security officials. “They have been detaining and releasing our members, this cannot continue. We would continue to protest peacefully until the soldiers are removed” he said. He described as false and misleading the claim by the government that the troops were deployed to guard the installations to forestall at-

tacks by the Boko Haram. The union issued a statement signed by its General Secretary Joe Ajaero. The statement said officials from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) who accompanied the soldiers to the installations are not trained to curb terrorist attacks. “This singular act of basing their irrational decision of drafting troops in order to secure their infamous privatization on Boko Haram is an open invitation to the Sect that

there are PHCN Installations to attack. This definitely is not in the interest of our facilities and staff. Ordinarily, this should have been a security issue that must not be politicised,” the statement read. Ajaero alleged government deployed troops to ensure that the sale of the PHCN goes on without any hitch. He urged the members of the union to be security conscious and avoid confrontation with the armed troops. He urged Nigerians to understand the situation should there be interruption of power supply.

Seven shot in Ondo community over kingship tussle


EVEN persons were injured yesterday in Igbokoda, an oil-rich town in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State that is engulfed in a rulership crisis. They were reportedly shot. The victims, eyewitnesses said, were members of a

By Sunday Oguntola

traditional group performing coronation rites on Fola Adidi as king on the town. They were allegedly attacked by a section of youths in the community to protest the alleged imposition of Adidi.

The attack led to the suspension of a three-day curfew imposed on the town for coronation rites. Youths, who spoke on the obaship tussle, which has created tension in the community, said Adidi’s selection did not follow due process. They vowed to make the

town ungovernable, calling on Governor Olusegun Mimiko to save the community from further bloodbath. The victims, it was gathered, have been taken to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.

Air safety attributed to providence AFRICA Children of Peace Club, an affiliate of African Foundation for Peace and Love Initiatives, will hold its 10th edition of Nigerian Airspace Safety Prayer programme, on September 17 at the Nigeria Airspace Management Authority Headquarters, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. President of the Foundation, Rev. Titus Oyeyemi, said the prayer would ensure air safety in the country.

Church holds retreat THE Glorious Prayer Church, Anthony Village, Lagos, will hold a Holy Spirit filled three-day retreat at the Success Camp, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, from Friday -Sunday. General Overseer of the church Rev. S.F Bamidele will minister at the retreat. Other speakers are Pastors Yomi Ariyo, Tunde Omitogun, among others. The retreat will feature love, healing, salvation and deliverance messages.

Community leader for burial THE Arabanla of Oka land, Ondo State, High Chief Amuda Yusuf Awoyemi, is dead. He was 91. According to burial arrangements by the family, the wake comes up tomorrow at 17 at 17 Owase Quarters. Awoyemi’s remains will be buried on Friday at his Oka Akoko home after a valedictory church service at Jehovah Jireh African Church.



LDERS and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Eastern Zone of Ogun State have urged the party’s Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) not to encourage actions that can divide the party. They spoke in Ijebu-Ode at the end of a meeting, presided over by the Chairman

of the Ogun East PDP Elders’ Forum, Alhaji Agboola Alausa. The party elders resolved to expand the forum to accommodate more members; inaugurated a youth’s forum and Committee on Mobilisation, Strategy and Publicity for the party in the senatorial district. They also resolved to woo former members who have defected to other parties to return and partake in the ongoing membership registration. In a statement after the meeting, the elders said: “We urge the acting National Chairman and the other members of the NWC not to allow factions in Ogun State. Those parading themselves as PDP members and yet working for the opposition should be put where they belong.

Group to protest fuel subsidy removal By Yetunde Balogun


HE Integrity Youth Movement (IYM) yesterday issued one- week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the planned removal of fuel subsidy. In a statement, the group said it would organise a mass protest if the government goes ahead with the decision. The statement reads: “The Nigerian youths under the flag of this organisation, in collaboration with the Movement of Nigerian Students (MNS), hereby used this medium to sensitise Nigerians about our planned protest schecduled for November 24 in Abuja against the planned removal of fuel subsidy by powerful minorities. “We have mobilised 23,000 youths for the sacrifice. It is a sacrifice to pay to save this nation from imminent doom ahead as removal of subsidy is an invitation to revolution. No arrest can avert our perfect logistic into Abuja. “Killing of our members would only put the nation on the same list as Libya, Syria, Yemen and Morocco. The international community has been briefed about the protest for wider coverage. We only give the Federal Government just this week to reverse the planned removal of fuel subsidy.”

el-Rufai gets N1m compensation


N Abuja Federal High Court yesterday awarded N1,000,000 as general damages to the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai against the Federal Government for refusing to renew his international passport in 2009. Ruling on the exparte application filed by el-Rufai to enforce his fundamental rights, Justice Abdul Kafarati ordered the Federal Government to renew his passport. He held that the Federal Government was unable to show any reason why his application for international passport could not be renewed. The co-defendants are the Minister of Interior; Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service; Director General of National Intelligence Agency and Attorney

From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

General of the Federation (AGF). Justice Kafarati, who dismissed the respondents objection noted that the AGF being the nation’s chief law officer was joined in the matter as a necessary party and that the plaintiff’s application was proper and competent. “I found no merit in their objections and therefore strike them out. I have gone through the applicant’s application and concluded that he deserved to be granted this application. Respondents have not shown any good reason why applicant’s international passport cannot be renewed. Applicant’s motion as per reliefs 1to6 is granted. As regard relief 7, I award N1million as general damages against all the respondents”.

National Assembly meets Jonathan over insecurity, fuel subsidy From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan and his economic team will today hold a meeting with members of the National Assembly at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Aso Villa, Abuja. A source at the National Assembly said the meeting is part of a plan by the Presidency to lobby the lawmakers to support the proposed removal of fuel subsidy. The meeting, scheduled to begin at 2.30pm will also consider rising insecurity in parts of the country and 2012 budget. It was gathered that at a meeting last week between the leadership of the National Assembly and President Jonathan, the lawmakers insisted that in view of the insecurity in the country, the National Assembly may not be favourably disposed to the proposal to remove fuel subsidy.






Swaziland raises loan to pay 35,000 workers


WAZILAND has taken out an emergency loan to pay the wages of 35,000 public sector workers, spokesman Percy Simelane has told the BBC. The privately owned Times of Swaziland newspaper reports that the government needs to raise more than $42m (£26m) within two days to pay its bills. Swaziland - ruled by King Mswati III - has been in a deep financial crisis this year. It has not yet accepted a $355m bailout from neighbouring South Africa. Pretoria had demanded a

series of reforms - including dialogue between the government and the opposition as a condition for the loan. Mr Simelane told the BBC the government had raised a loan from Swazi banks and other companies to pay wages this month. “I don’t expect it to happen again,” he said. Finance Minister Majozi Sithole told the Times of Swaziland that the government had only about $22m in its salary account, while its monthly obligations amounted to $64m. There was panic among

New York police clear Wall Street of protesters


•King Mswati of Swaziland

public sector workers last week after a leaked government memo said salary payments due to civil servants later this month would be delayed to next month because of a shortage of money.

One killed as Congo military plane crashes


NE person was reportedly killed after a military helicopter crashed in the Republic of Congo. Col. Patrick Morapenda says the helicopter crashed yesterday in Badondo, some 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of the capital of Brazzaville. He says the Russian commander was killed and the three other people aboard were injured

when the chopper tried to land after bad weather. The MI-8, a Russian-designed helicopter, had been chartered by a mining company operating in the mineral-rich part of the country. The Republic of Congo is often overshadowed by its much larger neighbor, Congo — the scene of numerous crashes involving aging Soviet planes.

EW York police have dismantled the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park and arrested about 200 people following a raid in the early hours. Protesters were ordered to leave at about 01:00 (06:00 GMT), before police began removing tents and property. The New York camp was set up in September to protest against economic inequality it inspired similar demonstrations around the world. It was the latest camp to be cleared by police in US cities in recent days. Following Tuesday’s eviction, a New York state judge issued an order ruling protesters could return to the park, pending a hearing at 11:30 (16:30 GMT). For the city of New York, this has been a balancing act all along between the constitutional right to free speech and freedom of expression and the right of people in the city to get on with their lives. City officials tried to walk that tightrope, but in the end

the park’s owners said the conditions there were disgusting and asked for police to clear it. The message here is that income inequality is widening in America and that the banks received a bailout after the financial crisis which protesters feel they were responsible for causing. And that message does resonate in America, where people are still struggling with a fragile economy, but equally here in New York, there has been a division. But the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the park would remain closed while officials reviewed the legal situation. In a news conference, Mr Bloomberg said there was a conflict between protecting public health and safety and protesters’ First Amendment rights. “Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest, but rather to break laws, and in some cases, to harm others,” Mr Bloomberg said.

Turkey steps up pressure on Syria’s Assad TURKEY has stepped up its pressure on neighbouring Syria over the crackdown on protests by the Damascus government. Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the future could not be built on “the blood of the oppressed”, and condemned attacks on Turkish missions in Syria. Meanwhile, Turkey’s energy minister announced that joint oil exploration projects with Syria had been halted. Damascus is also facing increasing pressure from the Arab League, which has suspended its membership. On Monday King Abdullah of Jordan became the first Arab leader to openly urge Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down. The United Nations says more than 3,500 people have died since the start of the protests against President Assad in March. The Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs and militants.






Ex-internationals doing their best —Adepoju


OPULARLY called Head Master by soccer fans in his days, Mutiu Aepoju is one ex-international that can be said to have paid his national dues when it comes to achievement in football. Currently the Team Manager of Shooting Stars Football Club, 3SC, of Ibadan, he did not just return to his home club to occupy space but to fill in the gap - hence, in his first year, he played a key role in bringing the team back to the Premier League. Fielding questions on the recent fumes saying that the exinternationals has failed the nation's football, Adepoju sternly refuses to share such view. He said that the ex-internationals have maximized the few opportunities that has come thier way. "I don't agree that the ex-internationals has failed. Who are the ex-internationals that failed? That one person did not meet up does not means that all the ex-internationals has failed. "Anything can happen at given anytime, so some don't just have to wake up to say that ex-internationals has failed, we have all been trying our best to ensure that we bring the game and the teams up with the opportunities we have been given, we have been trying to make a difference - so I don't believe that the ex-internationals has failed unless they are just looking for a scape goat or excuses. There are several other ways we've been trying our best." On what should be done to make the Nigeria football work, Adepoju says its time to get right by doing what ought to be done. "The Nigeria football is a process that has been dragging for

From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt a long time. The unfortunate thing that no body wants to happen has happened and we should take it from there. We just have to get it right from there and then we start building because it happened to many other countries, even Ghana. They've gotten it right and they are coming up again. Even Cote D'Ivoire, they were in the same situation too. "We having such time now, we don't have to think that everything is down or gone, we have the potentials and everything it takes to be there, its just for us to do it the way it should be done. We should look at what we have done to get it wrong all the while - to err is human - we just have to take it right from where went wrong. All we just want is for Nigeria football to move forward". On what is missing in the teams, talents or zeal? Mutiu says its the winning spirit. "There are so much talents but so many things have also changed, especially the economy of the country. Many people now wants to go abroad and play. Most of them lack maturity, they are not really mature the way they are supposed to before they go out. Maybe because they have the opportunity. "Also, in our time, commitment was different too - we also had the spirit, the winning spirit. When we score, we go for more. We did not want to lose and you never saw us lose in Lagos. Those are some of the things that are not there now. Some of the players don't even care if they lose or win. Those are just the difference. Everything else is there but that spirit is what we are lacking", he said.

Big welcome for Premier League Champions


HE Champions of the 2010/2011 Nigeria Premier League Season, Dolphins Football Club of Port Harcourt would be receiving a carnival like welcome according to the Rivers Sports Boss, Barrister Mbombo Igwe. In a chat with NationSport in is office, the commissioner whose appointment into the office has celebrated from one trophy to the other said he is excited about the latest development, while also noting that it is quite natural looking at he kind of investment been made in sports in the state. "Everybody in my position should be very excited. I personally am very grateful to God and also to the governor of River state who has invested heavily in sports - which is the root of the success. "If you look at the level of development and investment in sports, this is just a natural thing, that the trophies should be rolling in". Going a step further on the kind of reception that should be expected on the team's arrival later this week, Igwe says its going to be a celebration galore. "Naturally, what should we expect? When you have a diligent club like Dolphins, that has won this national honour,

From Florence Nkem Israel, Port Harcourt it will not be fair if we don't roll out the drums. So we are going to roll out the drums. "In fact, if you get into our plans, you will think its a carnival. We intend to fly them from Lagos, move them in a motorcade from the airport It will be a road show on the major streets of Port Harcourt before finally they arrive government house to deliver the trophy".

• Kalu Uche

Uche brothers sink Zambia


HE Uche brothers, Kalu and Ikechukwu were on target last night to give new coach, Stephen Keshi his first victory as Nigeria defeated Zambia 2-0 in an international friendly match at the Ahmadu Bello stadium, Kaduna. The Chipolopolo who are preparing to play in next January’s Africa Cup of Nations, played a spirited game against the Super Eagles and would feel hard done by at the final result. Nigeria got the first goal on 9th minute after winger Ahmed Musa beat his marker from a Fengor Ogude pass

before crossing in to Kalu Uche who slotted in past Kennedy Mwee, to send the stadium into rapturous applause. The Zambians then came out fighting but were unlucky not to have equalized as midfielder Rainford Kalaba saw his shot deflected past Vincent Enyeama as the first period came to an end. Emmanuel Emenike saw a cheeky loop stopped by Mweene on the opposite side of the pitch before half time. Both teams made in changes in the second half as the Zambians laid siege on the Nigerian goal area. They cre-

Eagles friendly: Zambia’s coach dissapointed


AMBIA Head Coach Herve Renard has expressed disappointment over the performance of his boys in the friendly match against the Super Eagles in Kaduna on Tuesday. Speaking immediately after the which the Chipolopolos lost by two goals to nils, the Coach said that the boys did not play according to instructions. He said that the boys played contrary to his expectations, and will need to work hard to be able to make a maximum impact in the Africa Nations Cup next year. He said that though this is his first match with the team in this new dispensation, that they would have to be up and doing.

By Andrew Abah and Patrick Ngwaogu In his post match interview, Super Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi said this is a new dawn for the home based players as he would be laying emphasis on the local league players "this is a new dawn for the local league players. They would be given enough time to express themselves. Gone are the days that we would have over 20 player all based overseas in the Super Eagles. We would be inviting players based on needs, and not for formality sake. I would start immediately to build the team based at home". He said that the win against the Zambians was a hard earned one.

Regulatory Commission to support Kanu’s N5b hospital project


ORRIED over the increasing heart ailment among children in the country, the Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Chief Peter Igho yesterday pledged to support the Kanu Heart Foundation in raising a sum of N5 billion for the construction of a cardiac specialist hospital in Abuja. Igho made this known during a visit from the Coordinator of the foundation, Pastor Onyebichi Abia in Abuja. While describing the initiative as a laudable project he said the

From Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja commission was ready to approve the foundation’s request to make use of lottery in raising funds to build a world class cardiac hospital to address heart ailments victims in the country. He said countries all over the world have succeeded in utilizing resources generated from lottery to support the needy adding that Nigeria would not be an exceptional case. Igho added that the project was in tune with the government’s transformation agenda to reduce

child mortality and ensure good health care delivery in the country. However, the DG urged Nigerians to support the course to safe lives of innocent Nigerian children. In his remark, the foundation’s coordinator disclosed that there was need to establish a cardiac hospital in the country to tackle the heart disease. He said the foundation decided to implement the project considering the high cost involved in treating heart disease victims abroad and the increasing number of victims.

ated chance after chance but were stopped by substitute goalkeeper Austin Ejide. Chipolopolo’s captain Christopher Katongo saw a shot rattle past Ejide as the visitors who dominated play

searched for an equalizer. The Nigerian defence, led by captain Joseph Yobo who marked a record-equaling 86 international caps, were overwhelmed by the Zambian forwards as the game ran to a close.




VOL.7 NO.1946

Tomorrow in THE NATION His idea of Nigeria sending technical assistance in form of manpower at our expense to less fortunate African states and other culturally related people in the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands remain till today an example of using soft power to advance a country’s interest JIDE OSUNTOKUN



NYONE old enough and literate enough to read newspapers in the late sixties and seventies knew the New Nigerian was the envy of all other Nigerian newspapers, including Daily Times, then the mother of all our newspapers; for literary quality, accuracy and courage of its convictions, the Kaduna based newspaper was simply nonpareil. The newspaper was born – reborn is the more accurate word, for, it was established to take over from where the bi-weekly Nigerian Citizen, published in nearby Zaria, left off – on January 1, 1966, after the authorities in Kaduna, the Northern regional capital, had arrived at the painful conclusion that the Citizen was unequal to the task of countering the very bad press the region and its people had suffered from in the hands of the Southern, more specifically, Lagos, press. Within months of its birth the newspaper established itself as second only to Daily Times in circulation, thanks in large measure to its well informed and accurate news, its trademark typically one inch editorial column that ran down its left hand side beneath its masthead, and, not least of all, its irreverent satirical Wednesday columnist, the anonymous Candido. The newspaper achieved this feat through a combination of sheer luck and excellent leadership, but through more of the latter than the former. The sheer luck came through the country’s first military coup which came exactly two weeks after the newspaper’s birth. The excellent leadership came in the human shape of Mr. Charles Sharp, its first and only expatriate managing director, and Malams Adamu Ciroma, Mamman Daura and the late Turi Muhammadu, successors to Sharp in that order, after each had served as editor. Malam Magaji Dambatta, veteran journalist, veteran civil servant, veteran politician, and a co-founder at youthful age of 19 of the radical political party in the First Republic, the Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) led by the late radical politician, Malam Aminu Kano, missed being at the centre of the remarkable story of the New Nigerian in the early sixties by sheer happenstance. At the time Malam Magaji was a youngish 35 yearold. He was born 80 years ago this year. Mr. Sharp, who mid-wifed the rebirth of Citizen as New Nigerian, was a veteran of Citizen itself. He left the newspaper as editor in succession to Chief Bisi Onabanjo - subsequently a disciple of Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Awo) and first civilian governor of Ogun State - and returned to his country, the UK, before the Northern authorities had despaired of its lacklustre performance. But this was not before he had recruited Malam Magaji as a reporter for the newspaper in 1954. He had come to know Malam Magaji from his journalism as a reporter and Hausa editor of Daily Comet, one of the newspapers in Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s (Zik) famed stable whose flagship was the Lagos based West African Pilot. Comet, based in cosmopolitan Kano, became a mouthpiece of NEPU which was then in alliance with Zik’s National Congress of Nigeria and Cameroon, subsequently National Congress of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) after the 1960 plebiscite in which Northern Cameroon became part of Nigeria as Adamawa Province



People and Politics By MOHAMMED HARUNA

Celebrating Magaji Dambatta at 80


and Southern Cameroon joined the French Cameroon ahead of its independence from French rule. As you can imagine, Comet proved a thorn in the flesh of the authorities in the region and was, at least in Kano, more than a match not only to Citizen. It was also more than a match to The Mail, the better printed mouthpiece of the ruling Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) published in Kano. Mr. Sharp recruited Malam Magaji apparently to give the opposition a voice in the regional newspaper for fairness and balance in its coverage of the region’s politics. Very likely Mr. Sharp’s action did not go down well with the authorities in Kaduna but in the end Malam Magaji survived their misgivings, thanks obviously to his ability to walk the tight rope of reporting for an Establishment newspaper as a radical journalist-politician. His secret was his apparent possession of a huge dose of the virtues of a good reporter not least of which are a keen sense of observation, the ability to cultivate and keep sources and good old personal integrity. Throughout his journalism career at both the Comet and Citizen, and eventually at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (now FRCN) which he joined in 1957, Malam Magaji demonstrated

these and other virtues to the great satisfaction of his employers. In time, however, his stint at Citizen changed his radical politics and by the early sixties he had moved away from active journalism and joined the regional civil service as an information officer. He rose eventually to become the region’s Chief Information Officer. It was in this position that he almost became the managing director of New Nigerian. As he himself told it in his highly readable 2010 autobiography, The Pull of Faith, barely two weeks after the Kaduna authorities had invited Mr. Sharp back to Nigeria to raise the New Nigerian, Phoenix-like from the ashes of Citizen in Zaria, he (Malam Magaji) was invited for a meeting by the late Alhaji Aliyu, Makaman Bida, the region’s Minister of Health and Deputy Premier, with Alhaji Ahman Pategi, the Minister of Agriculture and the Secretary-General of the NPC and Alhaji Ahmadu Fatika, the Minister of Information, both also late, in attendance. During the meeting, he was told a decision had been taken to sack Mr. Sharp for offending the sensibilities of the authorities so soon after the newspaper’s debut and he was to take over from the expatriate the following Monday, January 15. As we all now know the soldiers, led by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu in Kaduna, struck in the wee hours of that day and killed Sir Ahmadu Bello, the region’s premier, in his residence and, in the process, burned it down. Thus Malam Magaji never became New Nigerian’s boss and Mr. Sharp, who probably never even knew he’d been sacked on the eve of the coup, carried on with his job. The newspaper’s location in Kaduna gave it the vantage position of breaking to the world in words and pictures what, at that time, was clearly the biggest story out of Africa’s most populous country. Mr. Sharp made a remarkable job of it gauging from the fact that from then on the supply of the newspaper never met its demand, edition after edition. And the rest became the story of what, once upon a time, was the country’s most literate, and arguably, most authoritative newspaper.



S if things couldn’t look bleaker in Nigeria than terror attacks have made them, the 2010/2011 national honours ceremony suffered serious hitches as a result of an embarrassing medals shortage. A few awardees out of the 355 recipients went back home without being decorated with medals. There was no official explanation. But maybe there is really no explanation. According to this newspaper, the Monday, November 14 ceremony was not the first time President Goodluck Jonathan would be embarrassed by shortage of medals. The paper recalled that at least two awardees honoured during the Nigeria @ 50 celebrations went home without their medals. On that occasion, according to the story, the president was even unaware the medals were exhausted while he waited to decorate the last two recipients. In the latest bungle, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, struggled to lessen the embarrassment for everybody by announcing the shortage before the ceremony began. It is not known whether anyone was punished over the Nigeria @ 50 medals fiasco. If punishment was administered, it was prob-

Honours and medals ably nothing more than a slap on the wrist, a measure obviously insufficient to prevent a reoccurrence. This column will not go as far as saying that such shoddiness as was witnessed last Monday signposts the lethargy and lack of seriousness evident in the presidency. It is, however, curious that in approximately a year, the same sloppiness was enacted twice. We must hope that in this latest affront the Jonathan presidency will not display the same diffidence it has shown over very serious state matters like terrorist attacks and grave economic crisis. Recall that on more than three occasions, and in spite of criticisms, Jonathan had responded to terror attacks with the exculpatory statements that it was a global phenomenon. He has also explained the current economic crisis as a worldwide thing. On the surface, the president was right to see terror and economic crises as global phenomena; but underneath, his response clearly masks the confusion and incompetence that suffuse his

We can now only speculate on what would have been the fate of the newspaper under Malam Magaji if the tragic events of January 15, 1966 had not happened. And it would merely be idle speculation. But whether or not he could have done as well as, or even better, than Mr Sharp and his successors, the fact is that his subsequent record of public service as bureaucrat and politician was ample evidence that the virtues of personal integrity, modesty and tolerance, among others, are not the reserve of any creed, political or otherwise. His sense of tolerance was pretty obvious from his relationship with his late younger brother, Mustapha, who had followed his footstep as a journalist and politician but who had remained a radical politician till death. During the Second Republic Mustapha contested against him for Kano North-Central senatorial seat on the ticket of the Peoples Redemption Party, the successor to NEPU. The younger Danbatta handily beat his elder brother by 133,490 votes to 38,234. Malam Magaji never showed any bitterness towards this somewhat upstart of a brother. Instead they retained their fondness for each other till death did them part. As for his personal integrity and modesty the fact is that at 80, and in spite of the opportunities he has had to self-aggrandise himself as, among others, Counsellor of Information in the Nigerian High Commission in London during the civil war years between 1967 and 1970, as Chairman of Daily Times and the Federal Housing Authority during the Second Republic and as Chairman of the well-endowed Kano Forum, an independent foundation for the private funding of education in the state, Malam Magaji has remained a man of very modest means and lifestyle. With no worries about maintaining a false lifestyle like several of his contemporaries who were once prepared to die for what they believed in when they were young but have ironically become political prostitutes at a time they should have no care for material things, is it any wonder that at 80 Malam Magaji is still strong enough to drive himself around town in his old banger and walk without a stick? Two years ago, his mother died at a youthful age of 98. She lived long enough to see her son become an important player in the country’s journalism, bureaucracy and politics, receiving several honours along the way, including the Fellowship of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, a doctorate degree from Bayero University, Kano, an OON in 1982, and only last Monday, the higher CON. Unlike several of his fellow honourees last Monday, Malam Magaji deserved each and every one of his honours. With 18 more years to equal his mother’s longevity, may he remain healthy and strong enough to continue to serve his community and his country at large with all the zeal and commitment with which he has served both all his adult life. •For comments, send SMS to 08054502909

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above presidency. It is impossible to think the government did not know the number of people it wanted to honour. That there was shortage of medals must point to the fact that the government is either so poor it could not commission the production of enough medals or that some of the medals were stolen. However, it is also possible that the list of awardees was being revised up till the last moment. Whatever the reasons, it is unpardonable that there was shortage, especially a shortage that manifested before the whole world. Indeed, for a country held in so much contempt for its notorious inability to organise the least challenging sports fiesta (COJA, Nigeria 99), the embarrassment during the national honours ceremony strikes at the heart of our self-confidence. It is important the president know that the country is greatly distressed by his explanations over terror attacks and economic downturn. But much more unflatteringly, we are deeply dismayed that the most populous black nation on earth, which has found it difficult to generate enough electricity for its people, compounds its ineptitude by failing to plan a simple, one-day ceremony for 355 people. Shame, thrice shame.

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The Nation Nov. 16, 2011  

The Nation Nov. 16, 2011