Page 1

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

IRS plane in air incident

APC kicks as PDP wins Delta poll

NEWS Page 2

NEWS Page 12

•NCAA assures of safety

•Dafinone rejects Aguariavwodo’s victory

VOL. 8, NO. 2636 MONDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2013



CBN, NDIC takeover NERFUND over N5.7b loss


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) have taken over the management of the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) after a N5.7 billion loss incurred by the firm. But a source claimed at the weekend that the fund obtained by the body was

By Collins Nweze and Nduka Chiejina, Abuja

not up to N5.7 billion being declared as loss by the Federal Government. The source doubted the sincerity of the figure, saying NERFUND received N2.8 billion in 2010. It received $141 million from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) in 1991 when the exchange rate for the naira was N9.9 to a

dollar. NERFUND also got N350 million loan from the Federal Government. The source, who pleaded not to be quoted because he is not allowed to talk to the press, said the cumulative fund given NERFUND is below N4 billion, adding that the “government just wants to give a dog a bad name to hang it”. NERFUND was established

by Decree No. 2 of 1989 to provide medium to long-term loans to Participating Banks (PBs) for on-lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for the promotion and acceleration of productive activities in such enterprises. The erstwhile Managing Director of NERFUND, Baba Miana Gimba, once said that NERFUND had funded about Continued on page 2


PDP crisis: Faction alleges plan to blackmail Jonathan Jonathan’s motives suspect, says Tinubu

Baraje’s group issues 48-hr ultimatum on shut office


By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor


LL Progressives Congress (APC) leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday justified his opposition to the national conference proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan, insisting that the President’s motives are suspect. He said although he is an unrepentant supporter of a Sovereign National Conference, he was wary of a “rushed embrace”, owing to President Jonathan’s antecedent as an antagonist of the idea. The former Lagos State governor opposed the proposed conference when he returned from a medical trip abroad. His comment drew criticisms from some proponents of the conference. Tinubu faulted the proposal, based on its timing,

From Yomi Odunuga and Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

HE ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be sinking deeper into trouble, with the Baraje faction giving Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Bala Mohammed 48 hours to reopen the Adamawa State Governor’s Lodge. The building, which was being used as a temporary secretariat of the faction, was sealed off Saturday night on the orders of the minister —an action seen by the Baraje camp as an attempt to blackmail President Goodluck Jonathan. It is situated in highbrow Maitama, Abuja. The faction was forced to relocate to the lodge after the police, on September 1, sealed off a building it acquired for its national secretariat. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the New PDP, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, said yesterday that the minister’s action was informed by his lack of understanding of the building’s status. The party demanded a public apology from the minister to the government and people of Adamawa State. The statement said: “What the minister has brazenly done is to indirectly attack the people and government of Adamawa State in his desperation to impress the PDP tin god, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. “This unwarranted and rash action by Senator Mohammed can be equated with the recent attack against the Nigerian Embassy in Bissau by the Guinea-Bissau authorities, which sparked outrage and for which that Continued on page 2

Continued on page 2

•VICT OR Y LEAP: Emmanuel Emenike (right) celebrates after scoring during the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying match •VICTOR ORY PHOTO: AFP between Ethiopia and Nigeria in Addis Ababa...yesterday. Nigeria won 2-1. STORY ON PAGE 24

•Asiwaju Tinubu





•From rightt: Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola; The Prelate Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr Samuel Uche; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Senator Oluremi Tinubu; Mrs Elizabeth Abimbola Makinde; His Eminence, Dr Ola Makinde; Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Deputy Governor of Lagos State Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; at the 70th birthday and retirement thanksgiving service for Rev.Makinde, at the Methodist Church Nigeria, Ikeja, the weekend.

PDP crisis: Faction alleges plan to blackmail Jonathan Continued from page 1

country’s government swiftly apologised. “We advise the misguided minister to, within 48 hours, not only apologise to the people and Government of Adamawa State, but also to unseal the lodge, which serves as our temporary national secretariat following the sealing off of our

national secretariat by the police. “The Government of Adamawa State has not committed any offence by allowing us to use the lodge as contact office.” The Baraje faction called on President Goodluck Jonathan to call to order and to impose the appropriate sanctions against him for portraying the government as lawless, evil and antipeople. Describing the minister’s ac-

tion as unjustifiable, the faction accused him of usurping powers that do not belong to him. This, according to the Baraje group, was yet another evidence of impunity by some overzealous people in government intent on blackmailing President Jonathan and portraying him as a draconian and an undemocratic leader. “Finally, we urge our members and supporters neither to worry nor be demoralised by the rascality of the Tukur faction, as we are ever ready to ensure that undemocratic elements do not near the leadership of our party anymore. “We are on course and by the grace of God, we shall surely come out victorious for the greatness of our party and growth of democracy in Nigeria”, the statement added.

But the Special Assistant (Media) to the FCT Minister, Mr. Nosike Ogbuenyi, said the aggrieved members of the New PDP should seek redress in court, if indeed their rights had been trampled on. “Why are they giving ultimatum when the courts are there for them to seek interpretation of the FCT law? Nobody should be greater than the law. What we operate is the rule of law. Since they are not in denial that they are using the place for party affairs, then the place is justifiably locked. You cannot continue to use a residential building as an office space in Abuja. That is the position of the law. “In any case, those who seek equity should go with clean hands. The Development Control Department of the FCT wrote them and it was after that

they moved in to seal the place. If they feel we have trampled on their rights, the courts are there to right the wrongs. It is not in their position to give ultimatum because this is a legal matter.” The faction derided the Umaru Dikko-headed National Disciplinary Committee of the PDP set up by the Bamanga Tukurled National Working Committee. Describing the committee as a tool for witch hunting members of the Baraje faction, the faction said it was evident that Tukur and his team had demonstrated their unwillingness to embrace peace. The statement continued: “By reviving the so-called disciplinary committee at a time the party leader, His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, is busy Continued on page 54

‘Jonathan’s motives suspect’ Continued from page 1

stressing that government’s sincerity is questionable. He said: “Though I remain an unrepentant supporter of a genuine Sovereign National Conference, I am suspicious of this present concoction because it is half-baked and fully deceptive. Government’s sincerity is questionable; the timing is also suspect. Now that this government is sinking in a pool of political and economic hot water of its own making, it seizes hold of the national conference idea as if it were a life jacket.” In a statement in Lagos, the APC leader urged Nigerians to beam the searchlight on the proposed conference, insisting that it is a ‘Greek’ gift and public deception. He stressed: “President Jonathan’s epiphany–if epipha-

CBN, NDIC takeover NERFUND over N5.7b loss Continued from page 1

266 firms and that about 1,850 entrepreneurs benefit from NERFUND loan facilities across the Federation. To qualify for NERFUND funding, applicants must own a business of manufacturing (not Agriculture) and he/she must come up with a bankable project

and a thorough feasibility report stating categorically the prospective nature of the business. With regards to interest rates, NERFUND is non-profit oriented though it charges “a small interest that is required which is about 13 per cent for small and medium business and this 13 per cent remains unchanged throughout the tenure of the

loan. For micro credit, the interest rate is about eight per cent. Beneficiaries are expected to own 10 per cent of equity of proposed business. The prospective beneficiary must have a limited liability company or registered enterprises and can only access between N100,000 and N5million. Between 1989 and 2000, the

Fund gave out over N3 billion to finance 266 projects, but between 2000 and 2010, there was a break in terms of credit facilities extended to businesses. It was resuscitated in late 2010 and between 2010 and February 2012, NERFUND said it gave out about N1.6 billion to micro entrepreneurs who needed beContinued on page 54


Continued on page 54

ASUU chiefs allege threat to lives

NIVERSITY teachers are accusing the Federal Government of using security agents to threaten their leaders’ lives. Their union – the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) – has been on strike for over three months. Security agencies are said to be probing the sources of finance of ASUU members after the stoppage of their salaries. In a statement by ASUU, University of Ibadan (UI) chapter, signed by Dr Olusegun Ajiboye, titled “ASUU strike: Union leaders go underground”, the ASUU leader alleged that he had received telephone calls warning him on his role in the ongoing strike. Ajiboye urged Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar to save the lives of


ny it is and not an expedient calculated to enhance his 2015 reelection bid – should be subjected to searching questions. “It is difficult to lay aside the suspicion that his sudden conversion is all about 2015. Otherwise, why the sudden endorsement of a national conference, not merely in principle, but with a rush toward some form of implementation? What has happened that was not already in play in all those years during which the authorities rejected demands for a national conference?” Justifying his opposition to the conference, despite its seeming popularity, Tinubu maintained that the Federal Government should address “the fundamental questions about the timing, sincerity and, most importantly, the capability and credibility of

From Oseheye Okwuofu,

Ibadan, Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

ASUU leaders. He said no amount of threat or clampdown on the union would make them back down from the strike, until public education is saved from collapse. According to him, the security threat has forced many ASUU leaders to go underground. Many of their phone numbers have also been bugged. “Apart from finance, ASUU leaders are now being trailed all over the place. A majority of our union leaders have now gone underground while many have their telephone lines bugged. Some are now living in fear of their lives,” Ajiboye said. Ajiboye, who noted that Continued on page 54

IRS plane in air incident

HERE was another aviation incident yesterday involving an IRS airline aircraft flight 3390, flying from Lagos to Kaduna. The plane, a Fokker 100 registered 5N-HIR, developed hydraulic leakage shortly before landing at the Kaduna airport. With 89 passangers and crew members on board, the aircraft departed the Murtala Muhammed Airport at about 9:30am. Having discovered the fault, the pilot, using the Reverse Throuttle mechanism, landed safely and stopped the aircraft on the runway. “The passengers disembarked safely after which the aircraft was towed away from the runway to the ramp,” said Joe Obi the media adviser to the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah.

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, in another statement yesterday, said the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIPB) has commenced investigation into the incident. He added: “The NCAA wishes to ensure all air travellers of Continued on page 54

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







•Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (third left) with his plaque as the Central Bank Governor of the year for the third time in four years in Washington DC, the United States... at the wekend. With him are Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye (left), Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala and Sanusi’s wife.

At the weekend, the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursed N1.196 trillion to the three tiers of government for August and September. Will this end the financial crisis paralysing state and local governments’? Not quite, reports SEUN AKIOYE

O •Sanior Director, Africa Region, World Bank, Mr. Gaiv Tata (left); Chief Executive Officer, African Investor, Hubert Danso; Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Philips Oduoza and CEO, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr. Uche Orji, at the CEO Dialogue Forum with the World Bank in Washington DC... at the wekend.

•From left: Head, Business Market Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Bidemi Ladipo; Head MSME Proposition, Diamond Bank Plc, Chima Nnadozie; Manager of Content, Enterprise Development Centre, Lagos Business School, Betty Egbuna and Acting Director, Coordination, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, Monday Ewans, at the Etisalat Market Access, held at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers the wekend.

• From Left: Executive Director, Editorial Operations, News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Isaac Ighure; Registrar, Council For The Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Sir Mike Jukwe and Acting Managing Director, NAN, Otunba Jide Adebayo, during Jukwe's visit to NAN Headquarters in Abuja...yesterday

N the periphery, it reads like a piece of good news. But, for state governments, it is not yet time to shout halleluyah. Following a meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) at the weekend, N1.196 trillion was disbursed to the three tiers of government for August and September. The Federal Government got N484,429,000,000 (52.68 per cent); the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) got N245,708,000,000 (26.72 per cent) and the 774 local government areas, including the six area councils of the FCT, are N189,431,000,000 richer. To make up the N1.19 trillion windfall for the governments, N127,661,000,000 was distributed between the Federal Government (N19,149,000,000); states (N63,831,000,000) and local governments (N44,682,000,000) as proceeds of the Value Added Tax (VAT) for the two months. Thirty five billion, five hundred and fourty nine million (N35,549,000,000) was shared from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) by all the tiers of government and an additional N7,617,000,000 from the continued monthly instalmental payment from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Before the weekend windfall, state governments had been complaining about the problem created by the delay in the payment of their dues from the Federation Account. They have also expressed concern about the drop in their allocations, which have seen them going through difficult times. Even with the cash shared at the weekend, the days of shortfall in what states get are not over. By the admission of the Minister of State for Finance and Chairman of FAAC, Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama, last month witnessed a drop in the amount of revenue which accrued into the Federation Account by N22.783 billion “due to the slight decline in crude oil production as a result of Force Majeure declared at Brass Terminal, maintenance issues and theft”. So, only the actual accruals into the Federation Account were shared for the two months. The Federal Government failed to augment the monthly allocations, which fell short of the budgeted sum for the month. In the past, it used to make up for the shortfall. The minister also said the NNPC

• Dr. Jonathan

made 27 monthly instalmental payment of N7.617 billion to FAAC as agreed. As a result, the corporation has only six more instalmental payments to make to offset all that it owes FAAC. To make matter worse for the states, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given a directive of 50 per cent compulsory public sector deposits. This, according to the Chairman of Finance Commissioners Forum, Timothy Odaah, is abnormal. He said the apex bank’s directive was “giving states harsh experience as banks are no longer eager to extend facilities to states without the say-so of the CBN among other negative effectives to the investment desires of the states and the fact that they now have to pay higher interest when they borrow from the money market. Odaah said governors would present their misgivings on the compulsory deposit to President Goodluck Jonathan at the next National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to look for possible ways to bale the states out of economic difficulties. Ekiti State Commissioner for Finance Dapo Kolawole told The Nation that the problem of revenue at the federal level has become an anathema sort of. E said: “In the past, you can easily predict and based on that, you can plan that this is the average expectation from the Federal Government taken into consideration some economic indices, such as the oil output, the budget price per barrel but of recent, in the last two years, we have had challenges with the Federal Government in terms of what is distributed at the end of the month. The issue is not collection. The Federal Government had various times surpassed the budget revenue in terms of output, granted the leakages. The bench mark that was used for the budget at the federal level has been met and surpassed. Now, one is disturbed that at every point in time that we go to the Federal Allocation Committee (FAC) meeting, we have had to argue with the distribution of resources. Until the issues are resolved, the Federal Government cannot even take its own share of the money. So, the challenge is that we are still working hard to get the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to be committed to ensure they pay fully what they have sold on behalf of the federation. As at today, there is no proof that the budget has not been surpassed. These are man-made challenges and they can be surmounted.” The state of things has led many to argue that the Federal Government is broke. Ngama said the country financial situation is not as dire as some many want to believe. For him, even the lingering revenue allocation shortfall crisis, which has caused un-





Allocation…The nightmare is not over

• Fayemi

• Oshiomole

told panic in the states and caused delay of payment for capital and recurrent expenditures in most states, is not enough to say the country is broke. Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole, however, has a different view about the subject. He said the country’s economy is in “serious crisis,” a situation he described as unprecedented since the return to democratic rule in 1999. Oshiomole said: “I don’t know if the Federal Government is broke but I know there is serious crisis and it is unprecedented in the history of this country. For the first time since 1999, allocations can no longer come as at when due to states. Whether we use the word broke or you deny the word broke, the truth is that there is financial crisis in Nigeria which has very serious national security implications. “Because when states can’t pay salaries, Federal Government can’t pay salaries as at when due, and you can’t pay your contractors and your contractors will begin to retrench their workers, that is recipe for national disaster.” Oshiomole was not the only governor to raise alarm over the grave implications of the current financial crisis. Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun raised similar concerns. During the inauguration of the Mission To Rebuild Ogun State (MITROS) in Abeokuta, the state capital, the governor noted the almost impoverish level of most of the states of the federation, which had made the payment of salaries and normal running of government a herculean task. Amosun said: “The situation became critical in August . As I speak, we are yet to collect anything from Abuja. Salaries are presently not being paid in several states in the country due to this development because many states rely on federal allocation to pay their workers. You will agree with me that this is causing untold hardship for Nigerians.” Of course, most of those who gathered agreed with the governor; many of them were civil servants and if the current crisis continued, the consequences of a shortfall would bear directly on them and their immediate families. Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed believes that the cash crisis has grossly affected the delivery of democratic dividends to the people of the state. “It is already affecting our capital projects. We may not execute the budget, as it is already affecting us, as there is slow pace of various development projects,” he said. The governor threw the puncher: “We will continue to borrow money to help us develop from one level to another, so as to embark on long-term capital projects, as you can’t always depend on your monthly allocation for some capital projects.”

• Amosun

• Ahmed


N484,429,000,000 N245,708,000,000 N189,431,000,000

Revenue Allocation shortfall


OT many Nigerians cared about what the Federal gov ernment made in terms of total revenue from oil sales, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Few also cared about what the state got from the federal allocation and how it was disbursed. In fact, to many Nigerians, state and federal budgets have become the yearly boring ritual. But, that changed in June 2013 when the first indications emerged that FAAC may be finding it difficult to meet up its monthly obligations to the states. Since June, there has been persistent shortfall in the federal allocations shared between the three tiers of government. The shortfall was attributed to a decrease in the revenue accruable to the Federal Government from its three main sources of income. But revenue shortfall did not start in June, it has persisted throughout the year. For instance, while the Federal Government pegged expected monthly revenue at N702.54 billion in the 2013 budget, this expectation has remained largely unmet. In January, the government earned N651.26bn, February N571.7billion, and March N595.71billion while the spate of depressing revenue continued in April with N621.07; in May, it was N590.77 billion. There was a brief respite in June when the budgeted revenue was surpassed with N863.0 billion as revenue. But whatever excess was recorded in June quickly evaporated with the lowest earning for the year coming in at N497.98 billion in July. With the grim income being generated by the Federal Government to meet up with the budgeted allocations to the states, it augmented the shortfalls from the lush Excess Crude Account. But, in July 2013, CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi told the House Committee on Banking and Currency that the Excess Crude Account had been depleted to a mere $5billion from the lofty $12 billion, a shortfall of $7billion. By August, the Federal Government decided to stop the augmentation of the allocation to states and local government, a situation which has now become hydra-headed problems for most states that rely heavily on the federal allocation to fund their budgets. At a point, the FAAC owed the states about N336 billion. The blame for the unpalatable fate

that has befallen the states and local governments has been laid at the table of the NNPC. Oshiomole accused the Corporation of withholding the payment of about N2.3 trillion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federal government. Earlier, a group named Forum of Concerned Members of FAAC alleged that the NNPC has withheld about N2.983trillion from the federation account. While the NNPC had denied that it owed the Federal Government, some stakeholders have come out to refute the claim. Last week, 11 governors on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) insisted that the corporation indeed owed. Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu challenged the NNPC to come up with proofs of its remittances while insisting the current crisis is linked directly to NNPC. The non-remittance of the full revenue by the NNPC is not the only cause of the shortfall. According to the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, oil theft which currently reduces Nigeria’s earning capacity by 400,000 barrels per day is to be blamed for the shortfall in government earnings. On September 18, she also blamed the reduction in revenue on the ban on the importation of certain food items which has denied the Customs and Excise to collect import tax from them. But Ngama was more forthright in his assessments of the cause of the shortfall: “This year’s budget is over bloated what we are collecting is far in excess of even what was budgeted for last year, but because the budget this year has been taken to a level that it is not supposed to be that’s why when there is a little hiccup the gap shows.” States limp towards bankruptcy The current financial crisis, no doubt, has impacted negatively on states and local governments in the country with many states delaying the payment of workers’ salaries or out rightly owing them. Contractors handling capital projects have also felt the pangs as paucity of funds persisted. One of the most affected states is Kogi. With a budget of N130, 996,844,415 for 2013, the state relies heavily on the federal allocation to implement its massive budget. According to a senior official of the government who spoke to The

• Aliyu

Nation in confidence, the current crisis has left the state in a state of comatose and if nothing is done the state may go bankrupt. “We have had massive shortfall since July as we had been paid between N3.2 and N3.5 billion. This is not a rich state at all and with the full remittance we were still struggling to meet up with our expenses. Our internally generated revenue is a mere N350 million and we have a salary wage bill which hovers around N2.9 billion monthly.” The option for most states-Kogi inclusive -is to delve into the reserves to fulfill financial obligations like payment of salaries and paying for the daily running of government. Already, salaries of workers in Kogi state for the month of August was paid in the second week of September while some local council paid 50 percent of their workers’ salaries, others paid as low as 30 percent. “I believe states have some reserves which are called intervention funds, I want to believe they will go into such funds in times like this. But we will be dead if the allocation crisis is not resolved soon, if we have to borrow N3billion to pay salaries every month, we are in big trouble,” the source said. Kolawole said the problem has affected all the states of the federation, adding that Ekiti has had to take from its reserves “and sometimes we resort to borrowing at a cost” to pay salaries. Kwara may have been compelled to take bonds from the money market. The state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) since April is estimated at N800 million. With N94.4billion budget, Kwara is hard pressed to fulfill its financial obligations, especially its recurrent expenditures while capital projects have been badly affected. Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi signed the N97.6billion budget into law to “consolidate on all ongoing projects in the state through people empowerment”. But faced with dwindling revenue from the federal allocation, the state’s resolve to increase its IGR to N14billion has increased. At a retreat, the deputy governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, conceded that available funds have become grossly inadequate, thereby urging the Ekiti State Internal Revenue Service (EKIRS) to re-strategise and effectively collaborate with all the 16 local government areas in the state with the aim of improving the IGR. With a federal allocation of between N2-3 billion monthly the Ekiti government is facing stricter cuts in its finances. She said: “It is the belief of this administration that we are not destined to be poor as Ekiti State is blessed with abundant human and natural resources, capable of fast-tracking its development if adequately harnessed.” But while Kano has continued to pay workers salaries and fulfil its other obligations, it is, however, working

• Ngama

towards increasing its IGR to enable it pay its workers salary amounting to N3billion monthly. The Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya, told The Nation that the state has not defaulted in any way because of the corporation of the people in paying their taxes promptly. The state which currently generates N2billion internally gets an average of N6billion from the federal allocation monthly. But, it is not clear how long Kano will enjoy this financial Eldorado judging from the difficulties that may arise in implementing its N238 billion budget because its average federal allocation and IGR amounts to only about N108 billion and with the shortfall, capital projects may suffer. Gaya however expressed a cautious optimism. “We have not reached a stage whereby we cannot pay contractors, we cannot pay salaries; so it has not affected us as such, so definitely, all our hands are on deck to make sure that we generate more revenue from the state, because waiting for whatever is being given from the Federation account could be unreliable though the budget is already made.” Amosun said his state does not owe salaries. He attributed the solvency of his government to the increase in IGR which hit N4 billion this year. “I must attribute this feat to the cooperation of the good people of Ogun State who paid their taxes promptly. We are one of the few states that have paid the August salary of their workers,” Amosun boasted. But the state has become a big construction factory with massive projects dotting the landscape of its major and urban cities. It remains to be seen how the governor would implement successfully these projects with little or nothing from the federal allocation purse.

No end in sight


O one is sure when the fi nancial crisis would end. Experts said there is little hope for the country to return to its profitable ways as long as the indices, which necessitated the financial crisis, remain unresolved. Many have accused the Presidency of paying lip service to blocking corruption and reducing government spending by cutting down on the over bloated Executive. Also, the government has found no answer to the problems of oil theft, which continues to erode 400,000 barrels of oil per day thereby grossly limiting government revenue. The problem of over dependence on oil and the massive corruption in the petroleum sector as exemplified by the rot in the NNPC still remain “action plan” with government doing nothing to pull the drift. Nigerians are bearing the brunt.




‘Air traffic controllers allegation against NAMA false’


HE allegation by members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) that they are being treated unfairly by the management of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is false, it was learnt yesterday. NATCA’s President Comrade Victor Eyaru had accused NAMA of failing to release workers’ outstanding promotion as well as non-implementation of allowances for air traffic controllers. This differed from the content of a congratulatory letter sent to NAMA’s Managing Director, by the union’s Secretary General. In the NATCA’s letter by its Secretary General Olawode Banji, on October 4, the union said: “On behalf of all members of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), I am directed to congratulate and appreciate your management for yet another feat achieved by the recent confirmation of appointment of the Director of Operations, and nothing less than 10 other air traffic controllers as general managers in one fell swoop. “We are not losing sight of the fact that the approval for the promotion of many assis-

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

tant general managers to deputy general managers was, at the same time, gotten from the Federal Ministry of Aviation of which tens of air traffic controllers benefitted among other staff. “This is yet another giant stride, a record in the history of air navigation service provision in Nigeria and the great motivation to not only the affected officers, but the entire NAMA work force. “We continually wish your management well as you strive further to better the lots of the agency and its work force. More grease to your joints sir. Please be assured of our highest cooperation.” At the 42nd AGM /Conference of NATCA in Asaba, Delta State, Eyaru declared that CNS/ATM facilities nationwide were yet to be improved upon. Eyaru explained that no matter how beautiful an airport building will look, it will be a waste without the proper facilities in place. He explained that air traffic controllers at the nation’s two area control centres in Kano

and Lagos, still go through a lot of herculean tasks to communicate with pilots. Eyaru stressed the need for redundancies for radar facilities in a bid to have reliable alternative whenever there was power failure. He said: “One of the fundamental challenges we face today inspite of the transformations and remodeling in the industry deals with ageing workforce in all the parastatals, dearth of professionals in the critical areas of NAMA, NCAA and NCAT arising from the retirement of well trained and highly skilled professionals without commensurate replacement through well established and sustained process of recruitment of suitable qualified persons” NATCA President noted that political appointees without cognate experience in support group instead of in the core areas of the agencies, adding that it was a source of worry to NATCA and called on the government to have a re think with a view to do the right thing to salvage the critical sector of Nigeria’s economy from total collapse. NATCA boss called for the

release of all outstanding promotions of deserving workers and in particular those of the ATC. He called for a review of scheme of service for ATCs and their remunerations including their professional allowances. Eyaru decried the threat to sustenance of agencies through paucity of funds and policy somersaults which has affected the agencies negatively. The air traffic controllers association, a communiqué at the just-concluded meeting in Asaba condoles with the government on the crash of Associated Aviation Embraer 120 crash in Lagos. The association said it fully identifies with efforts by the ministry of aviation through the various agencies to fix major airports through the remodeling project. The communiqué reads: “We commend the upgrade of air navigation services, in particular the commencement of area radar control and performance based navigation implementation in the Nigerian airspace. “The association appreciates the laudable gestures of NAMA in the recent promo-

tion of deserving officers and confirmation of all officers who were appointed in acting capacities. “The association advises non professionals to exercise restraint while passing comments on aircraft accidents investigation because such pre- emptive comments are against ICAO standards and recommended practices. That the air navigation and aerodrome system in particular control towers where air traffic control services are to be provided should be constructed and equipped in an ergonomic ally friendly manner in the interest of safety and efficiency. “That all outstanding unresolved or pending matters of air traffic control services remuneration and professionals allowances should be urgently concluded. “That while the association appreciates the enormous efforts by the government to permanently address the needs of a seamless communication system in the provision of air traffic control services, it however urges the government to sustain the efforts until

Jonathan reappoints CAC boss


NLC backs national conference



•From left: Guest of honour and director, Punch Newspapers, Dr Lekan Are; Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Akin Mabogunje and Chief Executive officer, Idea Consult Limited, Mr Wole Agbaje, at the 20th anniversary luncheon of Idea Consult in Ibadan.

Firm urges court to nullify Edo, Ondo elections

HE Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked to nullify the governorship elections held in Edo and Ondo states on July 14 and October 20, last year on the ground that they were unlawfully held. The prayer is contained in a suit initiated by a firm, Bedding Holdings Limited (BHL), who claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other actors in both elections acted illegally when they utilised its patented ballot boxes for the elections without its prior consent. It is the plaintiff's contention that of virtue of a 2012 judgment by the court, declaring it (BHL) the sole patentee of transparent and collapsible ballot boxes in the country, the use of such boxes without its prior consent renders the purpose for which the boxes were used unlawful and a nullity. The earlier judgment was delivered on June 5, 2012 by Justice Adamu Bello between BHL, Registrar of Patents, Federal Ministry of Commerce

the total objectives are met. “That air traffic control manpower shortage is becoming critical because of mandatory retirement of officers in NAMA, NCAA, and NCAT. The Federal Government is, therefore, invited to embark on urgent recruitment and training of air traffic controllers to stem the slide and enable the country maintain its lead role in air navigation services in Africa.”

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

HE President has approved the reappointment of Malam Bello Mahmud for a second term as Registrar General and Chief Executive of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Mahmud, whose tenure expired last month was first appointed in October, 2009. A source in the Ministry of Trade and Investment confirmed to our reporter at the weekend that President Goodluck Jonathan approved a recommendation by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, for the reappointment of Mahmud. The source said: “The Trade and Investment Mminister has communicated Mr. President’s approval to the Board of Directors of the CAC.”

•NAMA MD Nnamdi Udoh.

•Alleges unlawful use of patented ballot boxes From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

and Industry and six others. Relief six, granted in the judgment reads: "Any action or actions whatsoever and howsoever taken or purported to have been taken by the defendants relating to the said products without the prior and express license, consent, authority and/or approval of the plaintiff is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and is therefore null and void." The court, in granting relief seven, restrained the Registrar of Patents and its agents from registering or issuing the plaintiff's valid and subsisting patent over the ballot boxes to any person or organistion, except with the consent of BHL. The plaintiff said that INEC and its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, despite being parties in the suit in which judgment was given and aware of the court's orders, deployed the same ballot boxes for use

in both elections without its (BHL's) consent, thereby flouting the judgment. Named as defendants in the suit include Governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), their parties: Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Labour Party (LP), INEC and Jega. The plaintiff raised two questions for the court's determination and sought five reliefs in the suit. First is, whether "by the combined construction and interpretation of reliefs six and seven of the valid and subsisting judgment of June 5, 2012" the respondents could use the plaintiff's patented ballot boxes or its imitation for the elections without its consent? The second questions is whether, if it answers the above question in the negative, the governorship elections held in Edo and Ondo

on July 14 and October 20 are unconstitutional, unlawful and stand null and void, in view of the fact that the respondents allegedly used the plaintiff's patented ballot boxes fraudulently without first seeking and obtaining its consent as required by the judgment? It urged the court to nullify both elections "for being unlawful, fraudulent and stand null and void" in view of the fact that the respondents allegedly utilised its ballot boxes fraudulently without its consent, in violation of the subsisting judgment. BHL wants the court to declare that the respondents "could not use" and "ought not to have used" its patented ballot boxes or any imitations for the elections without its approval. The plaintiff also wants the court to declare that the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states held by INEC and its Chairman are unlaw-

ful, fraudulent and stand null and void on the basis that they utilised its ballot boxes for the elections without its consent and in violation of the June 5, 2012 judgment. In a supporting affidavit, BHL's Chief Executive Officer, Chief Sylvester Odigie averred that while Oshiomhole, Mimiko and their parties actually participated in the governorship elections, INEC and its Chairman, in compliance with their responsibilities under the Electoral Act, conducted and supervised the elections. He further averred that by virtue of reliefs six and seven of the June 5, 2012 judgment, the unauthorized usage of his firm's ballot boxes for any election in the country, "including, but not limited" to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, the Imo State House Representatives bye-election held on June 29, 2013 and a similar election held in Sokoto State on July 13, 2013, renders such elections unlawful, illegal, null and void.?

HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said it is not opposed to the proposal for a national conference by President Goodluck Jonathan. Its Acting General Secretary Comrade Chris Uyot, said in a statement: “The Congress is not opposed to any form of national dialogue or conference or conversation as long as it is geared towards improving the quality of life of the Nigerian people, strengthen the bonds of unity, advance the cause of democracy, build our economy, create an enabling environment for the expression of our shared values and common heritage as well as defend our sovereignty.” The statement recalled that the labour movement has been part of national dialogue, from colonial times to post -colonial Nigeria. According to Uyot, it was part of the dialogue leading to the country’s independence and its acquisition of the status of a republic. The statement, said NLC played a leading role in the process and subsequent protests that culminated in the repudiation of the Anglo-Nigeria military pact that sought to make Nigeria an out-post of the British shortly after independence by way of establishing military bases in the country. Uyot added that the Congress was not only part of the national “conferences” or dialogue contrived by the military and even the civilian government of President Olusegun Obasanjo, but played a significant role, offering in the process alternative views or development agenda. He added that: “It has no reason to shy away from any conference now. For the avoidance of doubt, the Congress believes Nigerians should regularly talk to themselves as well as talk to one another. The constituent parts should as often as practicable sit down to talk, to address the ills that plague our politicosocio-economic well-being, not only at the federal level but right to the village square.”




Dangote Academy enrols trainee engineers


HE Dangote Academy, the training arm of the Dangote Group, has inaugurated its new Junior Technicians Scheme (JTS) with the enrolment of 60 trainees in the first batch. The group expressed its commitment to the job creation efforts of the Federal Government. It said the trainees would learn fitting and mechanical maintenance as well as welding and fabrication”. The group said another batch of 40 trainees would join the Junior Technicians Scheme, adding that the second batch would be trained on Automobile (heavy duty), Electrical, Instrumentation and Automation maintenance. At the inaugurating ceremony at Obajana, Kogi State, the Executive Director, Stakeholder Management, Mr Mansur Ahmed, advised the trainees to be serious. He said they should feel honoured that they were selected. According to him, the trainees need to abide by the rules and regulations governing the training. The Coordinator and Group Human Resource Officer of the company, Mr Pabby Paramjit, welcomed the trainees to the Dangote Group. He listed the potential benefits that the trainees would gain when they complete the programme. According to him, beyond the Dangote Group, the training would make them marketable and help them to realise their career objectives. Paramjit advised the trainees to take full advantage of the training, saying it would help them even in their future pursuits. The JTS is the latest addition to the series of training programmes of the Dangote Academy. At the ceremony were key management workers, including the Executive Director Stakeholder Management, Engineer Mansur Ahmed, the Plant Director (Obajana), Mr. Armando Martinez and the Group Chief Human Resources Officer (GCHRO), Mr. Pabby Paramjit.

NIQS chief calls for unified surveying body By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie


HE President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mr. Agele Alufohai, has called for the unification of surveying bodies in the country. He noted that this was in line with global best practices. Alufohai spoke in Lagos at the 44th annual general meeting/ Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Nigerian Group. The NIQS President said the changing times called for new strategies, adding that there was need for the various surveying institutes in the country to form a dominant voice to advocate the industry’s issues. Alufohai said: “There is no arguing that significant differences exist between various disciplines of surveying but as we recognize these differences, we must also consider the advantages of building bridges between our various Surveying disciplines for there is great wisdom in the saying that there is unity in strength.”

Kano PDP chieftain urges G-7 to work with Jonathan T HE Chairman of the Kano State Peoples Democratic Party Caretaker Committee, Alhaji Hassan Kafayos, has urged the aggrieved seven governors of the party who oppose President Goodluck Jonathan, to sheathe their swords and end all disputes with the President. Kafayos advised the governors to know that God was responsible for the emergence of Jonathan as Nigeria’s President, adding that God gives power to whoever He likes. He stressed that those fighting Jonathan would fail. The PDP chieftain spoke yesterday in Kano during the inauguration of other nine members of the caretaker committee. Members of committee are: Shehu Sagagi, Kawu Gurijiya, Tukur Sallau, Jafar Sani Bello, Lawan Yanusa, Almed Tukur Rabiu Dan Shariff and Ladidi Garba. Kafayos urged the aggrieved members of the party to remain within the fold. The party chieftain advised aggrieved party members to work with open minds for an amicable resolution of their differences and the challenges of the party. He said: “Our country is facing various forms of development challenges.


‘Stop heating up polity’

SOCIO-POLITICAL organisation working in the Southsouth and other parts of the country, the G-6, has urged the “aggrieved” seven governors of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop heating up the polity. The group’s National Coordinator, Esther Ebiere Gbonkumor, at the weekend told The Nation that it was unfortunate that leaders who ought to work in the public interest were more concerned about feathering their nests. She said: “One would naturally expect that as leaders the so-called G-7 governors should strive to ensure mutual trust and harmony in the country. But the irony is that the governors are rather fanning the embers of disunity, because of their personal selfish interest. “It is rather unfortunate that the G-7 governors are antagonising President Goodluck Jonathan when they should be working together to ensure socio-economic progress of the entire populace. “From President Jonathan’s words and actions, you easily know that he is a detribalised leader, From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

There cannot, therefore, be a more auspicious time than now for all citizens, irrespective of party divide, to join hands and collectively move our country forward under the leadership of President GoodLuck Jonathan.” Kefayos promised that the committee would ensure

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

who is ready to work for the good of all and not self-centred as most of these other governors. So, my appeal to the governors is that they should bury the hatchet and close ranks with the President in the interest of the masses they claim to be representing.” The seven aggrieved governors are: Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankanwso (Kano), Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), all of the Kawu Baraje-faction of the PDP. The group was floated on August 31 as the new PDP. Gbonkumor advised the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to be a unifying force in the party, instead of being an instrument of discord. She said: “As a father figure, we expect Alhaji Tukur to operate an open-door policy. That is the only way to curtail intra-party wrangling being witnessed within the PDP fold.”

that various conflict resolution mechanisms would be used to achieve full reconciliation of aggrieved party members in Kano State. He said the committee would exhibit transparency and fair play. The party chieftain said the era of imposition of candidates was history in the party. He promised to use the

wisdom of party elders, the leaders and other stakeholders to accomplish the committe’s assignments. Aminu Wali urged the party’s members to support the committee to accomplish its assignment. He urged the committee to be firm and resolute in the quest for justice with a view to bringing an end to crisis in the party.

SON chief seeks effective standards implementation By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie


ODAY is the World’s Standard Day. The day is set aside yearly for the celebration of standards in all areas of the world’s sectors. It is jointly coordinated by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In a message to mark the day, the Director-General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Dr. Joseph Odumodu said international standards are powerful tools for ensuring positive change. He said they detail specifications that could open up global markets. The SON chief noted that standards create enabling business environments, spur economic growth, mitigate and adapt to climate change in a complex international environment. Odumodu said the world body chose the theme: International Standards to Ensure Positive Change, this year because of the belief that international standards represent the consensus view of the world’s leading experts in industry sectors. These range from energy utilities, energy efficiency and transportation. Others, he said, were management systems, climate change, health care, safety as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Sallah: Hisbah board threatens to arrest cyclists


•Mr Biodun Shobanjo (left) with his wife, Joyce, receiving the Advertising Man of All Time Award from Ogun Sate Governor Ibikunle Amosun (second right) and Chairman, The Sun, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, at the presentation of award of The Sun Publishing Advertising Man of All Time to Shobanjo at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos... at the weekend

Sanusi gets Sub-Saharan Africa’s Central Bank Governor Award •Apex bank governor wins third time in four years


ENTRAL Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has, for the third consecutive time, won the Central Bank Governor of the Year for the Sub-Saharan Africa. The award was conferred on him by Emerging Market Magazine, an international publication, on the sidelines of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual conference in Washington D.C., United States of America. It said the CBN had stabilised inflation rate in the country at below 10 per cent. In a citation before announcing the award, the Managing Director of Emerging Markets Magazine, John Orchard, acknowledged Sanusi’s

outstanding feat in bringing down inflation from the double digit to a about eight per cent. He said Sanusi had consistently pursued and maintained macroeconomic stability, notwithstanding the arduous challenges confronting the economy. Sanusi attributed this outstanding performance to the efforts of the 6,000 workers of the bank. He noted that the award was the result of their hard work and seriousness. The award, which was organised by the international magazine at the prestigious Willard Continental Hotel, Washington D.C., was the largest gathering of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from the emerging

economies of Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, South America and the Sub-Saharan regions. Sanusi won the award for the Sub-Saharan region. South African Minister of Finance, Mr. Pravin Gordhan, won the Finance Minister of the Year for the sub-Saharan regional economies. Sanusi thanked the Federal Government and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy/Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for supporting him to ensure macroeconomic stability. The CBN governor averred that Central Bank governors should maintain stability in the financial system. He promised not to relent in fighting for a stable economy.


He said: “We have worked day and night through the banking crisis and now we are working toward restoring stability, financial inclusion and payment system transformation. “It’s a great honour for me because this is going to be my last annual meeting. I thank all my colleagues for their support and the government for the confidence reposed in me...”

HE Kano State Hisbah Board has threatened to arrest any commercial tricycle operator found wearing what it called “three-quarters trousers” during the Eidel-Kabir celebration in Kano metropolis. The board’s spokesman, Alhaji Mohammed Yola, gave the warning yesterday in Kano in an interview with the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said the warning became necessary following the alleged refusal by the tricycle operators to stop wearing such trousers with armless T-shirts. “There are some tricycle operators who engage in indecent dressing. Anyone caught this time round will be arrested and prosecuted,” he said. The Hisbah chief explained that the board had banned the operators from carrying male and female passengers together. He said anyone caught doing so would be punished. Yola said: “There is a law in the state which prohibits gender mix in commercial vehicles. “The way and manner some of the commercial tricycle operators engage in indecent dressing and carry men and women together is disturbing.” He said the board would deploy its men in various recreational centres to monitor the Sallah activities. According to him, the board has directed its commanders in the 44 local government areas to ensure that all eid praying grounds were clean ahead of tomorrow’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.




‘Don’t politicise Osun’s education policy’


PPONENTS of the re-classification of schools in Osun State have been warned against being used by desperate politicians to slow down the state’s progress. A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Prince Solagbade Amodeni, spoke with reporters at the weekend in Akure, the Ondo State capital, following protests by some parents against the reclassification. He said the policy would bring immediate and longterm benefits to the educational system. Amodeni described the reclassification as “a good template” that should be emulated by other states. He said it had further proved that Governor Rauf Aregbesola has the vision and intellectual capacity to develop Osun. Amodeni said the policy would strengthen education and urged the people not to be deceived by the governor’s detractors. He said: “Aregbesola believes in the future of children, who are the future of tomorrow. He wants a brighter future for them. He is a man of vision and capacities. He has done another commendable thing in the education sector. “I urge parents not to allow some unscrupulous politicians to deceive them by criticising this laudable scheme. The practice now in Osun’s educational system is like that of advanced countries, where you have middle and high schools. Aregbesola has indeed modernised the state.” The APC chieftain said

Octogenarian dies in Ondo fire

•BHS alumni cautions govt on schools •Muslims advocate religious tolerance From Damisi Ojo, Akure

within Aregbesola’s short time in office, he has created jobs for youths and awarded a contract for the construction of an airport, named after the late Chief Moshood Abiola. He said work was ongoing on 21 roads and the government feeds primary school pupils daily. Also at the weekend, the Old Students’ Association of the Baptist High School (BHS), Iwo, Osun State, urged Aregbesola to always consult with the public before making major decisions. It said failure to consult the public before the new education policy was made had made it unpopular. BHS National President Oyesoji Aremu, an associate professor of Education at the University of Ibadan (UI), spoke with reporters in his office at Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. He said the association was not against the policy, if it would enhance education, but said the peculiarities of schools, including the culture, tradition and orientation, must not be jettisoned. Aremu said schools, such as BHS, were big enough to accommodate middle and high schools and should not be divided. He asked the governor to explain whether hijab was part of the official uniform approved for public schools. Aremu said: “If the answer

is yes, the governor should ensure that schools with the culture, tradition and orientation of hijab-wearing are reserved for hijab-wearing pupils. But if it is no, then, wearing of hijab to schools by any pupil should be seen and treated as an act of indiscipline.” He said when choosing schools for their children, parents consider many things, such as proximity to their homes and the schools’ culture and tradition, noting that anything that alters all these would not receive their blessings. Aremu said some pupils would have to trek long distances to and from school daily because of the new policy. He said: “Such pupils would be fagged out and would be punished if they get late to school. There is no way they will not be affected academically and, by implication, the purpose of the policy would be defeated.” Aremu condemned the idea of a single uniform for all schools, wondering how pupils would be identified at programmes involving more than one school. The educationist described as “puerile” the argument that badges would be used to identify schools on such occasions, saying: “For God’s sake, why should pupils need to be drawn closer to identify which school they belong to?

The Joint Muslims’ Action Forum (JOMAF), an umbrella body for all Islamic groups in Osun State, has urged Christians to be wary of mischief-makers and embrace the new policy. In a statement by its Coordinator, Alhaji Kola Uzamat, and Secretary Qaasim Odedeji, JOMAF faulted critics of the policy and condemned the protest by some members of the Baptist Church in Iwo. It said the disruption of academic activities at the Baptist High School, Iwo, by the protesters amounted to lawlessness and a breach of the peace. JOMAF said: “The protesters claimed that the merger of schools would obliterate the Baptist heritage and that they cannot allow female Muslim pupils to wear hijab in a school established by Christian missionaries. “We expected that in an orderly state as Osun, they should have channelled their grievances to the appropriate institutions, rather than embarking on such a protest. “This is a blatant display of religious intolerance and lack of accommodation, which cannot stand the test of time in a multi-religious society. This is an appropriate time and medium to debunk the age-long erroneous ownership claim on those schools, which were acquired by missionaries from their host communities.

From Damisi Ojo, Akure



“The Baptist High Schools in Iwo, Ede and Iree, as well as the Methodist High School in Otan-Ayegbaju, Gbongan\Odeomu Anglican Grammar School and St. Paul’s Anglican Grammar School, Ilobu, were all founded by Muslim-dominated communities, but were fraudulently hijacked in the course of registration and search for teachers. “We draw the attention of the Baptist Convention and other missionaries to the fact that the loss or obliteration of their heritage could not be rightly located in the education transformation policy of the present administration in Osun. “The ownership of schools was settled way back in the mid-70s, when the then Federal Government acquired all missionary schools (both Muslim and Christianowned schools) and compensated them.” JOMAF expressed the need for Muslims and Christians to promote a just and egalitarian society devoid of all forms of hegemony and subtle religious oppression. It insisted that wearing hijab was a constitutional right of every Muslim female pupil in public schools.

N 81-year-old woman, Mrs. Omogbanju Akinlami, has been killed in a fire. The fire razed a bungalow at No. 6, Okerowo Street in Ondo town. It occurred around 10pm and completely burnt the building. Although the cause of the fire has not been ascertained, it was learnt that the late Mrs. Akinlami lit and kept a locally-made lamp beside her bed before the incident occurred. A source said one of the deceased’s children visited the woman and left the building a few hours before the inferno. He said a resident in the neighbourhood saw the fire and raised the alarm. The source said efforts to save the octogenarian failed. When The Nation visited the scene, smoke was billowing out of the building and some youths were trying to put out the fire. Others were trying to salvage some of the deceased’s property. The late Mrs. Akinlami’s relatives refused to speak with the press. Policemen from Enuowa Divisional Police Station were at the scene. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the station, Ebenezer Adegalu, was away on official duty. A senior officer at the station, who did not want to be named, said policemen were drafted to the scene to provide security and assess the situation.

Sallah: Police assure Osun residents of security •Council chiefs felicitate with Muslims


•People offloading the cartons of turkey at the dumpsite ... at the weekend.


Customs destroys 5,390 cartons of frozen turkey

HE Oyo/Osun Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the weekend destroyed 5,390 cartons of frozen turkey in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The poultry product,

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

which was seized on the old Eruwa Road in Ilugun, was destroyed at a dump site on the outskirts of the city. The Deputy Comptroller (Administration), Gumber

Usman, said the products were seized on Thursday, following intelligence gathering. He said the eight vehicles conveying the product were impounded but the smugglers escaped. Usman, who put the duty

paid value of the goods at N37,730,000, warned people against consuming imported poultry products, saying they are dangerous to health. He said the way the animals were killed and preserved could not be ascertained.

SUN State Commissioner of Police Mrs. Dorothy Gimba has assured residents of security during the forthcoming eidel-Kabir celebration. In a congratulatory message to Muslims by the command’s spokesperson Folasade Odoro, the commissioner urged residents to celebrate the festival peacefully. Urging the public to inform the police of the activities of criminals, she said security operatives would be positioned at strategic locations to prevent breach of the peace. Local government chairmen in the state also felicitated with Muslims, urging them to be tolerant of adherents of other religions. In a statement by the Chairman of the Forum of Local Government Chairmen, Omoba Kunle Ayantoye, the council chiefs prayed Allah to continue to bless the state and protect residents. They said: “We have come a long way to determine whatever we see today; never should religious considerations be our problem.

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

Our case is different here. We have always worked together as a people to uplift our living conditions and have never had it so good. We should continue to explore our strengths.” The chairmen reaffirmed their commitment to the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration, saying it had provided purposeful leadership and executed people-oriented programmes. They thanked the governor and the House of Assembly for extending their tenure by six months, pledging to justify the confidence reposed in them. The council chairmen said: “We are always proud to be associated with the purposeful and dynamic leadership of the governor. We have partnered progressively with the state government from inception. We acknowledge, with appreciation, the full powers the government accords us, which has translated into unprecedented development at the grassroots.”




20 killed as suspected Fulani attack Benue community


•Suswam, deputy visit IDPs •Police confirm attack

WENTY people were killed early yesterday at Ogwule-Ankpa in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Governor Gabriel Suswam and his deputy, Steven Lawani, yesterday visited some internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by previous attacks. The governor assured the people of tighten security so that those who fled their homes because of incessant attacks could return.

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

A source, who spoke in confidence, told our reporter that most of the victims were killed on their beds between 4am and 5am. It was learnt that several people sustained gunshot injuries while the homes and household items worth millions of naira were destroyed during the attack. Suswam spoke yesterday at the Catholic Church in Oshigbudu, after inspecting

American firm to fund 350MW Gurara II dam project


N American firm, Transatlantic Investment and Development Company (TIDC), has concluded plans to fund the 350 megawatts (MW) Gurara Multipurpose Dam Project (also known as Gurara II) in Niger State. Addressing reporters in Abuja at the weekend, the company’s Legal Adviser Bem Atetan said this was the result of several years of hard work aimed at providing electricity, irrigation, flood control, water supply, fisheries and tourism in Niger State and Nigeria. According to him, when completed, the project will be the first private sectorled green field large hydro power project in the country. Atetan said TIDC started work on the project in 2005, when the company began the reconnaissance studies at various locations in Nigeria.

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

He said this was before the company selected the present site, in the middle Gurara River, to generate 350MW of electricity and provide other ancillary services, such as irrigation, fisheries, ecotourism and community development. The spokesman recalled that a pre-feasibility study of the Gurara Hydropower Project was completed in 2009. He stressed that TIDC had completed major milestones in conformity with the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 (EPSRA) through its resources and initiatives. Atetan added that the partnership began on April 29, 2008, when his company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Niger State Government during the governor’s visit to Atlanta, Georgia in the United States.

Insurgency: Adamawa decries HE Adamawa State influx of IDPs


Government has decried the daily influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Borno State to parts of the state following insurgents’ attacks. The Commissioner for Border Integration, Alhaji Hamza Bello, spoke on the government’s position during a condolence visit to Bitiku-Valti Village, in Madagali Local Government Area, where he sympathised with victims taking refuge in the area. Bello said the government was worried about the frequent influx of the displaced persons taking refuge in Madagali.

He said Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako had inaugurated a committee to take care of the displaced persons. The commissioner said part of the committee’s mandate was to register the refugees to ascertain their number and also establish camps for them, where immediate assistance could be offered them. He added: “So far, 3,000 people from Bama and Gwoza Local Government Areas of Borno State have been confirmed to have fled to Adamawa due to the fear of terrorists’ attacks.”

Omoworare’s mum dead


From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

RINCESS Teniade Areoye Omoworare, the mother of the senator representing Osun East in the National Assembly, Babajide Omoworare, has died. She was 82. Princess Omoworare (nee Aderemi) died on October 12 at 6pm at her Lagos home. Princess Omoworare, a daughter of late Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, was a domestic scientist and a Londontrained seamstress. She was married to the late Joseph Larewaju Omoworare, a renowned school headteacher, politician and traditional chief of Ile-Ife, Osun State. She is survived by children, grand-children and great grand-children, including Mojoyinola Faniyan, a pharmacist; Olatunde Omoworare, a deputy director at the Raw Materials Development and Research company, FCT Abuja; Oyefunke Oyewole, a Lagos-based lawyer; Olanike Omoworare, a former Osun State deputy speaker, among others.

the damage at Enogaje, one of the communities attacked by the marauders in previous attacks. The governor urged the people to be security-conscious and report suspicious persons to security agencies. The governor made cash donations to most of the communities affected by the attacks. He decried the renewed invasion in the state, despite several peace moves by the state government to halt the trend. Besides Lawani, the governor was also accompanied

by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr David Salifu; the police commissioner and state director of the State Security Service (SSS). Police spokesman Daniel Ezeala, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the attack on the Agatu comunity. He said a detachment of police had been deployed in the area. The police spokesman urged the residents to report suspicious persons to the police. Investigation, he added, had begun on the matter.


2015: ‘Power shift to Taraba South non-negotiable’

HE senator representing Taraba South, Emmanuel Bwacha, has said the area will produce the next governor in the 2015 general elections. Bwacha said this would enable the area to contribute its quota to the progress and development of the state. The senator, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, spoke at the weekend during his mid-term report at Mararraba, Donga Local Government Area of Taraba State. He was accompanied by a former Taraba North senator, Dr. Anthony Manzo, who represented the special guest of honour and Senate President David Mark. The Secretary to Benue State Government (SSG), Dr. David Salisu, represented the guest of honour, Governor Gabriel Suswam. Taraba South Senatorial District comprises five local government areas: Ibi, Wukari, Donga, Takum, Ussa and a Special Development Area, called Yangtu. Bwacha, a lawyer, hails from Donga. The highpoint of the occasion was the distribution of 20 cars, 130 motorcycles and 140 grinding machines donated by Bwacha to PDP stalwarts in the zone. The gesture, it was learnt, was for their contributions to the ruling party’s successes in the state. Bwacha said his stewardship would not be complete without advancing and protecting the political aspiration of the people of Taraba South.




CITYBEATS LINE: 08023247888

Empowerment for youths THE Lagos State Government has facilitated the empowerment of 26 youths in the art of screen printing to make them self-reliant. The Lagos State Office of Youth and Social Development organised the twoweek empowerment programme which was held at the Gbagada Youth Centre, Gbagada, Lagos last Saturday. Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth and Social Development, Dr. Dolapo Badru, said the training was to empower the beneficiaries to be selfemployed in view of the growing unemployment in the country. The training instructor, Shita Opeyemi, said the youths had undergone a

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

two-week intensive practical work and that they could stand anywhere to practice screen printing and eke out a living for themselves. One of the beneficiaries, Abosede Onabanjo, said having gone through the training, she could print anything and compete favourably in the market. She appealed to government to give the trainees take-off grants to kick-start their businesses, while thanking government for training them. Another trainee, Adisa Saheed, praised the government for the gesture, adding that they needed equipment to start their various trades.

Traditionalists pray against crises. This is not natural. It plane crashes is not a good omen. It has THE Association of African Traditional Religion, Nigeria and Overseas (AATREN), yesterday offered prayers to avert plane crashes and other calamities in the country. The Opemoluwa of Ikateland in Lagos State and the President of AATREN, Chief Ifasegun Elegushi, said the prayers were to render powerless, the curses responsible for planes crashes and such other calamities. He said: "Government has neglected African religion. The faithful of traditional religion have a role to play in nation building. We have tackled the incessant plane crashes and other calamities spiritually by praying the African way. "A lot of people have died through air and other crashes. They have also lost their lives through religious

spiritual implications. This is why we have prayed to stop these bad occurrences." The Araba of Oworonshoki, who is also the Secretary-General of AATREN, Dr Awodiran Okanlawon Agboola, who led the prayer session, said: "We organised the prayers to hear the voice of God concerning the causes of the calamities and how we can stop them. 'We believe God has answered our prayers. There will no longer be plane crashes, but aviation experts should not be negligent in their responsibilities. Airline operators should also not fly faulty planes." He urged government to declare a day as public holiday for the African religion as it has done for Christianity and Islam.

Igbo monarch commends Fashola THE Eze Ndi-Igbo of Lagos, Eze Hycient Ohazuike, the Omere Oha 1, has commended the governor of Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola for apologising to the Igbo people for the "deportation" saga which he said, was misunderstood by some people. Ohazuike spoke last Saturday in Lagos, while celebrating 2013 New Yam Festival (Iri-ji). He said: "For a sitting governor to come out openly and

By Ebele Boniface

apologise to people who might have misunderstood him with respect to the deportation saga shows that he is a good leader who means well for Igbo people." The Eze Ndi-Igbo also distributed bags of rice, grinding machines for poverty alleviation and promotion of self-reliance among his people. Other Igbo chiefs in Lagos and Diaspora came with various gifts to pay homage to him.

•Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Environment, Dr. Taofeek Folami (middle), flanked by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Ministry of the Environment, Mr. Hakeem Ogunbambi (2nd left), and member, Nigeria Conservation Foundation, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu (1st left), at the 2013 Walk for Nature, with the theme: Water for Life, organised by the ministry ... last Saturday PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

'Discriminate against the disabled, face the law'


ERSONS or organisations that discriminate against people with disability will henceforth face the law, the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), has warned. The General Manager of the establishment, Dr Awelenje Babatunde, said the law establishing the agency gives it powers to investigate and prosecute such acts of discrimination. He spoke at a three-day sign language workshop for primary healthcare workers in Lagos, with the theme: "An allinclusive communication policy for persons with disability." "We're going to enforce the existing law. LASODA was established to enforce the Lagos State Special Peoples' Law, which was enacted in 2011. The law is to safeguard the people living with disability against all forms of discrimination and equalise their opportunity, just like their able-bodied counterparts. "This office has prosecutorial powers over acts of discrimination. If a person with disability is discriminated against, the office has a right to investigate, and if possible, prosecute; then appropriate sanctions will be taken, as well as redress in

•Chief Executive Officer, SIM Properties and Homes Limited, Dr Ahonsi Simeon and Ms Onasanya Oyetoke of Love Home Orphanage, Magodo, Lagos, when Ahonsi visited the Home to mark his 40th birthday.

By Joseph Jibueze

court," Babatunde said. He added that persons with disabilities seek equality, saying: "What the people with disability need is just a level-playing field. This was demonstrated in the last Paralympic where persons with disability did Nigeria proud." According to him, the training was aimed at teaching the health workers the rudiments of communication with hearing-impaired persons who they meet in the course of their field work. "It's more or less like teaching them the A-B-C-D of sign language. Subsequently we'll expand on that. We're also planning to incorporate sign language into the academic curriculum. "This is the second of such training. Last December, we organised a corporate stake-

holder forum involving persons with disability, their families and those who care for them. It was more or less an interactive session. The feedback we received led to this workshop," Babatunde said. He said despite challenges of setting up and running such office, the response had been positive. "The governing board of the LASODA was inaugurated on July 9 last year. Being a new office, there have been some logistic challenges, but we are rapidly gaining momentum now. The state government deserves commendation. The office is even the first of its kind in West Africa," Babatunde said. The Chairman, LASODA Governing Board, Mrs Tolu Animashaun, said: "Very soon, there will be public enlightenment campaigns. We are going to work hand-in-hand with


the state registration agency (LASRA), which is designing a portal for disability. There will be some designated centres. "People will input information about their disabilities and challenges. That will help us reach them. That is in the pipeline. Don't judge anybody based on his disability. Nobody chooses to become disabled. Maybe people discriminate out of ignorance. We have a lot of wrong ideas owing to lack of knowledge."

Youths, groups condemn corruption


OUTHS from Anglophone countries in West Africa have held a seven-day Youth Integrity Camp at the La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos. They discussed how to halt the rising spate of corruption. Organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Crimes (ICPC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth Development (Nigeria), and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the event was aimed at grooming youth leaders for higher responsibilities in the future through exposure to knowledge, tools, and practical ideas, to participate actively in governance and fighting corruption through transparency and accountability. One of the participants from Liberia, Anderson Miamen, said: "The fight against corruption is very challenging. The corrupt usually use their proceeds to fight back; so, if there is no political will at the highest level, the corrupt ones will end up winning. Awareness and protection should also be promised for those who are willing to assist the government in exposing those involved in the act. Executive

By Medinat Kanabe

order can be given so that they will be protected." The young man who works with the Centre for Transparency in Liberia, an anti-corruption agency, said though coming to the camp did not guarantee the curbing of corruption, he said it would go a long way in achieving its aim. The Chairman, ICPC, Barrister Ekpo Nta, while speaking with The Nation, said, if a country's system does not deter its citizens from doing wrong, corruption, like a sore, will fester. He also urged individuals to

know that every corrupt act deprives them of some rights like access to good roads. Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by the Director General, Office of Transformation, Mr Toba Otusanya, said the fight against corruption and need for integrity and accountability are not for the faint-minded. Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, who spoke on "The Place of Integrity in Creating an Enabling Environment for Youth Development," preached integrity and accountability.

Lagos gets new Head of Service


AGOS State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has approved the appointment of Mrs. Josephine Oluseyi Williams as the 17th Head of Service of the state Public Service. In a statement yesterday by the outgoing Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe, Mrs Williams was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. Mrs Williams, a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), holds a Bachelor of Science (B.SC Hons) degree in Accounting

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

from the University of Lagos, Akoka and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Computer Science. She began her career in the Federal Civil Service as Accountant Grade I on GL 09 on February 15, 1980 at the Federal Housing Authority. She joined the state Civil Service in 1985 as Chief Accountant on Grade Level 14 and acted in various capacities in the Ministry of Finance before her deployment to the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning as Director of Accounts.




CITYBEATS LINE: 08023247888


Excitement over unusual ram gift

ESTERDAY, what started like a child’s play at ram market behind The Muslim Congress (TMC), Dawah Centre, Ijeshatedo, Lagos State, turned a reality. Like the late business mogul and winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, who reportedly signed for a man an amount of money on a piece of paper and the man was paid in a bank, yesterday, a little known Executive Director of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF), Imam Abdullahi Shuaib, wrote, signed on the palm of a man (name withheld) and told him to go to a nearby market to collect a ram worth the amount he wrote. The man, for the fun of seeing someone reliving the memory of the late Abiola's exemplary humanitarian gesture, dashed to the place. Alas, he got the surprise of his life! "Go there and pick any ram of your choice," AbdulKareem Muhammad Raji, popularly known as Abu Abu, Head of TMC Ram Business, told the man. Still in disbelief, the man picked his choice ram, got a receipt and went away. "Just like that!" he exclaimed. "Yes," one of the attendants replied him. The scenario drama occured during the monthly Fiqh Forum at the TMC Dawah Centre. The usually crowded gathering is a forum where deep understandings of Islamic jurisprudence are being taught. "This is another history being made," Mr Wasiu Amoo,

By Tajudeen Adebanjo

a lawyer remarked. Amoo, the National Public Relations Officer of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), described the scenario as "unbelievable." "I thought it was a joke when he showed me his palm, now I see Nigeria is blessed with people who can do like MKO Abiola. As a legal person, a paper can be a legal document, but what do we say about this … palm? You cannot cut his wrist for evidence sake, but these people just let go like that. That man must be a credible person. I am proud to be a Muslim and a Nigerian," he said. How did it happen? The Nation asked the man, "I approached Imam Abdullahi Shuaib to exchange pleasantries. After exchanging tasleem (Islamic greetings), he immediately requested a pen and a piece of paper; before I could get one, he beckoned: "Don't bother getting a paper, give me your hand," and he wrote on my palm: 'Please release now, N65,000.' And he appended his signature. "Immediately I got there, one of the attendants directed me to their boss who was holding a meeting. He (Abu Abu) ushered me in and read the note on my palm. After, he said: “Go there and pick any ram of your choice.” I still thought it was 'a joke taken too far' until I got the receipt and took the ram out of the place." "I wasn't really surprised at the gesture, having seen on television and read in newspapers the humanitarian gestures of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, which the man heads, but this was not

'Dissolve my 14-year marriage'


R Ibrahim Hambolu of 64, Pipeline Street, Ijegun in Igando/ Ikotun Local Council Development Area of Lagos State watched in utter disbelief when his wife moved against him in court. The woman, Mrs Mudinat Hambolu dragged him before the Igando Customary Court demanding the dissolution of their 14-year-old marriage, which was blessed with three children. She had filed the divorce suit against her husband on the grounds that her husband frequently beat her, refused to care for her and children, adding that her husband destroyed goods in her shop. She added that she packed out of her matrimonial home because the suffering had become unbearable. She said: "Sometimes, for almost three months, he would not give me money for food. He beat me whenever he's angry; even when I was pregnant with my last child." Surprised at his wife's allegations, Hambolu cried, claiming that never was there a time he neglected his family. He added that he still

By Samuel Akintan

loved his wife, despite her determination to divorce him. Hambolu said: "These claims by my wife are false. The only time I beat her was when she poured food on my head." He said he is a carpenter, a security guard, adding that he rides commercial motorbike and repairs generators and refrigerators, in order to satisfy his household, adding that he spends an average of N3, 000 per week on foodstuffs for his family. In tears, he added: "Sometimes, I would prostrate to beg my wife to mend her ways so that we would live peacefully. I did it because I love her." Mudinat told the court that she got money from a co-operative society to buy a motorbike for her husband to keep him busy when he was jobless, but said he sold it without her consent. She said there was no more love in their union. The President of the Court, Mr R.I. Adeyeri, adjourned the case for further hearing, but asked Hambolu to give his wife N2, 500 weekly for her upkeep.

Monarch marks 20th anniversary THE traditional ruler of Ajiranland in Eti Osa area of Lagos State, Oba Tijani Adetunji Akinloye, Sateru II, has begun the celebration of his 20th year on the throne. Oba Akinloye, who spoke with reporters in his palace on the month-long activity for the anniversary, listed the electrification of the

By Adeyinka Aderibigbe

town which had been in darkness before his ascension; the take-off of primary school; the Ajiran Central Mosque, the establishment of the Millennium Village Vocational Centre, and massive road construction, among the giant strides the community recorded during his reign.

planned for. Besides, the manner the ram seller attended to the “note” still amused me.

Imam Shuaib deserves a national honour for this singular act," he said.

•The inscription on the palm. Inset: The ram

Eid-el-Kabir: Free ride for Lagosians


HE Lagos State Government will provide free bus ride for Lagosians tomorrow in celebration of the Eid-el-Kabir. The initiative, it was learnt, is part of efforts to promote use of public transport as well as reduce road congestion, especially during festive periods. The Managing Director of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Dr. Dayo Mobereola, who announced it in a statement, said the free bus ride would start at 7.00am and end at 10.00pm. The free service will be offered by both the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along the Mile 12 to CMS corridor and the Bus Franchise Scheme (BFS) along the Igando/Ikotun/IyanaIpaja/Maryland corridor. "Government has a responsibility to its citizens. We

By Adeyinka Aderibigbe

know that during festive periods, accidents do occur, some linked to excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. For everyone involved in an accident, you can imagine the number of medical personnel that would be required to attend to them and the attendant loss to the family. Every life is precious and the Lagos State Government is committed to the protection of lives during this season and even beyond, "the statement stated. While admonishing Lagosians to be cautious during the festivities, the statement urged: "We don't want anyone to drink and drive. While the government is not promoting alcohol consumption, if you must drink, don't drive, but use public transport that has been provided free instead."



NEWS Dafinone: PDP’s ‘victory’ a ruse


HE candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) in Saturday’s Delta Central by-election, Chief Ede Dafinone, has described the poll as the most violent in the history of elections in the state. Dafinone, who was declared third with 29,055 votes behind the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates, said: “There was no election, as defined by our laws. The scale of impunity, assault, molestations and violence by the PDP, thugs/ cultists and the supposed security agents was just unimaginable. “The lopsided and partisan involvement of state security apparatuses in supporting the PDP and the brazen use of thugs to unleash violence on our party members and the electorate

From Shola O’Neil, Warri

is unprecedented. “There is now a very serious concern for the progress of our nascent democracy and diminishing hope for peace, unity and good governance.” He said the significant confidence brought into the poll in 2011 due to visible improvements on the 2003 and 2007 elections was wiped off on Saturday. Dafinone said the outcome of the election showed that PDP and the government sent, in no uncertain terms, a strong message that the security apparatus of the country would foist the PDP on the nation at all cost. “Our agents were shot at and maimed, as it was in 2003 and 2007. The days when elections were gun wars are back, he added.”

Our reconciliation moves paid off, says Uduaghan


ELTA State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan yesterday described the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Chief Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, in Saturday’s by-election as the fruit of the party’s reconciliation efforts. Uduaghan, who spoke at a thanksgiving party held at his home in Warri, said PDP has regained its lost territory in the senatorial district. He said: “This (victory) is because for over a year we have embarked on reconciliation with all our aggrieved members and that reconciliation was tested yesterday (Saturday). “We spoke with one voice; victory was no magic.”

From Shola O’Neil and Aiwerie Okungbowa, Warri

He said in the past, the party members fought themselves, leading to members giving muscle to other political parties. “Where is their (opposition) strength? All those who won in the other parties were PDP members who left. The so- called opposition has collapsed,” Uduaghan said. Speaking in the same vein, PDP Chairman, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, hailed Uduaghan for engendering the new found unity in the party. The event was preceded by a sermon delivered by Pastor Powell, who emphasised the need for members of the party to speak with one voice.


• Martha joins Ifunanya Finally, the Spears gave their victory chant after winning the Log and Riddle challenge! But this triumph came at a great cost. Peter crashed out leaving them with four members. The Swords loss didn’t cost them a team member. The Log and Riddle task was designed to test the warriors’ independence. The challenge required them dig their way underneath a log, race into the river and float, aided by the river currents, to an old iron bridge with a net and ropes serving as buffers. With the aid of the ropes the warriors would hoist themselves to the island on the other side of the river where there were two tables, one for each tribe. On the tables were a compass and a coordinate which would aid each tribe to locate a sack. The sacks contained riddles. After locating their respective sacks, the contents would be distributed to each member and all warriors would return via the same route to put the riddles together. The first warrior to finish wins the challenge both for him/herself and for the tribe. Though the Swords had an early lead, Ifunanya a.k.a Smallie solved her riddle first and earned a long-sought victory for her tribe. Each tribe member solved their riddles in succession, until there was a stalemate between Kunle of the Swords and Peter of the Spears. To end the stalemate, Chidi Mokeme, the Anchor man, asked them to go across the river through the same route, look at a clue on a tree and the first to return and put his riddle together is declared winner. Kunle beat Peter who was immediately evicted. Ifunanya’s reward was a tooth brush and a pair of socks. Kunle got to wash the warriors’ dirty clothes as punishment. Later at the Place of the Talking Drum, the Spears confessed that they missed Peter’s presence. Exciting episodes and clues to the Fans Edition continue on African Magic (DSTV), Ebonylife TV, Realstar, Wap TV, ESBS and AKBC at 10pm; and AIT & Galaxy TV at 10:30pm.

INEC declares PDP candidate winner of Delta Central poll


HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Mr. Emmanuel Aguariavwodo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the October 12 Delta Central by-election. The Returning Officer, Prof. John Arubayi, announced yesterday in Ughelli, Delta State that Aguariavwodo polled 263,024 votes to defeat eight other candidates. He said Mr. Otega Emerhor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) scored 29,077 votes to emerge second, while Mr. Ede Dafinone of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) followed with 29,055 votes.


PDP won in all the eight local governments in the senatorial district. The INEC official described the conduct of the by-election as free and transparent and urged the political parties to accept the result in good faith. He hailed the parties and their agents for the peaceful conduct of the election. Voting started late in many of the voting centres, following the late arrival of electoral and voting materials. Consequently, the voting period was extended for hours. The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Gesila Khan, described the election as peaceful despite the initial challenges.

She said: “Normally, voting ought to have started at 12:30 pm, but because of the initial hiccups, it was not so. However, it ended peacefully.” The resident electoral commissioner said the initial challenges encountered were a normal occurrence. “There can never be a 100 per cent perfection in any election anywhere in the world,” she added. Police Commissioner Ikechukwu Aduba said the by-election was peaceful because his men were at the voting centres to maintain law and order. He earlier warned against violence during the poll, threatening to deal with any person found disrupt-


ing the election. Aduba also warned policemen to steer clear of politicians and government officials during the exercise, saying any violation of the order would be sanctioned. The by-election followed the death of Senator Pius Ewherido of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) on June 30.

Violence marred election, says APC

HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has said Saturday’s by-election in Delta Central was marred by electoral malpractices and violence perpetrated by security agents and thugs allegedly hired by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said there was no voting in most of the eight local governments and 85 wards, as the PDP used armed security agents to chase away voters in the opposition strongholds, while thugs working under the cover of security personnel beat opposition party agents and seized voting materials. It said electoral officials were either overwhelmed by the presence of the security agents or were coerced into submission. “This election is nothing but a sham as the activities of the partisan security agents ensured that hundreds of voters were disenfranchised, while state government and PDP officials handed money to induce voters. Even in wards where voters successfully resisted armed security agents, the absence of com-

Accept defeat, PDP tells party


From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to accept defeat in last Saturday’s Delta Central by- election. The PDP candidate, Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, was declared the winner in the election widely described as failing in credibility standards. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday berated the opposition for “rehearsing excuses ahead of the 2015 general elections.” Metuh said the election was free, fair and credible and the people freely gave their mandate to the PDP candidate. Said he: “Protesting the outcome of an election where it did not get up to 10 per cent of the total votes cast, the APC has shown that it remains a party borne out of violence, religious extremism and desperation; a party of bigots, which fails to understand that it does not have the support of Nigerians, hence its inability to win elections due to its undemocratic and do-or-die posture. “APC remains a serial bad loser, which delights in overheating the polity, establishing fascism in the states under its control and refusing to be bold and sportsman-like enough to accept clear defeats.” The statement enjoined the opposition party to learn from the nobility of the PDP, saying that the ruling party was always bold to accept defeat in the states won by opposition parties in the past. plete electoral materials meant there was no voting. “Knowing it could not win a free and fair poll anywhere in the country, the PDP simply took measures to suppress voting in opposition strongholds during the election. “From what transpired in Delta on Saturday, it is clear

that the PDP has resolved that there will not be a free and fair election anywhere in the country henceforth. The party’s new strategy is to use security agents as agents of destabilisation and suppression of votes,” APC said. The party said the Federal Government sent troops to

Delta under the pretext of battling the notorious kidnapping lynchpin Kelvin and his cohorts, when in fact the deployment was a decoy for election rigging. It cited some instances of the malpractices and brigandage, which the PDP employed to compromise the elections, especially in Ughelli North, Udu and Uvwie local governments: - Starting from Friday night, three Hilux vehicles brought soldiers to Okpe Local Government Ward 8 collation centre to intimidate voters - In Sapele Ward 8, security agents beat up voters, thus scaring them away from polling units. In Udu Local Government Ward 7, election materials were seized by thugs. • In Sapele Ward 4, a commissioner hired thugs to chase away voters. Worse-hit were the polling units 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 as well as units 14 and 15 - No election in Ward 8 of Okpe Local Government due to incomplete election materials. •Massive thumb printing at Ward 26 in Ughelli North, Soldiers drove away voters and opposition party agents. • In Ward 9, Ethiope Local Government, soldiers loyal to PDP chased people from polling centres. •Oghara Junction: PDP thugs beat up APC supporters.

INEC, military colluded with PDP to rig, says Emerhor


HE candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s Delta Central byelection, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, has described the poll as a sham. Emerhor, who addressed a news conference yesterday, said it was the worst election in the present democratic dispensation. He said: “I hereby place it on record that no by-election took place. What took place was a sham calculated to select a senator by the government and its agencies working together to achieve this nefarious and predetermined outcome.” Emerhor said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deferred its responsibility to conduct the election to the ruling state government controlled by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

From Shola O’Neil, Southsouth Regional Editor

“The whole environment was militarised with roadblocks where voters were intimidated to stay at home and clear of polling units. “The Nigerian Army supervised snatching of ballot papers by the PDP stalwarts and thugs with the army giving them covering fire. “In places that were not strongholds of the PDP, the INEC found every reason in the book to burgle the exercise, including but not limited to the lame excuse by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members that their allowances for the training must be paid,” he said. Olorogun Emerhor also accused some top officials of the state government and members of the ruling PDP of supervising the thumb-printing of ballot papers in their

homes. He alleged that the election was delayed into the night to provide cover of darkness for it to be manipulated by the ruling party. The aggrieved APC candidate said the result was written out by PDP stalwarts from

Orogun in Ughelli North Local Government Area at about 2am yesterday at the collation centre in Ughelli town. He said the politicians were aided by dozens of Anti Terror Squad of the Nigeria Police Force, who rode in two vans.

Delta Speaker hails winner


ELTA State House of Assembly Speaker Victor Ochei has congratulated Chief Emmanuel Aguariavwodo on his emergence as the senator-elect for Delta Cen-

tral. In a statement, Ochei said the victory was a testament to Delta Central’s preference for worthy representation in the National Assembly through a viable platform as provided by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He said the triumph could not have come at a more auspicious time when the electorate desired quality and resultoriented representation, the attributes Chief Aguariavwodo had in abundance, considering his wealth of experience in legislative business as an erstwhile member of the House of Representatives. Ochei urged the senator-elect to reciprocate the gesture of acceptability by availing the electorate of the dividends of democracy.

















Return to the past


•This is what the proposed ban on ‘Tokunbo’ cars for the dream ‘Nigerian car’ looks like

T seems the perfect policy to stir the hornet’s nest – a chapter dusted up from the books on the import-substitution strategies of the late ‘70s to early eighties. We refer here to the new automotive policy announced by the Federal Government, which seeks to supplant the influx of fairly-used vehicles with the dream ‘Nigerian car’. The new policy, as announced by Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, would entail the introduction of discriminatory tariff regimes to encourage local auto-manufacture while at the same time discouraging importation. Other highpoints of the policy is the establishment of three automotive clusters in Ogun and Lagos states, Kano and Kaduna states and Enugu and Anambra states – to maximise the benefit from localisation; revival of the petrochemical and metal/steel sectors and other automotive ancillary industries; and evolution of financing schemes to enable Nigerians buy cars on easy terms. Presenting a graphic picture of the state of auto-import business, Aganga noted that the country spent a whopping $4.2 billion (about N550billion) on car importation alone in 2010. The figure for 2012, according to him, was $3.4 billion – an amount he said was “almost head-to–head with machinery as the biggest consumer of the country’s foreign reserves”. In all, the new policy is planned to run as a 10–year plan to be reviewed every five years. The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) is said to be collaborating with Cena, a vehicle manufacturer in Brazil, to open automotive training centres in Nigeria. Two Nigerian universities, he disclosed, have been designated to commence degree programmes in auto-mechanical engineering to provide adequate lo-

cal manpower. The goal, according to the minister, is to create a minimum of 700,000 jobs; he was optimistic that the brand new car to be locally produced should cost not more than N1.5 million. The policy is certainly timely if only on account of the huge Nigerian market for vehicular transportation. More importantly, the policy appears to have tied the loose ends in the quest for indigenous auto-manufacture to some degree: the issue of tariff imbalances, the infrastructure and the provision of ancillary services all of which impact directly on the cost, as well as financing and human capital components. These are necessary foundations without which the automotive policy would flounder. Our problem however is the definition of the ‘Nigerian car’. Is the whole idea about a wholly Nigerian-made car? If the answer is yes, where is the local research and development base to support this quest in an age of competitiveness and cutting edge technologies? If it is a case of inviting leading automakers to open assembly plants, wouldn’t that be a return to the era of wholesale imports of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts of the ‘80s? Can we truly say that the nation has learnt any lessons from the failures of that era? Would that also not be a major source of foreign exchange depletion? We do not deny that the policy – as imperfect as it may seem – is not entirely without some merits. The argument has been well made in terms of the jobs to be created; the skills to be transferred and the linkages that will inevitably be generated in the economy in the long run; the issue of the benefit in the substantial curbs in emissions from fairly-

used vehicles on the environment cannot also be ignored. The point is that the stated goals of the policy are not necessarily a-given without the requisite will to drive them and to ensure that Nigerians are availed their maximum benefits. We do not need to add that to contemplate a ‘Tokunbo’ ban at this time would be futile, just as the attempt to hike tariffs on used car imports would be punitive a needless measure to undertake. No matter what anyone may say of Nigerians’ so-called love for ‘Tokunbo’ vehicles, it is a demand driven by an exigency. That exigency is to be found in the unaffordable cost of new cars in the environment of near-total absence of public transportation system. While Nigerians would do well with cheap, affordable cars; it seems to us however that the economy (and society) will be better served by provision of adequate, efficient and reliable mass transportation system.

‘No matter what anyone may say of Nigerians’ so-called love for ‘Tokunbo’ vehicles, it is a demand driven by an exigency. That exigency is to be found in the unaffordable cost of new cars in the environment of near-total absence of public transportation system. While Nigerians would do well with cheap, affordable cars; it seems to us however that the economy (and society) will be better served by provision of adequate, efficient and reliable mass transportation system.

Leadership at last?

• The President should translate his promise to end ASUU, NARD strikes into action


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has apparently belatedly woken up to the fact that under the presidential system of government which we practice, his office plays a pivotal leadership role in the executive arm and the buck stops at his table. He is at liberty to hire and fire his aides and the responsibility for the achievements or lapses of any department of his administration ultimately rests with him. Dr Jonathan gave an indication of this realisation when the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) led by its President, Dr Osahon Enabulele, met him at the Presidential Villa last Tuesday. Speaking assertively, the President promised to end the on-going strike by both the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD). Exhibiting an uncharacteristic sense of ur-

‘It is inexcusable that Dr. Jonathan is seemingly waking up to his leadership responsibility in this respect after ASUU has been on strike and public universities paralysed for almost four months, and the NARD for over a week. A truly proactive, responsible and sensitive government would have acted decisively to prevent the grievances from degenerating to strike in the first place’

gency, the President said he would do everything possible to resolve all issues responsible for the industrial disputes. In Dr Jonathan’s words on the occasion, “I believe that we must manage both sectors in such a way that nobody engaged in them will think of going on strike again. We will continue to proactively evolve measures that will help us to permanently overcome the problems that lead to strikes by health and education professionals”. Belated as his gesture may be, the President’s new stance is at least a welcome departure from his unhelpful insinuation during his last Presidential media chat that the ASUU strike was politically motivated. Yet, it is inexcusable that Dr. Jonathan is seemingly waking up to his leadership responsibility in this respect after ASUU has been on strike and public universities paralysed for almost four months, and the NARD for over a week. A truly proactive, responsible and sensitive government would have acted decisively to prevent the grievances from degenerating to strike in the first place. This is clearly a case of unpardonable negligence and lethargy on the part of the responsible government departments and President Jonathan cannot absolve himself of ultimate blame for this deplorable situation. Matters are worsened by the fact that at the root of the industrial disputes is the failure of the Federal Government to honour agreements it freely entered into with the affected unions. ASUU’s grouse is the non-implementation of the agreement reached with the Federal Govern-

ment since 2009 on diverse issues, including welfare of its members and the revitalisation of the country’s critically ailing tertiary institutions. According to the union, “The negotiations for the 2009 agreement took three years (20062009). As was agreed in 2012 evidenced by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the Federal Government promised to release N100 billion immediately in 2012 and N400 billion in 2013”. Only 20 per cent of these sums have reportedly been released till date. On its part, the NARD is demanding, among others, payment of the outstanding salaries and allowances of its members as well as the release and implementation of the stakeholders’ agreement on residency training programme reached on July 5 and 6, 2013. These are issues which a serious government would vigorously and meaningfully address to avoid the kind of industrial crises currently plaguing the country’s health and education sectors. We hope that President Jonathan lives up to his promise of providing the necessary leadership to end these strikes. But this will be possible only if he becomes more focussed on governance and less distracted by the politics of 2015. It is as a result of the President’s example and indulgence, for instance, that the former Minister of State for Education who is the current supervising minister of the ministry, Mr NyesomWike, is more preoccupied with his unhidden gubernatorial ambition in Rivers State than the onerous responsibilities of his office.


Paper Jam ARLIAMENT’S proposals for press regulation are dangerous and inhibit freedom of speech. A rival proposal by publishers is both robust

and fair Almost a year has passed since Lord Justice Leveson delivered his four-volume, 2000 page report on press regulation. Anyone who suspected that just reading all of it was going to be the difficult part has turned out to be sadly mistaken. Yesterday a Privy Council sub-committee rejected a proposal for a Royal Charter, put forward by the newspaper industry, which would have established oversight for a new regulator of the press. These publishers, meanwhile, have already rejected a separate proposal for a different Royal Charter put forward by all three main political parties in collusion, remarkably enough, with the pressure group Hacked Off. Notably, or perhaps absurdly, depending upon your perspective, none of this is likely to prevent a new press regulator being established. Industry groups are working to create the Independent Press Standards Organisation, a voluntary body that would replace the Press Complaints Commission. Instead, the arguments concern the body that would oversee this regulator, which the charter would establish. All of this is a mess, and it is not surprising that David Cameron is widely believed to nurse a fervent wish that the whole business would simply go away. But it will not just go away, and he needs to realize that newspaper groups have good reasons their distaste of the parties’ proposals. The appeal of the publishers’ Royal Charter is clear and obvious. It allows some form of official recognition without making a free press subservient to Parliament. Yet this preferred version of the political parties strips this rationale away by inserting a clause allowing a two-thirds majority of both houses to rewrite the rules. If there is a fault in the oversight rules, it could take years and a parliamentary battle to rectify. There are also more immediate concerns. For a complaints procedure to be triggered by those not directly affected, the parties’ charter has a significantly on climate change or the Palestinian cause, could effectively harass newspapers into stifling free debate. Worse, the parties’ charter insists on a compulsory form of arbitration that, while seemingly attractive as a low-cost dispute mechanism, is likely to encourage ambulance-chasing lawyers to cash in when formerly a correction would have satisfied all parties. For local newspapers with tight budgets and grim financial futures, this could prove ruinous. Rather than launch into an all-embracing system in which the costs are unpredictable the outcome uncertain, the press sensibly proposed a pilot scheme. The version of a Royal Charter presented by the publishers is a sounder and more rational proposal than that of the three parties, for the uncomplicated reason that the latter was drawn up at 2am by exhausted politicians and presentatives of anti-press groups. The former is an honest attempt at a workable system by figures who understand the industry they seek to regulate. It is furthermore, with •1 million fines and an investigative arm, the toughest form of self-regulation in the free world. The political parties could get out of the impasse by reconsidering the press’s Royal Charter. Publishers have moved a great distance on regulation, and they cannot be expected to move farther. Sir Brian Leveson recommended that regulation should be voluntary. Yet the parties’ Royal Charter seeks to establish a regime that no sell-respecting newspaper is likely to join. Ted Heath found out between 1970 and 1974 that voluntary industrial policy did not work if the proposals were flawed and the volunteers did not volunteer. This is the mistake the political parties are making today. There is still time for them to find a solution, but they have just taken the better option off the table. – The Times

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh

• Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike

•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina

• Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •General Manager (Abuja Press) Kehinde Olowu •AGM (PH Press) Tunde Olasogba

•IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness

•Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) •Press Manager Yomi Odunuga Udensi Chikaodi •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Legal Counsel John Unachukwu •Dep. Business Editor Simeon Ebulu • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye •Group Sports Editor Ade Ojeikere •Acting Manager (sales) •Editorial Page Editor Olaribigbe Bello Sanya Oni





IR: The above titled piece published in The Nation of Thursday October 10, page 18 refers. Intellectual honesty requires a declaration of interest. This writer in spite of his lifelong opposition to capital punishment has inadvertently sentenced himself to death by indulging in tobacco smoking for over four decades. I will therefore like to save others from an indulgence which does not do anybody any good. Mr. Adebayo Thomas, the writer of the piece in reference, should also show the same intellectual honesty. He should have stated whose interest he is serving. The inconvenient facts which Thomas glosses over include the well known fact that tobacco use is the leading cause of death worldwide. The grim reality is that tobacco uses cause more than five million deaths per year. This is se-




Re: In support of Fashola on Tobacco rious stuff. Even more disconcerting is that with the market drying up in the developed countries, the tobacco merchants (of death) have shifted their marketing focus and campaign to the third world. This marketing strategy makes sense. The developing world has a demographic bulge tilted in favour of a younger age group. It is an enticing promising market. The problem here is that these are also countries which have weak institutions. They cannot stand up to the tobacco

companies and stop them from marketing or advertising. More ominously these countries simply do not have the public health facilities to cope with tobacco related diseases. Their public health budgets are already inadequate and the medical personnel are fleeing to the developed countries for a myriad of reasons. Thomas’ analogy on prohibition is also incorrect. No one is asking for an outright ban on tobacco. It is not practicable to set up the neces-

sary administrative mechanism to enforce such a proposition. Such an action will not even be compatible with the spirit of a democracy. What is actually needed is enlightenment and moral suasion. This is why the greatly admired and much respected Governor Babatunde Fashola should not have inadvertently conferred a veneer of respectability on the tobacco lobby and companies by granting them audience. It was a faux pas. Everyone is in love with the get-

state’s political table? Here is the distribution of political appointments in the state as at October 2013. Whereas the Igalas have 19 commissioners and the Ebira 10, the Okuns have only four commissioners! As for Special Advisers, the Igalas have 57, Ebiras 33 and the Okuns eight. The Igalas also take the big chunk of Senior Special Advisers with 32, flowed by the Ebiras 24 and four for the Okuns. The same picture of lopsidedness is reflected in the number of permanent secretaries where the Igalas have 32, Ebiras 24 and the Okuns four.

Although Kogi East represents only 45 per cent of the 3.3 million Kogi State population in the 2006 national census, with Kogi West and Kogi Central accounting for 55 per cent of the population, successive governments from Abubakar Audu through Ibrahim Idris to Idris Wada, have always used a sharing formula that varies between 70:30 to 80:20 ratio of state resources and political offices between the East and the remaining two senatorial districts. Yet Kogi East contributes the least internally generated revenue

(IGR) of seven per cent, compared to 72 per cent from Kogi Central and 21 per cent from Kogi West. As much as 80 per cent of all capital projects go to Kogi East while Kogi West gets 15 per cent and Kogi Central gets a paltry five per cent. Of the 28,000-strong state civil service, Kogi East alone has 24,621 as at November 2012 while Kogi West has 6,519 and Kogi Central 4,069. How long will this trend continue? • Odunayo Joseph Lagos


for the operational audit? How long it will take? Nobody has told Nigerians if the audit is going to be blanket, or if Dana is just the only defaulter in the industry? Who is deceiving who? Expectedly, airfares have gone up and the other airlines are smiling to the banks. Dana, according to reports credited to the NCAA, was grounded as a result of an air return it had recently. Where is it written that the regulator should ground an airline because of an air return? Air returns are initiated in line with ICAO standards and in the interest of safety of passengers and crew (It is a precautionary safety procedure). This is not the case in Ni-

Marginalisation of Kogi West

IR: The endless journey of marginalization in Kogi State since its creation in 1991 (22 years ago) began with the people of the Central and the West Senatorial Districts occupying all the available seats in the train driven by a winner-takes-all driver. The Central Senatorial District have decided to collectively alight from the train leaving only the Okun people of West Senatorial District in the aura of helplessness occasioned by our inability to speak with one voice amidst the divide and rule tactics in governance that has unfortunately been achieving the desired result to the disadvantage of our people. Today, the people of the Central Senatorial District are in the position to sing a different tune on the political terrain of Kogi State if their upward movement in state appointments today is anything to go by. This is happening right under our eyes and as opposed to the backward movement of our people in the scheme of things fuelled by self-centredness to which we have myopically remained glued. How feasible is the possibility of our alighting from this train in spite of the avalanche of eggheads and the who is who in all fields of endeavour known to man in and outside the shores of Nigeria in the face of our contentment with eating of falling crumbs from the

up-and-go Fashola. Like his predecessor he has made giant strides in uplifting the quality of life in Lagos state. Nevertheless, every human being has the occasional offday. So did the great soccer exponents, Pele, Maradona, Lionel Messi; fantastic players but occasionally they miss an open goal scoring opportunity which my grandmother might have tucked in. That however is the nature of the human condition. Humans are error prone. Governments at all levels have a moral imperative to distance themselves from the Public Relations antics of the tobacco companies. It is not just a question of moral suasion. It is also predicated on even the most rudimentary of cost/benefit analyses. Since Thomas is not going to help Fashola to fund his health budget, he should face up to inconvenient facts. This is that Fashola simply does not have enough funds or the personnel to cope with tobacco induced or related diseases. And let’s face the facts, the World Health Organisation projection is that by 2030, 80% of projected tobacco related deaths will be in the third world. Adebayo Thomas should do Governor Fashola a favour. He should give him a paper on how he and his successors will fund the public health sector. The use of tobacco is a dangerous, suicidal indulgence and should be discouraged. I have made a declaration of interest as a victim. Thomas should declare his own interest. Whose side is he on? • Ayo Badmus Lafiagi, Lagos

Dana Air as aviation industry’s fall guy

IR: In the wake of the recent Associated Airlines crash, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in its usual knee jerk style clamped down the wings of Dana airline to give a false impression of closely monitoring the activities of airlines which it had hitherto abdicated. The airline has become the fall guy of the inefficiency and incompetence of the NCAA. A crash occurs and the first thing to do is to look for a scape-goat, instead of focusing on the real issues bedeviling the industry. Well, the NCAA has told Nigerians that there will be an audit on the operations of the airline; yet nobody has explained to Nigerians the basis

geria, as the entire airline was reportedly grounded by the minister herself! If this is truly the case, then the NCAA should be grounded! What are they there for? Under ICAO standards, the NCAA ought to be autonomous to be able to perform its responsibilities without fear or bias. The government’s interference with the responsibilities of the regulatory agencies is a bad precedence that might lead to the country’s blacklist on the ICAO registry and the loss of the coveted Category One status. This domino effect of this action has indirectly thrown some people into the labour market. Because, if the airline doesn’t return to operations, Ni-

gerians working there will lose their jobs and those they just recruited as a result of their route expansion will lose the opportunity. My advice to the management of the airline is to make judicious use of government’s intervention fund (that is if the government is truly committed to it) to improve its services and acquire newer aircraft to its fleet. Finally, I will advise NCAA to be dispassionate in the audit of ALL the airlines, as it is not only Dana that needs to be audited. They should ensure they maintain their autonomy as interference won’t help the sector. • Comrade Bayo Idowu Lagos.




Farewell, fulfilled Baba Emancipator


HEN in 1980/81 I was in Plateau State for National Youth Service, the authority in power in the state made moves that inspired me. As a member of our set’s media team, I saw physical developments and also the commitment to actualising government’s strategy of emancipation. After service, when I became a full-time journalist in Newbreed Organisation, I utilised the opportunity to return to the state to report the reality of the then Solomon Lar’s administration’s transformation. An interview interaction with Governor Lar in 1982 became memorable. Just as he mentioned multiple successes of his administration’s visions, he also admitted failures. I reported the story with the opposition party’s assaults the way it was without attempt to please him. He read it but was not displeased by the negative attacks. Rather, he appreciated my professionalism in the published balanced lead story. He drew me closer and our relationship became that of a family. When he was turning 70, I started putting together a book on him. He provided most of the contents about him that are yet untold. We eventually agreed its public presentation when he turned 80. But by then, his health had already been taking him out of the country. Today Baba Lar is gone at his official age of 80. (Not long ago, he told me he knew he was more than that official age). Today, people are eulogising him worthily. Below are some by notables – which I regard as exactness about who he was: President Goodluck Jonathan: “He was a much of beloved, charismatic and inspirational political leader.” The President said Lar lived a long and most fulfilled life, and that his immense contributions to communal state and national development had assured him of a place amongst the eternal heroes of the Nigerian nation. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo: “a noble statesman, a lover of peace, a firm believer in the Nigerian project.” Senate President David Mark: “a different kind of leader. He put the people and the nation first before self. He was an easygoing man; he was a calculative, gentle and result-oriented leader.” Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal: “Lar would always be remembered as a man of integrity whose forthrightness and wisdom stood him out among his peers.” Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu: “When the history of the development of Middle Belt politics is told, nay that of Nigeria, Solomon Lar’s name will go down as one of the political juggernauts of our generation. He was a progressively-minded politician upon which the soul and the rise of Middle Belt was anchored... He was a colourful politician, yet principled. He was grassroots, yet urbane in his approach to issues. Even in the twilight of his political stewardship, he remained a reference point and a fountain of political knowledge and wisdom... He remained a progressive at heart and never abandoned the principles of democracy and good governance.” Below are extracts from the yet-to-be-published book, “The Emancipator: Life and Politics of Solomon Lar” put together along with me


by Olakunle Abimbola: “What’s your name?” The boy, for a moment, paused without an answer. He was among a throng of hopeful workers for the new Langtang-Wase road, passing through River Nyanmlor, seven miles from Pongaa, his village. It was 1948 and he had just left primary school. The only name he knew himself by was Daushep, the family totem of Dau to which he was dedicated, and on whose shrine his father would wish the boy would become the chief priest. Saying Daushep was his name was out of the question. Daushep means priest of Dau. To his fellow job seekers, many of them from outside his native Langtang (indeed many were from southern Nigeria), he would appear a ‘bush’ boy should he declare Daushep as his name. Besides, a year earlier, he had been converted to Christianity; so he needed a Christian name to crystallize his conversion. Indeed, a ‘civilized’ foreign name, apart from his native one, would earn him some prestige, even among his fellow natives, many of whom claimed they were Phillip, Thomas and other English names. As he thought hard on these, ‘Solomon’ jumped into his mind. “Solomon”, he replied the interviewer. “Solomon Daushep.” Solomon! The Langtang boys in the crowd roared with laughter, while throwing themselves knowing looks: how did he arrive at that? But the boy insisted he was Solomon. That name has since stuck. For Daushep Lar, Solomon might indeed be a name on impulse, but it would appear the young lad had much in common with the Biblical family whose lineage produced the wisest king in human history. Like Benjamin, the youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob (later renamed Israel), Solomon Daushep was the last of the twelve children by his own mother, who was second wife to the patriarch Lar... Daushep may have been the youngest in the family, but the patriarch Lar made sure he was the centre of everything. Old man Lar was certainly taking no chances. It is true Daushep was his last born. But he was one out of the six precious males in a brood of seventeen. Of course, when there was a male child, there was always hope that the family lineage would continue forever. Besides, the eldest Lar as the head of the family, felt it was his ancestral duty to initiate little Daushep into every communal and kindred rites available. Lar, by the way, is an ancient name meaning life – everlasting life. But what is everlasting kindred life if it did not conform to the ways of the ancestors? One of those kindred rites was always held every October, in any case, between October and November. Then every son and daughter of Kwalak, one of the Langtang clans, would travel far away to a particular grove in the jungle to offer sacrifices to the ancestors. It was a yearly pilgrimage during which each family sacrificed cockerels and there was great feasting and prayer. After these religious rites, but before the families depart to their homesteads, the boys, in small age groups, would wander off, some five kilometres into the surrounding wilds, with the elders not as much raising eyebrows. Their destinations were in the dark and dank surrounding caves, many of them home to dangerous reptiles – species of snakes, pythons and the like. Daushep first took part in this character-building exercise when he was between six and eight years old. But it was not peculiar to him alone, since the boys wandered in age groups, and every family made sure its offspring were fully represented. Daushep

remembered his group splitting up at the entrance of the extensive caves, and alone, entered. “It was so dark inside,” he recalled, “we never saw a thing. Some birds, probably bats, started making some eerie sounds while flapping their wings, which scratched against the dry rock.” As these sounds echoed in the cave, there was also the perpetual fear of innocently stepping on some dangerous reptiles – which surprisingly did nothing in reaction to the dreaded touch. “Sometimes, you touched reptiles – you touched animals with scales. Perhaps they thought we were one of them,” he explained; “it was so dark.” But as all these went on, the boys made contact by shouting intermittently over to themselves. The voyage started around ten in the morning. By five in the afternoon, the exercise would wind down and the children would start leaving for home, their parents proud and satisfied that they had gone through a toughening test. Looking back, Solomon Lar thought the adventure into the cave was a worthwhile character and courage-building exercise, particularly in those days when the fear of the Wase Hausa was palpable, and the determination to wipe off the stain even so. But he doubted if parents of today would let their children go through similar ordeals. His vision for PDP: At the Jos Special National Convention to pick the PDP presidential and National Assembly candidates on 14 February, 1999, Lar spoke glowingly about love, brotherhood, democracy and patriotism. “…I, Solomon Daushep Lar, a simple, quiet, father-figure, with a glazing love in his heart for our dear beloved country have seen Nigeria in chains under the British and then became free.” Then he launched into other contrasts in the county’s political odyssey, particularly under the, military: “I have seen Nigeria rise and Nigeria brought low. I have seen Nigeria fight and seen Nigeria capitulate under interventionists. I have seen Nigeria walk tall and I have seen Nigeria grovel.” But he submitted that the democracy entrenched in the polity, all the needless vicissitudes of the military years would soon be a thing of the past. “I am honoured, fellow Nigerians that, in our life time, we have truly begun to lay the proper, lasting foundations for the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Lar then called the attention of his party mates to the sacred covenant with Nigerians: “We have a covenant with them. We have asked them to trust us, that we shall deliver. We intend to keep faith with that covenant.” On national question: To Lar, every section can find accommodation in the country – with a little bit of adjustments and compromise here and there. Therefore, there cannot be a Middle Belt without Nigeria since, in his words, the Middle Belt interacts “with both northern and southern people. The Middle Belt is always in the position to interpret the North to the South and the South to the North. “Not only do we serve as glue for the country, our privileged location enables us to best measure the temperature of the nation… This role places enormous responsibility on our shoulders; and also requires that both the North and South must listen to us anytime we speak on contentious issues.” Will Nigerians listen to Solomon Daushep Lar in the on-going contentious issue of the national question and the subsequent clamour for a sovereign national conference?

Anambra 2013: Facts about Ngige’s exploits

HEAD of the forthcoming Anambra governorship election, there have been desperate and calculated moves by some people fronting for vested interests in the election to run down some candidates, particularly that of All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator (Dr.) Chris Nwabueze Ngige (OON) in the media. These attempts have manifested in deliberate distortion of facts on the political exploits, strengths and antecedent of Ngige in the politics of the state and the country at large since 1999. To put the record straight for the benefit of the public, Dr. Chris Ngige is from Anambra Central and not South, and he is currently the Senator representing the zone in the Senate. After his retirement as deputy director of hospital services in the Federal Ministry of Health after many years of meritorious service, he made a foray into the murky waters of Nigerian politics as one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) alongside former Vice President of the country, Chief Alex Ekwueme, Senator Jim Nwobodo and others. Many current governorship aspirants who are parading themselves as PDP stalwarts now were nowhere near the party then. Ngige was later appointed the protem zonal publicity secretary of the party in the South-east in 1998 and later the assistant national/zonal secretary of the party in the zone between 1999 and 2002. The same year he was conferred with the national honour of Order of the Niger, OON, for his diligence and accountability in public service. It was from there that he emerged the governorship candidate of the PDP in Anambra State in 2003. His initial ambition was to become a senator, but he was persuaded by the party stakeholders to run for the office of the governor. The Central zone senatorial seat of the party was wrongly given to Senator Ikechukwu Abana, which Senator Ben Obi later reclaimed from him as the authentic candidate of the party via Appeal Court judgment. Ngige was declared the winner of the governorship election in 2003 by INEC. Within his short period in office as governor of the state, Ngige redefined governance in the state through his pragmatic approach to leadership and provision of basic amenities which were lacking in the state for long. He set the pace and made the people realise that with sincerity, commitment and transparency, the state government could

By Jude Okoli do much for the people in terms of good governance and provision of basic amenities. Today, his achievements, especially in the area of infrastructural developments that cut across the state are obvious and unprecedented, against the limited resources available to him. As governor, Ngige demystified political godfathers in the state when he took the battle for the soul of the state to them, despite the tremendous backing they enjoyed from the Presidency. He fought and put his life on line for the liberation of the people of the state; even when he had the option of settling the godfathers financially and remained in office, he resisted it and fought for what was right. His refusal to dance to tune of the desperate godfathers changed the political leadership as his successor cashed on the liberation to enjoy peaceful governance. The judicial/ presidential conspiracy that led to his removal from office as a governor is known to Nigerians. His removal was beyond not winning the election, but his refusal to open the state treasury to the godfathers which was the tradition in the state before he assumed office. Upon his removal from office, he was given a clean bill of health by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a time most ex-governors were dragged to court by the EFCC for alleged corrupt practices, while in office. True to his type and belief, Ngige left PDP and co-founded the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with the likes of Senator Bola Tinubu, former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and others. This was at a time nobody gave his new party a chance of making an in-road into South-east zone, but Ngige proved the doubting Thomases wrong as the party has remained a force to reckon with in the zone, especially in Anambra State where the party won two national and six state assembly seats during 2011 elections. When it became obvious to Governor Obi and his party APGA that they do not have the majority members in the state assembly after the 2011 election, they quickly lured the ACN members representing Anambra West constituency and Nnewi South 1 constituency respectively to defect to APGA. That was how APGA was able to get majority members in the

state assembly today. There was a pending suit in the court instituted by the party challenging the illegal defection of their members as it was contrary to the provision of 2010 Electoral Act. During 2007 general election, despite that Governor Obi was the incumbent governor, APGA lost all the elective seats in the state to PDP before the Supreme Court judgment removed Senator Andy Uba as governor. Even when the election of Senator Ikechukwu Obiora of Anambra South zone was nullified, the APGA candidate Mr. Azuka Okwuosa lost the re-run again to Obiora. In the 2010 governorship election in the state, there were manipulation of voters’ registers in the areas where Ngige has strongholds. Majority of the voters in the state were disenfranchised in the election by INEC. Even at that, Ngige defeated Obi clearly in the Central zone in the election and his party defeated Obi in late Ikemba Odimegwu Ojukwu’s ward in Nnewi. In the 2011 Anambra Central senatorial election, despite Governor Obi’s support to APGA candidate, Prof Dora Akunyili, Ngige defeated her twice in the contest. Today, Obi is the only sitting governor in the country, whose senatorial seat is occupied by opposition party. His party, APGA did not win any senatorial seat in the state during the 2011 general election. With these verifiable facts about Ngige’s political values and strengths across the state, can anyone wave him aside in the November 16 governorship election in the state without incurring great risk? His party’s victory in Anambra West State Assembly’s election in 2011 was evidence that he was on ground in Anambra North zone. So also, the victory of his party in Nnewi South 1 State Assembly seat in 2011 was another manifestation of his strength in Anambra South zone. The people know their true leaders no matter the amount of propaganda and falsification of bare facts by armchair writers and critics for a peculiar purpose. Truly, all the major contenders in the race have their strengths and areas of strongholds, but the lot is on the people to make their preference. • Okoli, a member of Youths Movement for Anambra 2013, wrote from Onitsha, Anambra State.





HE word sovereign or sovereignty has become the fulcrum of debate on the desirability or otherwise of the envisaged conference of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities. Most of the agitators for the conference have canvassed the convocation of its sovereign variant even as sceptics centre their reservations largely on this nomenclature. President Jonathan reacted to this dissonance when in his independence speech he referred to it as national conference/ dialogue. He further gave teeth to this seeming conceptual ambivalence when he inaugurated the committee and charged it to come out with the most appropriate name for this “national conversation”. Before then and since after, issues have also been raised on the propriety of a sovereign national conference with all democratic institutions in place. It has been variously canvassed that it is anomalous to talk of sovereign national conference when that sovereign power has been vested in elected structures at all levels of government especially the National Assembly. The thesis of this argument is that with the National Assembly in place, you cannot have two sovereigns at the same time. Once you constitute such a conference, you have inadvertently thrown to question the authority conferred on these institutions via democratic elections, it is further argued. Those who drive this school seem to be drawing strength from the postulations of social contract philosophers such as John Locke, Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes on the origin of modern states. These philosophers had characterized life in the state of nature as nasty, short and brutish. Due to the atavism of the state of nature, medieval man had to enter into a contract with a sovereign to whom he surrendered some of his powers and was in return, guar-

‘There is nothing so sacrosanct about the elections that produced these structures that they should pose an impediment to genuine efforts to get the architecture of this unity in diversity right’


Emeka OMEIHE 08121971199 email:

Fear of the sovereign

anteed protection. The abstraction recognizes two things at the same time: power belongs to the people; those who exercise power do it on their behalf. This is the philosophical root of the concept- sovereignty. It is an analytic construct to account for the residue of political power in modern governments. Its purpose is to domesticate the locus of political power. The idea has found further expression in modern governments through representative democracy. Because modern states can no longer permit of direct democracy as was practiced in ancient Greek City States, the people now exercise this sovereign power through elected representatives. Having elected their representatives, they confer sovereign powers on them to make laws for the good of them all. Conceived this way, it is presumed that those elected have now been armed to reflect the wishes and aspirations of their constituents. That is the point antagonists of sovereign national conference seem to be making. And there is some sense in it. But that is not all. There are also conditions under which the concept is supposed to operate in its pure form. For this symbiotic relationship to function optimally, these conditions have to be strictly observed and followed. The first is that the structures that throw up candidates for elective offices must be democratic enough to truly reflect the will of the people. Here, internal democracy within the political parties comes to mind. The other, closely related to the first is the issue of free and fair elections. Both form the necessary and

OCIAL media is the ‘new media’ that accelerate conversations in a more interactive way that makes communication more effective and worthwhile. It is an online media that takes communication beyond the limitations of the traditional media, which most often delivers content but doesn’t permit readers, or as the case may be, viewers or listeners, to participate in the formation or development of the content. Ron Jones’ definition of social media seems quite apt, that it is, “a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online.” Currently, there is an array of social media networks in the world, ranging from social sharing sites such as YouTube, Twitter to LinkedIn and Facebook among others. Social media’s rise to prominence could be attributed to its ability to create the kind of fun that catches people’s attention. Equally, the opportunity it affords everyone to freely share ideas and disseminate information makes it popular among various kinds of people across the world. More so, social media has created an avenue where anyone, who so desires, can find friends, business contacts and become part of a community of people, who interact and share thoughts online. In short, social media offers an opportunity to be seen and be heard without any restriction, which the traditional media does not give. Social networking sites which started from Orkut, followed by Twitter and Facebook, have become the vogue across the world, especially among the youth because it makes communication easy, seamless and highly interactive. Just a few clicks and you can chat with your friends and family, sitting at a different corner of the globe. Facebook is, perhaps, the most popular social network in the world today. It is also one of the two most frequented websites in the entire internet. It routinely trades places with Google as the most visited web service, and by the company’s estimates, now has over 800 million active users. That’s more regular visitors than the entire internet had in 2004. As at June 2012, Facebook had over 955 million active users, more than half of them using it on mobile devices. The social media has numerous advantages, some of which have radically transformed our world. For one, it makes information dissemination faster and easier. It also provides unlimited platform for genuine business transactions, as it offers businessmen the opportunity to promote their goods and services for a global market. Indeed, the social media has made our world an interesting and exciting place. Being a global phenomenon, social media increasingly gets embraced in Nigeria by a variety of people on daily basis. The social media commonly used in Nigeria include Facebook, 2go, yahoo messenger, BBM, Netlog, Badoo, Eskimo, Twitter, Nimbuzz and WatSAPP amongst others. They all offer their users unrestricted access to chat with friends, relations and other acquaintances. However, like every of

sufficient conditions for the sovereignty of the people to have full expression. To what extent do those who purport to represent their people satisfy these basic conditions? And if they do not, how much of credibility do we ascribe to the sovereign powers they now purport to exercise on behalf of us all? These are the issues to ponder in the debate over where sovereign power really resides in our peculiar circumstance. It would appear that those who fault the convocation of a sovereign national conference on the ground that there is already sovereign power in the national assembly are not saying it all. They seem to have completely lost sight of the fact that what we have here is representative democracy in its most aberrant form. Not only is internal democracy observed in the breach, elections are yet to reflect the will of the people as amply expressed at the ballot box. When we canvass sovereign powers which elected structures or persons purport to possess, we should also call to mind the limitations in stretching this argument too far. Besides, it is also possible for those elected to supplant the wishes of their constituents with their personal goals. When we have a situation of goal displacement, our laws provide remedies for the people. That is why we have provisions for the recall process and impeachment. The same elite now parroting the sanctity of sovereign powers conferred on them through elections, are quick to erect obstacle against being impeached or recalled when they have fallen out of favour with their people. Thus, this new found love for the observance of extant

regulations cannot stem from altruistic considerations. There must be more to it than the way it has been presented. Even then, it is clear that Nigerians desire to engage themselves on issues concerning their common destiny. Signals that things are going awry are very palpable throughout the length and breadth of this country. There are genuine fears that if urgent steps are not taken to stem this tide, the ensuing systemic stress may lead us to more disastrous consequences. Yet, some people are holding on to the issue of sovereignty as if it is an end unto itself rather that a means to an end-public good. It may be a mark of the failure of the sovereign powers of elected structures and persons that the country has drifted to the edge even after the various nationalities have co-habited for nearly 100 years. If a marriage can no longer hold after 100, is it not suggestive we have danger in our hands? If bending some of the rules can take us out of the impending doom, does it make any sense to be enslaved to stereotypes that portend dire consequences? In effect, the argument that we cannot have a sovereign national conference is neither here nor there. There is nothing so sacrosanct about the elections that produced these structures that they should pose an impediment to genuine efforts to get the architecture of this unity in diversity right. For, the same people vested with inalienable rights to confer sovereign powers on elected representatives can call such powers back when their representatives have become a liability. Just recently, something of that nature happened in Egypt when the same people who overwhelmingly voted in Morsi got utterly disenchanted with him after about a year in office. The revolution that saw him out without waiting for his tenure to expire is a classic demonstration of the sovereign will power of the people. This dialectics must not be ignored by those opposing a sovereign national conference. The authority of government is created and sustained by the consent of the people who remain the source of all political power. Benjamin Franklin summed up this when he wrote “In all free governments, the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns”. If a sovereign national conference is all that is required to pull back the country from the brink, those who oppose it do not believe in the continued existence of the country.

Curbing the excesses of social media By Lateef Ibirogba man’s invention, the social media, if not properly regulated, could be a source of unending trouble and frustration in an already troubled world, primarily due to abuse. Sometime ago, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, proposed that measures be put in place to check the negative tendencies of the social media in the country. His proposal was hinged on the seeming lack of control of the platform. On many occasions, the authenticity of information posted on the various social media is suspect. In his view, media practice, particularly journalism processes and scrutinizes news gathering and dissemination and thus exercise control in addition to operating a feedback mechanism which gives room for rebuttal when practitioners erred. But the social media affords a faceless character the platform to post devious and phony information but without any compelling process or law to enforce rebuttal. At the end of the day, the victims of such misleading information are faced with the task of responding to issues that never existed. However, the views expressed by the Senate President on the subject were misinterpreted in many quarters to be an attempt to gag the social media. The truth, however, is that whether we like it or not, there is a need to regulate the activities of social media. If there is established mechanism in place to control the traditional media, there is no reason why same should not apply to social media. Anything contrary would only lead to chaos, especially in a country like ours where we already have enough divisive and confusing tendencies. The polity has, in recent time, become so edgy that an unregulated platform of social interaction, such as currently exists with our social media, could become a catalyst for social turmoil. The recent crash of an Associated Airline aircraft, with registration number 5N-BYT in Lagos, which killed 13 of the passengers on board, is a pointer to the danger of an unfettered social media. On the fateful day, various social networking sites came up with diverse unconfirmed information concerning the tragic incident. Unfortunately, most of the information was misleading, confusing and false. For instance, it was reported in some of the social media sites that the entire family of the late Dr. Agagu was involved in the air mishap, and that all of them had, indeed, died. Not only this, some other people, who were not even on the plane, were said to have died in the crash. One of such names that was bandied, in almost all the social media, was that of Gbenga Obasanjo, son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who impeccable family sources claimed was nowhere near Lagos

as at the time of the sad occurrence. Without doubt, there is a need to put in place clear and proper directives on how delicate and sensitive developing news stories should be handled in the social media. It is professionally and morally wrong for any medium to authoritatively disseminate information on crucial matters they are not sufficiently informed. The most irritating aspect of it is that those responsible for disseminating wrong information on the social media don’t usually consider it essential to retract the information based on current reality. One simple rule of journalism is that if the story changes based on further information, the reporter should indicate as such and apologise for initially misleading the people. In as much as it is true that, all media are embedded in cultural contexts that end up determining how and why they are used and that technology brings certain constraints and affordances, it is still true that it is the people that should ultimately be considered as more important. Therefore, it is crucial that social media, and indeed all media, always verify information from credible sources before dissemination. It is also vital that those who visit social media platforms for information should always make efforts to substantiate the veracity of such information before posting it out to others as the gospel truth. For instance, efforts should always be made by the public to corroborate news, especially BREAKING NEWS, which emanate from social media with credible traditional media for authentication. Operating a loose information dissemination mechanism is not the best for any society, as any society where such is allowed would pay dearly for it. The earlier the social media is made to conform to some forms of rules and regulations, the better for all of us, because people outside will only rely on information that we write about ourselves to make judgments about us. God bless Nigeria. • Ibirogba is Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State.

‘The earlier the social media is made to conform to some forms of rules and regulations, the better for all of us, because people outside will only rely on information that we write about ourselves to make judgments about us’







‘Nigeria’s economic growth is not real’ -P. 28

Aerotropolis: A new job spinner - P 37

We want a SONCAP programme that would serve its purpose; a programme that would be dynamic, where all the identified loopholes would be effectively plugged thereby making it difficult for the plaque of substandard products to continue to dominate the Nigerian business space. -Dr Joseph Odumodu, DG, SON

News Briefing CBN assesses bank CEOs on competence NEW bank Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are being examined to ascertain their competences and performances, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Kingsley Moghalu, has said.

- Page 26

MTN chief wants harmonised tax regime THE Federal Government and other stakeholders have been asked to harmonise tax policies that are choking businesses.

- Page 26

‘Don’t implement Oronsaye’s report’ THE Federal Government has been warned against implementating the Oransaye Committee’s report, which recommended reduction in the size of workforce to cut the cost of governance.

- Page 40

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa-$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE -N12.1 trillion JSE -Z5.112trillion NYSE -$10.84 trillion LSE -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation


Treasury Bills


Maximum lending -22.42% Prime lending


Savings rate


91-day NTB


Time Deposit




Foreign Reserve $46.9b FOREX CFA














E-payment transactions hit 20%, says CBN


- P A Y M E N T transactions in the country have hit 20 per cent, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Deputy Governor, Operations, Tunde Lemo, has said. He spoke on the sideline at the just-concluded International Monetary Fund/ World Bank meeting in Washington DC. He said: “Let me give you some statistics on the study done by Financial Derivatives, that company is not in any way connected to the CBN, because it has been very critical of the CBN. They are likened to be very credible. “Prior to the introduction of the electronic payment system, only about two per cent retail transaction were settled electronically. If you visit a typical supermarket, or retail outlet, just about

•Figures exceed N119.9b From Simeon Ebulu, Washington DC

two per cent of what happens there were settled electronically. But as at two-three months ago, when they conducted that study, we ratcheted that number from two per cent to 20 per cent,” he said, adding that the improvement is worth celebrating. “Yes, we can say that 20 per cent is still low because in developed countries the numbers are up to 70 to 80 per cent, but I think we should celebrate the rapid improvement from two to 20 per cent within one and half years of its implementation. He also said figures for

last Friday exceeded N119.9 billion. Lemo, who spoke against the barrage of criticisms that the apex bank’s cash-less initiative has not met with users’ expectations, said more volume transactions have, indeed, been done under the cashless regime, than was actually anticipated. To buttress his argument, he said transactions in physical instruments, such as cheques, are declining with a corresponding increase in epayment instrument, adding that last Friday alone, over 137,000 transactions were done through the Nigerian Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT), resulting in movement of over N59 billion, as against 69,739

SMEs clamour for industrial clusters


HE economy can only grow if the government explores and promotes industrial clusters, Vice Chairman, Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Mr. Duro Kuteyi, has said. Kuteyi, who is also the Managing Director of Spectra Industries Limited, spoke to The Nation in Lagos. He said the idea has been tested in the bakery sub sector and that it worked. He said the growth of small scale enterprises (SMEs) would better be achieved by clusters where the necessary infrastructure are provided by the government to ameliorate the challenges faced by entrepreneurs. “When you talk of clusters, you talk of providing common facility such as machinery, equipment and power where manufacturers will simply bring in their raw materials and process them in a common area before taking them to sell as finished products. This will take-off the burden of office space, machinery and funding involved in setting up individual factories for the SMEs,” he added. He stressed that the policy would not only grow the businesses, but also afford regulatory agencies the opportunity to adequately regulate the small scale manufacturers to maintain

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor

acceptable quality and standards. According to him, the popular Agege bread in Lagos succeeded because of the establishment of bakery clusters in not only Agege, but in every local government area of the state. He urged the Federal Government to explore clusters in other manufacturing concerns for the SMEs to produce for exports and provide employment opportunities for the teeming youth in the

country. He disclosed that the Bank of Industry (BoI) has indicated interest in financing the bakery clusters and that the result of this collaboration will be noticeable in few weeks time in terms of growth and employment opportunities. He said the only way to grow the economy as proven in countries such as Malaysia, China, India is through SME’s because of their capacity to lift people out of poverty.

cheque payments yielding N33.9 billion. He said 86,711 transactions went through the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) yielding N59.4billion, while 35,529 transactions totalling N540million were done in Point Of Sales (PoS) transactions. Lemo said about 80 per cent of the transactions were executed within the Lagos operational area, saying that with the expected increase in coverage to other states, the cash-less initiative would be further deepened. While admitting that there are challenges in the payment system, he nevertheless faulted claims that many of the PoS were not functional. “You can say we still have challenges, but I will not agree with you that most of the PoS ter-

minals are not working,” he said. He explained that besides the challenges of connectivity, the banks have moved from a little over 5,000 terminals in January of last year to over 200,000 POS terminals, saying that at the moment, 77,000 of the terminals are in the Lagos area. Don’t forget that we rolled out to six other states across the country, he added. Lemo agreed that there are connectivity problems. “We have challenges about bandwidth of the telecommunications service providers largely because of the rapid deployment of the terminals. We spoke to the service providers on the need to improve bandwidth which they did and we saw have improvement in the Lagos area, he said.

‘Yes, we can say that 20 per cent is still low because in developed countries the numbers are up to 70 to 80 per cent, but I think we should celebrate the rapid improvement from two to 20 per cent within one and half years of its implementation’



BUSINESS NEWS Flight Schedule

CBN assesses bank CEOs on competence

MONDAY - FRIDAY LAGOS – ABUJA Departure Arrival 1. Aero 06.50 08.10 2. Associated 07.00 09.30 3. Air Nigeria 07.00 08.20 4. IRS 07.00 08.20 7. Arik 07.15 08.15 7. Chanchangi 07.15 9. Air Nigeria 08.15 09.35 10. Aero 08.45 10.05 11. Arik 09.15 10.15 12. Chanchangi 10.00 11.00 13. IRS 11.15 12.35 14. Aero 12.20 13.30 15. Air Nigeria 13.25 14.45 16. Chanchangi 13.30 14.30 17. Arik 13.45 14.45 18. IRS 14.00 15.20 19. Aero 14.10 15.30 20. Air Nigeria 14.50 16.10 21. Chanchangi 15.30 16.30 22. Arik 15.50 16.50 23. Aero 16.00 17.20 24. IRS 16.30 17.50 25. Arik 16.50 17.50 26. Chanchangi 17.30 18.30 27. Air Nigeria 17.35 18.55 29. Air Nigeria (T/TH) 18.30 19.50 20. Arik 18.45 19.45 31. Aero 19.20 20.40

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

LAGOS – BENIN Arik 07.30 Associated 08.30 Aero 10.50 Arik 11.45 Associated 13.00 Aero 14.25 Arik 15.30 Associated 16.00

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

1. Arik 2. Aero 1. 2. 3. 4.

LAGOS – CALABAR 07.30 11.20 12.50 16.00 LAGOS – JOS 10.55 11.15

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

of executive capacity in the industry. Moghalu said the skill gap manifested in the lack of in-depth knowledge of core banking functions and poor understanding of basic banking operations, among others. “There also exists poor understanding of banking regulations, unethical conduct and unprofessional practices and knowledge gaps in financial markets and treasury management among top bank officials. “For a bank to achieve global competitiveness, it must invest in the long term development of its most valuable resource, the human capital. Building capacities and developing competencies in all areas

of the bank’s business activity is fundamental to creating and sustaining competiveness in the global financial services markets,” he said. Moghalu said boards of banks cannot afford to continue to pay lip service to the training and re-training of employees. He said employee training costs should be viewed as an investment rather than cost and that the human resource function must be empowered to carry out its functions, especially on the selection of the right calibre of people and placing them where they fit most in the organisation. The CBN chief said managing talent creates value for companies. “Most leaders fail to recognise that the competitive advantage in the

08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20 12.15 12.45 09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

LAGOS – OWERRI Aero 07.30 Arik 07.30 Air Nigeria 13.40 Arik 14.00 Arik 16.30

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

LAGOS – KANO Air Nigeria 07.10 IRS 08.00 Arik 12.20 IRS 14.00 IRS 18.15

08.50 09.45 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30

By Collins Nweze

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40

LAGOS – PORT HARCOURT (CIVIL) 1. Aero 07.15 08.35 2. Arik 07.15 08.35 3. Arik 09.00 10.20 4. Aero 10.50 12.30 5. Arik 11.40 13.00 6. Air Nigeria 12.00 13.10 7. IRS 13.30 15.00 8. Arik 14.00 15.20 9. Air Nigeria 16.00 17.10 10 Arik 16.10 17.30 11. Aero 16.15 17.30 12. Arik 17.10 18.30

1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik


EW bank Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are being examined to ascertain their competences and performances, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Kingsley Moghalu, has said. Speaking at the continuous education conference for bank directors organised by the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) in Lagos, at the weekend, Moghalu said such CEOs would be invited again two years after, adding that their performance would determine if they would complete the first five-year tenure as prescribed by the banking watchdog. He said the recurring financial crises in the country have exposed the inadequacy of skills and dearth

08.00 18.00

LAGOS – ABUJA SAT/SUN Arik 7.15; 10.20; 2.20; 5.20pm – 7.30; 9.15; 10.20; 2.20; 4.50; 6.45 Aero 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 – 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 Air Nigeria 08.15; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30 – 08.15; 13.30; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30

• From left: Managing Director/Chief Executive, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and Total Up Stream Nigeria Limited, Mr Guy Maurice; Group Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe and Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Jibril Aku, during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Total E&P Nigeria Ltd, Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd and eight Nigerian banks on Nigerian Contractors’ Development Initiative in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

MTN chief wants harmonised tax regime


HE Federal Government and other stakeholders have been asked to harmonise tax policies that are choking businesses. Managing Director of telecoms giant MTN Nigeria, Michael Ikpoki, made the call at the justconcluded Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) 53rd Council Meeting and 11th Forum in Abuja. He said the regime of multiple taxtion was hurting business, especially their expansion. Speaking on Driving Broadband inclusion through innovation and competition, he said broadband pen-

By Lucas Ajanaku

etration could be driven through collaboration between both the private and public sectors, adding that innovation too would necessarily have to be managed. According to Ikpoki, the telecoms sector contributes 8.5 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that the sector could do better. He said the magnitude of the sector’s contribution to the eceonomy could only be imagined by 2018 when the National Brodaband Policy unveiled by the Federal Government would have gone through

its full cycle. The MTN chief said the challenge for the operators would be how to retain their customers. He added, however, that the role of the regulator in driving the success of the programme could not be overemphasised as the regulator is not expected to unleash regulations that stifle the growth of businesses. Ikpoki decried the regime of mutiple taxation, arguing that a streamlined tax regime would bring about the growth of investments. He said: “Tax is a challenge. All parties have to work towards harmonising the tax policy.”

SON puts steel firms under surveillance


HE Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has started a verification of the steel sec-

tor. In the first phase of the exercise, the agency paid on-the-spot assessment visit to some steel manufacturing firms in Lagos and Ogun states, hoping to extend same to other states. The team visited Universal Steel Company, Sankyo Steel Mills Company Limited, Phoenix Steel Mills, African Foundries Limited, Monarch Steel Mills, Metal Africa

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie

Steel Production Limited and Real Infrastructure Nigeria Limited. Head, Inspectrorate and Compliance, Bede Obayi, explained that the exercise was necessitated by the allegation that some companies were producing products without putting identification marks on them and mixing imported steel with local ones. He said: “Why we are doing the verification is because the government wants to know the exact situ-

ation of the companies in the steel sector. This is in terms of installed capacity, production capacity, level of patronage and even jobs created. “For example, we cannot be producing the same quality of steel as the imported ones and then, the imported ones would take over the market.” According to him, this is an anomaly which should not be allowed, adding that there was need for support and loyalty to indigenous steel companies as they create employment for the people.

knowledge economy is determined and driven by human capital. People are the only assets that innovate and innovation is the only path to sustained breakthrough performance. “Any financial institution that aspires to compete on the global scene must implement a strategic approach to talent management that is built on a deeper understanding of the complexity and diversity of today’s global talent pool and marketplace,” he added.

Manitoba to take over TCN By Akinola Ajibade


HE Federal Government is putting in place measures to ensure that Manitoba Hydro International of Canada takes control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), the Secretary, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Ada Ozemean, has said. She told The Nation that the development was informed by the need to limit the government’s control of TCN and make it carry out its functions effectively. She said there has been a lot of government interference in the activities of TCN, adding the government was ready to allow Manitoba take control of the agency. She said Manitoba would be blamed once anything happens to TCN, adding that efforts were being made to ensure that the agency carries out its functions well. According to her, the NERC has met stakeholders to discuss the added responsibility that would come with the transmission market. Ozemenan said: “The representatives from the power generation companies and distribution companies were in attendance at the meeting because the issue of electricity transmission is critical to the growth of the sector. NERC is committed to the growth of the sector, and we have to position ourselves to handle the issues around power well. What we are trying to do is to carry many stakeholders along as much as possible to ensure efficient power distribution.”

LCCI to govt: Honour pact with doctors By Toba Agboola


HE Lagos Chamber of Com merce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the Federal Government to honour the agreement it signed with resident doctors and lecturers in the universities, lamenting that the prolonged ASUU strike and the commencement of another round of strike by the Association of Resident Doctors is going to cripple businesses and industrial harmony in Nigeria LCCI Director-General, Mr Muda Yusuf, called on the Federal Government to resolve the industrial crisis both sector as businesses in the economy are gravely affected “Council under the chairmanship of the President, Mr Goodie Ibru , recently, reviewed the industrial relations issues in the educational sector and the health sector and expressed concern over the prolonged nature of the ASUU strike and the commencement of another round of strike by the Association of Resident Doctors,” Yusuf said.

Outbreak of livestock diseases looms, experts warn


ARMERS have been urged to watch out for diseases in live stock as the peak period for infection continues into the month. Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Prof Abiodun Adeloye, warned that the outbreak would occur among livestock.

By Daniel Essiet

He urged farmers to look for signs to allow for early intervention. He warned that wet weather, especially heavy showers, could affect livestock, adding that there was need for surveillance around

the farms and for farmers to report to relevant authorities as soon as they suspect an outbreak among their animals. He said once farmers report such cases before the disease spreads, it would be easy for the officers to put in place control measures.

Assistant Director and Head, General Management Division, Agricultural and Rural Management and Training Institute (ARMTI) Dr Ademola Adeyemo urged farmers to keep a tab on high risk animals. which may be infected and act quickly if symptoms develop.



THE CEO With the price of oil going down, the times are indeed “tough”, as observed by Mr Valentine Ojumah, Managing Director, FBN Life Assurance Ltd. In this interview with OMOBOLA TOLU-KUSIMO, he dissects the economy, saying: “the bottomline is things are tight”.

‘Nigeria’s economic growth is not real’



ANY insurers have not submitted or got approval for their 2012 International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) account as required by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) nine months into the year. What is the problem? For us at FBN Life, we submitted and got our accounts approved on time. It was approved in July. Insurance companies in the country have some challenges. I am not sure what the problems of those that have not submitted are, but I am just concerned that it’s taking them this long to address whatever those problems may be. We had our own challenges too, but we are able to surmount them very quickly. As you are aware, the introduction of IFRS as a standard for our financials began this year and it is new to us. Under the old guard, things were done differently and I would not like go into the details now, but things have definitely taken a new turn. There were a lot of conferences, seminars and discussions held between the regulator and insurers even before it started. But the information emanating from those occasions were not exactly uniformed. To me, it’s not surprising that it is taking this long. It was


Profile Institutions attended: University of Lagos, University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) Qualification: Previous position: Present position:


B.Sc Insurance, M.Sc Business Former lecturer, University of Lagos Former CEO, FirstBank Insurance Brokers Ltd. Managing Director, FBN Life Assurance Ltd. Professional Associations: Associate Member, Chartered Insurance Institutes, Nigeria and UK Over 30 years.

later on, that we had to do a lot of changes, meetings, discussions before we eventually got it right. It is a new development for us in the industry and other industries generally, thus the reason for the delay. I am not surprised at the delay in getting approval of the accounts from NAICOM. What is a surprise to me is the fact that several companies out there have not even submitted their accounts for considerations by now. I am really surprised and wondering that if as at this month, they have not submitted, at what point will they

get it done. The perception of the public about insurers is that they are not sincere in claims payment as they look for excuses not to pay. What is your view on this? For us at FBN Life, I can tell you that we do not play games with the insured. It is not possible in our office, especially because life insurance claim is straight forward. It is either the person is dead or he is alive. The only cause of delay is the question mark on whether the person is dead or alive. It is not possible for you to dispute or

increase the claim because it is already documented. The only thing that takes time is inability to provide enough information to prove that the person is dead. Life insurance money is very straight forward. It may be possible to find excuses in general insurance but no serious insurer will avoid paying genuine claims. What does the insured require to get compensated for life insurance? The insured will require proof of death. We will also ask for last attending physician certificate just to know the cause of death. Often time, the cause of death is not a critical issue, but proof of death is critical. However, the law requires that you report all deaths to the National Population Commission (NPC) and it will issue a certificate of death. But in cases where we suspect forgery, we will take a closer look at the document submitted to us. How long does it take you to verify a claim? As I said, in most cases it is straightforward. We will do self-independent investigations in cases that we have doubt. The •Continued on page 28




‘Nigeria’s economic growth is not real’ •Continued from page 27

truth is that there are problematic cases but we try our best to address it as quickly as possible. How has the enforcement of ‘No premium, no cover’ policy impacted on business? The ‘no premium, no cover’ policy is one of the best policies by NAICOM. Right now, what you see is what you get. Business, on the other hand, has been fantastic. It has never been this easy for us in the industry. Almost every one of us has discovered that it does not make sense writing a trillion naira business and collecting N400 million. Before now, insurance was being taken for granted by the corporate bodies; it was never a priority. The number of debtors that we accumulated in the industry was ridiculous and it affected our profitability. What this regulation has done is to make sure that if you buy insurance; be prepared to pay for it and it has started impacting on the companies positively and improving our bottom line. So, as far as we are concerned, we have one of the best policies to come out in the insurance industry and there is no going back. You are an advocate of enforcement of various policies by NAICOM. How do you view enforcements in the industry? In terms of enforcement, I believe it has improved from what it used to be. There were a lot of policies and guidelines set up by NAICOM in the past that suffered enforcement. But now board members and management of insurance companies know that enforcement is being taken seriously by NAICOM and it is no longer a case of take it or leave it, but a priority which you must be carried out. I think the new NAICOM, as I like to call it, is far more exciting than what it used to be. But are operators fully complying? It is hard for practitioners because they are used to the regime of sit back, and suddenly someone is saying you have to agree or you face the consequences. I believe they have recognised that there is no going back and I think it is great. Following the recapitalisation in 2007, the industry has only been able to generate a premium income of N300 billion. Some observers believe this is not too good. What is your take on that? If they say the figure is small, it is because the economy is small too. Growth opportunity in this country has not encouraged insurance, especially retail business where penetration is low. Going into retail as a business is not a child’s play, it requires a lot of hard work and the benefits don’t come overnight. It takes a while before it starts showing. I know that several insurance companies have recognised that retail is good, but not everyone is ready to put resources in it. What about micro insurance? Micro insurance is also a way to go because a large proportion of our population is poor and that is why micro insurance should be vital. Are you exploring that now? Micro insurance is not essentially new; calling it micro insurance does not make it new. If you are paying small money for

a small benefit, isn’t that micro? We started selling micro insurance products the day we started business because we have a product of N5,000. We have even reduced it and today we have products as low as N2,000. So micro insurance as a term may sound new, but a lot of people have been doing things in that area in the past. It is just that today, many banks realise that is the way to grow the industry. Does this mean that many insurers are not ready to invest in micro insurance? I am saying a lot of people are not prepared to put in the investment that is required because such investment means getting the benefit in future and a lot of Nigerians want the benefits now. That is why a lot of people say they can’t give their money to insurance because they are looking for an immediate return. So I think we have a lot of work to do. The good thing is that you can see the insurance industry is actually growing. There are new investors coming into the industry, particularly international investors and they must be seeing what we Nigerians have not been able to see. What is your view on the economy? The times are tough. The price of oil is going down, Central Bank is tightening its belt on commercial bankers, privatisation of the power sector is on and a lot of other things are going on. But the bottom line is that things are tight. We are going through a period of tightness. Inflation is good, but in my mind, there is no real growth. There are just too many people out of job. What the government is doing, which I admire is that they found that they could do a lot for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and they have created funds for this. There are a lot of positive things I must say, but these are things that are probably going to have effect in the future and not today. What is the ripple effect on the industry? If there is growth in the economy, the insurance sector will be one of the direct beneficiaries. A lot of people take insurance more seriously than they used to in the past. So, I am certain in my mind that the future is bright for the business. FBN Life got its fresh licence just before the ban on issuance of new ones by the Federal Government. What is your opinion on the ban? The government gave reasons for its action and I think they make good sense. Would you not be happy to see large companies in the industry that can compete fairly well in the world insurance market? Are you happy to see the retention capacity of the industry at the low level it is today with the majority of risks


in the oil and gas, aviation and other high technology and high value risks reinsured abroad?. I totally agree with the ban. With the ban, the Federal Government has encouraged mergers and acquisition. What would be the impact of this action on the industry? Mergers and acquisitions are better than forced closures and cancellation of licences, among others. It helps build capacity, size and strength. I would expect most investors and companies to take advantage of this new policy posture of the government. Ultimately, this should lead to the reduction in the number of players but will increase local capacity, lead to higher retention per risk and enhance the size and strength of the surviving players. This will be a welcome development for the industry in Nigeria. How have you been coping in the market considering that you are the youngest? We have been able to penetrate the market through hard work. I have a very strong team that knows the right thing to do. Do you think that the FirstBank brand contributed to your rapid acceptance in the market? FBN Life Assurance is a limited liability company licensed to transact life assurance businesses in Nigeria. The company is jointly owned by FBN Holdings Plc which holds 65 per cent and the Sanlam Group, one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa, which also holds 35 per cent. It officially commenced operations on the

September 1, 2010. Drawing from the knowledge and experience of our owners, we intend to play a significant role in the development of the insurance industry in Nigeria. To achieve this, we are anchoring our operations on product innovation, efficient service delivery and prompt claim settlement. So, you are right to say the brand contributed to our success. We are working under a brand that is very acceptable across the whole of Nigeria and this must have contributed to our success in a short time. So, there is no question about it. I can tell you that leveraging or using the name to underwrite insurance was intended. How would you rate your company on solvency margin, administration,computer based, capital base and human development? If solvency margin is rated one to 10, we will be rated 10 and that is because we are very solvent. Sometimes last year, we asked our shareholders to pump in additional capital and this has made us to be very liquid. Our shareholders fund is currently above N5 billion, so we are very liquid for claims settlement. This is one of our cardinal selling points; we meet the customers at the customer’s time of needs in an efficient and timely manner. We are making our claims, completing our claim price, closing our claim price and making sure money meets the customers within 48 hours. The customers are not very used to the situation where they get their money very

‘We are going through a period of tightness. Inflation is good, but in my mind, there is no real growth. There are just too many people out of job. What the government is doing, which I admire, is that they found that they could do a lot for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and they have created funds for this’

quickly but we have consistently shown them that we can do it. We take it very seriously because it’s been a good selling point for us. We also take the training of our staff very seriously, remember that when we started, we started with very young people, people whom we can easily convert to be FBN Life people and not work for other people because we know we are going to do things differently. As such, it was important for us that we keep the people who have the ability to change and not people who are stocked with the way they have been doing things. We will do a lot more to enhance our growth because the level of knowledge, exposure and experience is critical to the future of any business. You informed the public sometimes ago that FBN Life will begin general insurance and was looking at acquiring an insurance company. At what stage is the deal now? We are in the process of acquiring the company and at the appropriate time, announcement will be made by the owners of the business. What is your future outlook? We have seen a lot of opportunities in the retail market and we want to develop it. We want to deal a lot more in distribution channels because we see a lot of opportunities in that area as well. We think that alternative distribution models are the way to go because they offer low cost insurance policies to majority of the population. These are the two main thrust of the company going forward and obviously very challenging because they are new areas, but they are future growth areas of the company. It is important not to ignore the insurance brokers because they have been the traditional partners of insurance companies and also remain the main distributors of at least 90 per cent of corporate insurance programmes nationwide. So, they are important and we are partnering with them, making them our friends and using them as models to change things that can be changed as far as the insurance industry is concerned.




Union to seek review of minimum wage in Lagos


HE Lagos State Joint Negotiating Council is set to hold a meeting with the state government to demand increase in the minimum wage for workers. This was made known by the Lagos State Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) Chairman, Comrade Obafemi Oyenubi.

He said the meeting was part of an agreement by the government and labour to review workers’ salaries every three years. The JNC chairman also said the increment was subject to review would be effected as soon as the state internally generated revenue increases, noting that this has im-

Stories by Toba Agboola

proved tremendously. ‘’It is based on these facts that the union wrote the state government to demand for a meeting to discuss on the increment,” Comrade Oyenubi said, ading that the time of the meeting is ripe enough so

that there would be no excuse by the government not to include the increment in next year’s budget. He said there should not be an excuse from the government to renege on the deal. The JNC chief said the welfare of workers is on top of the agenda on the council’s list.

About 15 unions in the state make up the joint negotiating Council. Other issues to be raised at the meeting are the step to step increment, leave allowances, promotion, general welfare package of staff, training and retraining of staff and salaries’arrears.

• Costain workers during a protest in Lagos.

ITF trains 20,000 youths

Don’t implement Oronsaye’s report, NASU, others warn Fed Govt


HE Federal Government has been warned against implementing the Oronsaye Committee’s report, which recommended reduction in the size of workforce to cut the cost of governance. The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital warned that the government would cause chaos in the public service if it implements the report. The Union, which also gave Federal Government until the end of this month to implement CONTISS 15 for staff of the polytechnics and colleges of education or face another strike, insisted that the report was unacceptable.

President of the union, Comrade Ladi Iliya, said that prunning the workforce would further worsen the unemployment and insecurity in the country. “We do not believe that the objective of the Federal Government transformation agenda is to send workers into employment market,” she said. She said reducing government statutory agencies as proposed in the report will result to loss of jobs and throw more people into the already saturated market with its attendant economic and social upheavals. “Our position is that any cutting of cost reform that does not address public looting will amount to an exercise in futility, because the present high cost of governance

will persist even if all the recommendations of the Oronsaye Committee’s Report are fully implemented,” she further said. She charged that the government in its White Paper must exercise caution and discretion in the choice of what to implement or not. Rather than cutting the workforce, the labour leader advised that the cost of governance would be reduced considerably if governments execute the war against corruption. “We decry the issue of corruption, which is now an acceptable part of every transaction in the country, whether in the public sectors of the economy. The high cost of running the country is a result of the endemic scourge of corrupt practices, which have long bedevilled the system,”she stressed.

NLC to IGP: Call Rivers Police chief to order


HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have urged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, to call the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, to order over the teargassing and brutalisation of new teachers in Port Harcourt. The teachers gathered at the instance of the State’s Universal Basic Education (UBE) Board to receive their letters of posting. In a statement by its Acting General Secretary, Comrade Chris Uyot, the NLC said the call by the Congress is necessary as the the conduct of the police was unnecessary, shameful, illadvised, contemptuous, illegal and a

throw-back to the missioner to order to protest the tear-gassing and brutalisation in Port Harcourt of newly-recruited teachers in Rivers State.” “We are inclined to believe Mr. Joseph Mbu, the State Commissioner of Police, who directed this heinous attack was not acting at your behest because we recall you came into office with a new code of conduct which Nigerians applauded. “We also demand the posting of Mr. Joseph Mbu out of Rivers State for free and unfettered investigation but especially for his excesses, and his inability to inspire confidence in the contending parties in the state.” The labour leader however said:

“Need we remind overzealous, bloodthirsty and sycophantic officers like Mbu that we are old enough as a nation and sufficiently experienced as citizens of this country to know that it does little good when an officer of his rank compromises his institution or code of conduct in order to appease insular and selfish motives”. Also the Secretary General of the TUC , Comrade Musa Lawal said the anti-workers’ activities of the police over the Obio/Akpor Local Government Secretariat in Rivers has resulted in work stoppage and non-payment of workers salary for three months, inflicting untoward suffering to working families whose bread winners work in the local government.

• Wapmuk


HE Industrial Training Fund, (ITF) has trained 20,000 youths in the first phase of National Industrial Skills Development Programme, (NISDP). The scheme was introduce by the Federal Government last year. ITF Director-General, Prof. Longmas Wapmuk, made this known in Lagos during its interactive session with reporters. He said the beneficiaries comprising 1,000 youths per state were trained in various skills, including welding, tiling, piggery, fishery and making of Plastic of Paris (POP). He also said the fund collaborated with the Bank of Industry, (BoI) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, (SMEDAN) for the settlement of the graduates at the end of the training. Wapmuk also disclosed that before the end of next year, the ITF would have undergone a metamorphosis that would translate it to a world-class training institute with state-of-the-arttraining facilities. He said a Brazilian firm had been contracted to handle the restructuring of the Ikeja office to a world-class training institute. According to him, plans were ongoing to ensure that ITF has training

centres in all parts of the country. “ITF will establish 37 Industrial Skills Training Center s, one in each State and the Federal Capital Territory, with six Centres of Advanced Skills Training for Employment (CASTE) for skills broadening and upgrading. We also envision the establishment of three Specialised Centres for Culinary Skills (SCCS) to develop skilled personnel for the hospitality and tourism sector. In addition, Sector-Specific Skills Training Centres will be established to cater for skills need of Manufacturing, Agric-Agro Allied, Construction, and other critical sectors of the Nigerian economy,” he said. He continued: “In each of the 46 centres, training will be offered in 25 trade areas. Each of the areas will enrol 25 trainees in line with international best practice for effective ‘hands-on’ learning. The process will generate a total of 29,875 readily employable graduates annually. The numbers can be increased by running two or three streams of training. Hundreds of construction workers, instructors, administrators and other personnel that will be employed for the centres will contribute greatly to reduction of unemployment in the economy.” He also disclosed that, as part of its expansion plan, the Ikeja area office would be relocated to a much better and spacious location in the heart of ikeja. Specifically, he disclosed that, barring funding constraints, ITF would soon acquire the premises of Nigerian German Chemicals Complex, in Ikeja as the new location for its Ikeja area office.




Declining inflation enhances equities’ return S the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) prepares to release the inflation figure for September this week, there are expectations that the inflation rate will drop to its lowest rate in almost six year, a situation that will enhance the average return at the bullish stock market. Amidst expectations of lower inflation rate, equities rallied last week to close on the positive side with a wee-onweek gain of 0.2 per cent to push the average year-to-date return to 31.74 per cent. Inflation reviews by many investment and financial services firms including FSDH Merchant Bank and Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) indicated that September’s inflation rate would likely fall within 7.4 to 7.9 per cent. The current inflation rate, for the month of August, stands at 8.2 per cent. Analysts at FSDH said inflation rate would likely remain on the downtrend in the next two months, raising


•Inflation-adjusted yield hits 24% By Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor

expectations of higher returns for equities. “The increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in September will produce an inflation rate of 7.5 per cent, representing a 70 basis points decrease from August 2013. The expected inflation rate of 7.5 per cent in September will be the lowest inflation rate since December 2007. Looking into October, we expect inflation rate to drop below 7.5 per cent,” FSDH stated in a review made available at the weekend. Analysts at FDC projected an inflation rate of 7.8 per cent citing its independent variables and general market trend. According to FDC, the CPI has been declining for the past nine months and it is now at a fiveyear low of 8.2 per cent in August. With a year-to-date return of 31.74 per cent, decline in

inflation rate will enhance investors’ returns at the stock market. Inflation-adjusted return will be about 24 per cent, making quoted equities the most attractive of regulated asset classes. The All Share Index (ASI), the common index that tracks all equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and as such doubles as Nigeria’s country index, opens today at 36,991.62 points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also opens higher at N11.783 trillion. The uptrend was due largely to gains recorded by highly capitalised stocks including Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Guinness Nigeria and UAC of Nigeria. Analysts at Afrinvest (West Africa) have however expressed concerns over the likely negative impact of the United States of America (USA) shutdown on emerging economies, including Nigeria. According to analysts, the shutdown can lead to a massive run on the market by investors to cash, with particular ramifications for emerging markets as capital inflows are reversed.





Skye Bank increases support for young entrepreneurs KYE BANK Plc has reiterated its commitment to improved funding and capacity for entrepreneurs. This, would be achieved through the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) scheme being promoted by the Ministries of Finance, Communication Technology (CT), Youth Development and the Women Affairs and Social Development. Skye Bank got Federal Government’s backing to disburse funds to entrepreneurs under the YouWiN scheme. The lender was also appointed as banker and fund manager to the YouWiN programme. Before the appointment, the bank has been providing intellectual dimensions to the scheme by taking the beneficiaries of the grants through series of entrepreneurial training and capacity building exercises. Speaking at the second seminar series organised by the bank for the grant beneficiaries in Lagos, Skye Bank’s Executive Director, Retail Banking/South South Business Development, Mrs Ibiye Ekong, said the bank had always been with the YouWiN programme from inception and remains passionate about the scheme. Ekong said the bank’s management values the relationship it has with the pro-


The forum which was organised under Skye Bank’s priority banking Portfolio saw the awardees taken through the process of business management, financial planning, and other business survival skills meant to put them in good stead in running their businesses. The Federal Government conceived the YouWiN scheme to engage the Nigeria youth in economic activities. It was also seen as a way of stemming youth restiveness and their involvement in social vices. According to the bank, two years after the launch of the programme in 2011, it has, to an extent, addressed the scourge of youth unemployment in Nigeria. Also, through the programme, an annual Business Plan Competition (BPC) for aspiring young entrepreneurs in Nigeria was launched, in line with the Federal Government’s drive to create more jobs for Nigerians.

Stories by Collins Nweze

gramme, adding that there is growing commitment of the lender to do more in the area of economically empowering the youth, through financial and business advisory intervention. This, she said, would reduce unemployment in the country. She said the ‘Batch B’ of the YouWiN scheme was designed primarily for female entrepreneurs across the country. She described women as good managers of resources, adding that a nation that educates its women would be free from backwardness. She urged the grant recipients to ensure that they create 250,000 new jobs as such would justify the essence of the scheme. That way, she said, the unemployment rate in the country would be controlled and reduced. Ekong said the economic development of the country would be dependent on the collective efforts of all citizens, particularly entrepreneurs and other value creators whose activities result in creation of goods and services. She enjoined the awardees to make good use of the grants in growing their businesses to mega entities in the future. Deputy Project Manager, YouWiN, Akubo Adegbe, commended the bank for organising the seminar, adding that the programme was designed to assist

•GMD Skye Bank, Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti budding entrepreneurs realise their dreams of owning their own businesses, providing job opportunities for the unemployed and impacting the society positively. Adegbe said YouWIN would continue to provide seed grant to business inclined youth, making them to be economically self sufficient, creating jobs and contributing to the growth of the economy. He said the only way the existence of the scheme could be justified was for them to help create new jobs and fulfill the objectives for which it was set up.

ANAN advises accountants on economy


HE Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) has stressed the need for accountants to examine the the role of financial sector in the economy. Ahead of its 18th Annual Certified National Accountants Conference scheduled to hold in Abuja from November 4 to 6, ANAN President, Sakirudeen Labode, said in a statement that the association went the extra mile to attract reputable local and international accountants, financial experts, scholars to deliver papers at the conference. The three-day conference will be formally declared open by President Goodluck Jonathan. Labode, said the conference would be the first annual conference to be held after ANAN became an Associate Member of In-

Ecobank backs indigenous oil and gas contractors


COBANK has restated its commitment to providing massive funding for local contractors operating in the nation’s oil and gas sector. The bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Jibril Aku, made this pledge, during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Total Upstream Nigeria Limited and eight leading banks in the country, on a $7.5 billion Nigerian Contractors’ Initiative, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State at the weekend. In a statement, the bank described

the project as laudable, noting that, Ecobank is determined to be a major player in the initiative. Mr. Aku explained that the banking finance programme is being put together by Total to effectively manage its value chain, including suppliers and distributors. He said the whole essence is to empower local contractors to play more active role in the oil sector through sustainable funding. “This is a good initiative and we are pleased to be selected as one of the banks after a rigorous process. We

have long relationship with Total and some of our customers work with them. I can assure that we will add value to the programme. The key challenge now is how to make a success of this programme, so that we can continue to develop and grow new customers coming to the bank,” he stated. Managing Director/Total, Mr. Guy Maurice, said the key objective of the MoU and launch of the fund, is to bridge the funding gap for the company’s local contractors which includes vendors and suppliers.


Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

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



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 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 27-09-13





0.86 1.88 9.00 115.00 19.41 20.82 61.52 2.31 2.80 1.09

0.94 1.97 9.43 119.40 20.08 21.51 63.50 2.38 2.88 1.12

CHANGE 0.08 0.09 0.43 4.40 0.67 0.69 1.98 0.07 0.08 0.03

O/PRICE 8.00 1.01 2.90 1.28 1.95 1.45 13.99 82.99 10.65 0.57

C/PRICE 7.60 0.96 2.76 1.22 1.86 1.40 13.65 81.00 10.40 0.56

CHANGE -0.40 -0.05 -0.14 -0.06 -0.09 -0.05 -0.34 -1.99 -0.25 -0.01

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

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


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

Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

LOSERS AS AT 27-09-13


Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

ternational Federation of Accountants (IFAC), saying that he expects a large turnout of members. The theme of the Conference is “Deepening Financial Sector Development: Contributions of Professional Accountants”. Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Ireland, Mr Eamonn Siggins will be the keynote speaker while Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Governor, Operations, Tunde Lemo, will speak on the Sub-theme: “Driving Nigeria’s Economic Transformation: The Role of the Central Bank of Nigeria”. Also, Mrs Abigail Obhielo of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would also give a lecture on the Sub-theme: “Challenges of Capital Market Regulation”.



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

“It was the need to disburse the funds meant as grants to successful applicants that prompted the the promoters of the scheme to appoint some banks as funds managers to handle the financial operations of the scheme,” the bank said. It explained that the first edition of the seminar series for the awardees, which it organised last year was a huge success. It said the event gave the awardees opportunity to network while learning new business skills that will enable them succeed. The entrepreneurs, who are into various lines of business, are the second set of beneficiaries of the grants. The bank explained that the programme provides aspiring youth with a platform to show case their business acumen while attracting ideas and innovations from young entrepreneurial aspirants from universities, polytechnics, technical colleges, and other post-secondary institutions in the country.

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

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


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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%



Offer Price


154.86 9.17 1.18 1.16 0.75 1.39 1,571.43 1,000.00 115.83 100.00 1.67 1.05 1.00 0.78 1,829.47

Bid Price 154.15 9.08 1.16 1.16 0.74 1.33 1,571.43 1,000.00 115.13 100.00 1.62 1.03 1.00 0.76 1,824.09




Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




ISSUES Despite the scourge of the dreaded Islamic insurgents, Boko Haram, and general spate of violence, investors have not ceased coming into the country. According to sources, Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow has remained at between $10 and $12 billion yearly over the last few years. What are the factors responsible for this development? Could it be good returns on investment (RoI)? Has the business environment become more friendly? Could it have been a more liberalised business operating environment? OKWY IROEGBUCHIKEZE provides the anwers.

Flurry of foreign investments amid security challenges Background


N the last two months, Nigeria has signed bilateral trade agreements with many countries, including China, Japan, Austria, Brazil and Mauritius. These deals coming are when the security challenges in the country have assumed a disturbing dimension with the Boko Haram insurgents mindlessly killing people ‘like wanton flies.’ Again, it is curious because they are coming at a time indigenous manufacturers and investors are groaning under institutional yokes of corruption, incompetent leadership and poor infrastructure to name a few. To underscore the level of insecurity in the country, defence got the fattest slice of this year’s budget. Over a whopping N1 trillion was allocated to the sector. Yet, the senseless orgy of killings, maiming, kidnap-forransom in the Southeast and other criminalities continue to flourish. In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), between April and September this year, over 150 robbers were reportedly nabbed. In Nasarawa and Plateau states, the story is grim. While a a suspected cult group, Ombatse, has been unleashing terror

on innocent people in the former, the latter has taken the battle of ethnic cleansing too far.

Reasons for FDI despite challenges t According to stakeholders, there are various reasons for the continued inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) against all these odds. These, they said, include Federal Government’s strategy, availability of cheap labour and high return on investment, among others. The government has employed strategies to shore up the capacity of law enforcement agencies for prompt response to security emergencies. This include the implementation of key recommendation in the 2006 Presidential Committee Report on the Reform of Administration of Justice, with regard to the police and prisons. This was targeted at improving the welfare and operational capacities of these law enforcement agencies. Again, the government recently, moved to ease the registration of businesses by drastically cutting its cost by half. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Segun Aganga said the rationale behind the reduction in the cost of business

registration is in line with the ministry's investment climate reform programme aimed at strategically repositioning the country as the preferred destination for both local and foreign investments. Sector analyst says the action of the government would further trigger the influx of investors into the country.

FDIs Recently Nissan and Stallion Group announced plans to jointly build an assembly plant in Nigeria. The investment, many believe, is necessitated by the government's approval of a new Automobile Industrial Policy. Islamic Bank has also indicated its interest to invest $2 billion in the economy while a report released by Derek Scissors of the United States-based Heritage Foundation stated that Chinese investments stood at $15.6 billion spanning many sectors, such as manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy. A Japanese firm, Suntory, bought into GlaxoSmithkline with a pricely sum of £1.35 billion, taking over the company's flag•Continued on page 33




Flurry of foreign investments amid security challenges •Continued from page 32

ship brands, Ribena and Lucozade Boost. In addition to these, a leading South African company, Famous Brands, has also acquired 49 per cent stake in UAC Foods while Nestle Plc and Cadbury have indicated interest in investing N100 billion each in upgrading their production facilities in the country.

Stakeholders’ views The Director-General, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Mallam Usman Garba Saulawa, said the coming of foreign investors despite the insecurity should not be a surprise. He said: “Though we have security concerns, it is not limited to Nigeria; therefore, it would likely not deter investors. "There are similar issues in Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Egypt, but the difference is that those economies are getting a lot of patronage and support from their government and there is sufficient infrastructure. If you look at Indonesia, the government, at a point, made a policy that all civil servants must wear their baltic. This policy helped to boost the production and manufacturing of baltic by the private sector." An analyst Mr. Uche Ukwendu said the nation would have witnessed more FDIs if not for the porous security and the cheapness with which human lives are treated. He recalled that the recent slaughter of over 40 students in a Yobe College of Agriculture by the Boko Haram sect and the number of reported beheadings and slicing of throats in some parts of the North is enough to deter foreign investors. He called for a change of strategies by the security agents to stem the ugly tide. He said: "Nigeria's development plan is simple in theory, yet rather difficult in practice given its poor track record. There are numerous obstacles that collectively deter foreign investment. The nation must address each of these impediments to growth through extensive political and economic reforms. First, there must be a dramatic and comprehensive restructuring of Nigeria's economy. Currently, petroleum accounts for 95 per cent of Nigeria's exports. Such a heavy reliance on one mineral makes the nation highly vulnerable to volatile economic fluctuations." To achieve greater macroeconomic stability and diminish its vulnerability to commodity prices, he said the nation must reduce its dependence on oil and natural gas. It would be best for Nigeria to develop and promote its non-energy exports, which include manufacturing, knowledge-based services, and agriculture, he added. Uchendu also said the nation’s FDI inflows have been almost exclusively in the natural resources sector, specifically in the oil and natural gas industry which is a suspect. He observed that such concentration of FDIs in one sector limits technology transfer and inhibits job creation. Should Nigeria attract FDIs in other sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, consumer products, and construction, these new FDI projects could generate greater employment and create more balanced economic growth and it is only when this is done that the discerning mind will know that the so called FDI is done in good conscience. He warned that the government should not go to sleep because of the FDIs as it may just be cosmetic, adding that the implementation of institutionalised economic reform programmes, such as the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) that has the capacity to move the nation forward. NEEDS, he explained, seeks to liberalise the economy, promote private enterprise through increased privatisation and lowering corporate taxes. It also has the capacity to reduce corruption, diversify exports, improve education, develop sound infrastructure, and, ultimately, reduce poverty and increase standards of living. The decision to invest in a country has been heavily influenced by the prevailing low wage rate. The rapid growth in FDIs in Nigeria has been attributed primarily to the availability of low cost labour. However, when the cost of labour is relatively insignificant (when wage rates vary little from country to country), the skills of the labour force are expected to have an impact on decisions about FDI. Productivity levels in sub-Saharan Africa are lower than in low-income Asian countries and attempt to redress the skill shortage by importing foreign workers is not the solution to a country’s economic woes. Head, Southwest Zone, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mr Isaac Idowu, said the nation's economic blueprint is encapsulated in the Vision 20: 2020. He said though the nation has over $130 billion foreign direct investments, the economy can be said to be under performing at a sub-optimal level because of certain factors. Idowu said: "Our strength lies in our predictable investment climate and stable investment while our challenges are in the noticeable widening income gap and wealth distribution, dependence on oil revenue, over-dependence on imports, and huge infrastructure deficit. Others are the endemic corruption, high cost of doing business and insufficient funds for small and medium scale industries." He assured the Austrian investors on government's preparedness to allow them own 100 per cent of their enterprise if the line of business is not on the negative list such as military hardware and narcotics. On investment opportunities, the NIPC boss added that there was opportunity in the electricity sector with $10 billion projected yearly investment in agriculture and solid minerals.

An entrepreneur and member of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs. Olufemi Ilori, expressed her surprise at the influx of trade visits from foreign countries despite the country’s insecurity. She argued that though the world is a global village, the government needs to exercise caution on how wide she opens her borders to 'portfolio' investors who may be more interested in buying and selling rather than engaging in enduring investments that will grow the economy. Former chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mazi Sam Ohabunwa said industrial capacity utilisation has increased from under 43 per cent in the last two years to about 45 per cent. He believed that the apparent challenges in the country has not impacted negatively on FDI, adding that there is increased interest in the nation by investors, which must be sustained. An economist, Mr Gabriel Idahosa, said the nation has been hampered by some challenges and that it has only fared well in the telecoms sector. He believes that security is an issue as far as foreign direct investment is concerned. Former NBA chairman Business Unit, Mr George Utomi, said the country is not where it should be. He regretted that it has not been able to manage its challenges as good as possible. He said the nation was at par with some countries now known as Asian Tigers some decades ago, but obvious challenges have not allowed it to move beyond forward. Director-General, LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf, said there are positives and negatives in the nation’s economic growth. He said the apparent FDI has not influenced the nation’s poor rating in competitive business rating. He tasked the government on the provision of infrastructure, adding that it should implement strong economic policies, and build human capital, and that security and sustainable economic policies could move the nation forward. Yusuf said security is a serious issue that must be addressed for the nation to move forward. Aganga, during a recent trade investment mission to the United States, said investing in Nigeria could open the African market to the investor, noting that it is a large market with one-billion population. He added that Nigeria had minerals and raw materials to attract diverse type of investments. He said: "Nigeria is a large good market with the right demography. And you have access to another one billion people, which is the African market. So, the market is there. When you talk about the raw materials, as a country that is in a top 10 producer of oil and gas, our reserve in terms of gas is about 10 to 11, a country that has at least 44 proven minerals in commercial quantity. Nigeria is also a country that has about 84 million hectares of land where only 40 per cent of that is utilised today and despite that. It is the largest producer of six or seven commodities in the world and second largest producer of another five commodities in the world despite the fact that only 40 per cent of the land is utilised today." On the influx of foreigners to Nigeria under the pretext of investing in the country, Aganga said the Federal Government has discussed the matter with the Chinese government and Chinese investors have promised to develop indigenous skills, instead of bringing all their workforce to Nigeria. He added that the Nigeria Immigration Service would have to apply local laws to control the upsurge of foreigners to the country. "We have our local laws and we have our immigration laws in terms of who can come to the country, determined by the sort of skills we are looking for. It is a case of enforcing and applying our local laws. So, any investor, whether he is Chinese, American, European, has to comply with those local laws and if those laws are properly enforced, there would be nothing to worry about. Also, when you look at those big companies operating in Nigeria today, the mentality has shifted from borrowing to investment. Money follows money; nobody is going to invest out of charity because there is money to be made in the country, far much more return on investment. “Another thing that has changed is that Nigerian government has made it clear to the Chinese government that it is serious about creating jobs locally. We made it absolutely clear to them that the number of Chinese people coming to the country should never exceed 20 per cent. So it is for us to negotiate and have our discussions with them to make sure that we enforce our local laws," Aganga added. The minister assured that the government would not rest on its oars in providing security, requisite infrastructure and the enabling environment for business to thrive.




Nigeria's development plan is simple in theory, yet rather difficult in practice given its poor track record. There are numerous obstacles that collectively deter foreign investment. The nation must address each of these impediments to growth through extensive political and economic reforms




Indigenous insurers fret over influx foreign operators More foreign underwriters are coming to the industry through mergers and acquisitions while the indigenous companies are bracing for synergies to meet recapitalisation that is aimed at boosting competition, writes OMOBOLA TOLUKUSIMO.


NEW dawn is set in the sector following the influx of global insurers acquiring indigenous players. The foreign investors have discovered how they can thrive where the indigenous firms seem to have failed in deepening insurance penetration, thereby posing a competition to indigenous operators. The ban by the Federal Government on the issuance of new licences to investors has also had its impact. Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, who made the pronouncement in Abuja during the inauguration of the new board of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), said rather than issue fresh licences, any investor desiring to own a firm should acquire existing companies. He said the new investors will be able to recapitalise them and start running the companies well. He noted that there are many distressed companies, arguing that it is either the regulator liquidates them or get some serious people to take them over. He said: “So, there is no need to issue new licences when they have several licences to take over. It is just like the banking system, if we have so many distressed banks, why should we issue a new licence to a bank? Why not buy one of the distressed ones and restructure it? “That is why the sector does not have a single distressed bank. So, the same thing should apply to insurance; we have so many of them. Anybody who is interested in investing in them is welcome to buy two or three of these distressed insurance companies, merge them, recapitalise them and run them.” Ngama also urged NAICOM to step up its regulatory duties as the government had already initiated several reforms that would help to make the sector stronger. Before now, insurers were doing business in their comfort zones, not minding its slow pace of growth and insignificant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Last year, the sector generated less than N300 billion premium income instead of the N1trillion target set for it by NAICOM. After the consolidation about

• Wiggle

• Law Union MD Toyin Ogunseye

eight years ago, life, general and re-insurance companies’ minimum capital increased from N150 million to N200million, N350million to N2billion, N3billion and N10billion. There are 57 insurance and two re-insurance firms in the country. Some of these have, however, been either merged or acquired. In the light of the low performance of the less than one per cent contribution of the sector to the economy, the foreign investors are eager to partake in the domestic market because of its huge population of about 167 million and vast untapped underwriting business. So far, Old Mutual, one of Africa’s biggest insurers with headquarters in the United Kigdom (UK) is here to set up shop. The firm provides life assurance, asset management, banking and general insurance to over 14 million customers in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. It started in South Africa. Last year, Assur Africa Holding, a consortium of three European Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and two Private Equity (PE) firms acquired 67.68 per cent shareholding in GTAssure, now Mansard Insurance Plc. The DFIs are Netherlands Development Finance Company (Holland); German Investment Corporation (Germany) and French Development Finance Company (France), while the two Private Equity Firms are Devel-

opment Partners International, based in the UK, and Africinvest existing shareholder based in Tunisia. Also, Group NSIA, a company based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire bought 96.15 per cent equity of Diamond Bank Plc in ADIC Insurance Company Limited. Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc also had its share of foreign mix when 60 per cent of its controlling shares were acquired by a consortium comprising Alternative Capital Partners (ACAP) and Swede Control Intertek Limited. Sources said a strong management team with a track record was put together by the new core investor to work with external consultants. According to the source, the new core investor has already set a target of being among the top five insurance companies by the end of 2015. UBA Metropolitan, a subsidiary of United Bank for Africa, has a South African presence from Metropolitan Life, while FBN Insurance Limited, a subsidiary of FirstBank of Nigeria Plc also has strong presence of South African Investors, Sanlam Group. Determined not to be left out, indigenous firms in the local market are rooting strategically. Custodian and Allied Insurance Plc, one of the top players, have merged with Cru-

sader (Nigeria) Plc having secured the nod of their shareholders through the court. Also, Cornerstone Insurance and Fin Insurance seem to be warming up while AIICO Insurance and Linkage Assurance are also mulling mergers and acquisitions. According to the Nigeria Insurers Association 2011 Insurance Digest, the long term call on the sector is supported by its demographic advantages and the economic prospects relative to other emerging markets. “Although a fast-rising bottom population base provides significant headroom for premium expansion, decades of poor insurance uptake exacerbated by widespread cultural aversion and the inefficiency of the micro economic parameters have slowed down the desired growth in the insurance sector. “However, if the various initiatives in the sector is sustained and strengthen, the insurance sector revenue will assume a positive dimension in the coming years,” it said. Group Chief Executive Officer, Old Mutual West Africa, Offong Ambah, said the economy is moving fast. According to him, the country offers significant growth opportunities and Old Mutual is banking on this. He said: “Old Mutual is in Nigeria as part of the group’s overall strategy to build a franchise in the West African sub-region. “Following our acquisition of Oceanic Life, we are in the final stages of acquiring the short-term insurance company, Oceanic General business, which enables us to provide a broad range of short term and life insurance products to the market. “Our objective is to work with existing insurance companies and regulator to broaden and deepen the insurance market in Nigeria. This we plan to do through the introduction of innovative products financial education reaching out to the underserved and un-served segment of the market tackling the sceptism of Nigerians regarding insurance through prompt settlement of claims and excellent service de-

livery among others.” According to him, Old Mutual has set aside R5billion ($600million) of capital to fund its expansion in East and West Africa. Managing Director, Cornerstone Insurance Plc, Mr Ganiyu Musa, said the company was looking at various opportunities available to it in its merger plans, adding that it would announce its plans soon. Managing Director, FBN Life, Mr Val Ojumah, said the sector will do better with large companies that can compete fairly well in the world insurance market. The retention capacity of the industry is low. Majority of the risks in the oil and gas, aviation and other high technology and high value risks are reinsured abroad. Chief Operating Officer, AIICO, TundeFajemirokun, said the company is considering merging. He affirmed that there is an influx of foreign investors in the market. He lauded the Federal Government for stopping the issuance of new licences, noting that existing companies need to team up. He said: “To cope with the ongoing competition, we are investing in our operations, technology, people and agency network. “There has been some strong influx of foreign investors in the insurance market and most of them have positioned themselves. For AIICO, we have had a lot of potential suitor that want to merge or even acquire us. ‘’Two years ago, we had agreement with shareholders to raise some money and we have been talking to investors. We have acquired before but sometimes there is need to be careful with acquisitions. Sometimes the company acquired most of the value and not the other way round; so, we are being careful about acquiring any company.” Fajemirokun agreed that insurance penetration was still low. ‘’The foreign investors believe they can improve on this and develop our products a lot better than they are today. We also have the National Pension Commission (PenCom) regulated annuity, which is a huge part of the market coming up,’’ he said.

IAIS to develop global capital standard


HE International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) plans to develop a risk based global insurance capital standard (ICS) by 2016. The IAIS is a voluntary membership organisation of insurance supervisors and regulators from over 200 jurisdictions in nearly than 140 countries. The IAIS said full implementation will begin three years later, after two years of testing and refinement with supervisors and internationally active insurance groups (IAIGs). In 2010, the IAIS began developing a comprehensive framework for the supervision of IAIGs, or ComFrame. The IAIS has now agreed to develop a risk based global ICS and to include it within ComFrame, which has always included a capital component within its solvency assessment. This component, which is being finalised in concept, will be used as a starting point for development of the ICS. In 2014, the IAIS will also develop straightforward, backstop capital requirements (BCRs), which are planned to be finalised and ready for implementation by global systemically im-

portant insurers (G-SIIs) in late-2014. BCRs will serve as the foundation for higher loss absorbency (HLA) requirements for G-SIIs, and it is anticipated that their development and testing will also inform development of the ICS. Chair, IAIS Executive Committee, Peter Braumüller, said it is undeniable that the business of insurance is global, and global issues demand global responses,” said. “This is why the IAIS, whose Members constitute nearly all of the world’s insurance supervisors, has committed to develop and implement the first-ever risk based global insurance capital standard.” “From the financial crisis, we learned that our global financial regulatory regime should be more robust and comprehensive in scope, and jurisdictions should share a commitment to global standards,” said Michael T. McRaith, Chair of the IAIS Technical Committee. “The IAIS with its mission to promote effective and globally consistent supervision of the insurance industry and to contribute to global financial stability has an essential role in fulfilling these objectives.”

• From left: Head, Human Resources AIICO Insurance Plc, Mrs Phil Maduagwu; Acting GMD/CEO, Mr Edwin Igbiti; Head, Technology and Operations, Mr Tunde Fajemirokun, and Executive Director, Marketing, Mr Jide Orimolade, during the introduction of the firm’s new management staff in Lagos. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN




RDAS introduction: Dollar scarcity looms Implications of the introduction of the Retail Dutch Auction System (RDAS) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which replaced the Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS), have begun to emerge. The foreign exchange market last week witnessed dollar shortfalls, which analysts said is the first of many implications of the policy.COLLINS NWEZE reports.


HE introduction of the Retail Dutch Auction System (RDAS) into the foreign exchange market is likely to create a short term scarcity of the dollar and a marginal depreciation at the Bureau De Change segment of the market, analysts at Afrinvest West Africa Plc have said. They said there has been dollar shortfall after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) implemented the RDAS policy and that this gave insight into market positions in the months ahead. The CBN had on October 2, when the RDAS became effective, offered a total of $300 million at RDAS. A total of $186.99 million was sold, short of the average $600 million usually offered and sold at the weekly Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS). Dollar supply at the RDAS was also low throughout last week. The RDAS was introduced to curb the excessive dollarisation of the Nigerian economy through the influx of likely political funds. The CBN had said it found tens of billions of naira traded for dollars in cash, much more than importers needed to buy goods or investors to repatriate funds, and there was no trace of where the money came from or where it was going. The naira eased against the dollar on the interbank market as importers started to lock-in their hard currency needs at favourable rates. The naira closed at N160.35 to the dollar compared with close of N159.8 last Tuesday. Traders said some importers took advantage of the increased dollar liquidity to buy more hard currency at favourable prices, exerting pressure on the naira. The naira firmed to its strongest in two weeks on Tuesday, sustained by ample dollar sales by multinational oil companies. Dollar liquidity is gradually thinning out due to buying pressure from importers, dealers said, as no additional dollar inflow came into the system last week. Traders expect the naira to trade within the band of N160 to N160.6 this week, unless additional dollar inflows come into the system and support the local unit.

Revenue leakages The CBN has initiated processes meant to address high level of revenue leakages in government and private sectors of the economy. The apex bank at the weekend, mandated banks to dishonor payment instructions for all forms of salaries, pensions, suppliers and taxes payment not transmitted through e-payment channels. The CBN said the policy applies to organisations with more than 50 employees. It said the process will reduce time and costs of transactions, minimise leakages in government revenue receipts and at the same time provide reliable audit trails, thereby making the payments system comply with global payment standards. The action was taken to save cost for government, promote transparency and accountability in governance and increase internally generated revenue (IGR) for the country. The e-payment policy is also expected to ensure confidentiality of information of e-payment of taxes, salary, pension and suppliers. It said that henceforth, payment instructions and associated schedules are no longer to be transmitted to banks by all public and private sector organisations through unsecured channels such as paper-based mandates, flash drives, compact discs, email attachments, among others. The transactions must be routed through bank approved electronic platform, which transmits the instruction to debit a payer's account and credit a beneficiary's bank account, mobile account, electronic wallet or any other electronic channels. It shall include the ability of a payer to independently monitor and obtain electronic feedback on the status of any payment at any time without depending on any third party, manual or semi-manual means.

World Bank The World Bank and the French Development Agency has given a $230 million

and further secure payments in digital channels," they said.

‘Last week's dollar shortfall after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) implemented the RDAS policy gave insight into market positions in the coming months’ loan to Adamawa, Enugu, Osun and Niger states. The fund came under the Second Rural Access and Mobility Project for which the World Bank and the French Development Agency are contributing $170 million and $60 million. In a statement, the firms said they are building on the experience from the First Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP1), that is rehabilitating more than 420 km of rural roads and 130 river crossings in Kaduna State. There is also the Second Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP-2) launched in Abuja, which will support rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance of about 1,450 km of rural roads and building 65 river crossings. By improving the marketing of agricultural products, RAMP-2 contributes to the government's Agriculture Transformation Agenda, designed to boost the competitiveness of high-value crops such as rice, cassava, sorghum and cocoa. Commenting on the project, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria said: "Agriculture remains the backbone of Nigeria's rural economy and growth in the non-oil sector can be accelerated by improving roads that are vital to increase agriculture productivity, access to health as well as education for rural communities."

Bond Osun State has issued a N10 billion sukuk yielding 14.75 per cent, bankers said on Wednesday. Sukuk, the first Islamic bond from a major economy in sub-Saharan Africa. According to Reuters report, the sukuk is based on an ijara structure, a common leasing arrangement in Islamic finance, which bans payment of interest. The cocoa-producing State of Osun received N11.4 billion in total subscriptions for its seven-year paper, from asset managers and Islamic funds, bankers said. The offer closed on Monday. The yield offered was the same amount Osun State paid investors last year in its conventional seven-year bond worth N30 billion. Sukuk has become an increasingly popular investment globally, particularly among cash-rich funds in the Gulf and southeast Asia. Nigeria's profile as Africa's most liquid debt market after South Africa, has been rising since JP Morgan and Barclays included its bonds in their sovereign bond

Reserves The foreign reserves have declined to $45 billion as at October 10. The reserves were at $46.8 billion on August 30, before declining to current level. Data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) website showed that the reserves were on a steady and continuous decline throughout September. The reserves were at $46.82 billion on September 2, $46.81 billion on September 3 and $46.77 billion on September 9. The decline continued on September 19, and stood at $46 billion before dropping to $45.9 billion on September 20. The reserves stood at $47 billion on August 19, dropped to $46.9 billion on August 21. The reserves were at $47.7 billion on July 1, and dropped to $47 billion on July 15. They stood at $48.33 billion on June 24, declined to $48.15 billion on June 27 and closed the month at $48 billion. The CBN data showed that the reserves were at $43.83 billion at end of December, 2012 as against $68 billion in August 2008 before the global financial crises impacted negatively on them. • CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

indices last year, encouraging greater foreign participation in its debt market.

NASD Over-the-Counter The number of stock broking firms that join the NASD Plc Over-the-Counter (OTC) trading platform will hit 75, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Bola Ajomale, has said. He spoke at a briefing in Lagos on the operations of the company. The NASD OTC is meant for the trading of unlisted securities that are not currently traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He said 45 stock broking firms have already joined the NASD platform as of date. He said 17 issuing houses have also joined, with 10 more to join by year-end. He said two companies have also been listed, while by the end of next week, eight companies will be trading on the platform. He said the NASD OTC market is an alternative market that deals with commodities not listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange. He said there is need to educate the public on the need to explore the opportunities it presents. "We want to inform investors in companies that raised funds without going through the capital market that they can now sell their stakes at the alternative market that is being offered by NASD. We are making it easier for such investors to exit or come in at will," he said.

Digital payment Visa, MasterCard and American Express have introduced a proposed framework for a new global standard to enhance the security of digital payments. The global payment firms are also looking at ways consumers can simplify purchasing experience when shopping on a mobile phone, tablet, personal computer or other smart devices. In a statement, they quoted an August 2013 report from the US Census Bureau, which said six per cent of all retail sales are conducted digitally, up nearly 200 percent since the first quarter of 2004. "As the number of digital transactions have increased, so have consumer demands for increased protection of their payment information. A host of industry activities led by issuing and acquiring financial institutions, have already been introduced to help streamline

‘Dollar liquidity is gradually thinning out because of buying pressure from importers, dealers said, as no additional dollar inflow came into the system last week’

NDIC The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has stressed its total support for the establishment of a world class Microfinance Training Institute in the country to enhance continuous capacity building in the banking subsector. The Managing Director /Chief Executive of NDIC Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim who made this known, also advocated the incorporation of All Women Microfinance Bank (MFB) wholly owned by Women NGOs in the country, to protect the interest of small depositors and boost public confidence in the microfinance banking sub-sector. Ibrahim made the proposal when the Executive Members of National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) paid a courtesy visit to his office. He said that the NAMB’s request for Unit MFBs to have multiple branches and operate cash centres in local government areas of their operations was before a joint committee, which will critically analyse and judge their request based on its merit. He advised the association to await the recommendations of the committee on the matter.

Bank to bank report Wema Bank has announced the completion of its N40 billion special placing, allotment of shares and approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In a statement, the bank explained that with this approval, a total of 26,667,123,333 ordinary shares of 50k each valued at N40,000,684,999.50 were allotted to successful institutional and private investors at N1.50k per share. The fund, the statement said, has raised the bank's paid up capital above the threshold for a National Banking License. The statement noted that the bank's Managing Director, Segun Oloketuyi thanked all stakeholders for their support towards ensuring the success of the capital raising drive which began a couple of months ago.

FirstBank FirstBank of Nigeria Limited and 27 other companies have been declared the best places to work in Nigeria. The recognition is based on their strong ethical standards and workfriendly environment, at this year’s Great Place To Work Nigeria (GPTWN) Awards has revealed. In a statement, First Bank said GPTWN, an affiliate of Great Place to Work, San Francisco, US, is a global research, consulting and training institute that specialises in analysing, understanding, selecting and publishing best workplace lists in the country. In addition to emerging 'Best Company to work for in Nigeria (Large population corporates), the lender was adjudged the 'Company with the Best human resources structure in Nigeria'; while the bank's Head, Human Capital Management and Development, Mrs. Ayodele Jaiyesimi, was named 'Most engaged Head of HR' in Nigeria.




Total Nigeria: Declining margins By Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor

•MD Total Boussagol




OTAL Nigeria Plc is struggling with low sales growth amidst increasing financing challenge, a delicate mix that threatens to constrict the bottom-line and returns to investors. Emerging operational report of the downstream company showed marginal growth in sales but the minimal top-line performance was overwhelmed by astronomical increase in financing charges. The latest report, for the first half ended June 30, 2013, fell into the pattern of performance in the previous year. The audited report had indicated that while the company witnessed significant growth in sales, declining underlying fundamentals showed a less efficient and increasingly susceptible performance. First-half report showed that sales rose by about 7.0 per cent to N117.29 billion by June 2013 as against N109.84 billion recorded in comparable period of 2012. Gross profit rose from N12.91 billion to N15.56 billion. Profit before tax meanwhile dropped by 7.0 per cent from N4.81 billion to N4.47 billion. Profit after tax also declined by 9.0 per cent from N3.27 billion to N2.98 billion. The decline in earnings per share from N8.61 in 2012 to N7.10 in 2013 outlined possible drop in returns to shareholders. The first-half performance was coloured by the sharp rise in interest expenses. While non-core business income dropped from N579.95 million to N267.90 million, interest expenses jumped from N21.99 million in 2012 to

N596.6 million in 2013. Profit before tax margin slipped to 3.81 per cent in first half 2013 as against 4.38 per cent in comparable period of 2012. The weak bottom-line evidenced the negative impact of the interest burden. Gross profit margin had improved from 11.75 per cent to 13.27 per cent. Audited report and accounts of Total Nigeria for the year ended December 31, 2012 had shown substantial outward growths in profit and loss items with 25 per cent and 23 per cent growth in sales and profit after tax respectively. The obvious improvement in the bottom-line enabled the company to increase dividends to shareholders by 22 per cent. But beyond the surface, Total Nigeria’s profitmaking capacity was relatively lower and its balance sheet support weakened considerably. With high financial leverage and negative working capital, the overall balance sheet was unsteady.

Financing structure The underlying financing structure was evidently weaker with debt-to-equity ratio spiraling to a high of 129 per cent as against 32 per cent in previous year. The proportion of equity fund to total balance sheet size declined from 17 per cent to 14.9 per cent while current liabilities now amounted to 81 per cent of total assets as against 78 per cent in previous year. Total assets rose by 29.5 per cent from N58.72 billion in 2011 to N76.07 billion in 2012. Non-current assets had grown by 11 per cent from N18.29 billion to N20.33 billion while current assets grew by 38 per cent from N40.43 billion to N55.74 billion. Total liabilities stood at N64.77 billion in 2012, 33 per cent above N48.69 billion recorded in 2011. Bank loans jumped by 357 per cent from N3.19 billion to N14.56 billion. With the paid up capital unchanged at N169.8 million, shareholders’ funds rode on the back of retained earnings to N11.30 billion in 2012, 13 per cent above N10.03 billion posted in 2011.

Efficiency Total Nigeria was straddled between declining top, mid and bot-

tom-line margins. Average margin was flat, although average productivity improved. Average number of employees increased by two persons from 472 persons to 474 persons. Total staff cost increased from N4.72 billion in 2011 to N5.23 billion in 2012. Average cost per staff thus increased from N10 million to N11 million. Average pre-tax profit per employee meanwhile improved from N12.41 million to N15 million. Total cost of business, excluding financing charges, was flat at 96.5 per cent.


Liquidity The liquidity position of the company remained tepid with marginal improvement in current ratio counteracted by negative working capital. Current ratio, which broadly indicates ability of the company to meet emerging financing needs by relating current assets to relative liabilities, improved slightly from 0.88 times in 2011 to 0.90 times. The proportion of working capital to total sales stood at -2.9 per cent in 2012 as against -3.2 per cent in 2011. Debtors/creditors ratio stood at 31.6 per cent in 2012 as against 35.7 per cent in 2011.

Total Nigeria recorded a mixed grill with declining margins counterbalancing outward growths. Turnover rose by 25 per cent from Governance and structures N173.95 billion to N217.84 bilTotal Nigeria was incorporated lion. The top-line was driven in 1956 as a private limited liabilmainly by impressive 27 per cent ity company and became a public growth in the main petroleum limited liability company in 1978. products business segment, which Total Nigeria is a subsidiary of rose by 27 per cent from N153.93 French multinational and Europebillion to N196.07 billion. Cost of leading oil company-Total S. A. sales outpaced total sales’ growth There were some changes on the with 26.5 per cent increase from board and management of the comN1151.53 billion to N191.63 bilpany. Mr Momar Nguer became the lion. Gross profit thus rose by 17 chairman of board of directors. Mr per cent to N26.21 billion in 2012 Francois Boussagol meanwhile reas against N22.42 billion. Total mains the managing director. Tooperating expenses increased by 13 per cent from N16.37 billion to N18.56 billion. Non-core business income grew by 49 per cent from N687 million to N1.02 billion. Interest expense jumped by 80 per cent from N875 million to N1.57 billion. With these, profit before tax rose by 21 per cent from N5.86 billion to N7.1 billion. Profit after tax also grew by 22.5 per cent from N3.81 billion to N4.67 billion. Earnings per share thus increased from N11.23 in 2011 to N13.76 in 2012. The company increased gross dividend by similar margin from N3.06 billion to 2008 2009 N3.74 billion, indicating earnings per share of N11 for 2012 as against N9 in 2011. Dividend cover was however flat at 1.25 times. Net assets per share stood at N33.29 in 2012 compared with N29.53 in 2011. Beyond the surface, underlying profitability ratios were generally negative. Gross profit margin dropped from 12.9 per cent to 12 per cent while profit before tax margin slipped from 3.4 per cent to 3.3 per cent. Return 2011 on total as12 months sets dropped from 10 per cent to 9.3 per 153,928 cent. Return on equity 173,949 was however 151,530 higher at 41.3 22,419 2008 2009 per cent as 16,372 against 38 per 687 875 5,859 Fiscal Year Ended December 31 2012 3,813 % 1,123 Financing structure 3,056 Equity funds/Total assets 14.9 900 Long-term liabilities/Total assets 3.7 2,953 Current liabilities/Total assets 81.4 Debt/Equity ratio 128.8

Fiscal Year Ended December 31 Nmillion

2012 12 months

% change

Profit and Loss Statement Main Business Segment Total turnover Cost of sales Gross profit Operating expenses Interest and other incomes Finance expenses Pre-tax profit(loss) Post-tax profit (loss) Basic earnings per share(kobo) Gross dividend (Nm) Cash dividend per share (kobo) Net Assets per share (kobo)

196,072 217,844 191,632 26,211 18,564 1,023 1,572 7,098 4,671 1,376 3,735 1,100 3,329

27.4 25.2 26.5 16.9 13.4 48.9 79.7 21.1 22.5 22.5 22.2 22.2 12.7

18,864 20,331 10,459 55,736 76,067

13.6 11.1 3.5 37.9 29.5

16,599 18,292 10,103 40,428 58,720

33,138 14,560 61,951 2,814 64,765

17.2 357.1 34.5 6.7 33.0

28,264 3,185 46,056 2,638 48,694

169.8 11,302

0.0 12.7

169.8 10,026

Balance Sheet Assets: Fixed assets Total long term assets Trade debtors Current assets Total assets Liabilities: Trade creditors Bank loans Current liabilities Long-term liabilities Total liabilities Equity Funds Share capital Total Equity Funds

tal Nigeria broadly complied with extant codes of corporate governance and best practices.

cent in previous year.

Analyst’s opinion The latest audited report and interim report of Total Nigeria underlined the need for a careful consideration of the business strategy of the company. While sales growth is commendable, and should be sustained, the company needs to realign its costs to optimise sales into tangible returns to shareholders. Besides, the company faces a looming challenge of financial mismatch with expanding loan book gradually eroding the bottom-line. The first half report for 2013 clearly illustrated this. With 2,613 per cent increase in interest expense from N21.99 million in first half of 2012 to N596.60 million in first half 2013, both actual and underlying profit measures turned negative. Profit before tax dropped from N4.81 billion to N4.47 billion while profit after tax declined from N3.27 billion to N2.98 billion. Average profit before tax margin dwindled from 4.38 per cent in first half 2012 to 3.81 per cent in first half 2013. The company needs to address the disconnect between the top-line and the bottom-line.







2011 % 17.1 4.5 78.4 31.8

Profitability Gross profit margin Pre-tax profit margin Return on total assets Return on equity Dividend cover (times)

12.0 3.3 9.3 41.3 1.25

12.9 3.4 10.0 38.0 1.25

Efficiency Pre-tax profit per employee (Nm) Staff cost per employee (Nm) Cost of sales, operating exp/Turnover

15.00 11.03 96.5

12.41 10.00 96.5

Liquidity Current ratio Working capital/Turnover Debtors/Creditors

0.90 -2.9 31.6

0.88 -3.2 35.7





•A dignosed Aircraft, (insert) are the activities taken place at the Airport.

Aerotropolis: A new job spinner T HE concept of aerotropolis or airport cities have become drivers of economic development creating several millions of jobs for a diverse category of professionals anywhere it has been introduced across the globe. Key among the professional category are airline pilots, airport managers, retail shop operators, marketing professionals in manufacturing, distribution and other ancillary services. The project, when executed, will open a window of new job opportunities for pilots as more airlines, including the proposed national carrier will key into this project. As more airlines are expected to operate from the airport city, air traffic controllers, aircraft engineers, avionics technicians, airline economists, catering and hospitality specialists, car hire and travel management experts, travel agents and agencies, bureau de change operators and others will be engaged in this venture.

The Federal Government intends to construct aerotropolis, otherwise known as airport cities in five states. The project has the potential to create over 2.5 million jobs, reports KELVIN OSA OKUNBOR.

Some levels of proficiency/competency will be required to function in this new endeavour. Prospective job seekers under the initiative will require requisite training. More pilots will be required to drive the success of the project. This means thr various training institutions responsible for training pilots have to be strenghthened so that more personnel will be trained. Some level of industry certification is also required to fit properly into this ambitious

project. The regulatory agency, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been issuing licences to some qualified professionals in this area. Apart from issuance of licences, over 100 airport managers are being trained and retrained in exchange programmes abroad between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN), the Manchester Airport

‘For young graduates, seeking employment opportunities in the airport city project, it is time to acquire additional industry skills including getting all the certification in the technical areas such as type rating for pilots, cabin crew and aircraft engineers’

and South Africa airport authority in order to assure the success of the project. Over the last two years, many experts have been seeking certification as airport managers so they could readily fit into the new airport project. Training institutions approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), have stepped up training in many areas such as flight dispatchers, loaders, aviation security, passenger profiling, ground handling management and others to take advantage of the project and earn decent living for themselves. Perhaps, it is pursuant to the implementation of this project that the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCo) recently opened a training centre to offer capacity building in many areas of cargo and passenger handling to the public. For young graduates, seeking employment opportunities in the airport city project, it is time to acquire additional in•Continued on page 38




Aerotropolis: A new job spinner •Continued from page 37

dustry skills including getting all the certification in the technical areas such as type rating for pilots, cabin crew and aircraft engineers. For several other unemployed graduates that are not necessarily technically-inclined, they could find job spaces by getting trained in hospitality management. This is because hotel chains will emerge around the airports to cater for both local and international passengers. Marketers will also be needed to drive the sale of tickets and other products offered by the various airlines that will take advantage of the project to roll out services. Cleaners and other services providers that require little or no formal skills acquisition at all will also find an opportunity to eke a living off the project. Airport Cities The concept of Airport Cities has been receiving international attention over the last 15-20 years. Airports have moved from small facilities catering for the needs of a few who could afford airline travel to a thriving hub catering for millions of customers per year. Each year, Melbourne International Airport caters for 20 million passengers passing through their terminals while still expecting significant growth over the coming years. This means that the equivalent of the entire population of Australia pass through the airport every year. This many passengers translate into a customer base that rivals large shopping

centres. Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam was one of the first to realise that its airport was no longer a transport hub. But with the introduction of on-site retail-office-hospitality accommodation-industry the airport transformed the area which now attracts rents greater than in down-town Amsterdam. In addition to the development with the airport, significant supporting businesses and infrastructure began to cluster around the airport and a greater range of businesses began to consider Schiphol Airport as a prime destination to do business. Same level of transformation will be witnessed in Nigeria when the project is finally streamed. In other parts of the world, airport cities have generated huge job opportunities, Nigeria’s could therefore not be an exception. In the United Kingdom (UK), Manchester Airport’s parent company MAG has submitted plans for the £650 million development of a major new commercial location – including offices, hotels, manufacturing centres, retail outlets and leisure facilities – to attract global businesses to the Northwest, creating 11,400

•President Goodluck Jonathan

•Aviation Minister Stella Oduah

•FAAN Managing Director Mr George Uriesi

jobs. Airport City Manchester is the core element of the government designated Enterprise Zone surrounding the UK’s third busiest airport. It aims to compete with other airport city or aerotropolis projects outside the UK, such as at Munich, Barcelona and Amsterdam; which are attractive to multi-national companies that require business space in a location that gives high accessibility to the global marketplace. The project aims to attract investment and provide new employment opportunities for Wythenshawe residents. Em-

ployment, education and training programmes are underway to maximise the use of local labour and supply chains. In India, country’s first airport city, Durgapur Aertropolis project, will create 90,000 jobs over the next nine years. The promoter of the project, Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL), is also looking to construct an aircraft maintenance repair overhaul facility for narrowbodied aircraft next year. Over the next nine years, the airport city will create 90,000 jobs. The airport-city project aims at combining the development of city infrastructure and urban de-

velopment. There are many examples throughout the world where international airports have turned an ageing economy into revitalised hi-tech economy and a growth region. The development of airports beyond a key piece of transport infrastructure is occurring worldwide. Airports are transforming themselves into airport cities and in the process they are having a significant impact on local and regional economies. Airports are seeking to maximise non-aeronautical income from a range of activities including the development industry, warehousing, hospitality, office buildings, accommodation, residential and even the refinement of natural gas in the case of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It is hoped that when the aerotropolis project in finally implemented in Nigeria, it will help reduce the number of people in the labour market and grow the national economy.

‘For several other unemployed graduates that are not necessarily technicallyinclined, they could find job spaces by getting trained in hospitality management. This is because hotel chains will emerge around the airports to cater for both local and international passengers. Marketers will also be needed to drive the sale of tickets and other products offered by the various airlines that will take advantage of the project to roll out services’


Are you getting the ‘dirty ear’ when you network? Whether you’re job searching or just trying to keep your current job, there are few things every professional should know when they network. Don’t be lazy – Are you doing all that you can to be successful?


N the road, your expertise is far from being enough. For everybody on the road, “It’s not about your making a mistake; it’s about someone else making one for you.” Job hunting is that kind of economy. Some thoughts… Stop being beige

There’s no use sitting back in the corner, wearing beige, and leaning up against a beige wall, hoping no one will get around to firing you. That’s not how it works. Every manager has a list and is looking to cross off names – the closer to invisible you are around the workplace, the easier it is to make you disappear from the payroll. Work one degree from the profits Remember that thing about “six degrees of separation”? Well, in corporate life, you want

By Olu Oyeniran

to think about degrees of separation from profits. If your work generates revenues that result in profits, odds are you’re going to be fine. Then, one degree of separation out, if you’re one of the people that profit-producers say they couldn’t live without, you might be OK. But if you work for somebody who works for somebody who works with somebody who generates profits… well, get yourself a reserved parking spot at the best Business Center around you because you’re going to be printing out a lot of resumes. (Emergency escape route: If you are known for figuring out how to cut costs, rather than merely being a cost, then you’ve moved within one degree of separation.) Do you know how you can help your employer make money or save money or grow business? Don’t put your head in the guillotine and wonder how it works There are still plenty of companies that are thriving, and you need to be in one… fast. Don’t put ypurself in this situation: A guy was working for a family business that’s losing

over N15m a month. So he was asked, “How’s the job hunting going?” He replied, “I’m waiting to see how things play out.” Well, a week later he called to say he’d been laid-off – that’s how things played, OUT. In other words, he’d let himself become a hardworking slacker – a job search slacker. If he asked you for opening jobs, won’t you think, could I recommend a guy who dumb enough to lay his head in the guillotine and wonder how it worked? …..toss off the old “dirty ear” ( Just say, “I’ll keep my ear to the ground.” Be a bargain Dare to be a lousy negotiator. This same guy had always bragged about how he got paid more than he was worth. Well, those people who most skillfully squeezed their employers are the first ones cut – you got two people doing the same job and you’re paying one twenty percent more, who ya gonna cut? Everyone wants a bargain – don’t be afraid to be one. The guy above could probably use this advice Yes, we’re in an economy where you don’t have to make a mistake – somebody will make one for you. Time to put the “work” in “networking.”


LTHOUGH your appearance is not the most important thing in a job interview, it could be critical. Applying too much makeup or having the wrong accessories can hurt your chances of getting the job. Here are tips to consider before your next interview. 1. Wear something you’re confident in First of all, if you never wear a dress, costume, or skirt in your leisure time, you should not start wearing one for an interview. There are also fashionable business clothes from Lipsy London out there if that’s more your style. During an interview, it’s always better to stay true to yourself since you are very excited (and sometimes even insecure). 2. Find the right shoes Feel as comfortable as possible – even if it’s a challenge to find the right shoes for a job interview. They should neither make you nor your legs extremely long, as you want to convince with your skills and not your looks, right? (And twisting your ankle when stepping into the office might not be the most professional look, so just keep it on the down low.) 3. Dress like your future colleagues or better still future bosses If you don’t know if a business suit and heeled shoes will be the right choice, sit down in a nearby café a couple of days before your interview and take a look at your (hopefully) future colleagues – what are they wearing? Is there any fashion trap you might step into with your choice so far? 4. Don’t wear too much makeup When it comes to makeup and accessories, you should use as much as necessary but as little as possible – everything distracting the interviewer from your personality and

Interview fashion tricks skills might end in some attempts to flirt, but surely not in a serious conversation or labor contract afterwards. Of course – nobody should ever take a wedding ring off and if you have skin problems because of pimples, you will surely feel better using some light concealer. But there is no need for smokey eyes and pink lip gloss, so just underline your natural beauty a bit without exaggerating the usage of your vanity case. 5. Don’t wear too much jewelry This apply to both men and women. Of course more to men than men. Heavy rings, necklace, ear-ring, handchain is a no, no. In fact, it is better avoided completely for men- even if you use then in your current job. Even for women, clanging bangles, beads that makes you look like a cultural ambassador is out of it. 6. Be conservative with your hair Punky, Coloured hair style, won’t work, as they are not usually acceptable in office settings. Women has some latitude, yet normal and conservative is safer. So, good luck for the next interview – keep in mind to stay true to yourself and you will not have to blame yourself afterwards if it goes wrong, because then the company did a mistake! •Oyeniran is Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Associates. He can be reached on Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).




How far can Nigeria go without plan-based MTEF, annual budgets?


HE Minister of Finance is re quired by section II of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 to prepare the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), for approval by the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly ahead of the presentation of the budget for the following year. These two documents provide the basis for the annual budget planning, they contain a macroeconomic framework that indicates revenue and expenditure estimates. The documents also provide underlying assumptions for the projections, evaluation and analysis of the previous year’s budget and overview of consolidated debt and potential fiscal risks. However many of the projections of the 2014-2016 MTEF are rather pessimistic; this article interrogates some of these assertions and proffers alternative perspectives. Global economic outlook is more upbeat The 2014 -2016 MTEF/FSP document painted an overtly pessimistic view of the global economy as well as the domestic economy. The global economic outlook for 2014 seems brighter than the MTEF admitted. The world economy started showing signs of recovery in 2010 and has remained so since the economic and financial crises of 2008 and 2009. Contrary to the assertions of the MTEF, the OECD projections of September 2013 reported the economic growth projections of USA at 1.9 per cent for 2013 and 3.2 per cent in 2014. The Chinese economy is also projected to grow at 7.8 per cent in 2013 and 8.4 per cent in 2014. The average growth rate of African economies is projected at 5.2 per cent in 2014. However, the Euro Zone economy remains fragile with projected growth rate of - 0.6 per cent. In the same vein, the MTEF document did not pay adequate attention to Nigeria’s major trading partners such as the BRICS nations that are currently the major drivers of bilateral trade and growth in Sub Saharan Africa. Bilateral trade between Nigeria and BRICS nations has been on the increase in recent times. Therefore, the emphasis and reliance on our traditional trading partners i.e. Japan and Euro zone economies as basis for the impact of world economy outlook on the 2014-2016 MTEF though conservative is overtly misleading. Indeed China is projected to surpass the Euro Area in a year or two and the United States in a few more years, to become the largest economy in the world, and India is projected to overtake Japan in the next year or two and the Euro area in about 20 years (OECD, 2013). With these forecasts, there are reasons for cautious optimism that the world economy will recover further in 2014 as against the depressing position of the Ministry of Finance.

Performance of economy goes beyond GDP growth The Nigerian economy has been reported as “resilient experiencing a robust growth of 6.58 per cent in 2012 compared with average global growth of 3.1 per cent”. Inflation is also reported to have declined to single digit of 8.4 per cent as at end of June 2013 from 12.7 per cent in May 2013. Other indicators like interest and exchange rates have been reported as stable with annual declining fiscal deficit, improved sectoral growth rates particularly in agriculture, wholesale and retail trade. All things considered; the fundamentals of the economy appear good. Obviously the current administration is not without some economic achievements; most notably is the maintenance of fiscal stability against volatility in oil revenue. In particular, the establish-

By Olubunmi Adetunmbi

ment and continuous management of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) provided a fiscal cushion for the country. However, it must be noted that ECA was supposed to be hedging against international volatility in oil prices and not fall in oil revenue owing to crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism which in themselves are indicative of a systemic failure of governance. Otherwise why would there be increased incidence of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism at a time multi-billion naira pipeline protection contracts were allegedly awarded to former Niger Delta militants and war lords. Unfortunately, despite the much touted successes in macroeconomic fundamentals, it remains unknown why there is no marked improvement in employment and direct social-economic benefits to the population. The unemployment rate is reported at 29.6 per cent up from 12 per cent in 1999, while the figure is as high as 40 per cent in some states of the federation. The incidence of poverty is also high, with absolute poverty rate estimate of about 62.6 per cent. Currently, Nigeria is ranked 158 out of 186 countries on the HDI scale, Nigeria’s is making unimpressive progress towards the attainment of MDG goals and holds a potential risk to an Africa drag down at the regional level. Irrespective of the sexy external validation of the state of the economy by international rating agencies, the acid test of the performance of the economy is the index of welfare of the citizens after all; the raison d’être of government is to secure lives and property and promote the welfare of the citizens. The 2012 and 2013 budgets failed to meet expectations With two consecutive budget failures, it’s time for a rethink the effectiveness of our MTEF and budget processes. By admission of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), a total of N4.697 trillion was appropriated for Federal Government expenditure in 2012 out of which N4.131 trillion (or 88 per cent) was utilised for personnel costs, overheads, debt service, statutory transfers and capital expenditure. Out of this amount, only 71.6 per cent of N1.017 trillion released for implementation of the capital budget was utilized as at the end of the year. This translates to a capital spending of N728 billion or 17.6 per cent of total appropriation for the year. The implementation of this year’s budget has not shown any better performance. As reported in the MTEF and FSP, as at the third quarter of the year, N850 billion of N1.621 trillion (52.4 per cent of total capital expenditure) or 17 per cent of total appropriation has been released for capital spending. The repeated failure of FAAC in ensuring timely disbursement state allocations has made most states handicapped in meeting their financial obligations in the absence of dependable Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). All these portend dangerous signals for the political economic stability of the country. The fiscal strategy for 2014- 2016 not realistic The claim that Fiscal Strategy for

• Senator Adetunmbi

2014–2016 is premised on macroeconomic stability, structural reforms, governance and institutions, and investing in priority sectors are questionable. The proposed approaches, current and expected success in job creation, reforms in the power and housing sectors and correction of imbalance between recurrent and capital expenditure are arguably weak and unconvincing. In the area of job creation, it will be an impossible mission for the any Government, least of all the Federal Government, to rely on initiatives such as YouWin and Graduate Internship Schemes to generate the quantum of employment required in the economy. Ultimately, the private sector of the economy will have to be relied upon for the solution to our unemployment problem by way of providing the enabling environment to the sector. Nigeria ranks 131 out of 185 in the 2013 Doing Business Survey; this has not improved from the 2012 ranking. The agricultural transformation is very much at its early stages and its adoption by states is still low largely due to its poor understanding and underestimation of the federalist nature of the relationships between central and state governments. On power generation, the amount spent between 2011 and 2013 juxtaposed against the additional 2500 kilowatt generated suggests humongous contract inflation and poor score of “money for value” proposition. What is the kilowatt per capita in Nigeria compared with other countries? According to the World Bank figures to which our Minister of Finance must be very familiar, on electricity Power Consumption, Nigeria at a meager 135 Kwh per capita compares poorly with Angola 242; Cameroon 258; Ghana 295; India 626; Brazil 2,381 and South Africa 4,803. Perhaps the MTEF could provide details of the 10 cities enjoying power for 18 hours, what is the ratio of their population to the total population and how geographically wide spread are they. The policy of predicating the reforms in the housing sector on mortgage financing will not bridge the current housing gap

which is estimated at over 17 million units. It will only limit mortgage financing to a few salary earners who can afford it. The Government may have to look at the social aspect of housing as it is done even in some advanced countries of the world such as the United Kingdom which takes care of the less privileged and the vulnerable In respect of correcting the imbalance in the ratio of recurrent and capital expenditures, from a previous analysis of less than 20 per cent for capital spending, the Government should accept failure. There is nothing to show sincerity in reducing the ratio of recurrent/ capital expenditure as shown in the fiscal projections of share of capital as percentage of total expenditure of 22.22 per cent, 28.38 per cent and 28.69 per cent for 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. What it means is that the little efforts made by the Government to rationalise Government parastatals may have been dumped. What these portray is simply that the Nigerian economy is driven by consumption. If the Federal Government is truly serious about personnel cost reduction, why the reluctance of the executive to implement the Oronsaye Report on harmonisation of over 800 MDAs many of which perform overlapping functions? The growing debt and debt service is worrisome Nigeria’s external and domestic debts stand at $6.67 billion (or N1.07 trillion at the exchange rate of N160.00/USD) and N6.49 trillion respectively bringing the total debt to N7.56 trillion. The projection in the FSP is that our debt will be serviced with N712.0 billion, N684.0 billion and N684.0 billion in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. What happened to the Sinking Fund established in the 2013 budget? The reality of the situation is that our debt and cost of servicing them have become a burden on our resources on an annual basis, while the infrastructural gap is also increasing. Fiscal consolidation is a policy aimed at reducing government deficits and debt accumulation, in other words it is a movement from deficit budget to surplus budgeting.

‘The implementation of this year’s budget has not shown any better performance. As reported in the MTEF and FSP, as at the third quarter of the year, N850 billion of N1.621 trillion (52.4 per cent of total capital expenditure) or 17 per cent of total appropriation has been released for capital spending’

How effective can MTEF & FSP without a plan be? Ideally the MTEF document should originate from a national development plan with clear objectives, outcomes and performance indicators. Just like its preceding editions, the 2014-2016 MTEF/ FSP is not very explicit on whether or not it is based on a medium term plan. From the onset of this administration, the FMF has relied on the transformation agenda which in turn is based on the first National Implementation Plan (NIP) of 20112013. It is not clear how much of that plan was achieved and there are speculations of abysmal nonimplementation of the 1st NIP. Yet Nigerians were treated to a midterm celebration of the achievements of the transformation agenda. The controversial report of the first NIP needs to be made public and Nigerians need to know if the 2014-2016 MTEF is based on the second NIP or not. It is claimed that MTEF and FSP are underpinned by the 1st NIP that is scheduled to end in 2013. The second NIP which is supposed to be the basis of the 2014 – 2016 MTEF and FSP is yet to be prepared. In other words, the MTEF and FSP 2014 -2016 do not relate to any plan, this once again, exposes the vulnerability of our 2014 annual budgets to a predictable failure in the absence of well articulated multi-year planning and budgeting system. From all indications, we do not have a PRSP or sectoral plans as the MTSS has been abandoned since 2005. The appraisal, costing, social and economic analysis of projects and programs are not done and therefore the budget cannot simply deliver any concrete result without these fundamentals. Ideally the MTEF should be drawn with strong inputs from the Medium Term Sector Strategies which is currently not in place. The document talks without any empirical basis on strategies for key sectors such as power, health, agriculture, education, housing, transport and security. The complete absence of specifics on how these will be achieved and what outcomes are expected makes the whole 20142016 fiscal policy framework seems banal. What have we done differently in new MTEF that will yield results from MTEF 2013? The current approach of Ministry of Finance prioritizing releases without clearly defined sector plans and detailed analysis of capital projects is the exact opposite of the case in Brazil and India where MTEF and budgets are based on multiyear plans and well analysed capital projects and programmes with measurable economic and social benefits. Common sense dictates that we cannot continue to do the same thing year in year out and expect a different result. Conclusion The MTEF and budget presentation to the National Assembly for approval and appropriation have become a yearly ritual without concrete outcomes. The MTEF and FSP for 2014-2016 will most likely, end up with annual budget failures unless it is re-worked and based on a well articulated medium term plan. The National Assembly must avoid the temptation of approving the new MTEF without a rigorous review that is based on informed input from competent economists and public finance experts. Beyond the rhetoric on a jobless GDP growth, plan-based budgeting remains another legacy that this administration can bequeath a future “Coordinating Minister of the Economy.” •Senator Adetunmbi of the APC, Ekiti North, is Vice Chairman, Senate Interior Committee and Member National Planning Committee



Taxation Change in accounting date: Tax implications


IFFERENT and sometimes challenging business decisions can force companies to change their accounting dates. Sometimes regulatory pronouncements such as that issued to banks post consolidation to have a uniform year end was anevent which saw all banks in one fell swoop change their different accounting dates to December. While some companies have adopted calendar years, some others use fiscal years, which method is adopted is subject to tax implications. Whereas in the United States the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must give permission for companies to change their accounting dates especially to tackle tax avoidance, and may take as much as 10 years to effect another change in some cases,it is not yet so in Nigeria, an area which should be addressed. However, a lot of companies still do not know that there are tax implications to change of dates in their accounting period beyond the approval they get from their shareholders to do so. The FIRS being aware of different methods applied by tax consultants and tax officers in the treatment of changes in accounting dates, with each method yielding different results in under-assessment or incorrect assessments levied on taxpayersissued a circular in February 2006 as a guide to officers who have responsibility for filing and assessment duties, and those who may be required, as a matter of duty to carry out preliminary reviews on tax returns submitted by companies as well as officers vested with audit responsibilities, who from time to time will come across cases of change in accounting dates in the course of their audit assignment. Changes in accounting dates There are a number of reasons why a business may wish to change its accounting date and these reasons may include: i) The need to synchronise the accounting date of a subsidiary with that of the holding company. ii) The convenience of stock taking at a particular period of the year. iii) A business may take over the operation of another and as a result wish to change the accounting date of the company taken over to that of its own. Where a change in accounting date takes place, be it a sole trader, partnership or a limited liability company, the provisions of section 29(4) of the CAP 21 LFN of 2004 will apply. The Act provides that the tax authorities have the power to decide the basis of computing the tax liability for the year in which the change occurs and the two following years of assessment. As should be expected, the tax official will base his decision on the best advantage to the tax authority. It is important to note that the three relevant years to be considered are: i) The assessment year in which the accounting date becomes different from the date of the earlier years. This is known as the year when the change occurred. ii) The next two years of assessment following that in which the change occurred. In practice, calculations are made on both the old and new dates. The greater of these two aggregates will be the likely choice of the revenue authority. Years involved in the tax computations Whenever a request for a change of accounting date has been approved, the company making the change shall be assessed to tax through a special process of determining the basis of assessment. This process requires com-

Illustrations Example 1 Julius Blake Nigeria Limited has been in business for many years. It has for a long time prepared its annual accounts up to April 30. In 1996, it decided to change its accounting date to October 31. Available figures showed its adjusted profits as follows: N (No. of Months) Year ended 30/4/1995 450,000 12 Period ended 31/10/1996 830,000 18 Year ended 31/10/1997 590,000 12 Year ended 31/10/1998 600,000 12 You are required to compute the correct assessments for all the relevant years in the light of the change in accounting date. Solution • Acting Executive Chairman, FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed Mashi

‘There are a number of reasons a business may wish to change its accounting date and these reasons may include’ By Frank Obaro

putations for three relevant years. Where the year of cessation is involved (ultimate year) in these three relevant years, the request for a change shall not be approved. However, where the year immediately before the year of cessation (penultimate year) is involved in these three relevant years, the request may be approved by the FIRS, depending on other evidences before it.

Julius Blake Nigeria Limited Computation of assessment Note The last account submitted before the change was April 30, 1995. Therefore, the year of change is 1996. The three relevant years are therefore 1996, 1997 and 1998. a) Original Assessments (Based on old Accounting date of April 30) Year of Assessment Basis Period Assessment 1996 P:Y.B(1/5/94-30/4/95) N450,000 1997


b) Assessment procedure on change of accounting date For an on-going business, current assessment is based on preceding year basis. But whenever there is a change of accounting date, a normal accounting period may not have ended in the year of change. This is so because when there is a change of accounting date, it is either that an account is prepared for more than twelve months to the new accounting date or even less than twelve months to the new accounting year end. The FIRS will often adopt the following procedures to determine the assessments for the three relevant years: i) Identifying the first year in which the business has failed to make up the accounts to its usual accounting date. ii) Identifying the two years immediately following the year of failure. iii) Computing assessable profit for the three relevant years based on the old accounting date (on preceding year basis). iv) Computing assessable profit for the three relevant years based on the new accounting date (on preceding year basis). v) Adding up the assessable profits for the three years in (iii) and (iv) above separately. vi) Selecting the higher of the two profits added up in (v) above.

1/5/95 – 30/4/95 12/18 x 830,000


1/5/96 – 30/4/97 (6/18 x 830,000) + (6/12 x 590,000)


Assessment Based on October 31.

Year of Assessment Basis Period Assessment 1996 1/11/94 – 31/10/95 (1/11/94-30/4/95) + (1/5/95-31/10/95) (6/12 x 450,000) + 6/18 x 830,000) N501,667 1997

1998 c)

P.Y.B. to 31/10/96 1/11/95 – 31/10/96 12/18 x 830,000


P.Y.B. to 31/10/97


Summary of assessments Year

1996 1997 1998

Old date of April 30 N 450,000 553,333 571,667 1,575,000

new date of October 31 N 501,667 553,333 590,000 1,645,000

Conclusion The Revenue will choose to raise assessments on the basis of the new accounting date as it results in greater assessment.

Monday, October 14, 2013





• Dr Jonathan

• Okurounmu

• Sani

• Prof. Sagay

Nigerians are still divided over the proposed National Conference. While a section has hailed the proposal, another has expressed caution and reservations because of the timing. Assistant Editor LEKE SALAUDEEN highlights the conditions for a credible and successful national dialogue.


What manner of national conference?

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s proposed National Conference has not been taken hook, line and sinker. Although some stakeholders have applauded the President for his sensitivity to the strindent calls for it, others have expressed reservations, based on past experience. The timing has been faulted, even by pro-National Conference agitators. However, some people also believe that Nigerians can insist on some conditions for the dialogue to become credible and successful. For decades, pro-National Conference advocates have argued that, Nigeria, a homogeneous society, can be re-negotiated bybthe ethnic nationalities. They believe that the former colonial master had decided to amalgamate them into a country without due consultations. Also, they argue that economic interest motivated the colonial authorities to lump them together. After, the amalgamation, the country wobbled on in disunity. The Governor-General between 1920 and 1931, Sir Hugh Clifford, described Nigeria as “a collection of independent native states, separated from one another by great distances, by differences of history and traditions and by ethnological, racial, tribal, political, social and religious barriers”. This description vividly captures the problems of Nigeria. Under normal circumstances, the amalgamation should have provided a firm basis for establishing closer cultural, social, religious, and linguistic ties. Instead, there were division, suspicion, unhealthy rivalry and disparity in development. The ethnic nationalities have a grouse. They claim that they have not made inputs into, accepted or rejected any constitutional framework through a referendum. Thus, the advocates of consitutional conference have always disputed the basis for peaceful co-existence.

Conference without sovereign powers A university don, Dr Tunde Ogunyemi, described the proposed national conference as step in the right direction. But he faulted President Jonathan’s approach, saying that, by hand picking the 13-member advisory committee headed by Dr. Okunrounmu, the conference will lack a “sovereign status”. Ogunyemi said the national conference is not the prerogative of the President, but the responsibility of all Nigerians. The Obafemi Awolowo University teacher said, before the announcement, the President should have consulted the critical ethnic groups, including the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Ijaw National Union, and other political interest groups. “The planning should involve the critical mass of the population, who are found in ethnic representation, such as Afeifere, Ohaneze, Ijaw union, Arewa Consultative Forum and political leaders. They should also include technocrats, bureaucrats, lawyers, medical practitioners, academics, technical personnel on defence, foreign affairs and religious groups. “The President missed the point in setting up the planning committee without carrying the people along. It is unexpected because this government is known for taking decision before thinking. It hardly consults on critical issues before making pronouncements,” he added. Despite the shortcoming, Ogunyemi implored Nigerians to embrace the idea to rebuild the collapsing foundation. He said this is necessary to move away from the brink and to prevent the experiences of Rwanda, Burundi, Sri- Lanka, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia in Nigeria. A lawyer, Tony Emordi, observed that many have deluded into thinking that the conference is critical to the resolution of the

country’s problems, unmindful of the fact that the fashionable political theory being badied about in the country today is thatpast conferences have failed to achieve this objective. Emordi noted that Nigeria had wasted billions of naira on constitutional debates and constitution making without success. He feared that the current exercise may end in fiasco, unless lessons are drawn from the experience of the past. Critics are worried about the prospect of a national conference without “sovereign power”. They argue that, without a sovereign power, the conference resolutions may end up in the archives. Civil rights activist Shehu Sani has labelled the proposed conference as diversionary and a waste of time and resources. According to him, any decision taken the conference is not binding on the people. He said Nigerians are not asking for a mere conference, but a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) that will give teeth to all issues that will be discussed and the outcome of such conference must be respected. His words: “Nigerians are not just asking for a conference, but a sovereign one. It is not the usual conference that will come out with a communiqué, but a conference with a resolution that is binding on the Nigerian people. “Right now, the country is operating under the military constitution authored by the Abacha and Abdulsalam military regimes. We need to use the opportunity of our centenary to freely discuss all issues that bother the Nigerian state, to strengthen our unity, democracy and enhance the wellbeing of our people”. Emordi also shared this view. He reiterated that the Sovereign National Conference is the only option left to save the country from disintegration, adding that that it should be convoked as quickly as possible. Emordi said the primary duty of the SNC is to address and find solutions to the key problems afflicting Nigeria, since 1914. “The concern is to remove all obstacles, which have prevented the country from establishing political justice, economic justice, social justice, cultural justice, religious justice and to construct a new constitutional framework in terms of the system of government-structurally, politically, economically, socially, culturally and religiously. “The SNC is to rebuild the country from scratch and establish a new constitutional structure for a new Nigeria where every ethnic group will find succour; and where the masses, the neglected, the persecuted, the deprived and the cheated will find solace”. But Professor Itse Sagay (SAN) urged Nigerians not to be carried away by the proposal. He said that it is painful that the conference lacks a sovereign power. Yet, he advised Nigerians to embrace it because it is better to start from somewhere. Sagay said: “If it is National Conference without sovereign powers; it is okay, it is a good development. Although a Sovereign National Conference is preferable, what is important is that there is the need for the people to sit down and dialogue on the problems affecting the country. We have never really met to discuss the future of our country. But we were compelled to live together, first by the colonial administrators, and later by the military that

‘Nigerians are not just asking for a conference, but a sovereign one. It is not the usual conference that will come out with a communiqué, but a conference with a resolution that is binding on the Nigerian people’

foisted constitutions prepared by them on us. “It is necessary for us to meet and decide for ourselves how we want to live together, how we want to move the nation forward. It is then, that peace and tranquillity would prevail and there would be development. According to Sani, government needs to be educated about the sovereign conference. He said: “A sovereign conference is not a talk-shop; it is also not a musical gathering. It is anassembly of Nigerians to discuss issues and come up with the best possible means of addressing and proffering solutions to problems. There is no need for us to hold a conference that its decision would not be binding.”

Agenda for National Conference Many stakeholders want the conference to deliberate on everything under the sun. They frown at the attempts to erect no-go areas. To them, the unity of Nigeria is negotiable. Ogunyemi raised a 10-point issue for deliberation at the conference. He noted that the structure of Nigeria is faulty with 19 states in the North and 17 in the south. The criteria for state creation, according to him, should be the people, and not the land mass. He said the one per cent allocation from the Federation Account for the development of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, contradicts the Supreme Court’s ruling that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to finance Abuja from its 53.8 percent allocation. The one percent special allocation to FCT is illegal, he said. On education, Ogunyemi wants the tertiary education to be exclusive to the Federal Government. State governments should concentrate on primary and secondary education, while the proliferation of private universities should be curtailed to enhance quality’, he added. Ogunyemi also observed that the governors, who are the chief security officers in their states, lack the power to command state police commissioners. He stressed the need for state police. He also suggested that the 36 states should be grouped into six autonomous regions, with their own constitutions, recalling that that was the structure in the First Republic. Ogunemi advocated a cut in the power of the President. He described the President as the most powerful leader in the world, pointing out that he controls the army, the police, customs and immigration, Central Bank, the Federation Account, and Prisons. He canvassed for the delition of indigeneship from the constitution, saying that emphasis should be on citizenship.The Federal Government, according to him, should devolve more responsibilities and funds to the states. The centre should hands-off from railway, roads and prisons, he added. Sani urged the conference to address the issue of ideology, that is, what should be the ideological direction of Nigeria; the relationship between the federating units, especiallyon the issues of economy and political power distribution, production of a new constitution for the country and social welfare programmes. He said it should also discuss and resolve the character and nature of the economic system for sustainable improvement in the material lives of the ordinary people. The conference, according to him, should be concerned with establishing an economic system that will guarantee economic rights for the rich and poor. “The ordinary people must enjoy the right to work or unemployment allowance in the absence of jobs, cost-free housing, education, health, water, and electricity in a restructured polity. The access to social services by the masses should be regarded as fundamental rights.




‘Aliyu has no presidential ambition’

The Secretary to the Niger State Government, Saidu Kpaki, spoke with reporters in Minna, the state capital, on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crises and face-off between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Babangida Aliyu.


S Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu actually eyeing the Presidency? The Chief Servant is not after President Jonathan’s job as speculated by some people. This country returns to the general elections every four years to choose who should pilot the affairs of the country. So, every four years, the President’s job is declared vacant for a general contest. Those who claim that the Chief Servant was or is after President Jonathan’s job are mischief makers, who are bent on pitching two illustrious academics with doctoral degrees against one other. I don’t know whether you have heard anything new, but what I can categorically say is that in 2015, the Presidency will be declared vacant and Dr. Jonathan, just like every other Nigerian like the Chief Servant, will be free to lay a stake to it. This is the beauty and essence of democracy. Has the governor performed well in office? Without going into rhetorics, I make bold to say that this administration is anchored on planning and performance. When the present administration came on board in 2007, the education sector was in shambles and near total collapse. Due to his passion for education, the governor swung into action with the creation of the Ministry of Tertiary Education and the Ministry of Basic Education. This has gone a long way in transforming the education sector in the areas of management and provision of infrastructure, which to a large extent, ensured the enrollment of our children and better performance in public examinations. The government also declared free education for all pupils/ students in public schools, notwithstanding their states of origin, embarked on the payment of the NECO and WAEC fees for these students, a project which has received commendation by parents and other stakeholders. On health, this government was determined to take health care delivery close to the people. For instance, the administration carried out the construction of three new 110-bed hospitals at Gulu, Sabon Wuse and Nasko and equipped them with mod-


ern equipment. The rural hospitals at Bangi, Kutigi and Kuta were also upgraded to the status of general hospitals. The IBB Specialised Hospital, Minna, was also upgraded to a specialist hospital with full compliments of resident consultants. The administration declared free medical services for pregnant women, the aged and sickle cell patients. It also purchased and distributed free 1,700.000 insecticide treated mosquito nets to

‘I can categorically say is that in 2015, the Presidency will be declared vacant and Dr. Jonathan, just like every other Nigerian like the Chief Servant, will be free to lay a stake to it. This is the beauty and essence of democracy’

people in the 25 local government areas of the state and carried out free eye surgery for 11,500 eye patients in Minna, Bida and Kontagora. 4,000 other patients had their sights restored after undergoing cataract surgery under the full sponsorship of the state government. The major focus of the administration in the last six years is to turn agriculture to a moneyspinning and employment-generating venture. Government has purchased over 258 tractors and other implements for use by small and large scale farmers. Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu is currently implementing the multi-million naira rice programme, which will make the state the largest rice producer and exporter in Africa. In the area of infrastructural development, Minna and other towns are now wearing new looks. The present administration constructed some roads, such as Kutigi-Fazhi, BatatiDabban, Bonu-Gurara waterfalls, Luma-Babana, Industrial lay-out, Minna, AP-KpagunguKeteren-Gwari, Mu’azu Mohammed Road and Zarumai –Onigbinde Road. Government also purchased heavy equipment for road construction, which was given to all the local government councils. The Ward Development Projects initiated by the administration is a new approach and innovation to participatory democracy through projects identification and execution at the grassroots. Through this, the Chief Servant brought a new innovation to governance in the country, where people at the grassroots would initiate their own programmes and participate actively at every level of implementation. In its bid to make housing assessable to the majority of people at affordable rates, the administration has constructed 1500 housing units in Minna,Bida, Kontagora and Suleja. Does the governor has a succession plan? As far as I am concerned, the Chief Servant is not going away today or tomorrow. He still has about two years. So, we are expending our energies in milking more resourcefulness from him.

Ubah has prospect in politics, says aide By Augustine Avwode, Assistantl Editor



HEAD of the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State, some stakeholders have thrown their weight behind the ambition of Ifeanyi Mr.

Ubah, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP). But observers have pointed out that, although he is a strong personality, LP is perceived as a weak platform. Ubah is facing formidable opponents-Senator Chris Ngige, who is the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, and Chief Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The Deputy Director, Ifeanyi Ubah Media Campaign Organisation (IUMCO), Emmanuel Ibeleme, however, said the outcome of the poll will shock many people. He hinged his calculations on some factors, including the endorsement of Ubah by

many groups and associations. “Dr Ifeanyi Ubah has the brightest prospect and chances of winning the November 16, governorship election. He is the only candidate that has the endorsement of all the critical stakeholders. As we speak, Dr Ifeanyi Ubah is the only candidate that has been endorsed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), both at the national and the state levels. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the widows, the physically challenged, and traders”, he said. Ubah flagged off his campaign last month in Onitsha, where he declared his manifesto. His speech was titiled:“Freedom Plan Agenda for Ndi-Anambra”.

All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Hon. Monsuru Owolabi is a member of the House of Representatives. He spoke with reporters in Lagos on national issues. Correspondent MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE was there.

‘PDP has no plan for Nigerians’


S the House of Representatives living up to the expectation? The House is doing a fantastic job and I must commend the leadership qualities of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, and other principal officers. The contribution of the current House to issues of national importance, such as the fuel subsidy debate, constitution amendment debate, the political crisis in Rivers State and other issues, is robust. Of course, because of our large number, which is 360, there can be disagreements. But we disagree to agree and that is the hallmark of leadership. Let us look at 14 years of democratic rule under PDP. How would you describe the journey so far? We are in 14 years of democratic rule. But let me say here that the PDP has dragged Nigeria backwards for 28 years. Nigerians have suffered long enough under the PDP. It is a selfish government that does not care about the welfare of Nigerians. What area can you pinpoint where PDP has excelled? Is it in terms of bad roads, poor health care service delivery and poor educational system? Look at the educational sector. Our students have been idling at home for the past two months, due to the insensitivity of this government. Nigerians can no longer walk freely on the streets in their country because of the fear of being kidnapped. Also, they cannot sleep with their two eyes closed, due to insecurity challenges. If there is insecurity, how will the foreign investors come? Also, look at the issue of power supply. Nothing tangible has been achieved, despite trillions of naira and various reforms in the power sector. Most of our industries have relocated to other African countries like Ghana, Cotonou and South Africa. Yet, we are saying there are no jobs. 14 years of democratic rule under PDP is a waste. What should Nigerians expect from the APC, if it becomes the next ruling party in Nigeria? The emergence of the APC is the best thing that has happened to this country. In fact, it is long overdue. The coming together of these parties could have happened eight years ago. All those who are now coming together under the APC have sacrificed themselves, their time and resources and they have been at the vanguard of ordinary people, in terms of trying to elevate the living standards of these people. I congratulate our leaders, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and General Muhammadu Buhari, and other eminent personalities for taking this unenviable task in rescuing Nigeria and Nigerians from the clutches of power mongers and enemies of true democracy. Nigerians should expect a different form of leadership under the APC. They should expect to be governed by a government, which places the interest of the country above their personal concern. A progressive government that will eradicate corruption and other vices that are inimical to the growth of democracy and will usher in a true change, prosperity and justice. The PDP believes that minor differences will polarise the APC? Is this a fair assessment? The PDP’s thinking is faulty. To them, three or four people coming together with different ideologies and political background is impossible. That is why they keep saying there will be in-fighting and disagreement within the APC. But unknown to them, we are all determined to move the nation forward, no matter the challenges we may encounter. No one ever said coming together of different political parties will be an easy task and that is why the leaders of these political parties deserve commendation for agreeing to let go of certain positions, so as to make the merger a success. The PDP never believed the APC will see the light of the day. In fact, they believe the party will not be registered in the first place. But against all odds, the APC is here to stay. To me, I think it is all about give and take. You take A and I give B and we move forward. Understanding of one another and putting party interest, ahead of personal interest, too is very important. It is not compulsory that I become the President of the country. If I am interested in becoming the President and the party supports another candidate, all I need do is to bury my ambition and back the candidate put forward by the party. That is one thing they lack in the PDP. To them, it is about me, me and me. They are always thinking of what to benefit, instead of what will be of benefit to Nigerians. Do you see Nigeria gravitating towards a two-party system, unlike the current multi-party system we operate? Well, with what is happening at present, I cannot really say that Nigeria is tilting towards a two-party system like we have in the days of the NRC and SDP. This is because other parties will still be registered by the INEC and these parties will want to contest in the forthcoming elections. Also, we have other parties that are duly registered and are still operating. Also, don’t forget that the Supreme Court recently unbanned some parties that were deregistered by INEC. If these political parties decides to join forces with the APC to confront the PDP, that is when we can say Nigeria is moving towards a two-party system. What about the smaller political parties, do you see them making any impact in the next general election? All these mushrooms political parties will, in no distant time, collapse into the APC. They will join forces with theAPC and it is just a matter of time. Many of these political parties know that they do not have what it takes to win election, both at the state and national levels. Also, with the intractable crisis in the PDP, many of them will not want to join them because they know they will be used and dumped. Tell me, which sane political party will want to enter into alliance with the PDP today? They have been in power for 14 years; no single political party has entered into any form of alliance with them. Is it now that they are polarised and divided that any political party will want to enter into any agreement with them? What has been your major contribution to your constituency? As a politician, I know the primary reason why I am in the National Assembly, which is to represent my constituency and to make laws for the country. Let me add here that Nigerians are good people. They know it is not all politicians that are selfish and do not have their interest at heart. If you come to them and pretend that you love them in or•Owolabi der to get their votes, they know.





Split-folding rear seats and a universal garage door opener are now standard features for BMW 5 Series models. Auto giant, Coscharis Group, has unveiled the Bmw 5 Series Lci (F10 Lci) in Lagos. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO reports.

•BMW 5 series

innovative and high performance luxury cars like the BMW 5 Series LCI (F10 LCI).

BMW 5 Series: Sporty, elegance

Interior Design Both drivers and passengers will be quite pleased with the 5 Series’ cabin. There is nothing particularly fancy going on, but the overall look of the dash is clean, thanks to the standard iDrive interface that eliminates the need for a gaggle of buttons. The layout features a center display screen and a configurable display in the gauge cluster. The iDrive controller provides a large amount of customisation of the car’s features, though we think Mercedes’ comand system is still a little easier to use overall. Opting for the navigation system is recommended, as its screen is larger and much better-looking than the standard center display. The front seats are quite comfortable, with the optional “multicontour” seats in particular providing an unmatched degree of adjustability. In back, there is enough room for a pair of six-foot adults to be comfortable, and the backseat is nicely contoured and padded. The trunk, at 14cubic feet of luggage capacity, is smaller than average for this segment.


N the last 40 years, the BMW 5 Series has been in production in its various iterations, it has come to define the midsize luxury sedan market, and for good reason. A steady stream of improvements and innovations, plus an admirable blend of comfort, craftsmanship and performance, has set this midsize BMW apart from the middle-of-the-road cars in its market segment. The latest BMW 5 Series proudly carries on this tradition, although its core message of performance has been obscured by luxury. When this generation of the 5 Series debuted two years ago, it took to the stage with larger dimensions and a decidedly more relaxed personality. For those who put a premium on comfort and space, the compromise was certainly justified. But don’t think for a second that the BMW 5 Series is a laggard. Even the entry-level 528i’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine has the decisive response of an inline-6, yet delivers 28 mpg in combined driving. For those who put a greater emphasis on power, the 535i with its turbocharged inline-6 and the 550i with its V8 will surely satisfy one’s cravings. Then there is the raucous M5 with its raucous twin-turbo 560horsepower V8 (a model covered in a separate review). The only exception is the Active Hybrid 5, which hardly seems to justify its marginal fuel savings at its high price. For those in the market for a midsize luxury four-door would also do well to check out some of its competitors. The rare driver who yearns for the days of BMW’s “ultimate driving machine” will find that spirit alive and well in the 2013 Audi A6 and, to a lesser degree, the 2013 Lexus GS 350. Others who seek even more luxury will likely find the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Jaguar XF to their liking. The car was launched in Lagos last Thursday,

•Interior of the car

courtesy of Coscharis Group. The group’s President/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Cosmas Maduka, told motoring journalists, that the car defines a perfect and unique balance of sporty and elegant design, performance and efficiency, driving experience and driver orientation “Today, Coscharis Motors has enthused the BMW brand’s market leadership in their respective segments and this is driven by the premium luxury orientation of the current BMW philosophy of joy: the story of BMW 5 Series LCI (F10 LCI), a car designed to lead,” Maduka said. According to him, the successful BMW 5 Series story continues with the new lifecycle model introduced in May, 2013. “No major changes, he continued, “have been made to the already stunning exterior of the car. However, the interior is more advanced than ever. “As a matter of fact, this car as encapsulated in its Communication campaign is designed to

lead and this aptly epitomises the Coscharis’ philosophy: captivating our customers and prospects through a combination of aesthetics, quality and comfort in sales and after-sales deliveries. “The BMW 5 Series LCI (F10 LCI) basic features include parking assistant (turns narrow into wide); active cruise control (turns rush hour into leisure hour); traffic jam assistant (for some it’s rush hour, for you the driver, it’s time to enjoy the scenery); night vision (turns night into day) and head-up display (turns confusion into clarity). “In other words, BMW 5 Series Sedan defines a perfect and unique balance of sporty and elegant design, performance and efficiency, driving experience and driver orientation, and these complement the Coscharis brand.” Maduka reaffirmed Coscharis’ commitment to provide the highest levels of customer service for the BMW brand, in line with international quality standards and to serve its customers, who seek


Standard safety equipment for the 2013 BMW 5 Series includes stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry in wet conditions and automatically snugging the brake pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which includes automatic crash notification, an emergency response button, remote door unlock and stolen vehicle recovery. When equipped with active cruise control, the 5 Series comes with a pre-collision system that can warn the driver of the possibility of rear-ending a vehicle ahead. If a collision is imminent, it can also automatically apply the brakes. A lanedeparture warning system and a blind-spot monitor are optional. The night-vision system is capable of displaying possible hazards that are otherwise out of regular headlight range.




Tata introduces cars


ATA Motors has launched new ranges of cars - Tata Manza and Tata Vista in Lagos. The cars feature latest technology and digital intelligence imbibed in premium cars. The cars possess iPod compatibility, Bluetooth, 90 power engine, hydraulic power steering and dual tone horn. The flip and fold rear seats, height adjustable driver seats, power windows, socket for mobile charger, storage space under front passenger seat, MP3/ CD player, electrical diminishing unit for rear windscreen and prismatic (Anti Glare) IRVM are embedded in the cars. The safety feature include childproof locks on rear doors, ventilated front disc brakes, remote central lock, antitheft device immobiliser, ignitioncum-steering lock, transponder type key with ignition cut-off, adjustable lumbar support for front seats, air conditioning heating and demisting independent front and semi independent rear suspension and rich upholstery which are specially designed for rough roads.

ABC gets chair


LEADING commercial transport operator, ABC Transport Plc, has announced the election of Prince Olumide Obayomi as Cits Chairman. Prince Obayomi was elected the Chairman at the 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company in Owerri. He joined the company’s board in February 2006 as a representative of Capital Alliance Private Equity Funds (CAPEs), the private equity funds that invested in the company in early 2003. Following the final exit of the fund’s investments in the company in early 2008, he was elected a director in his private capacity at the company’s AGM in August, 2008. He replaces Dr Alloysius Nwaogwugwu, who retired as a director and chairman of the company. Prince Obayomi’s boardroom experience spans the telecoms, financial services, media, hospitality and entertainment, agriculture and agro-allied, transport and logistics, outsourcing and oil and gas sectors.


N the history of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has been rated as the most accomplished governor. As much as I also rated him above his predecessors, I am not yet impressed with his handling of the Transport and traffic systems in Lagos State. If in the past six years of his Excellency’s administration in the state, there are still high rates of Street traders, hawkers, traffic logjam caused by motorcycle and tricycle riders in areas where they are still permitted, road blockage cause by vehicles seized by the Nigerian Police authorities, transport touts (agbero), Driving against the traffic, wrongful use of siren by unauthorised people, failure of commercial vehicles to ply only the routes and lanes meant for them. All these are pointing to the facts that the government is guilty of doing some things they need not do and fail-

•Officials of Stallion NMN Limited and Nissan South Africa with the Nissan GT-R at the celebration of Stallion NMN Limited as the new Nissan brand custodian and national sales company.


OSCHARIS Group has launched the MINI brands in Nigeria. The MINI brands include the Hatch, Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Coupé and the Roadster. Paceman will be unveiled before the end of the year. According to Coscharis President/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Cosmas Maduka, the launch is part of the firm’s drive to reinvent the company and their auto brands’ portfolio. “We are showing that we have the potential to continue exploiting the high value-added auto sector. Since 2001, the MINI brand has been part of the BMW Group and is today the most exciting pre-


Coscharis launches MINI brands mium small car brand in the world. MINI is represented in more than 100 countries, including Nigeria by Coscharis Motors and has sold over 2.4 million cars until December 2012,” he said. Maduka said MINI combines an agile ‘Go-kart’ handling as its most natural characteristic with cutting-edge efficiency and uncompromising premium quality. MINI, he said, has established itself around the world as a symbol of urban driving fun and an indispensable element in its driver’s mobile lifestyle. Initially, MINI had

only one car concept – its core model the MINI. Over the last 10 years, the one car concept grew and matured to a whole product family. He said: “The fundamental idea and philosophy in developing the classic MINI, was to combine compact exterior dimensions and generous spaciousness within the interior comfortable and sporty driving behaviour as well as fuel-efficiency. “Today, we can boldly say that Coscharis Motors has moved up a notch or more on the value-added scale with the introduction of the

MINI brand to the Nigeria market. “It is immensely popular among a growing community of MINI aficionados all over the world. And applying the high standards of quality, technology and safety consistently upheld by the BMW Group, MINI, more than ever before, underlines its claim to leadership in this segment.” According to Maduka, Coscharis Motors shall endeavour to provide the highest levels of customer service for this elite brand, in line with international quality standards.

Kewalram releases new buses, trucks

EWALRAM Nigeria Limited, the distributor of Foton Daimler Auman brand of

trucks, and Foton View brand of minibuses, have released new trucks and buses into the market. The 16-seater buses and Auman trucks were presented to the motoring journalists in Lagos. According to Kewalram Executive Director, Mr Raju Sawlani, the trucks were manufactured by Daimler AG and Foton Motors. Sawlani boasted on the quality standards of the products to suit our environment. He said the company has delivered


ANA Motors Limited, the sole distributors of KIA Motors in Nigeria, has launched a new promo ‘Buy Now, Pay in 2014’ in partnership with Access Bank.

500 trucks to Dangote Group, adding that it was the first phase of a deal. He stressed that the target of the company was to control about 20 per cent of the truck business in Nigeria within few years. “We intend to challenge the biggest player in the industry,” he stated, adding that it was paying adequate attention to its after-sales service. He said the firm would attend to any breakdown from its customer within 24 hours. Kewalram, he said, decided to bring in the View K1 buses in order to give Nigerians a new and affordable option in the commercial vehicle segment.

The vehicles, according to him, are wide-body high roof 16 seat air-conditioned buses, equipped with Mitsubishi 2.4 litre engine, ABS, airbags, made especially for long distance comfortable and safe travel. Sawlani added: “Kewalram Nigeria Limited is offering complete transport solutions by sales, service, spare parts, warranty, finance, training and accessories for Foton commercial vehicles to the satisfaction of its customers. The company achieved its first milestone by delivering 500 units of FotonDaimler Auman double axle trailer heads to Dangote Cement Limited early this year. “Kewalram Nigeria has selected

Kia unveils new promo Through the promo, auto lovers could drive away KIA of their choice and not worry about financing until after the holidays.

“As per the scheme, a moratorium period of up to 90 days exists wherein customers have to begin paying the first instalment

the vehicle models carefully based on local operating conditions and considering its years of experience in automobile business in Nigeria.” Meanwhile, the company says it is running a sales promotion scheme to providing quality vehicles at an affordable price. “In this scheme, the company is offering substantial discounts on Foton Daimler make Auman heavy duty trucks to motivate customers buy brand new vehicles. The promotion will be ending in October 2013. The company has partnered with all major banks in Nigeria for providing finance facilities to its customers at competitive terms,” it said. only in 2014,” said Mr Sandeep Malhotra, a senior official of Dana Motors Limited. “Customers seeking auto loan are supported with fast approvals, low interest rates and easy documentation,” he added.


Fashola and traffic chaos in Lagos ing to do some things they ought to do. I hereby suggest the following to further solve the traffic problems in addition to the measures already put in place which are currently crying for unbiased enforcement. •Responsible plain cloth men and women should be commissioned by the state government to secretly monitor traffic and the activities of LASTMA officials in every part of Lagos. A data bank should be created where these plain cloth observers can be sending information and photographs to, for necessary actions. When a driver or LASTMA official does not know whether the per-

son sitting or standing close to him or afar off is a secret observer, there will be a high degree of caution. Review of penalities for traffic offences The high fines for traffic offences should be drastically reduced with the following additional measures put in place: •Anyone booked either by LASTMA officials or the secret traffic observers should be compelled to go to an accredited driving school for corrective training programme (Theory and Practical) for a little fee. After the training, such driver or vehicle owner will be issued with a certificate of professional competence. • If after the corrective training, the person commits another traffic offence again,

apart from the second corrective training, his or her driver licence should be withdrawn or his vehicle particulars should not be renewed for one year. • Commercial vehicle drivers and Riders should be compelled to go to designated driving schools for capacity building training programme (Theory and Practical driving), not just the theoretical training which will do less in equipping them with the requisite safe driving skills. •The use of the land use charges in should be reviewed. I advise the Lagos government of faithfully commit 50 per cent of the Land use charges collected in every community (not per local government) to develop that community in terms of the provision of roads and road infrastructures. This

Jide Owatunmise Registrar / Chief Executive, Professional Driving and Safety Academy will enhance the development of the communities, promote easy traffic, make the government more responsive and motivate the Landlords and tenants to promptly pay their land use charges. •To be continued next week
















'Lagos' energy conservation campaigns yielding results'


HE Lagos State government has said its energy reform initiatives are yielding positive results. This is coming after a series of energy conservation campaigns at various city malls across the state. The campaign, an initiative of the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, is being implemented by the Lagos State Electricity Board (LSEB). It is aimed at imbibing energy conservation habits in residents. In a statement, LSEB Communications Specialist, Chain Reactions, Nigeria,

•Fashola (right) discussing with Frazier.

Lagos, Microsoft partner on e-governance


AGOS State has signed an agreement with the United States (U.S.) technology giant Microsoft Corporation on how technology can be used to improve service delivery in the state. Governor Babatunde Fashola, who led a delegation to the firm's Redmond Headquarters in Washington, said the agreement was an egovernance platform to deliver quality services to Lagosians. He said the agreement was anchored on four cardinal programmes, namely: Implementation of a citizen relationship management platform leveraging on

By Lucas Ajanaku

existing call-centre infrastructure; provision of Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to support the Lagos State Health Insurance Initiative; IT skill development and affordable mobile devices; and being a premier partner under the Microsoft 4 Africa initiative, which is centered on entrepreneur support. Fashola said Microsoft would train 100 Microsoft certified applications support personnel, to support the Lagos State government and other states in Nigeria to implement Microsoft

applications. He said e-governance would enable the government to offer services to the people and monitor the performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through smart phones. It will also help the government to monitor projects, especially the medium-term budgetary objectives of Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing (PATH). The governor said the platform would be used to answer queries from citizens regarding the state's services, initiate transactions and communication without

coming to the secretariat. These initiatives will begin in April next year. The governor was accompanied on the trip by the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Biyi Mabadeje; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs. Nike Animashaun and the Director-General, Financial Management Bureau, Ahmed Mustaphan. Microsoft General Manager Jeff Fraizer, who signed on behalf of the firm, said the company would finance and implement IT support infrastructure for the state's community health insurance programme.

Fashola urges pilgrims to be careful on Mount Arafat


AGOS State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola has urged Nigerian pilgrims in Mecca to be careful as they climb the Mount Arafat today. Fashola, who was represented by Dr. Nosiru Onibon, spoke in Mecca yesterday. Over 3,000 pilgrims from across the world will stand on Mount Arafat today to seek God's forgiveness for their sins. Fashola said the mountain

From Oluwakemi Dauda, Saudi Arabia

was a good place for meditation and prayers, urging the pilgrims to make good use of the opportunity. He urged the pilgrims to note what Prophet Muhammad said during his last sermon on the hill called Jabal al-Rahman (Mountain of Mercy) on Mount Arafat, where the Prophet said there was no race or tribe among

Muslims. Quoting the Prophet, Fashola said: "Do not oppress and do not be oppressed." The governor said male pilgrims wear white seamless garments and sandals to represent the unity and equality of all before God. The surrounding of Mount Arafat is crowded with pilgrims taking pictures with their mobile phones, cameras and iPads.

At sunset today, the pilgrims will go to Muzdalifa, where Muslims believe prophets before Prophet Muhammad once prayed. There, they will collect pebbles and go to Jamrat tomorrow, where they will symbolically stone the devil, which marks the start of Eid-il-Adha (feast of sacrifice), when Muslims slaughter rams. According to Islam, each able-bodied believer must make the pilgrimage once.

Rep, ex-envoy preach peace as Muslims celebrate Sallah


MEMBER of the House of Representatives, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, and former Nigerian Ambassador to Canada Dare Bejide have urged Muslims to tolerate adherents of other religions. In their congratulatory messages to Muslims on tomorrow's Eid-el-Kabir celebration, they urged religious leaders to preach peaceful co-existence to their followers. In a statement by his media Aide, Ahmed Salami, Bamidele urged Nigerians to stop making inflammatory comments about people of different faith and live in peace.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

The chieftain of the All Progressives Party (APC) in Ekiti State said: "If we examine our country critically at this moment, religion has divided us more than politics. This did not just come to the fore. It was caused by the comments of some of our leaders, who always talk in a way that suggests that one religion is superior to others. "As much as the two major religions in the country Christianity and Islam - have only one focus, which is praying to Almighty God or Allah, I do not think it is fair for anyone to hide under religion to perpetrate evil.

"I want Muslims and Christians to reassess themselves, find out where our nation has gotten it wrong and prayer for its redemption, so that its lost glory can return soon. Religious bigotry will do the country no good." Bejide, in a statement by the Director-General of his campaign organisation, Abiodun Bamiteko, urged the Federal Government to

empower the Nigerian InterReligious Council (NIREC) to discharge its duties effectively. Bejide, a governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, hailed Muslims in the North for supporting the Federal Government to rid the region of terrorists through the civilian Joint Task Force (JTF).

Jehovah's Witnesses start convention


EHOVAH's Witnesses have started their annual convention in Ilerin, Ilesa, Osun State. This year's edition is themed: God's Word is Truth. In a statement, their

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

spokesman, Mr. P.A. Oyebisi, said the convention, which is in four series, will hold from October to November at the Assembly Hall in Ilerin, Ilesa.


By Ambrose Nnaji

Ms. Ophylia Ibekwe, said the board was enlightening residents on the benefits of conserving energy in their homes and offices. She said at the campaigns, residents were taught how to calculate their energy consumption with the energy calculator and know how much they could save by turning off appliances when they are not in use. Ms. Ibekwe said residents could win prizes and energy conservation goody bags during the campaigns. The next campaign will hold on Saturday at the ecenter in Yaba, Lagos.

New numbers for Osun buildings

UILDING in Osun State will be renumbered soon. This is part of the urban renewal programme of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration. A private firm, Ekinakol, will handle the project. The company's spokesman, Mr. Ojo Olarewaju told reporters in Osogbo, the state capital, that the renumbering was necessary due to the "rapid growth" in the state in the last three years. Olarewaju said the project would be funded by corporate organisations,

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

adding that residents and the state government would not pay a dime. He said the re-numbering would be done in phases, with the first phase covering about 10,000 houses in the Government Reserved Areas (GRAs) in Osogbo and other major communities. Olarewaju said: "What happened to the old numbering system would not be allowed to happen in this new scheme. We will do it distinctively and ensure that the aesthetics is improved for added value."


Chimieze Olusabioku ; A 13 years old boy was last seen on July 29th 2013 all effort to locate him prove abortive.

Anybody with useful information about his were about should contact Mr. Patrick Chukwudum his guardian on 08034061047 or at No 4 John street off AIT Road Alagbado or the nearest police station.

Chimieze Olusabioku




PDP crisis: Faction alleges plan to blackmail Jonathan Continued from page 2

•Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Dr Anselm Umoren (right),asking candidates questions during the sacrament of confirmation at the St. Luke Catholic Chaplaincy, Gwagwalada, Abuja…yesterday

Jonathan’s motives suspect, says Tinubu Continued from page 2

the President to deliver a genuine national conference”. He went on: “How credible, reliable and capable is the current President to be able to midwife a critical conference, such as this? Will this President be sincere enough to let all the issues that are on the agenda be exhaustively discussed at the conference? Will this President have the guts to implement fully all final resolutions of the conference, without fear or favour or any pandering”? The former governor alluded to the events that heralded the announcement of a conference by the President, recalling that despite the previous opposition to it by the legislative and executive arms, the President suddenly made the announcement, following its endorsement by Senate President David Mark, who had also criticised the agitation, barely three months earlier. Noting the change of heart by the President and the Senate President, he said: “I, like other wellmeaning Nigerians, must welcome this shift. It is an admission, at last, that the wide cracks in the national fabric can no longer be papered over, and that the time has come for fresh thinking on fundamental problems, the existence of which has for too long been denied.” Tinubu’s opposition was informed, according to him, by historical experience and the government’s shortfalls in sincerity and capability. He said: “This is an adminis-

tration that has been known to have flip- flopped on so many critical issues of national importance. President Jonathan was part of two issues of national importance in the recent past; amnesty and the Uwais Panel on electoral reform. We all know what has happened to these two issues. “The amnesty conceived from inception has been corrupted and hijacked by the President’s clique. It is one of Nigeria’s drain pipes. A slush fund for political expeditions and a conduit to siphon money to the boys. The Uwais Panel report gathers dust and suffers from constant cherry picking. What about the much-publicized SURE-P initiative of this administration? “Another ill-conceived and fraudulently implemented programme of this administration. Billions of naira have so far disappeared into private pockets and the treasury still bleeds. I can go on and on. Is this the leader we want to trust with organising a national dialogue or is it conference they call it? Where is the capability? Where is the sincerity? Where is the presence of mind?” Stressing that sincerity is fundamental, the APC leader added: “It is difficult to lay aside the suspicion that his sudden conversion is all about 2015. Otherwise, why the sudden endorsement of a National Conference, not merely in principle, but with a rush toward some form of implementation? What has happened that was not already in play in all those years during which the au-

thorities rejected demands for a National Conference? This government cannot hold a National Conference anymore than a comatose man can stand and hold up a candle that the rest of us might see our way to a better Nigeria.” Tinubu also raised some posers for the organisers of the conference at a time the polity is preparing for the next elections. He asked: “Would staging a National Conference in such a setting not overheat the polity? Would it not be better to defer the Conference until after the general elections? There is still so much to do to ensure that the election is free and fair, conforms to best practices, and represents the will of the people.” Tinubu suggested some conditions for the convocation of the conference to prevent it from becoming another public relations ploy to whitewash government’s tarnished record. He said: “If the conference must be held now, we must return to the spade work already done by the Obasanjo government in the aspect of constitutional review. Let the Jonathan government bring it out, remove the third term toxic component and set up a technical review committee to examine the 118 recommendations therein. The process came up with 118 recommendations, most of which were far reaching and dealt with critical and the contentious issues of nationhood. We must continue from where we disagreed. Nation building is a pro-

gressive work and to totally jettison the considerable spade work already done will set back the hands of the clock.” Secondly, Tinubu advised that the Uwais recommendations on electoral reforms be implemented. “That report was the work of eminent Nigerians and it was done after widespread consultations with constituencies far and wide. We all know that our electoral system is broken and unfair. If the President has done nothing to fully implement this corrective report that would fix a system so blatantly broken, why would he implement recommendations of national conference if those recommendations do not suit his narrow purposes? “The government should first implement this important work in order to demonstrate to Nigerians that it can hold and honon the outcome of a National dialogue. This government should do so to show that it has nothing to hide and is willing to engage in the upcoming electoral contest on a level playing field.” Tinubu said while he agreed that “Nigerians need to talk, the midwife must be trustworthy”, adding that “if we get this wrong, the future will be fraught with dangers”. He also said that “Nigeria is adrift and unless we start a discourse aimed at updating and improving our political economy and its structures, we might wake up one day from a night devoid of dreams because we have turned into a nation devoid of hope”.

holding peace meetings with the Baraje-led PDP, shows that Tukur is working at cross purposes with Mr. President. “To call a spade a spade, it is tantamount to anti-party activity and exposes Tukur’s hypocrisy and vindicates our stand that he is an obstacle to peace in our great party. “If indeed a disciplinary committee has been set up by Tukur, we make bold to say that he should be the first with his illegal NWC members to appear before it for usurping the office of the national chairman of our party even when he is not legally a member of the party; as he did not revalidate his membership of the party during the 2011 revalidation exercise. “We commend our brother, Chief Olisa Metuh, the former National Publicity Secretary of our party, on his theory of institutional memory loss. Ironically, Metuh was referring to himself as he succeeded in exposing his ignorance about the party he assumes to be speaking for.” The statement went on: “How can any sound member of PDP describe a party that still has Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President of the Federal Republic, as a member as not knowing the history and records of the party? “For the record, Atiku Abubakar, apart from being a principal member of the PDP, also recruited both Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Alh. Gambo Jimeta,

CBN, NDIC takeover NERFUND over N5.7b loss Continued from page 2

tween N1 million and N5 million each. President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the takeover of the management and control of the agency. A statement from the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Daniella Nwaobia said “the decision to take over the management and control of the Fund followed the President’s approval of the recommendations of the CBN and the NDIC Joint Special Examination report on the books and affairs of the Fund.” Mrs. Nwaobia lamented that the capital invested in the institution by the Ministry of Finance had been completely eroded, with losses standing at N5.7 billion. The Fund, the report added, had not been able to service loans tak-

ASUU chiefs allege threat to lives Continued from page 2

ASUU members are not security threats to the nation, added that citizens are guaranteed freedom of association. He urged the Federal Government to leave its leaders alone and implement the agreements it reached with the union for normalcy to return to university campuses. “The position of ASUU is that Nigeria is a democratic country and citizens are guaranteed freedom of association. Members of the union are apprehensive for the lives of their leaders. We urge the government to leave our leaders alone. Our leaders are our servants; we are their principals; they report to us on all matters. Rather than chasing shadows, government is, once again called upon to implement the FGN/ASUU 2009 agreement. Only this will bring members to their classrooms,” Ajiboye said. At UI, ASUU executives disappeared from the public shortly after last Thursday’s Congress. Most of them have switched off their phones.


ASUU: no more dialogue with Suswan’s committee

CADEMIC Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) National President Dr. Nasir Faege has said the strike will continue. He said the union was ready to negotiate with any other body, besides the Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam’s committee . The Suswam committee, he said had nothing good to deliver. Faege said: “The strike continues even if government is threatening to do the worst. There is no more dialogue with governThe secretariat of the union has been deserted. The Deputy Director of Information and Public Relations of the National University Commission (NUC), Ibrahim Yakasai, defending the salary stoppage, said the directive was not a policy but a law that affects all sectors of the economy, adding that it had been in the constitution for a long time. His words: “It’s a law in this country that if you don’t work you will not get paid. But the government was magnanimous enough to pay their salaries for

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

ment, if the 2009 agreement is not approved. But we are willing to dialogue with anybody towards meeting ASUU’s said agreement. That is the truth. “Our doors are open towards addressing these problems. If anybody invites us, we will be there. The only dialogue that we will not attend is that with the Suswam committee. ASUU has vowed not to listen to that committee again. The struggle is on and we are waiting and hoping that government

a month or two when they started the strike. After everything that has been done, the lecturers don’t want to go back to work; so, the law must be applied,” he said. Mr. Yakasai lambasted the lecturers for collecting salaries in the first place while on strike. “Let’s watch and see how far they can go with this strike. In any case, why would anyone want to pay someone that is not working? Should they even have accepted the salaries in the first instance? In fact, what are salaries for? It’s for work to be

will do what is right so that we will go back to our classes and start lecturing. “Many students have been calling me in support of the ASUU strike and they want government to listen to us and that we should not call off the strike until the 2009 agreement is met. The condition of the universities is nothing to write home about.” On the ‘no-work no-pay’ issue, the ASUU boss said: “The Federal Government has not been paying. That statement is not applicable now since we have been working without pay.”

done,” he said. Unless 2.5 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was allocated to education, recurring industrial action by workers in the sector would not cease, Greg Mbadiwe, the deputy chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Safety and National Security, has said. Urging a compromise between the government and the striking lecturers, Mbadiwe said: “A major problem that must be addressed is the underfunding of the education sector and that

Senator Jonathan Zwingina and Chief Joel Madaki, among others, to the party in 1988 through Chief Nat Yaduma. “Metuh should properly research into the records of people in the Baraje-led PDP before trying to deceive Nigerians with his lies arising from institutional memory loss.” The faction also said if the Umaru Dikko committee was actually serious with its task, it should immediately start to investigate why Tukur, whom it described as a non-member of the party, should be elected national chairman. “If this step is not taken, the committee should try and save the nation from looking at our party as a funny and unserious group by dissolving itself on its own accord. “In this regard, we still maintain that all actions assumed to have been performed by Tukur since his assumed election in 2012 as our party national chairman stand null and void and of no effect. “This includes the last disputed special convention of the party where somes of the aides of President Jonathan who were not delegates voted to elect the outgone NWC of PDP,” the statement added. The Baraje faction expressed disappointment with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for turning down its, saying however that Chapter IV, Section 40 of the Constitution recognises the right of its members to associate amongst ourselves.

Nigeria must agree to commit at least 2.5 per cent of our GDP to education. Anything less will only amount to scratching the surface. “The current ASUU strike has gone on for more than three months with no end in sight as both government and ASUU are stubborn… The chasm only seems to be widening by the day, with claims and counterclaims. “The sole victim is Nigeria and the beneficiaries are Ghana and other neighbouring countries and for those who can afford it in Europe and America.”

en for on-lending from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Ministry of Finance and other sources. The new management team appointed by the Ministry of Finance is headed by Mr. Muhammad Gidado Kollere of the NDIC as Managing Director/ CEO and Mr. Ihua Elenwor of the CBN as Executive Director (Operations). The team is to oversee the affairs of the institution for an initial period of one year. It has been mandated to, among other things, mount an aggressive recovery of all outstanding loans, overhaul the Fund’s records, reconcile all accounts with correspondent banks and render quarterly reports to the Board of the Fund, headed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance.

IRS plane in air incident Continued from page 2

their safety and (to) caution against magnifying a manageable incident out of proportion.” IRS Managing Director Mr. Yemi Dada said the maintenance crew “inspecting, to confirm the cause of the warning to the crew.” The Kaduna incident came nearly two weeks after the crash of the Associate. Aviation’s flight 361, an Embraer 120 plane, carrying the body of former Ondo State Governor Olusegun Agagu and 20 passengers and crew from Lagos to Akure. Fourteen people died in the crash, which a preliminary investigation said was caused by pilot’s error. After that crash, there was another incident involving a Dana Airline, which made an air return on its Port Harcourt route. The airline’s licence was suspended by the Ministry of Aviation to enable it investigate its operations. Also, a Kabo Air flight travelling to Mecca from Kano with over 400 people on board had a tyre fault on landing in Sokoto.





Lar, great elephant has departed the forest

ORMER Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Deputy National Publicity Secretary Mr. Gbenga Olawepo yesterday commiserated with the family and political associates of the late Chief Solomon Lar over his death. In a tribute he described the deceased politician as a democrat, crusader for equality and justice, patriot and emancipator. The tribute reads. I received the news of the transition to life of a democrat extraordinaire, crusader for equality and justice, outstanding patriot, Chief Daushep Lar with great shock. Indeed a great elephant has departed the forest. The Emancipator, Liberator, Baba Lar as fondly called by those of us whom he inspired will be missed for his courage, simplicity and generosity. At the darkest hour in the history of our country, at the zenith of the Gen Sani Abacha dictatorship, this great lion of the Middle Belt was the one assigned the task of delivering the letter to the late maximum ruler authored by the 12 northern leaders, a group now known as G-12 demanding the dictator to bury his self succession plan. Baba Lar hand-delivered the letter at a time when many democrats fled the country to escape the terror of that era. For those of us young men who networked for democracy in Abuja some few meters from the den of the dictator, Baba Lar was a source of inspiration. Together with his compatriot the late Abubakar Rimi, they led the Progressive group to navigate the dangerous ship of democracy that successfully berthed in 1999, with him emerging as the founding Chairman of the Ruling Party (PDP). I had the rare privileged of working closely with him. A time of Chief Lar’s departure, is an appropriate occasion to acknowledge and remember those with whom he shared the stage at that momentous time when our democracy was been painfully delivered, this include colossus like Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Chief Bola Ige and Senator Sunday Awoniyi and Rt. Hon. Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, Chief S.M. Afolabi, Alhaji Iro Danmusa, Chief Harry Marshall; among others. It is also a time of roll call of the living heroes such as Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Dr. Iyoriha Ayu, Barrister Jerry Gana, and many more. Baba Lar was great in many aspects than one. He was generous to a fault. One who shared any gift and resources he ever received with hundreds of children of the downtrodden who surrounded him at all times. He was a peculiar Nigerian political leader who after stepping down as two term Governor of old Plateau State with unmatched ac-

421 PDP members defect to APC in Benue community From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi


OUR hundred and twentyone supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the weekend defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Igyorov and Mbakpegh wards of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State. Igyorov ward is the home of former Senate President Iyorchia Ayu, who recently return to the PDP. Also, a former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Gen. Lawrence was issued a PDP card in his Ideakpa, Benue South home for his re-admission into the party he left two years ago. The 421 defectors joined the PDP with Ayu three months ago. They return to the APC at a well attended ceremony.

By Gbenga Olawepo

complishment in the development of the state, having served as a Federal Minister, and Chairman of the ruling party controlling 24 states, died without having a personal house in Abuja in his name, or proxy. The spectacular sacrificial life style of this departed legend should serve as inspiration to higher service for those who aspire to lead our great country at a time like this. It should fire the spirit of selfless service amongst millions of young Nigerian seeking mentorship. While we mourn this irreparable loss, we also celebrate his life and the force that his example represents. Adieu, Wali Lantang, the wise one, Solomon Lar. •Olawepo is Chairman Oilworld Limited and founding Deputy National Publicity Secretary of PDP

Tukur’s PDP sues KWSIEC over local govt poll •‘Selection of candidates unconstitutional


OME members of the Bamanga Tukur-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State have said the selection of the chairmanship candidates of the party in the October 26 local government election in the state is unconstitutional. They also said the selection of the candidates was unlawful, illegal, null and void, because it did not comply with the PDP 2001 constitution, as amended. The aggrieved PDP members are praying the Federal High Court, sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, to restrain the state Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC) from conducting the election on the planned date.

Ahmed, Saraki begin Kwara PDP council poll campaigns


WARA State Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed and his predecessor, Senator Bukola Saraki, at the weekend began the campaigns for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in the October 26 local government election in the state. The PDP chieftains, led by Ahmed and Saraki, restated their commitment to bring the dividends of democracy to the doorsteps of Kwara residents. Ahmed urged the electorate to vote for the PDP candidates during the poll, saying they had been tested and certified worthy to bring developments to the grassroots. The governor hailed Dr Saraki for the fresh beginning he gave the state when he was the governor for two terms. He sought the support of the residents for his (Saraki’s) political leadership. From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

The plaintiffs are: Alhaji Ademola Yusuf, Adebayo Jimoh and Prince Haliru D. Mahmud. Joined in the suit are: the

New PDP (first defendant), Senator Bukola Saraki (second defendant), the InspectorGeneral of Police (IGP), the Director-General of the Department of Security Services (DSS) and the 15 chairmanship

candidates. In their originating summons supporting the 18paragraph affidavit, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Abubakar Othman, accused the PDP, Saraki and the state chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ishola Balogun-Fulani (third defendant) of depriving his clients “the opportunity to exercise their right to contest for the primary election qualifying them to stand for election for the chairmen of the various local government areas”. Othman said: “In the circumstances of this case, KWSIEC can proceed to conduct the forthcoming local government election, fixed for October 26, or any other date, with the fourth to 18th defendants as the chairmanship candidates.”




Jonathan: Boko Haram crisis has improved security


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said the Boko Haram crisis had helped to boost the capacity of the security agencies. He spoke at a pre-centenary national praise and thanksgiving service at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja. Jonathan assured Nigerian that the country would move forward, saying God must have a reason to allow Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria and not attack from external forces. He said: “”Looking at our challenges sometimes it gets us to despair and we begin to think that is this country moving? Are we going to be weighed down by these enormous challenges? But I can as-


From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

sure you that with your prayers, Nigeria must move on. “Because we have challenges now, leaders of these security services are now thinking about how to build capacity in terms of training, in terms of equipment. Maybe God has a reason for even using ourselves to challenge ourselves. These are coming from within and not from outside. Had it been the challenges we are having are coming from outside, it would have been an embarrassment. “Probably, God wanted us to learn in a bitter way. Even with our challenges, our country is moving forward.” President Jonathan said

Omo Omoruyi dies in Benin

ORMER DirectorGeneral of the Centre for Democratic Studies (CDS), during Military President Ibrahim Babangida government, Professor Omo Omoruyi, died last night in Benin, the Edo State capital. He was said to have passed

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

on at the Faith Mediplex hospital. Omoruyi according to family sources returned from the United States about a month ago. He battled cancer for many years.

DISCOs cry out over metering expenditure


ITH one voice, the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) yesterday told the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that they (DISCOs) would incur more expenditure in the course of providing meters for customers. Speaking on behalf of the firms at a two-day workshop on the draft of interim rules for the management of the electricity industry in Abuja, Mr Roberk Yates asked the commission to allow the companies some period to provide meters for customers whom the Federal Government could not meter prior to the sale of the companies. The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo last week said the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry is permeated with a 50% metering gap, noting that investors could doubt the possibility of recouping their funds. Meanwhile, NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi yesterday told the PHCN successor companies to take metering of their customers as the

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

topmost priority when the Federal Government hands over the physical entities to them on November 1. His words: “The new PHCN successor companies should see metering of all their customers immediately they takeover ownership of the PHCN companies as its major priority to avoid bills estimation,’’. The commission, according to him, will not tolerate the continuation of estimated billing which is to the detriment of the customers. He noted that in accordance with the power reform agenda, NERC balances the interest of both operators and customers. Under his watch, Amadi said that nothing will hinder the rights of the electricity consumers, stressing that metering is one of the rights. He stated that metering all the customers would enable the customers to monitor their energy usage as well enable the DISCOs compute their revenue.

there is no nation that has not faced challenges in its development. Recalling the Sweden experience, he said: “There is no nation from the beginning and getting to where it is without challenges. I remember in 2009 as a vice- president, I stayed in Sweden, they hosted us to a dinner and when we were talking, they said they were celebrating 200 years of not fighting wars. Two hundred years ago, they were always fighting wars. They would be sleeping and people would invade and start killing people just like the Boko Haram is doing now.”

•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi (left) with the President of Anambra People in the United States of America (ASA-USA), Dr. Allison Anadi, at the 2013 ASA-USA Convention in Florida... yesterday

Imo, Abia in a row over Okorocha’s reception


HE hostility between Imo and Abia states worsened at the weekend, with the cancellation of a reception in honour of Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha. The cancellation was alleged to have been directed by Abia State Governor Theodore Orji. The reception, organised by clergymen under the auspices of the Rescue Missionaries, was to hold at the pavilion of the Abia State Polytechnic. The action has drawn the anger of Imo indigenes, who saw it as an embarrassment not only to their governor, but also to the state. The neighbouring states have been embroiled in a cold war since the controversial

•Group threatens legal action against Orji From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

sack of Imo State indigenes in the Abia civil service. Investigation showed that the state government stopped the event because it was afraid it might be used as a platform to launch the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Aba. It was also learnt that Orji’s reputation in Aba had suffered a backlash over the poor state of infrastructure in the commercial city, and APC could capitalise on the situation to win more supporters. Speaking with The Nation, an Owerri businessman, Mr. Stanley Izu, said: “The recent action of the Abia State government is condemnable. It is

capable of causing a crisis between the two states.” He added: “Recently, a major crisis was averted. Governor Orji is becoming too intolerant. How can he stop the reception of his brother and colleague? He even used armed security men to seal off the venue. But he comes to Owerri almost every morning to board a flight.” A socio-political group, the Southeast Progressives Assembly (SEPA), has slammed Orji for stopping the ceremony. It said Orji stopped the event because he was jittery and overwhelmed by Okorocha’s rising profile. In a statement signed by its

President, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, the group accused Orji of implementing policies that have promoted disunity in the Southeast. It said contrary to a claim by the Abia State government that the Abia State Polytechnic authorities and security agencies were not informed ahead of the ceremony, the organisers met the requirements needed to hold the event, including getting an approval, paying for the venue and notifying the security agencies. The group demanded an apology from Orji and compensation to the organisers by the Abia State Polytechnic authority.

CBN won’t reduce interest rate for now, says Sanusi


ENTRAL Bank of Nigeria Governor Mallam Lamido Sanusi has ruled out a cut in interest rate in the near future. He said doing so would have dire consequences on the economy. Briefing reporters on the sidelines of the just concluded World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington DC, Sanusi said a reduction in the Monetary Policy rate would result in an inflationary spiral and put pressure on the naira at the foreign exchange market. Acknowledging the agitation for a cut to ease borrowing costs within the economy, the CBN governor said that the monetary tightening was the price to pay for financial system sta-

From Bukola Afolabi, Washington DC

bility, which is the core mandate of the apex bank. The retention of the MPR at 12 per cent for almost three years has become a sore point for real sector players who insist that the time was ripe for some monetary easing, now that inflation was in single digit. Sanusi, however, said that it was easy to reduce rate by printing more money but with inflation under control and the naira holding steady relative to other emerging market currencies there is no reason to consider easing. “We have stability that is very easy to take for granted. In 2009, when I became CBN governor, inflation was 15.6 per cent, the stock market had lost 70 per cent of its value, one third of the banks were about to collapse. The official exchange rate was N145 at the BDC it was being sold at N190. It is very easy when you have established stability for people to start screaming that you are holding policy too tight. “You have had a stable exchange rate for two years; we have brought inflation from 15.6 percent to 8.2 going to below eight in December. “The stock market has been up 30 per cent between December and now and people are complaining. You want lower interest rates? Where do you want

the naira? 180,190? Where do you want inflation rate? 13, 14 per cent? I can deliver interests rates of seven per cent if you want today; it is just to print money. The Fed (US central bank) has delivered zero, it is easy. Print the money, the interest rate crashes, but where do you want your naira? People want a stable exchange rate, they want to have reserves; they want to have low inflation and they want to have low interests rates? I am not a magician.” Sanusi, however, affirmed that when the bank is satisfied that conditions are conducive, it will consider easing, but for now, “it has to keep its eye on the ball.” “If you look at the CBN Act, our objectives are very clear, we are given responsibility for price stability, for protecting the external value of the naira, which is exchange rate stability, for maintaining the reserves of the country and for financial system stability. We have to keep an eye on the ball. It is very easy to call the shots from the sidelines. Supposing I decide today to lower the rate of interest, which is print more money, a number of things will happen. Maybe inflation would go up, exchange rate weakens. “Now once the foreign portfolio investor believes the naira is going to be weak and he is therefore going to lose money, remember he bought in dollars, and then you are going to wipe out his profit by basically chang-

ing the exchange rate, everybody decides to run out of Nigeria. Then the naira crashes from N160 to N180 or N190 and the stock market crashes and the people who are holding shares default on their loans and the banks get into problems” he added. The CBN governor also explained reason for the clampdown of Bureaux de Change operators and the ban on importation of dollars by banks, pointing out that there were a lot of abuses going on in the system that were hurting national interests. He said some BDC operators in Kano were found to be buying dollars from Nigerian bank and taking the cash to Saudi Arabia to sell. While he pointed out that there was no law limiting the amount of foreign exchange people could take out of Nigeria, those in that trade should buy their dollars elsewhere. He also reacted to complaints by Nigerians in the Diaspora over the new policy that compel banks to pay Western Union and Monogram cash remitted from abroad to beneficiaries in naira instead of dollars, insisting that this was the standard practice. Sanusi said the CBN had allowed dollar payments because banks had been cheating beneficiaries by offering low rates but that with the current situation, the CBN had decided to review the position.



African Union helmsmen Versus ICC


E start the week with due apology to our numerous readers for our two – week hiatus from this column due to some operational and logistic reasons. In our absence, the world’s economic engine room, as in the United States of America, was mired in this avoidable economic shutdown and still is; the last time this happened was 17 years ago under President Bill Clinton, the 42nd. Also, another deadline on its debt ceiling extension looms even larger on the horizon than the former because of the disastrous consequences on the nation’s credit rating. Also, while we were away, a rash of fatal migrant boat capsizing continues to ravage refugees escaping war-ravaged North African and Middle Eastern countries especially Syria in search of their quest for greener pastures in mostly cashstrapped and recession –ridden Europe. Mother Nature had not been too easy on India and the Philippines with typhoons and heart-rending mudslides, while Egypt, Azerbaijan reel under unmitigated unrests. Still on the European continent, the colourful doyen of Italian politics, Silvio Berlusconi, is gasping for his political breath on what is now a recur, for corruption and graft charges. Current Prime Mis-

ter Letta barely survived a vote of no-confidence by the whiskers after Berlusconi pulled his MPs out of the often fragile political calculus that is the hall mark of Italopolitical calibration. Berlusconi, the foremost political Teflon and survivor of Italian politics, has pleaded for community service while on home arrest and the beat goes on. Greece keeps struggling economically as higher education faces more dire straits with faculty members’ retrenchments under the whimsical whims of the European Union unpalatable palliatives. In this global mix enters our very own continent, mother Africa. Our leaders just rose from a one-day summit in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital; where the helmsmen stoutly beat their chest and threatened hell and brim storm to defy and as a matter of fact pull out of The International Criminal Court, accusing the body of bias against leaders. By way of historicism, our mostly harebrained and hedonistic greedy and selfish African leaders do not believe they have to be held accountable for their misdeeds; even as their people suffer. They quickly and conveniently forget the African wise saying of when you point a finger at someone; in this case an institution, the

Global Focus DAYO FAKUADE, Foreign Editor sms 08134230367 other four squarely are in your face. Both newly reelected Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and his deputy are facing trial for war crimes at the tribunal. Kenyatta, 51, has been in office since April. He is from the Kikuyu ethnic group and is accused of having financed and helped organize the Mungiki, a militia-like organisation that was implicated in the worst atrocities against other ethnicities in the wake of the 2007 poll. Over 1,000 Kenyans were killed in the pogrom. In this continent of ours we have had leaders like Idi Dada Amin in Uganda; Charles Taylor in Liberia; Siad Barre in Somalia, Omar Bongo in Gabon, Emperor Haile Sellassie in Ethiopia, Sanni Abacha in Nigeria and countless others with antecedents of murderous infamy and concatenation of inflictions of miseries on their people. The question is at what point are we going to keep our leaders accountable for their misrule, privation and pauperisation of this beautiful African continent without laying all the blames on external forces? In other climes and other lands, when you do the crime, you do the time. African people are becoming

too timid to challenge their greedy, thieving and irresponsible leaders, the judiciary are so corrupt that they can not hold their feet to the fire and if some of these countries have accepted even the notion whether as its’ been bandied in the case of Omar al-Basir’s Sudan, that they have not ratified the treaty, it should not matter; since they had ab initio agreed to the concepts of international agreements and cooperation, and in this case to the ICC. For the record, this Court was established under the Statute of Rome which came into effect on 1 July 2002. The Court is based in The Hague, Netherlands. According to official sources, “the court is intended to complement existing national judicial systems, and may only exercise its jurisdiction when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes”. Currently, 122 countries are parties to the Statute of the Court, including all of South America, nearly all of Europe, most of Oceania and roughly half the countries in Africa. A further 31 countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. The law of treaties obliges

these states to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty until they declare they do not intend to become a party to the treaty. The Kenyan case is indicative of how self-serving African leaders could get when it suit their purposes. The newly elected President Kenyatta hoodwinked his legislature to formally pass into law the country’s withdrawal from the ICC when his deputy has been physically showing up at the same court. In any case, the same statute, clearly stipulates that the withdrawal process normally takes almost one year while the court still holds and takes its legal course. Presently the President of the court is Judge Sang-Hyun Song from Republic of Korea with Malian Judge Fatoumata Dembele Diarra as First Vice President and German Judge Hans-Peter Kaul as Second Vice President. The bottom line is this. Whether local, national or international, Lady Justice holds the Sword of Damocles blindly, and it should always fall wherever it needs to fall. Back in our own landscape called Nigeria, our greedy politicians steal our commonwealth; both monetarily and electoral and then start shopping around with their conniving SANs for dubious and amenable judges; no thanks to the ineptitude of our so-called crimefighting agencies. Well, the welfare and wellbeing of our globe continue to be our collective responsibility. Let’s keep it green. We will see you next week.


India cyclone leaves trail of destruction Mugabe’s party slams Tsvangirai for I •Collapsed bridge kills 89 •Over 100 injured visiting TB Joshua A


RESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has ridiculed MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for visiting prominent Nigerianbased prophet Termitope Balogun Joshua (TB Joshua), saying he should not seek political solutions in church. Tsvangirai attended TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) church services yesterday, raising speculation that he was seeking divine intervention after suffering a heavy defeat to Mugabe in the July polls. TB Joshua prayed for the former premier and when he laid his hands on him, Tsvangirai flopped into a chair. Pyschology Maziwisa, Zanu PF deputy director of information, mocked Tsvangirai for visiting the Nigerian prophet. “Everybody has a right to seek divine intervention,” Maziwisa said. “President Mugabe seeks divine intervention and so does (Barack) Obama. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with Tsvangirai seeking divine intervention. But it becomes questionable if someone goes to church to seek political solutions. “Following his landslide loss, Tsvangirai is going to TB Joshua to seek for answers as his political fortunes continue to wane. This is wrong as his misfortunes can be addressed by reviewing his failed strategies that made him lose decisively to President Mugabe. With all due respect, nothing

will change the fact that Tsvangirai is a compromised leader who will never win against Mugabe.” Maziwisa said the MDC leader should address his flawed policies if he wanted to remain relevant in the political landscape of the country. “He can visit all churches in the world but nothing will change because the people know that he is a British puppet,” Maziwisa said. “Tsvangirai should know that he is seriously compromised on three fronts. The first one has to do with character. He is an immoral and clueless leader who has nothing tangible to offer the people.” “Secondly, his policies do not resonate with the populace and this was reflected in his landslide loss. “Thirdly, Tsvangirai has no national interest at heart as he believes that we can only prosper with the help of a white man. Tsvangirai needs to address these political shortcomings if he wants to be relevant.”


NDIA’s strongest storm in 14 years left a trail of destruction along the country’s east coast yesterday, but little loss of life was reported after close to a million people took refuge in shelters. Cyclone Phailin was expected to dissipate within 36 hours, losing momentum as it headed inland after making landfall on Saturday from the Bay of Bengal, bringing winds of more than 200 kph (125 mph) to rip up homes and tear down trees. Authorities in the state of Odisha said the death toll stood at seven people, all killed as winds whipped the coast before the storm slammed in, four by falling trees and one when the walls of her mud house collapsed. The cyclone was one of three major storms over Asia on Sunday. The smaller Typhoon Nari was approaching Vietnam and Typhoon Wipha loomed over the Pacific. At least 873,000 people in Odisha and adjacent Andhra Pradesh spent the night in shelters, some of which had been built after a 1999 storm killed 10,000 in the same


T least 89 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede after a bridge collapsed near a remote Hindu temple in India’s central state of Madhya Pradesh, a senior police official told Reuters yesterday. A large number of devotees gathered to celebrate the holy festival of Dussehra at the Ratangarh temple, in a forest outside the town of Datia, 390 km (240 miles) north of the state capital, Bhopal. But a bridge leading to the temple collapsed, triggering the stampede. “At the moment we can confirm the death toll at 64,” Dilip Arya, a deputy inspector general of police, told Reuters. “More than 100

people are injured and being treated in nearby hospitals.” As the bridge collapsed, people began rushing towards the temple and got killed in the stampede, Arya said, adding that a few devotees drowned as they jumped into the Sindh river. Some local media said the police used batons to control the crowd, prompting many people to panic. Inept handling has led to stampedes on previous occasions. In February this year, a stampede killed at least 36 Hindu pilgrims, who were part of the world’s largest religious festival which attracted some 30 million people.

area. Others sought safety in schools or temples, in an exercise disaster management officials called one of India’s largest evacuations. “We saved lives by putting them in shelters in time,” said Odisha’s special relief commissioner, J.K. Mohapatra. There had been concern for 18 fishermen out at sea when the cyclone bore down, but police said on Sunday that all returned safe. Further northeast, port officials said they feared a Panama-registered cargo ship, the MV Bingo, carrying

8,000 metric tons of iron ore with a crew of 17 Chinese and an Indonesian, had sunk on Saturday as the storm churned across the Bay of Bengal. But they were probably alive, he added, as radio contacts had been maintained until early on Sunday morning. On land, truck driver Jayaram Yadav, transporting cars halfway across India, huddled in the cab of his 28ton vehicle on Saturday night as the wind howled around him. Soldiers and rescue workers in helicopters, boats and

trucks fanned out across the two states, but officials sounded confident that a major disaster had been avoided. The damage was less than had been feared in Mogadhalupadu, a fishing village in Andhra Pradesh, where some people had refused to leave their boats and nets, and seawater had surged into huts near the beach. Operations at Paradip port in Odisha, which handles coal, crude oil and iron ore, have been halted since Friday. All vessels were ordered to leave the port.

and Saraqeb in Idlib province. The ICRC says it has been struggling to gain access across Syria to provide aid to injured and displaced people. “I am able to confirm that six ICRC staff members and one Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer have been abducted near Idlib in northwestern Syria,” ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson told Reuters.

“We are calling for their immediate and unconditional release of this team which was delivering humanitarian assistance to those most in need - and we do that on both sides of the frontlines,” he said. He declined to reveal the identity, gender or nationality of the abducted workers but they are believed to include both local and international staff, who are

mainly medical specialists. Syrian state news agency Sana earlier quoted an unnamed official as saying the workers were abducted and taken to an unknown location after gunmen blocked their path and shot at their convoy. Mr Watson was unable to confirm whether or not shots had been fired, but he said the team’s vehicles were also missing.

Red Cross workers kidnapped in Syria

HE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says gunmen have abducted six of its workers and one Red Crescent volunteer in north-west Syria. The aid agency has had no contact with the gunmen, an ICRC spokesman says. Earlier, Syrian state media said gunmen had opened fire on Red Cross staff travelling on the road between Sarmin








‘I’m the best qualified’

HE All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige, yesterday said as a former governor of Anambra State, he is more qualified than any other person to take the state to the next level. He urged the people to vote for APC in the November 16 election. Speaking to The Nation, Ngige, a senator representing Anambra Central, said his stay in the Senate had given jobs to over 60 people and 30 graduates were trained in skill acquisition and empowered with N750,000 each. He further said he had engaged over 90 people in the Sure-P programme. On the deportation saga, Ngige said the letter he wrote Governor Babatunde Fashola, prompting his apology, was not a public document. He blamed the officials of the Lagos State government for being overzealous in their action and the Anambra State government for not being proactive in responding to the memos exchanged, especially by going


From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

to receive the deported people and verifying their identities as many were not Ndigbo. He said were he the Governor of Lagos and Anambra, he would punish his officials and insisted that those brought back were not Ndigbo because Ndigbo cannot be beggars. Ngige said he frowned at the deportation, hence Governor Fashola apologised to Ndigbo for the overzealousness of his officials. He said he, would use his money to provide another borehole to be powered by generator to Amansea people, as the first one he sunk was solar-driven but abandoned by the contractor in search of solar panels. The APC governorship candidate stressed that the project was initially meant for the Abacha community before the dumping of dead bodies in Eze River. He said he was not known for abandoning projects. Ngige said he was active in

the Senate, hence he belonged to eight committees, including Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy where he was a vice-chairman as well as Science and Technology and Health, whereas others belonged to two, four and five committees. He said he had sponsored 10 legislative amendment bills and co-sponsored 10 others. Ngige said he had sponsored five motions and cosponsored 40 others, the most prominent were his motion on the death of Prof Chinualmogu Albert Achebe advocating a state funeral and a motion co-sponsored to designate the site of the Ahiara Declaration in Ahiara Mbaise , Imo State as a national historic site. ‘’ I have sponsored 10 bills and co-sponsored more than 10 others, which are going through different stages of legislative processes on their ways to being signed into laws by the President. ‘’However the most prominent and essential of my Bills is the Farmers Registration Council Bill. When this bill becomes a law, it will jump



start an agrarian revolution in Nigeria, putting food on the table of the ordinary Nigerian by creating a platform for the organisation, registration, recognition, formalising and empowerment of Nigerian farmers, farm cooperatives and other farm organisations will receive interventions and assistance planned by government for farmers, e.g. fertilisers, seeds, etc and it will identify and register the authentic farmers and remove the excesses of middle men who have not allowed government interventions to reach the actual farmers: build a reliable official data base of Nigerian farmers that will be used by government agencies that would want to relate directly with farmers,” Ngige concluded.

PPA ‘ll spring surprises, says Ezeemo

HE governorship candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Mr. Godwin Chukwunenye Ezeemo, yesterday said the party will spring surprises and produce the next governor of Anambra State. Ezeemo in a news briefing told reporters that his running mate, Dr. Raphael Chikwenze, a physicist and a lecturer at the Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe shared the same vision he had for the state. He urged Anambra indigenes to vote in the PPA government as he was committed and dedicated to the cause of the state to make it great in development, growth and other indices of

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

development. Ezeemo said: “Anambra is a tough state and we need people with determination and resolve to sacrifice for the state. That was why I settled for Chinkwenze. I saw in Raphael the right quality that can lead Anambra to another level. The level it deserves.” Chikwenze said it was usually difficult to find physicists in politics, but his resolve to accept the position as a running mate to Ezeemo was built on the fact that he had seen a man, who shared his vision to move Anambra forward. A group, the Southeast

Development Initiative (SEDI), has presented bales of printed posters to support the campaign of Mr. Ezeemo. The group’s National Chairman, Prince Harrison Onyemaelu, said they made the presentation as their token to his intention to move the state forward. Onyemaelu, who led over 5,000 members to support Ezeemo, said the group also endorsed him as its governorship candidate and would work to ensure he realised his ambition. The PPA governorship candidate thanked the group for its support, saying he is encouraged because he has seen a youth group that shares his vision for the state.

PDP crisis: Ex-aspirant cautions members


EOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains have been urged to close ranks to prevent the party they laboured in building from collapsing. Chief Ugochukwu Okeke-Enyioha, an aspirant in the just-concluded PDP governorship primaries in Anambra State, said this yesterday in a statement made available to The Nation in Onitsha. It was signed by his associate, Ugochukwu Adilieje, a lawyer. Okeke-Enyioha advised the party’s stakeholders to close ranks and work for its progress, to save it from collapsing. He enjoined the major players in the current dispute to put personal interests aside and work for the unity of the PDP. Said he: “We as party faithful must align ourselves and be loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan. We must support him to move this country to greater heights.” Okeke-Enyioha said the transformation


NGO denies endorsing Ubah

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha

agenda of the President should be allowed to run its full course, adding that he had transformed the aviation sector, power sector, agricultural sector, petroleum sector and educational sector. He lauded President Jonathan and the conveners of the 19th Nigeria Economic Summit for highlighting the importance of agriculture in developing the country. Okeke-Enyioha said if such measures as discussed in the summit are implemented in Anambra State, it will create employment opportunities and increase the nation’s agricultural output. He said Anambra needed a good candidate like himself to help transform its fortunes. Okeke-Enyioha urged the major gladiators in PDP in Anambra to come together for the betterment of the people.

Accord to take Anambra by storm

HE governorship candidate of the Accord in the November 16 election, Dr. Hygers Ifeanyichukwu Igwebuike, said yesterday he is ready to challenge any candidate in the poll. Igwebuike, a retired army officer, said he had discovered that a lot of things were still lacking in the state, adding that

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

he wanted to take Anambra back to its glory. He said Accord would make sure that unemployment was fought head long. Said he: “I understand the state and the problems inherent and I have a solution to them.

“We are going to create jobs, we are going to industrialise Anambra by putting a kind of indices in place, indices of development, roads, water, among others.” The Accord candidate, who is from Aguata, Anambra South, discarded the zoning formula being canvassed by some people in the state.

He promised not to let the group down, adding that he would work for the development of the state if elected as the governor.

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

NON-Government Organisation (NGO), Ebube Foundation, yesterday denied collapsing its structure and endorsing the ambition of Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, the Labour Party candidate in the Anambra governorship election. Reacting to an online publication that the foundation had collapsed its structure and declared for Ifeanyi Ubah, the Administrative Officer of the foundation, Mrs. Amaka Obimdike, said such insinuation was the handiwork of mischief-makers since there was no iota of truth in the publication. The statement noted that Ebube Foundation was never a political structure and would not dabble into political gerrymandering. It said although the foundation was founded by Mr. John Chuma Nwosu, a former governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), he never used the foundation for political gains. ”Mr. Nwosu ran a campaign organisation distinct from Ebube Foundation and at no time did the campaign structure collide with the foundation. While there was a time some hirelings decided to feather their political nest somewhere else, Ebube Foundation remained intact, waxing stronger in its silent revolution of touching lives positively without attendant hype. ”Unlike other foundations in Anambra State whose names and origins are built on individuals for personal and political reasons, Ebube Foundation chose a distinct name and method whereby the founder and sole financier, Mr. Nwosu, chose to remain behind the scene while bankrolling the projects handled by the foundation.” The statement also said now that party primaries are over, Nwosu has always reiterated his position that the foundation will continue to excel in innovation and service delivery to the people irrespective of political linings.

Okwu: Obidigbo’s candidacy can’t be wished away


From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

HE factional Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Maxi Okwu, has said the candidacy of Dr. Chike Obidigbo in the November 16 governorship election cannot be wished away. He said yesterday that anybody who thinks that APGA’s battle for the governorship ticket is over is doing it at his or her own peril.




•From left: Ekiti State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi; his wife, Bisi; Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and Ekiti State Deputy Governor Prof. Modupe Adelabu during a thanksgiving service at the Cathedral Church of Emmanuel for the 50th birthday of Fayemi’s wife, in Ado-Ekiti... at the weekend.

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (left) and Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Comrade Ayodele Adewale, when the chairman visited the governor in Osogbo.

•From left: Adamawa State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Integration, Hajiya Halima Mohammed, Sarkin Matasa of Adamawa Emirate, Alhaji Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Sarkin Matasa of Mubi Emirate, Alhaji Mohammad Ahmad, at the launch of Social Re-integration Group and Local Government Conflict Resolution Committees in Yola…yesterday

•Chief Executive, Catholic Relief Services in Nigeria, Mr Sasha Angelevski (left) being welcomed by the Country Director, Actionaid, Mr Hussein Abdul, to the launch of Sustainable Mechanisms for improving Livelihoods Household Empowerment (SMILE) programme in Abuja. With them is Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja.

•Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Alhaji Abdullahi Dabo presenting school bag with books to Khadija Sani, at the launch of 2013/2014 state wide enrolment drive campaign on Girl Child Education in Alkaleri lga.

•Chairman of UAC of Nigeria Plc and Japanese Honorary Consul, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma (right), being received by the Japanese Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Masaji Matsuyama, when he visited Japan. •Senator Akin Odunsi, representing Ogun West Senatorial District (left), presenting a hair dryier to Miss. Bunmi Solomon, hairdresser at an empowerment programme at the Gateway Multipurpose Hall, Ilaro, Ogun State.




We can beat Eagles at home—Debebe


THIOPIAN skipper Degu Debebe has declared that despite the 1-2 loss to Nigeria on Sunday, they could still turn the table in the 2014 World Cup play-off. The return leg match will be played in Calabar on November 16 with the overall winners qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. “We missed some good scoring chances today, but we are capable of going to Nigeria and also winning,” said Debebe after the tough encounter at the National Stadium in Addis Ababa.


After a barren first half, the hosts took the lead through Behailu Assefa in the 57th minute, before Emmanuel Emenike levelled scores 10 minutes later. But the Super Eagles showed more aggression and got a penalty which Emenike made no mistake converting for the match winner. Debebe said although they lost the game which was very unfortunate, he thought the referee did not give them many of the advantages. “We badly needed a win at home, but we have lost. We

need to go back to the drawing board and work hard to be able to win away from home,” added the skipper. Ethiopia coach Sewenet Bishaw said he was disappointed with the loss. “We wanted this win so badly, but we lost,” said Bishaw, who said they will now focus on preparing the team for the second leg. The hosts had five players cautioned (Tesfaye Seyoum, Girma Adane, Behailu Assefa, Addis Hintsa and Aynalem Hailu), while the Super Eagles had no player booked.

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor

them. The Senate President was optimistic that the present crop of players and their officials have the needed credentials to take on any team in the world and triumph. He reminded the Super Eagles and their handlers of the huge responsibility of not only flying the Nigerian flag but projecting image of Africa as the reigning champions. He pledged that the National Assembly would within its legislative competence improve appropriation to sports not just for competitions but creating jobs for the unemployed youths.

Mark hails Super Eagles

ENATE President, David Mark, yesterday commended the Super Eagles on their victory over the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia in the ongoing Brazil 2014 World Cup play-offs. Mark praised the players and

De United holds half marathon in Oct.26


E UNITED Foods Industries, makers of Powa Pasta spaghetti will splash N1 million each as prize money to male and female winners of its half marathon event in Port Harcourt slated for October 26. Human Resources Manager of the company,Mr Chinedu Wali, told Sports Writers in Port Harcourt yesterday that the company has put things in proper perspective to have a hitch-free competition. He said the marathon for male and female athletes would cover a total of 21.09 kilometres. Wali also added that the company decided to sponsor the race to boost sports in Rivers state. ‘’ We have been in operation in Rivers state for over 10 years. We have observed closely the sports development in Rivers state. ‘’ This is an event which we have actually organised in Lagos State. So, it’s necessary that we also do same in Port Harcourt. ‘’ It will be an annual event here in Port Harcourt as you have seen from the top management here. ‘’ The first prize is N1 million for both the male and female,’’. Wali said that there would be other consolation prizes for runners up in the male and female categories of the event. Mr Praven Katarki, National brand Manager of De United Foods Industries, said the company sponsored the event to allow local athletes show their talents. ‘’ We are organising national half marathon because Nigeria , with 160 million population, do not have regular marathons. ‘’ A country like Ghana, has two regular international marathons every year. So, we came with this idea to have a marathon and to give an opportunity for local talents, to prepare themselves for other international marathons,’’ he said.

officials for their determination and focus through out the duration of the game that saw them beating the Antelopes 2—1. He also thanked Nigerians for their support for the Eagles throughout the game. A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, said that Mark enjoined the Eagles to maintain the wining streak in the matches ahead of the Brazil 2014. He assured that government would not renege on its promise to adequately reward

Nigeria claims African record with Ethiopia win


HE Super Eagles of Nigeria claimed an African record when they defeated the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia 2-1 in the 2014 World Cup qualifying game played in Addis Ababa on Sunday. The victory meant that the Super Eagles have now gone 27 consecutive World Cup

qualifying matches without a loss. This is an African record, and it is the 7th best run ever in world football. The last time the Eagles lost a World Cup qualifier was the 1-0 loss away to Angola in 2004. The Eagles have won 18 and drawn nine since that loss.

Cameroon, Tunisia clash ends ORMER Liverpool in stalemate goalkeeper Charles


Itandje made a string of superb saves to help Cameroon force a 0-0 World Cup African play-off draw in Tunisia on Sunday. Given a second chance after Cape Verde was disqualified, the Tunisians attacked relentlessly in the early stages only to be foiled by the 30year-old France-born shotstopper. Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o, back after a short-lived retirement, was always a threat in the first leg of a tie offering a ticket to the 2014 finals in Brazil. The teams, who boast 10 World Cup appearances between them, clash again in the second leg in Yaounde on


November 17 with the odds favouring the 'Indomitable Lions'. Tunisia flew out of the starting blocks with Amine Chermiti having a shot blocked by Itandje with just 10 seconds gone at Stade Olympique on the outskirts of Tunis. Houcine Ragued and Chermiti again went close as the 'Carthage Eagles' sought an early breakthrough while Eto'o saw his long-range shot comfortably saved at the other end. Itandje had to be at his best in the 17th minute, pushing over a dipping medium-range drive from Wissem Ben Yahia. There was no respite for the Cameroon shot-stopper, this time keeping out a Chermiti header as Tunisia used the flanks to create chances. Eto'o was the victim of a two-foot lunge from behind by Sameh Derbaly and recovered to later cut the ball back for Jean Makoun, who should have done better than fire wide. Substitute Ben Fakhreddine Youssef and Pierre Webo squandered good chances in a less frenetic second half.





Glo congratulates Eagles

We’ve not clinched ticket yet, says Amokachi


UPER Eagles’ assistant coach Daniel Amokachi is glad to see his side beat Ethiopia 2-1 in a first leg World Cup qualifier, but insists the ticket to Brazil is still one step away. Emmanuel Emenike scored twice to cancel Ethiopia's 1-0 lead and put Nigeria very close to Brazil 2014. Amokachi, after dubbing their Sunday opponents a difficult side, says Nigeria still need to prepare well for


the return leg on November 16 in Calabar. “We thank God for the victory today, but we have not yet grabbed the ticket to Brazil, he said on SuperSport TV. “We still need to prepare to beat them (Ethiopia) at home before we celebrate”. The victory meant that the Super Eagles have now gone 27 consecutive World Cup qualifying matches without a loss.



Enyeama slams referee over ‘freak’ goal

IGERIAN keeper Vincent Enyeama has insisted that the ball didn't cross the line as thought by many. The custodian echoed his views after the match as he explained his side of the story that saw Ethiopia contest the

first disallowed goal that will see them lodge an appeal with the World governing body. "From my position it wasn't a goal and I don't know why it was given. I didn't grab the ball past the line and I don't understand how the linesman called for a goal."

When asked about the disallowed goal that appeared to have gone past the line he said: "It wasn't a goal from my own perspective. He kicked the ball away almost from the line and I was five metres away from him. It didn't go

in. The different angles of cameras sometimes show different angles of it but I think this is where goalline technology comes in." Nigeria faces Ethiopia in Calabar for the decider that will see one of the sides book a ticket to the Wolrd Cup.

Nigeria crushes UK, Ghana, Egypt


ERLINS RFC, UK,Idax of Ghana and Alexandria RFC, of Egypt could not match the prowess of Nigerian rugby clubs as many of the foreign clubs were defeated in the early stages of the 2013 Independence Rugby 7s invitational

By Stella Bamawo tournament held at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos on Saturday. It was only Alexandria RFC of Egypt that got to the semi-finals. The foreign teams, however, claimed that the weather condition in the country

contributed to their shoddy performances. However, Police club defeated the defending champion, Cowrie RFC to emerge overall winners at the tourney. Police RFC, carted home a cash prize of N250,000 naira, while Cowries RFC smiled home with the sum

of one hundred and fifty thousand naira. In the plate category, Hawksters won it by beating Delta state. It could be recalled that thirteen local teams were lined up in this year’s 2013 Independence Rugby 7s invitational tournament.

EADING telecommunications operator and sponsor of Nigerian National teams, Globacom has congratulated the Super Eagles for recording an important away win against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia in the World Cup qualifying match played in Addis Ababa on Sunday.? Globacom in a press statement released in Lagos eulogised the Super Eagles for recording the crucial away win in Addis Ababa which gave the team a brighter chance of qualifying for next year's World Cup in Brazil.? “Playing under a high altitude, the Super Eagles displayed an unlimited attitude and triumphed over the Walya Antelopes right on their home turf. By this victory, the Super Eagles have again proved that

no challenge is too complex for Nigeria to surmount. We? urge the team to sustain the momentum next month when they take on Ethiopia in Calabar so as to seal their ticket to represent Africa at the mundial,” Glo said in the statement released in Lagos on Sunday. “The match was tough and the weather was inclement. We commend the Super Eagles and their coaching crew for their hard work, concentration and never-saydie spirit which earned them the away victory,” the statement added.? Globacom enjoined Nigerians not to relent in giving the much needed support to the Super Eagles as they prepare for the last 90 minutes before Brazil 2014.?

Team Sardauna wins Super4Clash Parasoccer tourney


EAM Sardauna won the maiden Super4Clash Parasoccer Charity Tournament held on Saturday at the Sports Centre of the University of Lagos. The team, which comprised players from the northern side of the country, coasted home to victory beating Team Zik 2-1 to win the winners take all prize money of N100, 000 each for the 10-man squad. Team Sarduana left no one in doubt of their intention of of winning the tournament as they had earlier defeated Team Nkrumah from Ghana 5-0 in the

knockout stage match. Though Team Zik showed class against Team Awo in the knockout stage match with a 2-0 victory, the Eastern Nigeria-based team could not withstand the firepower of Team Sardauna in the final match watched by dignitaries that included Mrs. Enitan Oshodi, wife of Lagos State Commissioner for Sports, who represented the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, Director of Strategy, Promasidor, the sponsor company Mr. Mr. Anders Einarsson and CEO of Total Consult, the organiser, Mr. Theo Lawson.




Pa Kasumu: family waits on Fashola


•Mrs. Uyanne, Rotimi Pedro (CEO, Rapid Blue Format and Optima Media), Rajan Swaroop (Airtel Nigeria), Amarachi Uyanne & Andre Blaze



Ripples over ‘Nigeria’s Got Talent’ eight-year-old winner’s prize money

HE spoke like a little charming girl with tall dreams. Her speech moved many to tears, as little Amarach Uyanne promised to use part of her N10 million prize money to assist orphanage homes, and the rest, to achieve her dream of becoming a Medical Doctor. Date was December 9, 2012, but 10 months down the line, it appears her prize money is still in transit. The pupil of Primary 5 from Delta State, was declared winner of last year’s mix-genre reality show; ‘Nigeria’s Got Talent’ sponsored by telecommunication company, Airtel. And perhaps, each passing day, she would look at the picture of the dummy cheque, the smiles on everybody’s face as they cheered her to victory, asking her mum when the actual money will get to them. “That cannot be true,” said Obinna Anichie, General Manager Brand Assets, & Marketing Properties at Marketing Director Bharti Airtel International, apparently

•Family: organisers yet to redeem N10m cash prize •Organisers: she was paid within 28 days after the show Stories by Victor Akande

taken aback when confronted with the claim. Looking ruffled, Anichie stuttered: “that’s not true…” he repeated the statement, shaking his head in disbelief. He said he has been in Nairobi for awhile, and only just got back to Nigeria. Quickly, he summoned the Managing Director of Rapid Blue Format, Rotimi Pedro. Pedro debunked the claim, stating that the girl received her money less than 28 days after the competition. “She has been paid her money. The tradition is that we present the dummy to the winner on state and within 28 days, they are paid. Amarachi got her money less than 28 days after the grand finale. She was meant to be here today, but it would be irresponsible of anyone to pull her out of school. She performed at the Airtel Rising Stars event about two weeks back.” Pedro said to

The Nation at the formal unveiling of Season 2 of the show. Corroborating his position, Adaora Mbelu, Project Manager for the show, posited that Amarachi, was truly paid. The controversy on whether or not Amarachi has been paid her prize money arose, when a family source to the dancer claimed that the show organisers are yet to redeem their pledge. The source said Amarachi’s mother has decided to ‘leave the matter to God’ after several attempts to get the show organisers to pay up the pledge. The source noted that they had thought of taking the case to court, but for fear of losing other social benefits from the organisers. It would be recalled that Amarachi had performed alongside Nigerian music heavy-weight, 2face Idibia, at the Agege Township Stadium on Sunday, September

22nd, 2013, during the closing ceremony of the Airtel Rising Stars Africa Championship. Asked where Amarachi got money to shoot her recent video, the source said the money was sourced personally, and just so, the aspiration of the little girl is not left unaided. The source said Amarachi’s mum has been warning them to desist from the issue, asking them to lie to whoever asks them, that the prize money had been redeemed. Perhaps sensing media’s inquisitiveness on the matter, Mrs. Uyanne, would picked her calls several times, but did not utter a word, when The Nation attempted to speak with her on the matter. Another season of the talent show has been announced by organizers, with the first leg of auditions already done in Abuja last week.

posium guest speaker has suddenly taken ill. Her doctors in Ghana confirmed her health condition to organisers of the show. The message indicated that she is indisposed and may have to be on bed rest longer than expected. Kuti, whose role is also to ensure adequate security for the event said the music segment of the festival will take place inside the New Afrika Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos. “To this extent,

very tight security measures have been put in place to protect lives and property of fans. Apart from the highly efficient Afrika Shrine Security Force, the efficient RRS arm of the Lagos State Police Command would be stationed at strategic locations The high point of this year’s festival will be the Sunday October 20, performance of Femi Kuti and Kymani Marley on same stage.

Fela’s memorial concert kicks off today


FRO beat King, Femi Kuti and ragga star, Kymani Marley, son of Reggae music legend, Bob Marley are the top acts for this year’s ‘Felabration’ festival, a free-for-all annual concert of music and arts which began in 1998, in memory of late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. A highly revered music brand, Afrobeat and the personality of its late precursor, has endeared it to players in other genres of music. It is perhaps due to this feat, that apart from late Bob Marley’s son who is billed to fly down for the event, the show will also feature the likes of Juju music maestro, King Sunny Ade, Fuji music exponent, King Wasiu Marshal (KWAM1), and contemporary hip hop artiste, 2Face Idibia and rap star Jude Abaga, popularly called MI. The event has grown into a mega week-long musical event in Nigeria which attracts thousands of visitors annually to the New Africa Shrine from all over the world, and is an official tourist destination of The

•Femu kuti on stage

Lagos State Government, a major sponsor of the show. Femi Kuti announced that the week-long event begins today with a symposium titled: Movement of the People: The Fela/Bob Marley Perspective. He said tomorrow, October 15, 2013 is the commencement of the music segment of the event. However, reports say, Nana Rita Marley, wife of late reggae music super star, Bob Marley, who had agreed to be the sym-

AMILY members of veteran actor, Kayode Odumosu, otherwise called ‘Pa Kasumu’ are wary of the story of the proverbial housewife, who threw away the tadpole-infested water, thinking the rumbling cloud will emit torrent. Reacting to the rumour that Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has offset the N12 million needed for the treatment of their father’s kidney, heart and stroke ailment, the actor’s son, Jide Odumosu, told The Nation that, although the Governor facilitated a medical test which was conducted on Saturday, it is not yet certain, the exact help which the Lagos state helmsman may be rendering. Jide said it was necessary to clear the air, as there are media reports, stating that their family has collected N12 million from the Governor in lieu of the actors’ medical treatment abroad. “The truth of the matter is that the Governor has intervened by asking us to take him to a hospital in Ikoyi for a medical test. It is not true that the Governor has given us N12 million. The Governor himself has not told us that he is going to foot the bill. But he paid for the medical test which was performed on him on Saturday.” Asked if the Governor visited the actor personally, Jide said he (Fashola) was represented by his personal doctor. He would not know how much the test cost, but said it was totally on the Governor’s bill. He disclosed that apart from the two tests done on Saturday, another one is expected to be conducted today, also on the Governor’s bill. On how much has been realised from public contribu-


tions so far, Jide said the amount received so far is less than N1.5 million, out of which N1 million was donated by a Commissioner in Lagos State. Responding to whether his father’s colleagues have been of any help so far, he noted that the N1 million donation was facilitated by some of his (Pa Kasumu) colleagues in the film industry. Jide revealed that some of the tests carried on the actor where to determine the state of his brain, as the ailment appears to be affecting his brain. He said the second test was necessitated by the initial one, whereby the neck region was discovered to have also been affected. Reports say the actor is being affected by partial stroke, to which his son admitted, said to be progressive. He expressed fear that the situation is already affecting the actor’s sight and speech. As it is now, his father suffers a heart, liver and brain problem, Jide, second son of the actor, confirmed. Should Fashola’s aid reach the Odumosu’s it will be another of such help from the Governor, who, last year, donated N4.5 million to ‘Fuji House of Commotion’ star, Ngozi Nwosu, for a medical surgery abroad.

Beninoise singer Angelique Kidjo held sway at Lagos concert


UNDAY night, was another testimony of the silent passion Nigerians have for African music. It was the 4th edition of the popular ‘Love Music Love Life Luxury Concert’, put together by Jazz-inclined radio station, Smooth FM 98.1. The Eko Hotel venue of the concert swelled with crowd that may have stemmed from the hype built around 10time Grammy award winner, Chaka Khan, who was the headliner act of the show. But, with Angelique Kidjo mounting the stage before the lead act, and engaging the crowd in a seemingly unending thrill, many had wondered if the American singer will be able to match the tempo already created. Kidjo’s spontaneous performance with Nigeria’s Soul singer, Asa, appeared to have set a perfect mood for the evening. Then, with amazing energy, the singer brought her fire to the stage, performing timeless hits like ‘Wombolobo’, ‘Agolo’ and several other hits of the 90s. “It has been a long time coming, and I’m happy to be back home,” said Kidjo, after her fifth song on the night; a Yoruba language tune which the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador did, on the right of the child to education. Then she did another homely one in which she eulogised the memory of Aruna Ishola, the legendary ‘Apala’ maestro. Like South African Miriam Makeba’s voice, Kidjo’s was one of Africa’s, which trended in their heydays. Engaging a section of the audience on stage, together, they danced, reminiscent of the yesteryear, as the Beninoise singer reeled out one song after another, combing enchanting rhythm with afro-centric dance steps. Although the reception for Chaka Khan was loud during her entry, the excitement of the crowd soon waned, with the natural tendency to relax for the night. Such was the mood in which the show gradually ended, as the music buffs trooped out. Perhaps another talent of note was 25-year-old soul singer and pianist, Kaline Akinkugbe, who opened the show, as the supporting act of the night. Typical of her style, she fused jazz, funk and afrobeat to arrest her listeners. High point of the three-hour concert which was anchored by Smooth FM’s OAP The Genie, was when Chaka Khan and Angelique Kidjo sang together. They had performed Chaka Khan’s 1983 smash hit song ‘Ain’t Nobody’, giving the late crowd the excitement which others may have missed.





ANY lovers of language and metaphors use the word quisling as though an English word in essence and roots. It is, but not like most words. It means traitor, but it was the name of a Norwegian politician. His attitude, so noxious and so aberrant, imposed his name in conversations all over Europe and, later, the rest of the world. His full name was Vidkun Quisling, and the Q was written in capital letters. His notoriety arose from the cauldron of the Second World War when the German dictator, Adolf Hitler, rolled his then impregnable military machine from country to country in a bid to lob all of Europe and the world into the fire and fury of a Nazi empire. While resistance flared all over, Vidkun Quisling collaborated with Hitler as a Man Friday to orchestrate Norway’s surrender to the German Reich. He reigned for a while as Hitler’s planting before the Nazi behemoth unravelled and Quisling lost favour and fell into the dunghill of history. He became a metaphor for anyone who betrayed his people. Winston Churchill popularised it when he used it in a speech. To quisle, a verb from that name, has fallen out of use. But quisling has remained an irreplaceable word, especially in political dialogue. In the Southwest today, quislings abound, but two of them come into sharp focus as conversations stir in Ekiti State as the governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, marks his third year in office. Two persons are bracing themselves to take a battle to him and the people of the state as next year’s election looms. The two men are the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko and a former commissioner in Lagos and member of the House of Representatives, Opeyemi Bamidele. These two men once paraded themselves as progressives, a term that is increasingly losing its pristine beauty because of many comers uninvited. What is at play here is not that Governor Fayemi has not done well. They are ambitious and drowsy in search of raw power. If Fayemi is not transforming the infrastructure of the state, if he is not turning the educational system from the rut he met, if he had not revolutionised a sense of belonging in all with his welfare programme, or birthed rule of law in a way that made accountability inevitable, one would have said they wanted to change the government for good. When Governor Fayemi was sworn in, I wrote in this column the high road ahead of him, and I wondered how he was going to tackle a state so idealistic yet so forlorn. Within a year and half, I drove through the streets of Ado Ekiti, and I witnessed a transformation at variance with what obtained while I left the city on the day of his swearing-in. The streets narrow, unlit and dust-laden, the houses discloured, the brow of its inhabitants shorn of optimism, Ekiti did not seem, even with its new chaperon’s good intentions, capable of the lift you see in its streets today.




VOL 8 NO 2,634

‘There is nothing so sacrosanct about the elections that produced these structures that they should pose an impediment to genuine efforts to get the architecture of this unity in diversity right’


IN TOUCH 08054501081(sms only) •NMMA Columnist of the Year

The whitlow and quisling



So why is it that some persons want a change? If it is because a person belongs to another party or group, say the PDP, one would not sense any moral disappointment. Once political cycles come, opponents will fight through creative ways to wrest power from the incumbent, even if the incumbent has performed miracle. Fayemi has not performed miracle. But his miracle is on the make. Even then no one should ask the PDP not to fight. It has the right and the obligation to test its waters. But when politics is seen only in Machiavellian terms because one nurses an ambition fuelled by a grudge, the whole principle of leadership is abused. That is what I see in the upstart Bamidele and his ambition to run. He is running with confidence given to him by his fellow quisling, Governor Mimiko. When I wrote a column last year, Brother today, gone tomorrow, I witnessed an eruption of choreographed rage from his publicists.

None of them pointed out any major achievements except markets that local governments’ funds could build without whimper. They also pointed out a token clinic for mother and child. He should go to Lagos and Delta States where a whole lot has been done in that regard. He is still building a model school up till today. He earned in this column the glory of the title, the whitlow of the west. In the five fingers that represent the five states in the Southwest, Mimiko is the quisling. Immediately he won the election, he ran to master Jonathan in Aso Rock for a photo op. We all saw the quisling in full colour during the governor’s forum crisis when he pitched his tent against the progressives and voted for his master’s candidate. None of his loud supporters came out of the vestry of ignominy to defend his role. Jonathan with the PDP now see him as a bridgehead to capture the Southwest for the president. It does not matter that it creates a crisis for the PDP mainstays. But for Jonathan, the best PDP chieftain in the Southwest is the impostor, the one who goes about as a Labour


Party wheel horse. He would not formally join the PDP because he would be accused of overt betrayal. He also knows how effective the subterranean work can be in politics. He is shooting from the shadows. That is why he is backing Bamidele, now overfed from the other side, who now feels the hubris of all those who cannot resist the overweening impulse of ambition. Having served as commissioner for close to three terms in another state, he wanted to be governor of his state. And that was fine. But he acted as though he was fighting for Fayemi while the latter battled in court with the man with the phony Awo cap. But Bamidele already had started building a political infrastructure for himself in the hope that the courts would fail Fayemi and that would default into an opportunity for him to arise and shine. Faeyemi won, and a disappointed Bamidele failed again in a Senate bid. Too impatient, he moved over to the other party that he so publicly disdained in words and deeds. Now, it is not about opportunity but opportunism, a pragmatic desperation. So he bivouacs with a quisling and a whitlow, who has the nod of master jonathan. He becomes the lackey of a lackey. He, a lackey of Mimiko, the whitlow, who is Jonathan’s lackey. Bamidele is now servile to the slave of the presidency. It is like what the Argentine writer, Luis Borges, describes as “a mere discipline usurping the place of clear thinking..” The black American author, Edward Jones in his novel, The Known World, recreates the story of black slaves who owned slaves in the age of servitude, a servility within servility. One would expect that people want to move to freedom from slavery like Mandela, but Bamidele and his slave-master are doing the opposite. A new movie, titled 12 Years a Slave starring Nigeria’s own Chiwetel Ejiofor, recreates the true story of a man who moved from freedom to slavery. That story is as true then as it is today.

The Akotileta syndrome in Edo State


HE PDP in Edo State has lost the voice to attack Adams Oshiomhole because of his good deeds. Now, they seem to have found some counterfeit melody accusing the governor of trying to sell the Edo House in Lagos to himself. The courts are now adjudicating the matter because a tenant, who would not pay his rent for close to eight years, had turned it into a profiteering pot. Part of the real estate is now used as hotel facility for slipshod morality called short time. The over N2 billion property costs the state millions yearly and it cannot take possession of what belongs to it. And Lagos State now wants the Edo State government to pay about N50 million a year for land use charge. Yet, the state does not get any rent. Now that it is for sale, the convenient thing is to say the governor wants to possess it. Let them present evidence or remain quiet. The man renting the property is not from the state. Now the governor is calling the state citizens to buy, the PDP men are complaining. Would they prefer outsiders to hold on to their treasure? This is the Akotileta syndrome in Yoruba land, where the prodigal son sells family treasures to an outsider and fritters away the money.

HARDBALL RIDAY September 13, 2013, Hardball had offered part one of the above and had noted then that “Nigeria has prepared a bed of thorns and scorpions for itself with the lax manner successive governments have toyed with education, especially at the tertiary level.” Now another month has passed in the ASUU impasse. The strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is in its fourth month. Four months of all universities in the land shut down lock and barrel; four months of doodling; four months of bottom-dragging inertia; four months of indecisiveness; four months of national lethargy; four months of self-damaging incompetence; four months of numbing opacity… and it seems that the malady will continue for many more months. This long-drawn strike is the story of our education, it is the story of our government, it is the story of our country and the very tale of our lives. There cannot be another country in the world where public tertiary institutions are wilfully damaged in this manner with government resigned or inured to the catastrophe it is bound to unleash. Something must be wrong if government had an agreement with lecturers in 2009, reviewed same last year yet would not deign to keep the pact. Government pretended to discuss with the striking teachers but from the nature and con-


AS-UU make your bed, II stitution of the people leading the government team, it is obvious that there was no intention either to negotiate or reach a denouement. In fact, it appears government seeks to paper over the problem as usual and move on as it has done in the past few decades. To lay it bare indeed, where on earth did the Federal Government find Governor Suswam of Benue State (Hardball struggles with his first name now!) to lead negotiation with lecturers? Just because this fellow chanced upon the Government House in Makurdi, suddenly elevated him into a chief negotiator in such crucial matter as tertiary education crisis in Nigeria? A time-marker, a man Hardball cannot remember for anything remarkable in six years at the helm of a state (apart from his beautiful face getting chubbier like that of an agbala nwanyi, a woman at her very prime). When Suswam failed as he was doomed to, some people had mooted drafting former President Olusegun Obasanjo to help government untie the ASUU knot. But the wail of disapproval must have warned President Goodluck Jonathan against it. Obasanjo, like Ibrahim Babangida is decidedly anti-intellectual and if you look closely

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above you will notice the huge chips the twain still carry on their shoulder because they did not pass through the walls of any Ivory Tower. They will have to carry their boulder unto the hereafter because you were either there or you weren’t and mark you, garnering a dozen honorary degrees or owning half a dozen universities will not change a thing. In brief, both Babangida and Obasanjo did what could be described as eternal damage to our universities. The rot in the system deepened in their times, thus they cannot face ASUU today. But Hardball finds it befuddling that the Federal Government does not realise that anyone, just any adult who attended school and has commonsense can solve the ASUU matter. We just need to deal plainly and honestly with the teachers; we need to recognise that their demands are genuine and are ultimately in the overall interest of the country. Once that is understood by both parties, we address the immediate and pressing issues and draw up schedules for meeting the rest in an incremental basis. It’s as simple as that; it’s plain dealing, stupid. But as we say on the streets of Lagos, the thing wey man wan chop no allow am see road. But Hardball must not fail to put it on record that we are eating up our tomorrow, we are arresting our future when we instal cowboy politicians to manage our education. AS-UU make your bed…

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

Oct 14, 2013