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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Okada riders damage 42 buses in Lagos

Gunmen abduct Rep’s mother in Ogun


NEWS Page 12

Page 59

•Septuagenarian kidnapped at home

•Protest against traffic law continues

VOL. 7, NO. 2288 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2012




Sadly, Igbo land, the wretched remains of Biafra still bears the ugly marks of that near-annihilation...Igbo still cannot dare to produce the President of Nigeria... And because we have backed up the wrong tree, Nigeria generally has not fared much better either. The contorted creature sits pitiably today at a precipice staring down •SEE PAGE 8 her deep, dark doom. Quo Vadis Nigeria?

•NYSC members leading the zero tolerance campaign against fake drugs and substandard regulated products by NAFDAC, Oyo State at Agbeni market, Ibadan…yesterday

Forbes nominates Dangote, Elumelu, others for award


HE President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu, have been nominated for the Forbes Africa Person of the Year Award. They are the two Nigeri-

PHCN firms bid crisis deepens •My fear, by Uduaghan


HERE seems to be no end to the bickering over the bidding for the Power Distribution Companies (DISCOS), despite the government’s insistence that the process was clean. A committee has been set up to review parts of the process to ensure the success of a particular company which is interested in the Benin Disco, a source said yesterday. The committee is said to be headed by a permanent secre-

ans who made the five-man list. Others on the list are Malawian President Joyce Banda, Managing Director of Kenya’s Equity Bank Limited, Dr. James Mwangi and co-founder of Aspen PharContinued on page 2




Continued on page 2

Bomb scare on Arik’s flight Panic as Abuja-bound passenger shouts Allahu Akbar His family claims he’s mentally unstable, says SSS


HERE was panic aboard an Arik Air flight yesterday when a passenger suddenly sprang up from his seat, shouting: Allahu Akbar (God is great). Some other passengers overpowered Aminu Galadima, ap-

From Yusuf Alli and Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

parently believing that he was about to detonate a bomb. The passengers, supported by the crew, searched the man, after pinning him down to his seat.

But nothing incriminating was found on him. The Abuja-bound afternoon flight from Maiduguri – hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency – was barely 10 minutes into flight time when the incident occurred.

Galadima was handed over to the State Security Services (SSS) operatives on landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja. The incident sent tongues wagging across the nation. Continued on page 2




NEWS •Mr. Gerard Nayagam, General Manager TATA Nigeria, Mr. Mehesh Sachdeva, the Indian High Commissioner, Mr. Sudeep Ray, Executive Director, TATA Nigeria and Mr. Pascal Dozie, Chairman, MTN Nigeria unveiling the new TATA Daewoo Tractor Head in Lagos ...yesterday

Bomb scare on Arik’s Abuja-bound flight Continued from page 1

Aviation Minister Mrs Stella Oduah, in a statement by his Special Assistant Joe Obi explained what happened on board the aircraft. She said: “The rumour making the rounds of a bomb scare on an Arik Air flight from Maiduguri to Abuja is absolutely false. “In fact, it is a hoax as there is no iota of truth whatsoever in this wicked rumour. “A passenger, Aminu Galadima, an indigene of Minna, Niger State, boarded a Maiduguri - Abuja bound Arik Air aircraft with registration number 5N MJE after going through all mandatory security screening. “Nothing incriminating, no explosives or weapons whatsoever were found on him. “However, mid-air the passenger began to act strangely, loudly screaming ‘’God is Great”. Fellow passengers,

alarmed by this behaviour, rushed to apprehend him. A thorough search by fellow passengers and crew members revealed nothing dangerous on him. “The pilot immediately radioed Air Traffic Control and airport security operatives. “The plane landed safely at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at exactly 1253 hrs and the suspect was handed over to the SSS at about 1445 hrs where he is currently being interrogated. “We wish to reassure the flying public of the continued focus of the Federal Ministry of Aviation on the safety and security of the nation’s airspace, while cautioning fellow Nigerians on the spreading of dangerous rumours. “These rumours do not help to make our airspace either safer or more secure.” The SSS which has started interrogating the suspect, also

issued a statement. Its Deputy Director, Public Relations, Ms Marilyn Ogar, said: “On Friday, 19th October, 2012, wife of the SSG to the Borno State Government, Hajia Yachilla Jidda, travelled to Maiduguri in company of one Aminu S. Galadima, an interior decorator based in Abuja, to do some interior decoration work. On arrival in Maiduguri, he was lodged at Greenland hotel. “During the course of his stay, he exhibited unusual behaviour by smashing a window, and ended up with lacerations on his hands. “The SSG was contacted, and in collaboration with the Hotel management, subject was taken to Atal Hospital, also in Maiduguri, where he received treatment. “His family in Abuja was contacted and they gave confirmation that Galadima has been mentally unstable. In ad-

dition, his elder brother, who lives in the UK, was contacted and he requested that subject be returned to Abuja for medical attention. “On Sunday, 21st October, 2012, he was taken to the airport to be returned to Abuja, but missed the flight. However, the airport management was informed of his state of health, and they advised that whenever his return is scheduled, the management should be notified. “Unfortunately, when Galadima was taken to the airport on 23rd October for his return trip, the management of the airport was not informed, and 10 minutes into the flight, due to slight turbulence, his condition was triggered off. “Meanwhile, Galadima is in the custody of security forces. This clarification has become necessary to dispel the unfounded rumours concerning the flight.”

Floods cut 500,000 barrels of Nigeria’s daily crude production •Nation loses $53.5m daily


IGERIA’s oil production has been cut by 500,000 barrels of crude oil daily, due to the massive flooding that swept across the country. The loss translates to $53.5million daily. Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Director Osten Olorunsola stated this yesterday during the DPR’s third quarter media briefing in Lagos. He said the situation forced the country’s production down to 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) from over 2.5 million but noted that as the flood is receding, production has begun to ramp up to 2.3 million bpd. Mr. Olorunsola said both the big and small players are affected, but noted that the small players particularly the marginal fields’ operators are worst hit. “We had quite very unfortunate situation of flooding in the last couple of weeks and that certainly dipped production by 500,000 barrels per day. Quite a lot of firms and companies were hit. Actually, some companies went completely out. Companies like Sterling Energy and other little companies, especially the marginal field players. Even the big players got seriously hit, Total was completely out in OML 58, Agip was seriously hit at Obiafo, Mbede and Oguta, among other areas. They were really

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

down and total shut down at the peak was about 500,000 bpd.” Olorunsola explained that crude oil reserves as at end of September stood at 31.170 billion barrels. Condensate was 5.018 billion, bringing the total liquids to 36.2 billion barrels. Total gas reserves stood at 182.750 trillion standard cubic feet out of which non associated gas (NAG) was 90.150 trillion standard cubic feet. Gas flaring, as at end of September, dropped to 1.4 billion cubic feet per day which is 18 per cent of total gas produced as against 25 per cent by end of last year. This is a reduction of about 5.7 per cent from volume flared last year. The DPR boss said gas utilisation has risen in excess of 80 per cent of total production. Olorunsola said the DPR was also in the process of renewing expired licences for shallow water projects of Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron and that it has begun full implementation of trucking policy for depot owners. He said besides the four traditional refineries, an independent oil firm – Niger Delta Petroleum Resources - has built a refinery that refines 1000 barrels per day. He praised the development, especially as it is coming from a marginal field operator.

PHCN firms bid crisis deepens Continued from page 1

tary. “It is to protect the interest of a company with huge losses. Besides, the company is incompetent, but it is connected with a very senior official of the Presidency,” the source said, pleading not to be

named. Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan urged the National Assembly to intervene in the sale of the distribution companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to ensure that it folContinued on page 63

Forbes nominates Dangote, Elumelu, three others for award Continued from page 1

macare, Mr. Stephen Saad. A statement by the organisers said: “Aliko Dangote: founder and president of Dangote Group. Motivation: Last year’s runner-up to Forbes Africa Person of The Year, is still Africa’s richest man, worth more than $11.2 billion. Dangote continues to be one of the continent’s big-

gest employers. He promises to donate most of his fortune to charitable causes upon his retirement. “Dr James Mwangi won the Ernest and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award 2012 as well as Africa’s Innovation Leader of the Year Awards in 2012. Equity Bank is planning to extend its financial services to Ethiopia when the country opens its banking indus-

try for foreign investors. “Banda, Malawi’s first female leader, has restored strained diplomatic ties with neighbours and the international community. Her administration has embraced investor-friendly economic policies: she cut her salary by 30%; sold the presidential jet and a fleet of luxury cars in an austerity drive. “Elumelu: founder and

chairman of Heirs Holdings. Motivation: The multimillionaire grooms African business leaders and entrepreneurs through the Tony Elumelu Foundation. He is the leading advocate of Africapitalism, an economic philosophy that embodies the private sector’s commitment to Africa’s economic transformation through long-term investments.

“Saad is the biggest shareholder of the largest publicly-traded drug manufacturer, Aspen. The company has a market capitalisation of $6 billion. Saad became a multimillionaire at 29. Now aged 47, he employs more than 6,000 people.” The winner of this award would have had an influence on the events of the year gone by on the African continent.

•President Banda

Police kill five ‘kidnappers’, ‘bank robbers’ in Rivers, Anambra


ECURITY operatives engaged in gun battles with suspected kidnappers and bank ‘robbers’ yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and in Anambra State. At the end, five hoodlums – two bank robbers and three suspected kidnappers – were gunned down. The attempted robbery took place on Ada-George Road around noon yesterday. Bodies of the slain suspects were paraded at the headquarters of the Rivers Police on Moscow Road. The black Toyota Corolla car, with registration number: Rivers: BGM 896 AG, in which the suspected robbers were operating, was impounded, along with two AK-47 rifles and two fully-loaded magazines. Deputy Rivers Commissioner of Police Thomas Etomi, said riot policemen, well-trained in special protection, carried out the successful operation, with-

From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt and Nwanosike Onu, Awka

out any casualty on the part of the security agents. Etomi said: “Enough is enough. A few criminals cannot continue to terrorise law-abiding people of the state. We have mapped out security system and strategies in Port Harcourt and its environs, to reduce criminal activities to the barest minimum, especially around commercial banks. “A vehicle with four men was suspected by policemen, but they verified what they saw. Two of them were displaying rifles. As the robbers were attempting to escape, our men shot at them and they returned fire. Two of them fell, while others escaped with bullet wounds. “Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, is providing patrol vehicles for security agencies in the state. We

must return Port Harcourt and its environs to the good old days and we are making progress, in our determination to make the state safe.” Etomi also admonished members of the public with useful information about criminals in their midst, to make such available. The Commander of the Nigerian Naval Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Commodore Vinci Fadeyi, has paraded four suspects who allegedly stole crude oil from a well head of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC). The four suspects: Messrs. Richard Stawe Uwom, Daniel Godwin Pollyn, Jumbo Temple and Kayame Harry were immediately handed over to a team from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), led by Akubue Oke-

chukwu, for further investigation and possible prosecution. The vessel used for the oil theft: MT African Hyacinth, formerly known as MT Oliver, which is a motor tanker, about 128 metres in length and 15 metres in breadth, flying Nigerian flag, was impounded by the navy. Commodore Fadeyi said: “The vessel has Mr. Adonye Wilcox Santos of Ship-Care Nigeria Limited as its agent. The ship allegedly sailed from Lagos to Port Harcourt for maintenance and anchored at Bonny (Island in Rivers State, base of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, NLNG). “On September 30, 2012, the vessel proceeded to Ererekiri Creek in Bonny and connected its hoses to SPDC’s well head 2, in an attempt to steal crude oil. “At about 0100 (1 am), while siphoning the crude oil, the vessel caught fire, the inferno that

ensued, killed some of the perpetrators, while one sustained about 30 degree burns. The number of crew affected in the inferno could not be ascertained.” The commander also stated that the Base Intelligence Officer of Forward Operating Base (FOB), Bonny was informed that there was a patient in Channel Clinic with fire burn injury and on investigation, it was discovered that the patient was linked to the fire outbreak on the vessel. Upon further investigation, Fadeyi said four persons suspected to be linked with the fire incident were arrested and brought to NNS Pathfinder for investigation and were subjected to interrogation, to ascertain their level of involvement in the crude oil theft. While receiving the suspects, the leader of the EFCC team (Okechukwu) assured that the

anti-graft agency would conduct further investigation and possible prosecution of the four suspects. All the suspects, in separate interviews with reporters, claimed that they were innocent and wrongly arrested for a crime they did not commit. Dare devil kidnappers engaged members of the Anambra State Anti robbery Squad (SARS) in a gun duel that lasted for over one hour, during which three suspected-kidnapContinued on page 63

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They walk What is life like for octogenarians and nonagenarians? Do they occasionally fear death? And what interests them? ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU and NICHOLAS KALU, who spent time with them, report


ANY of them are left without their spouses of several decades. Some have even lost children. Chief Olatunbosun Falana, 85, Vice-President Namadi Sambo (right) greeting Princess Maxima of the Kingdom of Netherlands during the launch of Nigeria's National Financial Inclusion Strategy in Abuja...yesterday. With them is Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria Sanusi used to beg for food. His fellow Ekiti State compatriot, who is also 85, Lamido Sanusi PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN Mrs. Ojuolape Oladimeji also used to beg for what to eat. The case of another Ekiti indigene,Mrs. Felicia Ishola, believed to be over 105 years, was not really different. But, thanks to a Social Security Scheme introduced by the Dr. Kayode Fayemi administration, their stories have now changed. Mrs. Ishola said: "Fayemi will not cry in old age. He will not bury any of his children. He will get favour of people in this world and that of God." But for old people elsewhere, they are on their own. Government has no plan for them on the last lap of their lives. Creek Town, Cross River Stateborn Elder Effiong Aye has been able to cope with life at old age be•Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim cutting the tape to inaugurate the Remodelled General cause he retired as principal of the Aviation Terminal, MMA, Lagos ...on Tuesday. With them are Permanent Secretary, Aviation, Ms. Anne N, Ene-Ita (left), famous Hope Waddell College, Minister of Aviation Princess Stella Oduah (second left) and the Director-General, National Orientation Agency(NOA), Calabar and still receives pensions Mr. Mike Omeri . to support himself. Aye, who was born in 1918 in Creek Town, lost his wife Miranda in March this year. Aye said he nurses no fear of death. He said: “I don’t have any fear of death. I just feel the time was coming, when I don’t feel myself active like before. My limbs are getting weaker and weaker. And I knew that time was coming. It is coming now. Already, I am getting fed up. Most of my friends don’t live again. They are all gone. You see new generations coming up here. But that one is left to God. He dictates. But I still feel myself alright.” At 94, Aye says he does not stick to any diet. “I just eat normal food like everybody else; gari, rice, beans and so on. I am not on any special •Managing Director, Nigeria Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ahmed Rufai (left), National Chairman, Peoples diet,” he said. Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Bamanga Tukur (middle) and the party’s National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh (right) However, Aye says he has not during the PDP’s visit’s to the company’s ground station in Abuja...yesterday. tasted meat in the past 50 years. “Christ never ate meat,” he said. He believes he is in good health, except for the occasional malaria fever. He enjoys moral and financial support from his family. A prolific writer, with over 10 books authored by him, Aye spends most of his day reading. At the moment, he is revising the second edition of the Efik dictionary. He said: “I don’t joke with that one (reading). I read a lot. In fact, that is what I spend most of my time doing here in my study. I don’t write much now. But I read a lot,” he says as he reads a few lines from the Efik dictionary he is working on without the aid of his glasses. “I mostly stay inside these days, doing a lot of reading. For instance, this (second edition of the Efik dictionary) a big job to be done.” His routine is a bit different from Etubom Enian Essien, 92. From 1951 to 1984, he was a mem•Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation Eyinnaya Abaribe (left) greeting former DirectorGeneral, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Dr. Tom Adaba at the opening ceremony of Africast 2012 In Abuja... ber of the Eastern House of Assembly. Now he is the clan head of on Tuesday. With them is the Managing Director, News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN), Dame Oluremi Oyo

The only thing I ask is that I don’t bother my children and relations on sick bed before death. I don’t want to be urinating and defecating on the bed before death comes. I see that as punishment. So, I want to die while strong

Ikoneto.” He was reading by the window of his 19 Anderson Street, Calabar home when our reporter called on him. He said contentment is the reason for his long life. “What I would say is contentment. When you are contented with what you have and are, you don’t have problem,” he said. At 92, Essien drinks beer, though sparingly, and still smokes cigarettes. On whether he is on any special diet, he said: “No, no. I just live an ordinary life. Eating the normal food everybody else eats. I am not particular about any food. I eat cow meat, goat meat, fish and so forth, I don’t discriminate.” Like Aye, he spends most of his time reading. He does not go out often. “I scarcely go out, except when I go to church.” He reads without glasses. “I can read without my glasses, except the writings are too tiny,” Essien said. Essien said after his 85th birthday, he started experiencing general weakness. On how he gets cash to get by, he said: “As a clan head, I have a monthly stipend which I use in maintaining myself. All my children are grown up and on their own now, but they still take proper care of me.” The widower says he does not worry about death. “Well, you know, I don’t fear death. After living to the age of 92, what else would I fear? In fact, if you look around here, you do not find anybody of my age.” Essien goes to the African Club once in a while to fraternise with friends and drink a bottle of beer. “I drink beer twice a week. Yes, I still smoke cigarettes till now,” he says. For Madam Enyiuche Mary Obuekwe, a trader, baker and farmer, there is no need to fear death after living for four scores and a year. The widow, who lost her husband about 10 years ago, still washes her clothes and sweeps her house. “I cook my food the way I want it because children of nowadays don’t know how to cook food that has taste. They only




through the valley, but fear no death

•Etubom Essien

• Chief Mbanefo

• Aye

• Madam Obuekwe

• Pa Nwadiogbu

Old, flooded and helpless They are naturally weak on account of old age. But, the flooding, which has rendered many homeless across the country, has further weakened them. ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU encounters three men on the last lap of their lives in Internally Displaced Persons camps


OR the over 100,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the 27 camps in Anambra State, life has been miserable. It seems more painful for the aged. But, they are less concerned about their losses to the flooding. They say their children’s and relatives’ worry them. For 98-year-old Ogbuehi Oguejieve Udezuo of Enugu-Otu, life has not been

easy at the Aguleri relief camp, Anambra East. He urged government to come to their aid. Life may never be the same again for 95-year-old Pa Udaji Nwabia of Eziagulu-Otu. At the Fr. Joseph High School camp, Aguleri, where the flooding has consigned him, he fears the dislocation may alter the way of life of the people of his community forever. He said although he lost

know how to cook with maggi cube.” She is not on any special diet. But, she does not consume excess sugar. She has, however, had to battle heartrelated problem. She was flown abroad by her children for treatment. Since then, she has had to take medications for high blood pressure. Mrs. Obuekwe said: “I am not afraid of death. If it comes now, I will welcome it. I have accomplished my mission on earth. I am just enjoying additional life now. But I always ask God to make sure I am not going to die through accident. I want to lie down on my bed and pass on and I will be smiling home while going the Lord. “The only people that are afraid of death are people who did not keep anything in the world. I have left my foot prints in the world and I thank God for that.” Pa Samuel Chukwunweike Nwadiogbu, 80, a farmer, mechanic and retired Police Inspector, spends most of his time praising God these days.

“Once I wake up as early as 5am, I will pray to God with my entire family for protecting us over the night. On Friday, I go to Friday class in my parish but if it is other days, I will relax and take care of the house while the children go to school. So, the only thing that keeps me busy now is church activities. I am a member of the choir. I don’t work any longer, because I have retired now,” he said. Old age has affected his memory. He says he easily forgets things now. That started three years ago. He said: “I will be discussing with you; but immediately you go away, I will forget all we have said, unless you remind me about that.” He still washes his clothes because his wife is not always at home because she is usually with the children. He too does not fear death. In his words: “I know that one with God is with majority. I am not owing anybody. So, I am not afraid of death




buildings and vehicles to the flood, nothing is as good as being alive. The pains in the heart of 70-yearold Pa James Ejumade of Nzam were literally visible on his face when The Nation met him at Bishop Crowther Memorial School. He said

life has been miserable and can never be regained unless help comes. He said over 2,350 Igala victims from Nzam and Anambra West Local Government Area were camped there. Ejumade maintained that home

at all. So, I thank God for the good health He granted me. That is why I kept praising God day in day out at home and in the church.” Chief Shedrack Onuohaegbunam Mbanefo, who is still four years away from becoming an octogenarian, looks as though he is more than his age. He is on special diet, such as vegetables and proteinous foods. Doctor has also got him to stay away from alcohol and avoid anything that contains sugar. One of his eyes is weakened. He too said he is not afraid of death. “The only thing I ask is that I don’t bother my children and relations on sick bed before death. I don’t want to be urinating and defecating on the bed before death comes. I see that as punishment. So, I want to die while strong,” he said. Unlike Nigeria, Europe and America have plans for the elderly, especially the weak. Sick old people in Britain are treated free of charge by the National Health Service,

which is funded by general taxation. Poor and frail old people are given free help with washing, dressing and cooking. When old people become so infirm that they can no longer make a cup of tea, they may be nudged into a care home, but at her own cost, unless they are particularly poor. Mr. Geoffery Chima, the National Vice Chairman of the Association of Federal Public Service Retirees (AFPSR), said there must be a ministry for the elderly. He said: “We want our own ministry because it will help to ensure that we are properly taken care of. There are more than 15 ministries in the country today, which all the pensioners retired from. So, it is better for a ministry to be created for us. The process of establishing a task force to take care of pensioners who embezzled pension funds should be eradicated. Nigeria should be serious with their pensioners like other countries.”

remained the best. He said the losses to the flooding are unquantifiable, but thanked God for sparing their lives. Ejumade said nothing ever would restore the rustic life they lived in their villages.

A nongovernmental organisation (NGO) known as the Senior Citizens Advocacy Network of Nigeria (SCANON), has advocated adequate healthcare, transportation, and care givers, among others to promote the well being of the senior citizens. The chairman of the group, Rear Admiral Christopher Ehanmo (rtd), at the official inauguration of SCANON earlier this month, said the Senate passed a bill entitled: “National Agency for Elderly Persons (Establishment) Bill 2009 (SB.15)”. However, the House of Representatives did not pass the bill and therefore the bill could not be sent to Mr. President for assent. “We believe all the senior citizens in Nigeria will actively participate in this important and timely crusade of our efforts to improve the well being of the elderly persons in Nigeria”, he said.



NEWS N180m grant for research

Mark to NSC: clean up industry

From Nduka Chiejina, Assistant Editor

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

SENATE President David Mark yesterday urged the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to sanitise the industry and ensure that immoral foreign and local movies are not aired. Mark spoke through the Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Eyinnaya Abaribe, at the ninth Biennial Conference of Africa Broadcasters in Abuja. He said: “There is a lot of foreign content in Nigeria broadcasting and we need to do something about that. Part of what we get as our local content (movies) influences our youths.” “People derive lessons from what they see, that means we must be careful in the way we present some of these things. There is too much juju, too much voodoo; I mean that is not the way we live.”

Jonathan meets UN envoy From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has said there is need for all citizens to feel the impact of growth in the economy. He spoke yesterday when he met the United Nations Special Envoy for Financial Inclusion, Princess Maxima of Netherlands, at the State House. “It is important for us to have structures that will enable all Nigerians access financial services as well as funds, and we have started programmes targeted at empowering the youth, women and the creative industry’, he stated. The President also said the financial inclusion strategy undertaken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would enable more Nigerians access funds and help reduce poverty, especially in rural areas. Princess Maxima hailed President Jonathan for supporting the financial inclusion strategy, and for the work of the Economic Management Team and the effective coordination of relevant ministries and departments.

10,000 youths to get jobs From Dele Anofi, Abuja

THE Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is to employ 10,000 youths nationwide. The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the agency, Gabriel Amuchi said President Goodluck Jonathan has given the directive that the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) should ensure the realisation of the programme. He said: “The dry season is setting in and we are looking at not more that 90 days between October to December as our target and we are going to be aggressive about it all over the country.


•Senate President David Mark (right) and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha at the 127th Assembly of the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Quebec, Canada... yesterday.

2015: Why PDP will stick to zoning, by Oyinlola N

ATIONAL Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola has given reasons why the party will stick to the zoning arrangement in picking candidates for the 2015 general election. Oyinlola, who spoke with reporters in his office in Abuja, said experience has shown that zoning affords people from minority groups the opportunity to fulfil their political aspirations. According to him, the zoning arrangement has endeared the PDP to Nigerians and has given minority groups the hope of realising their political ambitions without fear of domination by existing majority groups. “What has endeared the PDP to Nigerians is the zoning arrangement, which has given minority groups the hope of realising their political aspirations in the country,” Oyinlola maintained. The former Osun State Governor said the present crop of PDP leaders at the national level will ensure that the party is run in accordance with provisions of the party’s constitution. He dismissed threats by the opposition parties coming together to form a united front to defeat the PDP in the 2015 elections, saying

•’Party yet to be briefed on Mimiko’s defection plan’

Suspended vice chair replaced From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja


HE People Democratic Party (PDP) has replaced its suspended national vice-chairman, North East, Girigiri Lawal, with a former member of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Wakil. Lawal was suspended a few weeks ago by the party’s national leadership for allegedly flouting provisions of the party constitution and directives from the leadership of the party. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, yesterday directed party officials to comply with provisions of the party’s constitution with regard to the submission of names for election into public offices. The statement called on the National Working Committee members, state governors, zonal officers as well as state chairmen and secretaries to always comply with Section 50 of the party’s constitution. From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

the move is an indication of weakness and lack of spread of the opposition. He said: “A party that is sure of itself should be able to stand firm and fight election. “ If you are ganging up, it means you don’t have the spread. Ganging up has never succeeded and will never succeed. The PDP is the only party

with a national spread.” Reacting to speculations that Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko may have been making plans to defect from the Labour Party (LP) to the PDP. Oyinlola said the leadership of the PDP was yet to be officially briefed on the governor’s defection plan. He, however, maintained that there is enough room in the PDP to accommodate as many people as may wish to

join, either as new members or as defectors from other parties. Oyinlola lamented PDP’s loss of Ondo State to the LP, saying the party has gone back to the drawing board to make the necessary adjustments to get attuned to the needs of the people of the state. “The people of Ondo State have spoken and they have told the world about their preference. “The message from the outcome of the election is for us to do our homework and an appraisal of the election. “We need to convince the electorate of what we can do for them before the next election” He attributed the loss of Oyo and Ogun states to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 governorship election to what he described as irreconcilable differences among major political actors. Oyinlola said but for the differences in opinion, the PDP would have won the governorship elections in the two states, The PDP National Secretary dismissed insinuations that he was working against the return of former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel to the PDP, saying there was no reason for him to work against Daniel’s comeback bid.

Court convicts man caught with $7.05m cash


FEDERAL High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted a 25-year old man, Abubakar Tijjani Sheriff, charged with false declaration under the Money Laundering Law. Sheriff was arrested by security operatives on September 27 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on his way to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for declaring less than the cash he had on him. He declared $4.500million to Customs officials, but he was found to possess $7.05million when he was searched. He was arraigned yesterday before Justice C. J. Anieke, on a one-count charge and was accused of violating the provisions of

•To forfeit 25% of undeclared cash By Eric Ikhilae

Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provision) Act Cap F34, laws of Nigeria, 2004 and 2(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2011, offence punishable under Section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act, 2011. Sheriff pleaded guilty to the charge and appealed to the court for leniency. Justice Anieke convicted Sheriff. He was not sentenced to any term of imprisonment, but was ordered to forfeit part of the money. The judge ordered that he forfeits 25 per cent of the excess of what he actually declared - estimated at $637, 631,

- to the government. The judge, in considering his plea for clemency and the information that the funds were not proceeds of crime, ordered the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to release to the convict the rest of the money after the deduction. He said Sheriff was a first time offender and that his incarceration since his arrest was “enough eye opener.” Prosecution lawyer Aliyu Yusuf said after Sheriff’s arrest, the funds were deposited in a GT Bank account for safekeeping. He urged the court to convict Sheriff as charged, having pleaded guilty.

Sheriff’s lawyer Obafemi Ogundare prayed the court to be lenient with his client and temper justice with mercy. He told the court that the money found on his client was contributed by 20 traders, who wanted the convict to help them buy cheap goods from Dubai. He said the traders voluntarily went to EFCC office to claim ownership of the money on learning that Sheriff had been apprehended. Ogundare further told the court that the money involved was not proceed of crime and that there was no intention to deliberately commit crime. He urged the court to order the forfeiture of the 25 percent of undeclared amount as required by law.

HE Petroleum Trust and Development Fund (PTDF) has given N180 million grant to six research teams to carry out researches beneficial to the oil and gas industry. Addressing the research teams, the PTDF Executive Secretary, represented by Jide Adebulehin, urged the teams to put in their best as the results of the researches would be patented and handed over to the international oil companies for use in the industry. Adebulehin berated the oil and gas industry for paying-lip a service to research and development. He said the PTDF was working with higher institutions to promote research and development in the industry. The Acting Chairman of the Steering Committee, Dr. Kehinde Ladipo, said the grant was initiated as a competition among members of the academia. The research grant competition, he said, has the following objectives: to build capacity, encourage excellence in current research activities, development of research in universities and multi-disciplinary team approach to research and projects, drive and promote industry/ university collaboration. He reiterated that the results of the research would be patented by the Federal Government.

Reps, NDDC bicker over budget From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja


HERE is a serious disagreement on the N250billion budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The House of Representatives Committee on NDDC and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are divided on some figures in the budget. Members of the committee, who had converged for the budget defence, stormed out of the closed door meeting yesterday. The NDDC came before the Committee to defend its 2012 budget which went through second reading last week. The Committee had earlier walked reporters out of the session and commenced covert deliberations on the budget. The NDDC, last week, told the committee that it needs an additional N1.3 trillion to satisfactorily fund ongoing capital projects in the region. Sources alleged that the meeting was to find ways of infusing additional funds into the budget of the commission, but the members of the Committee disagreed on certain figures. The Chairman of the Committee, Nicholas Mutu who has earlier promised to brief reporters, cancelled the briefing.





Election was manipulated, says observer group

HE Forum of Independent Election Observers (FIEO) yesterday said Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State was marred by manipulation, falsification and rigging. Speaking to reporters in Akure, Dr. Gabriel Nwambu of the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) alleged: “At Orimolade Grammar School, Okelisa Okeduke, Ogbodu in Ondo West, Unit 012, Area Code 11, two electoral officers (one of them a youth corps member) were seen thumb-printing for the Labour Party (LP) and

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

N50,000 each was found in their possession.” He went on: “The question is, how did they come about the money in a polling unit? “In Owo, two LP chieftains were caught and arrested for illegal possession of six AK 47 rifles, which they used to cause mayhem and terrorise voters who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “This explains the low

turnout and victory of the LP in Owo, as thousands of voters were disenfranchised. “In Okitipupa and Idanre, thugs working for the LP snatched ballot boxes and harassed voters and supporters of the opposition parties. “In Ilaje, a stronghold of the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not conduct election in two wards and its ad-hoc workers never showed up.” The election observers noted that last Thursday, 15 youths

working for the LP were arrested in Akure for thumbprinting and stuffing ballot boxes with thumb-printed ballot papers in an LP chieftain’s home. They said their reports must be taken seriously to save democracy from collapse. Other leaders of the FIEO at the press conference included Rose Akhigbe of the Network of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria (NCSON), Comrade Sebastine Ekpenyong of the Electoral Rights Monitor (ERM) and Ambassador Iwara Okoi of the Transparency Advocacy Centre (TAC).

Mimiko’s victory is pyrrhic, says ACO


HE Akeredolu Campaign Organisation (ACO) has described the victory of Governor Olusegun Mimiko in Saturday’s election as pyrrhic. The Director of Media, Publicity and Strategy of ACO, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku, said the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) recorded improvement in the poll compared with its previous performances in elections in Ondo State; while the fortune

of the Labour Party (LP) dwindled as a result of the rejection of Mimiko by the majority of voters. He said: “It is clear that in contrast with the performance of Mimiko in 2007 based on which he was declared winner in 2009 by the Court of Appeal, where he polled 198,261, which represented 55 per cent of the votes cast, his Saturday’s 260,199 votes represent only 41.7 per cent of the total 624,659 votes cast, re-

flecting a proportional decline; meaning the opposition got majority of the votes. “When the election result was declared, Akure wore a mourning look until Mimiko’s supporters had to be forced out for celebration as against the spontaneous celebration of 2009 after Mimiko’s mandate was restored. This speaks volume of the authenticity of the victory. “The ACN gave a good

showing in all the local governments, despite the massive rigging, intimidation of supporters in the party’s strongholds and cancellation of results in Idanre, Ipele and Okitipupa, among others. “We are poised to put the LP government on its toes from day one, pending the outcome of the meeting of the leadership of our great party, which will decide our next line of action.”

Jonathan’s aide: I delivered my ward to PDP From Damisi Ojo, Akure

•Oke, PDP’s governorship candidate


HE Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger-Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, yesterday said he delivered his unit and ward to the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) governorship candidate, Chief Olusola Oke. He debunked rumours that he lost his ward (Arogbo Ward 1) to the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Olusegun Mimiko. Kuku, who spoke with reporters in Akure, said he won

in his unit, (R.C.M. 1 Unit 004), which was in front of his father’s house in Arogbo town and most of the units in Arogbo Ward 1. He noted that the PDP won with 154 votes higher than its closest rival, the LP. In Arogbo Ward 2, the presidential aide said the PDP won with 22 votes after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cancelled some units in the ward. Although, the LP in Ese-Odo Local Government polled 9,137 votes against PDP’s 7,295 and ACN’s 2,987, Kuku said he won for his party in his traditional wards of Arogbo 1 and 2, adding that the records are there in the INEC office for anybody to verify. Kuku, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), however, condemned the security situation in the riverine areas, stressing that secu-

rity was relaxed in the coastal communities such as Arogbo, Ukparama, Bolouwo, Ajapa, Agadagba-Obon, Ikorigho, Ilowo and Ayetoro with the intention to weaken the stronghold of the PDP candidate, Olusola Oke. He said only two gunboats patrolled the waterways in the state, adding that supporters of the PDP could not come out to vote for fear of being attacked. Kuku went on: “The election was a step forward in a bid to conduct a free and fair poll. We should thank President Goodluck Jonathan for providing security. But it is pertinent to note that upland security was not enough for the poll, while there was no security in the polling unit of the PDP candidate in the coastal area. “At every polling centre, only one unarmed policeman was attached with the INEC polling officials and most of them operated in fear and allowed some lapses such as the

late accreditation and short period of voting. “In fact, election materials in Oke’s ward came behind schedule to ensure Oke’s stronghold would not return the expected number of votes.” He said his intervention across the coastal communities of Ese-Odo on the eve of the election and on election day restored peace, adding that an ex-militant leader unleashed terror on the waterways of Agadagba-Arogbo-UkparamaBolouwo. According to Kuku, the exmilitant leader, on the eve of the election, went haywire, kidnapping, maiming and beating any presumed supporter of the opposition parties; and went ahead to seize the speed boats of the PDP lawmaker in the House of Assembly, Akpoebi Lubi “and my own to disrupt the movement of the agents of PDP to their units for monitoring on the election day.”

Ondo PDP decries congratulatory messages to Mimiko From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State yesterday decried the comments and congratulatory messages sent by its National Publicity Secretary to Governor Olusegun Mimiko. The party said the compliments were fraught with irregularities. A statement signed by its Director of Publicity, Ayo Fadaka, said: “This flurry of messages, particularly by our kith and kin in the PDP, without consultation with us at the state level to find out what actually went wrong, has the potent tendency to misconstrue our position and the actions we intend to take. “We take serious exception to the obvious lack of camaraderie in our party and the indecent haste of certain functionaries to fall on each other in congratulating a man who essentially is a beneficiary of a compromised election. “It is important to place on record that the avalanche of the security provided for the election was lethargic and in contrast to what obtained in Edo State. The security men were only present in the urban areas. They were not seen in the rural areas, thereby allowing Mimiko and his goons to compromise the poll. “We are still gathering evidence of malpractices perpetrated in this election and what we have gathered so far will shock every apostle of one man one vote to their marrow. We declare that we will contest the result of this election and we assure our supporters that we will get victory and Mimiko will leave government the same way he came. “As far as the PDP in Ondo State is concerned, the battle is just beginning and victory is certain. Let whoever so desires continue to congratulate Mimiko, but we will battle him legally. We call on our members to remain undaunted in the face of this abandonment by those who ordinarily should show understanding and care at a time like this.”

Mimiko clamours for staggered elections •Gets INEC’s Certificate of Return


NDO State Governor Olusegun Mimiko yesterday canvassed staggered elections to curb electoral malpractices. He spoke when he received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner in charge of Southwest, Prof. Lai Olorode, in Akure. His Deputy, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, was also given his certificate at the ceremony attended by Mimiko’s wife, Olukemi and Labour Party’s (LP’s) National Chairman, Dan Nwuanyanwu, among others. Mimiko said: “One critical element of success is these staggered elections. I’m sure we did not deliberately craft it, but it has been crafted for us. “It appears God has decided to intervene in our electoral affairs through this. I believe our electoral umpire, INEC, should go to that and create a regimen of staggered elections for the country. “From my experience in the elections that took place in Edo and Ondo states on these staggered elections option, it will probably be one credible solution to the challenges of electoral malpractices in Nigeria.”

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

He said INEC should ensure that the logos of the political parties that are similar are not printed on the ballot papers close to each other, to avoid voided votes. Governor Mimiko advocated continuous voter registration to include those who have attained the voting age. He hailed INEC for its increased commitment to have a credible electoral system, and thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for fulfilling his promise to provide security. Olorode said: “Though INEC is claiming to be perfect, there are bound to be challenges. The most important thing is to remove what remains of electoral malfeasance.” He said INEC has zero tolerance for indiscipline among its workers, adding: “Only God knows the number of INEC officials that have been axed since 2011.” Olorode, who noted that the over 40 per cent voters’ turnout is the highest so far in the country, described the jubilation that greeted the declaration of the result as an evidence of transparent conduct of the poll.

‘We ‘ll take our stand soon’


•Managing Director, Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, Mr. Ola Oresanya (left), Plateau State Commissioner for Environment, Mrs. Sarah Yusuf and Representative of Minister of Environment, Mrs. Olabisi Jaji, during the National Healthcare PHOTO ABAYOMI FAYESE Waste Management Summit in Abuja ...yesterday

HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State yesterday said it is studying the governorship election result released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday, with a view to pursuing justice through the appropriate quarter. The party said it is compiling and collating reports across the state, adding: “We are heading for the tribunal to seek redress.” The party, through its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Wale Ozogoro, said it had noticed the misapplication of electoral guidelines in the governorship poll. It said: “We are convinced that justice will be obtained as we intend to seek same at the appropriate time. “However, the party is not taken aback by the comments of a few individuals who feel that the party should not go to the tribunal to seek redress. We want to put it on record that seeking justice at the appropriate quarter is part of the rule of law, which is the bedrock of democratic ethos. “We, therefore, want to avail ourselves of every available option under the law to seek justice and rekindle the hope and aspiration of the Ondo people that a democracy built on fairness, equity and justice can truly be achieved. “The party sympathises with Ondo people and assures them that victory will come in a short while. “Indeed, you have spoken and demonstrated it through your votes that you wanted a change and a rapid departure from underdevelopment. “However, your votes will count and hope will be restored in a shortest possible time. “All Ondo people should be resolute, determined and keep faith with the PDP and Chief Olusola Oke as we hope to get justice through the court.”




There was a country: Blockade, starvation and a requiem for Biafra “

UNTIL now efforts to relieve the Biafran have been thwarted by the desire of the central government of Nigeria to pursue total and unconditional victory and by fear of the Ibo people that surrender means wholesale atrocities and genocide. But genocide is what is taking place right now – and starvation is the grim reaper. This is not the time to stand on ceremony, or go through channels, or to observe the diplomatic niceties. The destruction of an entire people is an immoral objective even in the most moral of wars. It can never be justified; it can never be condoned.” U.S. President Richard Nixon’s campaign speech on September 10, 1968 The Nigeria-Biafra war which was (under) estimated by Gowon and his top officers to last not more than three months, had lasted more than two years by July 1969. By an inexplicably suicidal instinct, Biafra had held on to the frustration of the Nigerian side. All the brutalities of an overwhelming force and the air bombardments overtly aided by British fire power had still not totally subdued the ‘rebels’. The economic blockade of the ‘rebels’ was thus reinforced and the noose tightened. All the seaports to Biafra had been closed at the beginning of hostilities with the creation of MidWest, Rivers and South Eastern states which isolated the Biafra state of East Central State. Biafra had also been isolated from the major oil wells by this singular action. Further economic and food blockades had been devised as state policy and were being strictly implemented. No agreement could be reached between the two warring parties as to the modus of shipping essential supplies to the ‘rebel’ enclave. Ojukwu insisted on air routes, fearing food poisoning if supplies come through Nigeria moderated channels but the Nigerian government would not hear of it, worried that arms may be smuggled in via that method. In his writing for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ series, New Issues, Professor Nathaniel H Goetz of Pepperdine University thus captures the complexity of the stand-

By Steve Osuji

off: “Politically, the possibility of a land corridor seemed impossible. One of the many disagreements between the warring parties was simple, yet it illustrates both the mistrust and complexity of what was occurring: Ojukwu forbade the necessary food to reach the country through the neutral corridor for fear Nigerian troops would poison it… on June 5 (1968), an ICRC DC-7 aircraft was shot down by the Federal air force over Biafra, killing the three aid workers on board. Because of this incident, serious disputes over the conduct of relief operations arose and the airlift was again suspended.” While the diplomatic face-off went on, the scourges of hunger, diseases and deaths raged on in war-ravaged Biafra eliciting uproar across the world. Dan Jacobs, author of the book, “The Brutality of Nations” wrote about the lamentations of Pope Paul VI over this situation: “The war seems to be reaching its conclusion, with the terror of possible reprisals and massacre against defenseless people worn out by deprivations, by hunger and by the loss of all they possess… there are those who actually fear a kind of genocide.” Jacobs also quoted the editorial of the Washington Post of July 2, 1969: “One word now describes the policy of the Nigerian military government towards secessionist Biafra: genocide. It is ugly and extreme but it is the only word which fits Nigeria’s decision to stop the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC), and other relief agencies from flying food to Biafra.” The International Committee in the Investigation of Crimes of Genocide led by a Ghanaian, Dr. Mensah after its investigation of the conflict, reported thus: “I am of the opinion that in many of the cases cited to me, hatred of the Biafrans (mainly Igbos) and a wish to exterminate them was

•Prof Achebe

a foremost motivational factor.” Let us take a final quote on the international outcry against the Federal Government’s handling of Biafra from no less a personage than Arthur Schlesinger, American historian and scholar of note: “The terrible tragedy of the people of Biafra has now assumed catastrophic dimensions. Starvation is daily claiming the lives of estimated 6,000 Igbo tribesmen, most of them children. If adequate food is not delivered to the people in the immediate future, hundreds of thousands of human beings will die of hunger.” It is from the foregoing, from the gloomy umbra of this genocidal turn of events that Achebe concludes that the highly respected Yoruba leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo could not be watching this gory Biafran drama happen, not to talk of being part of it and worse, being the master mind. “All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder.” This is the alleged refrain from Chief

Awolowo and reechoed by people like Chief Allison Ayida, says Achebe. This pogrom by hunger was steadfastly reinforced with such grim policies as state creation, secret currency change, the 20 pounds punishment, the ban on importation of certain commodities and the Indigenisation Act. All this orchestrated war of attrition to what end than to asphyxiate Ndigbo? How, when and why did Igbo brothers and sisters suddenly become mortal ‘enemies’ to be strafed, starved to death and exterminated so that the rest of Nigeria would have peace? Why was the reprisal coup not stopped at killing Aguiyi-Ironsi and Igbo officers; why did over 30,000 defenceless civilians have to be slaughtered with no questions asked? What manner of leader would fold his hands and watch while his people are killed like rats in a senseless pogrom without putting up a fight no matter how feeble? Achebe is saying that Chief Awolowo providing the intellectual prowess behind these sinister policies means that we still did not know at which point the rain started to beat us. He is saying that Igbo is not the problem of Nigeria. Achebe is asking: who jailed Awolowo on trumped up charges; who killed Adekunle Fajuyi, then governor of Western Region in cold blood, for no reason; who chased away the most senior military officer (Brigadier Ogundipe) and installed a stooge as head of state; who made sure Awo never became president of Nigeria; who killed Ken SaroWiwa, who made sure M.K.O. Abiola never became president and eventually killed him, his wife and damaged his businesses; who jailed Obasanjo; who always insists that he always must rule or determine who rules? Achebe expected Chief Awolowo, as the Yoruba leader of that era, who had just been freed from an unjust imprisonment to stand up against the

injustice of the pogrom against Igbo in the north; he expected him to speak up against the raging genocide unleashed on Ndigbo the way others like Wole Soyinka, Victor Banjo and a few other Yoruba spoke against it, instead of aiding and abetting it. EPILOGUE: REQUIEM FOR BIAFRA; QUO VADIS NIGERIA? On January 15, 1970, the Biafran delegation, which was led by Major-General Philip Effiong and included Sir Louis Mbanefo, M.T. Mbu, Col. David Ogunewe and other Biafran military officers, formally surrendered at Dodan Barracks to the troops of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Forty-two years ago, the rest of Nigeria teamed up seeking to exterminate the Igbo race in Nigeria, putting down more than two million and leaving the rest deprived, wretched and psychologically traumatised for no just cause. Forty two years after, all the rehabilitation and reconstruction promised was never to be. A trip through Igbo land today is enough proof of an ongoing ‘war’ by other means. Today, Igbo that was a pillar of the land, one of the majority tribes has been deliberately reduced to subminority. The people now are the least in population! It has the least number of states, local government areas and consequently, the least share of the federal revenue allocation. All these wars of attrition notwithstanding, the current attitude is: we dare you to talk about it. But Achebe insists: “My aim is not to provide all the answers but to raise questions, and perhaps to cause a few headaches in the process.” Sadly, Igbo land, the wretched remains of Biafra still bears the ugly marks of that near-annihilation, both physically and in the mind. For over four decades, Igbo still cannot dare to produce the President of Nigeria. For forty years, it remains tattered, disheveled and unkempt like an old hag. And because we have backed up the wrong tree, Nigeria generally has not fared much better either. The contorted creature sits pitiably today at a precipice staring down her deep, dark doom. Quo Vadis Nigeria?

NEWS Saudi Arabia deports seven pilgrims

Judge’s absence stalls Ogbulafor’s trial


AUDI Arabian authorities yesterday deported another seven women pilgrims for alleged incomplete travelling documents, barely two days to the Arafat. The pilgrims arrived in the country through the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport at about 4:30 a.m aboard a Boeing 747 Kabo Aircraft. An airport official told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the pilgrims were deported from Makka for not having complete travelling documents. He said the identities of the pilgrims could not be ascertained. Effort to contact NAHCON officials in Kano failed as they were said to be in the Holy land for the Hajj. Two weeks ago, the Saudi authorities also deported 20 Nigerian pilgrims for a similar offence.



HE trial of former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Vincent By Precious Igbonwelundu Ogbulafor for alleged N170 HE Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Dele Joseph million contract fraud was Ezeoba, has laid the foundation for a Nigerian Navy stalled yesterday, following (NN) Diagnostic Centre in Lagos. He gave the the absence of the judge. Justice Ishaq Bello of an contractor a six-month deadline. Ezeoba, who was on his maiden tour as the CNS, on Abuja High Court, who last Mondayvisited facilities in the Lagos area, including the presided over the matter on Western Naval Command, Apapa, Naval Drafting and July 11, was said to have travCentral Pay Office, Navy Town Ojo, as well as the Joint elled to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage. Maritime Security Centre. Justice Bello was expected He said: “We have a responsibility to move the Navy forward and from the mandate of President Goodluck to hear the testimony of a Jonathan, we are trying to ensure that whatever will help us achieve that mandate is put in place. “That is why we are taking a detailed tour of the commands to ensure that we gather enough firsthand HE Executive Secreinformation to meet Mr. President’s transformation tary, National Univermandate. sities Commission “The President’s mandate remains the focal point of my watch because it hinges on our economic well being and (NUC), Prof Julius Okojie, national development. yesterday said about 60 per “That is why the Navy has become very crucial as we cent of university teachers must secure our maritime domain to ensure that government don’t have doctoral degrees. gets the maximum benefit accruable to it.” He added that the situation

Navy diagnostic centre coming


principal witness of the prosecution. The continuation of the trial is now expected to hold on November 7. A Senior Legal Officer with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC),Paul Bassi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the new date was given to Ogbulafor‘s counsel Joe Gadzama (SAN) by the court clerk. ICPC is prosecuting Ogbulafor, Jude Nwokolo, Henry Ikoh and Emeka Emmanuel on a 16-count charge of alleged involvement in a N170 million fraud. The agency alleged that while serving as the Minister of State for Economic Affairs in 2001, Ogbulafor connived with the others to float three fictitious companies through

which they perpetrated the fraud. They were alleged to have used Henrichiko Nig. Ltd, DHL Consultants and Chekwas Industries to siphon N82.6 million, N11.5 million and N6.2 million in 2001. The prosecution also alleged that Ogbulafor used his position as Head of the National Economic Intelligence Committee set up a committee to verify debts owed local contractors, to pass some forged documents. NAN reports that on May 30, six months after the case was adjourned indefinitely, the judge granted permission to ICPC to reopen its case on July 11 and July 12. The decision followed an application filed by ICPC’ Counsel Adegboye Awomolo (SAN), asking for the case to be relisted on the court list.

The application for the relisting of the case followed a stay of proceedings, pending the determination of a motion he filed at the Court of Appeal. ICPC asked for the stay of proceedings because the commission was challenging Bello’s ruling granting Ogbulafor’s application for severance of trial, delivered on December 14, 2010. Bello had severed the trial because Nwokolo, Ikoh and Emanuel had filed a case at the Court of Appeal, challenging the ruling of the court in which the judge said they had a case to answer in the matter. Bello said because the appeal filed by the trio was yet to be heard, the trial had to be severed so that the others could stand trial after their appeal had been determined.

Many varsity teachers don’t have PhD, says Okojie


From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

is worrisome and has been impacting negatively on research in the universities. Okojie said this in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital at the 28th convocation of the Uni-

versity of Ilorin. He asked: “How can we do research? You cannot go to war without generals. “I am glad that UNILORIN has produced 83 PhDs today. “Recently government

has thought of building capacity. You cannot give what you do not have. We must endeavour to ensure that we have what it takes to replicate ourselves. “Government is trying to revamp the university system.”




Why poor telecom service will continue, by MTN By Lucas Ajanaku

customer here in Nigeria with 43 million subscribers. Goodluck said: “We regret, however, that the pace of work has been considerably challenged by the spate of insecurity coupled with the unprecedented flooding being experienced in many parts of the country,” he said. He added that the network optimisation programme will affect over 4,000 base stations out of its over 10, 000 across the country. According to Goodluck, ‘The task that we are undertaking is tantamount to building a new network .We are seeking to replicate what we achieved over a six-year period in nine months,” he said, lamenting that in several communities, the base transmis-

Experts make case for yellow fever vaccination


POSSIBLE outbreak of yellow fever is imminent in the country, some medical experts warned yesterday. The virus could affect about 101 million vulnerable persons across the country. The experts maintained that only mass vaccination can prevent the outbreak of the disease. They spoke in Abuja at a stakeholders meeting on the preparation for mass vaccination against yellow fever in high-risk states. The meeting was organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). The latest assessment, according to the experts, indicated that 377 local governments in 25 states are high risk areas. Nigeria, they said, is more at risk because it is the only country in West Africa yet to conduct mass vaccination. Chairman of Nigeria’s Expert Review Committee in charge of polio eradication and routine immunisation, Oyewale Tomori, who is a Professor of Virology, called for mass vaccination to prevent an outbreak of the disease. He said: “We are sitting on

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

a tinderbox. If we have not done a mass vaccination campaign, it means we have a large number of people who are vulnerable.” “We are a large population and if we don’t conduct this mass vaccination, we cannot predict what will happen. Prevention is always better than cure and Nigeria has a chance now to do it.” “We need to put the money where it is important. We don’t want a situation where we cure so let’s put the money on prevention’ he added. But researchers behind the survey, conducted in 2008, showed that up to 500 local government areas will need coverage. NPHCDA said Nigeria’s last vaccination against yellow fever was in 1995 after an outbreak that lasted eight years resulting in 20,000 cases which killed more than 5,000 people. While millions of Nigerians presently have no protection against the virus, mass vaccination has been scheduled to start next year and will take up to five years to complete.

Police release detained journalist in Osun


R Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Osun State Correspondent of The Sun Newspaper, who was arrested and detained on Monday by the state Police command, has been released. Gbolagunte was detained for several hours at the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Osogbo over a report which the Police criticised. Mrs Kalafite Adeyemi, the Commissioner of Police, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the matter had been settled while the case file had been closed. Mrs. Adeyemi said Gbolagunte was arrested in connection with the aftermath of students’ protest in Ila-Orangun College of Education in which he reported that one policeman died. She clarified that no officer died and no corpse was found anywhere in the town as reported in the newspaper, stressing that the report jolted the police.

The commissioner, who cautioned reporters in their news reportage, called for full investigation of stories so as to avoid publishing lies to the public. Gbolagunte had recalled how the Police asked him to write a statement on what he knew about a story captioned: “Police Officer found dead after Osun students riot” on Friday. He recalled how he was arrested and whisked away by detectives without telling him his offence and how he was lumped up with suspected criminals in a cell. “The suspects gave me two slaps and hit me in the chest for not giving them the money they demanded as a new comer in the cell,” the journalist lamented. Gbolagunte said his release was due to the intervention of Alhaji Ismaila Ayodele, the chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), top government officials and fellow journalists.

sion stations (BTS) of the firm were submerged, a development that will inevitably affect service qaulity in the affected areas as subscribers across the network will find making and receiving calls difficult. “Several swap-outs have reached very advanced stages of completion. The entire network modernisation process is a very logistic-intensive one and the problem of insecurity has seriously affected the pace of work in some parts of the country,” he added. According to him, insecurity has compounded the problem in at least 13 states, lamenting that flooding has created additional logistic impediments such that the pace of the ongoing network modernisation efforts has slowed down. Acknowledging the fact



ROP calls and general poor reception on mobile telephone will continue for a while, MTN Nigeria, the nation’s biggest telecom company said yesterday. The MTN said its ambitious expansion work - for which the substantial part of its $1.3billion capital expenditure for this year has gone into – has been stalled by the massive flooding and general insecurity in the country. MTN Corporate Service officials Akinwale Goodluck and Funmi Omogbenigun yesterday appealed for understanding from its subscribers. They described the network modernisation and swap-out exercise being carried out as important so as to replace obsolete equipment with modern ones. The MTN has the largest

We regret, however, that the pace of work has been considerably challenged by the spate of insecurity coupled with the unprecedented flooding being experienced in many parts of the country.


that the telco’s customers have been experiencing some disruption over the last few weeks, he thanked them for their patience. “We sincerely express our thanks to our customers for their patience. We sincerely appreciate the enthusiastic support which our engi-

neering teams continue to receive from different communities in many parts of the country,” Goodluck said, adding that such support is often a much-needed tonic in the face of the enormous logistic-challenges the project regularly encounters. He pledged that MTN would stick to its original plan of carrying out the network procedures only at night, in order to minimise disruptions to services and assured that MTN is doing everything possible, including doubling its work teams, to complete the project as quickly as possible. “MTN’s current network modernisation and swap-out exercise which began in July is expected to cover the entire country and was originally expected to span a period of nine months. Its objectives are

to considerably enhance capacity on the MTN Network and improve service quality. Under the project, which is being implemented by a combined team of MTN engineers and technical partners that include Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE, key network components are being swapped with the latest upgrades in the industry. In addition, current power systems are being replaced with hybrid power systems which are more environment-friendly. “It’s a massive investment we are making to boost not only the quality of telephone services, but also to enhance the back-end information and communication technology support which we provide for banking and financial services, the oil industry and several other industries across Nigeria,” he said.




Shareholders laud Union Bank’s rebound


HAREHOLDERS of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc have commended the management of the bank for the painstaking recapitalization and transformation of the bank, crediting the Funke Osibodu-led recapitalization project for salvaging investors’ values. Shareholders spoke yesterday at the annual general meeting of the bank at the five-star Le Meridien Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. With speaker after speaker praising the foresights and doggedness of the Funke Osiboduled management, shareholders approved all items on the ordinary business and special business of the meeting’s agenda including election and re-election of the new board of the bank. They also endorsed the audited report and accounts of the bank for the year ended December 31, 2011, which indicated recovery from negative equity funds of N115.79 billion to positive equity funds of N196.55 billion in 2011 and increase in total assets from N1 trillion in 2010 to N1.07 trillion in 2011. Shareholders noted that while the 2011 was used to address legacy issues and rounded off the recapitalisation of the bank, interim results for the current business year give hope on the prospects of the bank. They were unanimous that the dexterity of the Funke Osibodu-led management was instrumental to the recapitalisation and transformation of the bank. President, Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr. Faruk Umar, said shareholders were appreciative of the efforts made by the management

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

of the bank to restore the iconic bank to its pride of place. He noted that Osibodu deserves a national honour for her roles in rescuing and recapitalizing Union Bank, pointing out that the bank now boasts of a united and visionary board. Chairman, Port Harcourt Zone Shareholders Association, Engr. Francis Orji, commended the bank’s performance citing the first half results, which indicated rebound to profitability. Chairman, Ibadan Zone Shareholders’ Association, Chief Sola Abodunrin, said the doggedness of Union Bank’s management in spite of oppositions from some quarters salvaged the bank and ensured that shareholders did not lose all their investments as were the cases in some banks. He said the bank now has bright prospects given the experience and diversity of the new management and board and its large capital base. Chairman, Shareholders United Front (SUF), Mr. Gbenga Idowu, said the bank’s success should be measured in the emergence of value-minded core investors, describing the new chairman of the bank-Dick Kramer and board members as assets to the bank. He however urged the bank to continue to explore ways to improve values to shareholders. National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association, Mrs Bisi Bakare noted that the improvement in the share price of the bank on the stock market was indicative of the optimism on the future of the bank noting that many had thought that the

bank’s shares would go down to N2. “Together, let’s support the bank. As stakeholders, we should all work together,” Bakare said. In his address, chairman, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc, Mr Dick Kramer, said Union Bank was poised to regain its rightful leadership position in the Nigerian banking industry. He commended the outstanding management of Osibodu for bringing the bank safely through a most difficult period and building the momentum for the future, noting that Osibodu’s management quality was the main factor that attracted foreign investors to the bank. According to him, with the foundation laid by the Funke Osibodu-led management and supports from the new core investors and staff, the bank now look forward to increasingly positive results in the future. In her remarks, group managing director, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc, Mrs Funke Osibodu, said the bank would soon begin to pay dividends to shareholders as efforts were being made to clear the historic negative reserves, which could preclude the management from declaring dividends from the improving profits of the bank. She said the bank was in the process of getting regulatory approval to reverse the negative reserves with the share premium accounts and put the bank in good position to commence dividend payment. “With the full recapitalization of the bank, our position is that of strength in terms of capital and liquidity. This has created a solid foundation on which we plan to build a big, strong, reliable and profitable bank of the future,” Osibodu said. She thanked the shareholders and other stakeholders for their supports, urging them to continue to support ongoing efforts to build on the success of the bank’s recovery programme.






External debt rises to $6b in Q2 N IGERIA’S external debt rose to $6.04 billion in September from $5.99 billion in March 2012, a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report on the external development in the economy released yesterday has shown. According to the apex bank, external debt sustainability index computed as the ratio of external debt to nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remained unchanged at 0.1 as in the preceding quarter and corresponding quarter of 2011. It said the private sector external debt stood at $0.22 billion in the re-view period compared with $0.27 billion in the first quarter of 2012 and $0.32 billion in second quarter of 2011. It also showed that public sector debt service payments stood at $0.06 billion in the second quarter of 2012, showing a downward trend in comparison with $0.09 billion in first quarter. Also, Nigeria’s trade balance declined to $6.85 billion in from $10.34 billion recorded in the first quarter 2012, following the contraction in merchandise exports and expansion in imports. Aggregate exports declined by 9.80 per cent from $24.97 billion in first quarter 2012 to $22.53 billion while aggregate imports on the other hand, increased by 7.57 per cent to $14.49 billion. “The continued dominance of oil sector exports was evident in its higher receipts over non-oil exports as it ac-

rity challenges and slow pace of global economic recovery. However, the continued dominance of portfolio investment in the aggregate capital flows reflected the attractiveness of the domestic financial assets. The apex bank data showed that foreign exchange inflows to the economy dropped by 2.44 per cent from $28.19 billion in first quarter 2012 to $27.50 billion in second quarter. However, total outflows increased marginally by 0.32 per cent from $10. 09 billion in first quarter 2012 to $10.11 billion. It said a net inflow of $17.38 billion was recorded in second quarter 2012 as against $18.10 billion in first quarter. Inflow through the CBN declined by 17.07 per cent from $12.11 to $10.05 billion in the review period. Similarly, outflow through the Bank declined marginally, by 1.70 per cent, from $9.76 billion in first quarter 2012 to $9.59 billion in second quarter.

Stories by Collins Nweze

counted for 96.5 per cent of total exports, with non-oil exports accounting for the balance,” it said. According to the apex bank, the degree of openness, depicting the share of Nigeria’s total external trade to GDP dropped to 59.73 per cent in the review period from 67.86 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter. Other indicators such as imports, total foreign exchange flows and net foreign exchange flows as percentages of GDP also decreased by 0.44, 6.77 and 3.84 percentage points, respectively in the first quarter 2012 to 22.65, 58.82 and 27.18 per cent respectively. The apex bank also said that aggregate foreign capital inflows dropped by 37.79 and 13.78 per cent to $3.44 billion when compared with the preceding quarter and the corresponding quarter of 2011. Of the total capital inflows, for-

•Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,

eign direct investment accounted for 23.22 per cent while portfolio investment accounted for 76.78 per cent. Further analysis revealed that foreign direct investment inflows dropped from $1.72 billion in the preceding quarter to $0.80 billion in the review period. Also, portfolio Investment inflows dropped from $3.82 billion recorded in the preceding quarter to $2.64 billion. The decline in FDI inflows was traced to the secu-

Unity Bank Q3 pre-tax profit up 48%


NITY Bank third quarter pre-tax profit rose 48 per cent to N4.44

billion ($28.22 million), compared with N3 billion in the same period a year ago. According to Reuters, the lender’s gross earnings in the year to September rose to N38.91 billion from N30.72 billion, while loans

grew by 48.28 per cent to N178.05 billion in the period, the bank said in a filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The bank’s shares were up 1.64 per cent on the day to N0.62 on the local bourse. The Managing Director of the bank, Ado Yakubu Wanka said the lender is close to the grassroots, and is

strictly a retail bank and will continue to assist its customers to create wealth for individuals and the community. He said such objective is taking the lender to the agriculture sector and retail products that will generate wealth for artisans, farmers, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and other subsectors of the economy.


Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

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

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

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%


Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012




3.41 3.22 1.15 11.40 6.00 30.02 1.41 1.26 1.69 0.50


3.75 3.54 1.23 11.97 6.30 31.52 1.48 1.32 1.77 0.52


0.34 0.32 0.08 0.57 0.30 1.50 0.07 0.06 0.08 0.02

O/PRICE 0.66 14.92 1.48 30.89 1.24 6.00 2.20 5.99 4.26 0.56

C/PRICE 0.60 14.00 1.40 29.35 1.18 5.72 2.10 5.75 4.10 0.54

CHANGE 0.06 0.92 0.08 1.54 0.06 0.28 0.10 0.24 0.16 0.02

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

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


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

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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

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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


LOSERS AS AT 23-10-12


Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year


HE Federal High Court of Nigeria has approved the merger of First City Monument Bank (FCMB Plc) and FinBank Plc, paving the way for the duo to fully integrate and begin operations as one single entity. The full integration according to a statement from the bank would be achieved by Saturday, October 27. “Up until full integration, customers of FinBank will continue to be serviced through the existing FinBank infrastructure,” the statement added. The bank indicated that, in preparation for full integration, customers have been informed of various changes that will be taking place between the 24 th and 27 th October 2012. FinBank has been a



OBB Rate Call Rate

• Balogun

wholly owned subsidiary of FCMB since 10 February 2012. The merger process begun immediately after the acquisition and was subject to approvals from shareholders of both banks, the Securities Exchange Council and the Federal High Court, all of which have now been received. Commenting on the news, the Group Managing Director Mr. Ladi Balogun said: “We are pleased that the Courts have approved our merger. With the culmination of the legal and regulatory processes, we are now able to integrate our operations fully and deliver the expected benefits to shareholders and customers. The enlarged single entity is well positioned to compete in the consolidating banking landscape. Our customers will experience continued improvements in the customer experience, improved convenience, greater and quicker access to financial support, with simple processes, products and communication. This is indeed a pivotal moment in the history of the bank and one that will lead to significant and sustained increase in shareholder value.”




Court approves FCMB, Finbank merger

Offer Price

Bid Price


9.08 1.00 124.96 116.90 0.76 1.10 0.91 1,721.97 9.94 1.33 1.80 8,411.80 191.08 1.62



Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833




NEWS NEMA recovers five more bodies of Ijebu-Ode accident victims


HE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has recovered five more bodies of the victims of last Friday’s accident on the Ijebu-Ode/Ore Expressway. Eighteen people were killed when a 36-seater bus conveying 21 passengers plunged into a river. Three people survived the accident. The bodies of 13 victims were evacuated hours after the incident. NEMA spokesman Ib-

rahim Farinloye yesterday told reporters in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, that the remaining bodies had been recovered. Farinloye said: “The remaining five bodies were evacuated this morning. A survivor, Madam Christina Umwena, said 21 people were in the bus. The families of the victims have been collecting the remains of their relations at the Ijebu-Ode General Hospital.”

NAFDAC warns manufacturers, hawkers of fake drugs


HE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned manufacturers, importers and hawkers of counterfeit drugs, unwholesome sachet water and other products to stop such act. The agency’s coordinator in Oyo State, Mr. Benjamin Haruna, gave the warning at Agbeni market, Ibadan, during a sensitisation programme for traders. T h e p r o g r a m me w a s organised in collaboration with a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Community Development Service (CDS) group. NAFDAC spokesman in the Southwest Mr. Adegboyega Osiyemi, said fake drugs and un-

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

wholesome products endanger the lives of Nigerians and stifle economic growth. He said corps members had been trained to educate people across the 33 local government areas on the dangers of fake drugs and unwholesome products. Osiyemi said: “I advise those who patronise manufacturers and hawkers of unwholesome products to desist, because without patronage, there will be no business for them. That is why we are sensitising people in markets. The corps members urged the people to give their children foods that are fortified with Vitamin A to improve their sight.

Last night on GUS 9 With the golden rules, the task began

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun addressing the audience at the First European–Nigerian Business Forum at the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos...yesterday.

Gunmen abduct Rep’s mother in Ogun


LHAJA Abedatu Balogun, mother of Mr. Abiodun Balogun, the lawmaker representing Ijebu North, Ijebu East and Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, has been abducted.

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

Alhaja Obedatu was abducted yesterday by six gunmen from her home in Ita– Otu, Waterside Local Government Area of Ogun State, around 9:30pm The Nation learnt that the

kidnappers are yet to contact the family and the whereabouts of the septuagenarian is still unknown. Balogun, who is the Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Internal Security, said his mother’s abduction is “pain-

ful and disturbing”. He said he is praying that she returns home safely. Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi said the abduction has not been reported to the police but said the command would do its best to secure her release.

Sallah: Osun offers free train ride to travellers


HE Osun State Government is offering a free train ride from Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states to Osun State and vice versa during the Eid-il Kabir celebration. The Ministry of Commerce and Cooperatives said the free ride would begin on Thursday and end on Sunday.

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

Commissioner for Commerce and Cooperatives Ismail Alagbada said the train would leave Lagos for Osogbo, the state capital, by 9am daily. It will leave Osogbo for Lagos on Saturday and Sunday by 10am.

Alagbada said the free ride would make the trips “stress-free” for the people. He said: “This gesture is from the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration to people who intend to come home during the festive period. The free train ride started last year and has become a regular ges-

ture from the government during Christian and Muslim festivals. This administration wants transportation comfort for its people, who hitherto encountered hardship and fare hike during the rush period.” The commissioner urged travellers to make good use of the opportunity.

Ojudu mourns Sheila Solarin

S The contestants’ very short sleep was interrupted by Anchor man, Chidi Mokeme’s surprise visit to their camp in the wee hours of the morning. His mission was to ask if any contestant wanted to opt out voluntarily; to hand over 12 Golden Keys to each of them and warn them of the consequences of failing the Gatekeeper’s test. None of them took the option of quitting so Mokeme shed more light on the importance of the keys: “The keys represent your participation in the jungle. You are individually responsible for the safety of your keys. So you must keep them safe, you must keep them protected. If you lose your key, you can’t lock or unlock. That means we may have to ferry you all the way home. These are the Gatekeeper’s keys. They are the keys that will unlock the gates that will lead you to the treasure. Keep them safe. Do not lose them!” He had more warning for them: “If you fail your challenge, you will hand over your keys to the Gatekeeper, and that will be the

end of your quest.” Their very first task entailed a pair of contestants holding a wooden weight and walking across balance beams, climbing over a fence and crawling under a bamboo bed. They had to repeat the procedure twice while ensuring that they did not let go of the ropes tied to the wooden weight or fall off the balance beam. Teams 3 & 4, comprising Ifet Iniobong & Ezeh Priscilla and Kofya Brown & Ojezele Paschal respectively, had to repeat a lap of the exercise after they let go of the ropes during task. Ujam Chukwunonso and Bonford Patience, who constitute Team 1, won the task. Their reward was a sumptuous meal of Shawarma and orange juice which they gladly shared with the others. The losing team comprising Kofya and Paschal had to repair the muddy pathway which led to the stream where the contestants sourced for water. The adventure continues tonight on AIT, Africa Magic World (DSTV) and Real Star (Star Times) by 10pm.

ENATOR Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central District) has described the late Mrs. Sheila Solarin, wife of the late Dr. Tai Solarin, as “one of the people who took the Nigerian education system out of the doldrums”. In a statement yesterday, Ojudu said: “The late Sheila


and her husband established Mayflower as the first secular school in Nigeria at a time when there was so much religious discrimination, thus giving every child access to quality education. “If not for Mayflower, many eminent Nigerians would not have been edu-

Musician raises N6m for kidney patient OPULAR Benin-based

artiste, Idowu Moye, (aka Maleke), has raised over N6million for the treatment of a female artist, Esohe Osagiede, who has been battling kidney problem. Maleke raised the fund at an event he originally organised for the launching of his new album. The ailing Esohe was asked to pay N8 million by an Indian hospital but was unable to raise the fund. Maleke told repoters that he decided to convert the occasion to a fund raising to save Esohe.

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

According to him, “when I recognised that her life is more important than my album, I decided to change the occasion. “And luckily for us, all my friends that came made donations and at least we were able to raise N6million. I know I am a musician but I have the fear of God in me. Even though I failed to raise money for myself, I am glad I did it for someone who needed it more than any of us” he stated.

cated, owing to the religious discrimination in most schools at the time. “The late Sheila and her husband did not ask the pupils their tribe or religion. Everyone was welcome. They built the school with their sweat, including the furniture, which were later made from the trees the late Sheila planted. “Though a Briton, the late Sheila served Nigeria and Nigerians as though she

‘were one of us’. She and her husband were the voice of the downtrodden. Ojudu commiserated with the Solarin family, the Ogun State Government, Mayflower alumni and the staff and pupils of the school. He urged them to take consolation in the fact that the late Mrs. Solarin lives on in the hearts of all the kids she groomed into responsible adults.

Ekiti trains 9,000 teachers HE Ekiti State Government has trained 9,000 Primary and Secondary School teachers. Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Prof. Modupe Adelabu stated this yesterday at a forum in Ikole–Ekiti. She said training is imperative to human capital development, which is one of the 8-point Agenda of the Governor Kayode Fayemi Administration. Prof. Adelabu said the teachers were trained in Sci-


From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

ence, Mathematics, Phonics, Information Communication Technology (ICT), French, Yoruba and Classroom Management. She said the government has distributed 5,000 units of furniture and instructional materials to primary schools across the state. The SUBEB boss said the government is determined to sustain qualitative education in public schools and urged parents to enrol their children there.
















NFF rejects

Corruption statement



Keshi set to take on all-comers • Keshi

• Governor Amaechi

From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja

•To report for pre-season

• Ambrose

From Tunde Liadi,Owerri


Teams end workshop in Durban

Obudu 2012 to feature only pro-runners From Tunde Liadi,Owerri

GOVERNOR'S CUP 2ND LEG Tough second round matches for Nigerian players

Rebuild sports now, says ex-handball star From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja

• Ordega





Welcome qualification •But Super Eagles road to 2013 AFCON is still long and rough


UPER Eagles qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, in South Africa, by walloping Liberia 6-1; 8-3 on goals difference, having played a 2-2 draw away in Monrovia. This spectacular performance has redeemed the team’s image, since they failed to qualify for the 2012 edition, despite playing the last qualifying match against Guinea, also on home soil. Still, many observers remain unconvinced: what if they had played against the likes of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana or Egypt, African soccer super powers? This doubt is not unfounded. Despite qualifying, Nigeria has lost its seeding privilege. Four countries: South Africa (hosts), Zambia (title holders), Ghana (semi-finalists) and Cote d’Ivoire (losing finalists) at the 2012 edition, had been seeded. What this means is that Nigeria, at the group stages, will contend with any of the four, particularly Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, eternal West African rivals. Are the Eagles prepared for this stiff test? That explains why Adegboye Onigbinde, eminent coach and FIFA technical instructor and Nigeria’s most decorated ex-international, Kanu Nwankwo, have warned that the Eagles need to work harder. This is despite their hailing Coach Stephen Keshi’s adoption of wing play which, incidentally, Clemence Westerhoff used in 1994, when Keshi was captain of the Super Eagles, to win the Nations Cup in Tunisia, en route to a glorious debut World Cup campaign at USA ‘94. Keshi should put his pride in his pocket if he wants to perform at this tournament. Samson Siasia had an ego problem, which led to his sidelining of important stars like

Osaze Odewingwe and a few others under the pretext of discipline. His stubborn refusal to allow such key players cost him qualification – and later his job. On this score, Keshi is hardly better. We remember the problem he had with Togolese star, Emmanuel Adebayor, whom he refused to field as one of Togolese players during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. In the end, Keshi failed at the first round and he was sacked. The same thing happened when he took up the coaching job at Mali. He ignored the best players in Mali, like Frederick Kanoute and Sheydou Keita. By the time he swallowed his pride and allowed Kanoute and Keita to play, however, it was too late as Mali was kicked out of the 2008 Cup of Nations tournament. Once again, he was sacked. But soccer hubris, coaches’ ego, is not limited to Nigeria. In fact, it is a global problem. But the late Enzo Bearzot, Italy coach to the 1982 World Cup in Spain, somewhat proved a golden exception. And the result: he won the World Cup, dumping in the quarterfinal perhaps the best Brazil team ever, which nevertheless failed to win the World Cup. Bearzot brought in Paulo Rossi, who though just came out of a two-year illicit betting suspension sentence, the coach knew was key to his World Cup ambition. He literally came from gaol to play; and his hat trick wrecked the free-flowing Tele Santana-managed Brazil team of Socrates, Falcao, Cerezo Junior, Eder and others, which nevertheless suffered a suspect Valdir Perez in goal. Rossi’s hattrick did the damage, as Italy threw out Cinderella Brazil in the quarters, before going on to win the cup against West

Germany in the final. The moral? Keshi should by all means enforce discipline in the team. An undisciplined team is a heart ache to all. But he must also learn how to get the best from his star players, despite their character flaws. Other things being equal, superstars step in on the big stage to win laurels for their clubs and countries. This has been amply demonstrated by the likes of Lionel Messi (Argentina), Christiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Robin Van Persie (Holland). Nigeria has her own share of stars. It is Keshi’s job to harness their talents to the glory of motherland. We wish him well as he attempts to relive the golden era of the national team as coach; after captaining that same team during that golden era.

‘Keshi should by all means enforce discipline in the team. An undisciplined team is a heart ache to all. But he must also learn how to get the best from his star players, despite their character flaws. ... Nigeria has her own share of stars. It is Keshi’s job to harness their talents to the glory of motherland. We wish him well as he attempts to relive the golden era of the national team as coach; after captaining that same team during that golden era’

Sheila Mary Solarin •The British-born who made more Nigerian joys than many Nigerian-born


T is rare for a couple to inspire a people with each of the spouses imprinting their distinctive doings. The Solarins have endeared themselves to the Nigerian society because of the cooperative power of their spousal partnership as well as the heroism and humility of service concomitant with them. Usually it is the story of the man, who engraves his name in the hearts of the people, while the wife takes a traditional back step. Rarely, a woman soars, burying the hubris of the husband in the sheer charisma and accomplishments of her performance. But with the Solarins it was a partnership devoted to a particular cause.

‘It is a pity that standards of education have plummeted across the country, and Mayflower is not immune. It is hoped that the pioneering efforts of Sheila and her husband in the field of education, which was also marked by a high sense of discipline, will be revived. Failure of such will make the lives of such great efforts as that of Sheila of no futuristic value’

Tai Solarin fired the imagination of the nation with his great work before he died several years ago, survived by her widow Sheila. Last Sunday, Sheila Solarin gave up the ghost at 88, ending the sojourn of the incomparable duo. According to reports, Sheila died from complications from a freak accident. She fell from a chair and that led to surgery. She never really recovered from it. She was British-born, and met her husband Tai while both served in the military during the Second World War. In 1951, in an act of devotion to her spouse, she moved to Nigeria with Tai and they settled in today’s Ogun State. They co-founded Mayflower College in Ikenne as a statement of defiance against the ecclesiastical tenor of schools. They were atheists and they desired a school that focused on humanity against the tradition of deference to church in many missionary schools. Mayflower was the first such school in the nation. She was also a teacher, and the growth of Mayflower is a testament to not only perseverance but a methodical devotion to an idea. They began the school with a few blocks and students invested their time and energy in building the school. She with her husband devoted themselves to the concept of community school that can be defined uniquely for their style. The school gradually expanded and became one of the biggest. They also built a boarding house and eventually also had a primary school.

It is a story of industry as well. But she was not a vocal person like her husband in his confrontation of the establishment. Her husband suffered contempt and harassment from authorities, especially during the military rule. But the wife stood stoutly by him, and there was no public show of friction in their relationship. Being white and foreign, she never felt like an outsider, at least not openly. She built a world around Nigeria, and she served Nigeria and its peoples like her own. She came to be accepted also as such. Apart from being a model of longevity in marriage, her support for Tai also was a story of interracial cooperation, and that began in an era where it was rare and even forbidden for whites to contemplate intimacies of whatever kind with blacks, let alone Africans. Queen Elizabeth 11 conferred on her the title of Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2007, a show of her home country’s recognition for the services she gave to another country. It was a case of a true international breed. It is a pity that standards of education have plummeted across the country, and Mayflower is not immune. It is hoped that the pioneering efforts of Sheila and her husband in the field of education, which was also marked by a high sense of discipline, will be revived. Failure of such will make the lives of such great efforts as that of Sheila of no futuristic value.

Amicable split for Scotland and England?


OULD a vote to secede from Britain really make a dramatic difference? With apologies to William Wallace, the answer is: probably not. “Braveheart” will have his revenge. That’s how some fervent Scottish nationalists will portray the announcement last week that the British government has approved a referendum on whether Scotland will end its 300-yearold formal union with England. Meeting in Edinburgh, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Alex Salmond, Scotland’s pro-independence first minister, agreed that residents of Scotland — including 16- and 17-year olds — would decide the issue in a 2014 plebiscite. For Americans, schooled by the outcome of our Civil War to consider secession unthinkable, the willingness of the British government to see itself potentially dismembered is remarkable. But there is a precedent: In 1993 Prime Minister John Major declared that Britain would not object if a majority of the people of Northern Ireland someday voted to leave the United Kingdom and unite with the Republic of Ireland. And it was widely recognized that Parliament put the issue of Scottish independence on the table in 1998 when it approved legislation creating a “devolved” Scottish Parliament. (Similar regional legislatures exist in Wales and Northern Ireland.) In 2011 Salmond’s Scottish National Party won a majority in that Parliament and has pressed for a referendum on independence. Current polls suggest that independence would lose if the referendum were held today. But suppose Scots did vote to secede. Would it make a dramatic difference in their daily lives or in Scotland’s political and economic relationships? With apologies to William Wallace, the answer is: probably not. (Independence would have a dramatic effect on what was left of the United Kingdom, however, because the departure of Scottish representatives from the Parliament in London would weaken the Labor party.) Scotland, whose 5.2 million residents account for less than a tenth of Britain’s population, already enjoys significant autonomy and was never subjected to the extent of oppression visited upon Ireland. It maintains distinct legal and educational systems as well as its own established (Presbyterian) church. Advocates for independence envision the uninterrupted operation of the Scottish branch of the National Health Service, and they insist that an independent Scotland would recognize the queen of England as its titular head of state, as Canada and Australia do. As one nationalist put it, an independent Scotland would still have “a British dimension as well” — perhaps including the continued use of the British pound as an alternative to the euro. And while Scotland would have its own ambassadors, advocates of independence say it would remain part of the European Union, which is increasingly pursuing a common foreign policy. In a dramatic change from its previous policy, the Scottish National Party on Friday agreed that an independent Scotland should be part of the NATO military alliance, though party leaders say membership would be conditioned on the removal of Trident nuclear weapons from a Scottish naval base. (How other members of NATO would react to such a policy is another question.) Arguably the most important difference would be that an independent Scotland would be master of its own economy and natural resources. Control over revenues from North Sea oil long has been a rallying cry for Scottish nationalists, and some analysts believe that, in the short term, increased oil revenues would compensate for the loss of subsidies from London. As oil supplies are depleted, however, independence could become less of a bargain. Of course, national identity can’t be measured entirely in pounds and pence. The reality is that Scotland already is a society unto itself as well as part of an interdependent Europe in which national independence just isn’t what it used to be. Neither state of affairs would be changed by a formal declaration of independence. That may explain why a poll published after last week’s announcement showed that 58% of Scots who planned to vote in the referendum supported the union while only 30% favored independence. The willingness of the British government to allow Scots to decide to leave is a historic development. Even more historic would be a decision by Braveheart’s heirs to stay where they are. – Los Angeles Times

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IR: Every generation amongst itself picks, anoints and decorates its own leadership. Such decoration doesn’t come on the platter of nothing; it is usually derived from selfless service to the yearning of the people, the ability to bear the gamut of insults that bedevil such sacrifice, the tenacity to relate with many people with diverse background and interest subject to the base of their human endowments and the thick skin to relate, balance and accommodate the insatiable demands of his/ her followers within the context of a relatively scarce resources. Such desire to put oneself at the crossroad of human wants becomes more burdensome when it relates to a section of the populace that is of diverse leaning, yearning, enterprise and demography. Here, we are talking about the section saddled with the responsibility


Market Amazon at 96 of bringing food from the farms and feed the families - the market place. It is this extremely important fraction of folks, who are conscious of their material and mental being that nature has destined to be the tonnage around the neck of a single individual in the last two and half decades. Like the cross of a Promised Land around the neck of Moses to lead the Israelites, the quest for an eco-friendly, economically viable, humanly habitable and hygienically welcoming market

place has been the life battles of no other person but Alhaja Ashabi Abibatu Mogaji - the generalissimo/ Amazon of the market place. And has she clocks another year within the nonagenarian circle this week, it behoves on the nation to celebrate a woman of substance, who has dedicated a larger part of her adult life to protecting the rights of market men and women, mobilising them for greatness and innovation, and giving every market person out there a brand to associate

with. After taking tutelage and learning the ropes before taking the mantle of leadership from her mentor, late Madam Pelewura of blessed memories, Alhaja Mogaji threw her great weight into the battle to have a saner market place, where the rights of the market people are not trampled upon, and at the same time not in conflict with the rules of the state. Under the resilient leadership of Alhaja Mogaji, Thursdays of every

Yuguda’s succour to the education sector


IR: When Governor Isa Yuguda took over the mantle of leadership in 2007, the education sector in Bauchi State was on the verge of collapse. There were less than 1,000 trained teachers to manage Bauchi State’s 247 public secondary schools with more than 200,000 students – a ratio of 1 to 200. Also over 7,000 out of 16,000 primary school teachers in the state were not qualified as they did not possess the required minimum qualification of NCE. The glaring decay in the state’s education sector was so malignant that only nine candidates out of over 3,000 who sat for the 2004 common entrance examination passed. Again only four, out of the 8,000 candidates who sat for the 1999 Senior Secondary School examination in the state scored five credits and above. Against the backdrop of the over N700 million spent on the sector in that year alone, the poor showing was discouraging and revealing. Faced with the disturbing situation, Governor Yuguda immediately zoomed into action to salvage the sector from imminent collapse. First he declared a state of emergency in the sector and began the immediate renovation of dilapidated structures in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary institutions across the state. The budget for education sector was jacked by over 100 percent from N2.5 billion in 2007 to N6.6 billion in 2009 and N19.4 billion in 2012, in an ef-

fort to restructure the sector. The Yuguda administration also procured and distributed six million copies of assorted textbooks to all state-owned primary, secondary and tertiary institution at a total cost of N6.5 billion as a support to the sector. The administration also distributed brand new cars to those qualified by civil service regulation to own automobiles under subsidized loan scheme, including teachers training and retraining to improve their skills. To ease parent’s burden in part funding of their children’s education, the administration paid WAEC and NECO examination fees for all its students without discrimination as to the state of origin, tribe or religious inclination. To further develop the education sector, the government established the state university and plans have reached an advance stage

to establish a teacher’s academy to produce quality teachers. The administration also expended over N1.2 billion on students allowance in the last three years. Over 21 students are in the USA for various degree programmes in critical areas like aircraft maintenance engineering while more than N80 million was expended on the sponsorship of 38 students studying Medicine in Egypt, while over 100 students are in Malaysia. The administration also renovated and equipped science laboratories in selected secondary schools. These apart, six special secondary schools for married women were established as the administration expended over N189 million on the purchase of 10,000 units of double decker beds and another N204 million on 45,000 quality mattresses which were distributed to various schools.

Feeding allowance to students in government boarding schools was increased by 100 percent as N420 million is quarterly expended to feed students with quality and quantity meal. In line with his blue-print policies the governor introduced the symbolic teaching programme, where as the governor, he squeezed time to personally teach economics in some selected schools. This perhaps explains the decision of US Agency for International Development, USAID to invest about N25 billion in Bauchi and Sokoto states to boost their capacity in expanding education and good governance. The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) acknowledged the efforts of Governor Isa Yuguda by bestowing on him its 2011 Best Governor Award. • John Akevi, Bauchi

week was made compulsory sanitation day for market men and women. This is aside daily advocacy campaign of her administration to enlighten the market folks on governmental policies like census, voting, immunization and other economically beneficial programmes of the government. The Lagos market is a mixture of an elitist class who prefer the malls and the petty traders who prefer to haggle over price. So, when in 2009, Lagos State government desired an effective and efficiently administered market system to sustain its commercial growth, bridge the elite-market women divide and bring about an appreciable sustainable development to the state, a capable, trust able and tested hand was found in Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, to chair the Lagos State Market Board. Alhaja Mogaji has been honoured with no fewer than 10 titles by various traditional rulers and interest groups across the nation. Some of such titles include President General, Association of Nigerian market women and men, Iya Adinni of Yaya Abatan Central Mosque, Ogba-Agege, Yeye Oba of Ikirun Land, Yeye Oba of Kweme Kingdom, Badagry, Yeye Oba of Osolu Kingdom, Yeye Oba of Lagos to mention but a few. She has also won several honours and awards from organisations such as Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, National Council of Women Societies, Eko Award 1991, National Youth Organisation and Law Ladies Forum, University of Lagos amongst others. Because of her humanitarian services, she was bestowed with matronship of many organisations like Nigeria Red Cross, Nigeria Youth Organisation, National Union of Lagos Students, Nigerian Society for the Handicapped, and Egbe Omo Eko. Alhaja Mogaji, fondly called, Mama, has been a mother of many. A devout Muslim and philanthropist. • Ibrahym Mojeed-Sanni, Lagos

Politically-motivated armed robbery in Ogun?


IR: Permit me a space in your widely-read newspaper to comment on the killing of police officers in Ogun State allegedly by armed robbers, as reported in the media on Tuesday, October 23. It has never been heard of for armed robbers to put a distress call through to the heavily armed officers of the Quick Response Squad or the Joint Police/Military Patrol Team in order to lay ambush for them and kill them. I smell a rat here. The whole

operation smacks of conspiracy when armed robbers are no longer interested in robbery but killing of security agents. Can we still call that robbery? The timing of this tragic incident and other reports in the social media (on alleged breakdown of a new APC at Ijebu-Ode) since last week when it became public knowledge that Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State would be honoured in Ghana as the Best Security Conscious Governor in West-Africa, lend

credence to the theory of politicallymotivated armed robbery, orchestrated to fault the welldeserved award to Senator Amosun. I therefore call on the Commissioner of Police, Director of State Security Services and other relevant agencies to look beyond a mere robbery incident and establish if some politicians in Ogun still engage in keeping a “Killer Squad” to perpetrate heinous crimes in the state.

From my little experience, you may trail or monitor a person or group for up to 3 or 5 years before making them to face the full wrath of the law. You just have to cast your net wide. The police should also investigate their men to ensure they are not being used by the opposition, beside the need for professionalism in crime control. • Chief Ayodele Adesanya Sagamu, Ogun State




Saving 1,000,000 LIVES; Nobel Prize for MDG inventors; Poor Health Budget AGAIN!

I Tony Marinho

AM an obstetrician, a courier delivering babies to paediatricians. The new initiative ‘Saving 1,000,000 lives’ is a good one as a health professional is only as good as the equipment at hand.

The Nigerian delivery system must be forced into the 21 st Century with an electronic fetal monitor, sonicaid, in every labour room and the alert line for safe delivery must move to above Apgar Score 5. Government should ensure that medical equipment only attracts single digit bank interest loans! Why is medical equipment more expensive here than in the USA or UK? What is the fate of a baby in a country where policemen accompanying vaccinators are killed? We are faced with preventable diseases including ‘Ignorance’ and malaria. IGNORANCE ELIMINATION and EDUCATION are keys to good heath. ‘Saving 1,000,000 lives’ requires that there is a multimillion naira Health/Media Outreach Budget and scheduled Health Ministries/all Media houses meetings for life skill messages/advertisements. Is there CSR ‘free’ airtime, 3060minutes/day divided into 30-60 seconds slots for life skill messages? Why do the Secretary General of the UN, Directors of WHO and UNICEF not select 50-100 most important life skill messages annually for the ‘Global Fund Membership’ as ‘Global Fund Advert Moral Media Group’ and disseminate them on commercial packaging and in international and national media? Where are the UN, WHO, UNICEF incentives, Annual Prizes for ‘Best life Skill Message’, ‘Best Corporation in Life Skill Dissemination’? Only a fool depends on Bill Gates and BMGF, UNICEF, DFID etc to buy local airtime to save his own children. Non-life saving commercial messages out-number ‘life skill health and social’ messages in the media by 100-1000:1. Can the megabucks advertising billions and CSR schemes/scams be harnessed by an ‘Annual UN/WHO/UNICEF Moral Me-

dia Campaign’ for ‘ignorance elimination’ strategies? Let every commercial message carry a ‘piggyback’ ‘Unrelated Life Skill Message’ at no extra charge. Cigarettes and alcohol carry negative messages. Every other commercial product can carry piggyback messages. That ‘Social Message Advert Revolution’ will change the world! Women still get pregnant without taking pre-pregnancy folic acid to help prevent anencephalus and early abortion. Why is this, and malaria and typhoid information not taught in schools? Health facilities in Africa are a human right. Our Polio, Onchocerciasis, AIDS adverts, ATM, Insecticide Treated Nets programmes are successes of Rotary, Carter, Bill Gates and the Global Fund which ‘Grant’ Africa Life while Nigerian fathers do not buy ITN for their children? Do our markets, schools or religious houses even have cartoon posters with preventive health messages? Religious leaders should save the body and soul. The media must become morally involved in Medical Ignorance Elimination. Professor Ransome-Kuti championed Primary Health Care (PHC) and Clinics -one in every ward 16,400. ‘Saving 1,000,000 lives’ demands 10-20million posters to fill the 1.5million classrooms and 10,000 markets with life skill messages at Coca Cola-like advert saturation level? Politicians readily see the need to make 10m personal portrait posters for votes but will never budget for 10m life skill health posters for 100m+ Nigerians. A picture is worth a 1000 words except in Africa. These PHCs need funds. There is a survey ‘The Sorry State Of PHCs’ in The Nation Tue Oct 9. The government hospitals are also in the 19th Century resulting in ‘Out Of Stock-itis’. The Mortality Rates are known but one death in a family is 100% death and pain for the family especially if it is due to preventable diseases like malaria. There is a lack of political love. The ‘Saving 1,000,000 lives’ project notes that a lack of drugs, water, sanitation, happy to work personnel, power and simple equipment are ‘political diseases’ stacked against the ill, malaria-ous child. Delay is deadly! Nigerian children should not suffer, neglect, hardship and difficulty and our passport should not condemn our babies and children to the lowest rung on the world’s mortality rates ladder. Annual professionals’ meetings should provide an annual ‘State Of The State, Nation- An Audit’ highlighting solutions because politicians are ignorant of budgetary needs. Shame-

fully politicians have allocated a mere 6.04% of Nigeria’s 2013 budget to health instead of the 15 to 20% recommended, so how do we ‘Save 1,000,000 lives’? Medical management is not nuclear physics. The current ‘save one million lives’ is anticipating need and avoiding greed! It is preventive strategies, posters and media messages, kindness, medicines and equipment and replacements. The ‘work happiness factor’ demands 3 monthly painting, carpentry work, and refurbishment. Training is a special area- newsletters are as valuable as SMS updates. Specific skills may require ‘short course’ rotations through experts. The original MDG idea team deserve a Noble Prize in Preventive Medicine for forcing governments to attempt to achieve standards saving millions of lives. start a campaign. Much of our problem is from the CINS of politicians - Corruption, Incompetence, Negligence and Selfishness. No medical professional should have to treat malaria without facilities. Delay is death. But politicians have not yet even realised the tremendous value of water, for sanitation and thirst, as a human right. Persuade the politicians that the solution to Nigeria’s malaria and other health problems lies not in more multimillion naira Ladi Kwali Hall conferences and four wheel drive vehicles but in funding PHCs, and hospitals. The required 16,400 PHCs need N5m each per annum for running costs. Simple. Finally: BREAKING News: ‘Nigeria’s Senate President calls for EMERGENCY IN HEALTH SECTOR’ but it is too late for too many dead babies.

‘Much of our problem is from the CINS of politicians - Corruption, Incompetence, Negligence and Selfishness. No medical professional should have to treat malaria without facilities. Delay is death. But politicians have not yet even realised the tremendous value of water, for sanitation and thirst, as a human right’

The rains, the floods, a sinking nation


AST week, Apapa, a highbrow Lagos suburb known for its ever-buzzing business environment and busy seaports, was a spectacle of horror. The rains had pounded the city continuously from Tuesday to Friday. On that Friday, Apapa roads were overtaken by flood. The traffic was hectic as the water level was so high that only a few vehicles, should I say high-rise vehicles – jeeps and trucks – could manoeuvre the roads. Many commuters had to roll up their trousers and skirts as they ‘swam’ through the furious water running to nowhere in particular. It is common knowledge that whenever it rains in Lagos, the traffic is shut down as gridlock is noticed almost in all axis of the city. The spectacle in Apapa has been particularly worrisome as big craters that dot the road also impede vehicular movements. Articulated vehicles which ply Apapa roads to take delivery at the ports easily get stuck in the big potholes. That, in itself, usually worsens the traffic situation. In the last few weeks, the rains have intensified. So also is the flood that is ravaging almost half of the country. From whichever way you look at it, the country itself is sinking, not because of the floods that have wiped away many communities, but the burden of survival from all the vicissitude afflicting it. Remember fellow Nigerians who have been displaced in their thousands all over the country. Many have lost their homes, their means of livelihood, their property, their relations and even their humanness

as they are cramped together in deplorable relief camps that are more or less ‘trauma camps’. Many communities have either been torn apart or balkanized into tiny islands by the floods. If the news filtering out from the various camps across the affected areas is anything to go by, it is as if there is no respite for the victims of the flood which has continued to bare its fangs as the water level continues to rise due to heavy rains. Unfortunately, in many of the camps, rapists are on the prowl doing their own thing freely with little or no resistance from the weaker sex who are obviously the victims. After all, there has not been any reported case of women rapists in any of the camps. It is only the men who have gone ‘sexamock’. Besides the ‘sex marauders’, the sanitary conditions of the camps are said to be very deplorable, thereby heightening the fear of imminent outbreak of epidemic. One astonishing thing in this season of rains and flood is that the outside world is yet to look in Nigeria’s way. It is as if it has completely ignored Nigeria and abandoned Nigerians to their fate. I am not quite sure if the multi-national companies operating in the country have risen up to the occasion and provided any form of succour for the helpless victims of nature, yet, the rage of the flood has been total. Nobody is left out as both the high and mighty have fallen victim. The other day, the country home of the President was also overrun by flood. So also is the home of the Bayelsa State governor.

“From whichever way you look at it, the country itself is sinking, not because of the floods that have wiped away many communities but the burden of survival from all the vicissitude afflicting it”

Since the East-West Road has been overrun by the floods and rendered impassable, a journey one hitherto makes in less than two hours now takes more than six hours. This is apart from the attendant high transport fares. For instance, a journey from Warri to Port Harcourt now takes as long as seven hours as against the previous three hours. Instead of going through Patani to Port Harcourt, vehicles now go through Onitsha and Owerri to access Port Harcourt from the axis of the International Airport. According to a recent report, “to even get to Patani, which is just 60 kilometres away from Warri, takes a good effort and money. It is a most complex transport chain as the vehicle from Warri can only get half-way to a village called Uwheru before surrendering its passengers to boat and motorbike operators who do the rest of the journey.” The other day, I listened, with keen interest, the assurance of Akinwumi Adesina, the agriculture minister, as he dismisses the imminence of famine in the country due to the flood disaster. I am sure the minister was only being theoretical in his argument that some arrangements would be made to take care of the anticipated shortfall of harvests in the affected areas. There is no doubt that Adesina is one of the very few ministers who stand out in the present cabinet, but his present posture over the endless flood can only end up as mere theory that will defile any practical application. Whole farmlands in many agrarian communities that are reputed to be the food baskets of the nation have been washed away and are still being washed away, yet the minister is assuring the nation that there is nothing like famine in sight. Who will believe such a story? The earlier we wake up to the reality of our present circumstance the better for the entire

nation. From all indications, Nigeria is in the trajectory of a major catastrophe with devastating consequences. Almost all the schools in the affected areas have been rendered unusable while the pupils and students are clinging to their ‘nomadic’ parents. For how long will these children be out of school? The economy of the affected areas is almost totally paralysed. Even artisans cannot go to work just like the farmers have no land to cultivate. Unfortunately, we are carrying on as a nation as if nothing precarious is happening. Every passing day, the country is being battered on all fronts: Boko Haram, kidnappers, armed robbers and now floods. Besides, the rampant incidence of extra-judicial killings by security agents everywhere, lynching or mob attacks are also on the increase. While the commotion caused by the callous and brazen lynching of the innocent four University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) students is yet to die down, gunmen were, again, on the rampage in the vicinity of the university last Thursday. In the latest orgy of blood-letting, a young graduate who had just completed his national youth service, his girlfriend and an undergraduate of UNIPORT were wasted by gunmen near the campus. Reports have it that the former corps member was celebrating with his friends when the car conveying them suddenly skidded off the road and ran into a shop. Although no life was lost in the crash, a group of men suddenly appeared on the scene and opened fire on the three persons who died on the spot. Mission accomplished, the gunmen quickly bolted away from the scene, leaving eyewitnesses wandering whether it was a Hollywood movie scene or a live orchestra. Also last Thursday, heavy explosions and gunfire shook the city of

Dele Agekameh Potiskum, capital of Yobe State, to its foundation as suspected Boko Haram hoodlums clashed with security agents. The same scenario played itself out in neighbouring Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, widely regarded as the operational headquarters of Boko Haram. By the time the dust from the twopronged attacks settled, at least, five primary schools, including an Islamic seminary, a local government secretariat and several shops and houses were completely razed by fire. The killings in Port Harcourt and the ceaseless attacks in Potiskum and Maiduguri coincided with the alarm raised by erudite scholar and Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, last Thursday at an event elsewhere in Port Harcourt. Soyinka said that forces of darkness and retrogression are waging war against humanity in Nigeria. According to him, “if we surrender to these forces, we cease to be human beings.” But for how long will the country continue on this path to perdition before it regains consciousness? Only time will tell! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)




Tried- yet unbruished and unbowed


ROM a non-existent, comatose status, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), hitherto non-existent in the political firmament of Ondo politics suddenly sprouted some five months back. For a state that had been ruled by the PDP for six years straight under Olusegun Agagu and later under the jackboots of Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party for four years, it would be almost unthinkable for any party to want to contest for power. But not the Action Congress of Nigeria and its leadership. Convinced that parties are set up contest for power no matter, a right no one can question, satisfied that the party had a sellable ideology and formidable platform and determined to change the face and direction of Ondo politics, ACN threw its hat in the ring. Thus, in less than six months, the party energized its base and changed the political temperature of Ondo politics. With both hands on the lever, the national leader of the ACN, Asiwaju Tinubu led the charge to rebuild the party. Deploying many of his traditional political associates to pound the ground in Ondo, he employed his strategic prowess to put the party back in gear and into reckoning. What followed was a flurry of activities that soon turned the political battle in Ondo into a battle royale. What seemed like a walk over for Mimiko became a battle for his political survival. Having parted ways with those who paved his way to power, and pelted stones at those who stood up for him when it mattered most, Mimiko with power, money and the coercive instruments of the state in his hands became a demigod-a governor turned Sheriff. For Mimiko, Ondo State was his farm and no one else dare attempt to take it over. But every student of politics knows that one of the very elementary lessons of politics is that the competition for power is constant, fierce and atimes can be brutal. Parties and politicians are in business to contest for power, to seek to unseat their opponents or even members within their party, to take advantage of their opponents and seize on opportunities. The game of politics is not a game for the lily livered. It is not one for the sentimental or the non-risk taker. So when people complain about ACN or any other party challenging Mimiko for the governship seat of Ondo, I wonder what planet they are from. It is well within their right. That the ACN, entered the race, stomped the grounds in Ondo, articulated a party manifesto and competed according to the rules of the game should be enough to earn it kudos. Any other argument about ACN and Ondo falls by the way side and on stony ground. Why do some people feel Mimiko or any other governor for that matter cannot be challenged

By Sunday Akin Dare at the polls when election time comes? The mere fact that a time limit is set for the tenure of elected officials at the expiration of which they must return to the electorate to earn a new mandate suggests that others that desire to hold such positions must be given the chance to compete. Therein lies the most fundamental ingredient of democracy which is the right of the people to either vote in or vote out representatives they do not like. There is no morality about what party, which individual or group can enter the race to contest for power. There is also no questioning of the rationale or the right or motives of such persons or parties to enter the race. What suffices is that the party or individual fulfils the requirements to compete. In Ondo, we have seen our democracy benefit from very spirited political campaigns, debates and multi-party exposure. The ACN brought a new spark, glamour and excitement to the governorship race. But more than that, it brought out the issues and forced all those in the race to compete for the votes and support of the electorate. The Ondo election has come, but it has not gone. In the next few weeks and months there will emerge evidence of vote manipulation, rigging, and other infractions that occurred that may form the basis for legal action. The gloss over the election will wear off. The maximum use of thuggery, the criminal acts of ballot snatching, the perpetration of violence and scare mongering that characterized the Ondo elections no matter how much they try to hide them will soon be revealed. It is sufficient for now to accept the fact that a winner has been announced in Mimiko, but to claim he won a landslide, that he was the preferred choice of the people and that he was politically invincible by breaking the second term jinx is to stretch the Mimiko narrative far into the realm of the ridiculous. For instance, Mimiko’s victory is neither resounding nor a landslide as we are being made to believe. With only about one in six voting for him in the election and with a 41.6 per cent of total votes cast in his favor fell short of getting a majority vote. However, In the combined 51 per cent scored by the PDP and the ACN, it is evident that the Ondo people voted more for a change than for Mimiko. I must return momentarily to the antagonists of the idea of South West integration for development. When the media spinners, pundits and a tribe of political charlatans seek to pooh-pooh the idea of the South West integration by referring to it as a thirst for territorial expansion and political hegemony, one is left to wonder where they were when

Awolowo united the South-west and marched the region forward in bold steps towards development. Of course all was well until the most classic political betrayal yet in the annals of political history occurred and Akintola broke ranks with Awolowo. There is nothing wrong with the push for regional integration or South-west integration. It is not a crime in our books for parties or individuals seek to unite their people or region towards rapid development. It is purely legitimate. That is why we have the south-south states beginning to integrate. The north under the Arewa Consultative Forum and Middle Belt Forum are all attempts at regional integration which no one dares question. To now seek to question the move towards the South-west integration as championed by Tinubu and the ACN governors reeks of political bad blood and opportunism. That they seek to win more governors or persons to their cause is also very legitimate. The Yoruba have in Asiwaju Tinubu a dogged fighter for the race. It is on record that perhaps after Awolowo and Abiola, no other single individual has invested in the Yoruba cause. We ask pointed of those of the Afenifere and their cohorts who claim to be more Awolowo than the rest of us what is it that they have done to advance the cause of the Yoruba nation. The people do not know or reckon with them. They are the ones who eat the three course meal meant for the people and give nothing back. They are the ones in whose influence does not extend beyond the street where their house is situated. We saw their likes at work during the times of Awolowo and Abiola. It can be no different for Asiwaju Tinubu. In the unfolding developments around the Ondo elections, the Yoruba nation is yet exposed as intolerant of successful political leaders and too much in a hurry to demonize them. Now that the Ondo election has thrown up these issues once again, we must proceed with care and reasoning devoid of parochialism. The ACN from being a mere onlooker in Ondo politics now has a foothold , a stake and political actors now and future elections at all levels must reckon with the party. Definitely, the last has not been heard of the Ondo elections. The Action Congress of Nigeria for one will continue in its dogged pursuit of ensuring that the process of election is transparent and the playing ground is levelled. It will seek to send the message that the party is willing to concede defeat only when it is sure that no advantage was accorded its opponents either by the powers that be in Abuja or by the umpire, in this case INEC in the October contest. Those that seek power by all means must also be ready to answer when the roll is called up yonder.

Aregbesola and the NEPAD award


AST week’s NEPAD award to the Governor of the State of Osun, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola cannot be described as a shot in the dark. It is another feather-in-the-cap signifying a long range of achievements. This award, amongst several others, is in recognition of an established policy thrust. Aregbesola’s policy thrusts reflect a mindset rooted in progressive politics. The most commonplace interpretation of this position is that it is an attempt to use the levers of the machinery of government to effect positive social change. There has of course been a well entrenched debate induced over the last 20 or so years about the efficacy of the machinery of government, its appropriate size, cost effectiveness and so forth. Such an examination is vital. However, what cannot be contested is the vital importance of the machinery of government in an underdeveloped polity. The key factor here is the underdevelopment of both economic and social capital. Indeed in

‘The new wave represented by people like Aregbesola typifies a clear decisive break from an unedifying past. What is however crucial is sustainability of the effort. For this the institutional framework and justiceable mechanism must be put in place to protect and sustain these gains’

By Bolanle Oke many respects, there is in reality a paucity of capital. Aregbesola clearly understands this. In actual fact, the six point integral plan of action which constituted his election platform recognized this vital link. In his electoral platform, Aregbesola obviously saw that there is an intrinsic link involved in using the levers of the machinery of government and the need to accelerate development as well as building- up social capital. This is vital to achieve the United Nation’s rather minimalist Minimum Development Goals (MDG’s). This policy thrust and the emphasis on social capital accounts for a constant stream of awards and recognitions as well as high profile diplomatic and multilateral institutions’ visitations to the ‘bourgeoning’ state. The positive spin-off here is that the peculiar policy thrust of Aregbesola’s administration has also, in addition to awards, also attracted a constant stream of grants and aids. The bestowing of an award on him by NEPAD therefore is just another indication that continuous acknowledgement continues to come in for the policy thrust and emphasis on social capital. This is of course very much in line with the thinking of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). NEPAD was adopted at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia. NEPAD aims to provide an overarching vision and policy framework for accelerating economic co-operation and integration among African countries. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) developed a “Compact for Africa’s Recovery”

based on both these plans and on resolutions on Africa adopted by the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, and submitted a merged document to the Conference of African Ministers of Finance and Ministers of Development and Planning in Algiers, May 2001. If we must be expansive, “a compact for Africa’s Recovery” is now been turned into a compact for Osun State at the micro level. In this way, MDG’s and NEPAD’s objective are not just used as mere vacuous shibboleths and buzz words, the governor is in reality, walking the talk. The result is that there is actually a hand-in-glove type synergy between government spending in Osun State, the development of social capital and overall economic and social development. A few examples should suffice to illustrate. Recently a leading senator, Senator Uche Chukwumerije (PDP Abia) lauded the educational programme of the Aregbesola administration. This is significant. For Senator Chukwumerije comes from across the political divide. What is more significant than even the distinguished Senator’s intellectual honesty is the policy thrust. The heavy UNESCO pleasing investments in education especially at the primary level will be decisive in the development of the state’s economic base in the years ahead. The innovative introduction of the Opon Imo, knowledge tablet will in the years ahead help to increase test scores. The introduction of the knowledge tablet shows that the state is ready to use information technology aids to, as it were, up the ante. The linking of budget expenditure to facilitate the compact is also revealed in Aregbesola’s job creation schemes. Hitherto Nigeria as a whole has suffered from the so-

cially dangerous trajectory of a ‘growth’ which is unaccompanied with the creation of employment. In view of the country’s demographic composition this is a positively dangerous development. In fact, the country is delicately poised because of this on a demographic time-bomb! This is why the State of Osun’s proposition as it were, is innovative. What has happened in Osun in reality has been a fundamental re-direction of the budget to facilitate job-creation. We are aware for example that the allocation of the budget has been re-directed towards the modernization of agriculture in the state. With an ageing workforce and outdated operating systems, this is a very important thing to do. What is even more crucial is that the modernization scheme has led to the creation of more youth employment through government- facilitated involvement in agriculture. This is a German type re-allocation of skills and redirection of employment pattern. What is being done here is that the rural economy is being re-invigorated with the infusion of fresh hands. The fresh hands who are better educated and physically fitter will be able to better absorb the new operating systems vital to a resuscitation of the rural economy. The re-vitalisation of the rural economy is vital; for this lies at the heart of any “compact for recovery”. This the NEPAD people must have taken into cognizance in giving Aregbesola the ward. Along with the revitalization of the rural economy, there are vital initiatives to rebuild or to reconstruct the infrastructural base in order to establish the enabling environment to attract investment generating employment. The key proposition in Aregbesola’s initiative is the re-di-

rection of the budget in order to create the enabling environment for self-sustaining job-creation-led real long term economic development. This fits well into NEPAD’s four primary objectives which are: to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable growth and development, integrate Africa in the world economy, and accelerate the empowerment of women. It is based on underlying principles of a commitment to good governance, democracy, human rights and conflict resolution; and the recognition that maintenance of these standards is fundamental to the creation of an environment conducive to investment and long-term economic growth. NEPAD seeks to attract increased investment, capital flows and funding, providing an Africanowned framework for development as the foundation for partnership at regional and international levels. It cannot therefore come as a surprise that NEPAD has given Aregbesola this award. He has aligned with their objective. For the Osun helmsman fits into a positively refreshing emerging pattern. The new wave is to use the allocation of resources available to the government in a creative way to build the physical infrastructure which is then turned into a key facilitator of social development. The new wave represented by people like Aregbesola typifies a clear decisive break from an unedifying past. What is however crucial is sustainability of the effort. For this the institutional framework and justiceable mechanism must be put in place to protect and sustain these gains.Undoubtedly, Osun’s emerging model under Governor Aregbesola is at once a veritable portrait for emulation and approximation by governments in this part of the world.








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All hail the book capital ‘When I am writing, I don’t talk of gender. So, I don’t think female writers should occupy themselves with issues of being women’ SEE PAGE 26



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•From left: Amadi, Amaechi and Kalango during the unveiling ceremony

The Garden City, Port Harcourt, was alive when literary giants converged to witness the unveiling of Port Harcourt as UNESCO’s World Book Capital 2014, reports Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME

All hail the book capital


N spite of his age, 91-year-old literary giant Pa Gabriel Okara stood alone for minutes on the dais. Sitting adjacent were other literary scholars, such as the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka; Elechi Amadi, Prof Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa, UNESCO Director/Country representative Mr Joseph Ngu, who represented the Director-General, Irina Bokova; Veronique Tadjo, Igoni Barrett, Doreen Baingana and Chibundu Onuzo, among others. He was there to read one of his poems - The Call of River Nun – to an audience comprising writers and literary enthusiasts. Before he started reading, he apologised to the audience, saying: “Please forgive me for not saying all protocols observed.” Wearing a white top on a pair of brown trousers and a cap to match, Pa Okara literally ‘acted’ his poem before the guests who were listening with rapt attention. A thunderous applause greeted the end of his rendition. The occasion was the celebration of the power of written words and the venue was the Main Banquet Hall, Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital. It opened last Monday and ended on Saturday, October 20. The annual festival, which had as theme, Women In Literature, featured book fair, creative writing, drama and art workshops for children and adults, was organised by Rainbow Book Club and supported by the Rivers State government, Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency and Access Bank. In fact, the event was a double celebration of a sort: unveiling the city of Port Harcourt’s nomination as UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 and the launch of a book, Nigerian Literature, a Coat of Many Colours. Earlier at a symposium moderated by Prof Chioma Okpara, Pa Okara said irrespective of styles, most writers talk about the same issues of concern to the society. He said writers whether male or female should be themselves. “If a female singer changes her voice to sing in a male voice, what makes her do so? Or can it be done? Male or female, be yourself. Let the critics or readers talk about it. When I am writing, I don’t talk of gender. So, I don’t think female writers should occupy themselves with issues of being women,” he added. Governor Rotimi Amaechi said literature cannot divorce itself from the society, adding that literature has nothing to do with gender. He said the nation is blessed with male and female writers, yet the problems in the society still persist. He described Chinua Achebe’s Man of the People as his favourite novel, which, he said, describes the political landscape of the post-independent Nigeria.

•From left: Soyinka, wife Folake, Mrs Kalango and Ngu

LITERATURE “I love Chinua Achebe’s stories. He is very simple in presentation. When I am angry, I will pick his book, Man of the People, and there you find the politicians of postindependent Nigeria,” he said. “One problem most writers who do not study literature face is that they try to adopt a style. But what was the style of renowned writers such as Amos Tutuola?” he observed. Key note speaker Mrs Tadjo said African women writers are continuing the path opened by their male and female predecessors. “Our expectation is that their increased visibility and scope will allow for new readings of history and the elaboration of new thinking about Africa today,” she added. According to her, the dilemma most African writers have to face could be compared to the dilemma that most women experience in their fight for gender equality. But that they simply want to have the same rights as men. She noted that since this is still denied them in many countries, they must continue to affirm their presence as women.”But their final objective is for their womanhood to be fully accepted in their societies,” she said. Continuing, she said: “In this sense, African writers regardless of gender who want to be considered as “writers and nothing else” must be aware that they will never be recognised as such unless they fully assume their African identity since this is precisely what stands in the way of achieving their goal. “For African literature to be part of world literature, while retaining a distinctive identity, it is necessary to nurture the African readership which is growing too slowly. It is a matter of urgency for everybody including African writers to get involved in the development

of a reading culture instead of lamenting its absence. African writers should be well aware of the fact that when their works are exclusively published abroad, they cut themselves off from their potential readership and delay its emergence.” She noted that the new role of African writers is to produce works for African readership and to actively encourage its development. Young people, she said, also deserve to have access to books in which they can recognise themselves, and books which speak to them. Mrs Tadjo listed self censorship and political harassment as part of the restrictions, wondering how writers find space without being self-censored? She, however, advised young female writers to make a good choice of husband because writing as a woman is a team work. Renowned author Amadi observed that men and women writers live in different situations but in a man’s world. He said there is no way to get into the psychological way of a woman than reading her book. “You can never get into the inside of a woman except through her book. Sexual discrimination is a reality and when you are in that situation, you are bound to colour it same way those in apartheid struggle did in South Africa. With women writing, we get the complete picture of the world. Thank God, women are writing,” he said. Amadi observed that half the human race is made of women yet there are differences in many ways in their world view. Head of English Department, University of Port Harcourt, Prof Onyemachi Udumukwu, said every writer must be answerable to his calling as well as be committed to his craft. He identified the use of first person point of view as a common thread in books by most female writers, which, he said, explains the peculiar situation of female writers in a male-dominated society. “But for cannonisation, writers must master the arts and take note of the characterisation and plotting of his books.” •Continued on page 38



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•Continued from last week

Lamidi Adedibu, and the President Olusegun Obasanjo running for re-election. Both we joked were warlords in their different ways. The lesson here is that existential life could sometimes be akin to the game of football. Today a player is in a team facing another team which tomorrow the player may be transferred into.

An underground group


HE Abacha government had a number of underground cells they had established for them to counter our activities from the United Kingdom and the United States. These underground cells were of at least four types: • Nigerian hustlers in the diaspora. • Businessmen who were benefitting from Abacha’s government and pretending to be friendly with members of the NADECO. • The use of other African countries’ civil societies, particularly Ghanaians. This was the route one of Abacha’s errand boys and the Chief of Army Staff General Bamaiyi preferred. • Use of beautiful girls to penetrate the progressive circles. One of the most effective of Abacha’s gang in the West was made up of young Nigerian men and women who moved between Nigerian and the US or Canada or the UK. These were youths hungry for quick money, power and fame. Hence, like junkies they were ready to offer any services to achieve their vaulting ambition. Having realised that all the Western governments would not tolerate any extra-judicial activities in their territories, the Abacha government decided to target us through men of the underworld in the UK or US. This cell of operatives and contacts were controlled by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the dictator, Major al-Mustapha. One of the prominent coordinators on behalf of the CSO to Abacha was a hustler turned into a master goon, Mr James Ibori. James Ibori did in fact become the chief enforcer of what Major al-Mustapha’s whims. Thanks to the UK, US, and other major Western powers government’s departments, who helped to keep taps on the activities of Abacha’s goons in the diaspora. The goons who tried to over reach themselves paid the price. I actually use to help one or two to make money from the Abacha Government. They use to come to me pretending to be friendly and I played along. As it takes two to have a chart, I got as much from them as they thought they had gotten from me. One of the reasons why James Ibori appears to have been singled out, and has become the only ex-governor now serving imprisonment, was because he once or twice over reached himself. The Western intelligence, for good reasons, do not forgive anyone who doublecrosses or dares the interests of their nations’ strategic companies. Ibori should have learnt from veterans like OBJ and IBB. The former Vice President, the Turaki of Adamawa who was given a small dose of the kind of medicine I am alluding to. You can see how the case of two James Iboris went on and on, until they could no more stomach his antics. Mr James Ibori to be fair can be very loyal to his friends. He is a man who never eats alone and a smart ass with regards to the way mafiaso politicking is done in Nigeria. I think the James Ibori who is now languishing in Her Majesty’s Prison in Britain will rise again. He will rise again, if he makes amends to the Urhobo naked women who laid curses on him and above all to the man, Chief Great Ogboru who, through his network in OBJ’s head and the Nigerian Judiciary, he had been consistently denied Justice. James Ibori will rise again if he makes the amends just suggested. James Ibori should know that his Urhobo people are one of the most marginalised resourceful Nigerian ethno-nationalities. It is time for the Urhobo in particular, and Delta State in general to be healed of the wounds. Equally marginalised are the Efik people and Cross Riverians in general. The Cross Riverians have also been given a taste of the injustices the majority of Deltans have been getting from the Nigerian federal judiciary. When the wounds of Cross Riverians and the Deltans are healed, other Nigerians too will begin to be healed. Cross Riverians and our brothers in Akwa Ibom should not allow the internal colonisers’ age old divide and rule tactics work on us. Governor Godwill Akpabio is a man only a fool will not admire. A man who has turned a people who used to be domestic servants all over Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to a proud people must be appreciated.

A paradox and a contradiction First the paradoxical James Ibori. James Ibori who we have indicated worked against the progressives for Sanni Abacha’s regime

Heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice Those who have suffered most from the syndrome of out of sight, out of our mind, are heroes like the electronic engineer Nelson Kaseem and the then Chief Security Officer of Muritala Muhammad International Airport, Dr Shola Omotshola. Nelson, who died in active service, alongside with Omotshola, left his young children and a very good job to volunteer for the operations in Nigeria. These heroes, like Major Akinloye Akinyemi, deserve to be remembered by all Nigerians. •The late Akinyemi

Akinyemi: The unsung hero By Tony Nyiam

TRIBUTE turned out to become a reliable covert supporter of the progressives who OBJ wanted to exterminate. James Ibori must have learnt this from his older brother and who has friends at all levels and in every part of Nigeria and the world in general. Then the contradiction: OBJ who more than anyone benefited from the progressives’ support to be freed alive turned out to become the progressives’ worst enemy. I remembered Dr Kayode and Bisi Fayemi’s UK house being used as the operations room for the “Rescue OBJ” campaign. I remember the late Beko Kuti working so hard to ensure that no harm would come to the man who never brought justice to those who murdered his (Beko) mother. What a world? Beko Kuti remains one of my heroes.

An irony Having looked at a paradox and a contradiction, let us consider the irony in the following episode: during the 2003 Presidential election campaign, I grew very close to the late, enigmatic operator, Chief Godwin Daboh Adzuana. We had once been in bitterly opposed camps, yet there we were in election campaign rally at Mapo Hall in Ibadan helping to drum up support for President Olusegun Obasanjo. During the course of our newfound camaraderie, Daboh Adzuana could not help but blurt out one day: “Can you imagine it, that sometime ago I was part of a team sent to kill you. And here we are today, laughing and joking with each other”. My response, if memory serves me, was: “how come?” He went on to say: “Just see how in the last few weeks we have been in Obasanjo’s presidential campaign jet or convoy, traversing the 36 states. And only five years ago, I was in another airplane and motorcade with James Obori, gunning for Great Ogboru and you”. Daboh Adzuana went on to tell me how they had narrowly missed us in a Calabar cuisine restaurant in London. At that same Mapo Hall campaign rally, we could not help but remark at the similarities in the grandiose entrance between the strongman of amala politics, the late Chief

One of the most effective of Abacha’s gang in the West was made up of young Nigerian men and women who moved between Nigerian and the US or Canada or the UK. These were youths hungry for quick money, power and fame.

Appeal on behalf of heroes who have transited I should have not needed to do this, but since there has been no remembrance of our true heroes. Kindly allow me make this appeal on behalf of the heroes who are no more with us. Let the example of our showing gratitude begin with my comrade in arms Major Akinloye Akinyemi and Engineer Nelson Kaseem, and Dr Shola Omotshola, who I knew by proxy. The Federal Government and all democratically elected governments are requested, for God’s sake, to immortalize the names of these our unsung heroes. The plea extends to their seeing to the welfare of the dependants of these heroes left behind. I am quite sure the Governors of the Yoruba nation will not fail these sons of Oduduwa. Let me, also, thank in advance the governors of Benue, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Edo States for their belated recognition of their sons who sacrificed their lives for them to be in the positions they now occupy. Come to think of it, some of the steps of the ladder which our President, Goodluck Jonathan climbed to the Presidency were built by the blood of heroes like Major Akinloye Akinyemi, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Alex Ibru, Engineer Nelson Kaseem, Dr Shola Omotshola, Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar, Captains Harley Empere, Perebo Dakolo and Charles Idele; Lieutenants A. E. Akogun, Nicholas Odey, Cyril Ozualor, N. E. O. Deji, A. B. Umukoro and other members of the April 1990 action. How about our other heroines? It may be asked. A word or two about them.

The heroines We men tend to be chauvinistic in ignoring the supportive, and even the direct, roles that our female comrades played in the struggle for liberty and human rights. Hence it would not be fair not to mentions, in addition to the six, or so, already cited other heroines like Mrs Anthony Enahoro, late Justice Atinuke Ige, Dr Doyin Abiola, Mrs Alani Akinrinade, Mrs Bolaji Akinyemi, Mrs Akinloye Akinyemi, Mrs Ebi Ogboru, Mrs Maria KenSaro-Wiwa, Mrs Kemi Atijosan, and of course my dear sweetheart, Mrs Roselyn Isioma Nyiam. There is something noteworthy about the foregoing indications of some of the heroes of our struggle for good governance. For instance, the sacrifice that Wole Soyinka’s family made. Almost all the immediate family members took part directly or indirectly in the struggle. It is because Ola and Makin Soyinka and Mrs Adefolake Soyinka are, to use WS’s words, “stoically resigned” personalities that Nigerians did not hear much about them.

The unique General Abdul Salami There is some significance in the fact that it was General Abubakar Abdul Salami’s government that gave Major Akinyemi, ColonelsSambo Dasuki and Bello Fadile, Chief Great Ogboru and I, a presidential pardon. This is not surprising, as General Abdul Salami, who was compelled by circumstances beyond his control to become the Head of State following the demise of General Sanni Abacha, is a unique African. Unique in the sense of seeing to it that he did not stay a day longer than it was necessary as an unelected Head of State. •Nyiam is a retired Colonel. •To be continued

Gaitan to curate 8th Berlin biennale


W Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin has appointesd Juan A. Gaitán as curator of the eighth Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. The eighth Berlin Biennale will hold in 2014. Gaitán (Canada/Colombia) is an independent writer and curator, based in Mexico City and Berlin. He is trained as an artist and art historian at University of British Columbia and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver (Canada). Between January 2009 and December 2011, he was curator at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), and between September 2011 and June 2012 adjunct professor in the Curatorial Practice Programme at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco (US). During the 2006 – 2008 period, he was on the Board of Directors of the Western Front Society, and worked as external curator at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in Vancouver. His writings have been published in several journals, including Afterall, Arte al Dia, Art Nexus, Canadian Art, The Exhibitionist, Fillip, and Mousse. His most recent exhibition, Material Information, spans three venues in Bergen (Norway), and looks for a renewed critical approach to the contemporary global distribution of labor from the perspective of arts and crafts. He is presently member of the acquisitions committee at FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais in Dunquerke, France. The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art is since its fourth edition one of the institutions supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation as “outstanding cultural event.” The support ensures planning stability, enabling the organizers to address issues of content in an experimental way.

2012 carnival theme


HE Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, has unveiled the theme of the 2012 Carnival Calabar, kick starting activities for the festival slated for December. He also kicked off the first carnival dry run. Performing the ceremony at the Millennium Park in Calabar, Imoke said the carnival would outdo previous ones. He urged the bands to do their best in interpreting the theme of the carnival come December.

Television producers get new exco By Chinasa Ekekwe

The newly elected executive committee of The Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) has pledged to take the organisation to greater heights for the next two years with its three-point agenda. This was much admitted by the President of ITPAN, Mr Osezua Stephen-Imobhio in a media parley held last week in Lagos. Imobhio disclosed that the organisation’s legacy is to improve the standard of Television programmes presently. The three-point agenda are: training, visibility and welfare. According to him the main agenda for the new administration is training adding that there is need for re-training of producers in the areas of sound, lighting and camera. Osezua pledged that transparency is key to reaching the targeted audience noting that the media is needed to create the needed awareness of the association’s activities to members of the public. He also stressed the importance of welfare, which he said has led to practitioners deviating from the ethics of the profession. Present at the parley was veteran producer, Mr Tunde Kelani who spoke on the importance of ITPAN in the television industry. He said there is the need to put pressure on the relevant authorities to compel television stations to patronise independent producers.



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British author Mantel wins Booker prize


RITISH author Hilary Mantel has become the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice. Mantel, 60, won the prestigious £50,000 ($81,000) literary prize last Tuesday for her novel Bring up the Bodies, the second in a historical trilogy set during the reign of King Henry VIII. She also won the prize in 2009 for “Wolf Hall,” the first novel in the trilogy. “You wait 20 years for a Booker Prize and then two come along at once,” she told reporters, adding, “I feel a bit weak at the knees to be honest.” You wait 20 years for a Booker Prize and then two come along at once. “This double accolade is uniquely deserved,” said Sir Peter Stothard, chairman of the judging panel and editor of the Times Literary Supplement. “In ‘Bring up the Bodies,’ our greatest modern writer retells the origins of modern England.” Mantel is the third author to win the prize twice, alongside South-African-born J.M. Coetzee and Australian Peter Carey. This year, she overcome competition from 144 other entries, including the shortlisted, Umbrella by Will Self; “Narcopolis” by Jeet Thayil; Swimming Home by Deborah Levy; The Lighthouse by Alison Moore; and The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng. A former social worker who lived in Botswana and Saudi Arabia before returning to the UK, she did not have her first novel published until she was in her mid-30s. She said the idea for her trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister, first came to her when she was in her 20s, but she was not in a position to write it for more than three decades. Established in 1969, the Man Booker is the best-known fiction prize for Englishlanguage authors from Commonwealth countries and Ireland. It is intended to reward literary heavyweights rather than bestsellers. While sales are not a factor in the judges’ decision, authors typically experience a dramatic increase in sales after receiving the prize. Weekly sales in the U.K. of last year’s winner, “Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes, jumped from 2,535 to 14,534 — an increase of 473 per cent — in the week it won, according to Nielsen Bookscan. In the week, she won the prize in 2009, Mantel enjoyed a 463 per cent rise in weekly sales and more than 600,000 in total sales in the U.K. She joked then that she would spend the prize money on “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” This time around, she said she would probably spend it on her pension, although she said she still has writing years left in her, despite suffering “misadventure” since her first win and illness that stopped her from writing for most of 2010. Bring up the Bodies” and “Wolf Hall” are being adapted into a six-part series for the BBC and stage plays. Mantel said she had turned down offers for movie adapations because she felt the plot was too complex and better suited to a television series. She is also at work on the third novel in her trilogy, which she plans to call, “The Mirror and the Light. When I start writing again, I will forget all this (the award ceremony) because every day has its own problems and every day you feel like a beginner.”

Lessor’s Vitality in diversity


SOLO art exhibition, Vitality in diversity by Mavua Lessor opened last Saturday at the Nike Art Gallery, Lekki, Lagos. It features contemporary works in oil on canvas, oil on board and mixed media among others. The exhibition which showcases works such as Memories of Nok, Metropolis, Lagos am phase in time, Mr. Governor and his entourage, After the massacre and Bad governance is bad news will run till October 27. Lessor is a 1986 graduate of painting from the Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, and was part of the group art exhibition, Colour Masters in 2005 held at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.

As a teacher, 78-year-old Professor Michael Iyiola Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has taught many accomplished lawyers and jurists. He reflects on his teaching experiences in this encounter with Assistant Editor DADA ALADELOKUN. He also speaks on his life after retirement from the classroom.


SKED what they do for a living, not a few bona fide teachers would veil their faces in ‘shame’ and mumble: “I’m just managing a job.” But with broad smiles, this teacher of sublime erudition gleefully beat his not-so-broad chest and proudly declared to this reporter: “I’m a teacher and I thank God I’m one!” At certain times within his 18-year-long classroom job, he taught former AttorneyGeneral and Minister for Justice Chief Bayo Ojo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN); former President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (OFR), also a SAN, and numerous other legal professionals of no mean order. Welcome to the world of Law Professor Michael Iyiola Jegede (SAN). “Sure, this accomplished Nigerian must have humility, meekness, modesty, hard work and Godliness as his middle names,” this reporter soliloquised within himself. It was barely four minutes into his encounter with the “Law General” at his exquisite chamber, M.I Jegede & Co Solicitor & Advocates, on the first floor of Achilles Place, 11, Maye Street, off Commercial Avenue, SaboYaba, Lagos. It appeared he had trained his workers in social tact. They had evinced impressive alloy of humility and politeness as they, one after the other, welcomed this reporter into their Principal’s office. With his modest dressing (neatly embroidered buba and trousers with cap to match), Jegede’s mien showed clearly that discipline was a principal ingredient of his upbringing. Looking athletic, he appeared full of beans even at almost eight decades on the face of the earth. His socio-economic and academic stature meant nothing to the intellectual giant as he jumped onto his feet to welcome this reporter with a warm handshake. At this point, the reporter opted to find out why he was still stressing his nerves instead of enjoying his retirement at home. He flashed a smile, nodded his head and responded: “Idleness has never been in my character. I’m still fit. I get here 12 noon and won’t leave until 7pm because, though I seldom go to courts these days, I sit to argue cases and exchange ideas with my junior colleagues here in preparation for whatever case we are handling. It is my calling which has become my second nature. “This legend’s background must have had effects on his life journey,” the reporter told himself. And he suggested it to him. Then his reply: “Well, you are not wrong.” Born into a polygamous family in Ilesa, Osun State, Jegede hinted that besides the fact that his cocoa merchant father appreciated the value of education, being focused in life had helped shape his life journey. “My good father had 13 wives and 30 children. But, despite that, he took the education of his children seriously. He connected me with educated people, thus, enabling me to appreciate the value of education early in life. However, despite the inherent vicissitudes of polygamy and the wealth of our father on the other hand, I remained committed to making it in life through hard work,” he said. With nostalgia, he recounted that he attended Methodist School, Otapete, Ilesa between 1940 and 1944; Ilesa Grammar School, where he had the opportunity of meeting with colleagues from good homes; Kings College, University of London; Yale Law School, Yale University; New Haven Connecticut, USA, where he obtained Masters of Law and eventually capped it up with a doctorate degree in the Science of Law between 1964 and 1969. He was called to English Bar on November 27, 1962; got admission to practise in Nigeria in 1964 and was called to the Nigerian Inner Bar in September 2006 at the age of 72. However, way back in 1964, his academic journey began when he started lecturing at the University of Lagos as a foundation member of the school’s Law Faculty. “Today, I feel fulfilled being a teacher. Whenever I see or hear about the legendary performances of most of my students, I feel great,” he intoned. In 2002, as he continued to tell his story, he

•Prof Jegede

‘Teaching made me what I am today’ LIFESTYLE became a Fellow of the Society of Advanced Legal Studies, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London. Aside being a member of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos for over nine years, Jegede was a member of the Council for Legal Education between 1975 and 1980. And before the appointment of the late Justice Akinola Aguda as substantive director, Jegede was the first de facto director/coordinator of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS). He later became a member of the Institute’s Governing Council between 1987 and 1994. Also a prolific author, editor and publisher of countless law publications, Jegede has, in the course of his practice, after retiring from academic work in 1982, successfully handled and contested many cases, from the High Courts through Appeal and the Supreme Court. But what would you recall as the most heartening highpoint of your academic experience? He was asked. He responded with glee,exuding fulfillment: “It was my invitation as visiting Professor by the ViceChancellor of the University of Ibadan in 1981, to assist in the establishment of the Faculty of Law in the institution. “The feat always gives me boundless internal joy. I held the position of first visiting Professor and Head of Department of Law of the University of Ibadan until I voluntarily resigned my position on December

‘Idleness has never been in my character. I’m still fit. I get here 12 noon and won’t leave until 7pm because though I seldom go to courts these days, I sit to argue cases and exchange ideas with my junior colleagues here in preparation for whatever case we are handling. It is my calling which has become my second nature’

31, 1983 after the faculty had been firmly established under my leadership.” He has served his fatherland in various other capacities, especially in April 2006 when he was appointed Chairman, National Committee on the Reform of Legal Education in Nigeria. Jegede is a member of the NBA as well as the Nigerian Society of International Law. All work and no play, it is often said, makes Jack a dull boy. Jegede also holds the membership of the prestigious Metropolitan Club of Lagos; member and past Chairman, Ilesa Frontliners; member, Ilesa Grammar School Old Students Association and the Nigerian Red Cross Society for 30 years running now. He was the Honorary Legal Adviser of the Society between 1982 and January, 2001. Like most concerned Nigerians, Jegede has had to go to bed many times over without his heart in the proper place over the somersault that has, for sometime, now, become the lot of the integrity of the judiciary in the eyes of the public. “Who is that genuine stakeholder that is not disturbed by the public perception of the judiciary, today? It rattles me to the marrow every passing moment because my coming into the profession ab initio was premised on my conviction that I was embracing a respectable profession. See what is happening today. The judiciary has not put itself up as one that should be respected; this is why the public appears to have lost confidence in it.” he reacted in agony when his feeling was sought by this reporter. “Not too long ago,” he continued, “Kayode Eso, a stakeholder of repute, alerted Nigerians that some judges who sat on electoral cases were already billionaires. And for such a personality to say that, he must have done exhaustive research. Eminent lawyers like Afe Babalola and other eminent jurists and lawyers too have bemoaned the ugly development which has become a festering sore among lawyers and judges. The judiciary has the urgent duty to re-examine itself with a view to shedding off the bad image.” Fury took over him when, from personal experience, he lamented the undue delay in legal processes in Nigerian courts. •Continued on page 38





Forecasts Profit after tax N590.797m NIGER INSURANCE Gross Premium N2.73b Profit after tax N212.95m MUTUAL BENEFITS Gross Premium N2b Profit N885.633m REGENCY ALLIANCE Gross Premium N812.596m Profit after tax N256.437m LEARN AFRICA Turnover N1.06b Profit after tax N58.336m TOTAL Nigeria Turnover N46.676 b Profit after tax N942.1m MRS OIL Nigeria Turnover N51.20b Profit after tax N712 m ETERNA Turnover N27.64b Profit after tax N563.834m OKOMU OIL PALM Turnover N2.667b Profit after tax N1.044b STANBIC IBTC BANK Net Operating Income N16.805b Profit after tax N2.737b ASL Turnover N1.084b Profit after tax N101.355m GT ASSURANCE Gross Premium N3.892b Profit after tax N710.62m CORNERSTONE INS Gross Premium N1.223b Profit after tax N80.01m OASIS INS Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax N79.868m AFRICAN ALLIANCE INS Gross Premium N1.215b Profit after tax N107.213m BERGER PAINTS Turnover N976.303m Profit after tax N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover N835.0m Profit after tax N18.200m DANGOTE SUGAR REFINERY Turnover N38.251b Profit after tax N3.49b STUDIO PRESS NIG Turnover N3.375b Profit after tax N20.422m JULIUS BERGER NIG Turnover N80.125b Profit after tax N2.55b INTERCONTINENTAL WAPIC INS Gross Premium N1.41b Profit after tax N250.450m EQUITY ASSURANCE Gross Premium N2.45b Profit after tax N287.283m STANDARDALLIANCEINS Gross Premium N2.142b Profit after tax N475.964m CONTINENTAL REINSURANCE Gross Premium N6.917b Profit after tax N805m PRESCO Turnover N2.60b Profit after tax N800.9m RT BRISCOE Turnover N4.553b

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

Private pension assets overtake public contributions P RIVATE sector’s pension assets worth N1.57 trillion constitute 55 per cent of the N2.94 trillion contributions with the National Pension Commission (PenCom), The Nation has learnt. The fund is about 10 per cent ahead of public contributions. Head, Research and Corporate Strategy, PenCom, Farouk Aminu, stated this at a workshop for journalists in Abuja. He said Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has made it easier for workers to save more money, receive their retirement benefits promptly and directly contribute to economic de-

by Collins Nweze

velopment. He said the fund could only be invested in authorised markets with portfolio limits and performance benchmarks. Aminu also said the fund could be invested in infrastructure provided it meets the stipulated requirement. He said the regulation on investment of pension fund assets was revised to expand the allowable investment outlets to include alternative asset classes which include private equity, infrastruc-

ture financing,supranational bonds among others. According to him, the Commission is consultative, prudent and conservative when it comes to investment. “The major objectives of Pension Fund Investments are to ensure safety and maintenance of Fair Returns on Investment,” he said. He said the Commission will continue to collaborate and engage the state governments in the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme in the states. The number of state governments that have started the

implementation of the scheme has increased to 21. Also, the support of the Debt Management Office (DMO) was obtained to ensure that, as a condition, state governments desirous of obtaining bonds must key into the Contributory Pension Scheme. Aminu said some regulated instruments approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and transactions involving pension funds are to be conducted on registered trading platforms. Also, it was stipulated

that 20 per cent of the pension portfolio can be in ‘BBB’ rated instruments. For equities, a track record of profitability and payment of dividends/issuance of bonuses are also considered. The Commission has also increased portfolio limits for corporate bonds from 30 per cent to 35 per cent of Pension Fund Administrators total portfolio to ensure increased investments in the real sector of the economy. Besides, there is daily valuation and unit pricing of the various Retirement Savings Account (RSA) funds under management with the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).

‘Courier industry can generate N8b’


•Deputy Governor, Akwa Ibom State Mr Nsima Ekere (right) presenting a gift to Chairman, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc Mr Dick Kramer (middle) and Group Managing Director of the bank Mrs Funke Osibodu (left) during a courtesy call on him by the Directors of the bank at the sGovernment House, Uyo ... on Monday.

F the courier sub-sector of the economy is well harnessed and allowed to operate without any restrictions, it can contribute N8 billion to the economy yearly and create job opprotunities for the unemployed in the country. The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Bowill Errands Limited, Siyanbola Oladapo, who spoke with TheNation in Lagos over the weekend, lamented, however, that over the years, the industry has been dominated by multinational operators, a development that had stunted the growth of the sector. Oladapo, who is the General Secretary, Association of Nigeria Courier Opera-

By Lucas Ajanaku

tors (ANCO), identified Nigerians willingness to patronise foreign firms as a major challenge besetting the industry. “The courier industry is a goldmine yet to be fully tapped. It can contribute a lot of revenue to the economy. If the industry is allowed to operate without restrictions, like having spread throughout Nigeria, it can generate between N6billion and N8billion annually as revenue and attract offshore business,” he said, adding that in terms of sectoral contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP), it employs both skilled and nonskilled manpower.

Interstate, Tata to invest N920b in discos


NTERSTATE Consortium has started initial arrangements to source some $5 billion, about N780 billion, in the Abuja and Enugu electricity distribution companies, the two power distribution companies it recently won. This came as indications emerged that Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, (TPDDL), a member of the Vigeo Holding Consortium, which won the Benin Distribution Company, has outlined a $900 million investment scenario. Impeccable source noted that the companies in the Interstate Consortium were all optimistic about the prospects of the Nigerian energy sector and have committed to making substantial investments to make their two distribution firms the model companies for the industry.

NEXIM mulls ECOWAS shipping to boost trade - P 30

The Interstate Consortium comprises Metropolitan Electricity Authority of Thailand (MEA), Chrome Energy and Power House International Limited. Chrome Group and Powerhouse International Limited were promoted by Chief Emeka Offor and Mr. Kester Enwereonu. MEA distributes electricity in the Thai capital city of Bangkok and environs and is reputed to be one of the most efficient third world power distribution companies with record technical and commercial losses of below five per cent over the past eight years. MEA currently services three million customers in Thailand while the customer base of Abuja and Enugu combined is less than one million. A detailed insight into the structure of the company shows that the MEA will actu-

ally run the company while Chrome Energy and Powerhouse International are co-investors. The source said the Interstate Consortium would revolutionise electricity distribution with state-of-the-art facilities and customer-friendly management framework. Chairman, Powerhouse International Limited, Mr Kester Enwereonu, had confirmed that the combined balance sheet of the consortium members is in excess of $20 billion, which shows that they have the financial muscle to finance the acquisitions and upgrade both networks. Enwereou noted that the closeness of Abuja and Enugu will make it possible for the consortium to run them seamlessly, pointing out that in the course of the bid, they proposed separate manage-

Stakeholders flay govt’s delay on SEC board - P32

ment team for each, which showed they were prepared from the beginning to acquire and manage both electricity distribution companies. Prior to the privatization programme, chief executive officers of select distribution companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) had visited MEA and its sister company Provisional Electricity Authority of Thailand (PEA), which distributes power in the rest of the regions in Thailand. Both are regarded as model state utilities that are efficiently run and making major contribution to state revenue, with a $6 billion annual turnover by MEA. Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, (TPDDL), Indian leading power distribution company, which had bid for Eko and Ikeja Distribution Companies as a member of

Oando Consortium and Benin Distribution Company in conjunction with Vigeo Holding Limited, estimated it could invest $900 million in the distribution firms. However, only the Vigeo Holding Consortium’s bid scaled through. Senior General Manager, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, (TPDDL), Vivek Singla, in a report by The Economic Times, said the company has understanding with its Nigerian partners to acquire as much as 51 per cent equity stake over a period of time. He estimated that TPDDL would invest $900 million, about N140 billion, in the three distribution companies (discos). Singla said Tata Power, the parent company of TPDDL, will arrange the funds through equity investments.

Why retirees fail to get benefits early - P 34




NEXIM mulls ECOWAS shipping to boost trade T HE Nigerian Export and Import Bank (NEXIM) is facilitating the establishment of a regional shipping line that will boost trade flows within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region, its Managing Director, Robert Ungwaga Orya, has said. He said this at the investiture and induction of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), while fielding questions from reporters. He said there are huge potential in the sub-region that needed to be harnessed. He regretted that West Africa has the highest transport and logistics cost. NEXIM Bank with the mandate of diversifying the external sector of the

Stories by Collins Nweze

economy away from the mono-product of oil, has taken several steps as an export credit agency to deepen trade. According to Orya, who was pre-

sented with Honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), one of such steps is the dis-

covery that trade in the West African sub-region was not growing. He identified the movement of goods within the ECOWAS subregion as part of the challenge, due to lack of efficient sea going vessels. He said Nigerians are not actively participating in the maritime business. According to him, until this is reversed, foreigners will continue to exploit Nigerians.

“Our exporters will not be able to enhance the volume of non-oil trade flows. So, what NEXIM has done is to find a way of facilitating the setting up of a regional maritime shipping line to be run by the private sector, because it is the private sector that is actually trading,” Orya stated. According to him, “If you have to move goods from Lagos to Tema port in Ghana by truck, with all the multiple check points, all the harassments from security agencies, lack of road infrastructure, it will take you like six days. But if you want to move you goods from Lagos to the same Tema port in Ghana, it will take you like 60 days. This is because they will first take our goods to Europe and then do transshipment.”

He regretted that under that scenario, if a N500 million loan, for instance, is given to a producer who produces 20 containers, before getting products to final consumers, all realisable profits would have been eaten up. The tonnages of goods in the past decades have moved from 4.7 to 13.2 million tones, but nothing has been done to improve the road infrastructure. “We believe that for us to have a safe and sound banking environment we need to have professionalism and the CIBN are doing quite a lot in this direction. They are ensuring that members of the institute apply ethics and professionalism in running the banks. He said the recognition by CBN was a great exposure.

“It is an exciting moment for me and I want to say that it will spur me to build capacity of the younger bankers. I think we need to leave a legacy. It will spur me to do more in capacity building to ensure that professionals who will take after us are well equipped,” he stated. Though the CIBN has come up with an Act, the NEXIM boss wants the institute to step up enforcement of the Act. However, he believes the enforcement of the Act requires collective effort. The success of NEXIM in the past few years has been meteoric. NEXIM, under the leadership of Orya, has seen a rapid and sustained transformation that has changed the fortunes of the bank since 2009.

‘Ringfencing ‘ll hit large offices market’


OVERNMENT plans to force banks to ringfence their retail businesses from riskier investment banking units might prove “a drag” on the London office market, according to the chief executive of property company Hammerson. David Atkins according to The Telegraph said the move would potentially limit the market for large headquarter prelets to the banking sector if operations were split. Under Mr Atkins’s leadership, Hammerson has sold off its London office portfolio to focus on prime shopping centres, retail parks and upmarket designer outlets. “It wasn’t really a call on London offices, although I think there is more of a risk there than many commentators think,” he said. Although the banking reforms

might create demand for smaller lettings, he said many developments are reliant on a large prelet to kickstart a scheme. “It could be a drag on the City in the years to come,” he added. Hammerson pressed ahead with its focus on retail last week after it bought The Junction Unit Trust portfolio of four retail parks for £254.5million, including the Thurrock Shopping Park at Lakeside. The FTSE company is also locked in a battle with Westfield for dominance of a retail scheme in south London. Both companies are hoping to secure the right to develop the Whitgift shopping centre in Croydon, an area considered ideal for the UK’s next super-mall because of its transport links and proximity to central London.

IMF warns African oil producers to avoid ‘white elephants’ •From left: President/Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Mr Segun Aina presenting Award of Honorary Fellowship of CIBN to the Managing Director/CEO, Unity Bank, Alhaji Ado Yakubu Wanka, at the institute’s Fellowship Invetituture Award, in Lagos. With them is Chairman, Board of Fellows, Mrs Debola Osibogun.

‘Board review’ll check executive recklessness’


EVIEW of banks’ board of directors’role will help check executive recklessness and bring lasting stability to the banking sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Agnes Martins, disclosed this at a meeting for banks’directors in Lagos. She said the role of the board of directors has come under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of the global market crisis and that lax board governance was a major corporate governance issue that fuelled the crisis. According to her, stakeholders are demanding reforms that would enable directors to discharge their responsibilities more effectively while being held accountable for their actions and for inactions. She explained that the role of bank’s boards is increasingly subject to public scrutiny, adding that the pressures on and responsibilities of bank directors have also increased. She said boards are expected to ensure compliance with complex and stringent reporting and regulatory requirements, safeguard their bank’s businesses against excessive risk and hold managers to performance targets to satisfy the demands of the market for improved returns.

“The responsibility for the way in which a bank’s business is conducted lies with its board of directors. The board sets the strategic direction, appoints management, establishes operational policies and most importantly, takes responsibility for the soundness and profitability of the bank. It is answerable to depositors and shareholders for the lawful, informed, efficient and competent administration of the institution,” she said. According to her, while the board usually delegates the daily running of the institution to management, it retains the responsibility for the consequences of unsound and imprudent policies and practices concerning lending, investing, protection against fraud, among other things. However, she explained that the board is not in a position to guarantee a bank’s success, but must oversee the institution to ensure that it operates in a safe and sound manner and complies with applicable laws and regulations. “The board must establish an appropriate corporate culture and set the “tone at the top”, hire and retain competent management, stay informed about the institution’s operating environment, and ensure that a suitable risk management system that is commensurate with its size and complexity of op-

eration is in place. It also must oversee the bank’s business performance,” she said. Martins reiterated the need for the board and senior management to establish culture by upholding corporate integrity and enforcing zero tolerance for compromised ethics. She said directors should understand that their actions and those of management reflect their attitudes about commitment to integrity, honesty, and ethical conduct.


HE International Monetary Fund has urged African oil and gas producing nations to direct their revenue in infrastructure and education rather than on “white elephants”. According to Reuters reports, exploration in east and southern Africa has been high in recent months as a result of big oil and gas discoveries in Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya and other regional countries. Antoinette Sayeh, the IMF’s director for Africa, said yesterday the oil and gas sector does not create as many jobs as other sectors of the economy, but if the revenues were directed to education and transport links they would help create jobs. Sayeh said nations could set up sovereign wealth funds to invest for future generations and to provide cash, which could be used to help their economies navigate times of volatility in the global economy. “It is not enough just to maximise your revenues and then to spend

them on white elephants, you have to really be using them wisely and leaving some of the wealth for future generations as well,” she said. Sayeh said the IMF is advising Mozambique, Tanzania and Niger to help them boost revenues from oil and gas exports. The Washington-based agency projected in its Regional Economic Outlook launched in Japan earlier this month that Sub-Saharan Africa will grow by 5.25 per cent this year and next, driven by robust domestic demand, investments and newly-found natural resources. Despite this forecast, there are concerns that although some of the world’s fastest growing economies are African, the rapid growth rates have failed the inclusion test due to lack of jobs especially among young people. The IMF has predicted inflation in the region would fall to 8 percent at the end of this year from 10 percent in the same time last year, before falling further to seven per cent in 2013.

CeBIH explores avenue for e-payment structure


•CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

EVELOPING a function electronic payment system is critical to the economic development of the country, Chairman, Committee of e-Banking Heads (CeBIH) Chuma Ezirim has said. According to him, the group is committed to the development of an efficient payment system in the country and will be organising a conference on that next month. “We believe a functioning and efficient electronic payment system is not a myth or impossibility. It is something that has been achieved in other markets. We are therefore, inviting

all stakeholders, including experts from outside the country to appraise our performance so far as an industry and agree on the structure that would enable us achieve our full potentials in the midst of various challenges,” he said. He explained that the conference which has its theme “Developing a market structure that works: Challenges and Prospects for the Nigerian Payment System”, will hold from Wednesday, October 30 to Thursday, November 1 at the Transcorp Metropolitan Hotels & Conferencing Limited Calabar, Cross River State.




Surge in MfBs fraudulent e-mails, says CBN •Customers get N4.3b refund


RAUDULENT e-mails in the microfinance bank sector have been on the increase, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. The apex bank said the sector recorded and processed 10,845 e-mails on various financial crimes. The crimes, which include cheques knitting, forging of banks’rubber stamps, letter headed papers, and signatures of the managing directors of the over 700 microfinance banks were committed in the past few years. Other Financial Supervisory Institutions Department, CBN Examiner, Mr David Adelana, disclosed this during a conference organised by the National Association of Microfinance Banks (Southwest Zone) in Lagos. He said the crimes were mainly advanced fee fraud. He delivered a paper entitled: Frauds and forgeries in microfinance banks: causes, detection and control. Adelana said the number of fraudulent cases reported against the banks fell by 3,433 from 5,960 in 2010 to 2,527 in 2011. He said the number of complacent cases recorded and treated was 1,526 in 2010 as against 1,800 in 2011. He said the refund to customers was N4.3billion in 2011, as against N2.2billion in 2011, adding that the apex bank has put in place institutional frameworks to check sharp practices

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

in the industry. He divided the perpetrators of the criminal activities into three groups, namely internal, external and mixed. He said the internal group relates to the financial crimes committed by the staff of the banks, while the external group has to do with non-staff of the banks, while the mixed group includes the staff and non-staff of the banks. According to him, CBN has organised capacity building programmes for the management of the banks to prevent undue exposure to risks. He said the banks have been directed to provide measures that would prevent poor management of funds and further check unwholesome practices. He said: “We have said it times without number that banks must tightening control on dormant accounts. Dormant accounts should be transferred to the table of the managing directors of the banks, and not information and technology (IT) among other ordinary members of staff to prevent manipulation. To ensure firm control of dormant accounts, the managing directors and the IT section should be allowed to have access to dormant accounts in the banks.” On cheques knitting, Adelaja said

its becoming harder for fraudsters to succeed because the system of transactions has improved considerably. “Cheques knitting cannot fly again because the system has gone 3+3 and 3+2 transactions. Based on this, it would become difficult to manipulate the transaction process and made away with the bank’s money,” he added. Also, the Chairman, National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMBs), Mr Olufemi Babajide, said the association was aware of sharp practices people were committing in the name of the banks. He said cases abound where people forged the signatures of the managing directors, the logos, letter-headed papers among other documents of the banks to get visas. “On the issue of people approaching embassies with forged documents of the banks to get visas or conduct any other transactions, we made our positions known on it. What we agreed is that the statements that are being taken to the embassies must bear the original signatures of the managing directors of the banks. The names of the MDs must be handwritten. We have advised the embassies, among other agencies to confirm the identity of any statement brought to them in the name of MFBs,“ he said.

Mobile payment transactions hit N27b THE Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) has said the value of mobile payment transactions is N27 billion, a sharp improvement from over N200 million recorded last year. According to a data from CBN, the mobile payment transaction has gained acceptability and changed the face of transactions in the country. The Deputy Head,Cashless Nigeria Project, CBN, Mr Keleonu Chimene, said mobile money is expected to play a critical role in the apex bank financial strategy inclusion programmes. Participants at the mobile money payment programme organised in Lagos recently said the major challenges faced by the operators include poor infrastructure, renumerations for agents, and a value propositions for customers. Speaking during a stakeholders meeting in Lagos, the Head of e-banking, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr Chuma Ezirin, said the potential in the mobile money market is huge, but it is a capital-intersive and thin margin business. Also, the Head of Mobility, Accenture Nigeria, Mrs Henritta BankoleOlusina, said mobile money operators have been unsuccesful in showing Nigerians the value of using the service. She said: “We can invest in infrastructure all we want, but if we don’t have the right business models, we will not achieve the desirable results.”

Skye Bank CEO is CIBN Fellow THE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Skye Bank Plc, Kehinde DurosinmiEtti, has been conferred with the prestigious fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). He was among seven bank CEOs honoured by the institute at a ceremony in Lagos. With the conferment, he becomes one of the leading lights in the banking industry and enjoys some special rights, privileges and obligations. The President/Chairman of Council of the CIBN, Segun Aina, said he was found worthy of the honour because of his contributions to banking and exemplary leadership qualities. The Skye Bank boss, who is an economist and a chartered accountant, holds a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Ibadan. He is also a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA), United Kingdom.

Asset managers appoint auditors HE Association of Assets Custodians of Nigeria has appointed Duro Ogboye & Co as auditors. The appointment was made during the group’s inaugural Annual General Meeting in Lagos. President of the association, Segun Sanni, said the group is also partnering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to assist in the implementation of securities lending in the country. He said the group is at the forefront of promoting securities lending because, such will help deepen the market. Sanni said the group was able to ratify its constitution, received report of its activities and approved its audited financial year for 2010 and 2011. According to him, the group has also partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on collective investment and automation of the Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI). The CCI enhances confidence of foreign investors when they are investing in the country. Sanni explained that foreign investment constitute about 70 per cent of the total turnover volumes in the capital market. He said there is need to automate the CCI as such would enable foreign investors to easily find out the status of their investments in the country, increase transaction efficiency and ensure that investors get adequate returns on their investments. Sanni explained that the group also prevailed on the apex bank to relax its rule, mandating foreign investors to keep their investments for at least one year, before disposing them.

NIBSS implements anti-fraud scheme

•From left: Senator Kola Bajomo; President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Doyin Owolabi and Utomi during the ICAN conference in Abuja.

Operators consider financial accountability support


PARTNERSHIP between the International Federation of Accountants (IFA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy CIPFA) is in the offing to assist private and public sector operators achieve highest level of accountability. Through this, operators would be taken through the rudiments of financial accountability on international best practices to foster growth. The Executive Director, Finance and Resources, CIPFA, Mike Suarez, who spoke at the 42nd Annual Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Abuja, said the development would help private and public sector operators to improve financial accountability and corporate governance practices. Suarez, in his paper entitled: Financial reporting and value creation in the public sector: Issues, challenges and prospects, said an international good

governance framework would evolve through the partnership. He said the framework would help in guiding and addressing issues relating to financial reporting, malpractices and corporate governance in Nigeria among other countries on its watchlists. He said the framework would be dominated by issues such as strong commitment to integrity and ethical values; openness and stakeholders engagement; defining outcomes in terms of sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits. He listed others to include determining and delivering output and transfers to optimise the achievement of intended incomes; and developing the capacity of the organisation and the capability of its leadership and the individuals within it. Others are managing performance and risks through robust control and strong public financial management; and implementing good practices in

transparency and reporting to deliver affective accountability. He said governments, international organisations and financial operators need to come together to address weaknesses inherent in financial reporting and corporate governance practices, adding that the organisation has earlier partnered with ICAN on the issue. Also, a Director, Lagos Business School (LBS), Prof Pat Utomi, urged the private an public sector to play crucial roles in the area of nation building. He said transparency, accountability and service delivery are required to achieve the goals of nation building. He said operators must adhere to the best practices of corporate governance to achieve success for themselves and the economy in particular. He added that there a lot of intermediation in the banking industry, and that entrepreneurs depend on the sector to record growth.

THE Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) has said it is taking measures aimed at reducing the volume and value of fraud perpetrated in the banking sector. Executive Director, Operations, Niyi Ajao, said one way it is achieving this objective is through the use of its anti-fraud portal developed by the firm to check financial frauds in banking. He said the portal became exigent following complaints by banks using the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP), which allows customers transfer funds on its secured platform. The portal, he said, was designed to enable chief inspectors of banks to report fraud cases, and for other approved banks’ officials as well as regulatory bodies view reported cases of fraud. Ajao, who spoke at the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), in Lagos, said the portal has two categories of users. The first is chief inspectors of banks, and they are the only users that can create report on fraud incidence. The other categories are labelled users only, as they can only view the fraud reports for their official use. This category, he said, comprise banks’ chief executive officers or designated senior management officials, regulatory officials, such as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). He said the fraud reports on the portal would contain name, account details, picture of the suspected fraudsters (for individuals) or the registration number (for corporate). It would also contain the type of fraud and when it was committed as well as the amount involved.

World Bank opens office in South Korea WORLD Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim and South Korea’s Minister of Strategy and Finance, Jaewan Bahk, have announced the opening of a new World Bank Group Office in Korea in 2013, to deepen joint efforts to find sustainable development solutions for emerging countries around the globe. The World Bank chief said in a statement that the office will focus on infrastructure, information communications technology, the financial sector and knowledge sharing. Both parties have also announced the launch of a new $90 million to support developing countries, the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility. The Facility will support a broad range of economic development opportunities with a focus on promoting best practices, by leveraging the bank’s knowledge and convening power and Korea’s expertise in areas, such as economic development policy, information communications technology, infrastructure and the financial sector.




Stakeholders flay govt’s delay on SEC board M

AJOR stakeholders in the capital market have expressed concerns over the absence of a board at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), more than four months after the expiration of the tenure and retirement of the previous board. Capital market operators and investors said the absence of a board for SEC, the apex regulator of the capital market, showed lack of understanding of the regulatory requirements of the market. They flayed what they described as government’s lukewarm attitude to the capital market, noting the importance of the market as the mainstay of national economic development. The tenure of the Senator Udoma Udo Udoma-led board of SEC had ended on June 15. The board did not seek extension of its tenure and thus retired. Section four of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA), 2007- the operating and main law for the regulation of the capital market, establishes the board as a body “responsible for the general administration of the Commission” (SEC). Specifically, the board shall formulate general policies for the regulation and development of the capital

Stories by Taofik Salako

market and the achievement and exercise of the functions of the Commission; approve the audited and management accounts of the Commission; appoint Auditors for the Commission; consider and approve the annual budget of the Commission as may be presented to it by the management; establish zonal offices of the Commission; and carry out such other activities as are necessary and expedient for the purposes of achieving the objectives of the Commission. The ISA requires a duly constituted board as sine-qua non to the operations of SEC and the law does not envisage any vacuum. Subsection five of section five of ISA provides that notwithstanding the provisions of subsections one and two of section five (which stipulated tenure), the President may extend the tenure of office of the DG and any of the commissioners whose term of office has expired until a successor to such DG or commissioner is appointed. Thus non-extension of tenure implies readiness to make immediate appointment of successor. Capital market operators and investors who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of

the issue and fears of backlash from regulators said leaving the market without leadership for several months could send wrong signals to foreign investors about the commitment of the government to the capital market. They noted that given the facts that the tenure of the board of SEC is a schedule clearly stated in the Investment and Securities Act (ISA) and there was nothing abrupt about the end of the board, government should have been more proactive in its consideration of options and appointees for the board. They expressed worries that such leadership vacuum at SEC could undermine the regulatory standing of the Commission, which is vested with ensuring highest corporate governance among quoted companies and other operators in the market. A market operator wondered what SEC would have done if a quoted company had been operating without a properly constituted board of directors and executive management. Another operator noted the disconcerting silence of the government, especially the supervising Federal Ministry of Finance, on the state of board of SEC. Section three of the ISA stipulates

that there shall be for the Commission a board which shall consist of a chairman, the director general, three full time commissioners, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance, a representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and two part-time commissioners one of whom shall be a legal practitioner qualified to practice in Nigeria with 10 years post call experience. On the composition of the board of SEC, ISA requires that a person shall not be qualified for appointment to the board unless he is fit and, in the case of the chairman or director general, he is a holder of a university degree or its equivalent with not less than 15 years experience in capital market operations; in the case of any other member other than an ex-officio member, he is a holder of a university degree or its equivalent with not less than 12 years experience in capital market operations or legal practice as the case may be; and in the case of an ex-officio member, he is not below the rank of a director in the Ministry or Central Bank of Nigeria, as the case may be. Section five of ISA outlines that the director general and the three full time commissioners are to be appointed by the President upon the

recommendation of the Minister of Finance and confirmation by the Senate. The DG shall hold office for a period of five years in the first instance and may be reappointed for a further period of five years and no more. The three full time commissioners shall hold office in the first instance for a period of four years and may be reappointed for a further term of four years and no more. The chairman and part-time commissioners-other than the ex-officio commissioners, shall each hold office for a term of four years and no more. Section 10 of the ISA requires that the board shall meet as often as may be required but not less than four times in any financial year of the Commission. The chairman shall preside at every meeting of the Commission and in his absence, the members present at such meeting shall appoint one of their members to preside. Five members of the board shall form a quorum at any meeting, two of whom shall be non-executive members. Unless as otherwise provided in the Act, decisions shall be by a simple majority of the vote of the members present but, in case of equality of vote, the presiding chairman shall have a casting vote.

Zenith, Skye Banks grow nine-month profits by 42%, 45%


ENITH Bank Plc and Skye Bank Plc said their profits rose by 41.59 per cent and 45.4 per cent. Zenith Bank’s profit before tax in the first nine months to September, leapt to N75.22 billion ($478.04 million), from 53.13 billion in the same period last year. Gross earnings also surged to N229.16 billion, compared with N183.06 billion a year ago, Zenith bank said in a statement. “Given the available micro-economic indices we are very confident that we will be able to sustain this strong performance and growth trend into the fourth quarter of the year,” Zenith Bank’s chief

executive Godwin Emefiele said. Zenith stock was traded at N18.36 on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) last Monday, up 0.88 per cent over the previous day’s closing price. Skye Bank’s pre-tax profit in the nine months to September on the other hand, rose to N16.55 billion ($105.18 million), from N11.38 billion in the same period last year. The bank’s gross earnings rose to N94.13 billion, compared with N73.29 billion a year ago, the bank said in a filing with the Exchange. Its stock was trading at N4.27 on the local bourse by 1303 GMT, 0.23 percent lower than the previous day’s closing price.

SADC honours entrepreneurs

S •From left: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Finance Minister and Coordinating Minster of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at a joint press conference by the Nigeria delegation at the recently concluded World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: AYODELE AMINU

We won’t sell our assets now, says AMCON


HE Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) will not engage in any large disposal of its assets in the immediate future, Managing Director, AMCON, Mr Mustafa Chike-Obi, hasaid. He spoke at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) in Lagos. He said the corporation would hold on to its assets to realise the intrinsic values on them in future. According to him, AMCON will not engage in any large scale disposal of its assets because the corporation believes that it could optimise the values of the assets. “We believe the assets will appreciate. It will be premature to sell now,” Chike-Obi said. AMCON had invested N3 trillion in the purchase of non-performing loans and recapitalisation of banks. With the bad debts taken over by the corporation, it has assets spread across the country including real estate properties and shares that were used as collaterals for loans. AMCON also has shares in nearly all banks and several quoted com-

panies. AMCON is the second largest holder of quoted equities after the pension industry. It should be recalled that AMCON had bought three banks - Afribank Nigeria, Bank PHB and Springbank, that were earlier nationalised and injected N700 billion in the banks. The three banks now renamed- Enterprise Bank, Keystone Bank and Mainstreet Bank are wholly owned by AMCON. It had engaged professional valuers to determine the appropriate values of assets and properties of borrowers transferred to it through loan-purchased agreements with banks. Chike-Obi noted that to kick-start asset-backed securities in Nigeria, efforts should be concentrated at creating homogeneous mortgages. The decision to hold on to the assets, especially equities, of the corporation may also not be unconnected with the strong bullish position of the management of the corporation on the prospects of the Nigerian capital market. Chike-Obi had predicted that the

benchmark index measuring average return at the Nigerian stock market would rally to 40,000 index points, with potential additional capital gains of N6.2 trillion for investors in equities by the end of 2013. According to him, equities will remain the most attractive investment as interest rate would likely crash to single digit by the end of 2013. He noted that notwithstanding a year-to-date return of more than 30 per cent, Nigerian equities are still substantially underpriced. He pointed out that Nigerian quoted equities have stronger fundamentals and substantial headroom for capital appreciation and would remain competitively on the uptrend within the emerging market “This is just the beginning of the long sustained improvement of the capital market. You have not seen anything yet,” Chike-Obi said. He allayed fears of any bubble in the immediate future noting that several stocks are still trading below their book values.

EVEN Nigerians who have distinguished themselves as entrepreneurs would be conferred with this year’s Success Digest Enterprise Awards (SADC). The winners include Managing Director, Media Reach OMD, Tolu Ogunkoya; Managing Director, Swift Movers;Yejide Omotayo and Initiator, Teju Baby Face Show, Teju Oyelakin. Other distinguished budding business personalities lined up for the annual awards sponsored by some corporate organisations are Uju Onyechere, chief executive officer, Edwards & Benson Group, who won the SADC Alumni Enterprise of the year while the duo of Mr &

Mrs. Arthur Chukwuma, Founders of Hosana Broadcast and Nneka & Isaac Moses, Founders of Goge Africa on TV, emerged joint winners of Entrepreneurial Couple of the Year Award. Mrs. Adedoyin Adelaja, Founder, Hearts of Gold, will be honoured with the Special Recognition Award. The ceremony is scheduled for November 3, 2012 at the Lagos Sheraton and Hotel Towers, Ikeja. Chairman, SADC, the organisers of the annual event, Dr. Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase, said the award was designed to honour Nigerians who took the bold step of actualising their entrepreneurial dreams.

Firm launches investment education portal


TB Asset Management Limited (GTBAM) has launched an online investment education portal that allows potential investors and researchers to interact with the dynamics of the equities and financial asset market. Speaking during the launch of the “Virtual Investment Simulator”, Managing Dsirector, GTB Asset Management Limited (GTBAM), Mr Nicholas Nyamali, said the platform was designed to educate existing and prospective investors and researchers about the practical investing skills as well as enable them interact with the equities and financial asset market in an online gaming environment. According to him, the launch of the online portal has further broadened GTBAM’s investment education project, which is designed to teach the general

public the art and science of investing. He noted that the virtual gaming portal in addition to encouraging participants to learn about how to make informed investment decisions and how the financial market works, also gives them a chance to win N500,000 in real cash reward for being the best investor between now and December 31. “The gaming portal also allows investors to form exclusive investment clubs within the portal whereby participants can invite friends and colleagues to join, compete with one another as well as share ideas and post comments on the portal blog page,” Nyamali said. He pointed out that GTBAM, which was until recently the asset management subsidiary of GTBank, was built on the pedigree and values of the bank.




PENCOM may seek amendments to allow securities lending


HE National Pension Commission (Pencom) is considering the prospects of securities lending and may seek amendments to existing legislation to allow securities lending in the pension industry. Head, investment supervision, National Pension Commission (Pencom), Mr Ehimeme Ohioma, said the commission was looking at the issue of securities lending recently introduced into the capital market. He noted that the legislation guiding the pension industry does not allow pension funds operators to engage in securities lending. He, however, said the commission may consider securities lending, starting with debt instruments. At the last count, the pension industry’s total assets stood at N2.8 trillion. Some 10 per cent of these assets or N297 billion are invested in quoted equities. Rule 350 of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the operating guidelines on securities lending by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) jointly allow pension fund administrators and custodians to engage in securities lending. Securities lending or stock lending simply refers to the lending of securities by a holder of the securities to another market participant for a specified period, usually a short period of time. The lender receives collaterals equivalent to the

By Taofik Salako

securities being transferred in form of shares, letter of credit, bond, cash or other acceptable financial instruments. Besides, the borrower pays the lender a fee each month for the loan and is contractually obliged to return the securities on demand within the standard market settlement period. When securities are lent, the legal title of the securities passes from the lender to the borrower and the lender will only regain the title when the securities are returned from loan. As such, the lender will lose the voting right associated with the securities during the period of lending. However, the lender in spite of the transfer of the legal claim to ownership still retains the benefit of any corporate actions or dividends payments associated with the securities on loan. Besides, the lender has the right to recall securities on loan at any time, unless otherwise agreed with the borrower. The market making and securities lending initiatives took off at the capital market on September 18, this year. According to the operational guidelines on market making, securities lending and short selling released by the NSE, only high networth individuals with at least net worth of N300 million and institutional investors can lend securities

to borrowers. Also NSE disallows direct borrowing of securities by dealing members. According to the NSE, only qualified institutional investors (QIIs) would in the meantime be allowed to make their securities available for lending. Rule 350 of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) identifies qualified institutional investors to include an individual investor with at least personal net worth of N300 million excluding automobiles, homes and furniture. Other QIIs included fund managers, insurance companies, investment and unit trusts, multilateral and bilateral institutions, market makers, professionally-managed staff securities purchase schemes, trustees and custodians and stockbroking firms. According to the guidelines, all market participants are allowed to sell short but in the meantime only market makers may execute a short sale transaction provided that they have borrowed the securities or have entered into a bona-fide arrangement to borrow the securities which will be available on the date of delivery. All other dealing members must have borrowed the securities before executing a short sale transaction. Short selling is the sale of a security that the seller does not own, or any sale that is completed by the delivery of a security borrowed by the seller. Naked short selling re-

fers to the practice of seeking to profit from an expected fall in the price of an asset by selling shares you do not own without borrowing, or making arrangements to borrow them. NSE prohibits naked short selling “No dealing member other than a market maker may execute a short sale transaction on the basis of a bona- fide arrangement to borrow the securities,” the guidelines noted. Besides, only Securities Lending Agents (SLAs) registered by SEC are permitted to engage in securities lending. Dealing members are also required not to borrow or make arrangements to borrow securities directly from investors without the intermediation of SLAs. However, NSE has stated that securities lending would in the future be extended to other market participants including retail investors. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also recently released guidelines on foreign participation in securities lending in the Nigerian market. The apex bank’s circular addressed to all authorised dealers, custodians, stockbrokers and general public, detailed the processes for issuance of Certificate of Importation (CCI) for securities lending transactions. According to the circular signed by a director of the apex bank, CCI

would continue to be used in respect of foreign exchange inflow for loans, investments and or capital, subject to existing guidelines as specified in the foreign exchange manual. For securities lending purposes, CCI processes shall be considered under a foreign investor to foreign lender lends or other specified conditions to abide by approved conditions. According to the guidelines, a local investor can lend to a foreign investor but that requires that the lender shall use CCI upon importation of capital to purchase securities to be lent. In a vibrant and well-structured market, securities lending contributes to the efficiency of the market through increased liquidity provided by short selling. Also, securities lending can result in lower cost of investment as sec lenders can use the fees earned from loaning out securities to defray the costs of institutional investors. However, there are several inherent risks in securities lending. These include the potential for counter party to default on its obligations, market fluctuation that may lead to inadequate collateral, reliability of collateral, adverse effect of other laws such as taxes and residual market risk that could be created by a combination of many external variables including price volatility, market liquidity and exchange rate fluctuations, among others.

•From Left: National Director, Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International , Mr Ebere Uwadoka; Lecturer, Federal University of Agruculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) Dr Funmilayo Oluwalana; Director, University of Benin Consultancy Unit, Prof Famous Izedonmi; International Director, Entrepreneurship Promotions Academy (EPA), Dr Adebola Olubanjo; Representative of Her Excellency, Honourable Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Deputy Governor, Lagos State Mr Gholahan Bakare; Executive Director, EPA, Mrs Kenny Olubanjo; Chief Executive Officer, R & S Consulting Limited Mr Samuel Adebiyi; Centre Manager, Matori Business Support Centre Mr Yinka Fisher and Professor of Forest Resources Management, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta Prof Samuel Oluwalana, at the Enterpreneur Conference and Awards by EPA in Lagos

‘Balkans, Singapore top buyers of stolen Nigerian oil’


HE main buyers of the 180,000 barrels of oil that thieves steal from Nigeria each day are organised criminal networks in the Balkans and refiners in Singapore, according to a former presidential advisor who launched a campaign against the practice on Monday. Dele Cole, a politician from the oil-rich Niger Delta, at the heart of Nigeria’s two million barrel a day (bpd) industry, told Reuters that 90 per cent of oil snatched was sold on world markets, based on estimates from oil firms and the ministry. Just 10 per cent was refined locally by gangs operating in the creeks and swamps of the delta, he said. Oil companies say so called ‘bun-

kering’ - tapping into oil pipelines to steal the crude - and other forms of oil theft are on the rise in Nigeria, despite an amnesty that was meant to end a conflict there in 2009 over the distribution of oil wealth. Yet, while local gangs hacking into pipelines to steal small quantities for local refining are the most visible sign, it is industrial scale oil theft involving collusion by politicians, the military, Western banks and global organised crime that is the real drain on Nigeria’s resources, he said. “International theft is diverting huge quantities ... and the sophistication of the exercise — from breaching the pipeline, to having barges, to knowing when ships are at the port, to being paid — is ma-

jor,” he said. Cole, who has passionately argued for a global solution to the problem in the past, opened a campaign on Monday to raise awareness and try to nudge the government into action. “It’s been a problem for a long time, but when it was 50,000 barrels, people thought was tolerable. Now we’re at a totally different level,” he said. Nigeria relies on oil for more than 95 percent of government revenues. The figure of 180,000 bpd stolen comes from the upper end of an estimate by Shell, the biggest operator in the country, which frequently complains about the practice. “Some estimates go as high as 25 percent of oil revenue. The oil companies are going to realise they’re

working for these bunkerers and the government that its losing revenues to them.” Finance Minister Ngozi OkonjoIweala said in May that the government lost a fifth of its oil revenues to theft in April. Cole said much of the oil sold had been traced to criminal networks in the Balkans, especially Ukraine, Serbia, and Bulgaria, better known for things like cigarette smuggling or trafficking sex workers. “On the evidence we have, the Balkan mafia organisations are well represented in Nigeria ... You can’t chase these guys easily. They’re as slippery as the proverbial eel.” Singapore, the world’s top refiner, was also taking a large chunk. He urged Nigeria to confront

Singaporean authorities. The 2009 amnesty sharply reduced militancy in the Niger Delta, a network of creeks and wetlands where the Niger river tips into the Atlantic, but bunkering has worsened since then. Part of what facilitates it, Cole said, is that neither the state oil firm, nor the government nor the oil companies were publishing transparent figures about how much oil they produced, making it much harder to detect missing cargoes. He called for better metering, accounting of ships coming to and from major oil ports, questioning crews of ships suspected to be involved and cracking down on collusion by the military. “We want to make bunkering a lot less attractive,” he said.





FUND manager, Mishahu Yola, has given reasons some retirees fail to get their benefits after putting in the required number of years in public service or private sector. Yola, who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Pension Managers Limited, spoke at a workshop organised by National Pension Commission (PenCom) on “The role of pension operators in the provision of efficient customer service delivery,” in Abuja. He said the previous scheme, which was operated on ‘pay as you go basis,’ “was not fully funded. The old retirement scheme, because of how it was run, created huge deficits totalling over N2 trillion or 25 per cent of the GDP.” He added that as a result, “retired workers were not paid as and when due. “Different regulators managed different schemes, complicating the entire process with many offices supervising retirement benefits of different organisations in the public service, creating con-

Why retirees fail to get benefits early Stories by Uyoatta Eshiet

fusion in the system,” Yola said. To arrest the trend, he said the government brought the Pension Reform Act, 2004 into force. Comparing the Act to the discarded NSITF scheme, Yola said while the discarded scheme was not fully funded, the new scheme is, as fund is set aside to meet future retirement benefits from the outset. Hesaid while the former scheme was on a ‘pay as you go basis, the current scheme is contributory as both the employer and employees contribute 7.5 per cent each to the retirement scheme. He said: “But even with the fact that the current scheme is fully funded, some retirees still do not access their retirement benefits on time,” stating that the factors vary from the individual, the Pension Fund Administrators and the employers. For the individuals, he said, the

challenges range from providing invalid contact address after retirement, late verification/enrolment with PenCom by Federal Government employees, providing conflicting documentation at PenCom verification/enrolment exercise, such as retiree’s name with PFA being different from the name on the nominal payroll of the Ministry, Department and Agency (MDA). Others include date of birth being at variance with retirement age, date of first appointment at variance with length of service, lack of or delay in submission of complete documentation and delay in payment of outstanding remittances of employees by employers. He listed other challenges to include, lack of reconciliation between the retiree and the Retirement Saving Administrators (RSA), adding that excesses or shortfalls must be ascertained before commencement of adminis-

tration. Other causes as enumerated by the guest lecturer include: delay by the employer in providing the confirmation of the status of past service benefits (private sector/ self funded institutions); withholding the issuance of retirement letter by employer, lack of agreement between retiree and PFA on amount of lump sum and programmed withdrawal, as well as untimely submission of Letter of Administration in cases of death benefit and conflicting next of kins in cases of death benefit. To remedy the situation and avoid delays in the payment of benefits, Yola said: “Valid contact details, closer coordination and cooperation between employers and employees to facilitate timely remittance of accrued benefits by private employers are needed.” He also stated that remittance of retirement bonds/accrued rights before due date of retirement by employers must be done, saying

this will ensure that payment of monthly pension would commence immediately after the first month of retirement. He also said PFAs must maintain cordial working relationship with concerned Human Resource and pension desk officers of employers to garner information as it concerns retirees and deceased employees. PFAs should employ effective resources in educating retirees and serving employees on the processes and procedures for processing benefits. PFAs should institute internal processes and mechanism to improve and enhance speedy payment of benefits, he stated. He called for early release of accrued benefits and contributions by government and private organisations and urged retirees, deceased beneficiaries and PFAs to ensure that accurate and proper documents are presented for processing of benefits for payment.

Agency challenges insurers on customers’research


• The Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mrs Oluremi Oyo (left), welcoming President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Hajia Maryam Ibrahim, to NAN headquarters in Abuja.


they were going to adhere to the policy to wipe debts off the books of underwriters. He noted that the commission would continue to engage underwriters to ensure that they nip in the bud the challenges that they are having on the cleaning of their books for effective transition to International Financial Reporting Standard. He said many firms have been sanctioned for infraction, adding that while the commission disciplines firms, it would also ensure that the industry is protected. Meanwhile, as part of measures aimed at sanitising the accounting systems of insurance firms, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has warned auditors of underwriting and broking firms, that henceforth they would be liable for approving falsified financial accounts. Onekhena, who disclosed this during a seminar organised by the Commission for external auditors to insurance and broking firms in Lagos, said auditors would be held liable for their opinion in the financial books of insurance operators in this International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) dispensation, adding that any auditor that approved a falsified account would be reported to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). He urged auditors to clear grey areas with their clients before approv-

He said: “You cannot do research in insurance in isolation, research would have to look at the micro and macro economy. You have to look at insurance itself, look at the economy within which it is operates. To have any meaningful research, it has to be all embracing. And maybe it has to start from conducting research on products and the need of the industry. “You really need to know what the skill gaps are before you can think of putting in place proper training programme. For instance, in the oil and gas, there is a gap; that is the skill required to do that job effectively, which may not be adequate for now and in the next few months the institute is going to do something to bridge that gap, there are so many other areas.”

RISAN holds conference on disaster management

NAICOM to check false declaration of accounts HE National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is to start the validation of debts often believed to be overstated in the accounts of insurance firms to ascertain their authenticity, a source has said. NAICOM’s Deputy Commissioner Finance and Administration George Onekhena, who confirmed this, said the commission was poised to remove fictitious items from insurers’ books. He noted that the commission has received reports from the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) indicating that some debts in the books of underwriters are cooked. On steps to be taken by NAICOM, Onekhena said the commission has come up with some strategies one of which is the “No Premium No Cover” policy. This, he said, will stem the claims of withholding or unpaid premium often reported by underwriters. He said: “NAICOM would soon commence the validation of debts in the books of companies to ascertain the true position of the debts. “2012 is a year of reality; we are going to remove everything that is fictitious in companies’ books,” he said. Though some people believe that the “No premium No Cover policy” would not work, he said the commission would work and that

NSURERS do not spend enough time and money on research on customers’ needs and services, a report has said. The report by GIZ, a German agency for sustainable development working in partnership with Riskguard-Africa Nigeria Limited, observed that the microfinance account underwriting is not attractive to underwriters not because of high cost or of the small size of the premium, but because insurers are not selling solutions. Director-General, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Adegboyega Adepegba, said the institute has risen to the challenge of low level of research in the industry by establishing a college of insurance that will help enhance the level of research on how to foster growth in the industry.


• Commissioner for Insurance Fola Daniel

ing their accounts. He told the auditors to esteem integrity, noting that it is better not to have a job, than having one that would tarnish their image. He urged the auditors to report to NAICOM any challenge they observed in executing their responsibility. He said: “We are going to hold auditors responsible for their opinion in the financial accounts of companies. We would profile auditors with issues on their practice and report them to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). Auditors should note that their responsibilities have increased in the current dispensation. “We do not want to make a mess of the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) by next year; that is why we are investing in training and capacity building of operators and auditors.”

ISK Surveyors Association of Nigeria (RISAN) will hold its national conference next month, in Lagos. Entitled: Human element in disaster management and loss prevention, the conference, the President of the association, Jacob Adeosun, said in a statement, will address the challenges of disaster management and proffer solutions to mitigate the occurrence of losses on roads as well as in commerce and industry resulting from industrial fires and allied perils. Adeosun said the conference will focus on the impact of human ele-

ment in disaster management at this year’s parley given the central position which human beings play in managing the challenges of risks. Expected at the event are Mr Fola Daniel, Commissioner for Insurance (NAICOM); Dr Remi Olowude, Chairman, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), Dr Wole Adetimehin, President, Chatered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) and Mrs Laide Osijo, President, Nigerian Corporation of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), among others. The conference will climax with the investiture of Adeosun as the President of the association.

Parents urged on benefits of life insurance


TUDIES have shown that many parents do not have adequate life insurance coverage, a reality that has drawn the attention of World Financial Group. While it might seem reasonable to assume that becoming a parent would be enough to trigger a person’s interest in life insurance, a recent MetLife study found that this is not always the case. The study found that most individuals consider life insurance when they get married, but do not reconsider it, or purchase it in greater amounts when they become parents.

As a result, many parents either do not have life insurance, or they have it in inadequate amounts. This study was analysed in a recent U.S. News and World Report story. The story has won the attention of World Financial Group. World Financial Group is a company that provides a variety of financial services to individuals and businesses across the United States and Canada. These services include retirement planning and small business advisory services, but also life insurance. WFG is passionate about life insurance, and maintains that every family should at least give it its due consideration.





Making a living from windshield repairs


INDSHIELD repair is big business, the Managing Director of Eko Glass Ventures Limited, Mrs Ayodele Ojo, has said. Her company specialises in the repair of windshields and car number plate glasses. She said as costs of windshield and plate glass replacements keep rising, more companies and individuals now repair the windshields of their cars instead of replacing them. So, the potential in the business is huge. Typical clients are insurance companies, car lots, car rental firms and any industry owning automotive or plate glass. The profit is mouth-watering. On the average, a one-off repair goes for N2,000 while the cost to the technician is minimal. She said auto glass repair has become a money spinner, with thousands of repairs carried out each year using glass repair kits and equipment. She said the business allows one to earn an outstanding income, which surpasses that of many graduates. Over the next five to 10 years, the industry is expected to grow by more than 300 per cent, because more vehicles are expected to be on the road. According to her, most families have two or three vehicles, while many upcoming executives are adding to their fleet on regularly. Both large and small businesses are increasing their fleets to meet public demand for deliveries. New and used car lots are opening everywhere. These translate to more vehicles on the road, more damaged windshields, increased demand for repairs and money-making opportunities. Many windshields crack or

Stories by Daniel Essiet

break for various reasons. For instance, a chip of gravel can hit the windshield while the car is in motion. Such accidents can cause the windshield to shatter. Many times, car windshields become the victims of vandalism or careless driving. Though auto windshields are made of toughened glass, Mrs Ojo maintained that they are still susceptible to damage. So, windshield repair, which most insurance firms accept in place of replacement, has to come to stay, she said. Repairing windshields makes financial sense to insurance firms too, because they save millions yearly. By repairing instead of replacing an auto windshield, the original windshield retains the integrity of its factory seal. Windshield repair kits usually feature the resin compound that acts as filler, injectors that fill this resin into the crack, holding structures to stabilise the affected area and curing lamps to speed up the setting process. Mrs Ojo said not only is there future for windshield repairs, it has been ranked as one of the top businesses ideal for those who want to be self-employed and succeed in their businesses with very low start-up cost. Low material and start-up costs make windshield repair profitable, Mrs Ojo said. Besides, she said many vehicles older than seven years are in need of good headlights. This area is also a significant market, adding that windshield repairs and headlight restoration are highly profitable services with low up front and marginal costs. Mrs Ojo started doing windshield repairs while working as a secondary school teacher in Abuja. She quit the job to run

• A car windshield repairer at work

• Cleaning a chip

the business full time. She also trains and sells repairs tools. She has been appointed the Africa representative of Glass Medic of

Fed Govt urged on youth unemployment


HE Federal Government has been urged to step up entrepreneurship to address growing youth unemployment. The President, Association of Micro Entrepreneurs, Prince Saviour Iche, who gave the advice, said unemployment has reached an unprecedented level, adding youth unemployment should be addressed since its negative impacts are difficult to reverse. He urged the government to design and implement a national plan for youth unemployment or many youths would continue to embrace

crime. He added that encouraging young school leavers to start their businesses would help reduce youth unemployment. Iche said youth unemployment level is soaring nationwide and that the government needed to enlighten young graduates on the options open to them in terms of creating jobs and providing support in the implementation of their projects. According to him, the increase in unemployment for young adults should make policy makers to re-assess strategies and actions to handle the problems facing youngsters, especially

those considering self-employment. To canvass national support for entrepreneurship, he said the association is planning a one-million-man march for this Saturday in Lagos. Iche said the association would like to see significant enhancement of support for small businesses including increasing funding for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to give out to operators. He called on the government to to create the right environment to help many more people start and grow their enterprises.

SMEDAN, ACCA partner on access to finance for SMEs


HE challenge of accessing finance by small business operators will soon be a thing of the past. Plans are underway to create avenues for funds accessibility. The Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Muhammad Nadada Umar, said this when a team from the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), led by Mrs Oluwatoyin Ademola, Head of ACCA in Nigeria, visited in his office. The SMEDAN boss said the mandate of the agency is to develop a well-structured small

scale enterprise policy to assist entrepreneurs. “We know the challenges and we need organisations to assist for this country to grow economically. ‘’We need to be objective in all we do and to settle our youths with good jobs by investing massively in agriculture and SME development,” he said. Mrs Ademola said the association has members across the globe, who are experts in accounting and finance. She said the body is into SME development because most of the accountants are small scale business owners and some work

with the operators in that subsector. “We have realised that SME sector holds the key to economic development of any nation and so must be encouraged with all zeal,” she stated. Mrs Ademola said one of the group’s targets was to research on SME financing and how operators could get access to it and that was the body wanted to collaborate with SMEDAN to achieve its aim. ‘’We want to teach operators how to structure their finances, where to get the access in a lower interest rate that would not hurt their business,’’ she said.

the United States. She stressed that windshield repairs is the most economical and environmentally-friendly process that benefits consumers immensely when done properly. Mrs Ojo said consumers need to know what a good repair look like and what damage can be repaired or replaced.

According to her, there are fair amount of poor repairs being done by poorly-trained technicians, from small and large companies. She explained that the right systems combined with professional training and advanced windshield tools make it profitable to repair windshields.

‘Entrepreneurship vital to economic development’


HE UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has said in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, that entrepreneurial skills are critical to economic development. UNIDO Country Representative Mr Patrick Kumawa stated this at the inauguration of the Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (LIFE) in Ebonyi. Kumawa, who was represented by Mr Francis Ukoh, an expert on ICT, said the 30 pilot boarding schools in Ebonyi were chosen to test-run the project. He said the LIFE programme had been integrated into the academic curriculum of the Ebonyi State University (EBSU). Kumawa said the LIFE programme was a global project designed to empower the youth to be self-reliant by being ICT-compliant and acquiring entrepreneurial skills. He noted that economies of nations depended on the use of ICT, adding that no economy could develop in the 21st century without ICT. According to Kumawa, UNIDO’s choice of students at the secondary school level and university undergraduates was to train them at the early stage and encourage them to be creators of

jobs and not seekers of jobs. He said knowledge acquired through the programme would enable the youth to establish small scale industries. “Big economies, such as the US, Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore, India and others developed out of small scale industries. UNIDO is seeking to replicate the success story of these countries in the developing nations of the world. The only way to achieve this is to empower the youth on ICT and entrepreneurial skills,” he said. The representative said the youth were the life wire of any nation so the programme was designed to train them to spear-head the industrial revolution in Nigeria. “The programme will catch them young and make the youth become big entrepreneurs who will not only be self-reliant but become employers of labour,” he said. He said the programme had been implemented in other African countries, adding that soon, some officials of the state government would travel to those countries to understudy its implementation. Kumawa commended the Ebonyi government for the collaboration to achieve success in the youth empowerment scheme.

• Mrs Wellington



MARITIME Crisis rocks freight forwarders’group Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

ALL seems not well at the SaveNigeria Freight Forwarders Importers Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC). The body at the weekend sacked some of its key officers. They included the Deputy National Coordinator and Legal Adviser Emmanuel Osuala Nwagbara and three executive members of the coalition, signaling a break in the rank of the leadership of the nascent group. Speaking with The Nation in Lagos, the National Coordinator of the group, Chief Patrick Osita Chukwu, claimed the affected members were sacked for planning to float another maritime association while the others for incompetence. He accused some members of disloyalty and causing confusion in the group. Specifically, Chukwu alleged that the legal adviser was removed because he misrepresented the group during the registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). ‘’We expelled him from our association due to the fact that he failed to get our association well registered with the (CAC). We told him to clarify the mission and vision of our association which he failed to do”, Chukwu alleged.

‘Stop abusing trade scheme’ IMPORTERS and clearing agents at the land borders have been warned not to abuse the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) to boost revenue and facilitate trade at the borders. Speaking with The Nation at Seme border, Managing Director, World Cargo Investment, Mr Adesope Aderoju, said ETLS was put in place by the ECOWAS to facilitate the integration of trade and commerce among citizens of the member states. Aderoju said the scheme was set up to eliminate barriers and promote free trade in the sub-region. ETLS, he said, exempts goods manufactured in member states of ECOWAS to move freely, and without the payment of import/export duties, within the region. “The scheme has been subjected to unbridled abuse, especially by some unscrupulous importers and Asian businessmen. These unscrupulous people bring in goods from China and other Asian countries, ship them into the sub-region and land such goods in ports of neighbouring countries, such as Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, Ghana and even lately Liberia. They subsequently change the labels on these goods and smuggle them through the land borders into the country.

•Lagos port

‘Why night cargo clearance is not working’


ESPITE the efforts of the Federal Government to facilitate trade at the ports by introducing 24-hour port operation, night cargo clearance at port is yet to work as planned, investigation has revealed. Poor power supply, unstable data processing system and insecurity are some of the major factors responsible for the inability of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to clear goods in the night. The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar and the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have been urged to address the issue to curb cargo diversion. Investigation revealed while work at the Tin Can Island Ports in the day has been epileptic due to the server failure, at night, work is paralysed by poor power supply. As as a result, the Customs relies on generator to power some of their offices while some use rechargeable lamps. Investigation also revealed that many clearing agents were not in their duty posts at the time of the visit to the ports by The Nation last Saturday because they had no hope that their goods would be cleared on time.

Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

A senior Customs officer, who craved anonymity, said there must be constant power supply if the government wants to achieve its objectives on the 24-hour cargo clearance. The officer said most of the time, clearing agents, importers and releasing and officials of the shipping companies, were on ground to perform their duty at night, adding that their absence has stalled operations in recent times. Also, an importer, Mr Leke Ayeni, said the refusal of customs officials to discharge their duties promptly has affected the clearing of goods at night. Ayeni said the development makes it difficult for importers and agents to do the necessary documen-tations at the ports. According to him, officials are unable to access necessary data due to poor network system. He listed other problems to include poor power supply, and fear of attack by men of the underworld. He urged the Federal Government to look at the issue and further take

•Senator Umar

appropriate actions. Also, an importer and maritime lawyer, Mr Felix Aborisade, queried the ports authority for not putting in place measures that would bring about 24-hour cargo clearance in the ports. “For the policy on 24-hour cargo clearance to succeed, the government needs to assure the agents of their safety when they want to collect their goods in the night. When the cleared goods are not safe during the day, is it the night that such goods would be safe?” he asked. Last year, the government had introduced the 24-hour clearance to decongest the ports, ensure trade facilitation, and bring the nation’s ports operations in line with the global trend.

NIMASA arrests pirates


HE Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, said the agency has averted another ship hijack and arrested 15 suspected pirates with arms and ammunition. Speaking with The Nation in his office last week, the NIMASA chief said the hijack was planned to have taken place off the coast of Cotonou in the Republic of Benin, adding that the agency’s vigilance led to its foiling the arrest of the suspects. He lamented the release of suspected pirtaes. He said: “The continuous release of suspected pirates is frustrating our fight against pirate attack on vessels.” Akpobolokemi said the extension of its anti-piracy operation to Benin Republic was based on the request of the President of Benin Republic to the Nigerian government, the agency. As a result, President Goodluck Jonathan directed the agency to extend its operation to Benin waters. He said the operations of NIMASA had assisted in curbing the menace of piracy and armed robbery at sea and border-related vices within the Benin Republic waters and its neighbouring countries of Nigeria - Togo and Ghana. On the release of arrested pirates, Akpobolokemi said each time these suspects were arrested and handed over to the prosecuting agencies, they

soon got themselves off the hook. Akpobolokemi said some suspected pirates have been arrested more than twice, thereby making rendering useless the agency’s moves to reduce or eliminate the menace of pirates on the nation’s waters. He said NIMASA can only make arrest and hand over to the Police or State Security Service (SSS) or any other prosecuting agency. He, however, sought the support of other agencies involved in the prosecution of suspects to stamp out piracy from Nigeria and, possibly,

the West African coast. Specifically, he warmed that if piracy is not tackled to its logical conclusion, it would lead to high cost of freight of cargoes, thereby bringing an increase in the cost of goods and services. The agency boss also said in the last the nine months, NIMASA had arrested vessels involved in illegal ship to ship transfer of products, unauthorised midstream discharge, illegal bunkering and outright oil theft. He explained that since NIMASA started the war against piracy, there had been a steady decline.

NPA to make ports Africa’s hub


HE Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mallam Habib Abdulahi, has reiterated the organisation’s determination to make some of the nation’s seaports the hub of maritime, not only in the sub-region and Africa. Speaking on the potential of the nation’s seaports, such as improved infrastructural development and the huge market, Abdulahi said the nation’s seaports can serve as hub in the continent. He told The Nation that in a report recently, Lagos and Cape Town were ranked as some of most innovative cities by two international bodies, Citigroup and Urban Land Institute of the United

States for their economic potential and the former for accounting for 80 per cent of the country’s seaport activities “ranked . According to him, the management of NPA is making efforts to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the nation’s seaports. The NPA boss explained that not only are the channels of the seaports navigable with regular maintenance dredging, all wrecks along the channels have been removed to facilitate the smooth navigation in and out of the channels. He cited some projects embarked upon or completed by the NPA management to enhance operations generally in the nation’s seaports.

NPA eyes Single Window System THE Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mallam Habib Abdulahi, has said the agency is set to implement the Single Window Operational System as soon as the Federal Government grants the approval for its take off. Speaking, when he received members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Abdullahi said ANLCA members are Nigerians, assuring that Custom agents and the management of the ports have the same objective of improving the ports. He said the government was working on bringing the port community system into reality and that the effort was supported by the American Government. The President of ANCLA, Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu, advocated regular meetings between his association and the Management of NPA, adding that it would not be out of place if they were invited to meetings that involve shipping companies and other stakeholders. Shittu pledged that the association would work with Abdullahi to improve the maritime sector of the economy to make Nigeria the hub of maritime business in the sub-region. He solicited the support of NPA for the training of its members.

Maritime Academy to award degrees EFFORTS are on by the Federal Government to transform the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State into a degreeawarding institution. The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, made this known in a paper entitled: The Nigerian maritime sector: An overview, which he delivered at the presidential workshop on maritime sectors in Abuja. He said the Academy, which was established in 1979 as Nautical College and later as an Academy, was the only institution for the training of seafarers in the country. He said it was designed to train manpower for indigenous maritime in Nigeria. According to him, the academy is an international institution recognised by the International Maritime Organisation. The minister added that the Academy had, so far, graduated 4,120 cadets in Marine Engineering, Nautical Science and other mandatory short courses in the maritime sector. “The institution, he said, graduated 32 postgraduate diploma students in both Maritime Engineering and Business Studies in 2011.”

‘Track illegal fishing’ AN effective maritime surveillance is necessary to track illegal fishing along the nation’s waters. A member of the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association, Mr Solomon Olarewaju, stated this in Lagos. He said it was a challenge to combat the problem where there was no framework in place that detect such activities over a long distance. Apart from fisheries’ surveillance and enforcement staff working across the seaways, she said such efforts should be supported with aerial surveillance to help identify suspicious activities or vessels. Olarewaju said his association was ready to share information with security agencies to enable them to get a picture of what is happening at sea. According to him, the numbers of illegal foreign fishing vessels doing business in the nation’s waters have not dropped. Olarewaju urged the government to show commitment to curb illegal fishing by deploying adequate resources to the waterways. He noted that a cohesive and co-operative approach by security agencies would enhance the government’s efforts in monitoring and surveillance of fishing on the waters.



The Midweek Magazine


•Delta participants at the festival

•A Kwara participant dressed as ‘Sango’, another historical figure

•An Akwa Ibom participant on display

NAFEST heralds the path of peace A clarion call for peace was made through music, dance, cultural displays, food fair, indigenous circus, choral music and more at this year's National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST). It was a carnival of the nation's artistic, cultural and tourism wealth, reports EVELYN OSAGIE.

• Olusola honoured posthumously


HIS year's edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) was a celebration of cultural, artistic and tourism treasures and the richness of their diversity. It witnessed a lavish display of culture, tradition, arts and colours with a creative mix of various performances. The events were to promote community understanding and tolerance through various competitive and non-competitive events. With the theme Culture, Peace and Economic Empowerment, cultural ambassadors, art enthusiasts and tourists sought points of convergence of the various cultures, arts and traditional practices that typify Nigeria's collective essence. Hence, it was no coincidence that the organisers of the festival chose The State of Harmony Kwara State – for this year's edition. Having a collage of various ethnic groups - Yoruba, Nupe,

FESTIVAL Baruba, Hausa and Fulani - enjoying peaceful coexistence, the state typifies what Nigeria should be, according culture enthusiasts. Declaring the festival open, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, said the proper harnessing of the economic potential in the culture and tourism sector would help arrest unemployment, poverty, youth restiveness and societal vices. He urged Nigerians to focus on harnessing cultural activities, such as NAFEST, for unity as the nation moves close to its 100th year anniversary. He also renewed his commitment and support to the arts and tourism sector and NAFEST, in particular. He said: "As Nigeria moves gradually towards

the celebration of the Centenary of the union of our peoples, cultures and heritages into one nation, in 2014, we must look forward towards harnessing our cultural activities such as NAFEST to further project our national unity and integration. The economic opportunities that abound in the culture and tourism sector if properly harnessed will surely contribute towards arresting youth restiveness, rural urban drift, reducing poverty and unemployment and many other societal vices." Kwara State Deputy Governor Elder Peter Kisira, who represented the governor, said his administration would put in place strategies to ensure that artistic and cultural activities are appropriately ultilised for sustainable revenue and employment. In spite of the security challenges and flood experienced in recent times, 25 states, including Bornu, Kano, Kaduna, Benue, Anambra, alongside Abuja, participated in the festival, which was the 26th edition. The states showcased their creativity in dance drama, traditionally furnished apartment, moonlight games, children's essay competition and painting competition, arts and crafts exhibition and traditional wrestling. The festival also featured a colloquium. Each section was anchored on the festival's theme. Participants went out of their way to impress. Guests and tourists caught a glimpse of a cultural market, colourful traditional attires, indigenous furnished apartments, games, and the foods from the participating states. Osun, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Kebbi treated guests to creatively-crafted traditional furnished apartments. At the end, Rivers State emerged the overall winner while Nasarawa and Benue states came second and Niger State bagged the third position. The children were not left out in the fun. They

thrilled guests with moonlight games and essay competitions. But their artistic interpretation of NAFEST theme on canvas was noteworthy. According to Alhaji Mohammad Maidugu, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), the agency hopes to ignite the interest for arts in children and task them on the relationships between culture and peace and economic empowerment. In line with the theme, the major preoccupations were violence, insecurity, peace, unity, dialogue, and cultural empowerment. Through their works, the children called for cultural and religious tolerance. "The art pieces not only reflected their environment and burning national issues, they also highlighted the symbols of peace in Nigeria's milieu such as dove, white pigeons and kolanut etc. Interestingly, the artworks of participants from Bornu State, a state that has witnessed waves of violence in recent times, stole the hearts of the judges. Bornu State won the drawing/painting competition.

Scholars sue for peace Is Nigeria, after 52 years, at the threshold of sticky end as predicted by non-Nigerians and Nigerians alike? With the threat of violence and insecurity reaching levels unprecedented in our history, why is Nigeria, in spite of its ensemble of rich culture, human and material assets, tending towards the precipice through extremism of various kinds? How do its leaders recognise and appropriate the richly diverse cultural values and practices and use them for nation-building, peace, economic empowerment rather? These and more were some of the questions asked at a colloquium. •Continued on page 38



The Midweek Magazine


NAFEST heralds the path of peace •Continued from page 37 Scholars called for a reexamination of culture, values and beliefs that will help unite the country. Dr Gbemisola Adeoti called for a friendly environment, suitable for strangers or visitors to enjoy, settle, invest and prosper as people do in other climes. The Director of Research and Policy Analysis, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr Oshita Osang Oshita, linked the rise in violence and insecurity to culturallydriven mental and material impoverishment. He listed music, arts and crafts, performing arts/film, dressing, language and sports, among others, as culturally-driven practices that can foster peace and economic empowerment across the country, adding that "badly managed culture can become an instrument of violence". He said: "Cultural practices that enhance women's and youths’ economic empowerment could ease corruption and violence, promote greater environmental sustainability, and through education help improve the general standard of living.”

Celebrating a culture icon The late Ambassador Olusegun Olusola was honoured posthumously during the festival. NCAC dedicated the collage of NAFEST's Colloquium 2010 and 2011 in his honour. Chief Olusola was the chairman of the Central Planning Committee of the first All Nigerian Festival of Arts, the precursor of today's NAFEST; and his love for culture endeared him to all within the sector, especially, his active involvement in NAFEST every year, till he passed on last June, according to NCAC. Maidugu said Olusola was honoured "for the role he played in the culture sector and the legacy of humility, active response to national call, and exemplary life as a true nationalist". The book was presented by the former Minister of Aviation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope. Babatope, a friend of the deceased, eulogised Olusola, describing him as a "detribalised Nigerian who, during his active years of service, treated every Nigerian equally and the nation as one entity. He said: "Ambassador Olusola, although from Ogun State, did not believe in tribalism but carried everybody along; and so, today, people do not know where he came from but saw him as a true Nigerian and a •The late Olusola cultural icon."

CBAAC conference holds in Missouri


HE Centre for Black and African Art and Civilisation (CBAAC) in collaboration with the University of Missouri St. Louis; and Pan African Strategic and Policy Research Group, PANAFSTRAG will host an international conference on Africa and the Diaspora in the new millennium at the University of Missouri St. Louis, USA. It will hold between October 30 and November 1, featuring scholars and participants from Africa, America, the Caribbean and Europe. The conference is attracting presentations on issues and subjects of importance to Africa and the African Diaspora. It promises to have in attendance scholars and students from various parts of the world. It is also open to global Afrocentric organisations, Universities, students and individuals. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Prof. Hilary McDonald Beckles, the ViceChancellor of the Cave Hill Campus of University of West Indies (UWI), Barbados. Prof Beckles is a member of the UNESCO International Scientific Committee on Slave Route Project (ISC). Also, delivering the keynote is Prof (Ms) Silvany Euclênio Silva, the Secretary for the Policy on Traditional Communities of the Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Policies on Racial Equality (SEPPIR) under the Brazilian Presidency. She would be representing Ms Luiza Barros, Honourable Minister, SEPPIR, Brasilia Brazil.

•From left: Hamza, Principal, CRM International College and Dzukogi inaugurating the art centre in the school

ANA inaugurates teen authorship committee


T AGE 10, imagine how it would have been if you were holding the world in your hands. Well, even if such a dream had remained a wishful thinking that never came true for a grownup. It won’t be for children between the ages of 10 and 19 in secondary schools. “Now children the future is in your hands,” the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) General-Secretary, Baba Dzukogi told children at the inauguration of the National Teen Authorship Committee during the Writer-inFocus organised by ANA Imo. “Now, you should not only dream of being a writer but you can now write and be published as a child in secondary school. ANA is out to encourage young creative minds. We are interested in investing in children for the development of tomorrow’s leaders.” According to Dzukogi, the major challenge facing a Nigerian child is the inability of leaders to create conducive atmosphere for him to explore his talent. He said while children must grow, teachers should equally be given full recognition to breed the children to a high pedestal. ANA executives urged older and established writers to be more involved in the mentoring younger and aspiring ones. Mentoring, they said, would encourage the young and aspiring writers in the development of their talents. ANA National Teen Authorship Scheme now gives children the opportunity of enjoying the mentorship from established writers, in addition to having their writings published and read by their mates and others at the young age. The scheme, Dzukogi, said, was inspired by

LITERATURE its successful implementation in Niger State by the state’s chapter of ANA. Subsequently, he said ANA executives, led by Prof Remi Raji, decided to extend the project across other chapters. The nationwide project is sponsored the wife of the Niger State Governor, Hajiya Jummai Babangida Aliyu, who donated N1 million. The fund, according to Dzukogi, is being disbursed to the five benefiting states - Abia, Taraba, Katsina, Kogi and Osun. Each is given N150, 000 to publish anthologies for a selected secondary school in their states. He called for more sponsorship and partnership from corporate bodies and individuals to give boost the association’s various projects such as the scheme, adding that ANA hopes to extend it to other branches in future. Hence, he urged the beneficiaries to recoup the fund received. “The schools should see to the anthology of their students, sell to their students and the chapters is to recoup the money so that the money can be increased; and the scheme be extended to other chapters. Teen Authorship Scheme is meant to be in all the schools across the country. School management teams should assist in publishing the works of their students. You can set aside certain amount of money as a revolving scheme to the centre to publish students’ works either in anthology or individually in the name of your school. If you find it difficult to go about getting facilitators, ANA chapters will assist you” Dzukogi said. To coordinate the scheme, a four-man committee was inaugurated. It is headed by Kamar Hamza (ANA Niger) as the National Co-co-

ordinator; and has Wale Adedoyin (ANA Oyo) as Secretary; Khalid Imam (ANA Kano) and Camillus Chima Ukah (ANA Imo). Hamza urged the children thus: “Creative writing is not magic, but a way of responding to issues in the environment.” The Vice President, Mallam Denja Abdullahi said members of the committee have been chosen because of their involvement in the mentoring of young writers. He added that the scheme is meant to ignite the spirit of creativity and culture of reading in children. He said: “The committee has been constituted on merit and members contributions to the development of teen authors in their state branches. By active and care mentoring of future writers, they stand inaugurated.” ANA, according to it executives, is set on mentoring younger writers. Aside the scheme’s inauguration, they also inaugurated art centres at CRM International College and Creativity Centre at the Logos International School, in the state. In their words: “Allowing children to grow creatively is the only way to proffer solutions to some of the problems faced in the country.” While inaugurating the centres, Abdullahi said such centres will go a long way in producing literary icons who will take after the elders. He called on the students to start contributing to the progress of the society through creative writing. Guests praised the former ANA Imo chair, Ukah, who established the centres, for his numerous contributions towards the promotion of creativity in schools. The event also featured interactions between staff, students and writers.

‘Teaching made me what I am today’ •Continued from page 28 on for 27 years now. The delay is unpardonable. It is more than enough reason to castigate the judiciary. And both the system and some lawyers are blameworthy. It is to say the least, frustrating the way some lawyers throw clogs in the wheel of court proceedings through frivolous adjournment and other funny applications. Many won’t appear in courts when necessary while many other lawyers would prefer to foot-drag on cases they should ordinarily settle out of court. But it is quite a relief what the Lagos State is doing with its mediation department which is out to resolve all such cases.” He would also not applaud the process of appointing SANs. He let out his feelings: “The whole thing is nothing to cheer about. What contribution have many of the beneficiaries of the title made to the growth of the profession? Maybe someone like me would not have got the title if not for those who knew my worth. It is sad that the whole thing exists both in form and in substance. It is part of the rots

we are grappling with in the society.” Jegede sank back into his chair when he was asked to share his feelings on the rising wave of insecurity in the country and, indeed, corruption which has proved to be a stubborn monster in the hands of Nigerian leaders. “It is time the leadership of this country took a decisive step to stem the tide of wanton killings and other poverty-related crimes causing misery in the land. The trend is mind-boggling.” On corruption, he said: “It is a shame too pronounced to be ignored. It is more worrisome when those people saddled with the task of fighting corruption are even more corrupt. Not until our so-called leaders have the guts to do what should be done, we will remain in the dark for God-knows-when.” He heaped praises on his wife, Victoria Oluremi (nee Onifade), whom, he said, had been wonderfully combining her primary work schedule with church work and perfect attention to the home front. His family, Jegede enthused, is blessed with four highly successful children among who is a top shot at Elf

Petroleum, Abuja. One of them, Modupeore Ibilola Jegede, it was learnt, bagged a First Class in Law, in her first degree and at the Law School. If he has to live his life all over again, he would most probably be back in the classroom. Why? Hear what he said about his experience: “All my life, I have been advocating, practising, writing and teaching law. My experience in the classroom was challenging but largely encouraging because the facilities and other enabling accompaniments were there. The classroom made me what I am today. Oh, I miss the class and quite interesting, all along, I taught my students leadership in law. It was a worthwhile experience.” When asked for the kernel of his life, Jegede said: “Hard work, dedication and relentless pursuit of one’s goal with no respect for distractions. All these have worked for me.” While the encounter lasted, the workaholic Professor was on another breath, churning out instructions to his duteous junior colleagues. It was a rare moment with a man who is inseparably married to hard work.



The Midweek Magazine


As part of activities for this year’s Felabration, in honour of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the founder of Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF), Prince Yemisi Shyllon, presented this paper on the life, times and philosophy of the legend at a discussion session in Lagos.

Felasophy as tool for social change


E are here to celebrate the life, times and philosophy of Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti my late kinsman from Ake in Abeokuta, who is globally known as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti but popularly called Fela. It is the philosophy in Pan Africanism as practiced and unique to Fela that is herein-after in this paper referred to, as Felasophy. My close study of the life of Fela and Felasophy reveals that Fela did not develop his philosophical leaning from western philosophies, which evolved and has been passed on to generations down the line from Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Cicero and others. Rather, a study of the life of Fela and Felasophy, as a philosophy, appears to have been planted during his travel and time spent in Ghana in 1967. It was during that time in Ghana, that Fela named his musical band “Afro Beat”. It is, therefore, open to debate, that Felasophy as a philosophy, in Africanism was born in Ghana. Therefore, Felasophy appears to have arisen out of the obvious influence of Nkrumah’s nonaligned Marxist perspective on economics and his Pan- Africanist philosophy, which he founded in his 1967 essay titled: “African Socialism Revisited”. In this essay, Nkrumah specially addressed the issues of non-aligned Marxist philosophy in terms of his perspective on African economics that is supposed to accommodate the changes that capitalism could bring upon the African society while still respecting African values. Nkrumah’s doctrine of African socialism, bought into by Fela, is based on traditional African society and is founded on the principle of egalitarianism. This principle of African egalitarianism is based on the postulation that each man is meant to be an end in himself, not merely a means and to accept the necessity of guaranteeing each man, equal opportunity for his development. It is on this basis that Felasophy, as a philosophy, kept on transmitting into its various transformations but never lost its central identity as a peopleoriented egalitarian philosophy during the life time of Fela. One must emphasize, that this African socialism on which Felasophy rests, equally evolved out of Nkrumah’s study as a disciple of Gandhi. Gandhi had long since enunciated the necessity of fighting neo-colonialism in a non-violent basis. If we recollect, all through the life of Fela, notwithstanding the various injustices wrought on him, he never for one day fought back in violence. Every follower of the music of Fela here would recollect his music, “Africa must unite”. That song is the product of Nkrumah’s fetishisation of pre-colonial Africa which he preached in 1963 that “Africa Must Unite”. Nkrumah also called for the immediate formation of a pan African government. This call may have later led to the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Another common ground between Nkrumah’s Pan-African philosophy and Fela’s Felasophy, is the fact that both philosophies were inspired by black intellectuals like Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois and George Padmore. These African philosophers influenced Nkrumah and they eventually also influenced Fela in his pan-Africanist Felasophy. Of particular importance to the emergence of Felasophy, is Fela’s contact with the Black Power movement in 1969 when he took his band to the United States. After that trip, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti became more partisan by virtue of his contact with Sandra Smith, who was later referred to as Izsadore in the partisan Black Panther Party. Fela’s contact with Black


•The late Fela

LECTURE Panther Party would also eventually heavily influence his music and his political views such that, he had to rename his band “Nigeria ’70" on his return from the US. During his trip, the Immigration and Naturalization service in the US were tipped off by a promoter that Fela and his band were in the United States without work permit. We can recollect that Fela performed a quick recording session in Los Angeles that would later be released in the 1969 Los Angeles sessions. One must again mention the effect of Garvey’s contact with Fela in the emergence of Felasophy by looking at the statement made by Garvey when he stated that, and I quote “Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God’s grace, I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life “. You will all agree with me here, that the totality of Fela’s life revolved around this philosophy. Felasophy, therefore, represents Liberty for all, freedom for all and egalitarian life for all by all. This is what encapsulates Fela’s life which forms the major ingredients of Felasophy. On the return of Fela with his band to Nigeria in 1970 and the renaming of his band as “Africa 70”, his lyrical themes changed from love to social issues. He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, a recording studio and a home for many, connected to the band that he later declared independent from the Nigerian state. He set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel, named the Afro-Spot and then the Afrika Shrine, where he performed regularly. Fela also changed his middle name to Anikulapo (meaning “he who carries death in his pouch), stating that his original middle name of Ransome was a slave name. All these representing the consolidation of Felasophy in the life and philosophy of living by Fela. Thereafter, the totality of the lifestyle of Fela became a reflection of the strong dedication to his pan Africanist philosophy of Felasophy. In fact, he therefore made the decision to sing in Pidgin English so that his music could better be enjoyed by individuals all over Africa, where the local languages spoken, were very diverse and numerous. All this while, Fela maintained a close contact with fellow panAfricanists such as Thomas Sankara, whose personal charisma, had an array of original African philosophical initiatives that contributed to Sankara’s popularity in Africanist posture that brought some international media attention to Burkina Faso. Fela at every opportunity publicly acknowledged his love for Thomas Sankara’s philosophy and the various pan Africanist and populist Burkinabe revolution practiced by Thomas Sankara. Some of the things Thomas Sankara did that attracted him to Fela and which coincided with the philosophy of Felasophy are, for instance, Sankara’s conversion of an army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone which ended up being the first supermarket in Burkina Faso. Sankara also forced civil servants to pay one month’s salary to public projects. He refused

to use the air conditioning in his office on the grounds that such luxury was not available to everyone but a handful of Burkinabes. He lowered his salary and limited his possessions to one car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer. He required public servants to wear a traditional tunic, woven from Burkinabe cotton and sewn by Burkinabe craftsmen. Let us come back home: I guess, that we all remember Fela carrying some fire wood on top of his highly prized Mercedes Benz car in the 70s and riding it around Lagos in defiance of the social hegemony of the rich in Nigeria.. When Sankara was asked why he didn’t want his portrait hung in public places, as was the norm with other African leaders, Sankara replied “There are seven million Thomas Sankaras.” This is reminiscent and in tandem with Fela’s Felasophy. Sankara was an accomplished guitarist, who wrote his country’s new national anthem himself. Would anybody here please point out any difference in all these between Fela’s postures and philosophies of life to that of Thomas Sankara? It is for this type of populist and egalitarian philosophy of life strongly shared with Thomas Sankara that made Fela to publicly mourn Sankara in his song, solely dedicated to Thomas Sankara when Sankara was assassinated by his close friend. Felasophy was practiced by Fela through his music which became popular in Nigeria and elsewhere but which became very unpopular with ruling Nigerian governments that eventually led to the raiding of his Kalakuta Republic. In 1972, Ginger Baker recorded the song, titled, “stratavarious” with Fela appearing alongside Bobby Gass. Around this time, Fela had become more involved in Yoruba religion which is an important part of Felasophy. In 1977, Fela released “Zombie” a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers. The album was a smash hit that infuriated the government of the day which culminated in setting off a vicious attack on Fela by a government led by his kinsman with some 1,000 soldiers, attacking Fela’s private commune. However, Fela remained undaunted, notwithstanding the beatings he received and the death of many. Fela’s unique courage is found thereafter, in his delivering the replica of his mother’s coffin to the seat of government in Lagos where his kinsman resided as the head of the military government. He was to thereafter write his song “Coffin for Head of State” and also the “Unknown Soldier”. The latter song was composed referencing the report of an official inquiry into the attack that claimed the Kalakuta commune and which inquiry failed to identify the culprit but termed the culprit “Unknown Soldier”. We must recollect that, Fela was an avid reader who imbibed the spirits of different pan African philosophies and movements as espoused by president Toure of Guinea and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya. The latter led the Mau Mau movement in obtaining independence for his country, Kenya, after his imprisonment of some six years by the British government. A discussion of Felasophy is not complete without mentioning the Pan Africanist and egalitarian movement of Patrice Lumumba. A latter declassified document released in July

2006 by the United States government revealed that the CIA plotted the assassination of Lumumba on the basis that it believed that Lumumba was a communist by virtue of Lumumba’s populist Pan Africanist philosophy . This revelation all went to influence and fire Fela’s political posture and philosophy of Felasophy. One other Pan Africanist whose Philosophy must have influenced the emergence of Felasophy, is Leopold Senghor. Senghor was not only a poet but also a widely acknowledged pan-Africanist leader. He created the concept of Negritude an important intellectual movement that sought to assert and to valorise what was believed to be a distinctive African characteristic, value and aesthetics. Leopold Senghor’s Negritude was a reaction against the very strong dominance of French culture in its African colonies, and against the perception that Africa did not have culture developed enough, to stand alongside that of Europe, which is something that must have also influenced Fela’s music “African Must Unite “. Felasophy identifies with ancient Egypt as of the same cultural continuum, reaching from Egypt to classical Greece, through Rome to the European colonial powers of the modern age. Just as Felasophy was misinterpreted by various leaders of Nigerian governments, so was negritude perceived in some quarters as anti-white racism. Indeed as Negritude emphasized the importance of dialogue and exchange among different cultures either European, African or Arab so also did the Felasophy doctrine encourage such exchange to the extent that Felasophy, became even more popular in France than in Nigeria. This popularity was so, notwithstanding the wraths invoked on Fela as a result of the narrow mind of Nigeria’s leaders. One must mention that the Nigerian government at a time, wrongly jailed Fela on a trumped up charge of currency smuggling which Amnesty International and others, later denounced as politically motivated and thereafter designated Fela as a prisoner of conscience. Fela’s case was also taken up by other human rights groups in the world. He was not released from jail until 20 months later by General Ibrahim Babangida. Felasophy is based not only on the issues discussed earlier but also the philosophy that supports traditional religions and lifestyles. Felasophy emphasizes that the most important thing for Africans to fight, is European cultural imperialism. Felasophy is based on the candid support of human rights which can be found in many of Fela’s songs which directly attacked dictatorships with special emphasis on the attack of military governments in Nigeria. Felasophy was an instrument of social commentary which criticised fellow Africans for betraying traditional African culture. This is the major reason why in demonstrating the practicality of his pan Africanist philosophy, Fela married many wives and the Kalakuta republic was formed as a polygyny colony. He defended his stand on polygyny with the words “A man goes for many women in the first place. Like in Europe, when a man is married, when the wife is sleeping, the man goes out and f***s around. He should rather bring the women into the house, to live with him, and stop running around the streets”. Fela’s views towards women are characterised by some, as misogynist in reaction to Fela’s song, titled, “Woman na Mattress” which is usually sighted as evidence towards Fela’s misogynist tendency. This is an element which greatly demonstrates the complexity of Fela vis-à-vis his philosophy in egalitarianism. Another difficulty in understanding Felasophy, can be found in the resolution of his polygyny philosophy with the way he mocks African women who imbibe the European standards of “lady-hood” while extolling the values of the local market woman in his song “Lady”. In conclusion, I want to thank the children of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, his friends, fans and family in continuing the tradition of celebrating Fela annually through Felabration. We must join hands with his family to sustain the beauty of Felasophy, but in doing so separate the baby from the bath water because herein lies the original African philosophy, untainted, unalloyed by an original African man – Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.”



The Midweek Magazine



‘ON ACTIVE SERVICE A member of the Benue State contingent at this year’s NAFEST playing the traditional flute.


Creating space for children poets


•Cast of Copers Shon

Corper Shon hits the screen


NEW television drama series, Corper Shon, centred on Nigerian youths, is set to hit the screens. The series is named after the slang for National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) members - Corper shon. It mirrors the challenges, dreams, relationships and lives of the youth serving the nation under the scheme. Set in a suburb in the Southwest, it features notable Nollywood faces such as ‘Corper Melody’ (Benita Nzeribe); ‘Prince’ (Benedict Johnson) and ‘Akpan’ (Sam Uche Anyamele). Also showcasing their skills are Hakeem Rahman as Alhaji Jaiyeola, the fun-loving and debauched landlord of some of the corp members; his wife, ‘Iya Sikiratu’ (Jay Bee Sachi), his daughter, ‘Sikiratu’ (Gift Okoroji); his rogue son, ‘Lukmon’ (Michael Yusuf Michael); his bosom friend, ‘Okonkwo’

By Evelyn Osagie (Kingsley Ihekoronye) and Rita Anigbogu as ‘Mama Ngozi’, the town gossip. Other corp members featured are fast-rising Nollywood stars Marshal Mbionwu as Ikechukwu; Rachael Isaac as Nkechi, Anita Duru as Rose and Onyi Eze as Dora. Corper Shon is from the Stables of Stanword Media Productions and Vinesheild Ltd. It is produced by Mr Stanley Okoronkwo, multiple award-winning film journalist and producer of Omugwo, Innocent Bood, Killing Machine and Last Day, among others. It is directed by award-winning director, Andy Nwakalor and written by Destiny Mordy. Corper Shon boast of top crew hands among whom are, associate producer, Rita Anigbogu; editor cum DOP, Saint DO; production manager, Kingsley Ihekoronye and Salome Oputa took care of the wardrobe.

NE of the greatest threats to children in their early developmental stage is denial of the opportunity to express themselves. In Nigeria, for instance, a number of children have displayed skills that have proven prowess in a particular area. One of such rare gems is upcoming teenage poet Maeve Idara Dan-Abia, an SS 3 student of Pacesetters College, Abuja. The 15-year-old girl objectively pursues her passion for writing, singing, fashion, beauty contest and athletics with her studies. To prove her worth and versatility in the competitive world of arts, she recently won laurels in a beauty and athletic competitions. As a young reader, Maeva was encouraged by her parents and mentors to develop her writing skill. Last month, she published her first book, entitled Fortified. The 56-page book, a collection of poems, reflects the deep thoughts in the hearts of the young. It echoes the totality of the muse in the soul of a teenager who, sometimes, wants to think like an adult. It also reflects the world of the young while taking a peep into the world of the old. Dedicated to her mother, Pastor Uloma DanAbia, who recently clocked 40, according to her, her passion for the art was gingered by her father, Mr Bassey Dan-Abia, a lawyer. The 40 poems address every sphere of life. 40-fied, her first poem, is for her mother's 40th birthday. Her accolades in this poem for her mum are inspiring and expressive. She describes her mother as the unknown gift to mankind, loaded with unspoken talents. Her mother in response in the second poem does a self-auditing of her 40 years sojourn on planet earth. "I am forty/It's time to walk on springs/I am forty/The sky grins at me in blues…" Maeva's anger appears to have been trig-

gered in A Wired World in which she imagines the consequences of social ills in the society. "What do they feel?/When they destroy the happiness of others/What do they feel?/When they take bribe?/What do they feel?/When they pull down another. In The Life of a Girl, she tells her peers that feminine world is not all about beauty but the impact made to improve the world. "I curse beauty/And everything that comes with it…I look to the stars every night/Seeking for perfection in an imperfect world…" Most of her poems depict her boldness and determination to face any challenge. Her emphasis also proves that she has plans to explore her talents to achieve her dreams and to also maximise her potential to make impacts.









The battle line seems drawn as Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jubrin challenges Finance Minister OkonjoIwaela and Central Bank of Nigerian (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to public debate. Jubrin was the Chairman, Joint Committees of the Legislative Budget and Research of National Planning and Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt that considered the 2013-2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP). VICTOR OLUWASEGUN and DELE ANOFI report.

• Tambuwal

• Okonjo-Iweala

• Sanusi

2013 budget stirs House, Executive face-off T

HE Legislative Budget & Research Committee of the House of Representatives is the engine room for the National Assembly’s Budget and Research Office (NABRO). For the first time since the return of democracy in 1999, the office actually did an analysis of the budget (in this case, the 2013-2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework submitted by President Goodluck Jonathan) as required in the Fiscal Responsibilities Act, 2007. The committee in conjunction with the House committees on Finance, National Planning & Economic Development and Aids, Loans & Debt Management , in its report on the MTEF, recommended that the benchmark be increased from $75 to $80 per barrel of crude oil. This has been a source of conflict between the House and the Executive. Indication that the battle between the House and the Executive on the 2013 budget may have just have begun, emerged when the Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Dr. Abdulmumin Jubrin challenged the Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to a public debate on the feasibility or otherwise of the $80 benchmark for the 2013 budget. According to the lawmaker, there seems to be more to it than meet the eye concerning the stiff opposition from the Executive to the slight increment of $5 to the proposed $75 . He said the economic management team of President Goodluck Jonathan must, therefore, be courageous enough to prove beyond doubt why the $80 benchmark should be discarded. Jubrin noted that the only way to convince Nigerians is for both parties (House of Representatives and the Executive) to engage in a public debate for Nigerians to have the benefit of merits and demerits of the contending issue. Besides, he posited that the Executive must be able to disprove 2013 forecast for international oil price at between $100to $120. According to him, key international forecast agencies, like the Energy Information Agency, the Barclays, the Credit Swiss, the Dutch Bank and the City Group put their projections at between $ 120 and $100 while the average of all their forecast was pegged at between $100 and $105. He reiterated Speaker Aminu Tambuwal’s emphatic declaration that the 2013 budget would be anchored on $80 bench mark. Jubrin, however, expressed confidence that the Executive would have no better argument against the House’s position. In his words: “They will not have any superior argument, mark me and if they can, the Executive that I know, would have responded the first time we started talking. They have nothing superior to tell Nigerians than this point we have given. This is a pro-people analysis and position and they don’t have anything to say other than this. I am challenging them to a public debate, the Minister of Finance, the Governor of Central Bank, the DG of Budget Office and others involved in drawing up the document. Let us all face Nigerians a put our facts before them”. To buttress his argument on the defects inherent in the budget proposal of $75 benchmark by the Executive, the lawmaker regretted that those saddled with the management of the economy seemed to be incompetent and unwilling to consult widely in the process of preparing the document. “A very important factor that we discovered and which is quite disgraceful is that the position of MTEF is at variance with the position of most of these MDAs. Most of these agen-

cies don’t even know the content of MTEF. We were the ones that gave them copies of the MTEF. So, it is convenient for us to draw conclusion that the MTEF is just a product of one to three people that are saddled with the management of our economy. There wasn’t wide consultation, it is not a national consultation but just a product of few people that believe that they can sit and write policies for this country and write MTEF for this country and write the budget of this country, which is why I said it without mincing my words,” he said. The lawmaker also urged Nigerians to be wise to the antics of the Executive that would always want to present one aspect of an issue rather than avail the people the opportunity of all aspects to the issue. Contrary to the Executive’s claims that savings, among other parameters, would be badly affected if the benchmark was jerked up to $80, Jubrin said the Executive has not been forthcoming on the true analysis of the situation. While he stressed that the lawmakers were not against savings, he regretted that the country’s economic managers have not been fair to Nigerians through unreasonable savings. He said, “You know that crude is going for about $110 as it is, if we peg the benchmark at $75, for instance, if the international price of crude as at today is $100 and we peg the benchmark at $75, it means that for every barrel of crude that you sell, $75 will go into financing of the budget and extra $25 should go into savings because this savings is the excess crude account and the Sovereign Wealth Fund. So what we are saying is that we are increasing the benchmark to $80 because we are convinced, after our analysis, that it is safe for us to increase it by $5. The implication of this is that rather than save $25, you will now have $20 to save. All we are taking away from them is just $5 out of the excess to service our budget deficit. So why are they resistant to it? Are we throwing the money in the river or are we taking it to go and share for our people in the villages? No, we are using it to help the economy; rather than taking it and dumping it in that place like European and American banks at a giveaway interest at the expense of the country, we are saying they should take part of it and invest it today which is the bone of contention”. Another loophole which the Jubrin picked in the budget pro-

‘What we are saying is that we are convinced, after our analysis, that it is safe for us to increase it by $5. The implication of this is that rather than save $25, you will now have $20 to save. All we are taking away from them is just $5 out of the excess to service our budget deficit. So why are they resistant to it? Are we throwing the money in the river or are we taking it to go and share for our people in the villages? No, we are using it to help the economy’

posal is the bloated recurrent expenditure which he said the government has not been able address. He expressed disappointment that despite all the noise over cutting the cost of running government, the Executive has not been able to reduce recurrent expenditure to an appreciable level. “These are part of the problems that we addressed during the MTEF. We had expected that in the MTEF because it is a medium term plan, so it is for 2013 – 2015, we will receive a systematic and clear-cut strategy to reduce recurrent expenditure drastically but it is not contained in the MTEF. I am so disappointed in the Minister of Finance because we made recommendation about that in the earlier MTEF. “I had thought that one area where she would have shown her competence is to be able to drastically reduce recurrent expenditure and if you ask them how they intend to reduce it, they will not give you figure but percentage. They are taking advantage of Nigerians because a lot of people are not enlightened about these things. Now, what they are saying is that they have reduced the recurrent expenditure by 3%. Why are they scared of converting it to monetary value? Let people understand from a real perspective of the budget provisions. The implication of this is that they want to continue to promote recklessness in spending and that shows how incompetent they are”, Jubrin also faulted the claims of the Executive that the $5 increment would put pressure on exchange rate and inflation. He said “I told all the agencies that came during our engagement during the MTEF deliberations to quantify the impact that a $5 will have on our exchange rate and on inflation; they have not been able to do that. We have also asked them if they have problem with this increment just for the singular reason of reducing the deficit and consequently reducing government domestic borrowing to create space for the private sector but they have not responded. The final reason they always give which is very important is that it will make more money available for the State and Local Government which they will mismanage because they believe that every Nigerian is corrupt and that they are the only people who are credible. I am not holding brief for State Governors but I think it is an insult to all State Governors that being against $5 was because it means more money for State Governors to misuse. I am calling on the State Governors to listen to this and now respond to the Ministry of Finance and the Minister. When we talk this way, they say that we want to bring down the country, shut down the economy. Jubrin however advised the Finance Minister, Ngozi Oknojo-Iweala to resign her appointment if she cannot manage the economy with the $80 benchmark as the House would not shift ground on its decision. He said for the Minister to undermine the Appropriation Act when it becomes operational would amount to breaking the law. “The Minister of Finance would have to resign her position If she can not comply with the provisions of the Appropriation Act because that would amount to breaking the law. By the time the budget is passed, it becomes law that everybody must comply with. We are talking from the point of law because our position on the issue of bench mark would be backed by the law and if she cannot relate with it, it would be better for her to resign rather break the law”.



POLITICS Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele is the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Budget and Research. In this interview with VICTOR OLUWASEGUN and DELE ANOFI, he speaks on the benchmark controversy, the challenges of the committee, and other issues.

‘Welfare of Nigerians our concern’ W

HAT was your focus as the chairman of a committee that is so important to the budgeting process? Part of the passion, as I assumed office as Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research was to do everything possible at the level of the committee and work with the leadership of the House to ensure that the National Assembly Budget and Research Office did not only commence work, but in the real sense of it, becomes relevant and actually get itself grounded as a major resource centre for the members of the House as well as our Senators. Our focus is also to turn it into a centre that would assist researchers from outside the National Assembly and if possible outside the shores of this country. Would you say you met the office up and running when you became chairman? In fairness to those who pioneered this project before I got here, it was not that nothing was done to establish the NABRO as a functional office, but unfortunately, beyond getting the building ready and furnishing the office, nothing practically was done in terms of staffing the place, except getting some consultants to shortlist curriculum vitae of some members of staff of the National Assembly. Eventually, what we did when we came on board was to get the approval of Mr. Speaker with the concurrence of the Senate President for us to open up the office and begin to run it as a functional resource centre. When we got the approval, we were able to second an initial 13-member senior staff of the NASS led by a Director to NABRO for the office to take off. We also ensured that we gave them whatever was needed to operate. With that, the story has not been the same since then because today, we have a NABRO that is different. But then, we can still do much better in terms of staffing. We are currently improving capacity and we are supposed to have specialized desks like for economy, economic analysis, budget, politics, intergovernmental relations and different sectors of governance. I am sure we will get there eventually, but I want to say that with the initial category of staff seconded to the place, the office has taken off but next will be to massively recruit additional professionals and experts that would be able to help Honourable members and Senators thoroughly and comprehensively develop and strengthen their thoughts and thinking processes in different sectors and areas. What would you regard as the primary function of NABRO? NABRO is actually meant to help the House Committee on Budget and Research to do its work. And according to our rules, part of the work of our committee is to make timely and nonpartisan analysis on the budget proposal and on the performance of the budget all year round after the Appropriation bill must have been passed to law. It is also meant to assist in developing the capacity of members through local and foreign trainings, and as much as possible, serve as a research centre where mem-

bers of both chambers can really go and do comprehensive research into different issues. Having taken off, we are trying to get better because now, we don’t have to rely solely on consultants for everything as we now have a research centre that can take care of most of the things the consultants would be doing. Our target is to have a NABRO that would be able to compare and compete favorably with similar establishments in advanced democracies in terms of structure, staffing and modus operandi. I must say that the attitude of the Speaker was very positive in this regard because without that I don’t know if we could have achieved anything. Do you consider your job on the 2013-2015 MTEF as a watershed? I will rather say that there has been a lot of improvement from the past, I won’t call it a watershed because we are going to do much better in future by the grace of God. I can, however, say that our work on the 2013 budget was definitely a statement that it is not going to be business as usual and to show that we really have our hands on the plough. In the last four months, we have released five different publications that included the mapping of the year 2012 budget, which simplified and analyzed the budget by geo-political zones. We have seven different publications regarding the mapping, one each for a geo-political zone and the Federal Capital Territory. This was meant to assist each member of the House and the Senate in identifying what has been provided for in the 2012 budget, what was on-going and what was new from the previous and current budget were all clearly identified. And what are these publications meant to achieve? With the document, our legislators can easily monitor projects in their constituencies without confusion on timing or status. Essentially, the document would make our oversight function much more easier while it would also make those who are supposed to implement the budget accountable. I can assure you, this has introduced a new dimension to the whole process of budget monitoring. In the document, we have asked questions that even Mr. President and the ministers are now asking, which in turn, permanent secretaries and directors are now asking contractors. In a way, it is like we have helped the Executive develop a template for budget implementation and monitoring. So this goes beyond 2012 budget, it is about whatever we are spending, whatever is on-going and whatever is new. Apart from the budget mapping, there were other publications we produced like our own Mid-year Budget Performance report which was made available to members in September. Would you consider your efforts on the MTEF a waste if the House forsakes its stance on the $80 benchmark? In the first instance, I doubt if the House would blink an eyelid on its position on the benchmark but for that to even happen, that is, bending our position for whatever reason, it would

• Bamidele

not amount to a waste of time and efforts at NABRO. At NABRO, we are to make recommendations and it would be for the House and the Senate to decide, because NABRO is a creation of the National Assembly and not the other way round. What NABRO was expected to do and has done is to come up with and define the fundamentals on which whatever decision we are taking would be rested. NABRO has done it successfully by explaining that for the same reasons the Executive is proposing $75, these same reasons support $80. Part of the issue defined by NABRO is that we need to be sincere and patriotic about it. For instance, in the last 10 years, has there been a time that the price of oil sold for the so called benchmark? It has always been more and was there any time that the oil price fell below $100 in the last 10 years? No. But the argument of the Executive is

in favour of savings? Yes it is, but we have moved from the Excess crude account to Sovereign Wealth Fund. The truth of the debate is what did you do with the excess, not whether we have been having these excesses. The Executive has always cited examples of countries with low benchmark but the truth they are not telling Nigerians is that what those countries do with excess crude was not the same we do with ours. We are putting this to the fore, that if we say put it at $80, we show how much the difference of $5 would amount to in a year and this is what we recommend should be done with it. This will also be appropriated for, we are not leaving it at their discretion but that the difference should be used to reduce our deficit. By that we would be reducing what we owed by 66 percent, and this will create space in our investment environment as our private sector would have space to borrow more. This will be against the tradition of the government mopping up all available funds for borrowing. By reducing our local deficit by 66 percent, the market would be free for private market participant as more money would be available for them to access. By implication, they will be able to turn their industriess around by engaging more people, creating jobs and stimulate the economy. We are not saying peg the benchmark at $80 just to make more money available to share, or for more money to save but what we are saying is that we are not against you saving, but just take away $5 and reduce our deficit with it. We even gave an alternative, that should the executive find it difficult to reduce our deficit with the $5, that it should then be used for critical intervention in the area of infrastructural development. This is because there are so many roads that have become death traps and you are going to have a budget that is 68 percent recurrent and only 32 precent capital. So, we are saying that the difference between your proposal and ours

should be committed to capital expenditure. But we are more persuaded that it should be used to reduce our own local deficit and its not something we cannot defend. In all, NABRO has been able to clearly reason this out and we have given our recommendation, obviously the House adopted that recommendation as emphatically stated by Mr. Speaker in his vote of thanks at the budget proposal presentation. So, it is up to the Executive to at least come to the realization that they are not the only ones who love Nigeria, they are not the only ones who have the scientific understanding of the economy and how to run the economy. They also have to accept the fact that they do not have the monopoly of how to move Nigeria forward. I think it is high time we descended from our Olympian height as public officers and see through the arguments of other people, especially arguments that are supported by facts and figures and everybody can see. Yes, they want to save more money because that is why they want a lower benchmark but at the end of the day, they are still borrowing hugely. According to their borrowing plan, they intend borrowing over N700b which they did not include in the MTEF. We raised an eyelid and they brought it separately, so what is the wisdom behind borrowing N700b when you can leave benchmark at $80 and have more money to use, spend or reduce our deficit with. These are contradictions within the system that Nigerians need to ask questions about. We have listened to a lot of commentators sympathetic to the Executive and calling on the National Assembly to reason with the Executive and go with the $75 benchmark- making it look as if it is an issue between the National Assembly and the Executive. Some have even described it as a row between the National Assembly and the Executive but that is not it. This is because we are all servants of the same master, in this case, the overriding Nigerian public interest.

Constitution review: Reps harp on grassroots participation


HE House of Representatives on yesterday reiterated its re solve to ensure grassroots participation in the on-going review of the 1999 Constitution. The House explained that its planned “peoples’ public sessions” was created to ensure that no Nigerian citizen irrespective of class, place of abode and or affiliation is denied a chance to make an input. Chairman of the House ad-hoc Committee on the review of the Constitution and Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha made the declaration during an interview with journalists at the 127th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) holding in Quebec , Canada . Ihedioha said that “peoples’ public sessions” will take the 360 members of the House to their constituents to convene all-inclusive consultative meetings in their constituencies on the way forward for the country. The public sessions, he said, was

By Onyedi Ojiabor, reporting from Quebec, Canada

designed to ensure that the voices of those at the grassroots are not only heard but also reflected in the amended constitution. “Constitution amendment is not a process that should be left in the hands of the political class or a vocal elite that exerts some control over advocacy machineries alone. “That is why the House of Representatives has designed this innovative, peoples’ public sessions to provide opportunities for all strata of Nigerians to make inputs into the kind of constitution they want. “For the first time, we are directly taking the constitution amendment to the doorsteps of the Nigerian people, going beyond the usual zonal hearings that get hijacked by elite endowed with the means to manipulate public opinion. “The sessions will be no-holds barred, non-partisan and broadbased as the National Assembly will

not impose a ceiling on the range of amendments sought by Nigerians.” The deputy speaker assured all stakeholders of the willingness of the House of Representatives to approach issues thrown up for amendment with an open mind and that the sessions will be held simultaneously in all 360 federal constituencies on November 10 to make the constitution a truly peoples’ document. On the theme of the IPU conference tagged, “Citizenship, Identity and Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World,” Ihedioha said it re-echoes fundamental challenges Nigeria has faced with respect to issues like the indigene/settler controversy, state creation and structure of government. The challenges, he said, can be addressed and successfully resolved holistically through a constitution amendment process as is being championed by the National Assembly.

•Oyo State Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde (centre), flanked by his Information and Orientation counterpart, Mr Bosun Oladele (left) and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Dr Festus Adedayo (right) at a joint press briefing at the end of the State Executive Council meeting at the Government House, Ibadan .... yesterday.























NEWS Abia community urges Jonathan to save SEC chief Oteh From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia


•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi with children of displaced flood victims during his visit to their camps.

Police rescue monarch, cleric, others from kidnappers in Imo T HE Imo State Police Command yesterday smashed a four-man suspected kidnap syndicate. It rescued three victims, including a traditional ruler-elect, a cleric and a 72-year-old man from the suspected kidnappers. Parading the suspects in Owerri, the state capital, Police Commissioner Baba Adisa Bolanta said they allegedly abducted the monarch-elect of Owerre Nkworji in Nkwere Local Government Area, Igwe Nelson Orisakwe, and his 72year-old cousin, Sir Godwin Orisakwe, on their way to a court in Owerri. The police chief explained that the abductors drove their victims around in their Mercedes Benz saloon car, after blindfolding them. He added that the assailants

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

intercepted a Toyota RAV 4 Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and kidnapped its driver, the cleric in charge of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Uloano, Isu Local Government Area, Fr. Faustinus Ibewuike. Bolanta said the kidnap victims were allegedly dumped in the underground room of an uncompleted filling station. Following a tip-off, he said, armed policemen stormed the suspects’ hideout. According to him, the suspects engaged the police in a gun battle. Bolanta said: “When we sighted where the vehicle used in the kidnapping was parked,

we condoned off the area. We observed that there was an uncompleted building in the bush. “The moment they saw our patrol vehicle, they opened fire. But our men responded with superior gunfire. The victims, who were blind-folded and dumped in an underground cell, were rescued unhurt and the victims’ cars were also recovered.” The command has also smashed a gang of armed robbers which specialised in trailing people leaving the banks and opening their cars with master keys. Bolanta said the trans-border robbery gang was apprehended when one of its sus-

pected members, Chibuzor Oguzie, was hiding near a bank in Owerri. He allegedly had a motorcycle, for a get-away. The police chief said the suspect was arrested when he attempted to flee on sighting the police. He said the suspect’s confession led to the arrest of another member of the gang, Kingsley Ikechukwu, and the recovery of three exotic cars, three motorcycles and household items. Bolanta attributed the success of the police to the synergy between the command and other security agencies as well as the public. He called for a stronger cooperation between the residents and the police to reduce crime.

Court orders SSS, police to probe monarch’s kidnap


HE Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday ordered the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr Ita Ekpenyong, and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, to investigate last year’s abduction of a monarch in Anambra State, Chief Lawrence Oragwu. Justice Mohammed Idris ordered the IGP to mandate a special unit of the police to begin or take over and conclude the investigation. He ordered the respondents to transmit to the court’s Registry a type-written report of their investigations “within three months”. Oragwu, a retired Deputy

By Joseph Jibueze

Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), was abducted with his driver by unknown gunmen on June 2, last year, in Agulu, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, on his way from a church. He was the acting Igwe of Adazi-Nnukwu in Anaocha Local Government Area. The judge noted that the respondents did not defend the action and, therefore, entered judgment in favour of the plaintiff, Mr Nnamdi Oragwu, a lawyer and the monarch’s son. Oragwu had told the court

that a Toyota Hilux truck drove in front of his father’s car and blocked him and his driver. About four heavily armed men alighted, dragged the driver out, pushed the monarch into the truck and drove off. The abductors, he added, took away the monarch’s car. The monarch’s son said another person from a neighbouring village, who was also abducted by the same gang, escaped after disarming one of his abductors of an AK47 rifle, which had an inscription suspected to be from the military. The lawyer petitioned the SSS as well as the Chief of Army Staff on June 16 and June

21, last year. But they allegedly did not respond until a newspaper contacted the army. The family reportedly received an anonymous letter from someone claiming to be an army officer, who narrated how the kidnap plot was hatched and perpetrated, naming some participants. The letter, which was undated and unsigned, reads: “This is to inform the public and people of Adazi Nnukwu that the man they are looking for is dead. I am a soldier at Onitsha Barracks’ 302 Artillery Regiment. I participated in the assassination operation that was disguised as a kidnap.”

ESIDENTS of Amaokwe-Item community in Abia State have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to save their daughter and Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arunma Oteh, from attacks. The call was made by Mr Sunny Ogele, Addressing reporters in Umuahia, the state capital, the Secretary-General of Amaokwe-Item Welfare Union (AIWU) Sunny Ogele said the community was worried over what he called incessant politically motivated attacks on Oteh because she stands for the truth. Ogele said the community was speaking out because those after Oteh’s job were becoming more desperate. He noted that the same people who played key roles in the fraud that led to the collapse of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) were also after Oteh after she had cleared the rot in the commission. According to him, those calling for Oteh’s head are using some members of the National Assembly to achieve their aim. Ogele said: “Oteh came when the stock exchange was in a mess and she sanitised the commission. This has turned to be the origin of her problems. Some people are now bent on having their way to the detriment of the capital market.” The community’s spokesman said another perceived offence of the SEC chief is that she exposed some members of the Herman Hembe-led House Committee on Capital Market for collecting money to travel to Dominican Republic from the commission without making the journey. Ogele noted that since Oteh exposed the National Assembly lawmakers, she has not been given a breathing space. He gave a profile on Oteh, from her days at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and administrative positions she had held. The community spokesman recalled that Oteh graduated with a first-class degree from the UNN and attended Harvard University in the Unites States.

Police seal off market as committee members, traders clash in Anambra From Nwanosike Onu, Awka


HE Anambra State Police Command yesterday sealed off Eke-Awka Market in Awka, the state capital. The action followed a clash between members of the Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATA) and the caretaker committee recently inaugurated by the state government. It was learnt that the caretaker committee members wanted to hold a rally to announce their assumption of office but the traders resisted this. The committee, led by Charles Arinze, held its ground and held the rally. This led to shootings between both camps. Though nobody was injured, the confusion that followed the shootings forced many traders to close their shops early. The police deployed 30 of its men to the market and sealed it off. Police spokesman Raphael Uzoigwe confirmed the incident. He said the police had restored order in the market. Uzoigwe said the command deployed it men to the market to avoid a breakdown of law and order. According to him, the duty of the police is to protect lives and property. The police spokesman, however, denied an exchange of gunfire between both camps. He said the story would have been different if the police had not arrived early on the scene. The caretaker committee, it was learnt, was inaugurated by the government to ensure peace in the market, following a clash in which one person was reportedly killed.

Burial for Pa Osuji

I enjoy cordial relationship with House, says Okorocha


MO State Governor Rochas Okorocha yesterday said he enjoys a cordial relationship with the Speaker and members of the House of Assembly. In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media Ebere Uzoukwa, the governor denied that there is a dispute between him and Speaker Benjamin Uwajimogu. The statement reads: “The cordial relationship, which has continued to exist between Governor Okorocha, Speaker and members of the House of Assembly, has overnight become their headache. “As democrats, Okorocha,

Uwajimogu and members of the Assembly are committed to taking the state to greater heights so that history will always remember them as men who came, saw and conquered. “This is one of the major reasons Okorocha has continued to closely involve the legislature in executing most projects and programmes that have no doubt impacted positively on the lives of Imo people. “It is on record that Governor Okorocha has at no time and for whatever reason meddled in the activities of the legislature. In fact, he is one of

the ardent believers of separation of powers and checks and balances. “The leadership style of the governor, prudent management of the state resources to achieve unimaginable result and zero-corruption approach in governance have so much endeared him to the Speaker and members of Imo State House of Assembly. “It is worthy to mention that Governor Okorocha is ever committed to working with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that Imo becomes better and will definitely move on the same page with the Speaker and members of the state legislature in achiev-

ing the task,” the statement said The statement also denied that Okorocha had a brush with an aide to Anambra State Governor Peter Obi during the activities marking the 80th birthday of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme in Enugu last weekend. “This is a man whose humility and antecedents as a peaceloving Nigerian speak volume in our nation and beyond. It is a fact today that Governor Okorocha has contributed eloquently in several peace-building process in Nigeria, including the National Peace Forum which he single-handedly organised in 2005.

•The late Pa Osuji


HE funeral arrangements for the late Pa Gabriel Asuzu Osuji, who died on September 23, have been announced. He was 83. A Christian wake will hold

on October 24 at Calabar Community Hall, 25 Ajao Road, Off Babatunde Street, via Ogunlana Drive, Surulere, Lagos, at 6pm. On November 6, there will be a service of songs at his country home in Umuchioma, Osuachara, Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State at 6pm. A requiem mass will hold the next day at the Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Umuduru, in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of lmo State. Interment will follow at his country home. Entertainment of guests will follow at the same venue. He is survived by a wife, brothers, grandchildren and children among who is Joseph Chukwudi Osuji.




Suspended Kogi Assembly sacks two members ARELY 24 hours after the National Assembly suspended legislative activities in the Kogi State House of Assembly, the lawmakers yesterday suspended two of its members for alleged defection to another party. Henry Ojuola and Funsho Daniel, from Mopa Muro and Yagba East, were “suspended” following a petition the Assembly reportedly received from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). The Assembly declared their positions vacant for leaving the party on which platform they won elections into the House. The “new Speaker” Lawal Jimoh said about two months ago, the ANPP informed the former leadership of the Assembly about the alleged defection. The House of Representatives’ Ad-Hoc Committee on the Assembly crisis on Monday suspended the Assembly’s activities till further notice. Jimoh explained that in a letter by Patrick Daudu and Issac Ainoko,


National Assembly’s interference illegal, says Mamora FORMER Senate Deputy Minority Leader Olorunnimbe Mamora yesterday criticised the Ad Hoc Committee of the House of Representatives for suspending legislative activities of the Kogi State House of Assembly. He said the decision may be meddlesomeness in the affairs of the Assembly. In a telephone conversation, Mamora noted that an intervention by the National Assembly must be friendly and in consonance with Section 305 of the Constitution. According to him, any interference should be on insecurity and public order in the affected state. Mawora also said such intervention must be on finding amicable solution to a crisis. According to him, any matter which violates Section 92 of the Constitution - which stipulates that impeachment of the Speaker of a House of Assembly must be carried out by two-thirds majority of members - could only be reversed by a court of com-


From Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

Chairman and Secretary, the ANPP listed the reasons the two seats should be declared vacant.

By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Political Editor

petent jurisdiction. The former lawmaker noted that an intervention by the National Assembly should be friendly. Emphasising that the National Assembly lacks the power to suspend activities of any Assembly, Mamora said the federal legislature is only empowered to make laws for an Assembly during a state of emergency in such state. He explained that since no state of emergency has been declared in Kogi “care must be taken not to give the impression of meddlesomeness”. Mamora added: “My understanding is that it is within the context of the declaration of a state of emergency in a state that the National Assembly can legislate for a House of Assembly, as it was the case in Plateau and Ekiti states. What exists in Kogi Assembly is just a skirmish, as it was the case in Ogun State… The National Assembly did not suspend the House activities.”

These are contained in Section 109(1)(g) of the Constitution. The letter said: “The fact that there was no record of division or

merger with the parties shows that the members under reference chose to belong under the provision of Section 109(109)(g) of the

Constitution.” Ojuola was elected on the platform of the ANPP but was the running mate in last year’s governorship election under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Daniel was elected on the platform of the ANPP but defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in September. A three- man Ad-Hoc Committee was constituted to investigate the ANPP petition. Tuesday’s session was held in the presence of the Clerk of the Assembly as well as the Sergeant-atArms. The lawmakers condemned the Police Commissioner Musa Katsina for allegedly sealing off the Assembly premises. They vowed to lodge a complaint at the Office of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Muhammed Abubakar. Katsina had warned that he should not be dragged into the crises because he only tightened security to forestall a breakdown of law and order.

FOREIGN NEWS IPU: Nigeria, Uganda protest exclusion of African, Asian countries From: Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor, reporting from Quebec, Canada


•Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu (right0 vaccinating a cow during the start of the free vaccination for animals in the state, at the Trade Fair Complex, Minna...yesterday

Nigeria to hold oil licensing round by year-end, says Alison-Madueke


NIGERIA will hold its first oil exploration bidding round in the last five years by the end of this year. The licence renewal talks with Shell and Chevron on existing onshore fields are in their final stages, the Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said yesterday. The country’s light, low sulphur crude oil is popular with United States and Asian buyers, but oil majors say uncertainty over changes in regulation in a proposed oil bill and insecurity in the onshore Niger Delta are holding back new investment. “We expect within the next couple of months a marginal

bid round will be announced. We hope a major bid round will follow before the end of the year,” Diezani AlisonMadueke told Reuters in an interview. Some industry experts have questioned why licences are being renewed before parliament has passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which will adjust terms on these types of contracts. “It would have become slightly cumbersome to keep waiting on the PIB before the renewals,” Alison-Madueke said in reply. Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell cannot yet say when a

force majeure on two grades of Nigerian crude oil will be lifted, after production stoppages caused by theft and flooding cut up to 20 percent of exports from Africa’s top supplier. Shell said its Nigerian venture had declared force majeure on exports of the Bonny and Forcados crudes on Friday, citing damage caused by thieves and flooding affecting a third-party supplier it did not identify. “Shell cannot yet say at this time when the force majeure will be lifted,” Shell spokesman Precious Okolobo said by telephone on Tuesday, de-

clining to give further details. Shell is Nigeria’s biggest oil operator. Nigeria’s oil is exported to the United States, Asia and Europe and supply disruptions can affect world prices because it is priced against the Brent oil benchmark. Brent fell by $1.70 a barrel to below $108 on Tuesday, a smaller decline than the U.S. crude benchmark. Separately, French oil company Total on Tuesday told Reuters it had stopped oil and gas production from its onshore OML 58 block due to flooding. The block, in which Total has a 40 percent stake, normally produces the equivalent of 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil.

Abuja subscribers to FCTA: rebuild our homes


HE controversy on the demolition of 500 houses in Minanuel Estate in Lugbe District, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has deepened. Residents of the affected estate yesterday urged the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to rebuild their homes. Addressing reporters at the site of the estate yesterday, a resident, Festus Adebayo, said the affected

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

home owners would pester the FCTA until they recover their homes. He said: “We cannot wait to have our houses returned to us. We intend to go back on a massive protest, as most of us don’t have any hope of home ownership again.” The residents cited a 2002 court case between the Federal Government and SERAC.

They said the court upheld the right to shelter or housing in accordance with Articles 14, 16 and 18 of the Human Rights Charter of the United Nations (UN). The embattled home owners said over 400 affected persons would individually sue the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed. The residents urged President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene and mandate Bala to restore the land under dis-

pute and pay commensurate compensation. “We are strongly appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to call the FCT Minister to order and restore public confidence in his administration,” Adebayo added. He also threatened that if the appropriate authorities do not respond soon, the affected home owners would start mass protests in Abuja until their demands are met.

IGERIA and Uganda yesterday protested the exclusion of some member-countries from the ongoing Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) assembly conference in Quebec, Canada. Our correspondent covering the conference reports that Senate President David Mark, who led the Nigerian delegation to the event, expressed the displeasure of the country over the development. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who is also part of the Nigerian delegation, said the exclusion of some member- countries was unacceptable to Nigeria. It was discovered that the Canadian government refused to grant visas to some member-countries and in some cases individual parliamentarians who wanted to attend the conference. African countries, including Mali and Uganda and Syria were mostly affected in the visa refusal. Mark, who spoke to reporters after the plenary of the conference, said Canada was given the hosting right over the United Kingdom with the understanding that all member-countries would be treated fairly. He said they were disturbed to discover that some membercountries were refused entry visas by the Canadian authorities. The development, he said, must be addressed in the interest of the union. Said he: “We were very disturbed about the exclusion of some of our members from the IPU. “One of the reasons why Canada won the hosting right over London was on the understanding that all the IPU member-countries would be issued visas to come, but even within Nigeria and from Nigeria, we had a lot of delays in obtaining our visas. “Syria, for instance, was not given visas, Uganda also complained that their delegates were not issued visas. “We had the same problem with Mali and that was why we got a delegate from Nigeria to work with the Malian delegation so that we can put their item on the agenda. “So, I would say really that Canada has not done well in the issuance of visas to IPU member-nations.”

Obama aggressive in foreign policy debate with Romney


RESIDENT Barack Obama repeatedly attacked Republican challenger Mitt Romney on foreign policy on Monday in their third and final debate in an effort to blunt his opponent’s surge in the polls with two weeks left until election day. The high-stakes debate strayed frequently into domestic policy, with Romney seeking to bolster his argument that Obama had bungled the U.S. economic recovery with high unemployment and rising debt. Neither man threw a knockout punch or made a noticeable gaffe in the 90-minute encounter at Lynn University in Boca Raton, although Obama scored enough debating points to be declared the winner in the first surveys. A CBS News snap poll declared 53 per cent believed Obama won, versus 23 per cent for Romney and 24 percent saying it was a draw. A CNN poll put Obama as the winner by 48 per cent to 40 percent. With foreign policy a low priority in a campaign focused mostly on the economy, it was unclear what impact the debate would have on the race, which enters the final frenzy of campaigning with both men tied in the polls before the November 6 election. Respondents in the CNN poll were split over whether the debate would influence their votes.



NEWS NBA seeks justice for UNIPORT Four


HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Lagos, yesterday said justice must be done in the killing of the four students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT). Chidiaka Lordson, Ugonna Obuzor, Mike Lloyd Toku and Tekena Erikena were lynched and burnt at Omuokiri-Aluu on October 5, 2012, after they were accused of stealing a laptop and phones. Speaking with reporters in Lagos, the association’s Chairman, Mr. Monday Ubani, called for an open trial of those arrested in connection with the killings. He urged the Federal and Rivers State governments to allow the public into the court during the trial of the suspects. Ubani, who was represented by the Vice-Chairman, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, also condemned the killing of 24 students at a hostel in Mubi, Adamawa State, on October 1. He said: “Most Nigerians know the country is not safe. What made the OmuokiriAluu killings more outrageous was the barbaric way it was carried out. The killers were not faceless or few, but a community.” Lamenting the state of the nation,

By Adebisi Onanuga

Ubani said the country had always been ruled by “Philistines” and “wicked kleptomaniacs”, who he accused of wasting Nigeria’s resources. He said: “The result of the mismanagement of the Nigerian state by its so-called leaders in all tiers of government is there for everyone to see. “They include mass poverty, illiteracy and the failure of the public sector. “The greatest evil of all is the bastardisation of the moral values of Nigerians. Life has become so cheap and valueless for us collectively. “We need collective reorientation, especially in our homes and religious institutions, to the effect that life and human rights are too important to be taken, abused or destroyed so lightly. “For Nigerians to achieve this, we must stop depending on our leaders and find our salvation ourselves.” Ubani suggested that the families of the Aluu victims be compensated. He said although no compensation could bring back the deceased, Ubani said it would assuage the grief of their families.

Gunmen kidnap woman in Calabar


HOUSEWIFE, Mrs. Ime Abasi, has been kidnapped in Calabar, the Cross River State capital. This is coming barely three days after two children, who were abducted by gunmen, were released. It was learnt that Mrs. Abasi was abducted by gunmen on Monday from her home at Ekei Ita Street, Ikot

•Demand N50m ransom From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

Ansa, around 10pm. Her husband, Pius, is based in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. Pius told The Nation on the phone yesterday that he called his wife’s phone at about 10pm on Monday and

it was switched off. He said he tried to reach her throughout the night, but the line did not go through. Pius said when it eventually went through yesterday morning, his wife told him she had been kidnapped by some gunmen.

He said one of her captors seized the phone from her and demanded N50 million ransom. Pius said when he told them he did not have that kind of money, they told him not to call the number again until he was ready to negotiate. Police Commissioner Osita Ezechukwu said the police would do their best to secure her release.

Residents decry shoddy job


ESIDENTS of Okemini, Ogbonda and Sylvanus streets, off Obi-Wali Road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, have decried the “shoddy work” done by the contractor building the road. Their spokesman, Mr. Eddy Eluke, said drains were not built by the contractor handling the N200 million project, Kigal Oil and Gas Ltd. Eluke urged the Managing Director of the Niger PUBLIC NOTICE DAUDA I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Dauda Karlmatu Hussein now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Yusuf Karlmatu Hussein. All former documents remains valid. General public should please take note.

Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Christian Oboh, to probe the matter. He said the contractor is not competent to handle the project. Eluke said the state of the road is a clear indication that the commission has failed the people of the Niger Delta. The residence expressed dissatisfaction at the poor quality and slow pace of work, saying that the two hundred million naira (200.000.000), project was awarded without drainage. A resident, simply identified as Joseph, said: “Whenever rain falls, everywhere gets flooded. Water comes into our homes due to the shoddy job done by the contractor. This is inhuman.”

•Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan greeting the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum (Down stream sector), Mr. Dakuku Peterside, when the committee visited the governor at the Government House in Asaba, the state capital...yesterday.s Tuesday.

Dickson signs Bayelsa Judiciary Autonomy Bill into Law


AYELSA State Governor Seriake Dickson has signed the State Judiciary Autonomy Bill into Law. Signing the bill at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House in Yenagoa, the state capital, Dickson said the law showed that his administration believes in the financial autonomy of the Judiciary.

This is to inform all motorists that the Iganmu Overhead Bridge leading to the National Theatre will be closed on Saturday October 27, 2012 and Sunday October 28, 2012 between 7am – 12noon. It is to allow for the erection of pressurised beams for Lagoon Bridge structure over Eric Moore. All motorists using this overhead bridge are requested to use alternate routes during the hours. Management China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

ary. He said he decided to create a legal backing for the autonomy so that it would not be over-ruled by any administrative fiat in future. The governor said: “With effect from the next budget, I and governors after me will no more treat approvals and requests from the Judiciary.” Urging other governors to support the move for a truly

independent Judiciary, he said: “Our democracy is not safe and our civil rights cannot be protected unless we strengthen our Judiciary, which alone has the constitutional authority to deepen our freedoms and protect our fundamental liberties.” House of Assembly Speaker Kombowei Benson said the bill was deliberated on and passed within a week.

Boko Haram: SSS warns Senator


He said: “Having had the privilege of being a member of the Bar, a former Attorney-General of the state and now Governor, I am in a better position to provide the requirements for improved justice delivery.” Dickson said the constitution does not stipulate the framework for the implementation and execution of the autonomy of the Judici-


ETECTIVES visited Senator Ahmed Khalifa Zanna’s home yesterday, The Nation learnt. Also, operatives visited the Senator’s home yesterday but met it under lock and key. Zanna is being questioned after the arrest of a suspected Boko Haram Commander, Shuaib Mohammed Bama, at his residence in Maiduguri. There were indications that the Senator might have gone underground for fear of attacks. After initial interaction with the Senator on Monday, the State Security Service (SSS) asked him to report for a second round of interrogation by 11am yesterday. It was gathered that the SSS investigating team waited for many hours without seeing the Senator or receiving a call from him on why he could not honour the appointment. Zanna, however, turned up at about 6.20pm.

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

A source said: “We waited for several hours for the Senator but he refused to honour the 11am appointment. “When the Senator did not come as expected, we sent a team of operatives to his house but the residence was found locked. He also became incommunicado from morning till about 6.20pm. “We asked our operatives to visit Zanna’s residence out of concern for his safety and health. When he appeared before us on Monday, he was behaving sickly after sitting for many hours. “It got to a point that our operatives had to assist him to get up after we finished the first strand of investigation. “But at about 6.20pm, he came to the SSS Headquarters without any genuine excuse. We told him that the SSS does not interrogate in the night.

“We warned him to respect this agency because the issue at stake is about a security challenge facing the nation. We are not ready to tolerate this type of attitude. Courtesy demands that he should either send a text or an emissary to the SSS if he won’t be able to keep to time. We have asked him to report by 11am on Wednesday (today). “We still want to treat him with respect; we will give him time to report to the SSS again for a follow-up session on the statement he raised.” Responding to a question, the source added: “He raised many issues and left a lot of gaps to be filled. He said the Boko Haram commander was not arrested in his house but we have a report from the JTF and the suspect is also in custody to confirm the veracity or otherwise of his claim. “He also levelled some allegations against ex-Governor


Modu Ali Sheriff, who disputed the Senator’s claim. “The Senator admitted that there are three types of Boko Haram. We want him to expatiate on this.” Zanna said last Sunday: “There are three types of Boko Haram. The political Boko Haram is there, that is ex-Governor Modu Sheriff’s own. And that is why I don’t take my security lightly. The actual Boko Haram is there. And there are some who are chipping in and claiming to be Boko Haram, harassing people and extorting money from them.”




08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:-

ACN to Lagosians: don’t be used

Policemen plead for more time By Jude Isiguzo

By Seyi Odewale

HE Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has warned Lagosians not to allow themselves to be used by desperate politicians to cause chaos in the state. The party in a statement, by its Publicity Secretary Joe Igbokwe gave the warning yesterday in the wake of the attacks on government vehicles and properties by people ‘masquerading’ as commercial motorcyclists. The party urged law enforcement agencies to deal with those destroying government properties on the pretext of protesting the ban on Okada operations. According to Igbokwe, the ban on commercial motorcycle operations was done with the best interests of the people at heart. He said those hiding under the ban to perpetrate chaos, mayhem and destruction are enemies of the people. He said “Lagos ACN is in no doubt that the Lagos traffic law was enacted with the best interests of Lagosians at heart. With the unseemly impassable nature of roads in Lagos caused by myriads of indiscipline in road usage, it is only natural that a responsible government should come out to deal decisively with this menace and this led to the enactment of the Traffic Law, which provides for the ban on commercial motorcycle operation in some 475 roads in Lagos. “We know how risky and dangerous commercial motorcycle usage is in a metropolis as Lagos and we all know that countless deaths and maiming have been traceable to such dangerous usage. Again, Lagosians know the role commercial motorcycles play in robberies and various other types of urban crimes in Lagos and elsewhere. All these and more factors came into consideration in enacting the new Lagos traffic law, which restricts commercial motorcycle operations to inner streets and roads and take them off busier state roads. “While we agree that the move is bound to inflict temporary pains and stress on Lagos road users who daily patronise these commercial motorcyclists, we are not in doubt that the long term benefits that come in the nature of saved lives and limbs, less chaos and indiscipline on road usage and a more decent and effective transportation system, far outstrip the temporary pains that are bound to come with this decision. We have appealed to Lagosians to give this new traffic law a chance to succeed for all of us to benefit,” Igbokwe said. He added: “We are however surprised that some people have vowed to ensure this new law is frustrated and they are the people going around whipping needless sentiments on the ban. They have taken these notches higher by mobilising operators and other people to visit provocative attacks on Lagos State government properties and vehicles in some parts of the state.



•A bonfire set by the protesting riders


‘Okada riders damage 42 govt I buses in Lagos protests’ T was time yesterday for government agencies in Lagos to count their losses after Monday’s protest by commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders. The protest also continued yesterday in some parts of the metropolis. The riders, in their hundreds marched on Alagbado and Alakuko, outskirts of Lagos, accusing the police of shooting one of their colleagues. The atmosphere was tense. The dead motorcyclist was identified as Alagede. He was allegedly shot by a policeman attached to the Alakuko Division. The incident occurred at Kollington bus-stop on the Abeokuta Expressway. The veracity of the claim could nt be confirmed at press time. The protesters threatened to burn down the Alakuko police station, if the officer

By Precious Igbonwelundu

was not produced. As of the time of this report, they have vandalised a LAGBus and a bonfire was made at Alagbado Bus stop, opposite AIT road. An eyewitness told The Nation that the LAGBus was stopped at Kollington Bus stop, Alagbado and passengers were forced to alight. The management of LAGBUS Assets Management Ltd. said 37 of its buses were damaged. The company is one of the operators of buses using the dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane in the metropolis. Another operator, the Lagos Metropilitan Area Transport (LAMATA) said five of its buses were vand-

alised. Managing Director of LAGBUS, Mr. Babatude Disu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that despite the damage, no passenger was injured. Disu said the company was still taking stock. Mr Kolawole Ojelabi, the External Relations Specialist of LAMATA said: “Although commuters were stranded at our bus stations because ticketers were not on ground, we had to begin operation immediately normalcy returned in order not to increase people’s hardship.” Meanwhile, those who spoke with NAN condemned the action of the motorcyclists. Mr Oladele Banjo, a civil

Police launch manhunt for man who killed wife


HE police in Lagos have launched a manhunt for a middle aged man who allegedly killed his wife. The deceased, who was identified as Omolere, had a fight with her husband, Paul Molade in their home at 14, Ifesowa Street, Ori-Okuta Ikorodu on October 15. The police alleged that the woman was found dead in their compound by neighbours who reported the incident at a police station in the area. Lagos police spokesperson Ngozi Braide, a Deputy superintendent (DSP), who confirmed the murder, told our reporter that policemen recovered the body which has since been deposited at the Ikorodu General Hospital mortuary for autopsy. In a related development, a

•As two die in road accidents By Jude Isiguzo

25-year-old man, simply identified as Giseon, was electrocuted on Sunday, October 21. The incident occurred at about 6am, at African Steel Mills Company Ltd, Plot 337 Ikorodu. It was gathered that the victim died at Ikorodu General Hospital, where he was rushed for treatment. The body was deposited at the hospital mortuary for autopsy and identification by his family members. Meanwhile, two women were killed by unidentified hit-and-run drivers at Ojodu and Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos on October 20. It was gathered that at about 5am, a commercial bus with Reg. No. KSF 939 XL, driven by an unknown driv-

er, hit Rebecca Adesanya, a resident of 2, River Valley Estate, Ojodu. The incident occurred at Oremetta Street, Ojodu and the victim died on the spot. Her body was deposited at Isolo General Mortuary for autopsy by traffic policemen attached to Ojodu Police Station. Also on the same day at about 8:30am, an unidentified driver, hit Mercy Okeke of Abijo Town, Ibeju Lekki at Lakowe Ibeju Lekki and escaped. The victim was also reported to have died on the spot. Her body was deposited at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja for autopsy. Police spokesperson confirmed all the incidents.

LASTMA boss warns officials


HE General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) Mr Babatunde Edu has warned officials of the agency against corruption. He said it is no longer business as usual. Edu advised them to be good ambassadors by obeying the rules and regulations of the training institute and become a reformed officer after the training as lots of tax payers money has been expended on them. It was at the opening cere-

By Tajudeen Adebanjo

mony of the batch 3 officials of the LASTMA and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) undergoing Career Evaluation Training programme at Public Service Staff Development Centre (PSSDC), Magodo, Lagos. Edu praised the efforts of the administration in the restructuring, training and retraining of LASTMA personnel, which, he said has moved the agency to the next level.

The General Manager explained that the officials are always on the road during rainfall and sunshine ensuring that road users move at ease, in spite of the fact that 224 vehicles ply the road per kilometre as against 24 vehicles in other parts of the world. According to him, traffic situation in Lagos without LASTMA would have been more chaotic and negatively affect the economy of Lagos in particular and the Nation in general.

servant who resides at Sango and works at Ikoyi, said he had to trek from Ikoyi to CMS because the few buses on the road on Monday were held up in traffic. Another civil servant ,Mrs Ibukun Adegbesan, condemned the act, saying it was unlawful for certain people to hold the state to ransom for their selfish reason. “The law is operating and commercial motorcyclists have to abide by it, after all some states have enforced the law and yet heads did not roll. A banker, Mr Ralph Edet, said the vandalism was a foolish way of reacting because the buses were for the masses. “Nigerians should learn not to destroy government property as a way of showing their grievances because it causes a setback to the economy,” Edet said. NAN reports that due to the protest, most commuters were stranded while others had to take a long walk to get to their destinations. NAN also reports that the hardship continued on Tuesday morning as many passengers were stranded while other commercial bus operators hiked their fares.

OLICE officers who got a two-week notice to quit their quarters at Oduduwa Street, Ikeja, Lagos are pleading with their boss, Mr Umar Manko, for more time. Over 100 families will be rendered homeless, if the officers are evicted, it was learnt. Most of the officers are riot policemen, who are scattered all over the country, especially in the North where they are battling the challenges of terrorism posed by the Boko Haram sect. These officers and men claimed it will be improper for the authorities to sack their families while they are on national assignment outside the state. They are pleading with the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, to intervene on their behalf by ordering the Commissioner of Police to give them at least a two-month notice to find new accommodation for their families. “We just paid our children’s school fees within the GRA and we cannot go back to those schools to seek for a refund. All we are asking is that the police high command give us until January to sort ourselves out. “What we are asking is not for them to allow us remain in Oduduwa, but that they give us a little time to raise money to pay for new apartments; that is all we ask. Two weeks is not enough for us to get new accommodation”, one of the affected policeman lamented. The quit notice, dated October 16 and signed by CSP Mohammed Kamal, gave the officers and their families up till 29 October 2012 to vacate or “their continued stay will be therefore regarded as illegal.”









NEWS PHCN firms bid crisis deepens

Nigeria opens dialogue with Cameroon on Bakassi


ENATE President David Mark yesterday said Nigeria will initiate discussion with Cameroon on the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula. Mark spoke with reporters at the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference in Quebec , Canada . The conference’s theme is “Citizenship, identity, linguistic and cultural diversity in a globalised world.” The Senate President said the Nigerian delegation would engage their Cameroonian counterparts at the conference to iron out knotty issues so as to create a forum for broader dialogue on the Bakassi issue. He said the discussion would focus on whether to revisit the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on Bakassi or to ensure that the rights of Nigerians who live in the oil-rich peninsula are fully protected. The Senate President noted that the National Assembly recognised that there is a subsisting judicial decision on Bakassi. He insisted that once there is a judicial decision on any matter, “you must be careful.” The judicial decision hanging over Bakassi, he said, made it imperative for Nigerian delegation at the IPU to open dialogue with their Cameroonian counterparts at the conference on the future of Bakassi. He said, “Bakassi is a different story entirely. For Bakassi, there is a judicial decision and once there is a judicial decision you must be careful. Revisiting the judicial decision on Bakassi whether it will bring any more profit or whether we should ensure that Nige-

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Canada

rians who are in Bakassi have their human rights fully protected and that they are not maltreated in any way by Cameroonians, is one of the issues we will sit down and discuss with Cameroonian parliamentarians who are here too.” In his address at the conference, Mark told the Union of the need for parliaments world over to protect and guarantee minority interests. He said, “The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not just in total support of raising the stakes in management of diversities in a globalised world, we are already taking steps to ensure that every minority interest within the Nigerian State is well protected. “We are working to remove all obstacles that hinder unity and harmonious co-existence.” Harping on the ongoing constitution review by the National Assembly, Mark said that cardinal among the issues on the constitution review agenda is to revisit some constitutional issues which seemed to contradict one another and the spirit of the constitution on the rights and privileges of Nigerians. In particular, he said that the National Assembly will take another look at the issue of “state of origin” as against “state of residence.” Some parts of the 1999 Constitution, such as Section 147(3), he said, makes it compulsory for certain political offices to be for indigenes (not residents) of the benefiting States. Such discriminatory tendencies, Mark insisted, tend to ig-

nite indigene-settler rows. He said that Nigerians feel that the problem can be best addressed by replacing the “State of Origin “ provision with “State of Residence .” He assured that the National Assembly would work to actualise the replacement of “State of Origin “ provision with “State of Residence “ to enhance the rights and privileges of every Nigeria in any part of the country, irrespective of his or her state of origin, language, ethnicity and religion. Apart from institutionalising “State of Residence “ he said that the National Assembly is working to ensure that “our women and other minority interests are well secured by entrenching in the constitution provisions that advance their course. Mark noted that more than ever before, humanity has come to understand, both by reason and compelling needs of interdependence, that though language, ethnicity, culture, race, religion, gender, political inclination and economic status may differ “it is in brotherhood that we can all make progress.” He posited that proper management of citizenship, identity, linguistic and cultural diversities in a globalising world is an international challenge, but with local solutions. For him, if every nation plays its role creditably in the management of diversities within their local environment but with global outlook enshrined in various international treaties, declarations and conventions, “we would have made an impressive progress towards this end.”

•Uduaghan Continued from page 2

lows due process. Uduaghan spoke in Asaba, the state capital, while hosting members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum Resources (Down stream sector). He said he was worried that the companies may fall into wrong hands. Uduaghan said a situation

ments that communities run to for transformers and other equipment. States should be accommodated in the privatisation process” He said the nation experienced similar challenges in the petroleum sector when some oil wells were sold without involving the communities and the states, adding that eventually, most of the beneficiaries were unable to access the wells. Chairman of the committee Mr. Dakuku Peterside said they were in the state to inspect Federal Government projects. Peterside said the routine oversight function was necessary to check what was being done with funds and ascertain whether projects earmarked for the state were executed. He said Delta was strategic in the oil industry and should not be ignored in the implementation of projects and programmes.

where the communities and states directly affected are sidelined does not portend good for the people. He said with “such shoddy process of sale”, the companies would end up in the hands of people, who cannot deliver. The governor said stable electricity supply is necessary for economic growth and urged the authorities not to politicise the unbundling process. He said if it is done wrongly, it could create more problems for the country. Uduaghan said: “State governments play crucial roles in the energy sector as regards the provision of transformers and setting up of electric lines. Governors are deeply concerned about the power situation and when the chips are down, it is the state govern-

Police kill five in Rivers, Anambra Continued from page 2

pers were killed. The police said, one of their victims, Rev. Fr. C. Okoye of the Catholic Arch Diocese of Onitsha was rescued with another victim Onyekwelu Jonathan Eledu. Also, six other kidnap suspects have been arrested by police in their different hide outs in the state. The police said the killed suspects were members of the dreaded gang of the Oraifite Kingpin, Olisa Ifedika (akaOfeakwu). They were said to be respon-

sible for most kidnappings in the state and environs. The Orsumoghu detention camp of the suspects in Ihiala Local government area has been dismantled. Before the rescue of the priest, the hoodlums, it was gathered, demanded a ransom of N20 million from their victim’s family. The police said it had arrested fourteen armed robbery suspects in the state since October 1. Two other robbery suspects were killed in a gun battle. The items recovered from the kidnap suspects yesterday are two- AK 47 riffles, one rocket launcher, one rocket, four rock-

et propellers, 18 AK 47, magazines and 300 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition. Police spokesman Raphael Uzoigwe said the operatives are working to track down the fleeing wounded members of the syndicate. “We want to make sure that these hoodlums are all flushed out in Anambra state before the yuletide period, the state police is working every day and night on this issue. “We are not relenting in making sure that the state is free from all manner of crimes, this is just the beginning,” Uzoigwe said.





‘‘Much of our problem is from the CINS of politicians Corruption, Incompetence, Negligence and Selfishness. No medical professional should have to treat malaria without facilities. Delay is death’ VOL.7 NO.2,288



LITTLE over four years ago, precisely October 9, 2008, Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s greatest novelists and essayists and, for me, Africa’s greatest literary figure, delivered the keynote lecture on the occasion of the Silver Anniversary of The Guardian at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos. The lecture, entitled “What Nigeria is to me,” was vintage Achebe; simple, eloquent, coherent, rigorous and full of insight. He delivered the lecture on tape but his physical absence did not make it any less riveting for the distinguished audience that gathered that beautiful morning to listen to him. For me, the most memorable lines of that lecture were his concluding paragraphs. “Nigeria,” he said in reference to our first and second national anthems that have respectively described the country as ‘motherland’ and ‘fatherland’, “is neither my mother nor my father. Nigeria is a child, gifted, enormously talented, prodigiously endowed and incredibly wayward. Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting. I have said somewhere that in my next re-incarnation, I want to come back as a Nigerian again. But I have also in a rather testy mood in a book called The trouble with Nigeria dismissed Nigerian travel advertisements with the suggestion that only a tourist with an addiction to self flagellation (will) pick Nigeria for a holiday. And I mean both. Nigeria needs help; Nigerians have their work cut out for them, to coax this unruly child along the path of useful creative development. We are the parents of Nigeria, not vice-versa. A generation will come if we do our work patiently and well and given luck; a generation will come that will call Nigeria Father or Mother, but not yet.” Achebe’s logic was impeccable; a country is what its citizens make of it, not the other way round. And until a generation of those citizens emerge who can feel proud of what their progenitors have bequeathed to them, the country cannot rightfully lay claim to father- or mother-hood. Few people, if any, would disagree with Achebe that Nigeria is yet to arrive at that happy milestone in its 52 years of independence from British colonial rule. The reason for the country’s failure to do so are many, not least of which is the failure of leadership which Achebe as essayist dwelt on extensively in his now famous little book, The trouble with Nigeria. Of course, the failure of leadership has not been the only trouble with Nigeria, even though it’s arguably the biggest. Also up there with the failure of leadership are problems of ethnicity, corruption and selfishness, all three – and even more - of which seem pervasive not just among our leaders but also among their followers. For Achebe, obviously, the work cut out for Nigerians, whatever their status or profession, is to conquer these and other vices, or contain them at the least. For the writer in Africa the “overall goal”, he says in his latest book, THERE WAS A COUNTRY: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF BIAFRA which has provoked a huge controversy, is “to challenge stereotypes, myths and the image of ourselves and our continent and to recast them through stories – prose, poetry, essays and books for our children.”


T has been more than one year since the National Judicial Council (NJC) under the leadership of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, recommended to President Goodluck Jonathan the suspension of the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Ayo Salami. The recommendation, it will be recalled, was swiftly endorsed. Salami was said to have lied against KatsinaAlu and refused to apologise to him and the NJC. Nine months after the suspension was endorsed, the next CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, led the NJC to reverse itself in May 2012 by recommending the reinstatement of Salami. This time the Presidency baulked, citing court cases standing in the way of the president and disallowing him from riding roughshod over the courts. The nuisance was therefore passed on to the current CJN, Justice Maryam Aloma-Mukhtar, who was sworn in some three months ago, and who, like her pred-

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA

Achebe’s personal history of Biafra

•Prof Achebe

Reading through the book, it seems to me the great writer has failed his own test of challenging stereotypes and myths about, and images of, the various nationalities that make up our country. Instead, he seems to emerge at the end of the book as an Igbo supremacist at worst, or its apologist, at best. Take for example the issue of the nationalist struggle. “The original idea of one Nigeria,” he claims matter-of-factly, “was pressed by leaders and intellectuals from the Eastern Region. With all their shortcomings they had this idea to build the country as one. The first to object were the Northerners, led by the Sardauna, who were followed closely by the Awolowo clique that had created the Action Group.” This was clearly a blatant distortion of history because neither the Sardauna nor Awolowo objected to independence from colonial rule as one Nigeria. What Sardauna objected to was the timing for the simple and understandable reason that for historical reasons the South had a huge head-start over his region in producing the skills required for running the government, and he needed time to do something about the gap. However, whereas the Sardauna objected only to the timing of the demand for independence, every school child knew it was Awolowo’s Action Group through its member, Chief Anthony Enahoro, and not Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s NCNC, that moved the original motion for our independence by 1959.

That AG’s Enahoro moved the motion did not, of course, necessarily mean the party spearheaded the independence struggle. As Achebe said, Zik was a pre-eminent figure in that struggle, even more preeminent than Awo. Surely, however, the writer knew that before Zik there were non-Igbo politicians like Herbert Macaulay, Sir Adeyemo Alakija, Chief Bode Thomas, Kitoye Ajasa, etc – the so-called Black Victorians on account of their English lifestyle and aspirations – who wanted the colonialist to leave. Take again his position that other Nigerians, and even the British ex-colonialists, harboured a visceral hatred of the Igbo because of their successes in life. He does admit some flaws in what he says is the Igbo character which he blames somewhat as the source of this universal envy of the group, but quickly glosses over these in his attempt to blame others for the civil war that led to the deaths of millions of his countrymen in the Biafran enclave. “The British dislike (for the Igbo),” he said in The Guardian silver anniversary lecture I mentioned above, “was demonstrated when they accused the Igbo of THREATENING to break up a nation state they had carefully and labouriously put together.” (Emphasis mine). How anyone, least of all Achebe with all his respect for scholarly rigour, would describe Lt Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu’s declaration of a Republic of Biafra as a mere threat to break up Nigeria simply beggars belief. In his defence of Achebe’s book in an interview in the new newsmagazine, Verbatim, Professor Fabian Osuji, a former minister of education and now the Director-General of the Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu Centre, Owerri, said General Yakubu Gowon was wrong to blame the Igbo for seceding. Gowon, he said, “did say that if there was no secession, there would be no war. Alright, which means that secession led to the war? But he was not honest enough to say what led to the secession.” This, he said, quite rightly, was the pogrom against the Igbo, especially in the North, which made them feel completely insecure outside the East. Osuji’s position merely echoed Achebe’s when he said in his book he believed that following the pogrom in the North which he claimed without stating any evidence was


compounded by the involvement, even connivance of the Federal Government, “secession from Nigeria and the war that followed was inevitable.” However, if Gowon, as Osuji says was not honest enough to say what led to the secession, Osuji himself was not honest enough to say what led to the pogrom. In his Guardian silver anniversary lecture, Achebe does admit, albeit half-heartedly, that the first coup was a remote cause. “In the bitter suspicious atmosphere of the time,” he said, “a naively idealistic coup proved a terrible disaster. It was interpreted WITH PLAUSIBILITY as a plot by the ambitious Igbo of the East to take control of Nigeria from the Hausa-Fulani North.” (Emphasis mine). In his book, however, he failed to admit even the plausibility that the coup was an Igbo coup. Instead, he sought to revive the rationalisation that the coup was meant to rid the country of the corrupt and inept politicians who led the First Republic. Nowhere in the book was there any mention of the fact that mostly senior Northern army officers who had no role in public policy were also targeted and murdered in cold blood. Again nowhere in the book was there any mention of the role of Igbo triumphalism, as exemplified in the so-called unification decree and the manner it was declared without consultation by General J.U.T. Aguiyi-Ironsi, and also as exemplified in the widespread gloating over the manner the Sardauna was killed in his residence by the coup leader, Major Chukwuma Nzegwu Kaduna, played in provoking the pogrom. One highly symbolic example of this triumphalism was recounted by the expatriate managing director of the New Nigerian, Charles Sharp, in an article I have had cause to refer to on these pages. “I,” he said in the article entitled “The story that got away” (New Nigerian, January 20, 2003), “had a personal experience of the arrogance stemming from the South when Cyprian Ekwensi and his committee arrived at the NNN and informed me they were taking over. He wasn’t precise about who ‘they’ were, but a team from Enugu would run the newspapers. I was ordered to terminate the contracts of the expatriate staff and offer my own resignation as managing director. My immediate reaction was one of disregard and silence, for I was in no position to protest or adopt postures.” (This article is highly recommended reading for anyone with any interest in the story of the collapse of the First Republic.) What happened at the NNN, still then owned by the North, was enough to alarm the people of the region, especially their leaders, that their region was now regarded as conquered territory. No doubt, Achebe is a great writer but with his latest serving, he has largely failed the biggest test of good writing which is not just to be highly readable, which THERE WAS A COUNTRY is, but to tell truth to your readers. The truth of our civil war was that there were rights and wrong on both sides of the war. For once, it seems, Achebe chose to speak the truth, at times only half-truths, about one side and gloss over, or even deny, the truth about the other side – his side. •For comments, send SMS to 08023211188


•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Justice Salami’s long-running ordeal

NJC are, it is also obvious that they are reluctant to confront the government. Justice Salami must resist the temptation to make it easy for the troubled conscience of the president, the CJN and the NJC, which agreeing to the cheap and ignoble terms of disengagement will imply. While the altruism of the CJN and the NJC cannot be doubted, only one outcome appears depressingly inevitable in this sordid affair: reinstatement as a prelude to retirement. The Presidency has immobilised its own conscience. But every man of honour, except political partisans, knows that the odds are stacked against Salami in a country that has lost its moral compass and provoked its people into sundry rebellions and lawlessness. Given the disposition of the Presidency and the fanaticism of his enemies, Salami will be forced out one way or the other. Let him choose to depart in a blaze of glory by daring them to retire him themselves and completing the circle of infamy. No other honourable compromise exists.

ecessor, has sworn to remove the blot on the judiciary’s escutcheon, which the Salami case had become. No one is sure the current CJN will succeed in bringing a just and sensible closure to the unseemly affair. One of the new options being considered to settle the case is for Salami to withdraw the suits he filed against the Federal Government and the NJC, be reinstated, and then gracefully retire. This option, according to a report by The Nation a few days ago, would be discussed by the CJN with both the president in order to avoid a conflict with the Executive branch and with Salami after the Sallah break to secure an amicable resolution. Neither the apex court nor the NJC has confirmed the story. While it is feared that a few anti-Salami conspirators are poised to file fresh suits to stall the

reinstatement bid until the PCA attains retirement age next year, it is not even certain that the presidency would buy into this option, nor is anyone sure the PCA himself would be amenable to the deal. What is however sure is that the stalemate has weighed heavily on the conscience of the CJNs and the NJC. Apart from Katsina-Alu who triggered the stalemate, and who couldn’t care less, the other CJNs have made strenuous efforts to bring closure to the case and restore the judiciary’s independence and reputation. There is probably some near unanimity in the NJC concerning the Salami case; but the Presidency has hardly disguised what it thought should be the only outcome of the rigmaroles: it wants Salami out, whether disgraced or with soft landing. As determined as the CJN and the

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The Nation October 24, 2012  

The Nation October 24, 2012

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