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HE Islamist sect,Boko Haram ,has lost one of its major enclaves –the famous Mandara Mountain - in Borno State to soldiers as the assault on the insurgents intensifies across the Northeast. An unspecified number of insurgents were killed in sustained raids in and around the mountain while about 60 were arrested. The troops are still combing the mountain to fish out Boko Haram leaders and fighters believed to be hiding there. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, both of whom have temporarily relocated to Borno State, are personally leading land and air assaults against the sect in Borno . In the midst of the gains, the Defence Headquarters confirmed yesterday its arrest of a suspected terrorist who claims to be a Cameroonian and an arms


Troops capture Mandara Mountain

• Comb caves for Boko Haram fighters •Weapons buried in church recovered Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation/Gbade OGUNWALE,Abuja courier for Boko Haram. The arrest of the suspect has led to the discovery of a large cache of arms and ammunition hidden in the premises of a burnt church. Some of the recovered arms were anti-aircraft guns, rocket propelled guns, General Purpose and other brands of machine guns A top military source,shedding light on the capture of Mandara Mountain said :”As I talk to you, our troops have captured Mandara Mountain and they are combing the caves in the place to smoke out the terrorists.

“During the encounters, many insurgents were killed and an appreciable number of them arrested. “Since Tuesday, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu have been directly in charge of the operation. While the Air Chief is guiding the air operation, the chief of army staff is leading the land campaign. “So, you can see that these service chiefs are providing leadership for the troops in order to ensure that we win the war against the insurgents.” Asked about a letter purportedly written by Boko Haram to the military threatening to attack Maimalari Barracks, the

source said: “The military authorities have not been informed of that but it won’t be strange if they do so because that is their pattern. “They are certainly frustrated because as the operation is continuing their fighters are dying and many members of the Boko Haram have been arrested. “So far, more than 60 insurgents have been arrested in the last five days. We are still on the trail of more of them.” The Defence Headquarters yesterday confirmed the arrest of a Cameroonian who is said to be central to the operation and management of Boko Haram armoury. Spokesman for DHQ, Gen. Chris Olukolade, said: “The arrest of a terrorist who claims to be a

•Assorted weapons recovered from Boko Haram fighters

Man, 36, bags life imprisonment for unlawful cocaine importation


Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday sentenced a 36-year old man to life imprisonment for unlawful importation of cocaine. Calistus Sunday Chukwukelu, who said he had planned to get married later this year, was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on January 1, while returning to the

Eric IKHILAE, Abuja country, via an Ethiopia Airline flight from Sao-Polo, Brazil. He was arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) with 1.470kilogramme of cocaine, and was consequently charged under Section 11 (a) of the NDLEA

Act, which prescribed a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on conviction. When the charge was read to Chukwukelu yesterday, he pleaded guilty, following which he was convicted by Justice Adeniyi Ademola. He consequently pleaded with the court for leniency, saying that he took to the drug trade when his shop, where he sold clothes in Lagos, got burnt.

He also said he had planned to get married this year before he was caught. He said he has an aged mother to cater for. Justice Ademola said his plea of leniency was insufficient to dissuade the court from sentencing him to life imprisonment. The judge held that evidence from his international passport indicated that he was not a novice in the trade. He consequently sentenced Chukwukelu to life imprisonment.

Our credibility level is nose diving , NNPC boss cries out the NNPC Group MD ab-


HE authorities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are greatly disturbed by the public perception of the organization . Group Managing Director of the corporation,Engineer Andrew Yakubu, says public perception of the organization may affect its ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment. Yakubu spoke to reporters in Abuja during a dinner. “We cannot do this business without Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) , without foreign participation. Our credibility level is going down very fast. And unfortunately, it is based on perception,” he said. He added: “ If we continue


at this rate, I am going to tell you something that is very bad. I will ask all of you that if you continue to destroy our economy this way, then pray never to give birth to children because those children are coming to suffer the outcome of our terrible destructive attitudes. “Because it will be difficult for anybody to invest in this country if we continue to destroy our country’s perception. If you are talking of corruption, mention anywhere you don’t have any iota of corruption. But what they do, is that you do it but the law will catch up you

one.” He described corruption as endemic in the country and recalled that when he decided not to influence his daughter’s employment in NNPC his kinsmen said it was a ploy to refuse to assist them. Yakubu noted that “if that is the situation, if you are there and you are not celebrated back home and you don’t do it, is it NNPC that is corrupt? Then we may need to go for a total national cleansing and deliverance.” He challenged Nigerians to point out specific cases of corruption for the NNPC to correct. Asked why the corporation is perceived as corrupt,

solved his team of sharp practices, stressing that oil production and revenue remittance are monitored by different agencies such as the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Customs Service, Department of Petroleum Resources and Weight & Measure of Office, the Central Bank of Nigeria and others. He claimed that sadly, NNPC bears the blame in all Nigerian petroleum related matters. “So I would appeal that if you have any specific case, bring it out, then we will be able to correct it. But we cannot continue when we build you destroy and we will start building. I think we will not be fair.

Cameroonian and an arms courier for the group has led to the discovery of a large cache of arms and ammunition hidden in the premises of a burnt church. “The weapons, which have now been recovered by troops include anti-aircraft guns, rocket propelled guns as well as the General Purpose and other brands of machine guns , were found buried in the premises of one of the churches earlier burnt by terrorists in Kalabalge Local Government Area of Borno state. “Also recovered from the location were thousands of ammunition and links. “The middle aged man who led troops on the cordon and search operation towards the recovery was

one of the terrorists captured in recent raids”. Olukolade said that the weapons were stockpiled to be used in a pending attack on some communities around Nigeria- Cameroon border. The weapons have all been evacuated while Guard locations and patrols are being maintained in the general area and the surrounding localities. The military claims could not be independently verified. On the operation in Borno State, the DHQ said: “ troops have continued with various operations assigned to the formations involved in the counter terrorist campaign. •Continued on Page 57






Witchcraft: Groups seek UN intervention over persecution


•From right: The National Coordinator, Rural Access and Mobility Projects (RAMP), Engr. Ubandimo Ularamu; Kaduna State Coordinator of RAMP, Engr. Musa Tete; and the Director-General (Media), Kaduna State, Alhaji Ahmed Mayaki, at a media workshop organised for journalists in Kaduna recently

UMAN right groups have called for an ur gent United Nations (UN) action on witchcraft accusations and persecution, especially against children in Nigeria and Africa. The groups, 21st Century Witchcraft Accusations and Persecution and Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN) said the UN should to take the urgent action to curb these abuses before the situation gets out of hand. They said: "Thousands of women and children are likely to suffer horrific human rights violations each year due to the practice of accusing them of witchcraft, killing them or offering them as human sacrifices". Executive Director of the WHRIN, Mr. Gary Foxcroft, on their behalf said: "209 horrific cases of witchcraft accusations,

multi-killings for body parts and human sacrifice were recorded on online media in 2013. "The cases make particularly gruesome reading and are undoubtedly the tip of the iceberg of this form of abuse. We don't know exactly how many people across the world have suffered due to these practices. But we do know that this is an emerging issue that needs more attention and constitutes a scar on the face of humanity". He said: "Cases were recorded in 41 countries across all continents with India, Nigeria and South Africa recording particularly high rates of abuse. In India, high rates of human sacrifice were recorded. "In South Africa, cases of killings of people for the use of their body parts in magic prevailed. In Nigeria, numerous cases of children being accused of witchcraft were documented."

Abacha secured 60 false security vote letters to loot CBN —US


HE United States Gov ernment has given more insights into the looting of over $2billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by a former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, and some of his children. The US said Abacha secured 60 false security votes letters to draw money from the CBN. More than $700million of the money was delivered to Mohammed Abacha in bags or boxes full of cash. Some of the cash transferred from the CBN, under the guise of security votes, to foreign accounts included $1.1billion and £413 million (GBP) in cash; $50,465,450; £3,500,000 GBP in traveller’s cheques; and $386, 290, 169 In a document filed by the United States Department in the District and Bankruptcy Courts for the District of Columbia, the US court document, which was exclusively obtained by our correspondent, said in part: “Abacha together with Mohammed Sani Abacha, Bagudu and others, systematically embezzled public funds worth billions of dollars from the CBN on the pretext that the funds were necessary for national security. “After causing the CBN to release the funds, often in cash, Gen. Abacha and Bagudu then moved the funds overseas, including through US financial institutions (the Security Votes Fraud). “Over 60 false security votes letters were addressed to and endorsed by Gen. Abacha, each of which resulted in the withdrawal of Nigeria’s public funds from the CBN. “Subsequently, the funds were deposited into accounts controlled by, or used to purchase assets for the benefit of, Gen. Abacha, Bagudu or other members of the conspiracy.” The document quoted samples of some of the false security votes letters raised by a former National Security Adviser, Aliyu Ismaila Gwarzo. The document said: “By letter, dated June 2, 1994, Gwarzo falsely stated: “In view of the ongoing negative

•’Ex-Head of State stuffed $700m cash in bags for son’ Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation campaign against this country, a small international operation has been mounted to cover it. Please approve as a matter of urgency, the sum of $5million for this operation “By letter dated November 30, 1994, Gwarzo falsely stated:$100m requested to combat an economy that was deflected and distorted through the black market. “By letter, dated August 20, 1996, Gwarzo falsely stated: “In light of the current political situation in the country, coupled with the increase in security operations, there is need for a lot of funds to handle the challenges outlined above such that I require N350million plus $30million and 15million pounds. Please consider the desperate need and approve. “Each of these letters and others like them were endorsed by Gen. Abacha.” The document also gave insights into how the embezzled funds were looted from the CBN and transferred out of the country through United States. The document added: “Shortly after Gen. Abacha’s death, the government of Nigeria established a Special Investigation Panel(SIP), which found that Gen. Abacha and his co-conspirators had used false security votes letters to steal and defraud more than $2billion in public funds, including: (1) at least $1.1billion and £ 413 million (GBP) in cash(2) at least $50,465,450 and £ 3,500,000 GBP in traveller’s cheques; and (3) at least $386, 290, 169 through wire transfers. “The conspirators transported the proceeds of the Security Votes Fraud out of Nigeria to accounts in Europe that were under the conspirators’ private control, including the Rayville and Standard Alliance accounts at Banque SBA, the Eagle Alliance and Mecosta accounts at ANZ (London) and the Mecosta account at Standard Bank as described below. “The CBN staff and other

individuals known and unknown to the United States generally would deliver the currency stolen with the security votes letters to Gwarzo at his residence. “Gwarzo and others acting at his discretion would repackage the currency in secure bags and then deliver it to Gen. Abacha at his residence in Abuja, Nigeria. “Gen. Abacha or those acting at his direction, delivered more than $700million of these funds to Mohammed Abacha in bags or boxes full of cash. “Mohammed Abacha gave the cash he received to

Bagudu, who later arranged for the money to be transferred to accounts controlled by Bagudu and Mohammed Abacha in foreign countries. “Transfers included deposits into accounts in the name of defendants Mecosta, Doraville, Standard Alliance, and Rayville, as well as Eagle Alliance and Harbour Engineering. “In order to move the money overseas, Bagudu deposited the cash proceeds of the Security Votes Fraud into at least one of two Nigerian commercial banks, Union Bank of Nigeria and/ or Inland Bank of Nigeria.”

Bagudu referred to the money deposited into Union Bank and Inland Bank as his “cash swaps.” “Bagudu and/or Mohammed Abacha then instructed Union Bank or Inland Bank to transfer the stolen funds to other accounts under Bagudu or Mohammed Abacha’s control, such as accounts in the name of Mecosta, Rayville and Eagle Alliance. “Inland Bank or Union Bank made the necessary arrangements to transfer the money overseas. The funds were transferred from Union Bank or Inland Bank back to

the CBN to an account held by Union Bank or Inland Bank at the CBN. “The CBN then transferred the funds from the account of Union Bank or Inland Bank to their respective overseas domiciliary accounts held at banks in either London or New York. “The specific London or New York account varied depending on which Nigerian commercial bank had been used in the first instance. “Through these “cash swaps,” at least $137million was transported into and out Continued on Page 5

Boko Haram: APC fires back at PDP

•Show proof of our links with insurgents or shut up


HE All Progressives Con gress (APC) yesterday dared the PDP to urgently make available to Nigerians evidence of the opposition's alleged involvement in the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency or forever shut up ''We have absolutely no hand in this insurgency, and we dare anyone with contrary information to publish such today. It is trite that he who alleges must prove,'' the party declared in a statement in Lagos by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. “In the absence of any evidence, Nigerians will have no choice, but to conclude that the relentless finger-pointing by the PDP/Presidency is a ploy to divert attention from those who are actually behind this insurgency, those who see it as a trump card to 2015 and those who have been benefitting massively from the huge funds being allocated to security,” Alhaji Mohammed said. APC said that the PDP accusation was made within the framework of its plan to frame up the opposition and clamp down on its leaders ahead of the 2015 polls , having realized that it (PDP) cannot possibly win the elections

owning to its appalling record of failure. ''Otherwise, how can the PDP-led federal government claim to have 'evidence of meetings held outside the shores of the country' to violently overthrow the government of President Jonathan, and yet refuse to make such evidence public or arrest and try those involved? Or is it only the riotous spokesman of the ruling party who has the evidence?'' the party queried. Besides,the APC slammed the PDP for suffering from selective amnesia by its warped interpretation of APC's statement, which pointed out to the ruling party that President Jonathan is not the first minority Nigerian leader, hence the people should be spared the boring reference to his ethnic origin. It said:''It is a reflection of PDP's diabolical mind that it only picked out the former minority leaders who are soldiers and left out the name of a former civilian leader. We mentioned three former leaders who are of minority ethnic stock: Tafawa Balewa (Sayewa), Yakubu Gowon (Angas) and Sani Abacha (Kanuri). “Curiously but not unfathomably, the PDP dropped the name of Balewa

and then extrapolated from the fact that we mentioned two former military leaders that we are comparing a democratically-elected President with defunct military dictatorships. This can only be the product of a contorted mind. Good a thing, Nigerians understand better and will not be fooled by such a sickening stretch!'' APC said. The party reiterated its earlier statement that the only reason this insurgency has persisted is the incompetence, cluelessness, inferiority complex and collusion of the presidency. ''First, we heard from no other personality than President Jonathan himself that his cabinet is infested with Boko Haram. Then the PDP started pointing fingers at some imaginary opposition leaders as being behind the insurgency, and now the President has openly admitted his own incompetence by saying his administration has been treating terrorism with kid gloves. ''Pray, where in the world can any battle against terrorism be won when the government is treating such with kid gloves? Need we ask why the government has failed woefully to tackle terrorism in Nigeria? Need we ask why the government has patently ig-

nored all suggestions from us and many Nigerians on how to tackle the terrorists rampaging in the North-east?'' it asked. APC said that the best way to tackle the insurgency in the North lies in developing a discernible counter-terrorism strategy that will clearly identify the multiple means for preventing, responding and defeating terrorist groups, including the alignment of political, military, social and economic instruments and objectives; improving intelligence gathering; de-radicalizing the affected areas; and investing in research that will give more insight into the different aspects of Boko Haram, including its ideology, leadership structure, profile of members, internal organization, sources of funding and weapons and links to diaspora. It also stressed the need to widen the scope of Nigeria’s response to include the subregional bloc ECOWAS and the continental body African Union, especially since Boko Haram has assumed a regional dimension; the need for a Marshall Plan of sorts for the North-east, “not the paltry 2 billion Naira which the FG provided as recovery fund to the six North-east states, at least four of which are worsehit by the insurgency.”





RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has come un der severe pressure from groups and individuals to save Interior Minister Abba Moro from being axed following last weekend’s stampede at the Immigration Service’s recruitment centres across the country. About 19 job seekers died in the stampede which the minister blamed on the applicants. He said they were impatient during the exercise, sparking outrage from many Nigerians. President Jonathan, earlier in the week, summoned and queried Moro and the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr. David Parradang, on the development. Moro is said to have been shattered by the situation. Some ministers and notable leaders from the Middle Belt, especially Plateau and Benue, have been contacted to reach out to the President’s friends with a view to pleading his case. A source from Middle Belt said: “Some emissaries from the Middle Belt have even trailed the President abroad to discuss Moro’s issue with him. “They are demanding fair hearing for Moro before any action is taken. They are also pressurizing Moro to open up and release relevant information to the public. “They said they want the President to give Moro a second chance because the minister’s recourse to a transparent process backfired last Saturday. It was gathered yesterday

Immigration job stampede: Jonathan under pressure to save Interior Minister •Middle Belt leaders wade in •President awaits David Mark’s return Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation that the President was awaiting the return of Senate President David Mark from abroad before deciding Moro’s fate. The minister is believed to have been nominated by Mark. The President wants to make security reports on the job stampede available to Mark in deference to his office before wielding the big stick,sources said. The minister was said to be in “bad shape”, battling for survival. A source in the presidency, however, said it is difficult to “overlook” Moro’s costly mistake irrespective of political pressure. According to findings, the President would have sanctioned the minister and others connected with the tragic recruitment exercise, but chose to respect the office of the President of the Senate, Chief David Mark, by making all security reports available to him on Moro. It was also gathered that the President wanted due process followed before asking Moro to quit. There were indications that

the President had been expecting a comprehensive brief from Moro on the incidents in various venues nationwide; how the recruitment was outsourced to a consulting firm; and the true position on the alleged non-involvement of some critical stakeholders in the exercise. A source in the presidency said: “The President believes that he should lay all the facts and security on the table for Mark, who nominated Moro into the cabinet. “The President of the Senate is away to Geneva for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting. In a political environment like this, the President does not want to remove Moro without ‘adequate’ briefing. “The worst scenario is to give the President of the Senate another opportunity to nominate a fresh candidate. “The truth is that the President has made up his mind to sanction those behind the job stampede and deaths. There are governance standards all over the world. Overlooking such a matter will not help the image of the administration. Asked why the President has not acted, the source added: “If you look at the

‘Abacha secured 60 false security vote letters to loot CBN’ Continued from Page 4 of the United States, and into accounts held in the name of the defendant corporations.” The document listed 16 accounts and assets to be forfeited by Gen. Abacha and his associates. The Department of Justice added: “On November 18, 2013, the prosecutor filed a forfeiture action in the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to forfeit the proceeds of money laundering and corruption offences related to the investigation of General Abacha and his associates. “The properties sought to be forfeited by U.S. authorities include the following assets (collectively, the Defendant Properties): •All assets held in account number 80020796, in the name of Doraville Properties Corporation, located at Deutsche Bank International Limited in the Bailwick of Jersey, and all interests, benefits, or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in account number S-104460, in the name of Mohammed Sani, at HSBC Fund Administration (Jersey) Limited in the Bailwick of Jersey, and all interest benefits, or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in account number 223405880IUSD, in the name of Rayville International, S.A, at Banque SBA in Paris, France and all interest benefits or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in account number 223406510PUSD, in the name of Standard Alliance Financial Services Limited located at Banque SBA in Paris, France and all interest benefits, or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in account

numbers 10030688 and 100138409, in the name of Mecosta Securities, at Standard Bank in the United Kingdom, and all interests, benefits or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in HSBC Life (Europe) formerly held in account number 37060762 in the name of Mohammed Sani at Midland Life International Limited, and all interests, benefits or asset traceable thereto; •All assets in account number 38175076, in the name of Mohammed Sani, at HSBC Bank Plc, and all interests, benefits or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in the name of Blue Holding (1) Pte. Ltd., on behalf of or traceable to Ridley Group Limited and/or the Ridley Trust, at J.O Hambro Investment Management Limited in the United Kingdom and all interests, benefits, or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in the name of Blue Holding (2) Pte. Ltd., on behalf of or traceable to Ridley Group Limited and/or the Ridley Trust, at J.O Hambro Investment Management Limited in the United Kingdom and all interests, benefits or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in the name of Blue Holding (1) Pte. Ltd., on behalf of or traceable to Ridley Group Limited and/or the Ridley Trust, at James Hambro and Partners LLP, in the United Kingdom, and all interests, benefits or assets traceable thereto; •All assets held in the name of Blue Holding (2) Pte. Ltd., on behalf of or traceable to Ridley Group Limited and/or the Ridley Trust, at James Hambro and Partners LLP, in the United Kingdom and all interests, benefits or assets

traceable thereto; •Doraville Properties Corporation, a corporate entity registered in the British Virgin Islands, together with all its assets and all property traceable thereto; •Mecosta Securities, Inc., a corporate entity registered in the British Virgin Islands, together with all its assets and all property traceable thereto; •Rayville International, S.A, a corporate entity registered in the British Virgin Islands, together with all its assets and all property traceable thereto; •Ridley Group Limited, a corporate entity registered in the British Virgin Islands, together with all its assets and all property traceable thereto; and •Standard Alliance Financial Services Limited, a corporate entity registered in the British Virgin Islands, together with all its assets and all property traceable thereto; “Following the filing of the Verified Complaints, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued sixteen warrants of arrest in rem, ordering the restraint of each of the Defendant Properties. “The prosecutor has sought the enforcement of the warrants of arrest in rem in France, Jersey, British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom. “The prosecutor is now required to provide notice of the U.S. forfeiture proceedings to Mohammed Sani Abacha, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Dumez Nigeria Plc. “Additionally, in order to enforce the warrants of arrest in rem for property located in the United Kingdom, the prosecutor must provide record of the U.K proceedings to Mohammed Sani Abacha and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.”

President’s style, he does not go by the mob or the spur of the moment; he takes his time to act. This case will not be an exception. “Moro has the choice of toeing the honourable path of resigning or remaining in the cabinet to be sacked. “But definitely, the game is up for Moro from whatever perspective you think of it. He is the accounting officer of the Ministry of Interior.” Responding to a question, the source said: “There have been overtures from some gov-

ernors and leaders from the Middle Belt to the President to give Moro a soft-landing or a second chance. “There is no way the President will gloss over such a costly mistake which led to the death of about 20 applicants. “Politics aside, there is moral code all over the world guiding public officers.” Moro and Parradang are preparing for their appearance before the Senate and House of Representatives next week. Another source said: “Moro

appears to be central to the issue at stake having been fingered in the recruitment crisis by other stakeholders. That is why the minister has been digging up all necessary files to absolve himself of blame. “The minister has the last chance at the National Assembly next week to clear the air on this job stampede. “Some people have been trying to ask Moro and the Immigration Service to close ranks on this probe, but there is no sign that all is well.”

Fresh fuel scarcity looms as marketers battle over leadership


leadership tussle in the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) is threatening to spark a fresh fuel scarcity in the country,according to indications yesterday. In contention is the presidency of the association which the incumbent National President, Alhaji Aminu Abdulkadir said yesterday was being claimed by former South-East Zonal Chairman, Obasi Lawson. Alhaji Abdulkadir told reporters yesterday in Abuja that Lawson ignored a court order procured by IPMAN restraining him from parading himself as president of IPMAN and proceeded to obtain "another order from a court of similar jurisdiction in Port-Harcourt and said the court appointed him as president of the association." Lawson’s action,he claimed,

John OFIKHENUA, Abuja could erode marketers’ confidence in the association and impact negatively on product supply. His words: "For those our members who would not understand these technicalities that is why we are afraid that it may affect the flow of product supply in this country if it is not checked on time.” He said: "I think with this his action, if not checked through the media like this today, it could cause serious disruption. That is what informed this press conference so that we restore confidence into our members so that they can pay in their money, they can lift their product without having losses." He said Lawson failed to

appeal the May 9, 2013 verdict of Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Benin-City, but chose to approach a different court of same competent jurisdiction. Abdulkadir recalled that the last fuel scarcity was prompted by "a small problem that we had in the industry. The chains of lines attached to these refineries, we have about four refineries in Nigeria so sometime, when one or two are hit by vandals we have contraction of supply internally in the hinterland. "So we will be left with no option than to move these products from the coast to land. By so doing, you are congesting the jetties, congesting the oil terminals. Therefore, we cannot achieve the capacity to move products 100% by road haulage."





Talking of idle funds reminds me of the story I read about a suit by the Bayelsa State government, asking the EFCC to return the money - 1.4 bn naira - seized from the former Governor of the state, Diprieye Alamieyesagha, to the coffers of the Bayelsa State

want to show today that corruption and terrorism are two sides of the same coin, in that both tend to take by guile, greed or force what does not belong to the practitioners of either vice. Corruption takes the short corner to sidetrack the law and enrich the crook at the expense of the society. Terrorism sucks in innocent blood to get negative publicity or notoriety and achieve its bloody objective. Today however I want to show that both are the most dangerous and pervasive crimes and vices plaguing the civilised world as we know it today. For starters, I deliberately cast my net globally, to show that contrary to the normal chest beating of Nigerians that their nation is the most corrupt in the world just, as we once thought that Nigerians were the happiest people on earth because a US magazine said so, corruption in Nigeria may take a back seat given some of the issues on corruption we will analyse today. This does not mean that any nation can still outsmart Nigeria on vintage corruption per se. Our record here stays intact given last week end’s Nigerian Immigration Service NIS- recruitment drive in which 1m unemployed youths paid 1000 naira per application form, for a vacancy of 3000 and 18 of them died in a stampede at the Abuja National Stadium during the recruitment exercise. I doubt if any nation in the whole wide world treats its youths, the future of any nation, with such callous indifference and brutal levity resulting in the premature deaths of young people, just because they want to earn a living and fend for themselves. I wonder if any restitution can ever atone for this monumental corruption of human capital sourcing and development, which has made a dark mark on Nigeria’s image amongst right thinking people in the world at large. Surely, the Minister of Interior and the NIS DG did not throw bombs but their recruitment strategy killed the flower of our youths just because they want to work under them. If that is not another form of terrorism then I need to be corrected. On stark terrorism however I still think Boko Haram remains the bloodiest and most callous terrorist group on earth given the killings of the 59 sleeping school boys in Birni Yadu. And, from all indications, their bloody stain on Nigeria’s sovereign reputation remains a crimson red on the white of Nigeria’s green and white flag in the comity of nations. It is in that light therefore that I will consider the Nigerian National Security Adviser’s new strategic approach on counter terrorism called Soft Approach to Counter Terrorism launched this week in Nigeria. The Nigerian soft approach to terrorism as articulated by the NSA says that Boko Haram was being funded by a wealthy minority bent on creating havoc between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria and the Soft Approach to terrorism will counter that and expose Boko Haram as indeed anti Islamist. Surely this is a pragmatic approach that has my total support as it means all hands will be on deck in the North and South to ensure that Boko Haram does not disintegrate Nigeria. This approach seems in tandem with what President Goodluck Jonathan told his hosts in Windhoek , Namibia this week on a visit to that nation with his wife. The Nigerian president admitted that he had treated Boko Haram with kid gloves and explained to his hosts that the Boko Haram menace has affected only three out of


‘ Corruption, counter terrorism and restitution Nigeria’s many 36 states. While I admire the objective of the Soft Approach to terrorism as a counter terrorism strategy I pray that it will not be a continuation of the regretted kid gloves strategy that has made Boko Haram a household word for terror both in Nigeria and globally. The Soft Approach should compliment a robust and decisive military offensive that sends Boko Haram scampering like desert rats back into the arid Sahel from where it swept most unexpectedly into our Northern cities bringing blood, murder and tears. While still discussing terrorism, it will certainly astound the global business community to read what I am saying next. I am saying that Toyota of Tokyo, Japan and Boko Haram of Nigeria may be birds of the same feather. While Boko Haram is known for its bloody terrorism, no less a personality than Eric Holder the Attorney General of the US took Toyota to the cleaners for the mendacity of its corporate leaders in covering up mistakes on its floor mats and brakes of Toyota brands, which led to unintended acceleration and threatened the safety of millions of global Toyota car buyers and users. At the end Toyota admitted hiding safety defects on its cars between 2009 and 2010 and paid a whopping $1.2 bn to the US authorities to prevent further litigation and prosecution on the matter. Car makers making mechanical mistakes leading to recalls can be a dangerous night mare for car buyers not to talk of trying to cover up at the expense of the safety of millions of innocent car buyers. Buying the Toyota brand all over the world. Is this not case of corporate corruption tinged with some form of corporate terrorism.? I wonder if a recall is sufficient restitution in this regard as the buyer is denied usage of the car which has not lived up to the buyers’ expectation at the time of purchase, thereby casting a doubt on the integrity of the Toyota brand. Definitely the huge fine would be a deterrent but it should have been used to reinforce customer service and product quality at Toyota, and not lying idle at the US Ministry of Justice. Talking of idle funds reminds me of the story I read about a suit by the Bayelsa State government, asking the EFCC to return the money - 1.4 bn naira - seized from the former Governor of the state, Diprieye Alamieyesagha, to the coffers of the Bayelsa State. Now, to refresh our memory, this was the Governor that the incumbent President of Nigeria succeeded as Governor after the ex Governor was arrested and tried for money laundering and jailed abroad from where he escaped dressed like a woman to Nigeria. Now the money seized was for embezzlement and corruption and his state is asking for the return of the money as belonging to the state in, what looks like a genuine restitution. But the former Governor is said to be about the most influential politician in the state for now. So it is easy to see the destination of the Bayelsa returned money and restitution. And yet Nigeria is fighting corruption tooth and nail according to government spokesmen. Still on the fight against corruption, it is nice to know that

as at the time the Centenary Celebration was going in Nigeria, some US attorneys released details of the stolen money stashed away in foreign accounts by former head of state ex General Sanni Abacha. I read then that the president said that the former military ruler was honoured with a Nigerian Centenary Award because the nation made the greatest economic growth during his tenure, hence the award. I find this very unacceptable for the simple fact that many books on money laundering and finance have always mentioned the kleptocracy and profligacy of the Abacha regime in a way that is shameful to the Nigerian nation. Such facts should be sufficient to keep Abacha’s name out of any Centenary’s Honor List. To now use economic growth as an index of performance and honor for him, is to white wash looting and embezzlement and give a bad name to Nigeria in the comity of nations in terms of measurement and recognition of transparency, integrity and public accountability. However as I mentioned before corruption is not Nigerian disease alone and I want to look at S /Africa and Guatemala in this regard. In S/Africa the anti corruption czar has accused the incumbent President Jacob Zuma of using about $23.4m of state funds unethically to renovate his rural residence where he added a ranch and other facilities recently. This revelation has come near election time in May and Zuma’s party, the ANC is still expected to win. This is not because S/Africans condone corruption as in Nigeria but for the simple reason that the ANC is the party of Nelson Mandela and is able to win 80% of the votes cast in any election in that nation anytime. But definitely President Zuma will sit up and I expect him to offer some restitution but since this is his final second term he will have to continue in office with his head bowed while still exercising power. But then I doff my hat to the brave S /African anti corruption chief for stating the facts so loud and clear, no matter whose ox is gored. In Guatemala however Alfonso Portillo a former head of state from 2000 to 2004 who stashed stolen money in the US was not so lucky as the US authorities not only exposed him but tried and jailed him for taking a $2.5m bribe while in office to recognise Taiwan. Now you have to wonder why and how a president in Latin America can take bribe over the recognition of a foreign nation in Asia and think that the world of diplomacy and the international community will not know. The man being a president could not have been broke. This obviously shows how greed can fan the acquisitive tendencies of powerful people such that it gets to a stage that they cannot resist the challenge of taking or stealing what is not theirs or stop doing what is illegal in the hope that detection will not be their lot. Surely for this former Guatemalan president the lesson to learn is that though the mills of justice may grind slowly, they grind exceedingly fine.



Why can’t Moro just shut it up? Knucklehead Yomi M Odunuga OST citizens cannot help but conclude that these ones are out to get whatever they could chop off the national cake before the tray moves to another station. In fact, I would have been shocked if some of the delegates to the National Conference had not evolved an ingenious strategy aimed at cajoling the government to cough out more than the N7bn budgeted for their three-month talk shop. In a country where millions of people jostle for jobs meant for a couple of thousands, it is benumbing that some of these ‘patriots’ did not see anything wrong with asking the government to take care of the allowances of their aides and hangers-on. They even argue over such petty things as sitting arrangements. Despite the outrage that has greeted the humongous pay that the unelected delegates are to receive for the threemonth show in Abuja for accommodation and ‘logistics’, it beats one hollow that these persons could still make a brazen request to fix extra-logistical issues. I doff my fedora for the Secretary of the Conference, Dr. Valerie-Janette Azinge, for spilling it out that there was no provision for such excesses as issues relating to feeding, accommodation and transportation have been monetised by the government. I believe that should put a final nail on any further request. At least if these delegates, which comprised mostly of privileged Nigerians with a long record of feeding fat on the government, cannot take a cue from a couple of others who have declined to receive the three-month N12m per delegate largesse, they should not be allowed to play Oliver Twist on a government with an abysmal record in bookkeeping and accounting! Besides, has any of the delegates given a thought to what N12m could do in the life of any of the 19 unfortunate job-seekers that died in the Nigeria Immigration Service job recruitment exercise some few days to the inauguration of the National Conference by President Goodluck Jonathan? Any of the unfortunate 'lads' (apologies to Jonathan) that died in that scandalous job recruitment scam could have started a life-saving business with just N100,000 or less if they ever had the opportunity of having access to such huge sum. But in a society with millions of unemployed youths deprived of any social security policy, it is sad that some government agents and officials still see nothing wrong in what has turned out to be a grand design to extort money from them in the name of job recruitment exercise. As I write this, there has been no word on what has happened to the over N700,000m 'processing' fee that was collected from the applicants in the ill-fated Nigeria Immigration Services job scam. Even from The Presidency, mum has been the word. The identity of the consultant, initially rumoured to be linked to the wife of a top shot at the National Assembly, has equally been shrouded in secrecy. Of course, one must acknowledge that, this time, Jonathan indeed acted swiftly by announcing a number of palliative measures both for the families of the dead, the injured and all the applicants. Yet, quite a number of Nigerians readily admit that the President's gesture fell short of the expected minimum, especially with his loud silence on punishing those responsible for the tragic incident. It is simply not enough for the government to announce three job slots in the NIS for the families of the 19 victims of Saturday's bungled job recruitment exercise and dash the over 50 injured applicants with automatic employment as immigration officers. Beyond the outright cancellation of the exercise and the presidential order for a fresh recruitment process that would be transparent and less distressing, Nigerians had expected the government to identify and punish those behind the ill-treatment of thousands of its jobless tribe. They want to know the rationale for collecting struggling citizens’ money for services that were never rendered while humiliating, dehumanising and even, audaciously seeing to the killing of job-seekers. No matter how bad things have gone in Nigeria, the conduct of an exam, regardless of the number of participants, should not pose problems to any organisations. It could have been farmed out to such bodies like the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, the National Examinations Council, the National Business and Technical Examinations Board, the West African Examinations

Council or even the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. These, among many others, have the requisite competence to supervise such exams. With specific reference to the NIS sham job recruitment exercise, those responsible could have adopted a number of measures that could have prevented the ugly situation that played out last Saturday. They could, for instance, have split the participants based on their qualifications, age and sex and allot different days for the exercise, having witnessed an incident of tragic consequences some years back when applicants were lumped together at the same venue. They could also have instructed the IT consultants for the exercise to create a platform through which the applicants would access the aptitude tests online and equally get a feedback online. With online short-listing, there would have been no need to invite all the applicants to different venues across the federation on the same day to write an exam on white T-shirts and sandals. All it requires is common sense which, sadly, is not so common, especially when the overriding aim is to extort money from the unemployed. To say the least, the stampede that led to the death of these Nigerians was avoidable. Perhaps, Nigerians, especially its teeming unemployed and unemployable youths, would have been less combative on this matter if the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, had not chosen to add a disingenuous insult to the grave injury inflicted on their psyche through the exercise. For a man who prided himself as having a long history of fighting for justice, equity and fairness as a labour leader, Moro's elementary understanding of empathy in times of crisis was put to test on the day of the tragedy and he woefully failed that test. Even his principal, who is known to be a perennial failure in acting proactively, would have fared better. At least, since Moro and the other culprits appeared to have opted to close their eyes to past tragic precedents, I had expected them to have cogent, believable and incontrovertible reasons to justify their idiocy. And if it turned out to be one of those human failings that tend to diminish the good in us, I would have expected a remorse that comes right from within. Not less from Moro, who superintends over a ministry with a wellknown record of money-for-job scams! Rather than accept responsibility for the bungled exercise, Moro would insensitively shift the blame to those who were the direct victims of his mental vacuity. Speaking in Jos, the Plateau State capital, where he had gone to monitor the exercise, Moro was quoted as saying: "The applicants lost their lives due to impatience; they did not follow the laid down procedures spelt out to them before the exercise. Many of them jumped through the fences of affected centres and did not conduct themselves in orderly manner to make the exercise a smooth one. This caused stampede and made the environment unsecured." By the way, this statement was made shortly after he was informed of the death of 7 applicants made up of five women and two men in Abuja. Although Moro tried to do some sort of damage control after activists descended on him on the social media, this also fell short of irreducible minimum. Still playing the ostrich in an event bearing his full finger prints, Moro gloated in a television interview, saying: "“I have been a labour man before I became a Minister here and I know what it takes. Every step that we have taken was out of a patriotic desire to ensure that every Nigerian has an opportunity of being enlisted. It is unfortunate that the poor management of crowd led to the death of people." If not that Knucklehead has a fair idea of the individual the former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, likened to "being drunk on something" for berating her role in the crashed Associated Airline last year in Lagos, I would have sworn that Stella was also talking about Moro. So, there was stampede and there was a master plan for crowd control. Then, who should be blamed for the dereliction of duty that tragically became apparent? The dead? The injured? The crowd who would stop at nothing to write the test and participate fully in the physical drill? The organisers who left just one small gate open for thousands of applicants, thereby setting the stage for cheap death? Or a minister who ignored the advice of the NIS board and went on to recruit an IT consultant to design an infallible recruitment platform that ended up snuffing lives out 19 promising


E-mail:yomi.odunuga SMS only: 07028006913 Nigerians? I hate to call them 'lads' as the President wont because that was a slip that ought not to happen if we truly care about the life of any Nigerian, regardless of his status in the society. Back to Moro, common sense should dictate that he should keep his mouth shut for a while if The Presidency has not deemed it fit to kick him out for such utterly insensitive verbal recklessness. Obviously, he is yet to come to terms with the reality that, on this matter, he remains the villain. That can only be the logical explanation for the incredulous vomit by one of Moro’s aides, Mallam Salisu Dantata Muhammed, who told newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday that the unfortunate incident should be blamed on, wait for it, doctors, nurses, bankers, teachers and others in paid employment who desire to cross to Immigration Services at all cost. Don't shout 'Ha' yet. Muhammed was to continue with his illogic by rationalising that: The unexpected huge crowd shattered the near perfect arrangements Moro and his officials had put in place against anticipated huge crowd; that the Interior Ministry made adequate provisions for the expected mammoth crowd at the National Stadium meant to conveniently sit 75,000 people; that more than 45 per cent of those who eventually turned up were not supposed to be at the centres; 520,000 applied for the recruitment exercise across the federation; that applicants totalling 68,000 were to be at the Abuja Stadium but nearly 70 per cent of non-applicants forced their way into the stadium; security personnel drawn from the Immigration, Civil Defence, Prisons, Fire Services and others to complement the Police were overpowered as many of them got impatient and became very desperate to get attention, and the crowd got more desperate when they learnt that they could get foreign service postings and then become pensionable! Unfortunately, this truckload of untenable excuses simply does not hold water. Personally, I congratulate Moro for having the courage to gum his butt to that seat, probably assured by his principal that he would get a slap on the wrist for inadvertently sending 19 young lives to early graves. After all, those 19 lives have been able to generate 57 jobs for their families while paying the supreme price. Well, that's okay. But since he has refused to tread with caution in the midst of the dead, will Moro equally respond to the allegation by a member of the NIS Board that he not only ignored an advice not to go on with the deadly recruitment process but that he singlehandedly engaged the consultant which fixed N1,000 ‘administrative charges’? Will Moro tell us why all the over 500,000 applicants got was 40 kobo bulk SMS message informing them that: "Exams into Nigeria Immigration Service holds Sat. Mar 15, 20014 at 7am in your preferred exam state. Contact your state command for more info!?" If this is not shoddiness at its peak, then what is? And so, of Moro would not be humble enough to resign and if his principal thinks throwing jobs at the families of the dead and injured should keep them quiet, can he please spare the rest of us the anguish of listening to jaundiced and vexatious statements by keeping his mouth permanently shut on this matter? Seriously, he needs not waste his spittle on a matter in which the government has decided to keep mum on what happened to the millions of Naira that was raked in from hapless job seekers. We know where to draw the line and Moro should just keep his peace and save us the needless agony of unending official tactlessness and vacuous tantrums!

Delta polls: A second look at zoning INCE Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Chief Edwin Clark led PDP chieftains to the Wadata plaza, headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP ), in what many have interpreted to signpost a new beginning in the party at the state level ahead of 2015 elections, series of events have occurred suggesting a bumpy ride to the Government House in Asaba. The resignation of Goddey Orubebe from the President Goodluck Jonthan’s cabinet and subsequent entry into the governorship race in Delta State is one of such events. The coming on board of Kenneth Gbagi, though a serial gubernatorial aspirant from Delta Central, into the race is another. Both men represent two zones that have produced governors before. The southern zone is the present occupiers of that seat. Before now, the rumour mills had it that Orubebe will run. It gained crescendo when he had an open altercation sometime last year with Chief Clark over the elder statesman’s comment chiding Orubebe’s governorship bid. But now that he has come out to throw his hat in the ring, it is pertinent to revisit the party’s zoning formula which is the best approach in ensuring a win-win situation in a compromise federal or state political structure. More so, when he is a known PDP member who shouted himself hoarse in the defence of the party zoning arrangement while campaigning for President Jonathan’s election in 2011 and even for the yet to be held 2015 Presidential election. But by joining the race, however, Goddey Orubebe, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, may be angling to alter the zoning arrangement in line with the school of thought which holds that the Ijaw, itsekiri and Isoko that make up the Delta South Senatorial District are dialectically different and to that extent, the Itsekiri man who is the incumbent governor, cannot be said to filled the Southern zone quota in the zoning arrangement, hence the need to run in 2015. Those canvassing these views have not given a thought to the other zones like the Delta North Senatorial District that has not occupied that seat. Historically, the people of that zone also have dialectical differ-



Amaechi UDEMBA


ences. Be that as it may, they have provided a cozy ambience for the Central and South to run the State since 1999. If equity is the reason for the proponents of the zoning arrangement, it is not proper to deny that zone which has stood aloof for 16 years. If we look deeper, it can be confirmed that sometime in 2006 political groups like the G3 and the Delta South Elders Forum had championed the need for power to shift to Delta South in line with the zoning policy. Fittingly, the G3 which comprises the lsoko, Ijaw and Itsekiri politicians of the Southern zone hinged their clamour for power shift on PDP zoning policy. Even more fittingly, Professor Abednego Ekoko and the late Pa James Otobo had, through the Delta South Elders Forum, told journalists at a press conference in Warri on 30th June 2006, that for fair play, justice and equity, the region should be supported by all “lovers of justice”. In light of the foregoing, the zoning policy of the PDP has promoted equity in the polity. It has given all a sense of belonging. Though some persons may say that zoning is inelegant when it does not favour them, to some other persons these proponents are only being economical with the truth; more so, when it favours them they describe it as a trend desirable for the promotion of the “greatest happiness for the greatest number of people”. Some other opinions hold that zoning promotes mediocrity. If precedence is any guide, it does appear to be otherwise. Would one ascribe mediocrity to the achievements of lbori and Uduaghan’s administration? Those achievements, are they not works of experienced hands? If those canvassing these views agree that they are, is it not preposterous to attribute mediocrity to zoning? At the national level, President Goodluck Jonathan is a product of zoning and his achievements and failures are there for people to judge depending on the parameters for assessment.

By this and other acts, zoning remains the strongest re-assurance of fairly peaceful governorship continuation in such a compromised political structure as Delta State. On the basis of estimation, Delta North Senatorial district has people of proven track records and integrity to give the PDP the best governorship candidates who are sellable to the Central and South, acceptable to the Urhobos, Ijaws, lsokos, and the lteskiris, bridge-builders that have the trust and confidence of the people of Central and South. To get it right, the Anioma Congress, the apex umbrella of the Anioma people have put in place a soul searching selection team whose job is to bring out an experienced, competent, tested and trusted Anioma son or daughter for the good of the state. Judging from their passion and pedigree, the likes of Chief Chuks Ochonogor, Dr Chris Agbobu, Professor J. Alika, Professor Sam Ukala, Ejiofor Onyia, Dr Juliet Onaeko (this list not exhaustive) will do a good job. The fact remains that only one person will be a governor. It is therefore expected that the one selected should be rallied around by others to project a common front. But looking at the criteria for selection, public opinion and political stakeholders view from Delta North tend to tilt to a serving Senator from Delta North, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; that however is not say that other political contenders from Delta North are pushovers. But much of the decision for the district choice has been shifted to the Anioma Congress. Whatever the outcome of their decision, it will go a long way to determine who the Anioma people will promote for the governorship race. That way, the divisive plot of anti- zoning proponents in our state may crumble going by the resolve to speak in one voice at least for the first time by the people of Delta North. Let us bear in mind the wise counsel that “it is more difficult to break a broom, but a lot easier to break when it is fragmented.” • Udembap is a public analyst based in Asaba.












Uja EMMANUEL, Makurdi









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‘Lagos taking on mega city status’ In the last three years, the Lagos State Government has initiated more than 367 inner-city roads, currently at different stages of completion. Despite its constrains by the growing slide in its allocation from the Federation Account, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, has expressed the state government’s commitment to completing the roads before the end of this year. SEGUN AJIBOYE writes ROM Alimosho to Ikeja, the story is the same. AmuwoOdofin to Ogba, and across the state, Lagos is gradually taking up the status of a mega city, with constructions of different shapes and sizes going on simultaneously. Lagos is gradually wearing new looks, with the residents getting a feel of the state government in varying degrees. The state’s Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, ascribed the trend to the inevitability of change, which, according to him, “is destined to witness from age to age.” Even though there may be discontentment in some quarters, the commissioner acknowledged that Lagos residents “are living witnesses to the state’s urban renewal projects.” Hamzat, therefore, explained what the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) “has been doing in the last three years to overhaul Lagos inner-city roads,” which, he said, was a multi-pronged strategy designed to make domestic trips enjoyable in the metropolis; drain water off the streets when it rains heavily and provide other road users, especially pedestrians, walkways in order to reduce cases of accident. Already, about 367 inner-city roads with a total length of 350.686 kilometres were awarded in 2011. Of the awarded roads, no fewer than 161 with a length of 147.347 kilometres have been completed and about 211 with a length of 211.339 are under different stages of completion in the same year. This figure does not include about 58 road inner-city road projects awarded in 2013 with a length of 64.527 kilometres. In 2014, also, about 31 new roads will awarded while 17 others will be graded and resurfaced. At this instance, the goals are gradually becoming real. A recent inspection to different parts of the state demonstrates the administration’s strong will to complete about 367 inner-city roads, possibly before the end of 2015. Among the roads inspected was Joel Ogunnaike road in Ikeja GRA, which is


being redeveloped to a dual carriageway. Already, 52 percent completed, according to Hamzat, the road comes with standard drainage channel. Besides, the nightmare often experienced by residents of Ejigbo and Idimu in the past years is gradually fading away with the construction of Idimu-Ejigbo road. Now 50 percent completed, the road is indeed strategic because it connects Ikotun-Isheri and Egbe-Isolo roads. Obviously, its completion will redirect traffic flow, thereby providing viable alternatives for commuters going to Idimu, Shasha, Igando, Egbeda, Iba and Isheri from the Isolo and Cele routes. Over the years, the commissioner acknowledged, the IdimuEjigbo road has been deplorable due to non-functional drainage system, thereby causing untold hardship for commuters, motorists and other road users on the axis. Awarded in 2012 precisely, Hamzat explained that the road “is being redeveloped to add value to lives and properties at the instance of streetlight service ducts and drainage systems included in the project.” Like other roads in Alimosho at large, the deplorable state of Meiran road generated concerns in the media and among several communities that the road links together. But their concerns have been duly addressed. If completed, commuters going to Ayobo, Ipaja, Baruwa and other adjoining communities from Sango, Otta and Ifo among others no longer necessarily need to get to Iyana-Ipaja. Such commuters can connect their destinations through Meiran road en route AjasaCommand road. About 78 percent completed, the Meiran road has also been redeveloped to a dual carriageway, which Hamzat said, comes with walkways, streetlights, standard drainage system and service ducts among other facilities. Critical too is the Mosalashi-Ipaja-Ayobo road, which, according to him, has

been 70 percent reconstructed. Already, a substantial portion of the road has been pave-stoned and drainage works almost completed. With a total length of 7.2 kilometres, the road is critical among about 69 road projects allocated to Alimosho, the state’s most populated area, between 2011 and 2013. Apparently, the commissioner explained the diverse challenges the reconstruction of the road “really addresses,” noting that it would reduce travel time, open up adjoining communities, abate erosion and flooding and enhance property value along the corridoer. But its reconstruction has not been without challenges, about which residents along the route have been complaining. Hamzat put the challenges in three perspectives, which include bad weather resulting in perennial flooding on the road; relocation of essential services that fall within the road alignment and removal of obstructing structures erected on the right of way. However, according to him, “we are really responding to these challenges.” In Ikorodu, about 15 road projects are underway, which include Obafemi Awolowo road, Ring road in Imota and Mile 12-Ikorodu road, which Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East Senatorial District, said is the biggest road project Ikorodu has ever got since the return to civil rule in 1999. Ibeshe road, also in Ikorodu, has been completed, thereby giving hope to the state’s dream of the area the pride of Lagos megacity. As it was observed during a recent visit, the Ring road in Imota is already 86 percent completed; Obafemi Awolowo road 82 percent work done; and Mile 12-Ikorodu road about 55 percent, which Hamzat said, demonstrated the state government’s commitment to changing public perception about the state of roads in the metropolis and suburbs alike and working by the day to brighten the hope of Africa’s emerging model megacity. However, something is notable about the reconstruction of Ring road in Imota, which Hamzat ascribed to its great socioeconomic value. He, therefore, said the road would provide alternative access “to the Lagos State Rice Processing Mill located along Igbokuta road. It will also redirect traffic flow from Ikorodu-Itoikin road into streets and other minor roads in Imota and will attract rapid development to the community.”      Across the state, a good number of inner-city roads are being reconstructed. In Badagry, seven road projects are underway. One of such roads is Iyafin Access road, which a recent project report said has been 45 percent redeveloped. In Ikeja, there are 24 inner-city road projects, and an example of such roads is Isaac John road, which the report said is more than 45 percent job-done. In Alimosho too, 69 road projects are on-going already. From the project report, the allocation of inner-city road work is indeed impressive, which the commissioner said belied the claim of some critics that the Fashola administration “is only running an elitist government.” Of all the innercity road projects currently underway in the state, 15.57 percent was allocated to Alimosho at large; Kosofe got 10.6 percent of the projects; Surulere 9.0 percent and Eti-Osa 7.9 percent. Also, about 7.2 percent of the roads were allocated to Lagos Mainland Local Government. Likewise, Ikeja and Ikorodu got 5.4 percent each; Ifako-Ijaiye 5.2 percent; Agege 4.5 percent; Ojo 4.3 percent; Apapa and Amuwo Odofin 3.38 percent each; Oshodi-Isolo 3.2 percent; Epe 2.71 percent, Lagos Island 2.48 percent, Mushin 2.03 percent, Ajeromi-Ifelodun and Badagry 1.58 percent each; Somolu 1.0 percent and Ibeju-Lekki 0.5 percent, which the report said ranks lowest among allocations to the local councils.      The project execution has indeed been a source of relief for the residents, especially in the areas where road reconstruction and redevelopment projects are on-going. One of the residents, Mr. Remi Adebayo attested to the massive work underway on Liasu road, which, he said, was a sore spot up to 2012. Already, according to him, the first phase of the road has been completed and work has started on the second phase.

‘But for the vigilance of a 15-yr-old, all of us would have been wiped out by the attackers’ Continued from Page 15 chairman of the group, Major George Asake(Rtd), said the government has failed to take action on the killings taking place in the area despite advice and protest. He said: "We are living in a state of anarchy and we will do everything possible to take the government to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer charges on the massive killings of our people on a daily basis. It is very painful and difficult that we keep mourning everyday without the government doing anything about it”. Kaduna state governor, Mukthar Ramalan Yero, who had to abort his trip to the United States of America midway, described the attack as 'ungodly' and 'barbaric'. Yero expressed deep sadness and shock over the unwarranted attacks on innocent citizens of the state and assured of government's commitment to protecting lives and property of the entire people of the state. While calling on the people in the affected communities to remain calm as government is already working with security agencies towards scaling up its strategies in order to improve security, especially in border communities, he said: "This ugly situation is unacceptable and we will step up efforts to improve surveillance and curtail future occurrence. We pray that God should expose the people that are causing this problem. We pray that God should touch their hearts to stop such dastardly acts or destroy their evil machinations. However, we must not despair under these brazen attacks, as a leader, I am not happy

the sight of wailing women and children. She, however, assured them that the Federal Government will do everything possible to come to their aid. She said: “I am saddened by the gruesome killing of people. I am really devastated by these killings; I want to assure you that the government will do everything possible to ensure the safety of lives and property of people. “I want to assure you that Mr. President will do something about the situation. I don't want you to take the laws into your hands by trying to revenge. I want you to continue to pray to God, for God says vengeance is His. So live in peace and leave everything to Almighty God. I am assuring that the President will do something about this incident. By the time I go back and I give my report, something will be done. As a leader who has a kind heart for everyone, I am sure he (President) will be moved to help these poor, defenseless law-abiding Nigerians, who did no wrong to deserve this calamity. I am also sure •Relations of victims weeping that government would do its best to secure these areas from this constant violence. And it should with such ugly situations because it is my responsibility to be a challenge on us all to pray fervently to the Almighty so ensure security and safety for the entire people of the state". that He can touch the hearts of these evil people away from this The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Lawrencia Mallam, who cruelty. This will in turn and save them from his fury on the last visited the scenes of the attack could not help but shed tears at day”.





•Aerial view of Dugbe, the Central Business District juxtaposed with cityʼs ancient outlook

•The Heritage Mall

•Modern roads through a section of the ancient city

ROM 1829 when Ibadan was formed, according to local historians, the city has emerged rapidly to become a modern haven. Yet, the evolution of a modern Ibadan has not completely eroded its ancient toga. Hence, as ancient palaces and other monuments dot the hinterland, so do the very firsts of modern structures and institutions adorn the city, creating a blend of two worlds. The firsts include the University of Ibadan, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (formerly Liberty Stadium) and the first skyscraper in Nigeria, Cocoa House. So are the people. While a good majority of indigenes living in the hinterland savour the freedom of a no-holds-bare and communal life in their ancient communities, the delectable elite hold the ace in choice areas such as Bodija, Alalubosa, Ikolaba, Iyaganku, Oluyole and several residential estates across the city. As a result, residents of Oje, Beere, Aremo, Inalende, Opoyiosa, Foko, Irefin and similar areas enjoy the best of life in their neighbourhoods even as



A blend of two worlds

elites croon in excitement in modern flats, duplexes and high-rise buildings in their own neighbourhoods too. For any class of resident or visitor, local canteens are in abundance in the nooks and carnies of the hinterland. There, customers enjoy hot amala and gbegiri, Ibadan's traditional favourite food. So also are modern eateries such as KFC, Mr Biggs, Tantalizers, Royal Spices and others within reach in elitist areas. Since Governor Abiola Ajimobi came to the saddle in 2011, he has upgraded facilities and infrastructure to give the city a new, modern look. His efforts include redesigning of roundabouts, beautification of the landscape, marking of roads and installation of road signs, cleaning of the city by dedicated environmental workers and, lately, upgrade of the Agodi Garden, a tourists haven located near the state secretariat. Installation of street lights reveals the beauty of the new infrastructure and the reju-

, •The Cocoa House building

For any class of resident or visitor, local canteens are in abundance in the nooks and carnies of the hinterland. There, customers enjoy hot amala and gbegiri, Ibadan's traditional favourite food. So also are modern eateries such as KFC, Mr Biggs, Tantalizers, Royal Spices and others within reach in elitist areas


venated signage system, giving many areas a glittering look at night. This is strengthened by many dualised and widened roads within the city. In spite of these complementing differences, however, common to all are the cleanliness introduced by the Ajimobi administration, water supply which was just achieved by the state government, and above all, there is no hurrying in Ibadan! Taxi cabs, buses and even commercial motorcycles go by the pace of the commuters. Ibadan, the ancient-modern city is also relatively cheap to live in. One of the major monuments in Ibadan is Cocoa House. It stands taller than other buildings within Dugbe, the city's Central Business District and other parts of the city. Standing tall with 24 floors above the ground, Cocoa House, which was originally named Ile Awon Agbe (Farmers' House) was once the tallest building in tropical Africa. Hence, it has been a major source of pride for the South West region. It is among the major first breakthroughs in Nigeria. Other such first-of-its-kind monuments include the Liberty Stadium (now Obafemi Awolowo Stadium), and the Western Nigerian Television (now NTA). The combination of the monuments make Ibadan to keep its shoulder high as a very significant city in Nigeria. In fact, the city is often regarded as the intellectual capital of Nigeria given the presence of several educational and research institutions on its soil. Cocoa House was built from proceeds from commodities chief of which was cocoa. Hence, it was renamed Cocoa House. Other commodities include rubber and timber. They are all farm produce which were the sources of wealth of the defunct Western Sate Government, the regional government

that constructed the skyscraper in 1964. Agriculture was the mainstay of the government's economy. Cocoa House was open for business in August, 1965. Wearing chocolate colour which communicates cocoa, the source of its finance, Cocoa House has since maintained an impressive presence in the district, still affirming the leadership ingenuity of the former Premier of the then Western Region, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his team members. From the 24-storey building, an aerial view of the city reveals a sprawling Ibadan with its seven historic rocky hills that once tucked the town. They were later swallowed in view by the rapid expansion of the city in the 20th Century. Ibadan is the largest city south of Sahara. Historically, the city was the place where the armies of Ibadan unified to defeat the Fulani Caliphate in 1840 when they attempted to expand further into the southern region of modern-day Nigeria. Cocoa House used to be called Ile Awosifila (a house that makes one's hat or cap to drop when trying to catch a glimpse of its full height) by the mass of illiterate farmers. But the monument was gutted by fire on January 9, 1985 forcing business organisations that occupied it to relocate. The fire incident dealt a heavy blow on its beauty, importance and splendour just as it also battered its economic strength. It brought tears to the eyes of many people, thinking that a major achievement of the Awolowo leadership and a major pride of the region had been destroyed. It lay in ruins for seven years before it was rehabilitated for use in August 1992. The renovation was undertaken by the business arm of the Western State Govern-

ment, Odu'a Investments Company Limited, which was also occupying Floors 20, 21 and 22 as at the time of the fire incident. The conglomerate under the leadership of its Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr Adebayo Jimoh, put the building back in shape in 2010. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the facilities in the building, the company relocated its headquarters to the building. It currently occupies Floors 20-23, while tenants occupy the rest. A statement by the company's Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr Sunkanmi Omidiji, at the time, explained that "a massive renovation work was carried out at the Cocoa House building a year ago and this was targeted at bringing maximum comfort to existing occupants and also attracts more prospective tenants. ODU’A moved out of the building 25 years ago as a result of the fire incident that gutted the building on January 9, 1985. "Since the renovation work has been carried out, the building has become a new bride to old and new tenants. Some who left after the fire incident have relocated to the building thereby turning the commercial business district area to a place to be for good business deals. "Odu’a Investment Company Limited as a conglomerate is also joining other tenants occupying the high rise building in adding value to and at the same time enjoying the new facilities put in place. These facilities among others include installation of two new kone lifts to complement the existing ones, installation of a new 800 KVA generating set to serve as an alternative power supply, uninterrupted water supply scheme with installed capacity of 200,000 litres, construction of new sewage treatment plant, expanded car park space and 24/7 security


In this report, BISI OLADELE takes a look at the blend of the ancient nature of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, and modernity, making the city an attraction for people of various interests.

Cocoa House was open for business in August, 1965. Wearing chocolate colour which communicates cocoa, the source of its finance, Cocoa House has since maintained an impressive presence in the district, still affirming the leadership ingenuity of the former Premier of the then Western Region, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his team members


surveillance." The renovation and occupation by both owners and tenants have kept the building in good shape and functional for business activities. Occupants of the building include mobile phone retailers, travel agents, public relations firms, educational consultancy firms and other business concerns. The South West regional integration commission, the Development for Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), is also located in the building. Cocoa House also retains its attraction for tourism in the city with its aesthetic splendour and central location. Its fortune recently soared by the conversion of the former Odu'a Group headquarters and the former Sketch premises to a massive modern shopping mall. They are both located beside Cocoa House in the same compound. The anchor tenant in the N3 billion malls, Shoprite, is the next-door neighbour to Cocoa House. The citing of the malls has increased human traffic around Cocoa House to add to its prominence. The conglomerate also opened a traditional museum of Yoruba heroes and monuments on the attic of the building. More than ever, Cocoa House is playing a unique role in commercial activities in the city and also stands tall to give pride to Yoruba sons and daughters at all times.




‘I gave birth to Clarence out of choice’ •Clarion wit

h Clarence


Continued from pages 21

Clarion Chukwurah

Inside The



L a L i g a Ta b l e



Premiership Top scorers




Patience SADUWA and Paul UKPABIO


Jackie Appiah


Yomi Casual


Uti Nwachukwu

Baba Dee Chris

Fred Nuamah




Bring back moral instructions


Do something about Brass NLG

Extend dividends of democracy to the deaf




Reconstruct this bridge


Emulate Peter Obi

AM writing this to urge some of our governors to emulate former Governor Peter Obi who ruled Anambra State with wisdom and patriotism. Obi started and completed projects which the people of the state are benefiting from now. Some governors are no doubt performing well but they can do more. I am appealing to other governors to choose the path to greatness by keeping away from playing politics and embracing governance that will banish sorrow away from the lives of their people. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State.

Gov. Mimiko


Provide pre-paid metres for us


Tackle Benue killings

Gov. Suswam

Gov. Wada

Prof. Nebo



Another sceneof the tragedy

Continued from Page 47

Interior Minister, Abba Moro, consoling one of the injured survivors




Health Matters With DR MIKE OYAKHIRE 08170268670


Social Medicine



Your questions on drugs and sex

•Dr. Thanks for enlightenment on health issues. Please can you give me specific health shops to get these aphrodisiacs as I have lost libido completely and it is affecting my relationship with my wife. I will be with her hours and I will not achieve erection and if I do once I penetrate it's over. Please Dr.Adebolahelp me. Mustapha, Abuja 23480.…..4 •I am grateful for the info published on page 53 of The Nation of January 4 2014. May God bless you. Abe. 2348……..7 •Dear Dr Bola, Thanks a great deal for your exposition on Saturday The Nation newspaper with caption “the drugs you should know aboutaphrodisiacs.” Please, I am 56 years of age but noticed that I do not have urge for sex any more even when I tried to make a deliberate effort to stimulate the urge; my erection is always weak and lasts for a short while. I am afraid of buying any of these drugs prevalent in the market today due to fear of their efficacy and side effects but when I sawyou write up and coming from a scientist in biomed I became so interested. Could you please list the full namesof good drugs that contain these chemicals compounds you just exposed to enable me pick the drugs at the pharmacies or health shops to help myself. Best regards. Mr. Z.

•Good day Ma, I am a regular reader of your column. In your recent write up on aphrodisiacs, you mentioned many drugs for solving erectile dysfunction problems which are not available in pharmacy stores. I am 63 years old and diabetic. Please recommend a good, effective but safe aphrodisiac for me that will help to improve my sex life with my wife. I live in Oshodi area of Lagos State. Please treat as urgent. I have not been able to perform my sexual duties with my wife for some time now. Thanks.2348……..9 Dear Mustapha and other readers, I wish you an improved relationship with your wife: physical, mental, and spiritual. However, you both have to work on that and you both have to support each other and enlighten

each other on what makes you happy and what enhances the union and harmony between you. I know sexual frustration can be a big cross or a painful burden. You can gain from a cross but not from a burden so you first need to determine what you are carrying, cross or burden. If you are suffering loss of libido because you are getting physically incapacitated due to old age or other reasons you may still be able to boost your libido with available therapeutics and non-pharmacological means and you would not suffer unnecessarily. Generally, as we grow older, we recognize limitations that are natural developments and therefore we are psychologically h e a l t h y a n d spiritually peaceful about them and may even bounce in our weakness. We may start wearing glasses, using a walking stick, wearing a diaper, etc., and all that does not matter because we look back at life and see our children and achievements and understand how we became so spent and may even feel proud at the stage we have reached. The old life is being replaced by the new life that is the work of the old life and this gives the old life much peace and joy. In other words, it should never be an unfortunate thing to grow old. However, there are many evils in our world that have made growing old an unpleasant experience that often times we are not ready for or we are unable to welcome. We often have to keep doing our best to live well against the damages we have suffered in life. Within a marriage relationship the effects add up since the two are “one flesh”. You share each other's physical, psychological, and spiritual damages in a unique way. I

urge you to be very free and open and humble with each other, to improve your understanding and acceptance of each other, to strive to support each other, compensate each other, and compromise with each other as needed. Avoid comparing your relationship with other marriages and beware of swallowing TV and popular media portrayal of love and sex as your paradigm (even if they are nice and attractive). Remember that making the best of what you have and where you are at is good psychological health and will continue to bear good fruit in your life and secure further happiness for your future. You might be much older than your spouse hence you have a disparity of sexual appetite and sexual capability between you. A significant disparity may occur also if one partner has a demanding career or consuming business and the other is largely relaxed. Health issues may also bring disparities. If you have real disparities, you need to try and bridge the gap through effort, medication, non-sexual compensation, and mutual compromise. A little prayer may flood your vision. For improved libido, try one of the neutraceuticalsthat we discussed earlier:PHGH™, ExtenZe™, Passion Rx™, Erectzan™, Vydox™, orLonginexx™, but first ask your doctor to enlighten you about how their contents may affect you and your spouse. There are a few distributors advertising such products in the newspapers but you can also get them via the Internet if you are a 21C credit or debit card holder. Good health and good relationships to you all. To be continued. Dr. 'Bola John is a biomedical scientist based in Nigeria and in the USA. For any comments or questions on this column, please email or call 07028338910 or 08160944635



Poor show for Nigerian tourism at Messe-Berlin


he boom of the Rwanda drum reverberated throughout the 21A

pavilion at the just concluded 2014 ITB-Berlin. The stand, a recreation of an authentic rural African community with the thatched huts, wooden seats and so on. There were also the drums made of wood and animal skin. It was evocative and urged visitors to experience real thing which is the true African experience in Rwanda. Some of the visitors that came to watch the show by Rwandan contingent to the ITBBerlin filled up there stand and also covered the empty stand opposite. The empty stand was 21A/118 reserved for Nigeria. Nigeria, represented by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), was conspicuously absent. Many are still at lost why Nigeria would book for a stand, cause the country's name to be listed as an exhibitor at the African pavilion and refuse to show up. It was the first time in the last 15 years Nigeria was not exhibiting, thereby sending signal to the international tourism community that all may not be well with tourism in the country. The last time Nigeria was so embarrassed

was in the World Travel Market (WTM) 1999 which many journalists had then tagged “Obasanjo's Shame in London”. It was a repeat of that episode and many dubbed it “Jonathan's Mess at MesseBerlin”. All over the pavilion dedicated to Africa, other African countries are doing the same, each trying to outdo the other in trying to attract visitors to their countries. This is not surprising as the ITB-Berlin, an annual travel fair held at the International Conference Centre in Messe-Berlin, is the biggest travel fair on earth. It has become very imperative that every country interested in developing its tourism, attracting the tourist traffic and being taken seriously in world tourism makes her presence felt there. Among the African countries exhibiting were South Africa, Ethiopa, Morocco, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Rwanda, Egypt, Seychelles, South Sudan, Burundi and many others. Knowing the importance of this event in the tourism calendar, in almost 15 years, Nigeria had always made it a point to put up a show in ITB-Berlin. In the past, due to the importance of the fair and its impact on tourism traffic, no less a person than the then First Lady of the country, the late Mrs.

Stella Obasanjo led Nigeria's delegation to the fair and that particular edition, a Nigerian, Agbani Darego, was the reigning Miss World. Of course, Nigeria used that also to attract large visitors traffic to the stand. This impressive performance at ITBBerlin and other travel shows was to continue as Nigeria sought to be visible and taken serious in world tourism. Between 2005 and 2013 , Nigeria made sure it commanded huge presence at the fair. This made most African countries always felt uncomfortable whenever they were allotted stands close to Nigeria's. This

was because of the huge presence Nigeria commanded. The effect of this was that within this period, Nigeria's claim of being an imaging destination was cemented and the country's image given a huge burnish. The gains of such presence in these tourism fairs can best seen. In the last seven years, the country has seen unprecedented interest in Nigerian tourism industry, most especially in the hospitality industry. However, explaining why Nigeria was not exhibiting, the Director-General NTDC, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, said Nigeria decided not to exhibit because it wanted to re-strategize, but many stakeholders in the industry are asking why the nation decided to book for a stand in the first place, if it was not ready to exhibit. As normally expected, many private sector tourism practitioners used the opportunity offered by the travel fair to network and clinch business for their companies. Being Nigerians, they did their deals at Nigeria's stand. Many of these companies actually signified interest to exhibit at the fair based on the assuring by the NTDC that it was going to put up a stand. One of them, Mr. Ayo Oyewole, lamented: “I wish I could say something. Nigeria is non-existent at this time because I came and I was supposed to be a coexhibitor with them. No real word from them, no official notice. I came in here today and the stand was not up. “I've got marketing collateral with me and with one more day to go, specifically for business opportunities, I am not even sure that I have any where to display or promote Afro tourism. It is a shame that it has happened as a co-exhibitor at the Nigerian stand.” The NTDC boss, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, came to Berlin on Thursday, March 6, a day after the ITB-Berlin had started. The NTDC team was made up of 10 contingents which included the staff of NTDC, a board member and some private sector tourism practitioners. Many are of the opinion that to avoid future embarrassment to the country and forestall this kind of show of shame at international tourism fairs , the government should look into what led to the inability of the country to exhibit at ITBBerlin, thereby dragging the nation's

image in the mud.

Federal Palace Hotel gives away Jaguar, Range Rover Evogue


ederal Palace Hotel, a member of the Sun International, is set for the biggest promo in Nigeria's hospitality industry as its casino is set to give one of the most exotic cars around. In a campaign that kicked off yesterday, the hotel offers hotel guests to it •Mrs Mbanefo casino opportunity to win any of the the two prizes on offer: a Jaguar XF or Range Rover Evoque. It is a new completely by the Federal Palace Hotel & Casino. There has never been a car jackpot anywhere in West Africa where the winner gets a chance to decide between two exotic cars. An a press release by the hotel's maketing `Manager, Mr. Uche Ogbu, the said the hotel 'recently gave away a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV on 14 December 2013, has now opted for purely luxurious cars; Jaguar XF Luxury and Range Rover Evoque courtesy Coscharis Motors Ltd as their next jackpot prize.' The car jackpot which commenced yesterday will run until Saturday 21 June 2014;. He said: “all you need to do is visit the Federal Palace Casino, register in our Most Valued Guest loyalty programme, start playing the exciting Slots and Tables games and stand a chance to qualify for “The Decider” car jackpot on Saturday 21 June 2014 at 11.00pm.” He said Learners 2014 evening can also be pre•Nigeria’s empty stand at Messe-Berlin arranged for first time casino guests.




Prince Olafusi Olateru-Olagbegi, son of Olowo of Owo, Oba Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi, got married to Isabella, daughter of Maj-Gen Cyril Iweze, last Saturday at the African Church Cathedral Bethel, Lagos Island. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO reports.

Bound by love


ER charming looks and the elegant way she carried herself caught the attention of the young man with royal background. Prince Olafusi Olayide OlateruOlagbegi, son of Olowo of Owo, Oba Folagbade Olateru Olagbegi, walked up to Isabella Isioma, daughter of Maj-Gen Cyril Iweze, at a mutual friend's function while she was on her way out. They exchanged contacts and began a relationship three years ago. It took the young Prince almost two years to make the marriage proposal. An anxious Isabella could not wait for the Prince to propose on March 16, last year before nodding in acceptance. This opened a new chapter in their relationship. Last Saturday, the lovebirds walked down the aisle. The African Church Cathedral Bethel on Lagos Island was the venue of the solemnisation. Isabella, who bagged her first degree at Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State, before travelling to the United Kingdom for her Masters, was the cynosure of all eyes. Clad in a fitted wedding gown, a cape and silver wrist watch, she could not hide her joy. The professional Operations Manager waved at intervals to friends and family members with infectious smiles. Her beau, Olafusi, who was among the first set of students at Babcock University, IlisanRemo, Ogun State, wore black suit, white shirt, black bow tie and a matching pair of shoes. The British Council Project Manager is black in complexion. There was a traffic snarl as dignitaries, who came to rejoice with the families, blocked part of the ever-busy Broad Street near Apongbon with choice cars. The solemnisation was witnessed by many personalities, past and present members of state executive councils. Understanding the nature of the ceremony, the Provost of the African Church Cathedral Bethel, Venerable Ade Fagbayi, wasted no time in declaring the lovebirds, man and wife after completing the marriage rites, including the exchange of rings. Prince Olateru-Olagbegi and his wife, Isioma were joined by their parents to sign the marriage certificate amid flashes of camera in one of the church rooms. While this was ongoing, the church choir entertained the gathering. Afterwards, they danced out of the room to their seats. One of the officiating ministers read out long lists of eminent personalities on ground as a sign of respect. Ven Fagbayi congratulated the couple. He prayed that their expectation would not be cut short, and that their parents would not lose them to death. "You will prosper; God will always guide you and bless you with bouncing baby boy and girl," he prayed as the gathering responded with Amen! About 12 women marched forth to induct Isabella into the club of married women. They sang various songs that informed the gathering about who they are.

One of them is: Obinrin re re lawa Obinrin re re lawa A n toju oko wa A n toju ebi wa o Obinrin re re lawa. Another one: Atupa iye Atupa iye Gbogbo wa la o fi ri ran Atupa iye There were thanksgiving and a closing prayer before the recessional hymn To God be the glory was rendered as the couple led the guests out of the church. The hall of Yoruba Tennis Club at Onikan was the next port of call for the guests who converged for the reception. David Adeleke (A.k.a Davido) hit single Aye set the reception in motion. The song ushered in the couple as guests stood, dancing and stretching to catch a glimpse of Olafusi and Isabella. On getting to their seats, Pastor Adegoke Adelabu opened the reception with a prayer before twotime Foreign Affairs Minister Gen Ike Nwachukwu delivered the chairman's speech. Gen Nwachukwu said it was always a pleasure to see young ones getting married. He wished them success. Marriage, he said, is ordained by God. "It is between man and woman, not man and man or woman and woman as the Western world is changing it to. African culture forbids gay marriage and lesbianism. We must not bow to Western leaders' pressure to revert the law banning same-sex marriage in our country," he said. He hailed the couple and their parents for coming together as one, not minding their tribal difference.

•The couple, Prince Olafusi and Isabella

•From left: Osun State Deputy Governor, Otunba Titi Laoye-Tomori; Oba Olateru-Olagbegi and Mrs Bisi Olateru-Olagbegi

•Bride’s parents, Gen Iwese and wife

•Former Military Governor of Lagos State, Brig-Gen Mobolaji Johnson (right), and Prince Biodun Uwaifo of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)

•Former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (left), and Otun Olubadan of Ibadan, Chief Omowale Kuye

•Chief Dennis Iweze

•Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye PHOTOS: ADEJO DAVID

ner." Olafusi described her as "heavenly." "She is a beautiful woman, we are like-minded, and we agree on things a lot," he said.

The lovebirds later took to the dance floor, mesmerising the gathering with beautiful dance steps. The guests appreciated them with new naira notes.

"We need more of this marriage to build a united nation," Gen Nwachukwu said. His wife, Gwendolyn Yoyinsola

supervised the cutting of the cake and feeding in love. An elated Isabella described Olafusi as "a great person, fantastic personality, my friend and my part-




Confab delegates to insist on pay for aides


SECTION of delegates to the National Conference is insisting on payment of allowance to their aides by the Federal Government. The conference was inaugurated last Monday with plenary session due to commence next week. Top of the agenda is the adoption of the conference rules of procedure. The rules which will guide the conduct of delegates throughout the duration of the talk shop were released to them on Thursday by the conference secretariat in Abuja.

•••as they prepare to resume Monday

Onyedi OJIABOR, Assistant Editor and Dele ANOFI, Abuja Each of the delegates is to be paid over N12million for the three months that the talks will last, although at least two of them –Pastor Tunde Bakare and Mr.Olise Agbakoba – have rejected their own allowance. It was gathered that some of the other delegates are considering writing to the confer-

Britain to withdraw 50 Pounds from circulation


HE Bank of England will be withdrawing the GBP50 from circulation, a circular from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released yesterday said. CBN Acting Director, Trade and Exchange, J.O. Ajewole, who signed the circular addressed to all authorised dealers and the general public, said the Bank of England will be withdrawing the GBP50 bill with the portrait of Sir John Houblon from circulation. He said the bill will cease to be legal tender with effect from April 30. Ajewole advised authorised dealers in possession of the currency note and who wish to repatriate their stock to avail themselves of the services of Messrs Travelex Banknotes Ltd. Meanwhile, Britain had earlier in the week, said a new £1 coin, billed by the Royal Mint as the “most secure coin in the world” is to be introduced in 2017. Bloomberg said the move comes amid concerns about the 30-year old coin’s vulnerability to counterfeiting, with an estimated 45 million forgeries in circulation. The new coin is based on the design of the old three penny bit, a 12sided coin in circulation between 1937 and 1971. A competition will be held to decide what image to put on the “tails” side of the coin.

Collins NWEZE

“We are meeting and talking about how to impress it on the conference secretariat to pay our aides. Our aides are no less important than us. We may have to put it in writing if need be.” The aides ,he said, would be assisting them a great deal in gathering facts that would be useful for the assignment at hand. If the delegates succeed in pushing through payment of allowance for their aides, N7 billion the Federal Government was reported to have set aside for the conference may be increased. One of the delegates, Chief Mike Ezekhome, has underscored the fact that the conference involves a lot of brain

work and research. Another delegate from Adamawa State pointedly asked the conference leadership how many aides they were entitled to hire. The conference Seceratry, Valerie Azinge, however told delegates that there was no provision for payment of personal assistants to the delegates. Funds provided by government, Azinge said, were specifically meant for delegates alone. Another delegate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, however admonished delegates on the need for sacrifice. For Bakare, delegates should be ready to make sacrifice for the good of the coun-

In his Budget statement to the Commons, Chancellor George Osborne said: “The prerequisite of sound money is a sound currency.” He said the £1 coin was one of the oldest coins in circulation and had become “increasingly vulnerable to forgery”. “One in 30 pound coins is counterfeit, and that costs businesses and the taxpayer millions each year. “So I can announce that we will move to a new, highly secure, £1 coin. It will take three years. Our new pound coin will blend the security features of the future with inspiration from our past. In honour of our Queen, the coin will take the shape of one of the first coins she appeared on - the three penny bit. The government said it would hold a detailed consultation on the impact of the change on businesses, which may face costs from having to change vending machines, supermarket trolleys and lockers at gyms and leisure centres. Some commentators have raised fears the new piece will not work smoothly in vending machines but the Royal Mint said the coin “will be expressly designed to fit existing mechanisms”. It said the move would increase public confidence in the UK’s currency and reduce costs for banks and other businesses.

Femi Segun dies after power bike accident Paul UKPABIO


ence secretariat on the need to pay their aides who will be assisting them at the talks. A member told The Nation that “the issue of paying our aides a little allowance cannot be swept under the carpet for obvious reasons” The delegate from Anambra State noted that “what we have come to Abuja to do is a serious business and should be seen as such.” He added: “We have come here for a serious business.Whatever will assist us to do a thorough job should be accorded priority by the government. For most of us allowing us to hire one or two aides that will be paid by the conference secretariat will not be out of place.

IPLOMAT and popular broadcaster, Femi Segun, is dead. He died yesterday at Saint Nicholas Hospital,Lagos. Femi , son of the celebrated writer,Mabel Segun, was involved in a power bike accident on Admiralty Road, Lekki Phase One, a week ago. The power bike he was riding had rammed into a stationary car on the run.He was rushed to the hospital but died yesterday.He was a lover of power bikes.he was •Femi married to Yeni,first child of the late Afro beat King Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Although they later parted ways, they remained friends and had a daughter together. When The Nation put a call through to his ex-wife Yeni Kuti, She was down cast and lost for words. After a moment of silence, she confirmed his death and simply added “I’m shocked.” She also confirmed that his daughter who schools in England, was already on her way Nigeria but had not been told of her father’s death. His wife could not be reached at press time . Before his death, Femi Segun had told The Nation that his wife was angry when she saw his new bike.



try. He enjoined them to be less concerned about monetary gains from the exercise, citing the wide condemnations that trailed the disclosure of National Assembly lawmakers’ take home package. According to him, most of the participants have had to complain about the allowances of Federal lawmakers, “We should be ready to make sacrifices during this assignment since we are quick to take our lawmakers to the cleaners over their allowances,” Bakare said. A major problem facing the delegates is shortage of accommodation. The conference secretary said that ‘about three quarter of the delegates have so far been accredited for the conference” She noted that all the delegates have not been accredited because they had been coming in trickles.

•President Goodluck Jonathan (3rd right); President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2nd left) and top government officials at a Bilateral Meeting between Nigeria and Namibia in Windhoek on Thursday. PHOTO: NAN

Tension grips Ekwueme’s community


KO, Anambra State,home town of Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme was on edge for much of yesterday as the community was torn over agitation for Professor Godwin Onu as Rector of the Federal Polytechnic,Oko. Leading the move for Onu’s removal was the community’s traditional ruler,Igwe Laz Ekwueme.He had the backing of some natives including the President of the town’s union, Oko Progressive Union(OPU),Mr.Ike Nwammuo. But their stance was opposed by Oko youths who took to the streets ,protesting the “insensitivity of the Igwe to the realities of life.”Also on the side of the youths were most members of OPU. Policemen were drafted to the town to keep the peace. They were assisted by vigilance groups. Igwe Ekwueme at a hur-

•Monarch, raises alarm over alleged threats to life •Youth protest call for Rector’s sack Nwanosike ONU, Awka

riedly convened press conference in his palace said that his life was being threatened on account of the crisis. He did not say those after his life. He said:”They have been harassing me.Why do the security agencies want to see me now? I am totally confused and afraid of this situation.” He said that several petitions written to the Supervising Minister of Education,Chief Nyesom Wike for the removal of Prof. Onu had remained ignored. But in a statement yesterday, the National Legal Officer of OPU , Chief Uchenna Okonkwo Okom said that all Staff Unions in the institution had vowed to

continue their strike if Prof. Onu was allowed to continue as Rector. His words:” Oko community has resolved to occupy the polytechnic if Prof. Godwin Onu returns for second tenure and would not vacate the promises until he is removed. “We hereby notify the government that Oko community will not be prepared to allow the return of the Rector unless he is prepared to shoot all of us.” Also addressing newsmen, the Public Relations officers (PRO) of the institution, Mr. Obini Onuchukwu said that the monarch should allow the Rector to do his job instead of fanning crisis in the institution. He described the action of the monarch and some members of the community as selfish and political .

He expressed disappointment at the call for Onu’s removal even after President Goodluck Jonathan renewed the Rector’s tenure for another term “ as a result of the transformation he has brought to the institution” “The monarch is the chairman of board of the National Board Of Technical Education (NBTE) which is based in Kaduna.If the people of that area decide to fight him the way he is fighting the Rector here, what would be his reaction? So he who goes to equity must go with clean hands. “ Prof. Onu has erected 17 structures in this institution, eight of which have been completed and awaiting commissioning and also tarred 56 kilometers of road which are being used in this area by those people.What else do they want?”

Troops capture Mandara Mountain, comb caves for Boko Haram fighters

•Continued from Page 2 “The caves of a particular mountain captured overnight are undergoing a thorough search for terrorists who are believed to have fled there in the wake of the ongoing offensive on various terrorist enclaves. Arms are also the object of the cordon and search. “The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Kenneth Minima has

been checking on deployment and troops disposition in various locations of the theatre of the counter terrorist campaign in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. “The army chief who is in company of his Air Force counterpart, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, also visited troops who were wounded in the course of the operation so far, in the Military Hospi-

tal in Maiduguri. “The Chiefs were assured by the commander of the Hospital, Brig-Gen Okeke that most of the wounded soldiers were in stable condition and that some who have recovered very well, expressed their desire to rejoin their units and colleagues in the operation. “The army chief however directed that the hospital

should not hesitate to let him know the requirement for any case requiring referral or further treatment anywhere. “The service chiefs are also undertaking a comprehensive air surveillance of the entire mission area in addition to the direct inspection of some key locations where operations are being conducted.”



Omoyiola presenting her painting to President Jonathan with them is Mr Adewale, Omoyiola’s art teacher

My nervous encounter with Mr. President


HE was not in any way intimidated by the presence of four adults in the room. With peace written all over her face, she acknowledged the gesture of the reporter with a friendly smile. At her age, she would be expected to be timid or shy, but that is not the way of Nigeria's Peace Ambassador, Ayomikun Omoyiola, a 10year-old student of Queensland School, Okota, Lagos. The peace and tranquility which her life radiates reflects in her paintings. Her presentation, "My Nigerian Dream", during Nigeria's Centenary Award ceremony was awesome. Applying the maxim, 'whatever you know how to do, do it well,' has paid off for the 10-year-old. If ever she imagined that she would meet the number one citizen of Nigeria, she never knew it would come so soon. For a child her age, it was a dream come true so early. Omoyiola had nominated as a Centennial Ambassador by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, in 2013, after her painting titled: 'Peace in the midst of a storm'. Her journey into drawing started when she was only four years old. She recalled that whatever she painted, her parents encouraged her to do more; a situation she said buoyed her confidence. Upon her arrival at Queensland Academy, she continued with her passion, which her friends acknowledged. “I like painting and my friends always commend me for being a very talented person,” she said. And as if her parents knew she was going to do something great with her passion, in August 2012, they employed an art teacher to develop her skill. But much as she enjoys painting, she has another ambition. “I'm still thinking, but for now, I want to be an engineer,” she told The Nation.

—10-yr-old Nigeria's Peace Ambassador with an improved version of the painting, which she presented to President Goodluck Jonathan, she did not Omoyiola currently has about 22 large disappoint. The painting, 'United We paintings in her portfolio. All of them are Stand', tells the story of Nigeria. done in acrylic on a white cardboard. Her Presenting her painting to President painting, 'Peace in the midst of a storm' Jonathan, she recalled, was not an caught the attention of the Nigerian easy task. While she appreciated government and she was made a being named among the dignitaries, peace ambassador. she was full of anxiety even though She would not want to attribute her parents, who were with her, her success to her efforts alone, as kept encouraging her. she is full of praises for her parents, ”I was nervous in the room school and teachers, who she said where they put us, but God helped discovered the innate talent in her me. I presented my painting to the early and worked on it. President while my teacher helped According to her, she did not me to talk about it.” start her education at Her meeting with Queensland but decided President Jonathan as a to persuade her parents Peace Ambassador has to make her join the turned her into a school in her quest to celebrity of sorts 'belong' like her older among her mates. siblings. “When my mates She said: “I was saw me, they were admitted into this happy for me. school when I was They said they about seven or eight saw me on TV, years. I started in another that it was very nice. school. My older siblings Some of them did not attend this school. So, my believe that I met with younger brother and I the president of Nigeria, told my mum that we Dr. Goodluck Ebele wanted to join them Jonathan.” too.” Not one to be carried When she presented away by early success, 'Peace in the Midst of Omoyiola has vowed to the Storm' to the SGF in continue painting. 2013, deep inside her, As the Health Prefect she vowed to improve of her school, she would on it. And when she •Ayomikun Omoyiola tell you that it was not an eventually came up


easy seat top occupy. According to her she had to go through a democratic process to become the Health Prefect. Mrs. Christiana Ogunkoya, the Head of Queenland Primary School, said that Omoyiola loves painting and art works generally, adding that she had done so many pieces of art works that were bought from her. The Principal of Queensland Academy, Mr. Kayode Oni, said he was not surprised that Omoyiola was doing fine, since that has been the school's philosophy. He said: “One thing with us at Queensland is that we are known for excellence. Our slogan is 'Culture of continuous excellence,' and whatever we do, we strictly bear our vision in mind. “We offer a distinctive all-round education devoid of average. Whatever we do, we don't do anything average or below average; it must be excellent. “As soon as we observe them, we discover what they can do. We don't go back. We get their parents involved. We work together with the home and the school and we make sure that the child is excellent.“ Siyanbola Oladapo, a member of the school's board who attested to the submission of the principal, said the secret has to do with the school's vision from day one. According to him, the school is set up to raise standards. He said: “From day one, apart from academic excellence, which could be attested to through our results in national and international exams, we have always excelled in all these things. “The secret is that we believe in God and we are focused. We are ready to make a difference. We want to mould kings and queens; a new generation of Nigerians. “The girl (Omoyiola) is one of our numerous kinds. We recognised her talent and helped her develop it.”



Kwara APC alleges plot to unseat Saraki HE Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has alleged plot by the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to unseat the Senator Bukola Saraki. Saraki, the former governor of Kwara State, is representing Kwara Central Senatorial District and is now one of the leaders of APC in the state. APC’s interim Publicity Secretary in the state, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, raised the alarm In a statement. The statement reads in part: "Information gathered from close associates and a reliable source in the presidency is to the effect that, the Presidency is desperately in search of a Judge who will be heavily induced to compromise and remove Senator Bukola Saraki from the National Assembly as a Senator of the Federal Republic. "Further to this, we learnt that few of those contacted have declined to go with this illegal bidding. "The general public would recall that the Abuja division of Appeal Court had upheld the judgment of the federal high court delivered by Justice Ibrahim Auta, which confirmed the election of Senator


Borno shuts schools HE Borno State government has ordered all of its schools to shut to protect children after terrorists killed dozens of pupils in an attack last month, an official from the state Education Ministry and several parents said yesterday. About 59 students were killed in the attack on Federal Government College, Buni Yadi in neighbouring Yobe State. However, Borno has by far been the worst affected by the insurgency since it began four and a half years ago. "All public and private schools have been directed by the state ministry of education to end their second-term academic calendar latest this week," said a senior official in the ministry who declined to be named. "We don't want to make the announcement public so as not to create panic ... but it was a directive that came from the governor to the ministry." Schools finished one term early last year after 22 students were killed in the village of Mamudo in Yobe state. The interruption of school teaching is likely to deepen the sense of isolation of the Northeast, already a laggard in economic development because of a lack of investment in social services. The gate of the state-owned Government Girls' College, a boarding school in the center of the state capital, Maiduguri, was locked on Friday.


Aregbesola deserves second term –Aide HE Senior Special Assistant on Research, Planning and Policy Implementation (Federal Matter) to the Governor of Osun State, Prince Olusegun Bada, has stated that Governor Rauf Aregbesola deserves a second term in office because he has turned around the state. Speaking with The Nation at Abuja, Bada said that the governor has, among other achievements, increased the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from N300million to N1.6billion monthly by weeding out ghost workers from the payroll. He also noted that what his principal "did was to block all the loopholes without imposing additional taxes. Now, the internally generated revenue of Osun is N1.6billion monthly." On infrastructural development, Bada said that Aregbesola has constructed over 600kilometers of roads within three years of his administration. He maintained that the governor is building schools with contemporary infrastructure that are comparable with schools in Europe and other developed countries. He recalled that upon as-


•L-R: Retired Bishop of Akure Dioceses, Bishop Michael Ipinmoye, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Chairman, Igbimo Ure Ekiti, IUE, Prince Julius Adeluyi; and Secretary, IUE, Sir. Remi Omotoso, during a courtesy visit of IUE ahead of the forthcoming Election, in Ado Ekiti... recently.

n Adekunle JIMOH, Ilorin n Bukola Saraki as the Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial district and dismissed the case filed by Alhaji Lasis AK. Jimoh. "Justice Moshood Adumein delivered that Saraki's nomination in the 2011 primary election was in total compliance with Section 33 of the Electoral Act. The question now is, what is the Presidency's interest in the matter before the apex court, if not an act of impunity and lawlessness. Our legal system and jurisprudences are not different when a case is bad, it is bad. The two lower courts could not have erred. "We are aware of efforts by the CJN, Hon. Aloma Muktah to cleanse the judiciary, and she should be given all necessary support by all concerned to achieve this feat by not allowing the evil counsel of PDP to stand as perfected. All plans to extend act of impunity within the judiciary by the desperate act of PDP should be resisted by all and sundry. "We call on all lovers of democracy to advise the Presidency and PDP to stop further attempt at undermining our fledgling democracy.”

n John OFIKHENUA, Abuja n sumption of office, Aregbesola organized an educational summit for the declaration of a state of emergency in education in the state, which resulted in purging the schools of their rot by reclassifying the schools into basic elementary school, middle schools and higher schools. His words: "The rot we met in the education sector had to change. Schools were looking like poultry farms, pupils wearing tattered uniforms, all this has changed. Now Aregbesola is clothing over 750,000 students in Osun State. He feeds over 150,000 elementary school students and that has brought about geometric increase in the enrollment. The outcome of the summit resulted in the reclassification of the schools-basic elementary school, middle school and the the higher school." Bada said that Aregbesola has development small scale industries, which are now generating employment for the people, stressing that "in agriculture he has empowered and encouraged so many farmers by tarring access roads to agrarian communities."


Three to die by hanging for kidnapping, killing 18-month-old baby A N Akure High Court has sentenced three men to death by hanging over alleged kidnapping and murder of a one and half-year-old infant, identified as Rachael Akingboye. The convicts are Olusegun Obaro; Jonah Lase and Theophilus Friday. Delivering the judgment, the presiding judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, said the first and second accused persons were guilty of kidnapping and murder, while the third accused person was only guilty of murder. The three were facing a two-count charge of kidnapping and murdering Akingboye "contrary to and

n Damisi OJO, Akure n

punishable under Section 3 of the Ondo State Anti-Kidnapping and Abduction Law 2010 and murder contrary to Section 316 and punishable under Section 319 of the Criminal Code Laws of Ondo State." The accused were said to have kidnapped the deceased from her parent's residence at Ikorigho in Igbokoda in the night of June 17, 2011. After the incident, the corpse of the baby was said

to have been found near the residence of the parents with her right eye, right ear, right breast and the right part of her scalp removed. The accused were said to have pleaded not guilty to the charges at the commencement of the trial. However, Justice Odusola, in his judgment, submitted that the totality of the evidence before him showed that the prosecution had proved that the three accused persons were responsible for the death of the deceased. He said the prosecution

had been able to prove its case against the defendants and should be ready to face the consequences of their action. According to him, "The offences for which the accused were charged are strict liability offences. Death penalty is the punishment for each of the counts. Having found the 1st and 2nd accused guilty of both counts, the 3rd accused is guilty of murder. "In summary, I hereby sentence Olusegun Obaro, Jonah Lase and Theophilus Friday to death by hanging."

… housewife to spend five years in jail for kidnapping 21-day old baby housewife, Khadijat Ifeoluwa Ajisefini, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment without an option of fine by an Osogbo Magistrate Court for kidnapping a 21 day-old baby in Osogbo, Osun State. The presiding judge, Chief Magistrate Muhammad Lasisi, said the prosecution had proved the case beyond any reasonable doubt. According to the judge, apart from the evidences tendered before the court, the oral and confessional statements made by the convict proved to the court that she really committed the offence.


n Adesoji ADENIYI, Osogbo n The judge said: "She made statement to the police, which was not only confessional, but full of the gist on how the whole thing happened. And this has proved to the court that she committed the offence." Ajisefini was tried on twocount charge of conducting herself in manner likely to cause a breach of peace and stealing of a baby by trick. When the convict was arraigned on January 23, 2014, Police Prosecutor, Fagboyinbo Abiodun, told the court that the convict forcefully

collected a baby, named Emmanuel Oluwasegun, from his mother, Jemilat Oluwasegun. Abiodun added that the convict collected the baby from his mother in a deceitful manner, and took to her heels at Ilobu, before the police apprehended her. He said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 249 (9) and 371 of the Criminal Code Cap 34, Vol. 11 Laws of Osun, 2003. The convict, who committed the offence on January 20, 2014 at about 6:00, opposite Osogbo Grammar

School area of Osogbo, does not have a child since she got married some years ago. Pleading for leniency, the defence counsel, Barrister Musleemat Nagode, said that the convict required more counseling because she is barren and need to be living in the midst of the people rather than in isolation, adding that the convict has learnt her lessons. Chief Magistrate Lasisi discharged the convict on the first-count charge and sentenced her to five years imprisonment on the second charge without an option of fine.

Jonathan to attend centenary celebration for Olubadan RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is expected to be at a church service as part of the activities marking the centenary birthday celebration of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odugade, to be held at St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral, Aremo, Ibadan on April 14. The Senate President, David Mark and his wife, Randa, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and an historian, Prof. Toyin Falola, will be honoured with chieftaincy titles by the monarch. The Eldest son of the monarch, Prof Femi Lana, made the disclosure yesterday at a media briefing to herald the one-week, adding


•Mark, Soyinka, others to receive chieftaincy titles n Tayo JOHNSON, Ibadan n that the celebration will start on April 14 with a church service and paying of homage by the three lines of Olubadan, Mogajis and Baales. Prince Lana stated that: "Their selection was made after consultation with the Olubadan-in-Council and the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes. Mark is Nigeria's number three personality who believes in the unity of the nation. Soyinka and Falola have excelled in their line and well known for their good work all over the world. They all deserve

the honour. Soyinka started from Ibadan, the intellectual capital of Nigeria while Falola, who resides in the US wrote a great book on Ibadan land". The Aare Alasa of Ibadan land, Chief Lekan Alabi, who is the chairman of the publicity committee of the anniversary, pointed out the importance of Ibadan in the history of Nigeria, saying that the city had scored many firsts and won recognition for its vast cultural status and for producing great men that had contributed to world history. He said: "Don't forget that

the first television station in Africa was built in Ibadan. In fact, long before France conceptualized the idea. The first stadium in Nigeria was built here among many others. The Olubadan is celebrating a unique birthday and it is worthy to make it big." Head of the Aboderin family in Ibadan, Olutunde Aboderin, who is the chairman of the marketing committee for the centenary celebration, said the importance of the celebration was more projected because it coincided with the celebration of the nation's centenary.


Abak constituents endorse Akpabio for Senate HE people of Abak Federal Constituency, comprising Abak, Etim Ekpo and Ika Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom, have endorsed the aspiration of Governor Godswill Akpabio for the Senate in next year’s elections. The people adopted, by a voice vote, a motion to this effect moved by Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, member representing Abak Constituency in the House of Representatives and seconded by Hon. Friday Iwok, member representing the area in the State House of Assembly. Mr. Uwem Nwoko, Chairman of Governing Council, Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osorua, applauded the Governor for the development strides of the state especially the completion of Afaha ObongEtim Ekpo-Urua Inyang Road. Dr. Emmanuel Ukpong, PDP stalwart lauded the free education of the present administration, but called for the relocation of Mobile Police Barracks, Iwukem, construction of EkparakwaUkanafun-Iwukem Road and renovation of Iwukem High School. Major-General George Umoh (retd.) commended the Governor for development renaissance of the state and the various political appointments offered indigenes of the federal Constituency.




Crude oil theft: Uduaghan talks tough T HE Delta State government has said it would not hesitate to deal harshly with persons or groups who are in the habit of sabotaging oil facilities in the state in the name of protest, tagging them as saboteurs. It will be recalled that a group of youths in Warri North council area of the state, last Tuesday, boldly owned up to sabotaging a major oil pipeline in Dibi, belonging to Chevron Nigeria Limited, vowing to do more if the state government and the oil company fail to meet certain conditions. In a warning to the Egbema Radical Group, which claimed responsibility for the Dibi pipeline explosion, the state governor, Dr Emmanuel Ud-

•You can’t blackmail us, Delta Governor tells saboteurs Shola O’NEIL, South-South Regional Editor & Bolaji OGUNDELE, Warri

uaghan, said the Delta State government and the Federal Government would be blackmailed by acts of sabotage, vowing that the culprits would be dealt with. Dr Uduaghan, who was addressing the state’s Council of Traditional Rulers in Warri yesterday, also charged the royal fathers to be vigilant and watch out for invading Fulani herdsmen, whose activities he said is one of the security challenges facing the state.

The governor said the administration had already made plans to carefully handle the threat of the herdsmen, adding that the state’s police command and the Department of State’s Service (DSS) had been briefed on the need to watch out for strange movements. On the activities of saboteurs of oil facilities in the state, the governor observed that excuse had always been woven around one grievance or the other, but advised anyone with genuine case to channel such through legitimate routes and get them sorted out.

“Crude oil theft and kidnapping have been substantially reduced, but some unscrupulous persons have now made a new habit out of sabotaging oil and gas facilities in the state. There had been a prevalence of this in the last two weeks. “Neither the Delta state government nor the Federal Government would be blackmailed through these acts, anyone who has a genuine grievance should channel such through the appropriate avenues and get them addressed. Those who want to use any reason to sabotage oil facilities, the Delta state government is ready to go after them”, the governor said.

Bowen varsity debunks rumour of tuition fee hike HE authorities of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, has debunked the allegations of fee increment and other issues said to have led to the demonstration by students of the institution on Thursday. The Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr Agboyega Aderoju, told The Nation that there had been no prior complaints by the students about poor amenities, water and electricity supply. He said power supply has gener-


•Remains shut until April 1 n Kofoworola BELO-OSAGIE n ally been poor in Iwo, the host town of the university, adding that the immediate cause of the crisis was traced to the switching off of the school generator to fix a problem while students were watching a premiership match. He said: "The official response is that the school is closed because of the demonstration by the students.

"I learnt that the students were watching a match. There was a problem on one of the floors of the hostel, which was reported, and a team of engineers were sent there. The engineers had to switch off the light to work. "Even after the engineers turned the generator back on, what I learnt is that the students went back to turn it off while on rampage."

Adegboyega said the students vandalised university and private property, and looted some shops on campus. "They destroyed property, including windows, doors, vehicles. We have a shopping complex and of them broke into the shops, looted some things. We later invited to the police and some arrests were made. However we went to get the students arrested and have handed them over to their parents."

Ebonyi APC slams Elechi over N15 billion bond proposal HE Ebonyi State chapter n Ogochukwu ANIOKE, Abakaliki n of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) has cially and economically. In a communiqué issued at condemned the fifteen billion naira bond being proposed the end of its stakeholders from the capital market by meeting in Abakaliki, the party the state governor, Chief Mar- contended that the Elechi-led administration was the worst tin Elechi. The party argued that tak- thing to happen to the state. The party noted that "no ing another loan, with barely a year to the end of his ad- identifiable achievement in ministration was an attempt the last seven years, yet the to strangulate the state finan- debt owed by this govern-


ment is unprecedented in the history of this state. And any further loan will simply mortgage the future of the people of Ebonyi State. "We wish to serve a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the banks that, should they go ahead and execute this loan facility, the incoming administration will

not bear the burden of repayment because Ebonyians are tired of being in perpetual bondage." The APC also alleged that the bond issue is being proposed for the purposes of executing the 2015 general election by the state government in favour of the candidate of the People's

Democratic Party (PDP). The party called on the people of the state to accept and embrace the wind of change of APC, promising that, "APC will change the fortune of the state and take Ebonyians out of the longsuffering and bondage which the present government has brought upon them."

Edo govt, teachers’ unions bicker over HE Edo State government is going assessment test ahead today with the planned assess-


ment test for primary and secondary school teachers on its payroll despite strong objection yesterday from the Nigeria Union of Teachers and the Academic Staff Union of Secondary School (ASUSS). The two unions directed their members to shun the test scheduled for three centres. But the State government insisted that the test would go on as planned. It said the assessment was to enable it ascertain teachers who might need assistance and level of training or retraining required as part of the determination of the Adams Oshiomhole administration to deliver an allround quality education for the Edo child. The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr.Louis Odion dismissed rumour of a court injunction restraining the government from going ahead with the exercise. “For the avoidance of doubt, Edo State Ministry of Justice is not aware of any such injunction,” Odion said, pointing out that “anyone who fails to write the Test will be deemed as constituting a clog in the wheel of our progress and, consequently, will have his or her name deleted from the payroll.” However, the NUT and ASUSS asked its members to stay away from the test. Administrative Secretary of ASUSS, Com-

n Osagie OTABOR, Benin n rade Monday Anigala, in a statement in Benin City, said any attempt by the state government to go ahead with the assessment test would amount to contempt of court. This, he said, was based on an order from the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja restraining the state government and Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor led committee from conductimg any assessment test for secondary/ technical teachers in the state. Comrade Anigala urged the secondary school teachers to disregard any threat from the state government aimed at coercing them to writing the test in whatever form. Speaking separately, the State Secretary of NUT, Comrade Akin Adeojo , said members had been advised to stay way because the matter was already before the court . President of the Industrial Court, Justice B. Adejumo had on Thursday granted an interim injunction restraining the state government from conducting any competency test for the secondary school tutors. Justice Adejumo also restrained the state government from carrying out any act or doing anything inconsistent with the present employment of the claimants by withholding their salaries or terminating their appointments on the competency test.

Fitch affirms Lagos State at 'BB-'; Outlook Stable •Withdraws ratings of Akwa Ibom ITCH Ratings has affirmed Lagos State's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'BB-' with Stable Outlooks and its Short-term foreign IDR at 'B'. The agency has simultaneously affirmed the National Long-term rating at 'AA (nga)' with Positive Outlook as well as the Long-term ratings of 'BB-' and 'AA(nga)' of its N275bn MTN programme as well as its N57.5bn and N80bn bonds, maturing in 2017 and 2019 respectively. However, Fitch withdrew the ratings of Akwa Ibom State after the state chose to stop participating in the rating process. Therefore, Fitch will no longer have sufficient information to maintain the ratings The affirmation of Lagos rating reflects the state's weak socio-economic indicators by in-


n Ogochukwu ANIOKE, Abakaliki n ternational standards, which could eventually put its social spending under pressure, notably on health and education. The ratings also reflect Fitch's expectations of the state's continuing solid operating performance and efforts towards an increasingly sophisticated and transparent administration, which is conducive to growing private sector investments. This should contribute to balancing the budget by 2015, with stable debt coverage by the current balance of around three years. Fitch expects Lagos' revenue to remain highly diversified compared with the national average, due to forecast internal generated revenues (IGR) growing above N400bn by 2015, or 80% of total revenue, from about N200bn in 2010 (70%).






Emenike sets 18 goals target


I G E R I A international Emmanuel Emenike is four goals behind Aatif Chahechouhe in the race for the top scorer award in the Turkish Super League.

With nine rounds left before the conclusion of the championship, the Fenerbahçe striker has vowed to score in each of the remaining matches which will take his tally to 18.


Madrid meet Dortmund, Bayern draw Man United


AYERN Munich will take on Manchester United in the standout tie of the Champions League quarter-finals. Pep Guardiola’s men are keen to become the first club to successfully defend the title, but will have to deal with the champions of England first, with the first leg scheduled to take place at Old Trafford. Elsewhere, Real Madrid will be gunning for revenge against Borussia Dortmund after last year’s elimination in the semifinals, while Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain meet the Premier League’s tabletoppers, Chelsea, as the French outfit aim to improve on last year’s run to the last eight. Finally, Barcelona have

Logically, his strike against Trabzonspor in the penultimate round of matches was not counted after the game was abandoned. “I want to do all and everything to score in the last nine games, in each game a goal. We are a good team and playing well as a team, and getting good results.

“We did not start the second round well but found the way to get again on the successful path. I am eager and motivated to score in every game, “ Emmanuel Emenike was quoted as saying by Fanatik. Emenike’s haul of 16 goals for Karabükspor back in the 2009 - 2010 campaign remains his best in a single season.

been paired with Atletico Madrid, which will be a particularly interesting fixture given Diego Simeone’s men caused the Catalans all kinds of trouble in their domestic dust-ups in the Supercopa de Espana and La Liga earlier this season. The first legs will take place on April 1 and 2, with the second legs scheduled for April 8 and 9. The draw for the semi-finals will be held on April 11, while the tournament concludes at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on May 24. THE DRAW Barcelona v Atletico Madrid v Dortmund PSG v Chelsea Man United v Bayern

Beating Pillars is not negotiable — Obuh


A N G E R S International FC Technical Adviser, John Obuh has said that his side cannot afford to lose their week three Globacom League game against Kano Pillars today. The former Flying Eagles coach feels his team were unfortunate to lose away to Enyimba FC in Aba on Sunday, but admits they must win in similar circumstances if they are to challenge for the title this season. The former Sharks FC of Port-Harcourt manager told SportingLife that getting a point in the game won’t be appreciable to him and his team. “Unfortunately, we lost our first game which I think we should have got something out of. So, we can’t afford to lose our second game in a row. Besides, we can’t afford to draw against Kano Pillars,” Obuh told SportingLife. He continued: “It is not a world Cup that you can say this or that but we’ve ensured that all necessary things expected of us have been done. All arrangements have been perfected and we are ready for the game. The players have been motivated in all ramifications and they all know that they need to deliver. The prompt payment of their allowances and match bonuses has been promised while other incentives can also follow after the victory on Saturday.” The former Kwara United gaffer also told SportingLife that there won’t be any friction between himself and Coach Okey Emordi of Pillars, who is a former Rangers coach, today. “Emordi has left Rangers for Pillars and I left one place to join Rangers too. His (Emordi) presence won’t make any impact during the

From Taofeek Babalola in Enugu game because the match is not between Emordi and I. The players are the main actors and they will be the ones to do battle,” Obuh said.



Maigari wants Flamingoes’ winning mentality sustained


PRESIDENT of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari has called on the Under-17 Women National Team, Flamingoes, to go all out for victory in Sunday’s final Group D clash with Mexico at the on-going 4th FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. The NFF boss spoke in Alajuela while praising the girls for their strong mentality that saw them through in the 2-1 defeat of Colombia on

Wednesday, which shot the Flamingoes into the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup quarter finals for the third successive time. “Against China and Colombia, you showed excellent mentality and took the three points without brooking any debate. For me, the NFF and the entire Nigerian football family, there is still a long way to go. “I do not align with those people who feel that Sunday’s clash with the Mexicans is an


‘No financial crisis in NFF’


HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has allayed fears over a perceived absence of funds for the prosecution of the Super Eagles’ campaign at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil. Earlier this month, the NFF urged Nigeria’s House of Representatives committee on sports to intervene in its budget shortfall to enable the Super Eagles prepare adequately for the World Cup. The NFF earmarked about N2 billion (about $11 million) for Nigeria's participation at the 2014 World Cup finals. The breakdown of the budget indicates that the NFF has reverted to the earlier $10,000 (about N1.7 million) as match bonus for the Super Eagles’ players in the group stages of the World Cup. The footballers will also receive

$12,500 (about N2.1 million) and $15,000 (about N2.6 million) if they qualify for the round of 16 and the quarterfinals respectively. Head coach Stephen Keshi would earn $20,000 (N3.4 million) win bonus at the group stage, while his three assistants will receive $15, 000 (about N2.6 million) each. Also, Keshi's win bonus will be raised to $22,500 (about N3.8 million) and $25, 000 (N4.3 million) if the Eagles qualify for the round of 16 and quarterfinals stage respectively, while his three assistants' win bonus as well as that of other officials in the team will also be increased at the same 25 per cent for the stages. The NFF has since announced that the Nigerian government would be expected to provide about N1.2 billion of the total funds needed to prosecute the campaign.

academic affair. Yes, we are already in the quarter finals. But it is important that we go for a win in that game in order to sustain our winning mentality,” Maigari said. He continued: “I am proud of what you have done so far in this tournament. We are winning, so we should sustain that winning mentality to carry us all the way to the trophy. If we rest on our oars against Mexico, we will lose the momentum and the winning mentality.” Victories over China and Colombia made Nigeria one of the countries to reach the last eight with one match to spare, joining fellow African flagbearers Ghana, Italy, Venezuela, Japan and Mexico. “Once you learn to win, you don’t rest on your oars. No hostage-taking. That was the mentality that took the Golden Eaglets to the world title in the United Arab Emirates last year and I know it will serve you girls well here in Costa Rica,” added Maigari. Nigeria take on Mexico on Sunday with one eye on their quarter final clash with the winner of Group C, scheduled for Thursday.

Call Obuh to order •Continued from back page Americas and the Diaspora would storm the venues to see our players strut their trade. Most of the players that made their marks at the senior level played the game here. For this season, Enugu Rangers are the cash cows for all the teams anytime they parade Ejike Uzoenyi. Fans will storm any stadium where Rangers is playing to touch Uzoenyi. They would want to see him live. In Aba last Sunday, the fans held him hostage, not essentially for his role in Rangers 1-2 loss to Enyimba. But for his sterling outing for the home-based Super Eagles at the CHAN tournament held in South Africa early this year. The irony of Aba fans’ mob of Uzoenyi is that he was rejected by Enyimba. Besides, he played for Rangers last and didn’t get this mob action from the appreciative fans. That is what Uzoenyi will face in any city in Nigeria, if he plays for Rangers. Uzoenyi was Nigeria’s best player in CHAN and rightly deserves all the accolades from Nigerians. He brought us joy. He united us with his dazzling performance. And there cannot be a better way to say thank you than for the fans to throng the stadium for his autographs and pictures which they will treasure for life. Imagine if Enyimba paraded Austin Okocha or Nwankwo Kanu? The Aba stadium would have recorded a stampede. The LMC must do everything within its power to bring the fans back to the stadium. And it would start by getting the clubs to make the venue safe. With many fans comes higher earnings from the gates. I’m sure that any club that brings Flavour to thrill the fans before matches, for instance, would record a capacityfilled stadium, if the next artiste is Tuface Idibia. Sports and entertainment can mix to lure the fans to the stadium. Clubs must offer the fans something to lure them back. The period between 1.30pm and 4 pm when the game begins will be meaningful to the fans if they can dance to their favourite music. With such top notch musicians at the venues miming (before you ask me how we would remove their equipment), the stadium will be jam-packed. The clubs will earn more from the gates and the players, coaches and officials will be happy. The increase in the players’, coaches’ and officials’ emoluments will enhance performance. The Nigerian game will be better for it. My problem with most club managements is that they are lickspittles of the government in states. Most times, they are excited with being board members of clubs because they feel it is an avenue to “chop.” They don’t think. They feed themselves fat, leaving the real actors being owed salaries for up to two years. We need to improvethe financial status of our clubs, if we must compel Nigerians to identify with it. I cringe when Nigerians pride themselves as financial members of foreign clubs. I really don’t blame them because our local clubs are more or else casinos for governors’ lackeys, which is regrettable. But we cannot surrender the clubs to these lickspittles. Hence, one is pleading with the LMC to create a platform where players’ inter and intra club movements are documented for us to evaluate them at the end of each season. The general impression being created by those who run our local clubs is that they are drainpipes. They would peddle all the influence they can muster to retain their jobs, if asked to quit for others. In Europe, transfers serve as money spinners for clubs with the culture of grooming talents for the richer clubs to poach. Most governors who sponsor soccer teams would be shocked to hear how the clubs get from transferring players to Europe. Not many of these state government clubs have domiciliary accounts, yet they have transferred players to Europe. So, how did money change hands between the Nigerian clubs and their European counterparts for the players to change teams? Herein lies the biggest scandals of our football. But who will bell the cat? Until governors, through their commissioners for sports, compel club administrators to account for the cash given to them, the rot in the domestic league will remain.





Equities’ rally gathers momentum with at N30.69 Guinness NiHE recovery at the N155b gain close geria declined by N1.15 to Nigerian equities’

market gathered momentum yesterday as increased bargain-hunting saw most transactions closing at premium. The upside added N155 billion capital gains to market value of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). On the second day of the nascent recovery, benchmark indices at the stock market indicated a generally positive market situation with an average daily gain of 1.29 per cent and more than two gainers to every loser. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities increased from N11.984 trillion to N12.139 trillion, indicating a gain of N155 billion. The All Share Index (ASI), the common value-based index that tracks all equities at the stock market, also improved from 37,308.60 points to 37,790.12 points. With 35 gainers and 17 los-

By Taofik Salako

ers, Nestle Nigeria led the gainers with addition of N14.20 to close at N973. Nigerian Breweries followed with a gain of N6.89 to close at N152.89 points. Total Nigeria rose by N5 to close at N153. Oando gathered N1.48 to close at N16.04. Zenith Bank added N1.21 to close at N22. UAC of Nigeria rose by N1.09 to close at N59.99. Stanbic IBTC Holdings chalked up 93 kobo to close at N21. Guaranty Trust Bank garnered 65 kobo to close at N25.65. National Salt Company of Nigeria increased by 52 kobo to close at N12 while FBN Holdings rose by 46 kobo to close at N12.45 per share. On the other hand, Flour Mills of Nigeria topped the 17-stock losers’ list with a loss of N7.25 to close at N67.25. PZ Cussons Nigeria lost N1.61 to

close at N163.85. International Breweries dropped by 86 kobo to N23.14. Dangote Cement declined by 51 kobo to close at N228. Berger Paints dropped by 45 kobo to close at N8.56. Ashaka Cement slipped by 23 kobo to close at N14 while Portland Paints and Products depreciated by 22 kobo to close at N4.19 per share. Total turnover stood at 309.71 million shares valued at N5.06 billion in 4,365 deals. Banking stocks dominated the top activities chart. Guaranty Trust Bank was the most active with a turnover of 57.92 million shares worth N1.49 billion in 418 deals. Zenith Bank trailed with a turnover of 56.42 million shares worth N1.21 billion in 470 deals. United Bank for Africa placed third with a turnover of 40.62 million shares valued at N287.08 million in 248 deals.




Nigerians in all their ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity lived together, traded together and made cultural exchanges together long before British imperial and colonial amalgamation of the North and South administratively “united” the country —Biodun Jeyifo


HERE is an undeniably and infinitely wide gulf between the President Goodluck Jonathan National Conference (JNC) recently inaugurated in Abuja and the Sovereign National Conference (SNC), which pro-democracy and federalist advocates had demanded for decades. The proposed SNC would derive its mandate from the people. It would be made up of their duly elected representatives. Its decisions, which would bring about a fundamental change in the extant political order, would be binding and unalterable by a subsisting regime. Many ardent advocates of a SNC have enthusiastically jumped on the Naira-laden band wagon of the JNC. Of course, a sprinkling of them is motivated by a patriotic and ardent desire for radical structural changes that can impel accelerated national progress. But the majority see it as another opportunity for pecuniary primitive accumulation – another occasion to ‘come and eat’ on behalf of ‘their people’. The Yoruba Diaspora group, Oodua Foundation, in a statement signed by Dr Dejo Ogunwande, Professor Adeniran Adeboye and Professor Banji Akitoye expressed enthusiastic support for the JNC. They strongly opposed the position of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) after a meeting in Kano on March 10 and 11 that “The planned National Conference has no basis, or any form of legitimacy or authority to speak for the people of the North or other Nigerians. Its proceedings, conclusions and recommendations are therefore of no consequence and will not be accepted by the people of the North”. Of course, I have my problems with groups like the NEF, Afenifere, Ohaneze or others which arrogantly assume the right to speak for the North or other ethno-regional and cultural groups. For one, many members of the NEF are complicit in the crass corruption, venality and arrant irresponsibility of the panNigeria political elite that has brought us to the present quagmire. Secondly, they affect the supercilious posturing of many members of the Northern elite that can be so offensive. Thirdly, it is illogical to claim that the North will not accept the conclusions and recommendations of the JNC when these are yet to be known. Yet, I do not think that the NEF can be faulted when they claim that the JNC has “no basis or any form of legitimacy or authority” to speak for the people of Nigeria. I challenge the Oodua Foundation to tell the world the legal or constitutional basis on which the JNC stands. Some have claimed quite absurdly that Nigerians have the constitutional right to freedom of expression and association. The JNC could as well be a Town Hall meeting in that case. It does not stand on any legal foundation. Yes, there are some excellent delegatespolitically, professionally and ethically- at the conference. But generally, the representative-

From SNC to JNC: A fundamental contradiction

But let us not deceive ourselves that Jonathan can be serious about fundamentally changing a constitution which is the very basis of his seeking re-election for a second term. This is a fundamental contradiction

•Goodluck Jonathan ness of the body is quite hollow and diluted since the members are wholly handpicked. In a free and fair election, many of the delegates would not have the slightest chance of being chosen to represent ‘their people’. In the JNC is an assortment of groups parading sectional agendas purportedly drawn up on behalf of people who had absolutely no say in their determination. According to the Oodua Foundation, “In the history of the constitutional development of Nigeria, the present National Conference is perfectly in line with all previous Nigerian constitutional conferences and it is by no means inferior to any in legitimacy”. Now, there is a problem if the JNC is “perfectly in line” with “all” such previous exercises. For, Nigeria is in her present predicament in spite of all those conferences – about ten in all. Why continue to do the same thing and expect a different outcome? Again, if N7 billion is being expended on the JNC, shouldn’t it strive to be superior in legitimacy to all previous exercises since it has the benefit of learning from the limitations of all others?

Like the Obasanjo 2005 National Political Reforms Conference, not a single member of the JNC is elected. The body exists at the pleasure of the Jonathan presidency. Even the venal Abacha dictatorship did slightly better than this. At least it made some pretence of electing a certain percentage of members to its 1995 conference. If at the end of the day either the presidency or the National Assembly dumps the JNC’s recommendations, the heavens will not fall. And the delegates would have no excuse to cry foul since they partook of the uncertain adventure knowing fully well that the resolutions of the JNC have no force of law whatsoever. Now, what if against all odds the JNC succeeds in achieving its stated objectives and laying a firm foundation for the resurrection and revitalisation of Nigeria? In that case, all genuine patriots should be happy for the country and give President Jonathan his due plaudits for the feat. There must be a limit to partisanship in the process of nation-building. Indeed, I would be quite glad if in the words of Gbogungboro, this newspaper’s passionately patriotic columnist “President Jonathan does indeed see this National Conference successfully to the remaking of our

federation” and thus becoming “one of the greatest Nigerians, one of the greatest Africans of our time”. GbogunGboro is confident that this could very well be the case. And the basis of this optimism? His words: “I was highly impressed when he said in his speech to the inaugural meeting of the National Conference: Let me again repeat what I have been saying that Goodluck Jonathan has no personal agenda in convening this National Conference”. Now, I would be exceedingly hesitant to base my optimism on the success of this critical national exercise on such a very fragile premise. Not even General Abacha claimed that he had a hidden agenda when inaugurating the 1995 conference. And neither did Obasanjo do the same thing when he inaugurated the 2005 conference. Really, did anyone realistically expect Jonathan to tell Nigerians that he was convening the conference to pursue a personal agenda? Yes, I pray that by all means the JNC succeeds. That should be the hope and wish of all Nigerians. But our expectations must be based on realistic analysis and not romantic wishes. The undisguised reality is that Jonathan indeed has a personal agenda. Only someone who has been on vacation on Planet Mars will not know that Jonathan is fervently and feverishly working towards a second term in 2015. Of course, this is his constitutional right. But let us not deceive ourselves that Jonathan can be serious about radically changing a constitution which is the very basis of his seeking re-election for a second term. This is a fundamental contradiction. It is unrealistic and inexcusably idealistic to expect that the JNC can be dissociated and insulated from the on-going struggle for power in 2015. We cannot have a depoliticised National Conference in an intensely politicised context. Those who genuinely want radical structural change in Nigeria are understandably impressed with Jonathan’s born again stance on convening a National Conference. This suggests that he believes the country must move in a new direction away from the present path the PDP has taken the nation since 1999. But his campaign for re-election in 2015, which has begun in earnest, is predicated on continuity and assumes that the PDP has posted a stellar performance and deserves to continue managing the country’s affairs. In the past few weeks Jonathan has addressed PDP ‘unity rallies’ in Kano, Sokoto, Kwara, Kaduna, Katsina and Imo states. His words in Kano: “Come 2015, PDP is going to retain this zone. We will continue to retain Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna and Kebbi states. Kano is a PDP state but some people want to take the state from us. We don’t know where they are taking Kano state to. But with Shekarau and others joining PDP, we will take Kano back”. Let no one be fooled. The JNC is not about change. It is about 2015 and Jonathan’s continuity.

Ade Ojeikere on Saturday

Call Obuh to order


HE League Management Company (LMC), which runs the Globacom Pre mier League, matches must protect the brand, if it hopes to attract more sponsors to the domestic game. Most times, willing corporate bodies sit on the fence to watch and evaluate the trends in the Globacom Premier League before making any form of commitment. Therefore, the LMC must be proactive to comments by those who try to bring the game to disrepute by their words or behavior. Sanctions must be immediate on those found culpable. Where the referees don’t record such comments or conducts like they often do, the LMC could on the strength of comments in the media invite those culpable to explain why they should not be punished. In cases of media reports, the LCM can invite a reporter to substantiate his or her claims. Where the media can provide recorded voices of players, coaches and officials bringing opium to the game, then sanctions should be handed out to deter others.

Indeed, the only way the LMC can reduce if not eliminate - these unwholesome conducts by coaches, players and officials is for the broadcast right holder, Supersports, to show us all the matches in delayed broadcast. It is not enough for Supersports to show matches live. Supersports should also show recorded matches and get credible people (former referees, ex-coaches, renowned journalists and ex-international players) across the strata of the game to express their views on the controversial aspects of the matches. For instance, Enugu Rangers technical adviser John Obuh pilloried the referees who handled Sunday’s Globacom Premier League cracker against Enyimba in Aba. Curiously, Rangers lost 2-1 with all the goals scored by Enyimba players. Even the goal recorded for Rangers was an own goal by an Enyimba player. The question then for Obuh would be if Rangers scored a disallowed goal. But those who know how some unscrupulous referees manipulate games say that he or she could use the whistle to kill off potential goal-bound moves.

In some cases, such a referee could ignore crunchy tackles on the visitors or intimidate the visiting side’s players out of their wits with yellow cards. These are mere allegations, which can be thrown into the trash bin with visuals on television from the match venues. I saw the three goals scored in the Enyimba/ Rangers game in Aba during the SuperSports’ Monday night show on television and none of them was fraudulent. Supersports need to have daily progammes dedicated to the Globacom Premier League where all the week’s matches are shown. Fans should be allowed to express their views on talking points of the league, like we see daily on Supersports from the Barclays English Premier League. This fans’ forum will set the agenda for us. Such candid views would help the LMC know the problems plaguing the league, particularly why attendance at venues is poor. Fans who like what they see at home weekly may be moved to watch the Globacom Premier League matches anytime the teams they admire visit the towns where they reside. The ripple effects of some of these unsubstan-

tiated allegations rest with the fact that fans wouldn’t want to come to see the games because the results, in their view are pre-determined. Aside, the gestures from these complaining coaches, players and officials trigger violence from the spectators, who are divided along the two teams. Of course, the visiting teams go home with unsavoury tales of what happened in the first game. These sad tales set the stage for vengeance in the return match. If we must get the fans to watch the Globacom Premier League matches, then untoward tendencies as highlighted with the actions of the coaches, players, officials and referees must the reduced. We must create the right environment for the games to be played. The essence of sponsorship of the domestic league will be lost if there are no spectators at the stands. In other climes, the fans are the 12th player. The noise from the stands gives their players the energy to fight on. The domestic league is the cradle of our football. No one should desecrate it. If the matches are free of violence, scouts from Europe, the

•Continued on Page 62

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