Page 1

2015: No one should trust Jonathan –Ango Abdullahi –Page 4

BOKO HARAM: Sect ambushes, kills 24 civilian JTF members in Borno

Poland’s first black MP is Nigerian

–Page 5

–Page 47

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.08, No. 2595

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

SUNDAY

N200.00

SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

PDP breaks up –Pages 2, 4 & 5

Atiku, 7 govs Appoint Baraje party sack Tukur chairman, Oyinlola secretary

Tukur: They are traitors

JONATHAN’S FACTION

Split may lead to coalition with APC

ATIKU’S FACTION

GOODLUCK JONATHAN

ATIKU ABUBAKAR

President of Nigeria

Former Vice President

MOHAMMED NAMADI SAMBO

ABUBAKAR KAWU BARAJE

Vice President of Nigeria

Former Acting National Chairman

BAMANGA TUKUR

PRINCE OLAGUNSOYE OYINLOLA

PDP National Chairman

Former PDP National Secretary

CHIEF TONY ANENIH

ALIYU WAMAKKO

BOT Chairman

Sokoto State Governor

GODSWILL AKPABIO

CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI

Akwa Ibom State Governor

Rivers State Governor

SERIAKE DICKSON

RABIU MUSA KWANKWASO

Bayelsa State Governor

Kano State Governor

EMMANUEL UDUAGHAN

ABDULFATAH AHMED

Delta State Governor

Kwara State Governor

IBRAHIM SHEMA

DR. SAM SAM JAJA

Katsina State Governor

Former PDP Deputy National Chairman

BATTLE FOR TARABA Suntai to Tukur: Respect constitution CAN, Muslim council sue for calm See EDITORIAL Page 15, INSIGHT Page 64, 65 & 70

•Governor Danbaba Suntai

•Acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umar

•Speaker of Taraba State, Haruna Tsokwa

•Taraba House Majority Leader, Joseph Albasu


2

NEWS THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

PDP CONVENTION CRISIS

T

he ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could not have got a more bizarre birthday present yesterday. On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of its emergence, the ‘largest party in Africa’ as its leaders are fond of referring to it, broke into two under a long – predicted implosion. And it all happened before a large crowd of leaders, including President Goodluck Jonathan, and party supporters from across the nation. The occasion was its Special Convention primed to take crucial decisions ahead of the 2015 elections. Some influential members, led by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, seven governors, three former governors and federal legislators who had been complaining about the way the party was being run by the Bamanga Tukur-led National Executive Committee, walked out of the convention and proceeded to address a press conference where they announced the sack of the party’s embattled national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and the replacement of his national executive committee with a new one headed by Alhaji Kawu Baraje, a onetime acting national chairman of the party. The faction also named former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as National Secretary, the same position he occupied before a court ruling forced him out, and Dr. Sam Jaja as Deputy National Chairman Other members of the new National Working Committee are expected to be announced tomorrow. Amidst backslapping and liberation songs, the PDP leaders said there was no going back in putting a new leadership in place for PDP. Those at the session were Atiku, Oyinlola, Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Abdulafatah Ahmed (Kwara); Babangida Aliyu (Niger); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers). Others were the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Mukhtar Shagari; Deputy Governor of Niger State, Musa Ibeto; Deputy Governor of Adamawa

PDP splits as Atiku, others sack Tukur

P

•PDP critics are pretenders – President

•Baraje emerges new PDP National Chairman •Berates Tukur for lack of democracy •Cites Presidency for conspiracy

•L-R, Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi (left), his Niger State counterpart Dr. Babangida Aliyu and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at the press conference, yesterday. FROM: Yusuf Alli and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

State, Bala Ngilari; ex- Nasarawa Governor Abdullahi Adamu (a former Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the PDP); and exKwara Governor Mohammed Sha’aba Lafiagi. Also in attendance were some members of the National Assembly, including the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Abdulmumini Jibril; Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mohammed Zakary; Dakuku Peterside; Senator Magnus Abe; and all statutory delegates and members of the National Assembly from the seven states. As the presence of each of the political heavyweights was announced, shout of “Chanji dole 2015’ (Change in 2015 A Must)

filled the hall. The confidence radiated by all the governors suggested that some notable leaders of the party were pulling the strings to effect change in PDP. Baraje, a former National Secretary of the party, spoke of “increasing repression, restrictions of freedom of association, arbitrary suspension of members and other such violations of democratic principles by a faction of our party led by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.” He said all efforts to draw the attention of critical stakeholders within the party to the dangers inherent in the course being charted by that leadership came to nought and “it has become very clear that the desperate permutations towards 2015 general elections have blinded certain people from the conse-

quences of their actions.” He added:”Not only has the constitution of the party been serially violated by Alhaji Tukur and fellow travellers, all the organs of the party have been rendered virtually ineffectual by a few people who act as though they are above the law. “Unfortunately, it is obvious that they get encouragement from the presidency, whose old calculations are geared towards shutting out any real or imagined opposition ahead of the party’s presidential primaries for the 2015 elections. “As leaders of our great party, we consider it a sacred responsibility to save the PDP from the antics of a

We’ve kept our promises to Nigerians, says Jonathan

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan declared yesterday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has kept the promises it made to Nigerians since 1999. He dismissed PDP critics as pretenders who keep refusing to acknowledge the achievements of the party over the years. He spoke at the PDP special convention in Abuja. He said the party is the only one out of the three registered in 1998 that has retained its identity, while the others have imploded or subsumed their identity in search of political direction and relevance. PDP, he said, would continue to grow bigger and stronger. He listed achievements of the PDP, led government to include improvement in telecoms, agri-

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja culture, aviation, transportation, roads, water resources, and education. The President reiterated the party’s commitment to internal democracy and belief in the rule of law. He said: “Ours is not only the party of the present, but it is the party of the future. It is very clear that we are the party destined to take Nigeria to greatness. We are the party that holds the interest of Nigerians dearly at heart. We do not pursue divisible policies, we do not preach hate, we reject violence, we reject killings, we recognise Nigeria as one indivisible entity, we deplore ethnic distrust among our great people. “We must insist on defending Nigeria from those who

threaten her in words and deeds. We are a nation in God’s hands and we must keep it so. Before I leave, let me ask our party men and women one fundamental question and I need the answer yes or no. As a party, have we changed our name? No. As a party, have we changed our logo? No. As a party, have we changed our slogan? No. As a party, have we changed our motto? No. As a party, have we changed our vision? No. No shaking. “We are here today to reaffirm our faith in Nigeria, our commitment to internal democracy and our belief in the rule of law.” He called on party members to work relentlessly to bring about cohesion, discipline, and supremacy of the party to enable it face without distraction, pressing national challenges and task

ahead.” “To remain strong and successful, we must not only continue to be a party of internal democracy but also of internal discipline. Our party structures and rules are clearly defined there provide a clear guide for action and programmes. To undermine them is to compromise our strength and goals. I will like to remind all here how far we have come.” “The visible vibrancy that our party has encouraged from 1998 helped to strengthen our party and support the goals of internal democracy of this country. It will foster greater democracy in our party. We believe in freedom of speech, we believe in the freedom of association, we believe in the freedom of participation.”

few desperadoes who have no democratic temperament and are therefore bent on hijacking the party for selfish ends. While the list of their violations of the tenets of our great party is long, we will highlight just a few: *The National Executive Committee of the PDP at its belated meeting of 20 June 2013 approved 20 July 2013 for the conduct of a special national convention. However, that date was changed to August 31 without reverting to NEC (the only authority vested with such powers) by a few people, apparently acting on the authority of the presidency. *Notwithstanding the fact that INEC had noted that the PDP congresses in nine states were not presently conducted, the illegal delegates from such states are being paraded at the so-called convention being held today (yesterday) in a cynical attempt to circumvent the law and further bring the name of the party to disrepute. *In gross violation of the PDP constitution which stipulates that the NEC meeting must hold at least once in a quarter, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and a few people have been running the party like a personal fiefdom without recourse to that important decision-making organ of the party. *The NEC of the party accepted the resignation of the former members of the NWC whose offices were affected by INEC observations based principally on the agreement that the affected officers would be returned to their respective offices at the convention. However, against the decision of the NEC and in a not-so-clever bid to exclude some perceived opponents of the few powerful members who are trying to hijack the party, these positions have been made to some Yesmen within the party. •Notwithstanding INEC’s instance that Senator Any Uba is the

duly elected candidate of the party in Anambra State and against the background that he is so recognized by majority of our party members, the Bamanga Tukurled Executives announced a purported suspension of Senator Uba and some other members close to him in defiance of subsisting court orders. •Despite that the PDP Constitution is very clear that the state chapter of the party cannot discipline a national officer, the Deputy National Chairman, Mr. Sam Jaja, has reportedly been dismissed by some renegades who have hijacked the Rivers State chapter of our party with the connivance of the Bamanga Tukur leadership. •The persistent change in the list of the party’s delegates in many states as part of a deliberate attempt to rig the party’s nomination of candidates, especially at the presidential and gubernatorial levels, with a view to foisting on the PDP some unpopular candidates who are bound to lose at the polls. •The suspension without due process of the Governors of Rivers and Sokoto states. Even when the illegal suspension on Sokoto State Governor has been lifted, the Rivers Governor remains purportedly suspended for no just cause. •The illegal dissolution of the Adamawa State chapter of the party is a clear abuse of power by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur thus causing confusion in his home state. “Given the foregoing, it is very clear that the Bamanga Tukur leadership cannot guarantee for our millions of party members democracy anchored on free choice and the rule of law. We have therefore taken it upon ourselves to rescue the party from their dictatorial leadership. “It is indeed noteworthy that from 1999 to date, Nigerians have constantly voted the presidential candidates presented by our great party but not only does such trust come with enormous responsibility, we recognise that we cannot continue to take the people for granted. “From now, the new leadership of the party under us will strive to build a fairer as well as a more transparent and accountable PDP that will put that interest of members and indeed all the people of Nigeria above that of one single individual. “For all the members of our great party who may have become disillusioned by the antidemocratic tendencies of the Bamanga Tukur leadership, there is a new lease of life in the horizon. It s a new day for the Peoples Democratic Party. “As we take over the leadership of the PDP, our immediate priority is to revive the culture of robust debate of all contending issues while providing a levelplaying field for all our members. These were the ideals that differentiated our party from others and endeared us to Nigerians. “We are not, and have never been, a political party where one man would be taking decisions for all members and where once you do not kowtow before the presidency, you are deemed a rebel that must be crushed. That is not the PDP bequeathed to us by our founding fathers. That, I dare say, is no longer what PDP under our leadership will represent from today.”


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

3 PAGE

CAPTURED

3 Boko Haram: Sect ambushes, kills 24 civilian JTF members in Borno

BRIEFING

Arrested for spying

BRIDE OR MASQUERADE?

Taraba crisis: Suntai supporters accuse Tukur of taking sides • Islamic, Christian leaders call for peace From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo


4

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1 , 2013

News

Why Nigerians should not trust Jonathan, by Ango Abdullahi

F

ORMER Presidential Adviser on Food Security, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, says there are abundant reasons why Nigerians should not entrust President Goodluck Jonathan with the leadership of the country beyond May, 2015. The reasons, according to the Secretary of the Northern Elders Forum, revolve around what he called the president's betrayal of the process that brought him into office. Speaking on Liberty Radio, Kaduna, yesterday, Prof Abdullahi said President Jonathan got the support of the north to contest for one term in 2011 but is now bent on usurping the lot of the north again in 2015. He said, though he would want power to return to the north in 2015, he would not mind supporting a South South candidate like Prof. Tam David-West. Prof. Abdullahi blamed former President Olusegun Obasanjo for upsetting the PDP zonal arrangement and said President Jonathan's position on zoning is a fallout of the Obasanjo legacy. He said "when Obasanjo wanted an extension of tenure for a second term under the zoning arrangement, he had to come to an extended caucus of the PDP. I remember how people opposed the idea. The late Abubakar Rimi was one of them and he was supported by about three others that Obasanjo should not be given an extension and that the Presidency should come to the north

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna for four years before going back to the South. "Eventually, about 37 people out of the about 41 present voted for the extension for Obasanjo to have a second term. Now coming to why we should not trust people who renege on promises. Obasanjo was the first to deny that there was a zoning that brought him to power. He did that and kept doing it and it is most likely it was from him that they learnt what they are doing because he was instrumental to Jonathan becoming Vice President. "So, Jonathan must be Obasanjo's student on matters of zoning because he himself kept saying, when we were arguing that Jonathan rightly became the President of the country when Yar'Adua died, 'This is what the constitution allows' and in fact insisted on it and nobody begrudged that." According to Abdullahi, "The President's foot soldiers have approached me. I met one of the foot soldiers and I told him that for me, there wouldn't have been any reason to support any candidate from outside the north. The north is not selfish and has never exhibited any selfishness." He faulted the president's transformation agenda saying, "I don't know what indices they are using and can't see what direction this transformation is going. The indicators are very clear that virtually everything is collapsing."

Bamanga calls Atiku, others treacherous •Says parallel faction is illegal

F

ACTIONAL National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, said last night that the formation of a rival national executive committee by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his group was treacherous. Tukur, who bared his mind in a chat with newsmen at the Eagle's Square in Abuja, said the party does not recognise a parallel party. He said: "The PDP does not recognise any parallel party. Those who staged the walk out and organised a kangaroo meeting are all self-seeking and treacherous individuals pursuing neither regional nor religious agenda except their own agenda, except their own personal interest. "Their attempt to create a parallel party is illegal, unlawful

From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation as there are no crises within the PDP whatsoever. They were all active participants in the setting up of this convention. And many of them were with the President and rode with him to the convention venue and joined them in the salutation of all the delegates including their state delegates. "The PDP is studying the situation as it unfolds and will deal decisively as the situation warrants. "It is obvious that they are creating crisis where there is none to give the impression that the party is divided. This in their thinking will allow them persuade loyal members of the National Assembly to cross carpet with them. We will resist this."

Stowaway boy: Siblings begs for his release

E

IGHT days into the dramatic discovery of a teenage boy hidden inside the wheel compartment of an Arik Air which flew him to Lagos, the siblings of the 13year- old Junior Secondary School (JSS) 2 student, Daniel Oikhena, yesterday, appealed to the concerned authority to release him. Desmond, 9, the immediate younger brother and Kelvin, 6, who said they slept in the same room when Daniel left that fateful day, passionately appealed to the security agencies to let their brother go. They said he acted in ignorance. Speaking on behalf of the

From, Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin family, Desmond said he was not surprised when the news came to them last Sunday that Daniel was in Lagos. “Oga, I want my brother released to us. We are missing him and want him back home. My family is not happy over the continued detention of our brother. “He is just a child and must have acted out of ignorance; we need his brotherly love and guidance. We are appealing to those responsible for his detention to please consider us because we have no money to fight any case.”

The new balance of power

A

FTER the dust settled at the last general elections in 2013, the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) retained its dominance in the polity - accounting for 23 out of the nation's 36 gubernatorial seats. With the dramatic events that played at yesterday's mini-convention in Abuja, the balance of power in Nigeria has been radically altered. With the factionalisation of the party - and almost certain loss of seven governors, the PDP will be left in control of just 16 states. That position could marginally improve if it manages to win at November's Anambra State gubernatorial election. But that is still a far cry from controlling 23 states. Today's reality is that a party with overweening hubris used to describe itself as 'Africa's largest party', is fast shrinking before our very eyes in the run-up to 2015. With loyalty not the strong suit of the Nigerian politician, the prospect of more governors abandoning a sinking ship cannot be overruled.

ANALYSIS

PDP: The balkanisation of an octopus

T

HE ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday held its special convention in an atmosphere of artificial unity. The party chieftains were not in one accord. Cracks were visible on the wall as the 3,500 delegates converged on the Eagles Square to fill the vacant positions in the party's inept National Executive Committee (NEC) headed by the former transport minister, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. The mini-convention underscored the fragile health of the 14 years old party, which has hailed to manage its achievements and succeeded in inflicting wounds on its leadership structures. In March, last year, the party held a convention, which ended in a fiasco. The exercise generated bitterness among the rank and file. Due process, many chieftains alleged, were not followed. According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which voided the national congress, 18 people were elected in error. To restore sanity, the commission advised the party to put its house in order. Yesterday's convention was held to correct the mistake. Many party chieftains believed that the reform would be incomplete without a fresh election into the office of the national chairman, Tukur, who does not enjoy the confidence of the aggrieved bloc. But while 18 NEC members resigned, President Goodluck Jonathan offered an effective shield to the chairman, leaning on the fact that his election was not voided by the electoral agency.

By Emmanuel Oladesu Group Political Editor

Survival game It was a game of survival. The President is sensitive to the moves by certain powerful chieftains to block his re-election bid in 2015. He trusted that, with Tukur holding fort as the chairman, he would still maintain his hold on the party machinery. But to the aggrieved members, Tukur has become a dictatorial party manager whose hand has been heavy on perceived foes in the fold. However, yesterday was a turning point for the crisis-ridden party. The aggrieved five governors, who were earlier sighted at the convention, stormed out amid the exercise. The delegates from their states followed suit. It is evident that protesting governors have a link with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who shunned the convention. They were joined by Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who had been suspended by the party, the former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Adamu Abdullahi, former Governor Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara State. The antiTukur forces later encamped at the nearby Shehu Yar'Adua Centre, firing salvos at the top party leaders. With them were former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and some chieftains. Their mission was to announce a factional leadership structure. Up came the former Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, a close associate of former

Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki, as the factional chairman. There have been factions in many PDP state chapters. But the emergence of a factional leadership at the national level marked the balkanisation of the party. It also attested to the fact that reconciliation has failed. The tragedy coincided with the 14th anniversary of the PDP, which was formed on August 31, 1998. Many founding fathers, who had earlier joined the President in cutting the anniversary cake bowed their heads in sober reflection. Before Atiku and Governors Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto State), Aliyu Muazu (Niger), Musa Kwakwanso (Kano), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) stormed out, some party followers have openly gone round the convention ground, canvassing Lamido/ Amaechi ticket in 2015. Observers contend that the decision to raise a parallel National Executive Committee (NEC) is the first leg in the series of events that will unfold in few weeks. The message is clear. The party chieftains who have dared the national party leader, Dr. Jonathan, and the national chairman, Tukur, are on their way out of the acclaimed largest party in Africa, since the INEC, which monitored the convention, will give recognition to Tukur as the authentic PDP chairman. The factional PDP chieftains may seek refuge in either the Voice of the Peo-

ple (VOP) or the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), which had already been registered. Sources hinted that the two parties may seek alliance with the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), during the next general elections. The move may portend grave danger for the PDP. Already, the party has no footing in the Southwest. The implication is that it may also lose its hold on the Northwest, the most populous zone reputed for its uncanny and reliable voting strength, the North Central, especially Benue, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara states, and some parts of the South South, especially Rivers and Edo states. It is likely that more members will defect to the opposition during the electioneering, if there are rancorous congresses at the troubled state chapters, especially if they are wrongly denied of the tickets. Since it is certain that the opposition parties will zone the Presidency to the North, it is possible that the pro-power shift elements in the region may mobilise for the opposition to achieve the latent goal. But the opposition can only take the advantage of the polarisation, if it also puts its house in order. For PDP, the future is bleak. It faces a perilous future. Unless the aggrieved chieftains retrace their steps, the party may not remain the same again.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

News

5

PDP CONVENTION CRISIS Split: Fear grips S/south PDP leaders

Obasanjo shuns convention as PDM lauds faction

•Amaechi supporters to reactivate parallel exco in Rivers From Shola O’Neil, S/South Regional Editor

P

ANIC gripped leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the SouthSouth yesterday following the latest twist to the crisis rocking the party, which saw the emergence of a parallel leadership of the party. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and eight governors on the platform of the party, yesterday, walked out of the party’s convention and immediately convened a mini convention which culminated in the return of Abubakar Baraje as the new chairman of the splinter PDP. Although President Goodluck Jonathan, whose perceived second term bid is one of the factors in the current crisis, told delegates at the conference that PDP will “become stronger”, our investigation revealed that leaders of the party from his zone were shaken by the development. A very top member and a national officer of the party told our reporter, “We are greatly concerned in spite of the bold faces we are putting up in public. PDP has had crises in the past and we have come out one way or the other. This is different because it is the first time we would have a parallel leadership of the party. “That a former Vice President has pulled out with seven or eight governors is a cause for concern no matter what anybody says,” added our source, who asked not to be named in this report.

•Obasanjo From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja • Cutting of the Solidarity Cake during the PDP National Convention at the Eagle Square in Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

PDP is losing out, says Atiku •Why we sacked Tukur, others-Ex-VP F

ORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, threw light on the emergence of a new National Working Committee for the PDP. He said the party had derailed from its mission and was being run by those who lack knowledge of party politics. Atiku, dressed in a white babanriga, savoured the moment as the seven governors and party leaders conceded to him the right to answer journalists’ questions after the speech of the factional National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje. He cited alleged frustration in the land and said the generality of Nigerians are

From Yusuf Alli and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

disappointed with the PDP administration.His words: “Today is a very historic day in the life of our party. It is also a day of mixed feelings. It could also be a day of happiness. It could also be a sad day. “Sad because the party we conceived in 1998 to be a rallying point for all Nigerians to be a source of unity, to be a party that will fulfil the aspirations of Nigerians, has today been dragged down by people who don’t even understand what party

politics is all about. I have always been trying to draw the attention of leaders of our party, and the leaders of government that this democratic dispensation is supposed to make things better for the people of this country. Let us not deceive ourselves, the country is full of frustrations; the country is full of anger; full of disappointment. “Therefore, we have a responsibility to see how we can reform our great party so that those lofty ideals, lofty goals can be achieved. They cannot be achieved by the present leadership of the party.

“It cannot be achieved even by the presidency.”He said that he had always emphasised that the party was headed in the wrong direction. “We are losing the party, we are losing the government, and for these very courageous people seated here, this idea was mooted to see whether we still have men with courage and determination to get up and stand up.” He appealed to other party members to join them to restore what he called “the values of the founding fathers of this party.”

Tukur: Convention to deepen democracy

A

LHAJI Bamanga Tukur, the embattled factional national chairman of the PDP, said yesterday that the party’s convention would deepen democracy within its ranks and the country generally. Speaking at the party’s convention which was marred by a walk out and a formation of a rival faction, he said the PDP had triumphed over opposition parties in the past and would continue to do so in future. But in what appeared to be a belated appeal, he asked party members to eschew bitterness and divisions, stressing that the party needed the correct mindset to achieve genuine reconciliation.Also speaking, chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, dismissed as often exaggerated, reports about crises in the PDP. He said: “As you all probably know, a lot has been written about conflicts and crises in our party, almost on a continuous basis. Let me assure you that a great deal of what is published is exaggerated.” While it cannot be denied that there are differ-

•Anenih: Crises in PDP exaggerated From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

ences and disagreements, now and again, our party has a very effective arrangement for conflict resolution. I want to take this opportunity to assure you that the PDP is one great family and

appeal to all those who have one reason or the other to be aggrieved to take advantage of the abundant opportunities for conflict resolution in the party.” His focus, according to him, has always been on reconciliation, party cohesion

and discipline.He added that given the enormous size and spread of the party, there are bound to be challenges in its organisation. ”However, you will agree with me that recent challenges of problems of indiscipline are weighing heavily and af-

fecting the smooth operations of the party in nearly all of its chapters.”According to Anenih, members should work to put their house in order so as to retain its dominant position in the political sphere.

F

ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo stayed away from yesterday’s convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Obasanjo, who was the immediate past chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, may have stayed away owing to the perceived disagreement between him and President Goodluck Jonathan over party issues. Some of his loyalists, including former national secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, his former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs, Senator Andy Uba, are currently having it rough with the leadership of the party. While Uba is currently on suspension from the party, Oyinlola who lost his position as national secretary of the party has joined the parallel PDP chaired by Alhaji Abubakar Baraje. The Baraje faction announced its breakaway from the PDP yesterday with notable figures like former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) in the train. Seven serving governors elected on the platform of the PDP have also crossed over to the parallel faction. They are:Rotimi Amaehi (Rivers); Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Babangida Aliyu (Niger); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara).

Uba’s, Nwoye’s supporters turn Eagles Square to battle ground

S

UPPORTERS of the two main gladiators in the Anambra State PDP governorship ticket tussle appeared to have set the tone for yesterday’s disruption of the party’s special convention in Abuja after launching into a free for all. That was minutes before the arrival of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Eagles Square venue of the convention. His appearance and the intervention of security agents facilitated the termination of the hostilities between supporters of Senator Andy Uba and Mr. Tony Noye both of whom are laying claims to the party’s ticket in the August 24 pri-

From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor/ Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

maries. Andy Uba arrived at the venue in good time and headed straight to the pavilion allocated to Anambra delegates to take his seat. Close by were his younger brother, Chris, and Aviation Minister Stella Oduah.Nwoye, accompanied by a large retinue of youths, later stormed the venue by which time most of the seats had been occupied. His men tried to find a seat for him and discovered that the one allegedly reserved for him was the one occupied by Andy

•Clash over Anambra gov ticket Uba.Tension soon rose with the Nwoye’s loyalists asking Uba to vacate the seat and that he had no business to be at the convention in the first place in view of his alleged suspension by the party.Andy Uba ignored them, but not Chris who told them that the ‘suspension’ had been lifted by the court.Nwoye’s men were not impressed. They insisted that Uba must vacate the seat. What followed was a shouting match and within seconds it all degenerated when one of the youths pushed Chris. Next came an exchange of blows and abusive words by both sides. Security officials

stepped in to stop the fracas.It was at that point that the President’s entourage came in and the fight ended.Tony Nwoye later found a seat beside the Uba brothers with a man separating him from Chris. The Minister quietly walked away from the rowdy scene. One of the factional Anambra PDP chairmen, Chief Ejike Oguebego, sat close to the Uba brothers; while his rival, Ken Emeakayi, sat close to Nwoye. Parallel primaries were conducted by two factions of the PDP on August 24 in Awka with Uba winning one and Nwoye, the

other. The national leadership of the party proceeded to recognise Nwoye as the PDP flag bearer and summoned the Uba brothers to Abuja to come and clarify their position. The duo did not honour the invitation only to be slammed with suspension by the party. However, a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday lifted the suspension while another Federal High Court, Port Harcourt directed the PDP to accept the result of the primaries which gave victory to Andy Uba pending the determination of a suit in which he wants to be recognised as the party’s candidate in the November 16 election.


6

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

News

PDP’s split may lead to grand coalition with APC—sources From Yomii Odunuga, Deputy Editor, Nation’s Capital

T

HERE were strong indications yesterday in Abuja that the emergence of a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party at the party’s mini convention may be the beginning of a grand design to form a powerful coalition with the All Progressives Congress towards the 2015 elections. According to a highly placed member of the faction, who spoke to our correspondent last night, those who thought the PDP remains the party to beat in the forthcoming elections should have a rethink as Nigerians would soon be witnessing the coalition of all the political forces into one grand party including the APC. Explaining why seven governors and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar walked out of the mini-convention, the source said the aggrieved persons could no longer tolerate a situation where a party presumed to be the largest political gathering in Africa is subjected to the whim of one man. He said when it became apparent that those who hijacked the party’s machinery were not ready to toe the path of peace, the only option left for those interested engendering party discipline was to form its own faction and seek for people of like minds in other parties wherever they may be found. He said: “Let me tell you something that will shock you. Don’t ever think that this is just another political ploy to score cheap political points. This is clearly more than that. Very soon, Nigerians would see the kind of political merger that has never been witnessed in the history of this country. I am talking of a merger that will break all the barriers. “I am aware that some people are busy deceiving themselves that they will win the 2015 elections through the support of their kith and kin. But they forget that the North-west and the Southwest account for over 51 per cent of all the votes cast in the country. We know our game plan and when we finally merge, we will see how far they can go with that arrogance. “The time has come for someone to put an end to the impunity and abuse of power. We have waited for long to see if common sense would prevail. But it is clear that those urging the leadership of the party to go on have taken our patience for granted for too long. We will soon show them that, in this game of politics, number plays an important role and we do have the number on our side.”

PDP’s split: PDM lauds dissenting governors T

HE newly registered Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) yesterday lauded the ‘bravery and statesmanship’ of the dissenting delegates of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) for ‘staying calm in the face of utmost provocation and outright oppression’ during the PDP National Convention in Abuja. Those who walked out of the PDP mini convention and announced the setting up of a rival national executive com-

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

mittee were former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governors Rotimi Amaechi, Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido and Aliyu Wamakko, Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), among others. The group also announced a former acting national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, as its national chairman. The PDM, founded by the late Shehu Yar’Adua, was un-

T

for refusing to participate in an election which they knew gave no even playing ground to all stakeholders.’’ He said PDM as “ a party of true democracy, equity, fairness stands shoulder to shoulder with all true democrats who wish to make Nigeria great again through positive political change,” and “ shall soon throw open its online and manual registration of prospective members within and outside the country.”

•Chairman, Mosan-Okunola Local Council Development Area, Abiodun Mafe (third right) explaining to the Commissioner for the Environment Mr Tunji Bello (fourth right) during the monthly environmental sanitation at the council yesterday… With them is Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba PHOTO: TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO

From: Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

T

HE Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has paid about N18.254bn to depositors of failed banks in the last two years. Its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, disclosed this yesterday during the NDIC special day at the Yenagoa Trade Fair in Bayelsa State. He said the amount was paid to 1,203,538 depositors after verifying their claims. Ibrahim, who was represented by the acting NDIC Zonal Controller, Port Harcourt, Mr. Dawodu Samuel, said the depositors were customers of failed commercial and micro- finance banks. He said while a cumulative insured deposit of N6.82bn was paid to 528,212 insured depositors of closed banks as at December 12, 2012, N6.68bn was paid to 527,942 as at December 12, 2011. Breaking down the figures further, he said 75,322 depositors of 95 out of 103 micro finance banks in December, 2012, received N2.505billion while N2.249billion was paid to 72,062 in December 2011. According to him, another N73.58bn had been paid as liquidation dividend to 250,209 depositors of Discounted Mortgaged Banks (DMBs). Ibrahim said: “It is pertinent to indicate that a total of 14 out of the 34 banks in liquidation prior to 2006 had declared a final dividend of 100% of their total deposits, indicating that all depositors of the affected closed banks had fully recovered their deposits.” He advised depositors yet to recover their trapped funds to file their claims to NDIC.

Bayelsa: No Ibibio elders to Umana: You can commissioner contest 2015 governorship poll was defrauded •Say no one can stop him T B HE immediate past Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government (SSG), Mr. Umana Umana, was yesterday given the green light to contest the 2015 governorship race by the Ibibio Elders Forum. Mr.Umana was given the boot by Governor Godswill Akpabio after declaring his intention to join the race. He is currently locked in a cold war with the governor over his ambition. However, the Ibibio Elders Forum declared that Umana has the constitutional right to contest the election and that no one can stop his political ambition. The elders dismissed as false a newspaper report that it had a meeting with Umana during which it prevailed on him not to contest for the position. Umana was sacked from

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

office on July 29, this year and his office sealed off by security operatives. Chairman of the Forum, Obong Okon Uko, in a statement, said: “If Umana wants to aspire to occupy any politi-

seized to exist in Imo State. Okorocha made the declaration while presenting the former officials of APGA in the local government and wards of the state to the National Zonal Vice Chairman of APC and other officials of the party at a forum held at the Ahiajoku Conference Centre, Owerri.

cal office within and outside the state, he has the constitutional right to do so. Therefore, it is not true that anybody or group of persons have either advised or asked him not to exercise his constitutional right. “Ibibio Elders Forum calls

on the general public to disregard the said publication because it is baseless and has no iota of truth in it. The report credited to us does not represent the revered status of Ibibio Elders Forum. That mischief makers should desist from sponsoring publications that may disunite or cause disharmony among the various ethnic groups in the state.”

Military presence in Etsako over Ozekhome’s kidnap

S

OLDIERS have taken over the security in major streets of Auchi in Estako West council area of Edo State. Motorists and commercial motorcycle operators

Okorocha declares APGA dead in Imo HE Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has officially announced the conversion of all the local government and ward structures of his former party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) to the merger party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), as he declares that APGA has

til recently a pressure group in the PDP. However, its registration was protested by some members who said they were kept in the dark about it and that it was never the intention of its founders to transform it into a party. National Chairman of PDM, Mallam Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, in a statement yesterday by his Media Advisor, Alaba Yusuf, said: ‘“We appreciate the bold, brave and patriotic stand of these delegates

‘NDIC pays depositors of failed banks N18.254bn’

In his remarks earlier, the National Zonal Chairman of APC, Dr. Nyerere Anyim, called on all Igbos to join the party to form a formidable team in order to guarantee a radical change in governance. He commended the leadership style of Okorocha and described him as a man of great vision.

From: Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin City

popularly known as Okada are now subjected to stopand-search by the men of the Nigeria Army. This followed the kidnap penultimate Friday of Lagosbased lawyer, Mike Ozekhoime (SAN), his driver and Athanius Ugbome. It was gathered yesterday that the kidnappers made a distress call to the police at the weekend to get more arms for their operations. The hoodlums, who reportedly laid an ambush for the policemen who re-

sponded to the call, allegedly swooped on them. It also emerged yesterday that an official of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) believed to be a woman was also picked up at the kidnap scene. This was because a blue car with FIRS inscription and an Audi car were discovered at the scene. It was, however, not clear whether the abductors had opened talks with Ozekhome’s family as at yesterday’s evening. “We believe God for miracle,” his elder brother, Pius, simply told our correspondent.

From: Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

AYELSA State yesterday debunked reports that the suspected fake reporter of the Cable News Network (CNN), Paul Yempe, defrauded commissioners before police arrested him. A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Deacon Markson Fefegha, however, admitted that the alleged impostor attempted to conduct interviews with officials of the government. Yempe was reportedly lodged in a top flight hotel by an official of the government while preparing for the interview. But Fefegha said: “The story is not true and members of the public are urged to ignore the said report as no commissioner was duped by the fraudster. “Before the arrest of the said fraudster by the police, the man had introduced himself to the Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Deacon Markson Fefegha as Paul Yempe. “He was being investigated by the office of the Honourable Commissioner of Information when he was apprehended following a tip-off by the State NUJ Chairman, Mr Tarinyo Akono, at the Office of the state Commissioner of Energy, Barrister Francis Ikio.”


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Kingmakers hail Obiano’s emergence as APGA candidate

R

OYAL fathers and opinion leaders in Anambra North Senatorial District have applauded the emergence of Chief Willie Obiano, as the standard bearer of the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) at the recent primaries of the party in Awka, the Anambra State capital. Obiano, an Aguleri high chief and philanthropist ,polled 871 votes to defeat other aspirants, with his closest rival, Hon. Uche Ekwunife of Anambra Central, polling 150 votes . Other contestants were Paul Odenigbo, Emeka Nwogbo, John Nwosu and Prince John Emeka. The floodgate of encomiums for Obiano was flung open by a fellow gubernatorial aspirant and former Secretary to the State Government, Mr Oseloka H. Obaze. In a statement, the former SSG hailed Obiano’s victory as the fulfillment of a dream. According to him, “Obiano’s victory brings to fruition our long and assiduous campaign for a candidate from Anambra North to be picked as the APGA flag bearer. The people of Anambra North should be gratified and elated by this positive development and I thank all those who voted for or offered their moral support to Chief Obiano.”

News

APGA primaries: Ekwunife lauds loyalists

Y

ESTERDAY was a sad day for supporters of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in Anambra State, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, who emerged as the runner-up in the primary election, as they looked disturbed over the outcome of the primary election. However, Mrs. Ekwunife, while addressing chairmen/coordinators of the Uche Ekwunife campaign organisation in the 21 local government areas of the state, urged them to remain calm. She asked them to remain calm over the outcome of the primary election of APGA last week, noting that in two weeks

•Doles out cash, materials to council chairmen, others From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha

she will make her stand known to her supporters as it regards the way forward while commending the undying spirit of her loyalists across the state. “I want to thank you all for your unflinching support towards my ambition to be the governor of Anambra State. I wish also to use this opportunity to tell those who are still crying over the outcome of the party’s primaries to remain calm, the party has brought out its candidate and that is one of the things a political party does. But

I want to tell you that in two weeks time, I shall tell you and brief you on the way forward. For now, let us remain calm,” she said. The director of the campaign organisation, John Okeke, expressed sadness at the way and manner the party conducted the primaries, adding that the genuine delegates were locked out of the venue while those who were never party members were allowed into the venue of the election. He further challenged the outcome of the APGA primary election on the ground that the

party failed to abide by the constitution of the party as regards the election of party delegates from all the 326 wards across the state, adding “this is not the APGA that Ndigbo has been fighting for.” The woman leader in Uche Ekwunife campaign organisation, Mrs. Ebere Anene, also commended Ekwunife for her undying commitment to the development of Nigeria’s democracy and Anambra state in particular and promised that the women would always stand by her in her future political endeavours.

APC clears Ezeemo for primaries in Anambra •Party elects states leadership From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

T

HE All Progressive, Congress (APC) appeal screening committee has cleared one a governorship aspirant in Anambra State, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, to contest the party’s primary tomorrow. Also, the party yesterday elected its state leadership with Barr. C.J. Chinwuba the chairman and J.P.C. Obikwelu as state secretary. The congress which took place at the Sun city Hotels in Awka yesterday also elected Obiora Samuel Igwedibia as its deputy chairman in the state, among other officers. APC is seriously preparing for its state primary on Monday to elect its governorship candidate, following the clearance of Ezeemo by the party’s screening committee. According to a letter signed by the Interim National Secretary of APC, Tijjani Musa Tumsah, dated 30th August, 2013, the decision to clear Ezeemo was taken on Friday by the party. In the letter titled: ‘Decision of the Anambra State Appeal Screening Committee’, which reads in part, Tumsah said: “Following the gubernatorial appeal committee sitting which took place on Friday, 30th August, 2013 at a National Secretariat, I wish to inform you that the appeal committee has set aside the decision of the Screening Committee and hereby declares you eligible to contest our primary election scheduled for 2nd September, 2013.” Following the declaration of the committee, Ezeemo would now square up with Senator Chris Ngige for the governorship ticket on Monday.

•L-R: APC guber aspirant in Anambra State Mr Godwin Ezeemo acknowledging cheers from supporters during APC rally at Awka ....yesterday PHOTO:EMEKA ODOGWU

Cleric denies rift with Okorocha

T

HE Archbishop of the Owerri Catholic Diocese, the Most Reverend Dr Anthony Obinna, yesterday said that he does not harboured no any hatred against the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha. He said his refusal to be part of the committee set up by the governor to disburse N500million to youths from the oil producing local government areas of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta respectively was based

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

on principle and not to show disapproval for the policies of the state government as speculated. The cleric who made the disclosure during a media briefing to mark this year’s annual Odenigbo celebration, pointed out that, “I have been concerned with governance as it affects public welfare. I have never accepted any political appointment in the past, so I took a principled stance

and rejected the appointment but as I said I have no personal quarrel with Governor Okorocha.” The Archbishop said that the church will continue to be involved in the political process to ensure that public interest and good is protected under any regime, adding that, “each regime that comes, my interest is to ensure that public funds are deployed for public good.” According to him, “the controversial law which started dur-

ing Achike Udenwa’s regime was secretly signed into law by Okorocha, but the church is demanding that the law be immediately abrogated by the House of Assembly in defence of the life of the unborn child.” The outspoken cleric also decried the state of rural roads across the state, stating that, “I have directed the church to be ready because we will build the collapsed roads where the government failed.”

positions these parks found themselves up-to-date.” On the allegation that the taskforce failed to consult private park owners before embarking on the closure of illegal motor parks, the taskforce chairman said, “We are in a democracy and we run the government of Abia State under Dr. T.A Orji who believes much in dialogue.” Chief Ifeanyichukwu Anaele, the owner of Bicoz Mass Transit, while reacting to the allegation that his company and another transporter, Galloping

Motors, sponsored the protest to incite the public and sabotage the efforts of the state government to promote sanity in the transport business in Aba and other parts of the state, described it as false. Anaele said that transporters in Aba has been solidly behind the actions of the state government in restoring sanity in the city and wondered why transport owners would want to incite the public or sabotage the state government as was alleged by the taskforce chairman.

Abia taskforce not terrorist— chairman

T

HE chairman, Abia State Taskforce on Environment and Allied Matters, Capt. Awa Udonsi Agwu(rtd), has denied allegation that his team was unleashing terror on private motor park owners in Aba, the commercial hub of the state. Private park owners during a peaceful protest in the commercial city of the state had alleged that their businesses suffered great losses due to what they described as constant harassment by the taskforce team in the last one year. However, Capt. Agwu at press briefing denied the allegation, stressing that the taskforce in the last one year has exhibited high sense of civility in carrying out its assignments and has never had any cause to embarrass or being embarrassed by any individual in the cities of Umuahia and Aba re-

From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba

spectively. According to him, “when we moved into the mandate of removing illegal and unauthorised motor parks, asking them to go back to government approved parks, we knew it might not be an easy task because of the level of money available to those that run illegal parks. We are quite aware, but government has the total resolve to return Aba to its original master plan. And the master plan of Aba included in any form the

Obi assures support for construction of Nnewi Mall

C

ONSTRUCTION of the proposed shopping mall for Nnewi would commence in a few days time, Anambra State Governor Peter Obi has said. Obi ,who spoke yesterday at the inspection of the ongoing Agulu Lake Hotel and Resort

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

with two new bridges, said other malls at Awka and Nnewi were ongoing. “The mall at Onitsha and Awka are ongoing. In a few days we shall start that of Nnewi. We had planned these things and have enough money set aside

for them. We shall also start the three Arms Zone, for which we also have enough Money set aside,” Obi stressed.” He further assured said the state government had enough money to complete all the projects being embarked upon by his administration across the state.

7

Abia IGR has improved— AccountantGeneral From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia

T

HE Accountant-General of Abia State, Gabriel Onyendilefu, says that the internally generated revenue [IGR] of the state has continued to be on the increase since the removal of multiple revenue collecting agents in the state. Speaking with The Nation in Umuahia, the state capital, Onyendilefu said that the use of one revenue collecting agent in the state has made the misappropriation of public funds by fraudulent revenue collecting agents to be a thing of the past, and thus increased the revenue base of the state. Onyendilefu said that the enumeration of the houses in the state and their status will make the owners to pay the stipulated infrastructure levy, adding that it is part of the way for the state to increase the IGR of the state. He said that the state hitherto generated between N95 million N120 million, “But now with the closing of the avenue through which the funds of the state are lost, we have noticed that we are getting up to N650 million every month” The Accountant-General said that the state IGR could have gone higher than what it is now “if not for the uncooperative attitude of the people of the state who find it difficult to pay their legitimate taxes like in other states.” He said, “the issue of fund management to competing demands has not been easy, given the type of state we have , where people have a lot of expectations from government, but we have fared better now than six years ago, as many things have changed in the state since then.”

First deaf sports festival kicks off in style From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi HE first, ever Deaf Sports Festival kicked off yesterday in Chuba Ikpeazu Mini Stadium, Onitsha, Anambra, with four sporting activities namely: football, track and field, badminton and table tennis. The four-day event will take place in the same venue. Mrs. Prisca Nathaniel, a teacher in School of Vocational Education, Onitsha, who facilitated communication for the deaf sports men and women, said the athletes were full of praises for the state government for organising the games for them. Declaring the festival open, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Dr. Edozie Aroh said the festival was part of, Anambra government’s efforts to empower youths in all sections of the society. Aroh who spoke on behalf of Governor Peter Obi, through the aid of an interpreter, encouraged the deaf athletes to rise above their perceived incapability by excelling in whatever sports they could do well while assuring them of government support.

T


8

Suntai to Tukur: respect the constitution From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

T

ARABA State governor, Danbaba Suntai, yesterday asked the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to adhere strictly to the provisions of the constitution in his intervention into the crisis between him and his deputy, Alhaji Garba Umar. In a statement by the former Commissioner of Information, Emmanuel Bello, Suntai asked Tukur to avoid personal sentiments in the reconciliatory effort. According to him: “The National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, should respect the Nigerian constitution. “As he moves to wade into the Taraba crisis, he must make the nation’s constitution his guide”. He added: “The speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Haruna Tsokwa, has said he is not interested in what the constitution provides. “In his rejection of suntai’s letter transmitted, he keeps saying as far as he is concerned, he is entrenching a strange thing in our national life. “I believe he hasn’t read the constitution. If he has, he doesn’t understand its provision”. Suntai warned against any attempts to take sides in the crisis, saying: “if Tukur takes side in the ongoing imbroglio, we shall vehemently resist him. “We also deny in the harshest terms Tukur’s assertions that Suntai is running a government by proxy”. Suntai accused Umar of attempting to run a parallel government, saying he is wrong to reverse the dissolution of the cabinet.

AKTH records three successful kidney transplants From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano HE Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) has recorded three successful kidney transplants after abandoning the programme for many years. Its Chief Medical Director, ProfessorAminu Mohammed, disclosed this yesterday at the 18th Abubakar Imam Memorial Lecture in Kano. He added that the hospital had expended over N81.5 million for the training of 355 clinical and 114 non-clinical staff in the past year. A total of 76 resident doctors of the hospital, he added, passed the part one and part two examinations of the West African and National Post-graduate Medical Colleges.

T

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

News

Huge presence of security personnel at Kwara council poll

T

HE rerun local government election in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State took place yesterday under huge security. A combined team of plain- clothed and mobile policemen, officials and men of the Department of State Security Service, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) ensured that it went troubled-free. Human and vehicular movements in and outside the local government were restricted. Vehicles coming from Osogbo in Osun State to Offa and Ajase-Ipo, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State were diverted to

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

other routes. The Police Commissioner, Agboola Oshodi-Glover, was on ground to monitor the conduct of the election. He told reporters that the huge presence of security operatives was as a result of the drafting of personnel from other divisions Oshodi-Glover said: "We don't want to disclose the number of policemen that are here but we have enough manpower. "We have deployed all our resources and manpower for the smooth conduct of the election." Investigations revealed that sufficient ballot papers did not arrive on time in some polling wards.

The Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC), Dr UthmanAjidagba, advanced reasons for the development. He said: "In the process of dispatching them (ballot papers) some officers did not wait enough to collect the sufficient ballot papers. "Those areas that initially did not get sufficient ballot papers have been sufficiently addressed." The chairmanship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Saheed Popoola, said: "So far so good, the conduct of the election has been devoid of any hitche save initial short supply of ballot papers. What we want is that the collation centres should not be rough.

"We want the a situation where security agents will concentrate on the ward collation centres and local government collation centres and the declaration of the result for the councilors at the ward collation centres and the chairman's result declared at the local government secretariat, not Ilorin. "The election is taking place in Offa and it must be declared here. If the election result is collated and declared here the way it is going on definitely I know it will be fair enough." The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Prince AbdulwaheedOlanipekun, described the conduct of the election as smooth and peaceful

Plateauxxx prepares 241 illegal immigrants for deportation From: Yusufu Aminu Idegu,

T

HE Plateau State government in collaboration with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has arrested 241 immigrants in the state. The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yiljab Abraham, stated this yesterday while addressing reporters in Jos. The suspects, Abraham assured, will be deported soon. The commissioner said: "Most of the arrested suspects could be a threat to the prevailing peace in the state if not deported." He advised residents to be watchful and report suspicious persons to security operatives immediately. On attacks last Thursday by gunmen, Abraham said: "The incident was not an attack or outbreak of violence but an armed robbery case." He stated that six suspects have been arrested in connection with the case. The commissioner also said reports of cattle getting last around Jos East have been received, stating over 100 of the cattle have however been recovered by vigilance groups.

NOA commences campaign on FoI From: Tony Akowe, Kaduna

T •Supporters of the All Progressive Congress(APC) receiving Bafarawa yesterday in Sokoto

T

HE Federal Government is putting measures in place to avert flooding from the Kanji and Jebba Dams in Niger State. The Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, disclosed this at the weekend in Abuja. Ochekpe, who addressed reporters at a stakeholders' meeting, explained that the ministry had received a letter from the Power Management Unit of the Transmission Company of Nigeria on the

FG moves to avert flood in Kanji, Jebba dams From Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

potential threats of floods from the dams. She explained the measures are just precautionary to ensure that the impact of excessive flooding experienced last year is reduced. The stakeholders at the

meeting included representatives of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Ministry of Environment and Niger Commissioner of Water resources among others. The minister said: "The floods have not yet come. We are trying to take preemptive measures. We expect that we

will all work together so that the devastating effects of flooding do not affect all Nigerians. "We are trying to mitigate what may come in future. The government does not want any Nigerian to suffer from the impact of flooding. Those living in the coastal areas should make plans to move."

Embrace APC for change, Bafarawa urges Sokoto

F

ORMER Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, yesterday called on the people of the state to embrace the All Progressive Congress (APC) for accelerated development. He spoke at the launch of the party. Bafarawa, who was besieged by scores of party supporters and brown-waving loyalists said: "This gathering is a signal and prelude in defense of the cause of the party for Sokoto State." The APC leader added: "We will domesticate the party by ushering in good leaders with positive political sense of direction, institute morality and ensure progress." He promised to "lead with every sense of humility, understanding and fair-mind for all to contribute to the spread

From: Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto

of its acceptance across the 23 councils in the state." He said APC is a political platform built on truth, honesty and sincerity of purpose with a view to meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

He maintained that the era of promoting and encouraging political vendetta, intimidation and discord was over, adding that" we want to ensure absolute politics of issues and progress among our members." He added: "Our symbol 'broom' is not for sweeping but

it represents unity, progress and change for all. "The party's political wheel is strengthened and all inclusive for politics of transformation and independence." Bafarawa said he is determined to restructure the state in terms of socio-economic transformation.

HE National Orientation Agency (NOA) has started public enlightenment campaign through the use of Theatre for Development and Community Dialogue sessions on the Freedom of Information(FoI) Act across the country. The Director of the agency Kaduna, Ishaya Sabo, told newsmen that NOA has selected six communities in each of the local councils for the exercise, which is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Sabo said that the aim of the exercise is to educate people on their rights and how to access information from their representatives. He explainedthat the Act was passed to help people hold their representatives accountable. He disclosed that the law has been translated into the three major local languages, pointing out that translations into other languages will soon be done. Sabo said efforts are on to ensure that the law is domesticated, appealing to the Houses of Assembly to immediately see to this.

NMA lauds Jonathan, FEC on Gusau's committee report

T

HE Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has praised President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for discarding the report of Justice Bello Gusau's committee on harmonious work relationship among health workers and professional groups in the sector. NMA's National President, Dr Osahon Enabulele, said

From: Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto Jonathan deserves commendations for his position on the report. He spoke at the weekend during the NMA 2013 NEC meeting in Sokoto. The theme of the meeting was: "Promoting medical checkup as key to preventing sudden death". According to him:" The step

taken by the FEC needs to be supported to achieve the desired objective of enthroning harmony in Nigeria's health sector" Enabulele added: "No amount of resources was too much to commit to ensure health for the Nigerian people." He said the association decided to look for the face of "a well- respected, tested, strong yet accessible and credible po-

litical office holder who is youthful, focused and healthy looking" as his face-of-health. Speaker AminuTambawal, according to Enabulele, fitted the bill, adding, "the Speaker shall together with the NMA, offer health education messages to Nigerians through several media which shall include regular calls on Nigerians to see their licensed medical doctors/ dentists for health check-up."


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

9


10

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

11


12

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013


COMMENT and ANALYSIS

13

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Talakawa Liberation Herald (28)

2004-2007 as PDP/Nigeria’s Lekan Otufodunrin years of hope: fact or El-Rufai’s delusional fantasy?

Otufodunrin@thenationonlineng.net 08050498530 (SMS only)

BY BIODUN JEYIFO

I

MUST start this piece by stating that I have neither read nor am I about to read Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai’s new book, The Accidental Public Servant. At some point down the line, I will read it. Some of my professional friends and political comrades whose critical judgment I trust have read the book. While they are not exactly full of praise for the book, they all say that it is worth reading. But please don’t take this as either a recommendation for ElRufai’s new book or worse still an endorsement for it. My friends’ and comrades’ opinion of the book is not the reason why I will read it. Rather, the sole reason why I will eventually read the book is because ever since he wrote a devastating critique of the late president Yar’ Adua and his administration from a centre-right perspective while Yar’ Adua was alive, I have followed his essays and blogs closely. I have read nearly all his essays since then and I periodically visit his personal website. The only thing I resolutely shun when I visit this website is the column that invites visitors to have a glimpse of El-Rufai’s latest personal activities. This indicates to me that the man has, or wishes to have, a fan club; I leave that to that to the young, the credulous and the fellow travelers of his ideological forays into the wilderness of contemporary Nigerian elite politics. In my opinion, El-Rufai is quite easily the brightest and most articulate spokesperson for the centre-right ideological and political position in Nigerian politics today. Later in this piece, I shall indicate what exactly this centre-right position implies, but for now let me add that for me, El-Rufai has the added interest of being the first politician and intellectual from the North to both articulate and embody this centre-right worldview with coherence, consistency and panache. In other words, while we have had brilliant radical leftist intellectuals and dedicated and unwavering politicians and spokespersons of the right aplenty from the North we have never, in my view, had a centre-right representative of the caliber of El-Rufai from the North. [Incidentally, we have not had one from the South either!] Needless to say and as I hope to demonstrate in this piece anyway, I am not using these ideological terms reductively. When I shall have finished what I have to say in this piece, I hope that it would have become clear that I do not think that his centre-right views exhaust all that could be said about El-Rufai. On the strength of the things that he says in his writings and the passion with which he says them, he is quite possibly a genuine patriot and a humanist. It just so happens that a man like the subject of this essay who is as open and even aggressive about his ideological beliefs ought to be taken up on those beliefs. On this last point, I now move directly to the substance of this piece, El-Rufai’s passionate espousal, in a recent article titled “Stunted Potentials Hobble Our Nation”, of the claim that the years 2004-2007 during Obasanjo’s second term in the presidency marked a period of great hope and promise not only for Nigeria but for Africa and the Black race. I think that this claim is both factually erroneous and morally bogus and indefensible, but before I state my reasons for this view, it is useful to state El-Rufai’s arguments in support of this claim on their own terms. The bottom line in that article, “Stunted Potentials Hobble Our Nation” is the view

Yar’adua Part 11

A

•El-Rufai

that politics in any context is only as good as it is congruent with national aspirations. Between 2004 and 2007, states El-Rufai, there was a perfect congruence between politics and national aspirations in our country. On this claim, El-Rufai goes on to assert vigorously that those who “inherited” power after 2007 – Yar’ Adua and Jonathan – lacked such congruence on a monumental scale. “National aspirations” between 2004-2007 included such key elements like the shrinking of both the expenditure of governance and the participation of government in business; the creation of a modern national identity card system; a road map to a potential boom in the solid mineral sector to relieve the over-dependence on crude oil; strengthening of the banking system; a national mortgage system to drastically reduce a 17 million housing units deficit; and monetization of fringe benefits to reduce the lavish and wasteful lifestyles of public officeholders at the expense of the state. I admit it: reduced to this bare summary, there does not seem to be anything particularly extraordinary about this set of programs and ideas. But in the context of the discursive rhetoric of El-Rufai’s passionate arguments in the article, these ideas take on an urgent, visionary quality. Repeatedly, El-Rufai states again and again in the article that the vast majority of Nigerians are poor, subject to insecurity, prone to vastly inferior or inadequate hospitals, clinics and amenities while those in power wallow in obscene consumption and display of wealth. He pleads that time is not on our side, that our leaders must get their priorities right or we will sink further and further into devastation by insecurity, corruption, and poverty. One could not agree more with El-Rufai on these observations. And in a phrase that I particularly found resonant, El-Rufai in the article describes budgetary procedures in our country as a “fictographic art” full of much drama and noise but disconnected from the things that could cure governance in Nigeria of its endemic wastefulness, incompetence and paralysis.

“El-Rufai was objectively an accomplice to the subordination of the party to Obasanjo’s personal megalomaniacal control; he provided both the practical muscle and the justificatory rhetoric for how a “strong leader” with a sense of mission and “national aspirations” could and should bypass ignorant and backward party bosses”

In contrast to all of this, El-Rufai argues in the article that between 2004 and 2007, Obasanjo’s administration charted a course that was bold, visionary and confident in its mission. Here is a sentence from the article that gives a flavor of the rhetorical flourish with which El-Rufai makes this claim: “The vision of that Obasanjo administration was to make this the last generation to merely speak of Nigeria’s potentials. We were determined to realise those potentials, confident that we had the talents to create wealth from the vast natural and human resource endowments of the country, leveraging the energies of its young people and latent assets in the Diaspora.” No great debating skills or prowess are needed to demolish this claim. 2004-2007 happens to coincide with Obasanjo’s second term in office. From his near impeachment close to the end of his first term (1999-2003), Obasanjo came into his second term a bitterly insecure ruler, a wounded lion who wanted to make everyone pay for his injured pride. He became paranoid toward all real and suspected enemies within and outside his party, the PDP; conversely, he demanded absolute loyalty from everybody, from members of his cabinet to the lowliest functionary of the presidential villa. He subjected the party to his absolute control. He ran government like a fiefdom, while paying lip service to respect for technocrats and a special responsiveness to foreign bilateral business and governmental powers. He ignored or even flouted decisions of the Supreme Court that went against him or his administration. He used government to enrich his cronies, sycophants and hangers-on. In some particularly notable instances, he placed mediocrities in high office, as in the case of the barely literate hair dresser that he made the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In some states of the federation, he installed stark illiterates like Andy Ubah and Lamidi Adedibu as political godfathers with more real power and authority than the executive governors of the states concerned. In the year 2006, he had a prolonged, bitter feud with his Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, in which both men voluntarily revealed how gross and unconscionable they were in looting the coffers of the nation to enrich themselves and their cronies. Perhaps the most important economic legacy of his rule was a massive transfer of wealth into a few hands at the expense of the vast majority of Nigerians. Continued on page 18

READER while responding to a news report in The Nation on the return of Taraba State Governor Dambaba Suntai and his intention to resume office made a rather poignant remark that captures the drama that has been playing out in the last one week in Jalingo. “Yar’ardua Part 11, we are enjoying it,” the anonymous reader wrote. He was obviously likening the controversy over the state of health of Suntai who returned from medical treatment abroad after ten months to that of former President Umaru Yar’adua who was finally declared dead after many attempts by his wife and aides deceive Nigerians. After undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia during which he was reported to be brain dead, a claim that was denied by his aides, Yar’adua was flown back to the country and the impression was given that he was recovering. I remember reading some of the claims that he was already walking unaided in the Presidential Villa and playing lawn tennis when in fact the condition of the late President was getting worse. After all the lies peddled by the cabal led by the former first lady, Turai, who wanted to hold on to power at all cost, they had no choice than to announce his death when he finally gave up. Perhaps he would have gotten better if he had remained abroad undergoing treatment since the country does not have the medical facilities and personnel to attend to him. Like in the Yar’adua case, Suntai who obviously has not fully recovered and still needs the best of medical treatment was hurriedly flown back last Sunday and the cabal around him is desperately doing everything to fool Nigerians about the governor’s health status. Suntai arrived last Sunday and had to be aided to disembark from the aircraft in Abuja and Jalingo. He could not utter a word and barely managed to smile and wave to those who came to welcome him. Instead of allowing him to continue to get the much needed rest he needs and medical attention, he had reportedly written to the State Assembly to resume, sacked the state executive and appointed some new aides. Instead of the expected state broadcast, a recorded few minutes video has been shown on the state television with the governor purportedly swearing in the new Secretary to State Government and Chief of Staff and greeting the people of the state. After finally being allowed to see the governor, majority members of the state house of assembly have declared the governor unfit and asked him to return to US for treatment. Ordinarily, there should be no controversy over whether the governor is well or not. If indeed he is as his collaborators claim, he should come out and say so. He should perform some public functions and leave no one in doubt that he is physically fit to resume duties. He has stayed away for ten months and the state has been governed by his deputy so why the hurry to return. Those aiding the governor clinging to power are obviosly doing so for selfish purpose. They need to know that the governor’s life is more precious than whatever position they want him to hold on to. This kind of hide and seek game cannot continue for too long.


14

W

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Comment & Analysis

HAT’S the biggest threat to world peace right now? Despite the horror, it’s not chemical weapons in Syria. It’s not even, for the moment, an Iranian nuclear weapon. Instead, it’s the possibility of a wave of sectarian strife building across the Middle East. The Syrian civil conflict is both a proxy war and a combustion point for spreading waves of violence. This didn’t start out as a religious war. But both Sunni and Shiite power players are seizing on religious symbols and sowing sectarian passions that are rippling across the region. The Saudi and Iranian powers hover in the background fuelling each side. As the death toll in Syria rises to Rwanda-like proportions, images of mass killings draw holy warriors from countries near and far. The radical groups are the most effective fighters and control the tempo of events. The Syrian opposition groups are themselves split violently along sectarian lines so that the country seems to face a choice between anarchy and atrocity. Meanwhile, the strife appears to be spreading. Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq is spiking upward. Reports in The Times and elsewhere have said that many Iraqis fear their country is sliding back to the worst of the chaos experienced in the last decade. Even Turkey, Pakistan, Bahrain and Kuwait could be infected. “It could become a regional religious war similar to that witnessed in Iraq 2006-2008, but far wider and without the moderating influence of American forces,” wrote Gary Grappo, a retired senior Foreign Service officer with long experience in the region. “It has become clear over the last year that the upheavals in the Islamic and Arab world have become a clash within a civilization rather than a clash between civilizations,” Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies wrote recently. “The Sunni versus Alawite civil war in Syria is increasingly interacting with the Sunni versus Shiite tensions in the Gulf that are edging Iraq back toward civil war. They also interact with the Sunni-Shiite, Maronite and other confessional struggles in Lebanon.”

One great big war

•Asaad By David Brooks

Some experts even say that we are seeing the emergence of a single big conflict that could be part of a generation-long devolution, which could end up toppling regimes and redrawing the national borders that were established after World War I. The forces ripping people into polarised groups seem stronger than the forces bringing them together.

It is pretty clear that the recent American strategy of light-footprint withdrawal and nation-building at home has not helped matters. The United States could have left more troops in Iraq and tamped down violence there. We could have intervened in Syria back when there was still something to be done and some reasonable opposition to mould. At this late hour, one question is whether the sectarian fire has grown so

hot that it is beyond taming. The second question is whether the United States has any strategy to limit the conflagration. Right now, President Obama is focused on the imminent strike against the Assad regime, to establish American credibility when it sets red lines and reinforce the norm that poison gas is not acceptable. But the president does have the makings of a broader anti-sectarian strategy. He has at least three approaches on the table. The first is containment: trying to keep each nation’s civil strife contained within its own borders. The second is reconciliation: looking for diplomatic opportunities to bring the Sunni axis, led by the Saudis, toward some rapprochement with the Shiite axis, led by Iran. So far, there have been few diplomatic opportunities to do this. Finally, there is neutrality: the nations in the Sunni axis are continually asking the United States to simply throw in with them, to use the C.I.A. and other American capacities to help the Sunnis beat back their rivals. The administration has decided that taking sides so completely is not an effective long-term option. Going forward, there probably has to be a global education effort to reduce antiSunni and anti-Shiite passions. Iran could be asked to pay a higher price not only for its nuclear programme, but for its mischiefmaking around the region. But, at this point, it’s not clear whether American and other outside interference would help squash hatreds or inflame them. The legendary diplomat Ryan Crocker argues in a recent essay in YaleGlobal that major outside interventions might only make things worse. “The hard truth is that the fires in Syria will blaze for some time to come. Like a major forest fire, the most we can do is hope to contain it.” Poison gas in Syria is horrendous, but the real inferno is regional. When you look at all the policy options for dealing with the Syria situation, they are all terrible or too late. The job now is to try to wall off the situation to prevent something just as bad but much more sprawling. Culled from New York Times


Comment & Analysis

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

15

Taraba constitutional crisis

I

Self-help on both sides of the divide may yet cause the state more harm than N Taraba State, it is crass constitutionalism versus Suntai’s suspect health the governor and ensured the state is in safe hands. But it

crusading morality. But the snag is both sides are resorting to self-help that would eventually help no one. The return to the country on August 24, by Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, whose self-piloted plane crash took him to Germany and the United States on forced medical tourism for 10 months, has landed the state in a constitutional crisis. It sounds all so typically Nigerian, with the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua affair, which the Senate mercifully resolved with an extra-constitutional instrument of “Doctrine of Necessity” to crown the then Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan, as acting president, before the former president’s eventual death. A clearly delicate Governor Suntai, even after being helped out of his aircraft like some toddler, no sooner than he had landed, fired a letter to the Taraba legislature, claiming he was ready to “resume work”, as stipulated by Section 190 of the 1999 Constitution. The ink had hardly dried on the letter before the governor dissolved the state executive council (exco) and appointed a new secretary to the state government (SSG) and governor’s chief of staff, both positions needing no parliamentary stamp. The other side led by Haruna Tsokwa, Speaker of the Taraba legislature, kicked, alleging proxy forgery. A Taraba legislators’ visit to the governor, after the governor had spurned physically addressing the House, led to the sensational proclamation that the governor is still unfit to rule. Sixteen of the 24 Taraba legislators, including Speaker Tsokwa and Tanko Maikarfi, his deputy, signed the resolution for the governor to seek further medical help; and reaffirmed Garba Umar, the deputy governor, as acting governor still. But the governor did a brief state broadcast, which sent his supporters capering with joy in the streets. Apparently issuing from the legislators’ declaration, a third front has opened, with the deputy governor (or “acting governor” in the eyes of the legislators) contesting the governor’s dissolution of his cabinet. In a few days therefore, Alhaji Umar has sensationally morphed from a deputy governor pledging loyalty, to a fiery “acting governor” contending with the governor all of the way! In all of these, what does the law say? Section 190 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is clear – and we quote in full: “Whenever the Governor transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Deputy Governor or Acting Governor.”

T

HE problem of education emerged from the neglect which the sector suffered from the 1980s leading to the gradual erosion of the system. Inadequacy of funding, lack of teaching tools and modern classrooms, poor numerations and the acute shortage of qualified teachers, have all contributed to the fall in the standard of education in Nigeria. Westernised Nigerian society which is a high source or way of distribution to students instead of studying, students (pupils) spend their time watching television, playing video games, listening to music channels (Channel O) and the present calamity face book, hi5, on line media etc. which prevent them from reading that’s necessary for knowledge acquisition. Lack of dedication and punctuality to duty by the teachers has contributed to the fall in the standard of education. The teachers show divided loyalty to the teaching job; most teachers pay lip-service to their job, spending more time and energy in other businesses and less time in the classroom. Parents also share in the blame; most of them simply do not care about their children’s education. They put all their attention towards money-

From the italicised segment of Section 190, it is clear the governor has fulfilled what is required of him to resume duty after a period of absence: transmit a letter to the legislature that the contrary is now the case. On the face of it therefore, the rally of Speaker Tsokwa and his 16 legislative braves would appear without basis in law. Section 189 (1) (a) empowers the exco, not a detachment of the legislature, to declare the governor or deputy governor incapable of discharging his duties. Even the interaction with the governor, and re-affirmation, on health grounds, of the Deputy Governor as Acting Governor, would appear without basis in law. This is because, by Section 189 (1) (b), only a medical board (Section 189 (4)), can do such assessment and give a verdict – not a detachment of the legislature. Though the Speaker appoints that five-person board, there is clear attempt at fairness and balance, as one of the five must be the subject’s personal physician. Also, Deputy Governor Umar has no basis to question his principal’s order of cabinet dissolution. In the eyes of the law, he is deputy governor; and there cannot be an “acting governor” when the governor is in town. But is the governor really “in town”? That, regrettably, is not so certain. For one, Governor Suntai looks fragile, but we cannot say if his fragility is more apparent than real. For some, the dissolution of the Taraba cabinet is clear, cynical bad faith. If there is no executive council to declare the governor incapacitated, a health-challenged Governor Suntai could be there as front for the alleged cabal to run the state in his name, a la Yar’Adua. But he or the socalled cabal cannot run the state forever without an executive council. Some scenarios present themselves in this matter. One: the Taraba legislature could start an impeachment process against the governor. If it gets the processes through, it would have constitutionally removed

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

•Editor Festus Eriye •Deputy Editor Olayinka Oyegbile •Associate Editors Taiwo Ogundipe Sam Egburonu

•Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye

has to brace itself for a stream of sympathy for the governor; and the possible political instability to follow, since Suntai’s supporters may embark on a sympathy overdrive. That would be potentially explosive indeed, given the delicate Christian-Muslim divide in the state. Two: the National Assembly, still pushing the “Doctrine of Necessity,” could temporarily take over the Taraba legislature’s duty, approve a new executive council for the governor and put pressure on the council to trigger Section 189 (1) and Section 189 (4). If after the process, the governor emerges unscathed, he continues on his job. If his bad health is confirmed, he gives way to Alhaji Umar. That would ostensibly free the Taraba legislature from charges of bias and preserve the deputy governor. But given the combustible skein of our politics, we cannot guarantee that such an intervention would not touch off a tempest. Some commentators doubt that Suntai is fit to rule. But that is not for us to say. He may have been propped up on the plane, and his elocution imperfect before camera klieglights, or he might have shown the lack of physical prowess associated with persons in such demanding positions. But they are technical issues that only a verified medical report can ascertain. We therefore, as a matter of honour, urge him to declare his medical records open in a public and indubitably transparent way. We want to know if he can, by the medical reports, rise up to the rigours of his exalted position. If he does not, he raises doubts, and he can draw the ire and suspicions even of those who love him. The state legislature could on that basis accuse him of gross misconduct, according to section 188 of the constitution, and begin impeachment proceedings. If the chief judge takes over fairly, its panel could investigate the health conditions. This could serve as a clever route to avoid setting up a medical panel since the impeachment panel can investigate wide range of matters under the subject of “gross misconduct.” Section 188 (11) gives the house the right to define the term. If the governor refuses to present his medical records and investigation shows he was hiding it, it could pass for gross misconduct. The governor and his handlers should approach this matter with honour and transparency in order to avoid the potentially messy scenario of an impeachment drama, especially in a state riven by religious and sectarian impulses. Whatever happens in Taraba, constitutional due process, not self-help, is the way out. Following the law in this instance will help to strengthen institutions in Nigeria’s growing democracy.

LETTERS

Falling standard of education: Who is to blame? making, leaving the children’s guidance and motivation to the house maids and drivers, as a result, the children’s projects, home work will not be done, neither will they be reminded to study at home. Some children derail and drop out. Government is largely responsible for the falling standard of education; they change

policies concerning education so frequently, leaving both teachers and students confused. They also do not equip classroom and laboratories appropriately to make for effective learning. Corrupt officers who misuse institutions’ money/funds go unpunished. Exam malpractice which is one of the major causes of falling

UST like ingenuity is required for any socio-economic transformation of a society, disingenuity is also responsible for corruption embellishment. One can then opine that the latter has been more predominant than the former. Schism between the rich and the poor and the astronomical rise of poverty are great attestation to prove that corruption has thriven high in this morally decadent world. Within the last decade and still counting, convention against corruption has greatly increased and yet the increase in corruption has remained undoused. It then becomes logical to deduce that recommendations or treaty signed by the international bodies are

What the youths can do about corruption

J

to talk the talk, not to walk the talk. The ‘get rich quick’ syndrome is the rationale for corruption. The writer doesn’t condemn the proclivity for wealth; he only calls to question its propensity without any index (competence, hard work). Before the world went into recession, executive corruption was reported and was predicted would cause corruption. Banks and mortgage houses disregarded professional ethics and instead concentrated on illegal/inordinate gains. The net result was catastrophic. As a youth passionate about changing my world and anticipating a volte face from cor-

standard of education has not been tackled by the government. Look at the TSS issue, frequent strikes and the present universities’ school fees increase. Haba!!! To gauge the seriousness of a society, especially its seriousness about attaining national development goals, we need to appraise the nation’s

ruption to the principles of fairness, equity and justice, youths should launch aggressive, unsparing and non-violent campaign. Accounts have it that a huge chunk of African wealth is trapped and stored in western banks notwithstanding their prior knowledge. The western banks cum financial institutions would rather disregard banking ethics and give illegal wealth a safe haven. The perpetrator of a crime is not the only guilty person; accomplices are equally guilty and must be punished accordingly. Therefore, the west having proved to be confederates in corrupt practices in the area of money

educational system. Can we harvest the critical/creative minds necessary to manage the democratic process if we do not invest in human capital development? Or compete in the globalised world of the twenty fifth century; if a nation does not face its education development seriously, then there is a lot that

laundering and other subversion of banking ethics should equally be tarred with the same brush. This should be greeted with their demotion from the rank of the very clean countries from the transparency international perception index (I mean the United States and the European continent).By doing this, the façade would be removed and unsparing analysis /criticism be done to every partners of corruption. And also the establishment of strong anti-graft institution would go a long way in dousing corruption. By Olaniyi Kolawole Akute Odo, Ogun State

is wrong with such society. To revive the educational sector in order to help in building the individuals to be able to assist the process of developing the society, government should make sure our schools are equipped with functional libraries and laboratories, with classrooms having modern instructional technologies; computers connected to the internet, projectors audiovisual and video conferencing equipment etc. Teachers cannot perform miracles without the necessary teaching aids (tools). Primary and secondary schools, which are the foundation of education should be properly built, funded and adequately staffed. It is also the duty of the healthy learning environment which also aids the teaching and learning interaction. That is why the United Nations benchmark is that countries must put 26% of their budgets into education. If the government provides or educates its citizens through functional education then the people will take their right places in the social, political, economic and even religious life endeavours so we can reach great heights and be among the first twenty countries by 2020. By Adamu Muhd Usman. Kafin Hausa Jigawa State

SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF NOT MORE THAN 500 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS: sundaynation@yahoo.com


16

Comment & Analysis

Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni @thenationonlineng.net

D

AVID Mark's recent pontification on the need to have a constitution that shuns people's wishes is not new to politics in our country. The military ruled Nigeria for decades without a constitution. Even the 1999 Constitution that David Mark holds to heart as sacred enough not to need any referendum that involves those for whom the constitution is ostensibly written was crafted by former military colleagues of the Senate President. It is not Senator Mark's militaristic notion of constitutions that should surprise citizens. It is his conviction as an elected senator by citizens that creating a constitutional process cannot be determined by citizens once there is a 'constitution' on ground, regardless of how citizens feel about the constitution. The fear of citizens inherent in Senator Mark's effort to avoid citizens in efforts to create acceptable constitutions can be likened to what Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, one of the youngest federations in the world, said about his vision for Dubai's development: The real crisis is rather one of leadership, management and perennial egotism. This is the kind of crisis that is bound to happen when lust for power prevails over granting people the love and care they deserve, and when the interests and destiny of one individual (or a small group of individuals as in the case of Nigeria's National Assem-

Femi Orebe femi.orebe @thenationonlineng.net 08056504626 (sms only)

“People who always want to have their ways at all cost and never provide better arguments but rather want to force their petty ideas on others are anarchists and pocket despots who will ultimately fail' AWO, during the Omoboriowo crisis in Ondo state, exactly 30 years ago (1983).”

S

OMETHING is afoot in the South West APC and it is guaranteed to negatively affect the party if its leaders will not face up to it and deal squarely with it now that they still can. I am not one to speak from two sides of the mouth as neither my being Ekiti, nor having the rare privilege of being educated at Christ's School, Ado-Ekiti, will permit it.. I have written previously on this page about the PDP's plan to encircle the South West in a pincer-like movement, effective 2014, using mostly disgruntled or over ambitious 'members' of the progressive camp who, our leaders, unfortunately, believe are beyond reproach. And if care is not taken, these 'gentlemen' will, before their very eyes, emerge the Labour Party gubernatorial candidates in their respective states and there would be nothing they can do. Something tells me this is a well-funded PDP project being coordinated by two Southwest governors, one serving, the other ex. At the recent launch of Prof Ropo

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

David Mark's theory on constitution without citizenry

What Nigeria's lawmakers elected on the platform of the 1999 Constitution need to do is to listen to citizens whose votes brought them to the national assembly. bly) become more important than those of a whole nation. Writing further about the transformation of Dubai within a federation, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: Our distinctive development experience in the UAE is a good example of what can be done when God blesses a country with an unselfish leadership that strives for the good of its people and not its own. Good leadership puts the interests of the community as a whole before those of any specific group….There is a world of difference between a leadership that is based on love and respect, and one that is based on fear. I am quoting Rashid Al Maktoum extensively to underscore that Senator Mark's view that the process of making a constitution, captured in provisions of a constitution that citizens believe is an imposition on the country by military dictators, smacks not of respect for Nigerians but of fear of Nigerians by those that happen to occupy positions of legislative leadership. Insisting, as the Senate President has done, that the legalistic aspect of the 1999 Constitution is the matter at stake is to miss the point of the essence of constitutions. Constitutions become embodiment of laws that must be respected and obeyed only after they have been created by a process that has the blessing and consent of the people whose political behaviours constitutions are created to regulate. What Nigeria's lawmakers elected on the platform of the 1999 Constitution need to do is to listen to citizens whose votes brought them

to the national assembly. Millions of citizens are saying that the 1999 Constitution was not created with their consent and that the desire of citizens to participate in the 1999 election to move the country from military autocracy to electoral democracy does not and should not constitute a sufficient condition for the post-military political leadership to assume that citizens accept that the only thing to do with the 1999 Constitution is to 'panel beat' the document in whatever manner lawmakers believe in, without involving citizens in the process. What is implicit in Senator Mark's theory about the current constitution not having a space for sovereign national conference is the conviction that Nigeria is about promoting statism, rather than creating a country or community of interests held by human beings. Statism refers to a notion that a country should be run as a bureaucracy, with emphasis on what those charged to run the bureaucracy prefer to do, rather than what citizens prefer to have. Our lawmakers need to realise that our country is in a process of democratisation and that real democracy is likely to be elusive until a people's constitution is adopted to guide the country's political culture. This should not be anything too difficult for our legislators to get in a country that went into election in 1999 without seeing a copy of the constitution that has now become untouchable to citizens. Holding briefs for authors of the

1999 Constitution and promoting the constitution as a sacred document that is available only to elected lawmakers to review without any substantial input from citizens is a dangerous thing to do. Our lawmakers who have chosen to amend a constitution that citizens prefer to be replaced need to know that for a constitution to be acceptable and respectable to people, citizens must believe in the transparency of the process that leads to the making of the constitution. Citizens had gone to court to challenge the claim in and by the 1999 Constitution that it was authored by the people of Nigeria. Late Biodun Oki spent the last years of his life to prove in court that the 1999 Constitution is not a constitution created with the consent of the people. Senator Mark's worry: Where will the Sovereign National Conference be deriving its sovereigntyfrom, and under what framework? How will the conference be convoked and by whom and under what terms?" indicates the Senate President's preference for statism as an approach to solving a fundamental political problem about the welfare and wellbeing of citizens of a country. These are questions that citizens should be given the opportunity to answer. Each constituency can prepare a handbook for its lawmaker to take to the national assembly on how to convoke a national conference. But this will be possible only in a context in which lawmakers see themselves as representatives of citizens, and not as

their masters. Nigerians calling for a sovereign national conference are doing so for an obvious reason: demilitarising the Nigerian polity by replacing a constitution imposed on the country by a group of military dictators with a constitution negotiated freely by citizens. Callers for a people's constitution believe that the military must have had a hidden agenda behind the 1999 Constitution, more so that the constitution did not see the light of day until after the election of 1999. Lawmakers who subscribe to the tenets of democracy need not act in a way to suggest that they also accept the hidden agenda behind a constitution imposed on Nigerians by departing military dictators. Senator Mark's recent quibbling about sovereignty and sovereign national conference gives the impression that the national assembly is averse to referendum, because it is afraid of coming to terms with the real feelings of millions of Nigerians about the current constitution. If Nigeria is going to get its economics and development right, it is, asDaronAcemoglu and James A. Robinson, authors of WhyNations Fail have observed, necessary to get its politics right. Getting our country's politics right requires a transparent process of creating a constitution that is acceptable to the generality of the people. And lawmakers should act on the side of citizens on how to bring about a constitution that is acceptable primarily to citizens, and not just to lawmakers.

South West APC leaders must beware But for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, nobody knows where Obasanjo would have left Yoruba land Sekoni's book at the Muson Centre, Lagos, one of these individuals, confessed that much to both Professor Akin Oyebode and myself. And this is where a too trusting Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose name, one of them keeps dropping at the drop of a hat, readily comes in. Without a scintilla of doubt, but behind his back, I must have used close to a million words defending Tinubu at several fora in the past 10 years, all because I believe in what he represents. And this has nothing to do with my writing for The Nation newspaper. Anyway, The Nation was not established 10 years ago. I have told all who care to listen how, long before he became governor, he had been promoting and extending the frontiers of democracy. I have written about how he mobilised and sent, both Hon Wale Oshun and now, Senator Femi Lanlehin, with funds to a West African country to assist in the campaign of a presidential candidate long before he became governor. Today, hardly does any official event happen in Lagos without representations from Ghana and Sierra-Leone, owing largely to his political reach. And, but for him, nobody knows where exactly Obasanjo would have left Yoruba land. I never cease to pray that the good Lord will continue to lead him aright. Directly on his handling of the removal of Hon Bamidele as Chairman of the Ekiti ACN Caucus in the House of Representatives, an event for which many Nigerians commended the discipline and orderliness in the party, Opeyemi gleefully came back to Ekiti to tell his few followers that Asiwaju merely came to Ekiti to play politics and that he supports his aspirations all the way. Though we know

this is what Fela would have called shakara, such talk, unfortunately, emboldens his misguided supporters who, unknown to Asiwaju, have also been assured of federal support in matters involving the police. Full scale disturbances have therefore occurred each time Ope visited the state with APC members always being at the receiving end because it is also a PDP plan since the Police Affairs Minister, an Ekiti and a wannabe gubernatorial candidate, is on orders to deal with APC members. In respect of this plan, I recently wrote somewhere as follows: 'We are inching toward the final denouement. This scenario will soon play out in both Ekiti and Osun States where elections are due next year. Starting innocuously, sleeping agents of the PDP, who are otherwise APC 'members', but inexorably destined for the Labour Party will, acting as agent provocateurs, mess up the current peace in the South West. The police, in turn, would thereby get the alibi they need to arrest and detain, indefinitely, targeted leaders of the APC as has happened to the Interim APC Chairman, Mr Jide Awe. Now, the plot has shifted to the governor's Special Adviser on Security, who usually foils their many evil plans and whose town, Iyin -Ekiti, was the latest of Hon Bamidele's hot spots, backed by members of the Dr Fasehun wing of the OPC. Reminds one of the new UPN! The plot is aimed at crippling the APC ahead of the 2014 election. If they succeed in Ekiti, Osun will be next. It is all a strategic bating which is not the brainwave of dunderheads, but a well-choreo-

graphed scheme of evil geniuses hell bent on having the South West under their stranglehold again. Indeed, mere writing about them is dangerous enough, but write we must if democracy must survive in this land. In a private letter to Hon Bamidele this past week, Igedebased Abiola Olufemi affirmed that the legislator had actually started holding nocturnal meetings all over the state long before the Appeal Court decided in favour of Fayemi, all in the hope of contesting against him. He wrote him in 2011:' You were sending rice and vegetable oil all around the state and preparing the ground for your contest as you thought Fayemi was going to lose at the Appeal Court. But to your amazement, Fayemi became governor and rather than support him, you were too bitter about the senatorial ticket given to Ojudu. That was why you started branding Fayemi a non-performer, bandying about 2006 census figures in order to pillory the governor. I was so miffed that I had to react with an article I titled "Opeyemi Bamidele's Selective Amnesia". Rather than change, you granted more than ten interviews within two days, sounding more hysterical than ever. Like many of your concoctions, you claimed that the leadership had not endorsed Fayemi. For the avoidance of doubt, you have as much right as anyone to aspire to be governor. But I ask: were you truly attacked? In this computer age, social media and the lot, you failed to provide a single photo or video evidence of the attacks. Where are the scars or the wounds? Where are Jaruu's marks on you? I don't really like him, but I don't also think

you should demonise him in your attempt to make Fayemi look bad! The latest claim of attack from your camp has its roots in an incident that happened at a party in your hometown of Iyin-Ekiti on Friday, 23 August, 2013. Jaruu was uncharacteristically cool under your boys' provocation but Niyi Apase who came later with his fellow members of the Gani Adam faction of the OPC couldn't stomach it when your Fredrick Faseun faction of the OPC attacked him. You saw it all, but never called them to order since it would make a good spin for the tabloid.’ I quoted that letter at some length for the reading public to know the truth about these many 'attacks' on Opeyemi. I know, first hand, both in his quest for the Senate and this one, that party leaders sincerely pleaded with Hon Bamidele to take things easy. In the Senate case which he never ceases to claim he won, I know, as a member of the ACN state screening committee, appointed by the National Chairman of the party, that the election was inconclusive as the rerun never took place owing to threats of 'war'. In the current case, I am equally aware that long before the party leaders came to Ekiti to endorse Fayemi, both Chief Bisi Akande and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu met with the duo and actually believed they had settled it all, but Opeyemi did not do any of the things he promised the party leaders. In conclusion, I will like to plead with those close to Hon Bamidele to let him know that he needs no alibi to move to another party, if he must, to fulfill his ambition rather than take us back to those rancorous days of the PDP in Ekiti.


Comment & Analysis

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Tunji

Adegboyega tunjade@yahoo.co.uk 08054503906 (sms only)

N

IGERIANS who have been wondering that something must be wrong with us as a people simply because Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State returned to the country, seeking to resume his duties as governor after undergoing treatment abroad for 10 months apparently do not know what they are saying. They say the man is too frail to govern, given the impression they caught of him in the newspapers on Monday. Whatever gave them that impression? Are they doctors? Have they not heard that appearance could be deceptive? How did they expect a man that returned to the country only the day before, after about 12 hours air travel, to look? Those of us who have been to the airports at all know that it is no mean task undergoing such a long journey. Unfortunately, most of those analysing the situation have never been to the airports before; not to talk of travel by air. Our teenage stowaway, Daniel Ihekhina, even knows better, having travelled in the wheel compartment of Arik Air flight on August 24 for about 35 minutes without paying a dime! At least he now has an idea of how it is to fly. If he wasn't as exasperated as His Excellency after his trip from Benin to Lagos, couldn't that have been a function of his age and the short duration of his trip, compared to His Excellency's. At any rate, has it ever dawned on those saying Suntai is unfit to govern that His Excellency could have been playing a stunt at the airport? How

Postscript, Unlimited! By

Oyinkan Medubi 07057012862 (SMS only) puchuckles7@gmail.com This week, dear reader, we shall be taking some of the reactions to last week's submission on the above topic. I present them as I got them so you will appreciate the passion behind them.

I

HAVE just read your piece reflecting the subject above and could not agree more. I just have to react because it seems as though u and I were thinking alike from distance apart. Just yesterday in Owerri, I was standing by to pay for a roasted corn when an "Honorable" member of Imo State Legislative Assembly drove past me and many others waiting to grab their own corn. Once the idiot in a larger-than-life SUV with ISHA plate insignia saw that traffic was heavy on a Right turn (we were at a T-junction) he turned Left against the traffic and was trying with all impunity to wave other vehicles (with the right-of-way) off the road so he may cruise more freely away. Once I saw this, I lost my cool. I ran like I never did before, slapping my hands on the body of the car, shouting on top of my voice to attract attention: What manner of law do you guys make! Ehn! Tell me! What manner of law do you make for crying out loud! Do you realize what u are trying to do? ! Nigger you are breaking the law! The law you made!...and so many other invectives I was raining on the idiot as

17

The comic tragedy in Taraba Suntai has passed all the tests given to him, yet, the legislators say he must go! can anyone in his right senses ever suggest that the man needed 'human crutches' to alight from the aircraft as if he was some load carelessly placed on a bench that could easily fall off? Such people must have forgotten that there is nothing new under the sun; and that there is nowhere people don't pack fowls at night. What has Suntai done that is new? He has only taken after the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. What is wrong in a man leaving a place to go treat himself and returning after he feels he is well, or when he feels his position is threatened? Those who think Suntai cannot return to his desk must have forgotten too that when Yar'Adua was confronted with the same situation, his aides told Nigerians that he could rule from Saudi Arabia; indeed from anywhere under or over the sun. Madam Suntai and his (Suntai's) handlers have not taken things to such a ridiculous extent. Rather, the man is here body and soul. They say he has not talked since he returned. The constitution does not say a governor must talk after returning from such a journey; it only requests that he transmits a message to that effect to the state house of assembly. At any rate, it is not even true that the governor has not talked since he

returned; newspapers reported on Tuesday that he answered 'Amen, Amen' even if in low tones, when Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako visited him last Monday. When they see that the excuse that the governor is not talking is not flying, they say they have not seen him since his return. Again, is that important? Should they not be satisfied that Madam Suntai who is licensed to see the governor inside out is giving them a blow-by-blow account of how 'oga at the top' in the state is faring in the bedroom of power? Anyway, which of all these is a constitutional requirement? Now, imagine the man they say is unfit to govern; the same man has just dissolved his cabinet! If it is true that the governor could not respond to stimuli after 10 months' treatment abroad, how come he was able to know that the entire pack was unproductive? Even if you insist that he was briefed only after his return, it still takes some soundness of mind to comprehend such briefing. Can an infirm governor do such a thing in our kind of country? This is a thing that even governors and presidents that are thought to be fit shy away from because of the political backlash. I won't be surprised that Suntai's enemies will also latch on to this and say that he could only have

“We are all living witnesses to'Yar'Adua Part 1'. Now, 'Yar'Adua Part Two' (as someone said on the internet) is unfolding before our eyes. What I know however is that when you have not seen 'The END' after watching a movie, then, that movie has not ended. Certainly, we have not seen the end of the show of shame in Taraba. What I dub ‘The Suntai show’..”

done this less than 72 hours after returning from his medical trip because he is not of a sound mind. Now, what use is a sound mind that cannot fire an entire cabinet if that cabinet is suffering diminishing returns? And, in case you are still in doubt that the governor is as fit as a fiddle, it was reported that he spoke briefly on video on Wednesday, four days after returning from his medical sojourn He also reportedly met with the legislators that had insisted he must address them if truly he is still capable to govern. As a matter of fact, we were told he called their names without mixing them up! If you are one of those saying Suntai did not perform even when he had no medical challenge, what you may not understand is that there are people like that: who spring a surprise when people have written them off. Suppose Governor Suntai is one of such persons? Honestly, we should be fair to His Excellency. In spite of all he has done to convince especially the state legislators that the plane crash has not reduced him to a vegetable; they are not in any mood to listen. Such is life; no matter what you do to such people whose minds are made up, they don't listen. If you like buy mansions for them, they won't budge; if you buy exotic cars for them, they still would not yield. The only thing that can satisfy them is to yield ground to them. But Governor Suntai should forgive all those who have been wishing him evil. He is even lucky his case is not like that of the First Lady whose property some of her aides had sold off when she had a medical challenge a few months ago. Quite magnanimously, she has forgiven those who thought

she would not return alive. If the First Lady could do that, why not Governor Suntai? Such detractors may know not what they are doing. Certainly, there are certain things the constitution never envisaged. One of them is that a governor/pilot would crash an aircraft, and thus did not make provision for how to handle such situation. But how many women in Madam Suntai's shoes would want to let go that easily? Baba ta ni ise wu? (Who loves poverty?)If in spite of all I have said you still feel I have confused, rather than convince you about the indispensability of Gov Suntai, or you still see what is unfolding in Taraba State as shenanigans, or you are still asking the foolish question as to why we are like this, that, according to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, na your toro (that's your business). What many of us do not know is that people who had been governor since they were in the womb cannot be denied that right simply on account of an ailment that has held them down for only 10 months. What is 10 months in the life of a state where the life of the state chief executive is the issue? And, who says a state cannot be grounded on account of such an insignificant occurrence? But Nigeria is probably the only place where a governor has to subject himself to this kind of ridicule just to remain in power. We are all living witnesses to 'Yar'Adua Part 1'. Now, 'Yar'Adua Part Two' (as someone said on the internet) is unfolding before our eyes. What I know however is that when you have not seen 'The END' after watching a movie, then, that movie has not ended. Certainly, we have not seen the end of the show of shame in Taraba. What I dub ‘The Suntai show’.

Re: Why do we need lawmakers when we do not even have law keepers? 'We have 106 Senatorial Districts and 360 House of Reps Constituencies! But where are these projects? Where?’ I could catch my breath. I was visibly mad, I tell you! By now people had gathered as he came to a stop as I was still shouting, banging on his Octopus of a truck, and acting, even telling him to take me to police or court for having "disrespected" an "Honorable Member". Behold and Alas, he lost words, as more people had gathered; he rolled up his glass which was earlier rolled down to see the ant shouting and banging on his truck, and quietly turned back to join the legal direction of the traffic. So I agree with you that we don't need laws when the lawmakers are the law-breakers. As for their jumbo pays even as ASUU is asking for nothing other than Fed Govt honoring an agreement it already entered into in 2009, we cannot but appreciate the paradox Nigeria has come to represent. Where are we gonna run to? Shame on them for raping Nigeria in broad daylight. And for you: keep up the good work of informing and may you find peace and God's blessings for "earning" your pay. H. I. E. Ph.D. (Atlanta). Just read ur piece on lawmakers. I worked with a senator from d biggest senatorial district in Nigeria. D constituency allowance which u d press constantly refer to as monthly salary is N106,000,000 every quarter for a Senator & N104,000,000 quarterly for a house of reps member barring the basic salary and other allowances. Do the math for Abike Dabiri Erewa who has been there for 14 years now! Senator Ganiyu Solomon has been there over 10yrs now. Their various constituency project should definitely be in excess of 3,400,000,000

(Naira) per constituency!!! We have 106 Senatorial Districs and 360 House of Reps Constituencies! But where are these projects? Where? O. O. 2348086511995 ... The politics in Nigeria is rob my back I rob yours. Not only the lawmakers are guilty, those fixing their wages are also laden with guilt. The executive (is) also rotten. Just recently a minister was accused of blowing N2 billion on chartered plane alone, no one has come up to deny that. M. 2348033691236 Phew! I certainly appreciate the compliments, prayers and passion. I was ever so glad our communication was mediated by the networks or else I probably would have seen some eyes bulging out, neck sinews straining, spittle flailing in all directions and fingers tautly emphasising the words. However, two things struck me here. The first is that Nigerians are understandably angry at the macabre dance of deception that politicians are doing in the name of governance. Development responsibilities have been ostensibly shared between the federal, states, local governments and the national assemblies. But between the federal, states, local governments and national assemblies, as the tradition goes in story books, nothing resembling development has really touched the people's lives. All over, the farmers still go to their farms with little hoes slung over their shoulders, feet shod in rubber flip-flops, skins stretched by the sun, eyes hopelessly vacant and stomachs still as flat as when Noah

worked on his ark in the heat of the noon day sun. The women too are still hewing wood for supper, fetching water from long distances, cleaning children's running noses (thick with the stuff) with their bare hands (and sometimes, yerk!, with their mouths!), walking bare feet transporting the farm's produce on their heads. Worse, Nigerian roads are still some of the worst in the world, and my house still does not get electricity during the day. PHCN now waits for me to be fast asleep before grudgingly giving my house some slivers of the stuff. I ask you! I ask you! With the kind of money mentioned above, added to the development allocations from the federal, states and local governments, I honestly expect to have begun to see changes in the lives of the people. By now, I expect farmers to be wearing something closely resembling boots as they ride on their tractors across their endlessly stretching acres of farm. Naturally, tobacco-stained smiles will replace anxiety-induced frowns and I assure you skins will fill out through the power of the milk of kindness. By now, I expect the women to be using Kleenex for their children's noses. I also expect clean water to be running through my Jacuzzi. Hey, there's nothing wrong with dreaming about owning one. Someday. The second thing that struck me is that even though the real power belongs to the people, they are more cautious about exercising it than leaders are about brazening their own acts of perfidy. The leaders know this and take advantage of it. Only when

pushed to the wall will the people act. Acts narrated above are not frequent, but they have begun; and this is why leaders should begin to beware. What started the Arab Spring was really no more than pent-up anger that was looking for where to happen. The recklessness of the state provided the playground. The recklessness of the Nigerian state seems to be rising daily. Murmurings about the emoluments and allowances of the assembly men and women had hardly dried up before we began to hear rumours about how the presidency and state executive members are giving gifts worth more than a billion Naira to the newly wed son and daughter of some government functionary in Abuja. Frankly speaking, I don't know what they expect those children to do for a living. Work?! Yet, many Nigerians there are who technically ask their children to 'focus' on WAEC or GCE and leave JAMB for a while. Truth? They can afford only one or the other at a time. The wonderful thing is that the government pretends not to know these things. Now, you do the math. The people are angry, and the people own the power. The day is not long when anger and power will come together in one cataclysmic gale. I would prefer that happens in the ballot box rather than on the streets. In the ballot box, you can control your emotion. You can restrain yourself by only punching a hole in the offending party's box rather than poking your fingers in the eyes of people who are doing little or nothing and being paid in billions. A word is enough...


18

Comment & Analysis

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

The nationality question By Femi Fani-Kayode

perfectly natural and wholesome phenomenon ‘’tribalism’’. We give it an ugly name and we ascribe to it an even uglier connotation. Everywhere else in the world, the reality of ethnic nationalities is acknowledged, respected, valued, cherished and well-managed. As a matter of fact, such diversity is a source of strength and pride for many. For example, in the nation of Belgium one will find that there is an ancient dichotomy and deep rivalries between the Flemish people of the north and the Waloons of the south. They speak different languages and have a completely different history and cultural heritage yet these two great and ancient nationalities or tribes are proudly Belgian and they rally under one flag. This is how it ought to be everywhere. I have no hate or ill-feeling towards any other ehnic group in this country or anywhere else. God knows that that is the truth. If I did I would say so and damn the consequences. Racism and tribalism is below me and such primordial traits offend my sensibilities. To harbour such views is well below my intellectual and spiritual dignity. Those that know me well can attest to this. I am just too big, too large-hearted and too well educated for that sort of thing and most important of all my christian faith and heritage does not allow me to look down on anyone or any other race. We are all children of the Living God. I have as many nonYoruba friends just as I have Yoruba ones. I look down on no other human being, no other race and no other nationality and I do not claim that the Yoruba are better than anyone else. What I insist on though is that I should be allowed to acknowledge my history and to preserve my ancient heritage, culture, values and ethos. I also insist that my people should be allowed to develop at their own pace. I am not ashamed of who I am and where I come from and had it not been for others holding us back I know where the South West and the yoruba would have been by now in terms of development. And neither would I go to England or America or Enugu or Kano and claim that I own the place or that my people built it from scratch and that they generate all the money that is there. I would never say or do such a thing and neither should I be expected to sit back quietly when someone says it about my land, my people and my territory. In this debate, I have threatened no-one, I have incited no-one, I have accused no-one and I have not sought to silence anyone with threats or blackmail. I have not expressed hatred towards anyone. Yet my family has been subjected to insults, threats, humiliation, hate-speech, misrepresentation, falsehood, intimidation, calls for arrest and lies by some people who really ought to know better. My late father of blessed memory has been insulted during the course of this debate as has my late mother, my wife, my children and my people from the South West. We have been called all sorts of names and subjected to the most filthy and disgraceful abuse and malicious lies. And now some

I have written about virtually every major ethnic group and nationality in this country over the last twenty three years and sometimes in very harsh terms, including my own, Yet it is only when I disagree with some of our igbo brothers and sisters and dispute their claims on Lagos that all hell breaks loose. Well one thing is clear. Whether they like it or not as long as God gives me life I will voice out my opinion and articulate what millions of the Yoruba are secretly thinking on this matter but are too shy, gentle and polite to say.

P

ERMIT me to begin this contribution with two incontrivertable assertions. Firstly, had we successfully answered what has come to be collectively known as the ‘’Nationality Question’’ in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s there would have been no civil war in 1967. Secondly, had we not chosen to forget our differences but instead had we tried to understand them the last 53 years of our existence as an independent nation would have witnessed far more unity,stability and progress than it has done. The agitation and quest to answer the ‘’Nationality Question’’ in Nigeria will not stop until the question has been successfully answered no matter how long our leaders, politicians, professionals and intellectuals ignore it and attempt to brush it under the carpet. The quest to properly identify, situate and define the rights, duties and obligations of each and every one of our numerous nationalities in a wider Nigeria will never end until it is achieved. As a matter of fact, given the sheer desperation of each of the major ethnic groups to win control at the centre in 2015, the activities of Boko Haram, the agitation of the Niger Deltans, the ressurection of MASSOB, the unmistakeable resurrgence of a rather extreeme form of igbo nationalism, the activities of various ethnic nationalist groups and the growing religious and sectarian divide in our country it has only just started in earnest and it is a cause that I have chosen to dedicate my life to. As long as I live I will resist the idea of any part of Yorubaland being turned into a ‘’no-man’s land’’ where the Yoruba people are meant to live as second class citizens and never-do-wells and where they are treated like filth. If that makes me a tribalist or a bigot, then so be it. If loving my nationality,which comprises of 50 million Yoruba people, and adoring my nation of 160 million Nigerians at the same time is a crime, then I am guilty of that crime. I do not have to love one at the expense of the other. We are not America which is a nation that is made-up of immigrants and ex-slaves and a country which literally wiped out the indigenous population that they met there when they arrived who were known as the Red Indians. We are not Americans who somehow found their way into the world barely three hundred years ago but we are Nigerians. And each and every one of the great and numerous nationalities that make up our beautiful nation has a noble heritage that goes back for thousands of years. We may not be as developed or as wealthy as they are but we know who we are and we know where we are coming from. That is why I am proud of this country and all the various nationalities that make it up regardless of our difficulties and challenges. Yet we are not so different to some others. In the United Kingdom there are basically four nationalities: The English, the Welsh, the Irish and the Scottish. Each of these four nationalities is actually a tribe yet you very rarely find a British person who will tell you that he is not proud of his Scottish, Welsh, Irish or English heritage and at the same time proud of his nation. He is first an Irishman, a Welshman, an Englishman or a Scot before being British even though he cherishes being both. He does not have to sacrifice his Irish, Welsh, English or Scottish heritage and roots for Britain and neither does he have to sacrifice Britain for his heritage and roots. He balances it well, he has the best of both worlds and this is indeed a wonderful thing. He derives his strength from both. He enjoys being Irish, Scottish, English or Welsh and cherishes it deeply just as much as he enjoys and cherishes being British. And today, centuries after Great Britain was established as one nation under one Crown and one Royal Sovereign the British citizen still cherishes his primary nationality and tribal heritage so much that power has been gradually devolved from the centre at Westminster in London to the various tribes and ethnic nationalities in the regions over the years. Such is the agitation for the restoration of ethnic identity and devolution of power in the United Kingdom today that Scotland is preparing for a referendum to determine whether her people should remain in Great Britain or not. This is a beautiful thing. It is known as self-determination and no human being ought to be denied that right. Taking pride in your primary roots and your ancient heritage is not a crime.That is how it is meant to be. It is only in Nigeria that we call this

ask me if I will ever stop this fight for the rights of my people. The answer is that I will not stop because a price has already been paid. I will never renounce my views. As a matter of fact, now more than ever before I see how important it is for us to ensure a certain degree of separate development in this country and to hold on to our heritage because we are just so different. Those that have chosen the path of aggression and open hostility and that seek to supress our voices, intimidate us into silence and drown us with their propaganda are vulger, crude and rude. That is their way. They are also experts at telling lies. Yet they cannot silence a whole nationality or just wish us away. We are here to stay. I am not looking for trouble and I abhor strife and violence. To me this is simply an intellectual exercise and we can agree to disagree and still remain compatriots and friends. However I will not give up my identity because that is all I have. I will not betray the dreams of my forefathers and their aspirations for our people. For four generations now, the Fani-Kayodes have contributed positively to the affairs of this country. Unlike some of those that are bleating and insulting us we have paid our dues. Like millions of others, we have a stake here and we are from Yorubaland. I have a little Fulani blood in me too and I am very proud of that but I am first and foremost a Yoruba and I will live and die for the Yoruba and indeed for my nation Nigeria if need be. I have written about virtually every major ethnic group and nationality in this country over the last 23 years and sometimes in very harsh terms, including my own, Yet it is only when I disagree with some of our Igbo brothers and sisters and dispute their claims on Lagos that all hell break loose. Well one thing is clear. Whether they like it or not, as long as God gives me life I will voice out my opinion and articulate what millions of the Yoruba are secretly thinking on this matter but are too shy, gentle and polite to say. They may not want to talk but I will talk for them and I will voice their legitimate concerns about the future of every Yoruba child in an increasingly hostile, ugly and unsustainable Nigeria. All the smear campaigns in the world cannot change that and neither can it stop it. If God does not smear me or mine, no man can smear us.This battle is more important to me than politics or anything else. It is a battle for the very survival of my people and my nation and with my intellect, my pen, my tongue, my knowledge and my wits, I intend to fight it till the day that I die. It is my right to voice out my views and create awareness about the imminent danger that my people are facing of being overwhelmed by others that were never really part of them. They say our territory is ‘’no-man’s land’’ yet they will never offer us theirs in return or even allow us to build there. Who is the fool here? And when we complain they have the nerve to insult us. Enough is enough. It stops today. I am not a racist or a bigot but I believe that I have a right to defend that which is mine and to preserve my identity. Though I love being both, let it be clearly understood that I am a Yorubaman before being a Nigerian and I make no apology for that. We ignore our differences at our own peril and this is not only naive but it is also exceptionally dangerous. They made the same mistake in Yugoslavia through the ‘70’s and 80’s until the explosion came out of the blue in the ‘90’s and all hell broke loose. No-one saw the war coming in that country except the more discerning and brilliant minds who had been shouting for decades before it came that their very own ‘’nationality question’’ had to be answered and that Colonel Broznin Tito’s dream of an eternal and everlasting old Yugoslavia was unsustainable. No one listened to those discerning voices and consequently, millions were killed in the most horrendous and vicious civil war that Europe had ever seen. From being one country where the people and numerous nationalities were compelled to ‘’forget their differences’’ by law, Yugoslavia was eventually broken up into five sovereign independant states as a consequence of fratricidal butchery and unrestrained and all-out war. I pray that we never break up and that we never witness or fight such a war in Nigeria. The answer is to understand and settle our differences and not to conveniently forget them.

Fact or El-Rufai’s delusional fantasy? Continued from page 13

And his rule ended with the disgrace of his failed bid to have a third term in office, but not before he had taken the whole country through extremely bitter, cynical and divisive elite politics. Is it the case that, in making the claim that this period marked years of hope and promise for Nigeria, El-Rufai is ignorant of these universally known facts of Obasanjo’s performance in office between 2004 and 2007? No, absolutely not, for El-Rufai was in the thick of it all as one of two or three of the most trusted of Obasanjo’s loyalists during the period. As a matter of fact, El-Rufai presided over the privatisation of state and public enterprises through which a vast transfer of wealth to private hands was made in those years of Obasanjo’s second term. More specifically, El-Rufai was objectively an accomplice to the subordination of the party to Obasanjo’s personal megalomaniacal control; he provided both the practical muscle and the justificatory rhetoric for how a “strong leader” with a sense of mission and “national aspirations” could and should bypass ignorant and backward party bosses. Of course, it was not the case that the PDP was ever much of a disciplined, enlightened and patriotic party. But both Obasanjo and his loyal servitor, El-Rufai, belonged to the party and they putatively held their cabinet posts at the pleasure and in furtherance of the aims of the party. I understand that in his new book, ElRufai is highly critical of Obasanjo, though reportedly in a careful, muted and nuanced manner. As I remarked earlier in this piece, I have not read the book so I don’t know the distance he has traveled between the book and this more recent article in which ElRufai aggressively touts Obasanjo as a ruler who, between 2004 and 2007, seemed to be Nigeria’s, Africa’s and the Black race’ answer to all our problems. I would argue that this issue throws some light on what I said earlier in this piece about the centre-right worldview and praxis of El-Rufai. Stripped of all the rhetoric, the central ideas of ElRufai in the article under review here are, one, that the market, not the government, should be the motive force of the economy and, two, once the state or the government has provided the basic infrastructures, it should sell off all state and public assets and enterprises to those who have the means to buy them. But since in ideology what is left unsaid or unspecified is as important as what is said and specified, we must note that it is out of a deliberate silence that ElRufai completely leaves out the matter of how those to whom public wealth is transferred come by the means with which to buy and own public assets. In the Nigerian case, the answer to this all-important question is that it is the same state, the same government from whom they get the means to buy and buy cheaply from the state or government. On a closing note, let me remark that in the article I have been discussing in this piece, El-Rufai never once mentions the PDP by name. The only party that he mentions is the newly formed APC and this is strictly only to suggest that the “agenda” of Obasanjo in those years between 2004 and 2007 should be the only agenda of the APC. And even then, his faith is not really in that party; rather, it is in a strong leader with the vision and will to complete, in El-Rufai’s own words, what those who “inherited” power from Obasanjo could not accomplish – the “mission” spelt out in the “national aspirations” articulated by Obasanjo in those pregnant, promising years. This “leaderism” is the right-wing core of ElRufai’s centrist faith in a market-driven economy under the expert management of efficiency-minded technocrats. I understand that after he decamped from the PDP, ElRufai joined the CPC. That party has fused with others into the newly formed APC and as a consequence, El-Rufai is hedging his bets on the APC. In Nigerian elite politics, we know only too well of the phenomenon of AGIP – Any Government In Power. Thanks to El-Rufai, let us now also recognise APIP – Any Party In Power. Biodun Jeyifo bjeyifo@fas.harvard.edu


POLITICS

19

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

2015: Can The Patriots stop Jonathan?

The meeting of the Patriots with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, few days to this week’s National Political Summit in Uyo, has revived the controversy over Jonathan’s candidacy in the 2015 elections and the role of the elders in the emerging scenario, reports Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu

B

ETWEEN Thursday, August 29, 2013 and today, Sunday, September 1, 2013, the Patriots, a group of eminent Nigerians, led by Professor Ben Nwabueze, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, revived the debate about Nigeria and President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambition of seeking reelection in 2015. That Thursday, political observers held their breath as the Patriots met with Jonathan in Aso Rock, the seat of federal government, in Abuja. Even before the meeting, there were speculations that Jonathan’s ambition will dominate discussions and that at last, the Patriots would come out and endorse his candidacy. But when the Patriots stepped out of the meeting, Nwabueze, who took over the leadership of the group from the first Nigerian SAN, the late Chief Rotimi Williams, faced anxious reporters seeking to know if the group had endorsed Mr President’s re-election bid or if he, Nwabueze, still stands by his earlier position that the president should not seek a second term in office. Looking rather calm, the legal luminary said: “That is not the purpose of our meeting today, but that is my view and I still maintain that view. I still believe that the problem of this country is national transformation; that you cannot combine national transformation with contesting election. “The two are so different because once you get involved in electioneering, you undermine your authority to lead the nation for national transformation and I said if I were the president, I would restrict myself to serving the nation, transforming this country and creating a new Nigeria. These would be my concern and I would go down in history as a hero. “So, if Mr. President does that, he would become an instant hero in this country; but it is for him to choose. If I were him, I would choose to become a hero to lead the coun-

try into transformation and abandon the ambition of a second term. That is what I said and I still stand by it and that is what I would do if I were the president of this country, but unfortunately, I’m not.” This response was widely interpreted in the media to mean that the Patriots advised Jonathan to forget his 2015 ambition and face the business of transforming Nigeria. Some said this position would be officially communicated to Jonathan and Nigerians in Uyo, early ths week during the National Political Summit. But the following day, Friday, August 30, 2013, Nwabueze issued a fresh statement made available to The Nation. In the statement, Nwabueze said, “My attention has been drawn to the insinuation that the purpose of the National Political Summit holding next week in Uyo is to take a decision to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from seeking re-election in 2015. This is very for from the truth. The purpose of the Uyo summit is to agree on a roadmap to stability, progress and unity of Nigeria. The entire aim of the summit is to build national consensus on how to save Nigeria. “As I said in my interview with the press yesterday, after the Patriots, meeting with President Jonathan, the president is perfectly eligible to seek re-election in 2015 and he is free to do so. It is a matter in his absolute discretion to decide whether to run or not to run in 2015. “My position in this matter is totally irrelevant. Therefore, my personal advice to him not to run is only one factor that he should take into account in deciding for himself whether to run or not to run. “My advice is purely a personal one and not that of either the Patriots or Project Nigeria (organisers of the National Summit) and has nothing to do with the Uyo Summit as the question of election is not also a matter listed on the agenda of the summit.” The Patriots had presented to

• Nwabueze

Jonathan at the last meeting a 13page memorandum covering issues such as the need for a people’s constitution, the expansion of the agenda for national transformation to include economic emancipation as well as good governance. According to Nwabueze, the group told the president that “the nation of Nigeria is in dire need of ‘REAL’ transformation, not mere talks.” Reacting to the development, Chief Maxi Okwu, a top politician and former presidential candidate, told The Nation in a telephone chat on Friday that he did not see anything wrong with the intervention of the eminent group. “These are very eminent Nigerians. You will recall that the first leader of the group was Chief Rotimi Williams, Nigeria’s Timi the Law. The current leader, Professor Nwabueze, is also an erudite lawyer. I owe him much respect. So, there is no problem with the group serving as a conscience

group. They have been advocating for a national conference which I subscribe to. They have intervened in many instances and so, I hold them in honour. “On their present positions, I think they are well articulated although, personally, I do not believe in all they said. As for the personalities involved, I see them as people that are not looking for bread and butter. I see them as credible but I don’t agree with everything they said.” So, as the National Political Summit, scheduled for Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, between September 2 and 5, kicks off this week, Nigerians are keen to know if an acceptable political direction would be reached. They are also asking questions if Jonathan’s alleged ambition has anything to do with the planned summit Besides official positions, a source confided that Nwabueze is not the only member of the Patriots

that believes it would be better for Nigeria and for Jonathan if he would forgo his 2015 ambition and concentrate on how to strengthen the confederation and the national unity. “We believe what we need now is to sit down and renegotiate. That is the only way forward. But if they refuse, only God will help us,” our source, an elder and one of the eaders of the invited nationalities groups, confided. It is, however, not clear if they will canvass against another general election before the proposed national conference or more specifically about Jonathan’s candidacy. Nwabueze, a major participant at the summit, as the leader of a group invited to the meeting, said it is not part of the listed issues in the agenda. But sources in Uyo said arrangements have been made by the PDP - led state government “to market Jonathan at the expanded political forum.” According to the source, “ Jonathan’s revolutionary initiatives and his exploits in the power sector and agriculture would be harped on by some positioned speakers at the summit. Already, the plan has been concluded and by the time the speakers would have h i g h l i g h t e d Jonathan’s breakthrough and the vision after 2015, more Nigerians will see the need for his re- election,” he said. But Okwu, who is an invited participant, told The Nation he does not know what to expect from the summit. Asked the expected political direction from the summit, Okwu said, “I don’t know yet. I have been invited to the summit. I will go with an open mind to jaw jaw. From the list of invited participants however, I expect a fruitful political summit,” he said. Reports say about 500 politicians are billed to participate in the summit which will discuss the nation’s political stability and national security. We gathered that the groups expected at the event include Pro National Conference Organisation, PRONACO, The Patriots, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt forum, Key Niger Delta nationality platforms, Afenifere and leaders of thought in the traditional institution. A statement from the organisers said key leaders of labour and civil society organisations will also be represented at the summit.


20

Politics

With the registration of People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) as a political party and fears ahead this weekend’s Special National Convention, that some aggrieved PDP governors and other chieftains of the party may follow suit in forming another party, Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, explores the root causes of the unending crisis threatening to decimate PDP

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Unbundling

F

EAR, doubts and heated controversy trailed reports in the last week of August 2013 that seven embattled Peoples Democratic Party’s serving state governors have, in collaboration with other unknown party chieftains, floated a new political party, the Voice of the People (VOP). The report said the new party was awaiting final approval by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Within the PDP topmost echelon, the fear, according to our findings, was not unconnected to the recent registration of People’s Democratic Party (PDM), also by some aggrieved PDP chieftains. Already, critics of the ruling party described the development as the final unbundling of PDP, the alleged biggest political party in Africa. But while the controversy was still raging, few days to this weekend’s scheduled Special PDP National Convention, all the six governors allegedly linked with VOP denied any involvement in the

•Tukur

move, reiterating their loyalty to PDP. The governors that disassociated themselves from the claims

include Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Mu’azu

Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto). The Chief Press Secretary to Nyako, Ahmed Sajoh, who was

amongst the first to refute the claim told journalists, “Well, I am hearing of VOP from you for the first time; as far as I am concerned, Gov-

‘Tukur is sanitising PDP, restoring democracy’ T

HE founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) envisioned a strong and virile political association and movement, which will stand the test of time and serve as vehicle towards the propagation of liberal and republican democracy in Nigeria. The circumstances of the conception and birth of the PDP are still fresh in the memory. The idea behind the formation of the party was mooted by a group of Nigerian patriots and nationalists, who were able to dare the dreaded former military regimes to its face. The records of the former military regimes are now history. Suffice it, however, to say that despite the readiness and willingness of some Military administrations to clamp Nigerians who disagreed with the government into prison, a group of brave Nigerians stood out from the crowd and challenged the decadent and anti-democratic status quo. Alhaji (Dr) Bamanga Tukur was one of them. As Nigerians shrinked in fear for the dear lives of these patriots and nationalists, they stood their ground and demanded the return to constitutional democracy and republicanism. These nationalists midwifed the PDP which has blossomed to become perhaps the largest and strongest political association ever in Nigeria’s political history and the black world. It is worthy of note that the present National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji (Dr) Bamanga Tukur, was one of the founding fathers of the party whose unique vision is what has continued to guide and propel the PDP

By Prince Oliver Okpala

and nurture her to her current political octopus of sorts in the Nigerian and global political hemisphere. Indeed, the chicken has come to roost. Alhaji Bamanga mounted the saddle in the PDP at a time when the experience, unique nature, wisdom, maturity, ambience, commanding stature and sheer grit of a composite and complete leader was needful to give the party a wholesome direction and a positive sense of purpose. As a man who had seen it all before, Dr Tukur rose to the occasion, challenges and demands of the high office. The position of the National Chairman of the PDP was not just another post or office. It is not the run-of-the-mill political job. It is a seat occupied by the Chief Executive of the party which produced the federal government. A party which produced more than 70 percent of the governors in the country and a party which returned more than 70 percent of the members of the National Assembly. Needless to say, these achievements were replicated in the state Houses of Assembly all over the federation. Where his predecessors had failed before, Tukur excelled tremendously. He brought to bear on the job his vast, varied and wide experience in the public service and in the private sector. His long years of political activism were also handy as a great tool in the administration of the party. What stands Alhaji Tukur out as the National Chair-

man of the PDP is that he came to serve and to help the party to live and fulfill its dream. He has not come to make name in order to build a curriculum vitae or to indulge in crude materialism. Prior to his election as the National Chairman of the PDP, he was already a household name in Nigeria’s business and political circles. Further, he did not come to feather his own nest as he had made his wealth long ago and empowered many Nigerians from all the geo- political groupings in the country. In a point of fact, Alhaji Tukur came to redeem the PDP, to re-enact her essence and being, and to bequeath to Nigerians a tone and authentic political platform for the emancipation of the country from the shackles of poverty, disease, infrastructure decay, socio-economic malaise, poverty of ideas, unemployment, low standard of living, poor governance and the like. On assumption of office, Tukur enunciated the policy of three cardinal Rs – Reconciliation, Reformation and Rebuilding. As a great politician with an even greater vision and mission, Alhaji Tukur resolved to sanitise the party and to instill discipline in its ranks. A disciplined organisation is a positive organisation. Indiscipline connotes disorder. It reeks off lack of seriousness. Indiscipline brings in its wake a lot of other ills like indolence, corruption, impunity, disrespect for due process and purposelessness. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur set out to root out these evil prac•Continue on Page 26


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Politics

ng of PDP

21

leged to have been humiliated by Atiku and his associates when the then president desperately wanted a return ticket, swore, after getting his quest, to pay back by ensuring that Atiku, his vice, would not succeed him in office. Instead, he worked for the emergence of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua. His alleged involvement in the enthronement of Tukur as the National Chairman has not helped

•Nyako

ernor Murtala Nyako remains a member of the PDP.” The media aides of the other governors also responded in the same way. While the level of involvement of the governors in the quest for the registration of VOP may still be described as controversial, the formation of many political parties by aggrieved members of PDP leaves doubt as to the success of the party’s well publicised reconciliation moves. It also casts a doubt on the fortunes of the party in the next general elections. Commenting on the likely effect of the emergence of these new parties on PDP, Senator Anthony Adefuye told The Nation in an interview that PDP would be worse for it. Dr. Israel Ubang, a political analyst, in his reaction during the week said what is happening to PDP is normal. “ The political party has dominated our polity since 1998. That is a long time. What we are seeing today are expected implosions that will ultimately downsize the PDP and make room for a better competitive environment. It may not mean the death of PDP as some people are hoping but the signs are here that in Nigerian political environment, it would never be the same again.” Our investigation shows that in the North, South-West and South-South, where PDP is experiencing major crisis, the root causes of the crisis include the 2015 presidential ticket and personality clashes. In the South-East, this feature is more evident in Anambra State, where the party leadership, backed by Abuja seem to have been in a major wrestling contest with the powerful Uba family, desperate to produce the state governor in November this year. As Andy Uba loses out in the explosive power game, allegedly engineered from Waddata Plaza in Abuja, it is alleged by Uba supporters that PDP may again pay for it during the governorship elections in November this year.

In the South-South, where the Rivers State governor is considered the major opponent of President Jonathan, PDP may also risk losing the oil- rich state to the opposition, if the leadership fails to reconcile Amaechi and Jonathan. In the North, one of the major challenges of the Tukur- led PDP is the lingering crisis between the National Chairman and the Adamawa State governor, Admiral Muritala Nyako (retd), over the control of the party structures in the state and over the choice of the next occupant of the Government House in Yola. Nyako’s camp has accused Tukur, a former governor of the old Gongola State, of plotting to instal his son as the next governor of Adamawa State. This has not gone down well to both Nyako’s camp and some other interests in the state. To worsen the matter both for Tukur and for PDP as a party, Nyako has effectively resisted alleged schemes to wrestle away the state PDP power base from him. He had allegedly utilised his influence among fellow PDP governors, both in the North and the South to deepen opposition against Tukur- led PDP National Working Committee. The face- off against Tukur had become so formalised that the governors rooting for the removal of Tukur came in the open to make their demands. The second challenge is the demand of the North to produce the president of Nigeria in 2015. This second gulf is further widened by alleged scheme from Abuja and some northern political godfathers to sustain the grand scheme that has since been designed to keep the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on the fringes of PDP power base as a way of frustrating his presidential ambition. It would be recalled that this plot was first hatched during the second tenure of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo when Atiku fell out with his boss. Obasanjo, who was al-

Any hope in South-West? In the South-West, where PDP has long lost out to the major opposition, the party has since been riddled with internal strifes and intrigues linked to personality clashes. For example, the party’s inability to fare well in Lagos State since 1999 has repeatedly been traced to the negative effects of bickering and battle for supremacy by PDP factions there. Since the relationship between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his political godson, President Goodluck Jonathan, cracked, the loyalty of most of the top PDP leaders in the Soutn-West, including Lagos, has also been divided. This has negatively affected the fatherly role Obasanjo has tried to play since he left office. Also, The Nation’s investigations show that in the South-West zone generally, the seemingly unending crisis within PDP could be narrowed to the activities of and loyalties to Obasanjo and the former Chairman of the Board of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Olabode George, who was the party’s former National ViceChairman for South-West zone. In the case of Obasanjo, his problems and that of his loyalists have been traced to the cracked relation between him and President Jonathan. The matter peaked when Obasanjo’s most intimate loyalists at the National Working Committee of PDP were unceremoniously removed from office. Since then, the former president has fought gallantly to retain the soul of SouthWest PDP. George, on his own part, has featured prominently in the ensuing political battles between Obasanjo and Jonathan-controlled PDP. As a result, George has been a subject of criticism. He was particularly criticised over his alleged roles in the activities of the Chief Ishola Filani-led Caretaker Committee of the PDP in the zone. For example, in a letter dated July 18, 2013, Chairmen of PDP in the 20 local government areas of Lagos State, to confirm their grouse, called for the dissolution of the South West Zonal Caretaker Committee of the party, led by Filani. They argued that the Filaniled committee had overstayed its tenure as it was designed to last for 21 days. Besides that, they also alleged that the Caretaker Committee Chairman was seeking “to perpetuate himself as the chairman of the party in the South-West, thereby creating crisis in the party.” They, however, faulted a suit filed by two PDP members seeking the removal of George, as a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT). PDP South-West Youth Vanguard in another open letter to the party’s National Secretariat, dated July 15, 2013 and signed by the group’s President and Secretary, •Continue on Page 26

•Abubakar

Battle for Northern Nigeria

The recent registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a clear pointer that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has an uphill task to retain its control of the core northern states in the 2015 general elections, reports Remi Adelowo

T

HE formal registration of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) by the Professor Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) came like a bolt from the blues. Coming on the heels of the registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is a merger of three political parties, there are strong indications that election results in core northern states will largely determine where the pendulum of victory will swing in the 2015 presidential election. With President Goodluck Jonathan in pole position to secure the presidential ticket of the PDP, the APC from all indications, may pick its presidential ticket from the North. And while a recent report indicating that the PDM is actually working towards the 2019 Presidency can be taken on its face value, observers opine that any stance the new party takes will prove largely significant in the outcome of the next elections, particularly in the North. Sources in the PDP revealed that in spite of the bravado of some of its members that the coming of the APC and PDM pose no threat, both the Presidency and leadership of the party have been brainstorming in the last couple of weeks on the strategies to deploy to check the growing influence of the new parties in the North. Presently, the PDP controls nine states in the core north, excluding Taraba. These states include Niger, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kano and Katsina, while the APC is in charge in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara excluding Nasarawa State. Though the PDM conrols no state currently, unconfirmed reports say that some aggrieved PDP northern governors may have be-

gun exploratory talks with the PDM to join its ranks. The Nation gathered that the PDP is jittery of its chances in Kano, Jigawa Sokoto, Niger and Sokoto states. Governors of these states have been up in arms against the leadership of their party and the Presidency over the running of the party by its National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. Peace talks held between the governors and the president have not produced positive results, as the president, much to the discomfiture of the governors, has reportedly been unyielding in sanctioning the sack of Tukur from his seat. Sources revealed that the Presidency may have got wind that the ‘aggrieved’ governors’ desperation to get rid of Tukur may be part of the larger agenda to instal a new national chairman, who will work in ensuring the return of the Presidency to the North in 2015. Can PDM really upset PDP in the North? Originally christened Peoples Front (PF) and founded in 1989 by late Army general turned politician, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, the PDM was primarily set up as a political association to galvanise the presidential ambition of Yar’ Adua under the transition programme of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida-led military junta. Unarguably the most formidable political association in the country then, the defunct PF boasts an array of tried and tested politicians from every section of the country. In the South-West, former Deputy Governor of old Oyo State and former Minister of Interior, late Chief S.M Afolabi, held the forte for the group, backed by foot sol•Continue on Page 26


22

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Politics

APC: Merger or synergy? W

HEN a nation stagnates, it needs a catalyst for change. And this change can come either through a revolution or a reform. We need not delude ourselves, Nigeria is in the throes of stagnation. Unfortunately, the party in power, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has some difficulty in accepting this fact. A government that runs a nation without a definitive philosophy is incapable of identifying and conceptualising a crisis. When, therefore, you cannot see a crisis, it follows naturally that you cannot solve a crisis. You cannot solve what you do not see. Because of their progressive inclination, the major oppositions, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), saw what the ruling party refused to see: a national crisis— one that has ravaged our values, social structure, political institutions, governmental policies and social-political leadership. They contemplated a fusion. They debated it and later began the process for a merger. Convinced that they were the solution to the Nigerian crisis, they approached the electoral authorities for formal consummation and official endorsement. This was granted and the rest is history as the cliché goes. The mega party, as they choose to call it, had since then unfolded its manifesto/agenda to the Nigerian public. Whether this can inspire the radical change the system requires or not is a subject for another day. My major interest for now is to explore the possibilities that what we have on ground may not be a merger but a synergy. I may have simply dismissed this as a mere academic exercise if I was not convinced that there were some inherent dangers in this conceptual confusion. With a merger, all primordial correlates vanish and never resurface. With a merger, all structures, ethnic, political and religious, are collapsed. With a merger, every nostalgic attachment to the past is demobilised. The purpose of a merger is for the groups and their members to evolve a new bonding and fraternity that will terminate previous individual relationships and allegiances. A merger is about structure and not mere images. A merger is about bonding and not branding. A merger is about sacrifice and not rewards. A merger is about vision and not friction. It is about a goal and not intention. A merger is about objective and not just determination. A merger is about the coming together of people of like minds in spirit and in truth and not just a fellowship of associates with veiled umbrage. Merger, in simple language, is the convocation of assorted humanity who are willing to submit their individualities for the sake of their collective prosperity. The day a merger is consummated, there should be no trace of old alignments and political fraternities. All ideologies, idiocies, idiosyncrasies, philosophies and ideas are compressed into one. This is to avoid contamination and pollution. Old things should pass away and all things must become new. However, post-merger developments, especially in the South-West, have clearly shown that what we are calling a merger may not really be what it seems. Immediately after the official announcement that INEC had registered APC, some SouthWest governors took the initiative to convoke a rally to formally disband ACN and inaugurate the APC. It was done in the State of Osun. It was done in Ekiti State. It was done in Oyo and Ogun States. Lagos State is still hesitating while Edo State is still undecided. I am not sure of what happened in other states in the North, Southeast and Southsouth. I am not angry with the fact that these governors were being pro-active, but I am not happy with the way some of them handled the inauguration. That of Osun was done with clinical rapidity and Raufist ‘typicality’. The rally which attracted an unprecedented crowd was held 24 hrs after the announcement.

•Akande

By Dapo Thomas

Since the day of the inauguration till date, there was no sign of division or exclusion. That shows that the governor carried the other two partner parties along by involving them in the rally. So, I have no problem with them in Osun. The next rally was that of Oyo State which was held on August 11. I will comment on this later. I move to Ekiti State which held its own on August 12. It was also well attended by party supporters and was addressed by the governor, Kayode Fayemi and the Chairman of the defunct Ekiti ACN, Chief Awe. However, media reports did not say if members of CPC and ANPP in Ekiti State attended the rally or were allowed to address the gathering. But since there was no open protest by these two parties, I want to assume that all was well. And there is no need to cry more than the bereaved since they are not complaining. Next was Ogun State. The APC rally took place on August 19 and it also attracted a huge crowd of party loyalists. Nevertheless, there was no mention of CPC and ANPP at the rally. Besides, media reports confirmed that even within the party, all was not well because Chief Olusegun Osoba, one of the national chieftains of the party, stayed away from the rally just like a sizeable number of the state assembly members. The state government had not refuted these reports. Back to the Oyo State drama. The state government, in an advertorial, had scheduled the APC rally for Sunday 11th August. But in a shocking counter advertorial, some identified members of the three merged parties called on their supporters to boycott the rally. Their reason was that “directives from the National Headquarters of the APC stated that no APC rally

should be held in the meantime in any state of the federation…and what is the wisdom in scheduling a political rally for Sunday when party leaders and followers, who are Christians, will be in churches seeking the face of the Lord?” The advertorial was signed by eight members of the APC, representing the three merged parties, namely ACN, ANPP and CPC. Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, an ACN Senator, Alh. Rasaq Folorunso, State Chairman of the defunct ANPP and Alh. Abideen Oladimeji, State Chairman of the defunct CPC, were some of the notable party chieftains that signed the advertorial. Of course, the state government still went ahead with the inauguration in spite of the protest. The Ibadan scenario may appear like an insignificant fissure in the APC structure, it however, provides us a better reading of the larger implications of one group ascribing supremacy to itself after the fusion of the three groups. The attitude of the Oyo State government implies that the merger is being misconstrued for a synergy. A synergy does not have the depth of a merger. It is the power or success that is achieved by people or groups working together, instead of on their own. In this instance, APC is not working together, it is working as one indivisible party. In synergy, you are bothered about differences and incompatibilities only if they will frustrate the objective of power attainment. But in a merger, not only are you bothered about differences and incompatibilities, it is imperative to harmonize and synthesize such differences and incompatibilities. Not doing this may complicate the process of attaining power. The divergences in a synergy pose no serious threat to their cooperation but the divergences in a merger contradict the philosophy of fusion.

In this case, the APC is not about political cooperation or alliance. It is a merger meant to achieve a change in which “the power of hitherto privileged groups is curbed and the economic position and social status of the under-privileged groups is correspondingly improved.” It is about bringing a change in the direction of greater social, economic, or political equality, a broadening of participation in society and polity. If APC operates the merger as if it is a synergy, APC may not win more than the eleven states controlled by the progressive governors and this will still make the PDP to control the centre. I understand why some of the Southwest governors did what they did. They needed to consolidate and strengthen the party as quickly as possible by creating the necessary awareness and enlightenment about APC because of the 2014 elections. The defunct ACN, noted for its political aggressiveness, was not willing to subscribe to any frustrating political bureaucracy. Besides, these governors knew that as a new party, the APC would have to contend with the PDP whose structure remained intact. And the only way to do this was to quickly transfer the machinery of the defunct ACN to the APC without prolonged delay. While not blaming the governors for being pro-active and for their foresight, my concern, which stemmed from the actions of some of them, is that in the course of prosecuting their political agenda, the partners of the merger should be accommodated and taken into confidence to assure them of their relevance and importance in the merger arrangement. It may be true that both the CPC and ANPP did not have strong following in the Southwest to warrant their being given any special attention but what happens should they also decide to treat the ACN the same way in states where they also have dominant presence? When we talk of merger, the issue of whether somebody is inconsequential or not becomes secondary with every member of the defunct groups being accorded equal respect and treatment. I am not comfortable with the posturing of the merger actors nor am I convinced that they know how to make the merger work in other states not controlled by the progressives. To be able to dislodge the PDP from some of the states under their control, the APC need to work very hard and inject some funds into the “restoration project.” But as it is, where will the resources come from? Most of the progressive states are already saddled with their own financial burden and may not be able to raise sufficient funds for the “restoration project.” With elections taking place next year in some of the states, the issue of funding may not appeal to the governors at the moment. The APC cannot, and should not, think of sweeping Jonathan out of power with only its 11 states namely Nasarawa, Yobe, Borno, Ekiti, Imo, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Zamfara, Edo and Lagos. My calculations are, however, based on what is on ground. There may be other variables, for instance, the PDP crisis and the possibility of some disgruntled and disenchanted PDP governors moving over to the APC, which may work in its favor. The initial fear was whether the government will tolerate the emergence of another formidable political party which will threaten its dominance in the polity. But this fear has been eclipsed by the registration of APC and others, meaning the system has played its part. It is now the responsibility of the APC to prove to the whole world that it is indeed a threat to the ruling party. The future and strength of an organic APC are dependent on how quickly it can attenuate people’s perception of its superficiality as a result of the disparate activities of some sub-structures of the merged parties. The merger actors should amplify more on the philosophy and principle behind the merger rather than celebrating the merger itself.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Politics

ripples

Political Politics turf

with Bolade Omonijo boladeomonijo@yahoo.com

PDP MiniConvention: Four governors battle Sambo

T

Aisha Alhassan under watch

HOUGH the mini convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a few weeks away, underground schemings among stakeholders in the party have already reached a high pitch. And one position that would be keenly contested is the office of the National Organising Secretary, which is said to be the engine room of all electoral activities in the party. While the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, is allegedly backing the former occupant of the post, Abubakar Mustapha, Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto) and Usman Dakingari (Kebbi) are throwing their weight behind a former PDP NWC member, Bala Kaoje. On the other hand, some forces close to President Goodluck Jonathan are also alleged to be supporting one Ibrahim Bamali, who hails from Zaria in Kaduna State.

T

HE unfolding drama over the return back to office by ailing Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai, may not be over yet. Ripples learnt that close aides of the governor are accusing some politicians in the State, particularly a very wealthy senator from the state, of surreptitously instigating some members of the state House of Assembly not to support Suntai’s assumption of office. These aides are alleged to have placed the senator under close watch so as to establish a strong case against the lawmaker.

Etuk weighing his options That the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, will be contesting for the Ikot Ekpene senatorial seat in 2015 is no longer in doubt. But where does that leave the incumbent senator, Aloysius Etuk, who has also vowed to retain his seat? Sources say the senator is under pressure from his associates to leave the PDP for another party to actualise his ambition, as Akpabio is guaranteed to win the PDP ticket.

23

In Taraba, fire on the mountain

T Anambra 2014: Umeh reaches truce with Obi

C

ONTRARY to the general impression that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Umeh and the Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, may fall apart again over the choice of the party’s governorship candidate in next year’s election, the two politicians have managed to find a common ground on the issue. Umeh allegedly agreed to support Obi’s anointed candidate, Willy Obiano, after what sources say was a hard fought negotiation between the duo. Whatever that means!

Akinlade concedes LP governorship to Isiaka

T

HE 2015 governorship ticket of the Labour Party (LP) will be a straight fight between federal lawmaker, Abiodun Akinlade, (who recently joined LP from the defunct ACN) and Gboyega Isiaka. It was, however, gathered that Akinlade may have agreed to step down for Isiaka, who is a former governor, Gbenga Daniel’s preferred candidate. A few days ago, Akinlade and seven other lawmakers of the Ogun State House of Assembly, including the former deputy speaker, Remi Hassan, joined LP in a move that did not come as a surprise to watchers of the state politics.

HE development in Taraba State in the past week has brought to me a picture of what took place at the Tower of Babel so many years ago. It goes without saying that I was not around then. Prior to the award winning drama in Jalingo, no one of this age could have had a glimpse of what the scene at the Tower looked like. As the Holy Scripture paints the picture, there was total confusion. It was noisy and rowdy. No one could hear the other; each person spoke in his own tongue- strange to another. No one was willing to allow another a say, let alone his way. Anarchy did not just loom; it was on the loose. For as long as it lasted it was chaotic. In Taraba last week, starting from the arrival of Governor Danbaba Suntai on Sunday, even the key participants could hardly understand the nature and name of the game. Suntai, acting consciously or under the influence of a cabal, held his ground that he was back to take over. The news from his end, going by the activities of the first few days, gave indication that a strongman had emerged. Anyone who knew what happened before Suntai was flown out last October, and saw the footage of his arrival on Sunday would find it difficult to reconcile the helpless mien with the news. The helpless man who needed help to perform the simple task of disembarking an aircraft had gained so much strength and confidence to dissolve the Executive Council of the State, sack principal employees, make appointments and give a clear impression that he was on top of political and government activities. What a transformation? There was, on the other hand, an Acting Governor-Garba Umar. Unlike Suntai, a Christian, Umar is a Muslim and this difference counts for a lot in that region. Umar who had reportedly been blocked from seeing the just returned governor, also sounded adamant. He insisted that the governor could not have taken over or, if he said he had, he would not accept until the Assembly that empowered him to take over communicated the change in status to him. It seemed simple and straightforward, but was pregnant. The Acting Governor’s stance makes more meaning when taken in consonance with the position of Haruna Tsokwa, the House of Assembly Speaker. Tsonkwa, speaking first on Tuesday, had said the governor could not sneak into the Government House without addressing the House and convincing members that he is fit for the onerous duties of state. Then, when the governor, acceded to the request in his own way, opting to speak with the lawmakers in his residence rather than the legislative house, the Speaker said he cut a sorry picture and it would be dangerous to hand over affairs of state to him. However, the Majority Leader, Joseph Abaso, another key official of the House, said the governor had discharged the onus placed on him by the constitution. Meanwhile, there is a crisis in the state. Who is the Chief Executive, the governor who has just returned and has informed the legislature of this fact, or the Acting Governor? In other words, is Umar still the Acting Governor or is Suntai back in the saddle? Has the Executive Council been legitimately sacked or is it still in place? Are there two Executive Councils in Taraba today? What about the Chief of Staff and the Secretary to the State Government? Unfortunately, the final decision may not rest on the constitutionality or otherwise of actions taken by one party or the other. It will be resolved by the balance of power. But, even here, there could be a contention. One, in whose direction would Abuja nod? Who would the Police in Jalingo be instructed to throw the weight of state behind? Two, who is in control of the House of Assembly, or better put, who would be in control of the House when crucial decisions would be taken? The House might not be constitutionally empowered beyond receiving a letter from the governor that he is back and fit enough for the task at hand, but, it certainly has a duty to screen whoever is nominated as commissioner. If the Speaker could muster the numbers to stay in office and preside over the scrutiny, then it may be tough for the governor. The House could also insist, under a motion of urgent importance, on probing into the health of the governor. It could even go for the broke, if backed by one-third of members, by sending a Notice of Impeachment to the governor and thus forcing a major row between the two institutions- both fractured. Could President Goodluck Jonathan, for once, don the toga of a statesman and wade into the matter in an impartial manner before it gets out of hand? Would the embattled National Chairman of the ruling party step in to nip the looming catastrophe in the bud? Are there still elders in Taraba who could rise above the fray and the crisis? Taraba is not yet on fire, but the heat there is suffocating. With Thursday’s decision of the House that Suntai is still unfit to take over now, the matter has become even more dicey. So, unless the tension is doused in good time, the conflagration could worsen the already poor security situation in the North East. The solution lies in facing the truth and ensuring that justice reigns. I want to rest my case with the adage, a stitch in time could still save nine.


24

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW

CIVIL WAR

‘Asaba people were victims of genocide’ Orphaned by the Nigerian Civil War, Emma Okocha is intrigued by the circumstances of many unresolved issues such as reparation for the Asaba people which he claimed were victims of genocide. His book, Blood on the Niger, reflects his mood. In this interview with Edozie Udeze and Joe Agbro Jr., Okocha, a former footballer, now author and conflict specialist, talks about former President Olusegun Obasanjo, recent civil war memoirs and other issues.

H

AVING written about the civil war, what is your take on it considring the fact that part of the war was fought at Asaba? I lost my family in the war. And this is a product of the civil war. There was a genocide committed by the Nigerian Army at Asaba. We were not Biafrans. The Biafrans would take their case anywhere. We Asaba people, we were not in Ojukwu’s Biafra map. We were in Nigeria’s map. Some of us fought for Biafra. Some people fought for Nigeria. General Iweze fought for Nigeria. My uncles, some of them fought in the Nigerian Air Force. So, for anybody to come and tell you there was no genocide is talking nonsense. How about Biafran involvement in genocide? There was no Biafran genocide. Because the underlying word in genocide is plot. Did they plot for any Nigerian side to be wiped out? There is a United Nations conclusive finding under Dr. Edem Kojo, in 1969, that there was a genocide against the Igbo. I can give you the paper. It is not a question of somebody cheating anybody. Nobody sat down and planned that this part of Nigeria would be wiped out. What is your impression about General Alabi Isama’s war memoir, Tragedy of Victory? General Alabi Isama’s book is incomplete because he failed to talk much about Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. The leader of the January 15th coup was Christian Anuforo. Nzeogwu was not in the coup. Nzeogwu came later because of his way of life. Nzeogwu did not drink. Nzeogwu didn’t smoke. Nzeogwu’s driver was a Hausa boy. Nzeogwu never attended any Ibo town union meeting. He never attended any local, tribal meeting. His best music was martial music and his mentors were Gen (Tito) of Yugoslavia, Patrice Lumunba, and Che Guevara. Those were his mentors. And he would wake up 7am and go to mass but he was a Hausa boy, shaving, and wearing babariga. He never chased any woman. He wasn’t going to

get married. His mission was to go and fight in South Africa. So, he needed a Nigerian leader that would help him. That was why he switched from the Sardauna to embrace Awo, no Igbo. The other leader was Emmanuel Ifeajuna, who has been into revolutions from the University of Ibadan. Revolution has been on his mind. And if you’re from my side, Onitsha people say that they are Igbo, like Ngwa people say they are not Igbo. Some people from Nsukka area, they relate with Idoma. We know who are the Igbo. Ifeajuna at his time was the greatest high profile athlete when he scaled 6.9 (metres) in Vancouver. He was the first black athlete. He pulled off his shirt, like what these athletes do now. And there was pandemonium in the city of Vancouver. If you go to any exercise book in the 50s, 60s, 70s, you will see him on the cover. All his life was at Ibadan and his best friend was Segun Awolowo, Christopher Okigbo, Wole Soyinka. Achebe was not a revolutionary, he was just a writer. And they were

The leader of the January 15th coup was Christian Anuforo. Nzeogwu was not in the coup. Nzeogwu came later because of his way of life. Nzeogwu did not drink. Nzeogwu didn’t smoke. Nzeogwu’s driver was a Hausa boy. Nzeogwu never attended any Ibo town union meeting.

• Okocha

chasing the best women in Ibadan. That was why Christopher Okigbo was able to marry the princess from Attah. These boys were not talking tribes. Some of those authors of books on the Nigerian Civil War were players in the war and could not have had the benefit of hindsight and research which you had. Why do you give much credence to Gen Olusegun Obasanjo? You know Biafra surrendered unconditionally. I won’t come here to denigrate Ojukwu. But if Ojukwu had listened, Biafra could have gotten back its currency, it could have gotten its army reintegrated. Go and read the Think-Tank Memoranda of the Addis Ababa Peace Conference. A man, (Habeeb Bogiva) from Tunisia, said, when the British troop came, they said they’re bringing Obasanjo, he’s the only one who has the humanity that can make Biafra surrender and you’re telling me that he is a coward, that he was shot in the buttocks. That is their problem. Then, you have demystified the surrender. Biafra can now go and claim that they didn’t surrender. That is the meaning of that lie. What happened when the Biafrans came to Mid West, they were involved in collateral damage. And it was not a Biafran Army. There was no order from the headquarters for them to do what they did in Warri, which I acknowledged in my book. In fact, they were to move straight to Lagos. Gowon was flying to Zaria until the same Obasanjo you’re saying had no courage said no. And it was the same Obasanjo that took Nzeogwu’s paper from Kaduna to come and negotiate with Agunyi Ironsi during the fledging days of the 1966 coup. And I’m telling you, the coup was a perfect success. Go and read the biography of Mallam Aminu Kano. Aminu Kano was to be deputy to Awo in that coup. The principal aim of January 1966 coup was to install Obafemi Awolowo as the Prime Minister of Nigeria. And the boys would now move to South Africa. Nzeogwu was not interested in Nigeria. We have spoken enough about genocide. Let us move away from •Continued on Page 25


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW

•Continued from Page 24 that. There is this argument that the battle in Owerri was not conclusive. What to you were the elements that made it impossible for each of the sides to cave in during the crisis that lasted more than one year? You know, I’m not an authority in military battles but I know that in a way, you’re asking me about the commander. They said Scorpion (Gen. Benjamin Adekunle) was the best that Nigeria could offer. I do not disagree with him on battleground confrontation. That is not my area. My area is on civilian consequence but I know about Owerri. The greatest Biafran commander was not my uncle Achuzia. Achuzia would go to battle with a battalion, he would come back with a company, sometimes the mission was not complete. He would shoot some of them himself. The greatest commander of Biafran Army was Timothy Onwuatuegwu and that is why I am saying here that Danjuma and all of them, in military convention, after the war and you announce that you have surrendered, you don’t touch soldiers, you arrest them. Obasanjo did that. He arrested all the soldiers in Owerri. And he was very nice to them, even though they said they didn’t get this or that. Up to when they got to Lagos. Black Scorpion would not do that. And I told you the story of Murtala Muhammed. Three trailers had koboko, (whips) not bullets. So, what would koboko do, if they had entered Biafran heartland? Koboko was for us – for gentlemen to be flogged to death. So, in answer to your question, Owerri was concluded. Remember that Major Utuk, the Calabar commander at Owerri, was surrounded by the 8th Brigade commanded by Timothy Onwuatuegwu who was the best. Any time that there is crisis, he’s the one they call. So, Owerri was taken back from the federal troop but at a stage, they allowed an area for them to escape back. Who wanted to bomb Port-Harcourt? The man is alive. I can give you his number. It was these people who did Ogbunigwe. So, when the British came and they knew, that was reversed - that they were bringing this commander down who had a lot of humanity in him. In fact, the man who stopped the war was Akanu Ibiam. Ojukwu was not ready. Ojukwu believed he was going to win because they knew (Aju Ala). The Ogbunigwe became (Aju Ala). In artillery acquisition, the Russians are better than the US. The Russian mortar can go 24 miles but the Biafran artillery, the (Aju Ala) was going 26 miles. The Russians were alarmed. That was the main reason they supported Nigeria. They had sympathy for the Biafrans because every revolution claims sympathy for the Eastern countries, like the MPLA, Ethiopia, Lumumba, they had this. For the first time in Africa, Russia said ‘we’re suffering from yellow malaise – that is China.’ This black danger is coming – 26 miles was this Biafran mortar. It’s very crude, it may not be direct. There were many other problems but people were still dying. So, what I’m saying is that, I’m not here to defend Obasanjo. I’m here to say that man has managed, whether it is luck, whether it is destiny, to remain like Peron of Argentina in the balcony of the power corridors of the world. January 15 coup’s main purpose was to topple the federal authorities under the corrupt regime of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and at that point in time, there was genocide established going on in Gboko, Tiv land. There was mayhem on the streets of Lagos, Ikorodu, Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-Igbo up to Ekiti area. Balewa was like Jonathan. He couldn’t arrest the situation. Go and read The Man Died; that is why I don’t joke with Wole Soyinka, no matter what they are saying. Nzeogwu was the first Nigerian trained intelligence officer. He started the SSS at Apapa in 1963. It’s in my book, Nzeogwu, the unknown. So, they knew there was going to be a January 17th coup. The coup was to eliminate all the western intellectuals; Tai Solarin, Wole Soyinka, Bola Ige. What happened was that they were fed up with what was happening. If you come out to the streets of west, they burn you alive, whether you’re for this or that. This was the situation when the boys came out. You cannot just say somebody murdered Sardauna or Balewa. Nobody shot Balewa. This was corroborated by Segun Osoba. He was there at the launching (Isama’s Book). He (Osoba) was a Daily Times reporter at that time. And I wrote my own because my aunty was a girlfriend to Balewa at that time. If you want a wife, you must come to Asaba – Babangida, even Balewa who wasn’t chasing women, they gave him my aunty. She told me that Balewa had asthma. Balewa couldn’t swim in that their State House, Marina. Living opposite Balewa was Okotie-Eboh, the richest man then. And when the January 15th boys came, they came for him. He was to be shot at sight. Mbadiwe was to be shot at sight. Balewa, not to be touched because he was a gentleman. Sardauna of Sokoto shot at sight. Akintola shot at sight. Agunyi-Ironsi shot at sight. People are mixing it up. So, Nzeogwu said, give me AgunyiIronsi, I know him. If you don’t get him dismantled, that is the word, not shot, the coup would not happen. They said, ‘go to Sardauna’. So, what he did in Kaduna, the coup was successful, coup was successful in the west. So, which place was the coup not successful? Lagos. Who stopped the Lagos operation? Major Obienu, another Igbo man. He was the commander of a unit in Abeokuta. He didn’t show up. His boys had taken over the key security structures. The man who was to announce the coup who was not Nzeogwu, not Ifeajuna, it was Ademulegun. That was his only job. Up till now, we’re still re-

finish that book. But what is your overall impression about the book? This book is a classic. It is the first chronicle coming from the Nigerian side since the edited Nigerian Army book from General Momoh. That one is vast and very complete. But, this one from a personal diary – that establishes Alabi Isama as a General. Most generals never kept diaries; this man kept diaries, kept photographs – so you can compare his book to the other category on the other side of Alex Madiebo. I’m talking about field diaries of Generals. The only thing that I’ve said is missing is he could have told us about the man who started it all – Kaduna Nzeogwu. And he didn’t. Secondly, I agree with him that even though the Nigerian First Division was the most favoured in armoury, in administration, in support, in equipment, the Third Marine Commando gave the Biafrans black eye. They were the most deadly army Biafrans faced. I agree with him there.

You said something like there was never a counter or revenge coup. Go and read the There was no revenge because when you say revenge, biography of that means some people were Mallam Aminu against it. The people who organised the January 15 coup Kano. Aminu were not Igbo. Kano was to be That’s your claim It is not a claim. deputy to Awo in Before the war, the Igbo were that coup. The prominent in politics, in the army and there was co-habitaprincipal aim of tion. That first coup truncated January 1966 coup that. So, the perception was that the Igbo wanted to take over was to install and the first coup was to go back to status quo. Obafemi Awolowo Scientifically, from our studas the prime ies, there is nothing like a revenge coup. When somebody minister of Nigeria. took away your wife and you And the boys go for revenge. When somebody stole your money or beat would now move your child up, you go for reto South Africa. venge. That word, I want to define the word revenge. When Nzeogwu was not you say there was revenge, that interested in means somebody did something to them, right. Nigeria. Let me say this. Up till now, the mainstream of Nigerian politics, even the Igbo, believe that there was a revenge coup. Even if you go through There was a Country, Achebe said that, ‘okay if we killed them on January 15, killing the 200 Igbo officers, why did we go to civilians?’ I’m saying the boys may answer Igbo names. (But) Nzeogwu was not Igbo, he was Hausa. Nzeogwu is from my area, Okpanam in Asaba. He spoke Hausa more than any other language. What I’m saying is that Nzeogwu was extraordinary. Nzeogwu had a brother - a professor of Agro-economics, one of the best in United States. His name is Okeleke Nzeogwu. He went to school at Mayflower School, (Ikenne). He was trained by Mrs. Sheila Solarin. And who brought him there? Olusegun Obasanjo. He didn’t bring him to Lagos. And if you go to that part of Nigeria (Ikenne), there is Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Street. There were still fighting when Tai Solarin put the street there. There is a reason. Nzeogwu was the one who wrote the people who were to be - Tai Solarin was to be minister of education. You said something now that if Obasanjo had been there and Nzeogwu was coming, the forces would have been resolved. I want to compare that to when Soyinka went to meet Obasanjo. He gave Banjo message to him. And he said, so long as he was the head of the Ibadan Garrison, his allegiance was to Lagos. Would he have given a different answer to Nzeogwu? I don’t talk battle line diaries. I’m not a military expert but I’m an expert in conflict resolution in Africa. I have in my confidential report that originally, it was Nzeogwu’s plan. Nzeogwu had told Ojukwu, ‘don’t declare Biafra. If you declare Biafra, you’re inviting Nigerians who can fight on any pretext.’ At that point in time, the northerners had everything. There was only 89 enlisted Yoruba in the Nigerian Army. It’s there in my book. There was Daramola, Majekodunmi, Obasanjo, mostly Majors. The biggest of them had been killed – Samuel Ademulegun and Sonije killed because of their positions. So, what I’m saying is that Nzeogwu planned it. ‘Don’t give these people frontal confrontation. Let’s go through the west. Ogbemudia was part of their group. Obasanjo is not with Alabi. It is clear. He has shown it. So, it was to be south against the north. Soyinka, Solarin, all were prepared to support it. Gowon was about to fly to Zaria. That was why Wole Soyinka came and he didn’t come with the Awo group. They were extreme radicals. He came with the Aluko, who was still teaching at University of Nigeria, Nsukka then. He mentioned three forces – the first one was Gowon, the second force was Biafra, then, the third, anyone that wins. That was why they were incarcerated. He wrote it in a book, ‘The Man Died’ in prison. But for anybody to come and denigrate Obasanjo while I’m still alive is not possible. What do you mean by denigration? That the man did not run away from enemy fire? That he wasn’t shot in the rump? Because Daramola was there at the launch and he said that the general fled! What I’m saying is that commanders are different. He wants to demonstrate that Obasanjo had no courage. I don’t think so. It shows that the Biafrans were not push-over. So, if Obasanjo saw the fuselage coming, it would be suicidal not to run away. But, look at the context. The man wrote in ‘My Command’, and if you link it with ‘Not My Will,’ you’ll see the full gamut of the Obasanjo personae which ensured to put everybody down and pronounce himself as the only hero. That is the context in which the author wrote. I’ve defined what that man said. He has destroyed the myth surrounding the Third Marine Commando and the Nigerian Army winning of the war when you say your commander ran away. That is what I’m saying. And I’m comparing what has happened.

He’s the only one who has the humanity that can make Biafra surrender and you’re telling me that he is a coward, that he was shot in the buttocks. That is their problem. Then, you have demystified the surrender. Biafra can now go and claim that they didn’t surrender. That is the meaning of that lie.

25

searching why he didn’t announce the coup. And he was to announce that there was a revolution and Obafemi Awolowo is released. That was Nzeogwu’s number one purpose. He said, ‘if you don’t bring Awo as the Prime Minister, I will not join you because he is the only one talking about free education,. And his best friend was Segun Awolowo. How did he die? Mystery. How did the man that they suspected killed him die? The same place that this publisher of Tribune had his own motor accident. So, when Nzeogwu waited for them for four hours, he made that spontaneous announcement in Kaduna. He wasn’t supposed to announce it. So, who is telling me it is tribal? So, in summary, what I am saying is any book that starts writing Nigerian military without first acknowledging that first, there was a lot of blood on the streets. I’m not talking about military people. Blood in Ibadan, you couldn’t come out on the streets in 1966. I’m coming back to the second phase of Nigerian crises – the war. Gowon benefitted from the coup. There was nothing like revenge coup. Nobody did any coup. What happened was that the Nigerian federation came together and every group wanted something. The Igbo, I don’t know what they want – up till now, I cannot find their interest. But, I can tell you straight, the northerners always wanted power. They want to control the army. They want their religion (Islam) to be dominant in our culture. The Yoruba want all the banks, the stock exchange, they want to control the financial events of the country. And they want Lagos to remain the capital, no matter if Abuja is there. And they want the Yoruba language spoken not only in Nigeria but up to the world. And I acknowledge them for that. The minorities, I’ve read The Kahama Declaration by Isaac Boro. They wanted to be out of this federation because their wealth was being depleted but now that things have changed, it looks like they want to stay. Now, during serious conflagrations by these major tribes, they always go with the north. This time, they’re there. It seems the easterners are the main support. I’m looking at the two sides before we make our conclusions. Those of us who are Midwestern Igbo had it so bad during the war from both sides. Because the Biafrans came, they didn’t tell us they were coming in. And if they were coming in, that plan originally was Nzeogwu’s plan. Nzeogwu said he was going to lead it. And he told Ojukwu, don’t declare Biafra, let us fight against the north. These people have everything. Like now, the whole military instalment is just in Kaduna, Zaria. So, if there is a massive air force attack on Nigeria concentrated on Kaduna and Zaria, we’re finished. There is nothing here. So, I’m saying we cannot write a Nigerian civil war book without telling us about Nzeogwu. I thought the General, being a commander of a training school – he started with training school according to his book, should have told us more about Nzeogwu, whether he believed or not. He should have started with what happened before the military came in. He just went straight into the war and tried to defend what they were doing. You cannot prescribe what someone is going to write. Someone is writing a book, he has a right to say, this is my focus. I am being called to comment. I have a right to critique also. There are areas I agree with him. I’m not saying he has no right to write the book. It’s just that somebody said, why did Achebe do his own? I agree with you. What I am saying is if I’m doing a review of that book, I have a right. In fact, to me, that book should have been three books because I know Nigerian readers. They won’t


26

Politics

Unbundling of PDP •Continue from Page 20 Akeem Salami and Kayode Joseph respectively, took exception to George’s opposition to what the group described as “the decision of the Extra-Ordinary Session of the South-West Congress to nominate a replacement for Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in accordance with the provisions of Part 7, Section 28, Sub section 3, 4 and 5 of the party’s constitution and the order of the Federal High Court.” In the letter , the group expressed surprise at “how Bode George succeeded in snatching a position zoned to Osun State by single-handedly facilitating the appointment of one Dr. Remi Akintoye from Lagos State as acting National Secretary of PDP.” Before these letters, there have been reports that “moves by two former governors, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Engineer Segun Oni of Osun and Ekiti States respectively, to return to the National Working Committee of the PDP, may be at the root of the new crisis rocking the party in the zone.” Added to that was the issue of Segun Oni, who lobbied to be returned to the NWC at the special congress. More than the interests of the two former governors, some insiders blamed the disagreements in the zone to Obasanjo, whose supporters insisted was being rubbished by some sponsored elements. Explaining the decision of some party leaders to right all the alleged wrongs through the special convention, Hon. Jide Fatunkasi had told The Nation, in an earlier report that, “The special convention, as far as we are concerned, is an opportunity to show him we are not against his leadership. We can only do this by returning his men into the NWC at the special convention. We are the leaders of the party and delegates to the convention. Other delegates are our supporters. If we want to honour Obasanjo, we can do it democratically and legally this

•Amaechi

time,” said Fatunkasi, an executive committee member of the party in Ado Ekiti. The Tukur factor Aside the squabbles that have fuelled these crises in the zones, some elements in PDP still see the National Chairman as the major problem of the party. At a time, the aggrieved PDP governors were reported to have given removal of Tukur as the only condition for the much-sought peace. But insiders said President Jonathan, satisfied with Tukur’s leadership of the party, would not hear of it. Sources said the top leadership of PDP believe the outcome of yesterday’s special convention will resolve the remaining issues. But as the scenerio unfolds, the big questions remain Tukur’s major offence, why some want him out and what he and his colleagues at the party’s NWC are doing and will do to quench the raging fire? Oliver Okpala, the media aide

of the PDP chairman, defending his boss, told The Nation, “Alhaji Bamanga Tukur set out to root out evil practices from the PDP. This was the genesis of the sanitisation exercise which some party members could not put up with. Some people wanted business in the party to be as usual. They were completely averse to change and to a new, creative and focused way of thinking. “Those who do not appreciate the need for change are definitely bound to oppose it. This was what happened in the PDP because so many people were used to doing things their own way regardless of whether it is in sync with the rule of law or due process, they resisted Alhaji Bamanga’s clearly defined agenda to root out impunity. This led to some differences in the ranks of the party.” Even if this claim is correct, the question remains, if the outcome of this special convention will open up the way to save PDP from the ongoing downsizing?

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Battle for the North •Continue from Page 21

diers which included Chief Dapo Sarumi and Chief (Mrs.) Titilayo Ajanaku, holding the reins in Lagos and Ogun States respectively. In the South-South, Chief Anthony Anenih, now one of the major backers of the president, was the de facto leader of the group. Observers believe that with the exception of Adamawa State where the PDM may post a good showing on account of the influence of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar (who is allegedly the major promoter of the party and hails from the state), the PDM’s performance in the other northern states may come down to the choice and popularity of its governorship candidates and the success or otherwise of its negotiations with the aggrieved PDP governors. Another factor that may work against the party, it was gathered, is the time factor. The party’s largely moribund structures, it is believed, may take quite some time to resuscitate in readiness for the 2015 polls more so when the PDM currently has no elected official both at the local and state levels. APC ready for the challenge In the last few weeks, leaders of the APC has not minced words to express the party’s readiness to give PDP a run for its money in the battle for the North come 2015. In Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states, the APC is, unarguably, the party to beat. In Yobe and Zamfara, the defunct ANPP, one of the three parties that crystalised into APC has maintained a strangle-like hold on the politics of the two states. For 13 uninterrupted years, the defunct ANPP (now APC) has been in control of Yobe State. In 1999, the party produced the governor in the person of Bukar Abba Ibrahim, who is now a senator. He ran the state for eight years handing over to the Senator Mamman Bello Ali in 2007. Ali later died on January 26, 2009 with his deputy, Ibrahim Geidam, stepping in as governor on January 27. The strength of the ANPP was reaffirmed in the 2011 election with

‘Tukur is sanitising PDP, restoring democracy’ •Continue from Page 20 tices from the PDP. This was the genesis of the sanitisation exercise which some party members could not put up with. Some people wanted business in the party to be as usual. They were completely averse to change and to a new, creative and focused way of thinking. Those who do not appreciate the need for change are definitely bound to oppose it. This was what happened in the PDP because so many people were used to doing things their own way regardless of whether it is in sync with the rule of law or due process, they resisted Alhaji Bamanga’s clearly defined agenda to root out impunity. This led to some differences in the ranks of the party. Mercifully, all PDP faithful have now started to appreciate Dr. Tukur’s sanitisation exercise. Gone are days of impunity, indescretion and indolence in the party. There is now a new way of thinking in the PDP. Alhaji Bamanga has rightly institutionalised the true creed of due process and rule of law in the party. It is now beyond dispute that the party is supreme. Every member of

the party is bound by the decision and constitution of the party. Nobody, no matter his position, is above the party for, afterall, it was the party which gave its members the platform upon which they were able to stand and win electoral offices and positions across the country. Tukur effectively brought to an end the practice whereby certain persons feel they are greater or more than the party. Tukur ended the era when some people took delight in dictating to the party or imposing their views on the party. Gone are the days when some prominent politicians behave as they like and even flout party directives and guidelines and expect no sanctions. Tukur has put in place a regime of total sanity and discipline in the party. If the PDP is to remain a political family, it must be rooted in love for one another and respect for the process. These are uniformity of rules in the party. The rules are meant for everybody to observe, respect and abide by. Nobody is above the law or the rules; this is why there is discipline in the party now. The constitution of the party is there to guide the relationship of the party members

and the relationship of the party vis-à-vis her members. It is to Alhaji Tukur’s credit and wisdom that the PDP speaks with one voice today rather than the discordant tones of the past. It is of pivotal importance to allude to the fact that Tukur’s administration in the PDP has elevated reconciliation to an art. As a big political family, party members are bound to hold divergent views on certain issues. Differences will certainly arise. There will be disagreement every now and then. It is in the area of resolution of these differences that Alhaji Tukur has excelled tremendously. There are various organs within the party for the resolution of conflicts. There are also various means and modalities for the ventilation of grievances within the party by aggrieved members. This conflict resolution mechanism in the party runs down the line. In every affair of the party, there are ways of resolving differences. In all branches of the party, there are internal mechanisms for the cross-fertilisation of ideas and ventilation of perceived differences. In fact, the Tukur administration has established a reconciliation committee in the party.This com-

mittee has performed its task with immense results as many members of the party are now back in the fold following the peace committee’s peace overtures and dexterity in handling conflicts. The area of party administration in which Alhaji Bamanga has performed to everybody’s admiration is the area of internal democracy. With Bamanga in the saddle as the National Chairman of the PDP, all the offices, organs and bodies of the party have been fully democratised. The democratisation is transparent and in line with international best practices. The PDP has had to arrange for a special national convention to fill in elective offices in which the INEC faulted the previous elections. This shows that the PDP under Tukur is committed to internal party democracy. In all, internal democracy has come to stay in the PDP under Alhaji (Dr) Bamanga Tukur and this is why the PDP will continue to dwarf other political organisations in the country now and in the future. •Okpala is Special Assistant on Media to the National Chairman, PDP

the victory of Geidam, the ANPP governorship candidate. He has held forte in the state till date. The same scenario has played out so far in Zamfara, where the party has held the governorhip since 1999. Not even the famed federal might could dislodge the party in the 2011 elections when the then governor, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, who was elected in 2007 on the platform of ANPP but later defected to PDP, was defeated by the ANPP candidate, Abdul’Aziz Abubakar Yari, who was backed by Shinkafi’s former boss, Ahmed Sani Yerima. For Borno, the APC (or ANPP) took control of the state from the PDP in 2003 following the victory of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff over Mala Kachalla. In 2011, Sheriff handed over to the incumbent, Kashim Shettima, who is favoured to run for a second term. With the expected movement to APC of Borno PDP heavyweights, including former presidential aide, Kashim Imam, it is expected that the party will retain its control of the state in 2015. The APC is also fancying its chances in Adamawa. The state governor, Murtala Nyako, has not hidden his intention to take his political destiny in his hands if he is pushed to the wall. Already, many of his known political associates have allegedly moved to APC to prepare the grounds for the governor. If the governor makes good his threat to dump PDP, the APC stands a good chance to win the state in 2015. What has further given the APC leadership hope is the showing of the defunct ACN in the 2012 re-run governorship election in the state. The ACN candidate, Markus Gundiri, came second behind Nyako, winning outright in eight local governments to the latter’s 13. The defunct CPC (now APC), which fielded Gen. Buba Marwa, came third polling over a hundred thousand votes. In Kano, the APC is also poised to battle the PDP headlong. It is said to be banking on the popularity of the former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau, while not foreclosing luring the incumbent governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, into its fold in order to make the party stronger in the state. The PDP may also face some challenges in Bauchi and Sokoto States, it was gathered. In Bauchi, the defunct CPC posted an average performance at the 2011 general elections, winning a few seats in the state House of Assembly. With the likes of the former Deputy Governor of the state, Alhaji Garba Gadi, and youthful ex-senator, Nazif Suleiman Nazif, in its fold, the next election will not surely be a walk over for the ruling party. Sokoto is also another state to watch in the 2015 elections. The state governor, Aliyu Wammako and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, are alleged to be romancing with the opposition thereby making the PDP vulnerable in the state. While it is not clear yet how Wammako will resolve his differences with the PDP leadership and the Presidency, what is not in doubt is that both the governor and the speaker are political assets whose support will prove decisive on which party wins the state in 2015. From all indications, the battle for the core northern states in the 2015 general elections promises to be an epic one.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013


32

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Glamour

Social REMI ADELOWO

(E-mail: remi21stcentury@yahoo.com


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Glamour

33


40

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

New WOMAN

Solutions to real life

?

Princess

relationship issues

Question: Dear Princess, my name Deborah, I am a professional Lawyer, currently, I practice with a foreign company here in Nigeria. Prior to this, I was a professional registered nurse in the United States while my husband is a doctor and since has become a lawyer too. We have 3 daughters together. My husband still practices in the United States as a doctor and a part time Lawyer. Prior to accepting my post with this foreign company my senior sister called me from Nigeria that her oldest and only daughter age 16 has finished high. She will appreciate if can send her to come and leave with me for mainly two reasons. One, because of the instabilities in some of the universities here, plus her husband illness (stroke) had made it difficult for him to work for the past 2 years. She has been the one supporting him and their 4 children, she begged me to allow her daughter to come over to assist me around the house and in the process help pay for her university education. I discussed the issue with my husband, he agreed that as long as her responsibilities are fully mine, he has no objection. Honestly I was a bit skeptical mainly because of my husband's waywardness with women. I have had my share of crying and broken hearts from him in ever since we were married. One day I came back from work sick. I was supposed to work the night shift as a nurse, around 1a.m. I started feeling sick. My supervisor took over my shift and asked me to go home, I got home around 2a.m. Downstairs I saw a lady's purse that does not belong to me, I was curious, I made my way up to our room, only to find my husband and a very good friend of mine cuddling together in the bed. I moved closer to them to make sure I was not hallucinating because of the pain killer I took earlier. Yes, it was my friend Kike and Femi my husband. I screamed, Kike, surprisingly, they both jumped up, my friend ran to the bathroom and my husband went for his robe and put it on. I asked what was the meaning of this is, he said he asked no explanation except that he should not have brought her to our bed. I looked at him still in shock, I wanted to slap his face, but controlled my temper. I said “you should not have brought her to our home?” You are married to me, what right do you have to be having an affair with another woman, talk less of having one with my friend. Meanwhile, my friend had gotten dressed and rushed out of the house. he wanted to run after her, I blocked his way and told him that he is not leaving this house until he is able to explain the reason for this affair since our 25 years of marriage, this as far as I am concerned is the 5th one am aware of, but this is the first time I caught him right handed and in our home. He started by saying, well you have yourself to blame. You are the one that always airs out our dirty laundries to your friends. There is nothing that is going on in this house that all your friends do not know about. Your friend called me on the phone and asked if she can come over to see me, I said yes. She got to my office, she started telling me how abusive her husband is and that she is fed up. She showed me a wound on her left arm, which I treated. I told her to come every 3 days so that the nurse can clean and dress her wound for her. One day after her wound had healed, she called to see if I was around, she said she was in the vicinity, that she wants to come and say hi, I said no problem. When I finished with the patient I was seeing she came in sat down, the next thing she said was “some people have head but no cap and some have cap but no head”!. I asked why such a comment? She proceeded to tell me if I have any idea that you have finished your 4 Duplex home that you are building in Lagos. Instantly, it felt like somebody had just poured iced cold water on me.

He looked at me and said, you have not heard anything. She went as far as to tell me your complaints about how I always come home tired and that the last time I touched you was more than 5 months ago. That even then that I am a “one minute” man. Princess, I felt like the floor should just opened and swallowed me up. He went one to tell me how she told him that he is not taking care of his responsibilities at home, that I am the one paying for our children's school fees, I can go and on. I was wrong and I accepted my blame for airing my dirty laundry with my friends. What has that got to do with you sleeping with her and bringing her to our home our matrimonial bed? His response was that since I share everything that goes on with my friends anyways, he felt it is only proper to bring her to our house so that she can also see what is going on first hand, I felt like throwing up. To cut the long story short, our marriage was never the same since that day. So now, when my sister asked to take over the care of her 16 year old , my subconscious warned me against it, but I know my sister's situation, and Morenike, being her first and only daughter I felt I should assist her in giving Morenike a better education and a better life. Since at age 16, she is still a minor, i went as far as to adopt her, the process took about 9 months. Morenike came to us just before her 17th birthday. My sister was a late starter, my children were 22, 21, and 19 years old at the time. All 3 of them were schooling out of state, Morenike was the only one who was a day student. 2 years after Morenike came, I got my law degree, and the main reason for getting this law degree was that my husband and I knew in the very near future we are eventually going to meet in court. I personally want to make sure I get him for everything he has, that is by the way. I have been away from home (USA) for the last 3 months. Normally I will go back every 5 to 6 weeks, but we have a serious case right now that I am in charge of. So I have not been back for the last 12 weeks. About 2 weeks ago, my sister came to my office, she looked very worried, appeared as if she had been crying. I asked her what seemed to be the problem. She said “Deborah I am in trouble” I said sister, please stop beating around the bush what is the problem? she replied, “Morenike is pregnant!” At first, my brain did not register what she just said, I asked again, what is the problem? She closed her eyes this time, drew her head back on the seat and put her hands on her head, she responded “I said Morenike is pregnant” I took a deep breath and asked her how and who is responsible. Princess, inside my head something was telling me your husband is responsible, trying to listen to my sister and at the same time trying very hard to push the nasty thought out of my head. My sister now leaned forward, put her hands on top of my hands and said gently, “Femi is responsible” The last thing I remember was “Femi is responsible” I passed out. I regained consciousness, I slowly opened my eyes, somewhat my cloths was soaked. I touched myself, two of my staff including my sister were standing over me, in unison asking if I was alright. I nodded, with their assistance, I pulled myself together, took a sharp deep breath and looked deeply at my sister. Our eyes locked, and she nodded as if she read my mind. I thanked my two staff members, reassured them that I was alright. When they left, my sister sat down beside me and put her hand around me, putting my head down so that my head rested on her shoulder. I took another deep breathe and asked “what do we do now?” She started sobbing slowly, I turned and looked at her, two tears, almost simultaneously rolling down her eyes. She said “Deborah, it's all my effort, if I didn't send her to you to assist me, this would not have happened. I now smiled, I said no, “it is my fault I should have seen this

coming, but in my defense, anytime the thought will cross my mind, I always pull it aside saying “Femi is loose, but he is not an animal.” Well, I guess I was wrong. Listen, both of us cannot sit down here and blame ourselves. One thing Femi is lucky that Renny is about 19 year old now, otherwise I will make sure he rots in jail for abuse of a minor and molestation. My sister looking so distraught, my husband is no longer my priority now, how to resolve this problem and get Renny back on the right path is the priority now. Princess both my sister and I are confused because our parents were medical practitioners that preached religiously against abortion. Our upbringing and religious background against abortion are so embedded in us that we are now both confused and scared. Princesses please advise me on what to do concerning my pregnant niece by my husband. I am extremely confused and scared. Deborah, Ikeja. Answer: Dear Deborah, there is a saying, “if it isn't broken, don't fix it.” Well this one is broken and you must find a responsible and delicate ways of fixing it. You did what most people will never do for their siblings, to take the responsibility of your sister's daughter, your niece, you took it upon yourself to the extent of adopting her so that she can enjoy all the benefits an average American enjoys. If I am not mistaken, your husband left all her responsibilities solely to you. You did not because of that get angry at him because she is your niece. Your sister on the other hand was doing what she felt was best for her only daughter since she is the breadwinner in her family due to her husband's illness. Yes, both of you knew the risk you were taking by letting your niece come to stay with you because of your husband's history with women, but neither one of you could have believed or even fathom the thought that he will go to the extent of sleeping with your niece while you're away making money for your family. Your niece on the other hand should also be blamed too. Yes, maybe she was scared, maybe she was threatened by your husband, but at that age she know right from wrong and the implications of what they were doing should have been very clear to both of them. Although you have not asked for an advice concerning your husband, but since he is the major player here, I must also talk about him. I do not know what is going on with him, where you went wrong with him. As a couple, there must be respect for each other, your matrimonial vows is so diminished, also non-existence. You need to figure out or sit him down with your husband and ask him what your offense is that he continuously hurt and disgraced you. My advice on that is no matter your decision concerning him, put the feelings of your 3 children into consideration before making any moves, “after a foolish deed comes remorse”, in other words, don't throw the bath water out with the child!. Now concerning what to do about Renny's pregnancy, sit down with your sister and consider this options. Morally and ethically, is it ok for your niece to have that baby wherein your children and your grand- niece will have the same father. Think about the child's future and how that can affect you and all concerned psychologically. The next option is to abort the pregnancy. I am strongly against abortion, but in this case it might be your only option. Going against your strong upbringing and your strong religious belief but the end result will justify the mean to eventually put this terrible ordeal behind everyone. Now the best thing also is to make sure your niece and your husband live separately so that this nasty occurrence does not occur again. I wish you and your sister the best in any decision you come up with. Thought of the week: “A loveless life is a living death”

with

YETUNDE OLADEINDE

Fresh emotional ideas

S

EARCHING for greener pastures? Yes, everyone dreams of something good and wonderful. We all have standards and it's great if we find what we want or something close to the original. Unfortunately, Rebecca has been crisscrossing the emotional zone without getting to the proverbial promise land in her search. “Most times, I wonder what is always happening to me. I have discovered that I do not love the people who fall in love with me. On the other hand, I find that the people that I love or really admire are already hooked up. They have people that they treasure and they don't usually care about my feelings towards them.” Well, sometimes we do not find what we really want. When you get to this realisation then you just have to move and not stick to someone that you know that you can never have. All you need to do is to focus on the good sides of the person who cares about you and make the love idea reciprocal. If you do not move on and make the best of your emotional situation, then you are going to be caught in an emotional cobweb that may lead to depression. Fear, love, jealousy, pride, vanity and resentment: These are some of the emotions that we are faced with on a daily basis, whether we like it or not. The mind can be very adventurous when it comes to love matters. While some can stick to a particular relationship for so long and do things that would make it look new as the years roll by, there are others who are very adventurous. Like the mouse pad, love is just a click away. The person in question is always experiencing some excitements, a burst of emotions at any time. As soon as the present emotion fades away you can be sure that something fresh and new will take its place soon. For this group no single emotional response can be permanent. This relates to the other kind of emotions too. For instance, when any emotion, such as anger, is experienced, the person is likely to stay angry only for some time; eventually, the anger will fade away and a fresh emotion will arise. Interestingly, an abundance of good feelings, and emotional satisfaction, become the criteria for a successful life. However, emotions present problems for the ego (which is just the personality). When emotions become intense they neutralise intellectual concerns. In fact, common negativelyvalued emotions such as self-pity, fear, anxiety, as well as moods like depression, actually tend to inhibit rationality in particular, intense anxiety seems to produce a mental fog in one's mind, making it impossible to study. Experts also advise that it is important to understand the nature of emotions if we really want to forge ahead and make our relationship to work. This is because it has profound implications for psycho- therapy. Interestingly, a lot of people think that their feelings are the same as emotions. This is not true because there are fundamental differences between feelings and emotions. There are a multitude of emotions, but only three feelings. These include the pleasant one, the unpleasant one, and the neutral one. The importance of feelings is that they help give rise to emotions, that is, the bases of all emotions are the three feelings. Sometimes you can keep emotional hope alive in the face of certain odds. “Mid way into the relationship things just went upside down and I thought it was all over. However, I made up my mind to play along because I loved her so much. She continued to date the other guy who turned out to be a Casanova. “When she realised that I was the one that genuinely loved her she ran back to me.” So how did he survive during the hurting period? You wonder. “Well, I must confess that it was really tough but I was determined to make it in spite of the odds. I filled my heart with memories of some of the happy moments we shared together just before the emotional crisis. His eversmiling face, sexy eyeballs and loving smile encouraged me to the bank of luck.” When the emotional matter is more than a fling, then you would discover that a lot of people who are busy, successful, inspiring sometimes have issues with their partners. The big question therefore would be: can being successful reduce the amount of emotional current you give? Are you likely to be selfish and self-centred? Your environment, level of exposure and age also determine how you feel. A medical doctor explains the state of mind of the young girls going into puberty as anxious and adventurous. “At this age it is normal to feel curious, anxious and ashamed especially if you are the only girl in the house. I also have a case of someone who was happy because she was going to wear a bra. Others are ashamed and they wear double vest to cover the bump. Some of the changes include menstruation, pubic hair, pimples, growing by the hips, nipples and other internal organs.” She adds that: “Mood swings also occur and the sex hormones are responsible for sexual maturity. Here the young ones need information to guide them from irresponsible people who would want to take advantage of them. “


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

T

HE gentlemen and ladies who came for this event all turned out gaily dressed. The glistering lights and soft music set in motion the radiance expected of a cocktail, but that wasn't the main source of attention. A set of special children, who stood out as champions, were actually the reason for this cocktail put together to celebrate 365 days of the registered existence of IREDE Foundation. When they came out for a special appearance, the song 'stand up for the champion' filled the air. True to that altruism, they are the kids with roses splattered with thorns. They do not have limbs but thanks to IREDE, they can now walk again and jump around like normal kids. The rhythmic 'thank you' rendition from three-year-old Beulah Chigbu evoked emotions; so also was the presentation by the other children. Crystal Chigbu, the founder of the NGO, could not hold back the tears as she watched her daughter say 'thank you.' Beulah who was born with a missing tibia and patella in her right leg and had to go through amputation and prosthesis was the motivating force for her mum to establish

New WOMAN 41

Plucking the thorns on their roses It was celebration time, as IREDE, a foundation formed to give succour to limbless and amputee children, clocked one year. Hannah Ojo, who was at the cocktail, reports. IREDE last year. It was borne out of her vision to share her story of hope with parents and care-givers who have kids with limb losses. Supported by her husband, Zubby, who cheered her on, she has been able to canvass for donors whose seeds have been used to procure prostheses for children without limps from indigent children. Learning how some of the children came about their plight, wasn't such a pleasant part of the evening though. The future ambition of 10-year old Dorcas

Adepitan was to become a medical doctor, but that dream was almost cut short. She was playing in school on a fateful day when she was pushed by her classmate. The fall was fatal as it led to the amputation of her right leg because a cancerous tumour had developed on the upper part of the leg. She was adopted by the Sahara Charitable Foundation through IREDE's “Adopt a child” sponsorship platform, which sponsored her prosthesis. She was full of life as she freely mixed with other kids and interacted with adults at the cocktail. For nine-year-old Chidiebere Chidiogwu, it was a delay too costly. The young chap was preparing for his sister's wedding when the bathroom wall collapsed on his leg. Unsuspecting of the extent of the injury, his care-givers dillydallied by not seeking immediate medical help. The setback resulted in the amputation of 80 percent of his right leg. Thankfully though, Chidiebere now walks with the aid of prosthesis and is able to move around and play like other kids. Amongst the kids, Isaac Osumah was, however, the star of the night. He was full of life and could not care less about the prying eyes of both the adults and the children present around him. Fate played a hard one on him from birth, even though his mother diligently followed her clinic schedules and ante-natal care appointments. When the time came to be

delivered of the bundle of joy on June 16, 2009, the sight that greeted the mother was shocking. The baby arrived with deformed limbs. As if that was not enough, he came with two fingers only on each hand and no limb on his right leg from his knee downward. The paediatric consultant who examined him diagnosed him as suffering from congenital limbs defects. This means that his fingers and right leg did not form properly. To make matters worse, Isaac's parents were distraught to learn that nothing can be done to reverse the situation. But they had cause to smile again when the IREDE Foundation met him in 2013 and gave him prosthesis. Another tale that drew much sympathy was the case of Kelechi Omeje who became a victim of amputation when she was diagnosed with gangrene. Her travail began on January 16, 2011, when a line was passed through her right leg to treat fever and diarrhea. Not long after the treatment, the little boy began to writhe in pain, even as her parents noticed that her right leg was shrinking. After about a month, the parents took her to an orthopaedic hospital where, to their dismay, both legs were amputated two months later. Until now, her world was muted as her childhood thrills became suspended since she lacked the legs to move around. She was provided with prostheses for both legs last year when she came in contact with the IREDE foundation, and thankfully, she can now run around and play with other kids. Speaking on the activities of the foundation, which have revolved around the drive of 'extending limps and raising champions' in the last one year, Mrs. Crystal Chigbu revealed that the foundation was able to provide six limbs last year. She also disclosed that the foundation has decided to step up its activities and reach out to more kids: “This year, we want to do 24 limbs. We hope to achieve this through donations from our partners and good-spirited Nigerians.”


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

47

‘Yoruba gods saved me from Boston Marathon bombings’

—PAGE 64

•Godson

W

HEN he travelled to Poland in 1993, it was to serve as a missionary with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), teams in Europe and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR).John Abraham Godson, a graduate of Abia State University, was fully involved in missionary activities in various capacities until 2004 when, according to him, he felt called by God to get involved in politics as an extension of his Christian ministry.Based on his social and community development activities, he first got elected into the District Council in March 2005, City Council in January 2008 and was reelected in November 2010. In December 2010, he emerged as the first black member of the Polish Parliament and was reelected for second term in November 2011.” My experience in the Polish parliament has been edifying,” says Godson in an interview at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), camp penultimate week where he was one of the speakers at a conference organised by the Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association.”It is only God that can do what He has done for me and enable me to accomplish. I believe that when God calls you, He also makes a way for you,. He provides the resources you need to fulfill His call. It has been God’s grace all the way for me,” he explains. In the Polish Parliament, Godson who holds dual citizenship of Nigeria and Poland is the Chair of the Parliamentary Team on Africa, Chair, Polish-Nigeria parliamentary Group, Chair, Polish-British Parliamentary

Behold Godson, Nigerian and first black member of Polish Parliament John Abraham Godson, left the shores of his country as a missionary but today he is the first black person to sit in the Polish Parliament. Lekan Otufodunrin, spoke with him on his life as a missionary and politician. group and Chair, Parliamentary Sub- Committee on the Development of Internet Technology. He is also a member of the Economy Committee and the Innovation and New Technologies Committee. No easy road to parliament Getting elected at the various levels for Godson who is married to a Polish, Aneta, expectedly was not easy particularly being an immigrant of the black race. He had to be on the reserve list in some instances due to the votes he got. He, however, says he never gave up in his quest to get elected because of the vision God gave him to get involved in politics to defend the rights of the people in his

constituency.According to him, “I fight for my electorate, those 30, 000 people who voted for me and gave me the mandate to fight for their rights and their protection.” Though he left Nigeria with only a degree in Agriculture, he has acquired multiple degrees including four Masters Degrees in Human Resource Management, International Relations, Professional Communication and Business Administration. He also has two doctoral degrees in Political Science and Management to his credit.Godson says education is very crucial to the development of any nation and wish it would be the first priority of the Nigerian government.

“If Nigeria is to develop, we need to have an educated populace. There should be free education from primary to the university level. That is the way it is in Poland. From primary to doctorate level, there is free education so that everyone who wants to learn can learn. Even if it is not free education, let it be minimum payment so the people can have access to education. The present strike by University lecturers is shameful. It’s a shame that someone enrolls for four years course but after seven years, he is still in school.” Energy and Infrastructure, according to Godson, who hails from Umuahia, Abia State, whose recent visit to the country is the fifth in 20 years, should be our second and third priorities. “It’s a shame that a country that boasts to be the largest exporter of oil in Africa and is also the giant of Africa cannot enjoy regular power supply. I think these are the major problems that need to be solved once and for all. When I travel and I see some of the roads we call expressway here, it’s a shame. I believe the government should vote money into building infrastructures-roads, trains and other means of transportation, so that people can travel around easily. Then goods and services can travel around easily. All these hundreds of Nigerians dying every year on Nigerian roads will stop.” Considering the abundant resources on the continent, Godson believes Africa doesn’t need help rather, it needs partnership and leadership in Nigeria and other countries that should

•Continued on page 64


Life

48

W

HEN we spoke earlier, informally, you mentioned the Boston Marathon bombings and a spiritual dimension which fascinated me. You said your Ori must have intervened by making you to leave the scene before the incident happened. Could you give me the story? April 15 was the date of the Boston Marathon. Every year we watch it; it’s only two blocks from our house. But this time we decided to watch it on television in the house. I have lived in Boston in that area all my life. We lived there and we saw the two winners; one from Ethiopia and the other from Kenya. Once I saw that there were two winners, me and my daughter, we decided to go do shopping. It was a holiday and it was our Ori, like you said, that made us leave and when we were about 45 minutes away from our house, people started calling our phones and we were asking ‘what’s wrong?’ and they said the terrible thing happened. It was the hugest bomb; there were two bombs that happened. I just wanted to say that it was definitely the Orisa that watched over us to not be there and right where the bomb was, we were invited to the place where it was. After the incident, did you go back there? The police will not allow us to go there. It was a crime scene, so that same day it was sealed up; it was difficult for us to even get into our house, and we had to open our car trunks to let them see if there was anything. Then when they got word of the two brothers, I didn’t realise that the younger brother, he got into school with my oldest daughter, and I happen to drive the same car that the young guy drives so I couldn’t even get to her school to get her because they would be under suspicion. Here in the United States, this is the first time I will ever see them lock down the entire city; no taxi could drive, no bus could run for the entire 24 hours. There were 200 shots in the shoot-outs when they finally found those boys. We were constantly praying. We were constantly asking our Ifa to help us, help my daughter over there. Then eventually somebody was able to drive her to another town and I was able to pick her up from that town. I’m trying to picture you at the scene, where you were positioned. Like we were sitting here, you could see the finishing line from our window. You could see the finishing line and all the moves, you could see everything. There were two places; the finishing line was right here but where the forum was, that was where the second bombing did the most damage. Are you saying that you were in an area where you could have been injured?

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

‘Yoruba gods saved me from Boston Marathon bombings’ Clemencia Lee, 47, is an American of Columbian origin, She was initiated into the Yoruba religion 10 years ago, and goes by the names Ifatuma, Sangoyemisi; the first is connected with Ifa, the oracular mouthpiece of Yoruba religion, and the second with Sango, Yoruba god of thunder. She was at the recent 10th Orisa World Congress held in Ile –Ife, Osun State, where Femi Macaulay spoke with her.

•Clemencia and husband, Van Der Meer

We were invited to be right there at the area but we didn’t go. We were invited to go to the marathon party. We were tuned in watching TV, and then the party was outside. When it dawned on you that this huge incident had happened, and miraculously you were not part of it, did Orisa come to your mind? Of course, it was almost as if not only Orisa but the Egungun, my ancestors, took us from my house and said just go, because it wasn’t on my mind ‘oh let me go shopping today’ 45 minutes away, usually I would go right in the neighborhood. It was something that took you away, then? It was something that took us even farther because there were beautiful shops there, and my husband, he decided to go to the university on a holiday. Who normally would go to the university on a holi-

day? It was weird, because we already ate and were satisfied so we said let’s go do something different. So you went shopping. He went to the university, I dropped him. And it was probably about half an hour after that the bombs dropped out. And there was one after the other, and they said there was something else going on but everybody was just jumping over everything. We didn’t come back home because I didn’t think it was as big as what it was when they were texting me on the phone. The calls kept coming in and I couldn’t see a TV where I was, so I couldn’t see what happened until I got home and I saw this was major. It blew off major windows, buildings with kids in it-I mean those are people who were just running; and I have my

neighbour who didn’t know how to contain other people, so I asked them to come and helped them have TV just to know what was going on, they were afraid too. There were people in Boston that helped the people too. It didn’t affect your building, did it? No, it didn’t affect where we live. But people were flowing and running towards the building where we didn’t even know what was going on because after 9/11, it’s been so many years and we were saying is it going to be another 9/11, so people were very afraid. We, even with that entire calamity happening, we had some peace. Like, okay, I don’t think it’s going to happen to us even though my husband’s eldest daughter, she kept saying ‘you have to run around’, I said I don’t think we have to run around, we didn’t feel that anxiety

like everybody else was feeling. So we didn’t know that there was a lot going on until we saw the report on the television. We were calm for some strange reasons. Going back to work, people would ask us, ‘are you okay?’ I would say, ‘no, we are fine, thank you’ but they know how close we lived. Would you say this experience reinforced your faith in Orisa? I would say so, definitely, because even the feeling of being calm. When it happened I felt very bad for all the people that suffered and I don’t know what’s going on through those boys’ heads, I don’t know what the situation was. I was just glad that we were out of that way-me and my family. Not only myself, but lots of the people that I know weren’t hurt. Do you speak Yoruba? Not really. You used the word Ori , what’s your understanding of Ori that made you link it with your escape? For me, my Ori is almost like my common sense; for me, that’s how I interpret my Ori. But in this case it wasn’t your common sense. No, it wasn’t. Perhaps there was something deeper to your experience. You are right. You are definitely right. It was listening to something that comes into your Ori, so into your head. When they say, ‘don’t go that way’, something tells you ‘don’t go that way’. It’s like something speaking to your Ori. If something was going on and you say, ‘ha! I knew that was going to happen’, I should listen to my head; I should listen to my Ori. It was like listening to something you don’t really understand yourself at first. It’s the thing that comes to your head, which is what it is for me. Ori is a concept in Yoruba religion and culture, what else struck you? Also the entire poems of Ifa, just trying to be more disciplined and study and channel them to myself bit by bit. All of them, you know with Ifa there are so many things, but Ori is definitely the one that if I don’t accept it, then nothing else can be accepted. Ori is me, then if I don’t accept it, then nothing else falls in place. It’s important to always keep your Ori open, to want to learn and making sure you are careful. You take care of your Ori, like some ways of thinking of it is by not getting drunk, using drugs. It’s like something you do daily. Before I came here, I came late because I have to pray; there is a small prayer that I learnt when I first came into it, ‘Ifa, Ifa, funmi ni ori, iwa pele. Adura mi ase, ase. Iba baba, iba yeye,’ meaning, please help me and make sure that I don’t leave here and have any problems in my day today. I think I’m more humble than anything when I just listen to it. It has given me grounds to survive.

A Nigerian is the first black member of Polish Parliament •Continued from page 63 get their priorities right. While saying it is difficult for him to assess politics in the country having not being around for long, he notes that it seems to be money-oriented while politicians are alienated from the society. Travelling abroad For Nigerians who think the solution for whatever challenges they are experiencing in the country is to travel abroad, he has some advice for them. “If you just want to go outside, I advise you don’t just do it. It’s good to have a goal. Is your goal to study? Or is it to increase your skills? To set up a business what is your goal? It is very important for to have a goal. Many people who travel outside have this ‘taking’ attitude. They want to take and take. That makes you obnoxious to the populace. I advise them to do the opposite. Give, give and

give.” Asked what his plan is when he completes his second term in the parliament, Godson is not sure but he is seeking divine direction and the opinion of his supporters. “I don’t know. I’m a man under authority and God has been the one who is been calling me into the political system that I have been in,” he says. The four options for him is to continue in the parliament, run as the Mayor of his city, run for the European parliament in Poland next year or resign from politics. “For now, I’m not sure. As I pray I’m also asking my electorate. We are doing a survey on the streets and we are asking people in my contingency and we already have two hundred people answer on what they think in their own opinion, what I should involved in. According to the result we

have 50% say I should run for Mayorship; 47percent say I should run for European parliament and 36 percentwant me to continue in the Polish Parliament. I think this is something that will clarify with time.” Notwithstanding his involvement in politics, Godson has kept faith with his original purpose of travelling to Poland. He has remained active in the Christian circles and with commitment to his social and community development activities. In May this year, he participated in the March for Jesus and was one of those who led prayers for Poland in front of the presidential palace. The Non Governmental Organisations he runs includes Pilgrims Missions and Publications, the African Institute and Partnership for Lodz. “Politics” he says, “has given me a greater platform for ministry.”

•Godson, wife and their children


BUSINESS THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

49

Nigeria is good market for ICT- ZTE boss -- Page 52

Electricity thieves to face prosecution – NERC Briefs First Lux N millionaire emerges IGERIAN Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has set machinery in motion to arrest unscrupulous individuals guilty of pilfering electricity across the country. NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi read out the riot act during an exclusive interview with The Na-

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

tion recently. According to the NERC boss, “The era when unscrupulous individuals were in the habit of stealing power will soon be a thing of the past. The NERC now has a framework in place to prosecute

anybody found guilty of such heinous crimes as pilfering with PHCN cables among other related crimes.” The NERC, he stressed, is expected to galvanise action in that direction in the coming weeks. Amadi further explained that overtime the fixed charge element

in the tariff regime would come down, as the amount of electricity supplied improves. He expressed the commission’s readiness to regulate the sector in the light of the new owners of the privatised Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) coming on stream.

N10m verification tears pensioners apart

T

By Andrew Oyafemi

HE National Population Commission Pensioner’s Association is raising eyebrows over what they describe as “questionable verification” exercise which is costing the association a lot in monetary terms. The association made this disclosure during a hotly debated session during their monthly general meeting in Lagos over the weekend. The president of the association, Alhaji Adekola Mohammed, while addressing retirees recalled that “the verification exercise that was first done last year cost the Board of Trustees N2.5million. Now this year, the same verification was done under the chairmanship of Mr. Festus Odumegwu for N10million.” Expatiating, Mohammed said: “When the issue was raised at the BOT meeting I lamented seriously that the price is too exorbitant and that the issue of verification is staff matters, not that of politicians because they are on appointment, they will be there just for a while and as such they are not meant to have any say on the issue of Pensioners fund.” Mr. Peters Rotimi, a member of the association who decried the rising cost of the verification exercise, recalled that past executive members of the association rallied round for the money used for last year’s verification, but wondered why the current BOT had to gulp N10million for the same exercise this year. Echoing similar sentiments, another member of the association, who would not be named, questioned the decision of the BOT by asking the president to explain why the account that has being used to pay them for over a period of time suddenly became faulty just two months ago, adding that a vote of no confidence should be passed to remove the president as he not capable of challenging the members of the BOT.

P

•From left: Founder, CEO Konga.com Sim Shagaya, Founder/former CEO, Diamond Bank Plc, Dr. Pascal G. Dozie, Managing Director, M-Net Africa Biola Adekanbi-Alabi, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Seni Adetu, Governor Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and President and Chairman, African Export-Import Bank Jean-Louis Ekra at the Johnnie Walker Blue Label CNBC Africa All Africa Business Leader Award for West Africa held in Lagos…recently

Investment One acquires Fidelity Bank’s NIGFUND

I

NVESTMENT One Financial Services Ltd (formerly GTB Asset Management) says it has acquired the funds management rights of Nigeria International Growth Fund (NIGFUND) from Fidelity Bank Plc. In a statement at the weekend, in Lagos, the company said that the acquisition had been approved by the funds unit-holders and ratified

by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). NIGFUND is a balanced mutual fund launched in 2002 to satisfy investment objectives of individual and institutional investors. Abimbola Afolabi-Ajayi, the company’s Head of Corporate Services, said that the acquisition was geared towards fulfilling its desire to be one-stop shop for com-

prehensive investment services. Afolabi-Ajayi said that the acquisition was in compliance with the CBN policy which directed all banks to divest from non-banking services. She said that the company would bring on board its wealth of experience as a foremost asset management to ensure optimal and efficient services to unit-holders.

By Olamide Akiode

and well wishers present at the ceremony. Among the winners were Inspector Stephen Kuti of the Nigerian Police who won N5million, Linus Udoh, a commercial tricycle rider, who won N1 million and Mr. Akinwale Omotayo from OdeOmu, Osun state who also won N1 million amongst others. An ecstatic Kuti, who won N5 million in the promo, was accompanied to the event by his ageing mother, Mrs Elizabeth Kuti. He said that it was initially difficult for him to believe that he won while his wife stated that she would continue to doubt until he brought the cheque home. One of those who won N1milllion is Pastor Oluwole Sunday from Oshogbo, Osun State who gave glory to God for what he described as “a great opportunity.” Mr. Kolawole Adedapo, a civil servant working in the Ilorin office of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) is another recipient of N1million.

Police Inspector, others win millions in Glo promo

I

T was naira rain galore at the prize presentation ceremony to the new winners in the Glo Recharge to Stardom promo held at the Mike Adenuga Towers, Victoria Island Lagos over the weekend.

Winners from different parts of the country were presented with cheques to the admiration of their family members, Glo ambassadors

Expert cautions Lagos on flood

RINCE Amid Adekunle Oduborisha, Chief Executive Officer, Wordsworth Company Limited, has blamed the various ongoing construction works by the state government in the state as being responsible for the frequent cases of flooding in the coastal areas of the state. While speaking with The Nation in his office in Ikeja, he advised the Fashola-led administration to do everything humanly possible to protect the state’s ecosystem which he says could prevent frequent incidents of flooding in the state. The environmentalist, who is a former senior manager of Chevron Nigeria Limited, said that Lagos State may witness loss of lives and

By Muyiwa Omobulejo

properties running into billions of naira if the state fails to take drastic measures to protect her fast depleting ecosystem. The environmentalist who claimed that the incessant cases of flood and ocean surges being experienced in the state, are direct negative impact of some projects, urged the state government to act fast to avert what the effect would have on the social and economic well-being of the state. “Lagos is at risk of being taken over by water. It is absolutely true that the construction work going on at Eko Atlantic City is putting Lagos under a threat of ocean surge. Alfa beach has been destroyed by

the sea. Those are warnings. This is because the state government is dredging from the Lagoon side and from the Atlantic side, saying they want to reclaim and create Eko Atlantic City when we have not sorted out our issue with drainages in the urban area.” He further said that unlike the past when the state’s ecosystems were not tampered with, the present efforts by the state government to beautify the state without preserving some of its ecosystem would spell doom for the state if proper care is not taken. He said for government to mitigate the effects of flooding in the state, good and regular maintenance of the drainage systems must be carried out.

By Andrew Oyafemi

W

ITH two months into the Lux gold search promo, Mrs. Oluwatobi Adebiyi has being unveiled as the first winner of N1million. Speaking at the unveiling and presentation of cheque, the Category Manager, Skin Cleansing, Unilever Nigeria, Mr. Rotimi Oyesiji said: “Lux is a brand that has being in Nigeria since 1925, one out of every Nigerian women use Lux and we feel it is time for us to reward them. Other prices include 10 washing machines, 30 black berries, and five winners of $1000 among other consolation prices.” Justifying the need for the promotion, Vice President Operations, Mr. Anil Gopalan said, “since the launch of Lux in 1925 it has being the choice of over 1.5 billion users per day, our course is to make our consumers super stars that’s the reason behind the usage of super stars like Geneive Nnaji, Munachi as well as Hollywood superstars. Customers are expected to go out and purchase any variant of the Lux bar in order to stand a chance to win any of the prices.”

Lagos deputy gov inaugurates N2.7b Ibis Hotel

T

By Remi Adelowo

HE hospitality sector in Lagos State received a boost last week with the inauguration of the world-renowned Ibis Hotel. The business traveller hotel located on Toyin Street in Ikeja was inaugurated by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire. The hotel is owned by a venture capitalist company, Hotel Development Ventures Limited (HDV), which has also unveiled plans for the construction of nine hotels in various identified locations in Nigeria within the next 15 years. Senior officials of HDV made the disclosure at the formal dedication of the 165 rooms hotel, which is rated as the first to install heat recovery system as part of the company’s environmental friendly policy. The system utilises heat generated by air condition chiller to produce hot water needed in the hotel, thereby conserving energy and reducing the effect on ozone layer. The company had teamed up with Accor Group as management partner, while Skye Bank Plc provided counterpart funding for the project. Speaking at the ceremony, HDV Chairman, Mr. Olufemi Okenla, noted that the project was completed 40 months after its ground breaking ceremony held in March 2010.”We have been able to achieve this project within this timeline due to our adoption of building with conventional materials but using conventional method of construction,” Okenla said.


50

BUSINESS

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

•Kolade

•Wogu

•Crowd of applicants at a ministry in Abuja

T

HE life-long ambition of any prospective graduate out there is getting a job of his or her choice soon after graduation. But the irony, however, is that this legitimate wish has remained a pipe dream for a majority of the country’s graduates, who have had to walk the streets in search of jobs that are not just there. For the avoidance of doubt and confusion, a few anecdotes would suffice: Citizen Patrick Chinedu Okoroji, age 29years, second of five children, who hails from Imo State, resides at Orile-Iganmu, an uptown district of Lagos, with his parents, has tasted the bitter-pill of graduate unemployment, so much so that he has become disillusioned. Like many of his contemporaries, when he got admission into the Imo State University, IMSU, in 2004 to study Guidance and Counselling, a branch of psychology under educational psychology, the promise of a bright future stirred him in the face as senior colleagues regaled him with what they saw as the limitless world of opportunities open to professionals in his field of study. But five years after graduation, and with no steady job, he has come to accept his fate. “When I took in for the course, I had the intention of setting up shop on my own as a professional counsellor, or working in the public service such as in the army, police, customs, diplomat corps, or even the organised private sector. But since I left the university in 2008, it has not been easy getting a job,” he recalled. Pressed further, Pat, as he is fondly called by friends, recalled that he has applied for many advertised jobs both at the public and private sector all to no avail. “When I applied to the Police College in 2010, I was asked by a senior police officer in Abuja to bring N450, 000, just to secure the job, which I couldn’t afford. I had similar experience with the Navy, Customs, as the officials brazenly demanded for

Unending job crisis

Nigeria’s unemployment situation, especially among the youths, is grossly underestimated and there are fears in many quarters that if this ugly trend is not curtailed, the nation’s socioeconomic sector will suffer terribly dire consequences, writes Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf. With additional reports by John Ofikhenua and Gbenga Omokhunu hundreds of thousands to facilitate the job application.” Undeterred, Patrick has continued to soldier on despite repeated disappointments. “On the average, I submit 50 CVs online and a few others by post every month. I do most of my CV submissions online. Most times, I go through The Guardian on Tuesday where I list out different job vacancies and subsequently apply for the vacancies. Every Wednesday, I’m online making sure I submit CVs...There are times, I submit more than 10-15 CVs in a day. Most times, they will say they will get in touch, while you still write others...” There are many Citizen Patrick in nearly household across the country. Jobless graduates as victims of circumstance A huge industry has been built around joblessness. Investigation by The Nation revealed that sometimes agents capitalise on the job situation in the country to milk innocent Nigerians dry. Patrick shared his experience. “Sometimes, you read about job vacancies on the streets corners being advertised by some of these agents and while submitting your CVs, the agents will tell you, look you have to pay at least N500 just so they can accept your application. And you may be up to 50-100 vying to fill vacancy for just two positions. If you scale that hurdle, they also tell you to pay additional N3,000 -N5,000, with a proviso that if you get the job you will have to forfeit at least half of your salary for six months and this is a job where the proposed pay package may be as low as N20, 000 per month, with very stringent conditions attached. Of

course, if you’re really desperate you may be forced to accept the job, notwithstanding the conditions.” “When you’re jobless and unemployed, you’re living a life of frustration, everything counts...When someone tells you, hey, I want you to sweep this place and I’ll give you N2, 000, you jump at the offer because of what you think you can use that money to settle at the end of the day...If I recall some of the things that I have done just to meet up standards I have set for myself, I shudder because they are not things you can cheer about. There are offices you go in Abuja that are locked up and people are paid salaries from such places at the end of the day.” Damning verdict The Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Dr. Christopher Kolade, recently lamented the high unemployment rate in the country, saying over 40 million Nigerians are jobless. Dr. Adedamola Adeoye, a public analyst, has described as awful a situation where the able-bodied and energised sector of the nation is idle. Citing the Manpower Board and the Federal Bureau of Statistics, he said, Nigeria has a youth population of 80 million, representing 60% of the total population of the country. “That’s a reasonable population that is bigger than South Sudan, Ghana, Mali, Tahiti and some European countries, but that aside, the scholars went further to analyse that 64 million of the Nigerian youths are unemployed, while 1.6 million are under-employed.” Expatiating, he said: “It is an open secret that the rate of

unemployment and underemployment in the country is mind boggling. This portends danger, as the country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder unless there is an urgent solution to it. All over the country, the problem of youth unemployment is staring everyone in the face. That explains why the one year National Youth Service Corps scheme is still attractive. I see unemployment as a timebomb. If we do not begin to

Number of unemployed from 2000-2009 31.1% in 2000 (46.5million); 13.6% in 2001 (20.4miilion); 12.6% in 2002 (18.9million); 14.8% in 2003 (22.2miilion); 13.4% in 2004 (20.1million); 11.9% in 2005 (17.85million); 13.7% in 2006 (20.5million); 14.6% in 2007 (21.9million); 14.9% in 2008 (22.35million) and 19.7% in 2009 (29.55million).

Demographic statistics of unemployed 15-24 years, 41.6% (62.4million). 25-44 years, 17% (22.5million). Primary school leavers, 14.8% (22.2million). Secondary school leavers, 23.8% (35.7million). Post secondary education, 21.3% (31.95million). Illiterates and those below primary education, 21.0% (31.5million) and 22.3% (33.4million). Males constitute 17.0% (22.5million) while females constitute 23.3% (34.95million) unemployed Source: NBS 2011

think and act seriously about the issues of our youth development and empowerment, we will be in trouble. What happened in the Middle East and what is happening in the United Kingdom can happen here.” Those at the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) are no less bothered about the worrisome unemployment situation in the country. NECA President, Mr. Richard Uche, his review of the Nigerian economy 2011 and 2012 budget noted that the past one year had indeed brought mixed fortunes for employers, with very little to cheer for the entire organised private sector even as he decried the rising job crisis. Working odd jobs The unemployment crisis has forced many otherwise skilled professionals to accept just anything in their desperate search to eke out a living. From security guards, to waiters, drivers, to dispatch riders, the list is endless. A case in point is Friday Oshoke, an Edo indigene, who studied accountancy in one of the nation’s polytechnic. His dream of working in the bank has remained unachievable. After submitting applications and sitting through numerous job tests to no avail, he was forced by circumstance to accept the job of a security guard in one of the popular eateries in Ilupeju, Lagos. Lamenting his pitiable situation, Oshoke said: “My brother, it’s not easy. Faced with an aged mother and sickly siblings, I was forced to take up a security job at a eatery despite having a Second Class Lower in Accountancy. The jobs are not just there.”

•Okonjo-Iweala

Ms. Rasheedat Muhideen, (not real name) is a law graduate from the Lagos State University. Three years after passing out of law school she has tried without success to secure a job, either at a private or public firm. To keep body and soul together, she has become a Personal Assistant to a land speculator in Agbarra, a neighbouring town in Ogun State, where she collects levies from prospective buyers on behalf of her principal, who ironically is a school cert holder. Like her contemporaries who left school with the hope of making good in life, Rasheedat is not happy about her present station in life. “The job I do is very demeaning,”she admits, but says it is far better than staying at home not doing anything. Due to the scorching unemployment, several university graduates and youths in the employable brackets have taken to motorcycle riding popularly known as “Okada”. As demeaning as okada jobs looks, to some of them, shame has been replaced with elation as many see this as a steady source of their daily bread. Lessons from abroad Unemployment has been growing globally following the ongoing economic recession. However, according to the International Labour Organisation, national governments have adopted various measures to tackle it. While the Nigerian government also acknowledges the problem, it fails to identify the fundamental causes of an unusually high jobless rate in the resource-rich country. Discomfited over the rising record of unemployment, when President Barack Obama took over the reins of power years ago, he devised a series of stimulus spending plans with the single-minded target of creating jobs. Lamenting the parlous unemployment situation in the country, Adewale Kareem, a civil rights advocate argued that: “We often hear of government discovering ghost workers, I guest to an extent, those so-called ghost workers were being paid, so why can’t the socalled ghost workers be replaced?” The Federal Government, he stressed, “needs to change the direction of its economic policies and spending and target what a former World Bank Vice-President, Jeffery Sachs, describes as jobs-led growth.“ “Civil disorder is the most obvious consequence of high youth unemployment. The riots in London and throughout the UK, which took place from August 6-10, 2011, are an

Continued on page 51


BUSINESS

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

51

Dozie, others win Johnnie Walker CNBC Africa award F

•Kale

•Okoroji

Unending job crisis Continued from page 50 example. Unemployment bred the anger that set off the Arab Spring in motion. “ Too little, too late Experts say the figure of 23.9 per cent unemployment published by the National Bureau of Statistics has probably risen, swelled by thousands that have since left school, completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme or been retrenched since the data was collated in December 2011. Among the youths – the most productive segment of any population – over 50 per cent, according to the NBS, are said to be jobless though the World Bank puts the figure at 56 per cent. The Ministry of Labour and Productivity acknowledged in 2011 that over 41 per cent of Nigerian graduates can’t secure jobs after their youth service year. Little wonder, analysts observed, is the reason why President Goodluck Jonathan bought into the cosmetic Youth Enterprise and Innovation (You-Win) programme sold to him by the Finance Minister and Coordinator of the Economic Management Team, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The scheme aims to train young entrepreneurs, create 80,000-110,000 jobs over three years and cost N10 billion. The government is also promoting Community Services, Women and Youths Employment Project under the controversial Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme that targets employing 320,000 unskilled youths, women and the physically challenged each year. Laudable as these seem, they are too little and are not even guaranteed to succeed. But with over 40 million educated youths roaming the streets in search of jobs, analysts have argued that it is bold measures and not cosmetic arrangements that can help to create jobs. The Federal Ministry of Finance transferred the administration of the Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) to the Ministry of Labour, through the implementation of the Community Service Scheme of the Programme (CSSP) created employment for 120,000 persons. Labour Minister, Chief Emeka Wogu, who made this disclosure during the 2013 midterm achievements, disclosed that plans are underway for the ministry to engage 185,000 persons under SURE-P this year. As at June this year, according to Wogu, the ministry had already spent N3,

183,820,150.00 as stipends to beneficiaries of the Community Services Women and Youths Employment (CSWYE) project of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, across the federation. Faulty statistics According to official figures, the nation’s unemployment rate is 23.9% as at December 2011, and it has maintained a gradually upward curve since December 2006 when it was 5.3%, increasing to 5.8%in 2007, 11.8% in 2008, 19.7% in 2009, 21.1% in 2010 to it’s present all-time high of 23.9% in 2011. It is, however, instructive to note that there is no record of the actual unemployment situation. It would be recalled that in his maiden press briefing in Abuja in 2011, the Statistician General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale, had assured at the time that the NBS had developed a system whereby the number of jobs created in the country would be known. But when our correspondent visited the NBS headquarters in Abuja last Wednesday in time to get the latest update on the unemployment situation in the country, his request drew blank as a senior staff of the NBS who would not be named said: “We really don’t have the actual record of unemployed graduates in the country currently. It was last updated in 2011. We normally receive entries from the states but we have not received any for almost two years now.” As at press time, all efforts to get to speak with the NBS boss, Dr. Kale, were also futile as his GSM line went dead. Way forward Analysts hold the view and very strongly too that the keys to absorbing the millions of the jobless are massive investment in infrastructure – roads, railways, power, refineries, petrochemicals, mining and agriculture. The United Nations Development Programme recommends that developing nations reduce their bureaucracy and invest in highways, agriculture, education and training, water supply, irrigation, health care delivery and rural development. Besides, studies by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group echo strong suggestions by the International Monetary Fund that the private sector be encouraged to invest in and run power plants, railways, downstream oil and gas facilities, steel plants, airports and under-utilised river basin development authorities. These activities, they contend, will naturally create millions of jobs.

OR those who participated at the West African edition of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label CNBC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards which held in Lagos recently, the memory would linger. Reason: it was a day a lot of stars shone brightest, with Dr. Pascal Dozie, the Founder and former Chairman/CEO of Diamond Bank PLC chairman of MTN Nigeria, leading the pack. Dozie received the prestigious Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lifetime Achievement Award, for what the organisers described as his immense contribution in the public and private sectors over several decades. Presenting the award to him, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Seni Adetu, said it was in recognition of his industry and vi-

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

sionary leadership over the years. Earlier, Sim Shagaya, the Founder and CEO of konga.com, Nigeria’s largest online shopping portal, won the West Africa Entrepreneur of the Year award. Shagaya bested Pagatech Founder and CEO, Tayo Oviosu, and Founder and CEO of Voodoo Group, Fabrice Sawégn. “I believe it was an honour to be nominated. The other nominees are really very strong businesses, doing very difficult things and they are doing well. I was not really expecting to win an award per se but I am just honoured to be nominated. The belief is that it is Africa’s time and you really want to be part of it. As an individual when you think you are doing something diffi-

cult, you look at great people doing well around you despite their challenges and draw your inspiration. I will advice that you keep walking even when you fall down; you get up and keep walking again,” Shagaya said. Mrs Biola Alabi, Managing Director of Mnet Africa, clinched the West African Businesswoman of the Year, for her yeoman’s efforts at expanding the channel throughout the African continent. An elated Alabi said of her award: “The ward is a validation of the work we are doing and it feels really exciting. I was really honoured to be nominated because this kind of award normally goes to bankers and other financial institutions but for me to be nominated it is great and I was very excited.” Also, the West Africa

Young Business Leader Award went to the groundbreaking CEO and CoFounder of Nollywood’s lauded distribution portal, iROKO TV, Jason Njoku. He was up against the Founder and Managing Director of wakanow.com, Obinna Ralph Ekezie, another young and dynamic innovator in West African business. The West Africa Business Leader of the Year category saw three seasoned business tycoons competing for the coveted title, which was ultimately awarded to Jean-Louis Ekra, the Chairman and President of the African Export-Import Bank. Jean-Louis was in competition with Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, and Andrew Alli, the President and CEO of Africa Finance Corporation.

•From left: Category Manager, Skin Cleansing, Unilever Nigeria, Rotimi Oyesiji; winner N1million, Mrs. Adebiyi Oluwatobi; Vice President Operations, Unilever Nigeria, Anil Gopalan and Brand Manager, Lux, Olumide Aniyikaiye, at the prize presentation of the first millionaire in the on going 'Lux Gold Search' Promo in Lagos recently. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

L

UCOZADE Boost has rewarded winners for their outstanding performance at the just concluded “Energy Moment Show” radio programme. Justifying the need for the show, Chidike Oluaoha, the Brand Manager, Lucozade Boost, said the whole essence of the show is a reflection of the trendy offering of the brand. “Lucozade Boost contains glucose, the body’s preferred source of energy. It delivers energy fast and can be enjoyed while hanging out with friends, on the go, at school, at home, in the office,

G

UINNESS Nigeria Plc has launched Orijin, an alcoholic drink blend with the flavours of African herbs and fruits into the Nigerian market. The launch which took place at Jogor Centre in Ibadan and Edys Wine Bar in Port Harcourt, showcased an enchanting African ambiance worthy of a premium brand like Orijin. At the grand reception to announce the new inclusion, Mr. Seni Adetu, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Guinness Nigeria Plc, said Orijin is a product designed

Lucozade Boost rewards winners in the bar and even at parties. The energy show is a platform to engage and reward the esteemed consumers of Lucozade Boost. It also availed Nigerians the opportunity to share their energetic moments with friends, colleagues and family members.” Chika Onyemenem from Port Harcourt, who won Lucozade Boost packs expressed joy and appreciation to Lucozade Boost. “I appreciate this gift

from Lucozade Boost, I drink Lucozade Boost a lot and when the programme started on radio I participated in the show because it was very creative and exciting and to my amazement, I won Lucozade Boost packs,” Onyemenem enthused. Echoing similar sentiments, Emilia Anyaegbu from Enugu, who won a BlackBerry smart phone was full of praises for the brand for being rewarded with an amazing gift.”

Also, Olapoju Olawole from Abuja who also won a BlackBerry smart phone appreciated the uniqueness of the Lucozade Boost Energy Moment Show. In her comment, Head of Marketing, Nutritionals, GSK Nigeria Plc., Cherry Eromosele, assured that “GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Lucozade Boost, aims to improve the quality of life among Nigerians, enabling them to do more, feel better and live longer.”

Guinness launches Orijin in Ibadan, P/Harcourt for the discerning Nigerian who wants to enjoy the best of African tradition with style. “Guinness Nigeria has a tradition of continuously delivering great brands to our consumers. Orijin is a premium value brand that will not only bring excitement to consumers but also give them the opportunity to connect with their heritage. With a refreshingly unique taste, Orijin is the flavoured alcoholic drink our consumers deserve,” Adetu said.

Prior to the launch in Port Harcourt, various African drums were placed within Port Harcourt metropolis while different cultural troops entertained crowds at the “place of the drums”. The cultural troops were at their best as they displayed fascinating dance steps which enchanted the expectant crowd. Hip hop artiste, Burna Boy, ensured guests in Port Harcourt got a thrilling experience, while Olamide and Dammy Kraine got the guests ecstatic in Ibadan as

they danced to the tunes, all to welcome Orijin. During the launch in both cities, guests were entertained by a dance drama titled “The Orijin” which chronicled the process from conception to the production and the unveiling of Orijin. According to Mr. Austin Ufomba, Marketing and Innovation Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, the play depicts Guinness’ genuineness in producing quality products that resonate with Nigerian consumers.


52

BUSINESS

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Nigeria is good market for ICTZTE boss Mr. Hao Fuqiang is Managing Director, ZTE Nigeria Limited, a frontline equipment vendor with branches around the world that has been involved in the Nigerian telecommunications industry. In this chat with Olayinka Oyegbile, Fuqiang talks about his company’s project in the country

• Fuqiang

C

AN you give us a short overview of ZTE operations in Nigeria? ZTE Nigeria Limited was founded in 2002. We have two main offices; Abuja and Lagos. We also have branches in Ibadan, Port Harcourt and some other cities. So far, we have about 200 Chinese staff working in and out of Nigeria and over 700 local staff. In the past 10 years, the accumulated sales driving is up to $1.6 billion in the Nigerian market. Since you entered the Nigerian market, how will you rate the ICT sector? Is it a rewarding, is it worth it? Will you say that Nigeria for you is a good ICT destination? There is no doubt the Nigerian market is a very good destination for ICT equipment vendors not only ZTE. I could say so because this market is very big and we all know that Nigeria is the biggest population in the African market with160 million people. We also have a lot of ICT experts in the country. For us in the ICT sector and the population is the number one point not only for ZTE but for everybody. What about telecommunications infrastructure compared to other developing countries? In Nigeria the major challenge for the ICT sector is not ICT itself, it is power. Power cost a lot of money for the ICT sector. That’s why you can see we’ve done project for some operators in Nigeria, we use generator or we put solar panel so that’s the major challenge. But this problem is not only in Nigeria, it exists in almost every African country. However in Nigeria, there is a very good signal for us, the Nigerian government now pays much more attention to the power sector. Even all of the distribution companies, they are privatized and they even want to privatize more not only the distribution companies even the generation side and the transmission side. That’s the case. I really believe this market has very good potentials and the ICT sector or telecommunication sector in this country will continue to boom, there is no doubt. What are your key areas of focus apart from building network for operators, your product and services? Are you also looking at building the local content in terms of ca-

pacity building and manpower resource training of Nigerians? Let me say that we are here, though we are a Chinese company but our strategy is not only to use Chinese to even manage our company in Nigeria. Even our Chairman in China had once said, in the future we want local staff to manage our branches in the different countries. One reason is that the issue of culture difference, which is a major challenge for any foreign company. What we do is to get used to the local culture. We try to consider or think about something in a Nigerian way. That’s why we are doing a lot of training for our local staffs, even for the local society. However, we still strongly believe that training is not enough. If you train somebody you have to provide the opportunity for him to practise. If you train somebody and you don’t provide the opportunity for them to practise, sometimes later, he would forget everything easily. But the good thing for us is we give the training to our local staffs, we also give them a lot of opportunities to practise in the field. With your performance in the smart phones business as number four in the world, why have you been very shy of publicity on your smart mobile devices? We are number four in the world for smart phone. To make this easy, what you want to ask is why you can’t see ZTE handsets in the market? The reason is that ZTE started with our equipment supplier business and from there, we also grew into the handset business or say devices business. We have a very good relationship with all the big operators in the world. In China we have ChinaMobile, ChinaUnicom, etc. we have so many operating in India and America and so on and so forth. Ninety percent of the terminals (handsets, dangles etc.) we didn’t sell them directly to the consumer market, such as individuals. We sold our handset or smart phones to the operators. You are involved in the police security project? How far and what is the state now? We have been involved in the police project since the very beginning; the whole project has been completed and delivered. The system is

functioning well and has been tested by the project owners. As the solution provider, we also got all the necessary supporting documents from the government to say that the project is completed and delivered. The project has five components. The first one is Global Open Trunking Architecture. The second part is the surveillance system which you can see in Lagos and Abuja. The third part is video conferencing which is deployed in 36 states plus FCT and the fifth part is e-policing. It is also for the 36 states plus FCT. It also includes Emergency Collation Centres. All the five components of the project are all functioning very well. Based on the five components of the project, including emergency communication vehicles. What then is the problem with it? How far has it helped in detecting crimes? ZTE is proud to say, the system is a modern architecture for public security. It is helping the Nigeria security agencies through their daily communication life. It has helped to arrest some criminals such as robbers, drug peddlers, etc. With the surveillance system? Video Surveillance is one part of the project, and it works together with this integrated security communication platform. It is only that all the components working together that the system can come with its powerful capacity. Why is this not in the public view? I think … (laughter). So it’s an issue of security you don’t want to talk about it? The images by the surveillance cameras have helped to capture criminals but that is a tiny portion of the project, it includes a complete communication system for the security agencies and that is also functioning well. I’m very interested in the agreement between ZTE and the Nigerian government as to the management of the entire system. The question is how sustainable is it in terms of management now that the contract has been executed. Who manages the entire system, is it ZTE or is it another contractor or is it the Nigeria Police. ? This project, ZTE is the contractor for just the construction of the network; ZTE is not responsible for operating and maintaining it. The government will determine who manages and maintain the network. So ZTE role was to build

and handover? Yes! Let’s come home now; the issue of treatment of workers and relationship between Chinese employers and their Nigerian employees, what is it like in ZTE? ZTE believes in transparency, it is also same to our employee policy. ZTE Nigeria Limited is one among a few that allows staff to join unions. We even have the ZTE branch of the national union: The National Union of Telecommunications Employees. They belong to that? Yes. The union is in constant communication with our management both in Abuja and Lagos. Before we take any action, usually we have proper consultation with the union. So there has never been any issue of not being allowed to form a union or discrimination and all that? No, no one! We believe in transparency. Everybody knows that communication services are really poor in this country, and there have been analysts who allege that one reason for poor service is because the equipment vendors supply low grade equipment, how true is that as an equipment supplier? ZTE is listed on the stock exchange market, and world leading telecommunication solution provider, we never compromise our quality. I can assure you that the quality control method that ZTE implemented to the Nigerian market is the same as what we implemented in China and even in US or Europe, there is nothing different. And you are working towards that in Nigeria? Yes, even 5G, we are working towards that now, not only 4G. I know you have also considerably invested in cloud computing, I want to ask whether you are exploring opportunities in the Nigerian market for clouds computing. You rightly noted that the Nigerian market is also growing pretty fast and the bandwidth situation is also improving, meaning that cloud could be it. Cloud computing is what every telecommunication supplier even companies like CISCO, ZTE and other companies are all interested in. The reason is simple; even IBM, Samsung, all the companies, we are concentrating on cloud computing because in the future, maybe in the next 10 years, we are not going to talk about telecommunication anymore because we are talking about cloud computing, we are taking everything because everything will be together.

Beyond By Adetayo Okusanya

In the words of Lao Tzu

W

E should every night call ourselves to an account; What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift. – Seneca You can either build your career by design or by default. The ultimate responsibility for the successful development of your career, rests largely on the shoulders of the person to whom that career belongs, namely you, with everyone else playing a supporting role at best. At the heart of every great designlies purpose and at the root of purpose you will find intent, resolve and determination. Purpose is what distinguishes the design of a house from that of an office building or restaurant. Purpose is what distinguishes the design of a nursery from that of the master suite or kitchen. Purpose is what distinguishes the design of a car from that of an airplane or yacht. Purpose, is the “WHY” that drives us to do what we do. It is said that why we do what we do is often times more important than what we do. I believe that each of us has a purpose. Sadly, very few of us will discover our purpose early enough in our life time to make the most of it. To discover purpose, you must embark on a journey of self-discovery that culminates in self-awareness. Lao Tzu said, “He who knows others is WISE. He who knows himself is ENLIGHTENED.”Are you enlightened? Do you know why you think, feel and act the way you do? Why you said what you said, the way you said it. Why you reacted the way you did to what someone else said or did. Why you like certain things and dislike others. Why you got along famously with one manager and fell out of favor with the other. Why you loved one job and totally hated another. Why you may be best suited for one profession and not another. To be “self-aware”is to pay attention to your inner state, the unseen things about you such as your thoughts, feelings, intentions, beliefs, expectations, aspirations, preferences,resources, intuition etc., which influence the things that are seen or experienced such as your words, actions, behavior, dressing, demeanor, personality, etc.A psychotherapist described it as “bringing to the conscious mind an understanding of the compulsions that push us around”. Besides self-observation and self-reflection, a great way to gain quick self-awareness is to undertake a personality assessment, which is a questionnaire designed to reveal aspects of your character or psychological makeup. Such revelations are often very useful in helping you make decisions about your choice of profession, industry, employer, job, work environment and career, to mention a few. There are a number of good personality assessment tools available on the internet. I have personally used Insights Discovery, Myers Briggs (MBTI) and DISC and they are all consistent in their description of my preferences. Insights Discovery, my preferred personality assessment tool, describes me as having a dominant preference for Cool Blue energy, one of four primary color energies. The other Insight color energies are Fiery Red,Sunshine Yellow and Earth Green. Individuals that lead withCool Blue color energy are self-contained and possess a strong desire to know, analyze and understand the world around them. Wehave a strong need for clarity and like to think before we act. We are also great at maintaining a detached and objective stand point. Cool Blues place high value on independence and intellect and adopt a shared approach to problem solving. We are valued for our knowledge, thoughtfulness, logic, focus, patience, precision, prudence, caution, discretion, composure, diligence, consistency, attention to detail and ability to think before speaking. On the flip side, others can be frustrated by our perfectionism, reserve, excessive concern with process and organization and preference for working alone. This self-knowledge has been invaluable in the development of my career. Self-awareness is a precursor to effective self-management, which in turn is a key ingredient for success in life. Get to know yourself and understand how you are configured. Become well acquainted with your preferences so that you can build a career that leverages the things that you are naturally wired to succeed in? Be educated, not only in the external word around you, but also in the internal world within you. Invest today in figuring yourself out and fifty years from now, you won’t look back on your life wondering if you wasted precious time in the wrong profession. • Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

BUSINESS

7-UP Bottling Company: One stock to watch this year 7-

UP Bottling Company’s first quarter report has earned it a place among the top growing companies in the current year by profit and earnings per share. The company’s current financial year of April 2013 to March 2014 is promising to be one of exceptional earnings growth based on the first quarter performance. The company is also expected to become one of the top three ranking institutions by earnings per share. At the end of the first quarter, the soft drinks bottling company lifted its after tax profit by 105.9% to N1.47 billion from N714 million it posted in the first quarter of last year. If its first quarter growth rate is maintained to full year, net profit is projected at N6.6 billion for 7-up Bottling Company in 2013/14. That would be an exceptional growth of 130.8% from the full year profit figure of about N2.86 billion in 2013. It would also mean an accelerated growth from the 70.2% rise in net profit in 2013. Sales revenue growth is also expected to accelerate in the current year. The company recorded a turnover of N17.77 billion at the end of the first quarter, which is a 15.2% improvement over the corresponding figure in 2012. Full year sales revenue is projected at N72.5 billion for 7-up Bottling Company at the end of its current financial year. This would amount to a growth of 12.8% compared with an increase of 7.1% in sales revenue in the preceding year. Sales revenue growth could accelerate further in the course of the year, as the company’s critical selling period – October to March, still lies ahead. While accelerated sales revenue has helped profit performance, the major force behind the high profit growth in the first quarter is cost moderation and the resulting leap in profit margin. Interest ex-

penses dropped during the period by 33.3% to N399 million after a flat growth in the 2013 full year. This seems to indicate the company’s ability to shield its earnings from the high interest charges that are currently undermining the performance of many companies. Cost of sales moderated during the first quarter and this improved gross profit margin. Cost of goods sold grew at a slower pace than sales revenue at 10.4% compared to 15.2%. It therefore claimed a reduced share of turnover at 61% compared to 63.6% in the corresponding period in 2012. This enabled the company to raise gross profit well ahead of sales revenue at 23.6% during the review period. Selling and distribution expenses grew by 14.2% during the period and also moderated relative to sales revenue. Administrative expenses however grew ahead of sales revenue at 22.2% during the period against a decline of 9.8% in the 2013 full year. With the general cost moderation during the first quarter, 7-up Bottling Company raised its net profit margin from 4.6% in the corresponding period last year to 8.3% at the end of the first quarter. This is also a major improvement from 4.5% in the 2013 full year and represents a sustaining gain in profit margin from 2.8% recorded in the 2012 full year. The company earned N2.29 per share in the first quarter, up from N1.11 in the corresponding quarter last year. It had improved earnings per share also from N2.62 in the full year operations in 2012 to N4.46 in 2013. Based on the projected net profit figure for the company for the current year, earnings per share is expected to come to N10.30 in 2013/14. This will place the company among the topmost earning companies in the entire stock market. As per

current earnings projections, 7up Bottling Company will be the 3rd highest earning company on per share basis for the 2013/14 financial year. It comes after Nestle, which is projected to earn N28.75 per share and Total Nigeria with a projected earnings per share of N15.29. Its challenger for the 3rd spot on the top earnings table may be Guinness Nigeria, which first quarter earnings report is expected in October. 7-up Bottling Company improved its dividend per share from N2.0 for 2011/12 operations to N2.20 for its 2012/13 financial year. This represents a dividend pay-out of 49.3%. Given the same dividend pay-out ratio for the current year, a minimum dividend of N5.08 per share is to be expected from the company at the end of the current financial year next March. The drop in interest expenses in the first quarter seems to reflect a drop of 25.1% in short-term loans and borrowings of the company between the end of its last financial year in March and the first quarter in June. Shortterm borrowings normally represent the more expensive type of debts. However longterm borrowings grew by 31.7% to N6.58 billion during

the same period. With total balance sheet debts still standing at almost N18 billion, the company still appears to stand the risk of resurgence in interest expenses in the course of the year. Other major developments in the company’s operations include the growing contribution of export earnings to sales revenue, a sustaining improvement in net assets and the maintenance of a healthy cash flow position. Net assets per share has continued to improve from N16.09 in 2012 to N19.63 in 2013 and further to N21.95 at the end of the first quarter in June. The company’s cash resources remain more than adequate to cover all cash requirements for investing and financing activities. Critical developments to watch out for on the company in the second quarter are the ability to maintain stable growth in sales revenue and keep interest expenses from shooting up. The strength of the company to defend profit margin at the significantly improved level needs to be watched as well as the extent that payment of the declared dividend may constrain cash flow and compel the company to resort to new borrowings.

MARKET FLASH Bukola Afolabi obrijo4u@gmail.com

Company News Forte Oil assures market of a bumper 2013

N

IGERIA’S foremost ind i g e n o u s major marketer of refined petroleum products, Forte Oil plc (formerly AP Plc) presented its financials to the investing public at the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s ‘FACTS BEHIND THE FIGURES’ session today. Led by the Group Chief Executive of the firm, Mr. Akin Akinfemiwa; who prior to the event had performed the ceremonial closing bell ringing for the day, Forte Oil made the case that its strategy and engagement process has ensured that it considers itself in a good position upon which it can encourage investors and the market to build a reasonable expectation of returns on investment in the coming periods. Speaking on behalf of the CEO of The Exchange, its Executive Director, Mr. Ade Bajomo, Market Operations and Technology commended Forte Oil Plc for its integrity and commitment to adopting

Stock market rebounds, gains N32.06bn

T

HE Nigerian stock market closed on a positive note to break the losses recorded since the beginning of the week. The benchmark indices of equities maintained an uptrend and closed positive because investors bought shares of blue chip companies. Trading results revealed that the market capitalisation recorded a growth of N32.06 billion to close at N11.54 trillion as against the decrease of N57.06 billion recorded on Wednesday to close at N11. 51 trillion. Also reflecting the bullish trad-

ing, the All -Share Index appreciated by 101.08 basis points or 0.28 per cent to close at 36,400.38 points, compared to the decrease of 0.5 per cent recorded the previous day to close at 36,299.30 points. Investors yesterday staked N5.17 billion on 559.81 million shares in 5,547 deals. Investors were cautious in their dealings as they targeted shares of highly capitalised companies. There were 51 price movements at the close of business with 22 companies recording price apprecia-

53

tion and 29 others recorded losses. DN Meyer Plc led the gainers’ table with 0.13 Kobo or 10 per cent to close at 1.43 Kobo per share. It was followed by Champion Breweries Plc with N1.54 Kobo to close at N17.03 kobo. Jos Breweries Plc added N0.24 kobo per share to close at N2.67 kobo per share. Evans Medical Plc led the price losers’ table. The company shed N0.47 kobo to close transaction at N4.27 kobo per share. RT Briscoe Plc dropped by N0.15 kobo to close at N1.38 kobo per share, while ABC Transport Plc shed N0.07 kobo to close at N0.79 kobo per share.

and adhering to the corporate governance ethos of the bourse and complying with its rules on financial disclosures; which he hopes will be sustained in the interest of the market. He also described as remarkable the fact that the group was the first in the downstream Oil & Gas sector to send in its audited accounts for 2013 half year as required by International Financial Reporting Standard. In his presentation, Mr. Akinfemiwa drew attention to its sixty-three percent (63%) increase in PAT, twenty-on percent (21%) increase in revenue, and an improvement in PAT margins from 1.7 percent in 2012 to 2.3 percent in 2013. Giving that organizations often put their best foot forward at such sessions, it was no surprise that the management realized the need to show deeds that reinforce the number growth expectations and this was evident with the disclosure that Forte Oil Plc through one of its subsidiary companies had acquired a major stake in the GEREGU POWER PLANT, to diversify its operations towards its goal of becoming a key player in the energy sector, and thus increase its presence and expansion drive in West African markets. He further disclosed that the company would be paying out dividend in the 2013 financial year; even as he avoided the rumour on customs street of a bonus issue. The Event had in attendance Mr. Haruna Jalo Waziri ED,Business Development NSE, Mrs Cynthia Akpomudiare Head Admin,NSE, Mr. Julius Omodayo-Owotuga Group Chief Financial Officer Forte Oil and Mr. Akinleye Olagbende Company Secretary Forte Oil.

NSE lists Transcorp’s rights issue

T

RANSNATIONAL Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) is pleased to announce the official listing of its Rights Issue of 12,906,999,142 ordinary shares on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The President/CEO of Transcorp Mr. Obinna Ufudo remarked that the Rights Issue was 132.08% subscribed thus confirming the unflinching support and trust reposed in the current Board and Management of the company by its shareholders. All excess monies and interest accrued thereon have been returned to the subscribers. He stated further, “We thank our Shareholders for this significant show of support of our turnaround initiatives. The funds raised further strengthen our ability to conclude existing transactions and initiate new investments in line with our vision. The future just got brighter for the company and our 300,000 shareholders”.

In line with the Rights circular, the funds raised will be used mainly to refinance the company’s investments in the acquisition of Ughelli Power Plc and deepening its play in the Hospitality and Oil and Gas sectors. Transcorp, through its subsidiary, Transcorp Ughelli Power Limited, owns the $300million Ughelli Power Plant acquired under the privatization of the Nigerian power assets by the Federal Government. The company is also embarking on new hospitality projects in Lagos while refurbishing and expanding the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. With the listing today, the market capitalization of Transcorp increased by about 54% from N35.4billion to N54.6billion further restating the company as one of the most capitalized stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.


54

THE NATION ON SUNDAY

BUSINESS

SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Drive to serve keeps me going – Sam Ohuanbunwa

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa is as big as they come in Nigeria's corporate circle. A pharmacist by profession, Ohunabunwa rose through the ranks to become the first Nigerian President/CEO of Neimeth International plc (formerly Pfizer Pharmaceuticals), in a manner that has been described as unprecedented in the company's history. Now retired, Ohunabunwa, who once served as chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, is not letting go, as he has found other avenues for expressing his passion for nation building, by way of enterprise development and care solutions for upcoming businesses and entrepreneurs. He spoke with Bukola Afolabi.

O

n what he's been up to in the last two years since he retired from Neimeth

I have been busy directing issues that I believe are critical to national development. While I was CEO of Neimeth, I was also chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group; so I was very active in economic advocacy. Currently, I'm occupied with using my experience, exposure and lessons garnered over the past 33 years to assist other people through consulting and sharing of knowledge, to help them grow their companies. This I do through a new organisation, Startle Consult. Its main areas of focus are in business enterprise development, management, leadership, governance, corporate development, and care solution, which is inspired by my professional background as a pharmacist. I also run SOFEE (Sam Ohuabunwa Foundation for Economic Empowerment), an NGO committed to teaching entrepreneurship to younger people and offering them business mentoring, to promote enterprise development and ethical business conduct within the society. I also find time to do my ministry. I like to see myself as a lay minister through the auspices of The Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship, and other Christian opportunities that come my way. I also find time to support the government. I am on the board of the Subsidy Reinvestment, and I support the Abia State government in whatever capacities that I can. His memorable moments as a pharmacist? There are quite a lot of them. My first day at work as a Pharmacist, where I had the opportunity to dispense products to patients and counsel them was one. I suddenly had authority. I had the drugs all around me and I was able to exercise the knowledge I learnt at the university. The second would definitely be when I joined Pfizer on July17, 1978. That was the point where I moved from hospital to industrial pharmacy and was now able to see how products that I was dispensing were made. The process of the manufacture and the fact that I was now a part of it excited me. Another exciting moment for me was the day I clocked five years at Pfizer. The long service honour day coincided with the Christmas party. So if you are five years, they give you a certificate, if you are 10 years, they give you a certificate and a fridge and so on. I was five years old in the company, but when I was announced to come and take my certificate, the Chairman/CEO who was giving the certificate said to me: “Sam, have you been only five years in this company? It looks like you have been in this company for more than 10 years; you are doing well, keep it up my son.� I took the picture and put it in my office. From that day, I had a new vision, a vision that someday I was going to be like that guy. Ten years from that day, God gave me the opportunity to be CEO. So, those are some of the memorable moments in my career. On career high points and achievements I believe that God gave me a lot of opportunities, most especially the opportunity to record what is probably the fastest growth in the company's history. I was getting promotion almost every other year. I joined in 1978; by 1980, I'd become Area Manager for Lagos West. In 1981, I became Area Manager for the East; and by 1985, I had become Group

Sales Manager. In 1989, I was named Marketing Manager and in 1990, I became Pharmaceutical Distribution Manager. I became Chairman/MD CEO, Regional West Africa in 1994. Next is the fact that I launched what I called the Accelerated Growth Strategy and the company began to record unprecedented growth, as against when sales were usually around 10% to 15%. In addition, God gave me the opportunity to lead the management vows. I was able to get Neimeth to launch one of the first indigenous pharmaceutical products from local research. Until then, most of our products were imported either by way of the formulae or through licensing. So, when Neimeth launched the first nutritional supplement for the management of sickle cell anaemia, wholly made from local research, it was a beautiful moment in my career and a landmark. By 2011 when I eventually left the company, 98% of the brands we sold belonged to us. They were indigenous, researched, developed and registered by our company. So, we moved from being dependent on Pfizer to an independent company that did not need to buy any raw materials from any existing store. On being the first black leader of a pharmaceutical company I was the first black leader of a pharmaceutical industry. There is an industrial group called Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria; I was its first Nigerian chairman. I was also the first pioneer president of a regional association called West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (WAPMA). I was involved in the formation of that regional association. I remain the only Nigerian, who at the same time was chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (Ikeja), president of the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group. I was also twice the chairman of the organised private sector. His greatest inspirations First would be that encounter with my CEO in 1983, which redefined my vision and made me to one day become like him. I also have an internal motivation to do the best I can do and a drive for service, which is what keeps me going. Greatest influence in life While not trying to sound religious, I think my life changed drastically when I came to know Jesus Christ. So I'd say that is my first influence. Amongst human beings, I have had a couple of them. There is a man called Chief Chris Ukpabi. He influenced my relationship with my community because he made me know that I had talents that the community can benefit from and encouraged me to be part of them. That is why I was very active in community service for 18

years. In my profession, I admire Julius Adelusi Adeluyibecause he represented to me the best of professional practice and conduct, while in corporate Nigeria; I have been impressed by the way Mr. Felix Ohiwerei managed his career at the Nigerian Breweries Plc. Is any of his children taking after him? Yeah, my first daughter is a Pharmacist but she is not in business. She is a Clinical Pharmacist in the United States. She is the closest to Pharmacy. My first son is in the medical college in the US; at least he is in the health care area. I have five children. The other three are in different professions: one is an Accountant, the other a Lawyer, while another is into IT. So, that is the spread. They have freedom to pursue their dreams. I didn't have to influence anything. His thoughts on Nigeria and how it can become a global economic power I believe we should continue to make the Nigerian political environment very attractive for investment, so that we can have preferential inflow of foreign direct investment, as well as domestic investments. The government should deal with security, infrastructure and ensure that there is law and order. Also, the government should introduce incentives to people who are doing business, to make the atmosphere more convenient. Even if we don't have electricity and good roads, investors will still bring in their money if they feel the place is environmentally safe. I have a passion to support and help Nigeria move from a third world country to a first world, and I wish many more Nigerians can buy into that dream. We must make our country balanced. We must be seen as a people who fight corruption and repel corruption. Will he be going into politics? I'd say 'yes.' But my kind of politics is not the standard way of politics whereby you go and register in a political party and begin to struggle for political power. All the things I told you I am doing are opportunities for me to serve. If tomorrow, you invite me to come and play a role, whether political or non-political, as long as it is going to bring development to the country, I am available. What I have a problem with is partisan politics; I am yet to understand how it is done. Politics means serving the people. When not engaged in corporate or business activities I like to swim every now and then. I find it relaxing. I'm not a club person. I'm also into a lot of community service. Like I told you, I've been actively involved in community service in the last 18 years because I like to impact on my community. My full purpose is to serve God from where I am and anywhere I am.


58

WORSHIP THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

'How Satan’s arithmetic is holding Africa down'

The Senior Pastor of Living Waters Unlimited Church Lagos, Rev. Ladi Thompson spoke with Sunday Oguntola on how age-long devious social engineering has kept African nations from developing. Exceprts:

•Thompson

Y

OU were in Rwanda recently. What did you come away with? My first time in the country was in 2006 for a series of meetings that gave me little time for meditations and prayers. But this time around, I was taken to Rwanda by God to confirm something that is of paramount interest to Nigeria. I got in Rwanda the total confirmation of the revelation God has been showing me, which I like to call the devil's arithmetic. In Rwanda, you will see the whole of Africa. And you will see Nigeria in Rwanda and vice versa. It's a common experience that we have all had. It is very sublime because of its spiritual roots. Rwanda is a beautiful country with several mountains and hills. As I begin to show you Rwanda, you will see Nigeria. In 1923, Rwanda was taken over by Belgian forces with the indirect rule in place. It became a colonial occupation till independence in 1962. You will observe all African countries were colonised, except Ethiopia. There were 18 different clans, not even tribes when the oppressors arrived. They were all speaking the same language. There was nothing like Tutsi, Twa or Hutu. I realised a Tutsi was just a rich man. If he loses his money, he becomes a Hutu. This was just a socio-economic classification. So, what is this devil's arithmetic all about? I will show you several devious social engineering gimmicks the devil instituted to keep Africa down. There is always a process that anybody already subjected to it cannot achieve a stable society or become creative, imaginative or productive. What we call the devil's arithmetic was first played out in Egypt.. God told Abraham his people shall be in slavery in a foreign country. This was 1,600 years before it happened. It was a whole process with elements that were used in Nazi Germany. In the slave trade era, the same processes were used. It was the same in apartheid South Africa.

That process is a selfreplicating system of crushing the human spirit, breaking the soul and yoking bodies of human beings. It is so sublime, crafty and devilish. It is targeted at dehumanising people and turning them to sub-humans with a slave mentality. Taubman Goldie was the father of Nigeria. He sold more than three-quarters of what is Nigeria today to the British authorities. He was an adventurer. You will never get to hear about him because all the papers, notes and documents he used to build the foundation of Nigeria were gathered and burnt before he died. The details of the devil's arithmetic were in those documents. He gathered his children and placed them on a curse that they must never reproduce any of those documents. If there is any nation that should have succeeded, it should have been Nigeria. Despite all we have, Nigeria is still a monumental failure. The root of that failure is what we call the devil's arithmetic. How does it play out here? You will never find details of how this system works anywhere but I will use one of the very few documents in existence to prove that. Only a document written in 1712 will

give you a little idea. It was written by Willie Lynch. He was a slave owner in the West Indies. He was invited to Virginia because Africans there kept resisting slavery, insisting they were no less human being. They were killing them but Lynch said that was an economic waste. He said 'I'm going to show up a methodology now. If you apply it to the letter, I guarantee you for the next 300 years, they will remain in slavery'. He said the first thing is to calm down and study the African slaves. According to him: "Since you want to use them to build your economy, you must study every detail about them: their skin colour, nose shape, texture, complexion and everything.” He continued: "Note all their differences and use fear to subjugate them because it is a better weapon than love. You don't need them to love but fear you.” He taught that they must look for the most troublesome among them. Pack them together and make a horse tear them apart in the presence of their slaves. You know that the family is the unit of socialisation and development. You destroy it by humiliating and killing the head before his wife and children. The women will know there is no hope of liberation by looking up to men. They will discourage their children from following such stubborn route. He added that they must never be allowed to live together. Women must live apart from the men, except for the purpose of mating. That turns them more or less to

animals. When the women are broken, they become docile and loyal. They are also to go through breeding like animals and left to bring up their children alone. Women then become the most-prized assets in the development of zombies and morons. By 14, the sons are ready for labour and will serve till they die. Also, they are to control their population to a manageable size. The next step is to create confusion among them. You breed white with blacks to have many colour banks that never existed before. That will enable the owners to create divisions among them based on colour. The fourth step is to eliminate their languages and create new languages like Swahili and others. They must never know the language of their masters and be made to consider all that has to do with their past as bad. The fifth is to set up psychological and physical barriers. That is where apartheid came from. The blacks live apart from the whites. It was the same in Egypt and Nazi Germany. How are we suffering from this now? The manifestation is that there is no creativity among Africans. Those created in God's image must be creators, but how many things have we created? In Africa, we do things the way we have met them. The same way we have been planting yams is the same way we still do. It is a programming of the devil's arithmetic. The thought that we can produce cars is not among Africans. It has been engineered out of us.

NEWS

2015: Transform Nigeria first, Makinde HE out-going Prelate of tells politicians ticking. the Methodist Church According to him: "Cam-

T

of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr Ola Makinde, has appealed to politicians and government officials to concentrate on transforming the nation instead of being distracted by the 2015 general elections. He said that strategising for the elections at the expense of governance is a great disservice to the nation and the masses. Makinde pointed out that most of the tension across the land is related to the forthcoming elections. He spoke last week at the 25th anniversary and building

By Sunday Oguntola dedication of Estate Methodist Church, Oke Afa. Makinde said: "Today, everything is about 2015. No more governance or provision of infrastructure. Our leaders are so engrossed with regaining power that they have even forgotten they are supposed to change this country." He pointed out that unemployment, insecurity, poverty and poor infrastructure are issues requiring urgent attention, lamenting they are, however, overshadowed by poli-

paigning is good, but leaders must deliver on their electioneering promises first. They have to fix this country." He canvassed for prayers ahead of the general elections so that it will not consume the nation. The chairman of the 25th anniversary and church dedication committee, Akintunde Akinmade, said strong faith in God and determination delivered the edifice. He recalled that three families began worshiping in the church with only a canopy, expressing joy that it has become a cathedral.

The system is so entrenched that even when God took the Israelites out of Egypt, they wanted to go back. Only two of them escaped the mentality. In Rwanda, they created tribes when there was none. They started favouring the Tutsi engineered to be like them above the Hutu. They set them against one another. By 1994, the result of the seed that was sown since 1875 became manifest. There was genocide. It was basically an organised crime, not spontaneous or based on tribalism. What about Nigeria? Rwanda is a full-blown case of the devil's arithmetic. In Nigeria, it is still playing out at 75 percent. How many of us are into poetry or elevated thinking? We don't appreciate the fine things of life. Some years ago, a whale was discovered at the Lagos Bar Beach. If it had happened elsewhere, they would have been thrilled and started an inquiry. But what did our people do? They descended upon it with machete for eating. It is always about eating with us. The ability not to be able to govern yourselves is another offshoot. Once you have suffered from the devil's

arithmetic, it is so difficult to get away. There are many Nigerians today who wish the British had not left. All these are symptoms of the devil's arithmetic. It is a permanent damage to our psyche. If you see animalistic behaviour all over the country, it is the devil's arithmetic at work. How do we break away from this arithmetic then? One, you will realise that when God wanted to deliver Israel, He allowed Moses to be bought up in Pharaoh's palace. He would have been smitten by the system. Therein lies our hope. We have many Nigerians in the Diaspora brought up under different systems. They have seen what it is to be creative and operate at full human strengths. We need them to return here and replicate all that they have learnt. We need a policy to bring them back to show us how we should operate. The church has to encourage it. Many of us claim to be saved but still operate in Egypt. You still see your parents or relations as being the cause of your backwardness. We dress like Europeans and discourage local artifacts. We must pull down strongholds using the instrument of truth.

xxx

READ T S U M 50 AN NIGERI AN I CHRIST R S AUTHO Are you a Christian author? Are you bothered about poor exposure at bookshops and limited patronage? The Nation is offering you an unbeatable opportunity to showcase your books and talk about your passion. The 2-in-1 project involves an advert supplement backed with a profile story on each participant. Kindly contact Sunday Oguntola on 08034309265 or shinystarontop@gmail.com for advert details and participation. You will be glad you did!


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Worship

59

COLUMNS

NEWS

Orthodox Church of India kicks off in Lagos

N

O fewer than 300 members of the Indian Communities in Lagos last week witnessed the formal inauguration of the St. Stephens Orthodox Church of the Indian Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church (IMSOC) in Nigeria. The inauguration also featured the maiden Holy Eucharist of the church at its Ilupeju headquarters. The new Vicar and President of the church, Rev. Fr. Abraham Pangattu, conducted the service. He was assisted by Mr. Jacob Poovathoor, Mr. Pratheesh Philip, Mr. Sam Chacko, Mr. Maju Mathew and Mr. Jijo John Jonny, who served as altar boys. Pangattu explained the church was founded by St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of

By Sunday Oguntola

Jesus Christ, who went to India in A.D. 52. He pointed out the church is in good ecumenical relationship with the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. According to him, the church boasts of over 27 million faithful with 30 dioceses all over the world. "A unique and noble feature of this church even now is its broad vision of humanity, nonChristian religions and other ideologies. "From time immemorial, this church is at peace, oneness and tranquility with the surrounding Hindu, Muslim, and communities without prejudice, rivalry and fanaticism," he

stressed. Pangattu acknowledged the support and blessings received from the Head, Metropolitan of the Diocese of Africa, Dr. Mathews Mar Thimothios. He praised him for showing confidence and ordaining him as the pilot vicar of the church in Nigeria. The vicar also applauded Mr. Jacob Poovathoor for showing tireless commitment towards establishing the church after years of efforts. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ilupeju Station, CSP Gbolahan Olugbemi, who was a guest at the inaugural service, pledged his full support for the community. He solicited prayers to be able to police residents in his jurisdiction.

•Some members of the church with the vicar after the inaugural service

RCCG sings God's praises

T

HE Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Redemption Zonal Headquarters Lagos Province 9, recently held its annual praise night and sing inspiration. The theme of the event was "wonders of His praise". It also featured a competition involving four area headquarters: Goodness and Mercy, Maranatha, Christ Ambassadors and Redemption. The Good women of the

By Oyeyemi GbengaMustapha Christ Ambassadors clinched the trophy, which they also won last year. The choir of Redemption came top among the musical groups. The pastor-in-charge of the zone, Pastor Olusegun John, emphasised the importance of praising God. He said: "The Bible says the main thing God desires of man is relationship. And the best

ways to commune with Him are through praises and worships." The Music Director, Lagos Province 9, Deacon Peter Joel, thanked the zonal pastor for organising the programme. He encouraged all choristers to seek avenues like "this to improve on their ministrations. It is good if some other pastors can organise events like this to help fine tune the music department ministrations in their different parishes."

Living Faith By Dr. David Oyedepo

The Platform For Divine Restoration!

R

ESTORATION is a desire of life, but it can only be accessed through revelation. You need to understand that revelation is the gateway to your inheritance. God's Word says: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3). Your restoration heritage is guaranteed in Christ, but it is your insight that defines the limit of access to your inheritance. Therefore, get excited at the Word because revelation is the gateway to your inheritance. The Root Of Your Restoration Heritage: Your restoration heritage is built on three platforms: •Redemption (John 10:10): Every child of God is ordained for manifold supernatural restoration. •The Abrahamic Covenant: By redemption, you are a seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). Being a seed of Abraham, you are entitled to the blessings of Abraham (Genesis 12:3). •The End-time Prophetic Agenda (Joel 2:24-26): God's end-time prophetic agenda confers on you restoration rights. Therefore, restoration is a vital aspect of God's endtime agenda and we are the end-time saints. Scriptural Steps To Double Portion Restoration:

Christian Science Church gets first African president

“I

•R-L Assistant Music Director province 9, Pastor Dayo Balogun, Music Director, Province 29, Pastor Osho Olukayode and Deaconess OWEN University, owned by the Nigerian Baptist Convention, has He proceeded to the He taught in the appointed Professor Matthew University of London, United Department of Religious Ojo as the new vice chancellor Kingdom where he was Studies, which he later headed. of the institution. awarded a Ph. D Theology in Ojo has authored and coOjo bagged his first and 1987. authored different scholarly second degrees in B.A. Hon. He later added M.Sc. and well referenced books English and Religious Studies (Public Administration) 2001 and monographs. and M.A in Religious Studies and PGD Diploma in He has also written many from the Obafemi Awolowo Management Studies 1994 to published articles in local and University (OAU) Ile Ife, Osun his degrees. international journals. State.

B

Bowen varsity gets new VC

Restoration is God's agenda, but what does it take to access God's restoration package? Job is a classic example of double restoration (Job 42:10). What were the steps that led to his restoration? •Repentance (Job 42:6): Repentance is vital in your bid to experience true restoration. Job suddenly discovered that he opened the door to the devil through fear. Whatever goes wrong in a man's life is traceable to him. Every access the devil has to your life, is as permitted by you. Therefore, give no place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27). •Love (Job 2:9-10): Job was an addicted lover of God in spite of all his challenges. His three friends mocked him; yet, love moved him to pray for them. Your genuine love for God will flow to all men, including those who hurt you (1 John 4:20-21). It was after Job's demonstration of love that God restored him. Job was a lover of God with proofs to show. You cannot turn your back on the God of restoration and experience restoration. •Revelation (Job 23:10): Revelation is the gateway to manifold restoration (Proverbs 6:30-31). Job was a man of deep revelation, which launched him into realms of double restoration. He knew his change was coming (Job 14:14). Your inheritance is only deliverable by revelation (Isaiah 60:1-3). •Faith (Job 13:15-16): Faith is a vital key to accessing your

restoration package from God. Job's faith was unwavering and his trust was total. The deeper your revelation, the stronger your trust in God. If you drop your faith, you have closed the door to your restoration. What you do not believe, you cannot be empowered to become (Luke 1:45). •Prayer and Fasting (Isaiah 58:6-10): Prayer and fasting is a powerful platform to violently access and take delivery of your restoration. You engage in spiritual warfare through prayer and fasting, to destroy the hold of the wicked over what belongs to you (Luke 11:21-22). Friend, the grace to enjoy divine restoration is available, if you are a child of God. You become a child of God by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. You can be a child of God now by saying this prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I cannot help myself. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious Blood. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, for saving me! Now, I know I am born again! I will continue with this teaching next week. Every exploit in life is a product of knowledge. For further reading, please get my books: Understanding Divine Direction, In Pursuit Of Vision and Understanding Vision. I am glad to inform you that from December 10-14, 2013 at Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Idiroko Road, Ota, many destinies will be transformed to higher levels of greatness at SHILOH 2013. SHILOH is the annual prophetic gathering of the Winners' family worldwide. Don't miss this special event! Be there! I invite you to come and fellowship with us at the Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, the covenant home of Winners. We have four services on Sundays, holding at 6.30 a.m., 8.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 noon respectively. I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with me through: Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail: feedback@lfcww.org

LOST everything when I went into practice; I became so poor to come out. But I was not ashamed of the gospel for the purpose must be fulfilled." Those were the words of the new president of The Christian Science Church, Bosede Bakarey, at a reception in her honour in Lagos. Bakarey was appointed president by the Board of Directors of the church at its headquarters in Boston, United States. The board oversees the church business. Bakarey is the first African to hold the post. The reception was convivial with much joy and excitement. There were soul-lifting songs and speeches from selected members. Most of the speeches were an outpouring of encomiums on the good works and legacies of the new president. Many attested to her articulate mind, humility and commitment to the work of faith. Her membership of the

By Bode Monogbea church began when she borrowed a copy of the denomination's textbooks, Science and Health with key to the scriptures written by Mary Baker Eddy from her boss. Strict adherence to its teachings healed her of a 'terrible migraine', which encouraged her to dig deeper.

•Bakarey

According to her: "I could not look back. I was willing to give (the book) to anyone who would take it." She took instructions in Christian Science in London and soon became a practitioner. Bakarey gives talks on Christian Science throughout Africa and the United States, describing it as an understanding of the activities and practice of Christianity. On her advice to members and Christians at large, she said: "If you feel you are called, please answer. You have decided to travel on the road less travelled". Such people, she assured, are never put to shame.

What and where?

C&S youths hold 'Super September'

T

HE Youth Fellowship Chapel of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church (Ayo Ni o) Apapa Oshodi Expressway, Lagos has outlined activities to celebrate the five Sundays in September in a special way.

Frontline preacher, Pastor Olumide Emmanuel, will handle an interactive session during an empowerment programme tagged "The winning youth". The forum is slated for September 8th.

T


THE ARTS

60

POETRY By Arnold Udoka

Cave in her heart

O!

SISTER MONICA You who grew by the riverside of youth Swimming from bank to bank Riding the slums day and night Seeking the love of all men Now I hear your dark whispers Love is fresh palm wine Leaping inside a calabash And frothing over its rim But your love Monica Is a splash in a basket And from a million holes it drains The torrents of your love Fall like Calabar rains in sheets Drenching the beauty of your cheeks Washing the powder away from your forehead Sweeping the cobwebs from your brows And like blinkers they shield your eyes O! sister Monica What have you seen? Is it the gloss of pain on your soul? Is it the flesh-bare fossils of passions? It is the emptiness of lust? Is it the phantom of love? I hear a bellow within your soul The banks of your heart are flooded Let the tide sweep your pains ashore I taste the salty tears on your cheeks But in the crevice of your hidden world I hear a song of penitence Have you seen this daughter of my Kin? Who sells fresh flesh? This daughter of my womb Denudes herself everywhere Should you dare search this maze Surely you’ll find her somewhere Stranded, frightened and angered Daring to fight back For her missiles of rocks Don’t give up In the rain of her brimstones Don’t give up When her thunder hunts you Wear the insulator of peace Please speak peace to her Tell her we are waiting for her Bring her home in peace to us We will wash her in our flowing streams Rub our oils on her ebony skin For the fruit of woman is beautiful But good deed surpass all beauty Good deeds are good thoughts We sing them in sweet melodies Sister Monica The fruit of woman is beautiful But good deeds surpass all beauty Let your good thoughts speak Again and again forever Shield yourself with cloak of wisdom From the carnal hounds of mankind Look in the cave of your heart Listen to the true lovesong within Hold well the sword of discernment Battle your blinkered eyes Sweep the cob-web away And guard the wisdom of love O! sister Monica I feel your renewal Let the tears of your penitence Like flowing rivers to delta Wash the pain in your soul Into the bountiful ocean of God That you restore and start anew And bloom into a beautiful flower With a heart full of joy

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

‘Community theatre good for transformation’ Olu Obafemi is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State. He is also currently the Director of Research at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Plateau State. At the just-concluded conference on the works of D.O. Fagunwa organised by the Centre for Black and Africa Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), held in Akure, Ondo State, Obafemi spoke on the need to translate more local works into foreign languages, the need to bring back community theatre, among other issues in this encounter with Edozie Udeze

W

HY, in your opinion, is traditional literature important in the life of a society like ours at the moment? As you know, literature is the vehicle for cultural rebirth. Literature should at all times reflect the life of mankind. Literature should also dwell on the development of a society. So, if literature plays such an important role, then it should begin from that moment by being point of expression for thought process of the people. Indigenous literature, therefore, is a tool for development. It is a way of capturing the popular imagination of society by giving total expression to the thought process of the people. You use literature to create life, to play politics and the bulk of our people are vast only in their own home-grown literature. This was mainly in those days. But today, we talk of complete departure from that literature that is close, that is dear to the people, both in terms of indigenous language, in terms of the story content and so on. This aberration is seen to act against the total growth of indigenous literature and that is why this conference on D.O. Fagunwa’s works is not only timely, but should serve as a potent tool for us to reengineer our interest towards the development of indigenous literature. It is important for countries that want to develop to continue to grow their technology and express it in indigenous literature. It is important for us too to do so in this country to be able to nurture our own technology based on the indices of local literature rendered in the language of the people, in the local ideas that are close to the people. But how far have our tertiary institutions gone in promoting indigenous theatre to help in this regard? Well, I don’t think it is only the curriculum that should take care

of this. Every curriculum in any university, in any institution of higher learning in Nigeria, envisages developmental theatre, or theatre for development, traditional theatre or home-grown theatre. It is unfortunate because there is a total disconnect between the kind of theatre we do these days and the story of folklore, the story of the tradition of the people. The act of storytelling narrative is no longer there. Our popular performances, therefore, are kept in abeyance nowadays, bereft of the ideas of what the people stand for; what makes a people who they are and what shapes the story that they are familiar with. Our people now dwell more on western styled theatre; they want to prove how Shakespearean they are and so on and so forth. Meanwhile, we have our own problems with regards to how we treat our own indigenous theatre. So, I don’t think it is the absence of local theatre content in the curriculum of the tertiary institutions. No, it is the area of practice generally, which I think needs total re-orientation for us to get it right. If we do that, do you think we can also go back to community theatre to involve more people in order to re-energise that sector? Yes, that is the only way theatre can continue to be relevant in the area of development. We need to recreate the problems of the people, bring them to the stage, using the people to dramatise them. When we do this, then we create awareness, infusing energy into the stage and making the people feel it as it is. So, in other words, we use community energy to fund community theatre, all for the good of the society. I believe that, that framework of the real assemblage of the community constituent of our theatre will be the best approach to the reintroduction and promotion of our theatre. It has to be used for

social engagement. Let the people see and perceive this as their own; their own heritage, their own personal property. This way, we will be able to create the necessary impact for a total transformation of the society. Theatre, I mean community theatre, has to play that role and we are the ones to begin it; to ensure that our people come back to it. That, indeed, is the beauty of the community theatre. Let’s discuss your paper in this conference on the Fifty years of D.O. Fagunwa. You are talking about meta-creation. What does that mean? What I am saying here is that the translation of anyone’s work is usually caught between two worlds. One, how to deploy those imaginatives and giving total expressions to the creativity of the original text in the case of the works of D.O. Fagunwa that I am dealing with. We need to avoid the possibility of being an interpreter in order not to create an alternative to the work you are translating. Two, what you need to do is to translate the work within the context that it was written. You do not need to be seen to be another author, creating a new thing out of what you are translating. That is the task before me in this conference. When you were translating “The Mystery of God by Fagunwa” into English what were the difficulties you encountered? One, to be able to convey the totality of the imagination of the author. The translator must raise the totality of the imagination of the original text, otherwise he will function far below the expectations of the people and the experience of the author. Two, you need to raise the work to the required standard to be able to sustain the interest of readers. In all these, you do not need to deviate from the original

•Obafemi

content of the book and what the author truly conveys to the people. In all these, you have to look at the names, the sociological set-up. Then, you ask yourself, are all these in their indigenous context? So you need to situate all these but where the name does not fit in, you try to find the equivalent in English. In the case of Fagunwa, you need to look deeper into the tradition of the people. In my case, I needed to situate the context of Esu. But if you do not do it well, you are no longer translating the book, but creating your own. Those were the kind of problems I encountered. What is the standard of literature in Nigeria today? One thing is clear. I know that there are lots of complaints. Many people complain that this generation of writers lack focus. That the content of their ideology lack depth and so on. But if you look at the material condition of the writer, the sociology of the writer and the material available to him, then you ask what is the dominant political situation in the society? What content do we have in political manifestoes? What is the role of our economy in the present situation in the country? So, rudderless society produces the kind of writers and works that suit it. But having said that, we must agree that Nigerian writers have never been as robust and daring, even in terms of lexicon, dealing with issues that the older generation of writers have been shying away from. So, there is a new level of awareness being created by the Nigerian writer of today which is in conformity with the society itself. In terms of metaphor, sexual images and so on, the current Nigerian writer makes use of them freely without being afraid or compromising anything at all. The level of probity that conforms with the crudity of the society is quite amazing.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

61


62

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Raging storms over a prophet’s death Sunday Oguntola writes on the hullabaloo surrounding the death of Lagos-based preacher, Prophet Ireti Ajanaku, as well as the eccentric lifestyles of the flamboyant cleric

•L-R: Tope Alabi, Pastor Ajanaku and wife

That the prophet is sick is not hard for his members to believe. Eight weeks before his rumoured death, Ajanaku’s absence from the church became noticeable. He was reportedly indisposed, members gathered. Investigations revealed that the flamboyant preacher went down under severe skin pigmentation allegedly caused by excessive bleaching.

W

HERE is Prophet Elijah Ireti Ajanaku, the General Overseer of Christ Victory Chapel International, who reportedly died on August 17th in his Gbongan hometown in Osun State? Investigations revealed that the flamboyant preacher is in the Military Morgue, Yaba, Lagos. His remains were moved to the facility after several prayers and vigils for him to regain consciousness failed. Members and elders of the church have been engaging in serious spiritual exercises for the preacher to come back to life since he was pronounced dead. A competent source told our correspondent on Friday that “the man is dead, no doubt.” The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the church, Mr. Oluwatosin Faleye, also confirmed the cleric’s death to our correspondent last Friday. He said the church took time to announce his death because it was expecting God to perform a miracle. Faleye, however, said the deceased’s family is meeting on burial arrangements and will soon make announcements to that effect. But to elders and members of his church, he is in a trance preparing for a much-expected ‘resurrection’. This is a position they have taken since the fair-skinned cleric was pronounced dead. To many of them, it is as inconceivable as unbelievable that the powerful preacher who they fondly refer to as ‘daddy’ will just drop dead like that. About two years ago, members recall the same death verdict was pronounced on the preacher. He allegedly regained consciousness few days later much to the relief of everyone. The development did not only reinforce confidence in him but also fired up their affection for their spiritual head. A member, who simply identified himself as Stephen, said: “If you know this man, you will never believe he is dead. This is the same man who ‘died’ and came back to life. Nobody who was in this church then will ever believe the rumour that he is dead. If he came around then, he will come around again.” Sunday service without Ajanaku This optimism was evident at the church’s service last Sunday. The service held with members apparently defiant to the noise surrounding their spiritual head’s death. The worship session was as lively as before. The choir dished out melodious songs, which the congregation received with much gaiety. But the atmosphere became tense when Ajanaku’s wife, Joy, mounted the pulpit to preach. Members, who had steeled their emotions, wondered what ‘mummy’ as she is called will have to say to the raging controversy over her husband’s death. Many of them who had attempted to visit the 15, Folarin Williams Close, Ikola Odunsi, residence of their leader had been turned back with the assurance that all was well. Only very few trusted elders and members were granted access to the Oasislike apartment. So, for them, whatever ‘mummy’ said would be their closest opportunity to hear from the horse’s mouth. Joy, who has two kids for Ajanaku, did not disappoint them. She put up a radiant look, telling the congregation ‘daddy’ sent them his greetings. The church erupted with joy. Members clapped and the singers raised their performance to a crescendo. Once pacified, Joy settled down to preach her sermon. She chose to preach without a theme or topic. First, she talked about the importance of accepting the will of God. This, she said, is because death can come at any time. Then, she launched into a really foul mood. Many, she claimed, were fond of mocking God’s servants. This attitude, according to her, must stop to avert divine wrath. Mrs. Ajanaku argued that God’s servants are not immune from challenges of life but must never be mocked during their trying moments. Her comments further confirmed to members that their revered leader might still be alive. Attempts by our correspondent to speak with church members on the issue were stoutly rebuffed. They maintained a troubling silence, becoming hostile upon further enquiries. But a few of them were as confused as the public. They spoke in whispers, maintaining their leader was not dead but probably sick. Life on the sick bed That the prophet is sick is not hard for his members to believe. Eight weeks before his rumoured death, Ajanaku’s absence from the church became noticeable. He was reportedly indisposed, members gathered. Investigations revealed that the flamboyant preacher went down under severe skin

Life Extra

pigmentation allegedly caused by excessive bleaching. His condition was so bad that he missed the church’s anniversary celebrated on July 16. That he could miss such a landmark occasion confirmed to them that all was not definitely well. It was also gathered all attempts to secure medical treatment for the ailment failed. Unconfirmed reports said he was taken to his hometown for traditional treatment before he reportedly died. While on the sick bed, members were told Ajanaku travelled abroad for ministrations. Only few elders knew he was under the weather. Despite their suspicions, they were left with no choice than to believe. Ajanaku, a close aide said, was in serious pains with his skin peeling. There were also blood stains all over his body, the aide added. It was learnt that excessive use of bleaching creams complicated the skin condition. Tortuous walk to priesthood All of these were kept under wraps, far away from the prying eyes of neighbours and members. Ajanaku, investigations revealed, was a bus conductor and vulcaniser until his sudden rise to wealth and prominence less than a decade ago. Those who knew him in Ikosi-Odunsi in Agbado / Oke-Ode Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) recalled he was a conductor to a popular commercial driver in the neighbourhood. He had left his hometown where he was labeled mysterious by his peers. It was gathered the flamboyant preacher was dreaded in Gbongan back then because he was believed to have supernatural powers. A born Muslim, he converted to Christianity as soon as he came to Lagos. When he relocated to Lagos, Ajanaku engaged in several menial jobs. He also learnt auto mechanic and vulcanising. He became a bus conductor to raise

enough capital to commence work as an artisan. “I remember he was a vulcaniser at a bus stop close here in those days,” Mr. Dare Ogunbayo, a resident confided. “But suddenly, he closed down the shop and took off. We never saw him again until he emerged about seven years ago as a church owner,” he added. Investigations revealed that Ajanaku’s attempt to attend Bible school never succeeded. This was largely because he never had any formal education. He was reportedly turned back at the World of Faith Bible Institute (WOBFI) where he sought admission. Sources close to him said he decided to plunge headlong into ministry despite his educational disadvantages. “He just felt he could still make it, after all he was a prophet and people will always consult him to hear from God,” a source close to him said. This educational deficiency remained a big torn in the flesh of Ajanaku. He operated more or less like an emperor, leading the church with a mixture of love and fear. Members had to kneel to talk to him. This, it was learnt, was because he convinced them he is a servant in direct contact with God. Members who spoke with our correspondent balked at the idea that he could be wrong or falter. “My daddy cannot do any of such things. He is a man of God,” a worker with the Sound Engineering Unit stated. Even resident related with him with strict caution. They said he remained an enigma who could blow from hot to cold. “Sometimes he could be nice and other times he would just snub everyone,” a landlord that sought anonymity stated. Ajanaku also used to go about in a convoy of exotic vehicles. Residents said many of them used to take cover whenever his convoy emerged, to avert being knocked down. His

63

love for exotic cars was never in doubt. In an interview with a soft sell magazines, he said: “A lot of people who know me believe I don’t have a life and I am mysterious. That is why I decided I would also have a hobby which is my love for exotic cars. “I did that purposely so that everyone will be convinced I also have good taste like every other person. The kind of nature I have doesn’t value anything. So my love for cars is intentional. It is not a crime to drive exotic cars.” Unfinished battles with Tope Alabi But it was his celebrated relationship with award-winning gospel singer, Tope Alabi, that bought Ajanaku to the limelight. Alabi practically boot-licked the preacher, unabashedly rolling before him in several public outings as her spiritual father. She even composed many popular songs in his honour, describing God as the “God of Ajanaku”. She loved to call him “my angel”. Alabi, it was learnt, was introduced to the preacher by her mother during her trying periods. Series of prayers from the prophet changed Alabi’s fortunes, launching her into international limelight and accolades. She became the worship leader, drawing several fans to the Ipaja Lagos church. With Alabi’s songs and Ajanaku’s powerful prophetic ministrations, the church became a Mecca of a sort in the neighbourhood every week. The duo, it was learnt, smiled to the banks. All these ended sometimes early this year when the talented singer suddenly stopped attending the church. The 13-year-old relationship had turned sour. Ajanaku told the church: “For 12 solid years, I fathered Tope Alabi spiritually and she sang about me and my God not because I ever asked her to do so. She was Toyin when I met her, I rechristened her Tope because that was the name my God ordained for her. “Her travails disappeared because my God is true and faithful. She became almost an instant star flying local and international for shows. And I blessed God for who He is. So, Tope wasn’t advertising me, she was dazzled by the God of Ajanaku that raised her from travails to many triumphs.” Investigations revealed the reluctance of Alabi to attend every Sunday service in preference for commercial shows and outings was behind their parting ways. Ajanaku confirmed this much: “Tope Alabi feared the God I serve and she had great respect for Him, but her problem is that she doesn’t listen to sermons that should keep the power working for her continually. As much as Tope Alabi praises the God of Elijah Iretiola Ajanaku, it has never positively affected my ministry. “Hard as it may sound to you, Tope has never thought of ever appreciating me with her substance. Let people ask if she’d ever thought ‘let me give my pastor N100, 000 to buy foodstuffs. Is it good for someone of Tope’s pedigree to leave a church and we cannot tell that this is the drum, guitar or saxophone she bought for the ministry? “You plan your shows and have the right to alter it at will, why do you include Sundays? Find a week or two in a month to attend the church service as long as you’re in Nigeria. I told her it was an order as long as she remained my daughter, but if she dares me, never will I ever give her such counsel or invite her for any function in my ministry.” When Alabi attended the 2012 cross-over service, she refused to sit in the front row like she always did. When Ajanaku requested that artistes come forward for prayers, Alabi stayed put, claiming she was tired. This, it was learnt, infuriated Ajanaku. The livid prophet anointed 18-year-old Ifemide, a new comer in the church to take over Alabi’s position, a development that reportedly irked the singer. The prophet explained his action: “She (Ifemide) had never sung before me. I didn’t even know she could sing. I just spotted her and dragged her to the pulpit and said that someone is losing her divine place today and another person is taking the place. I told the church that by the power of God, I replace someone with this girl.” Ever since then, the bubble has burst between the duo. Ajanaku went on to allege that the celebrated singer was fighting him because he refused her sexual advances. Alabi has refrained from making comments on the allegations since then. When our correspondent sought to speak with her, she was said to be away in Canada on a musical tour. Mails to her Facebook account and official emails were unanswered.

x


64

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

INSIGHT

• Umar

• Suntai

T

HE political fire that is currently raging in Taraba State may have been lighted formally on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, when Governor Danbaba Suntai, who just returned a few days earlier from his sick bed abroad, announced immediate dissolution of the state executive council, thus declaring his resolve to take back power from the Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, and other political godfathers that may come his way. But it has become obvious, from the texture of the political conflagration, that the dry logs and the oil, fueling the raging inferno, have been prepared long ago, awaiting the final lighting. So, aS soon as the yet- to-recover governor announced the dissolution of the executive council and the appointment of a new Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and two others, it was not surprising that the state political theatre caught fire. The fire also gained immediate momentum as Umar openly rejected the governor's directive, dismissing the announcement as the handiwork of a cabal, not that of the governor, desperate to hijack power for itself. He, like the state House of Assembly, therefore, insisted that the governor, who suffered head injuries in October 2012, after a Cessna light aircraft he was piloting crashed near Yola Airport and was taken to a trauma and brain injury center near New York City for treatment, should go back to the US to continue his treatment. Umar and majority of the lawmakers argued that Suntai has not recovered well enough to be entrusted with the task of governance. But Suntai and his confidants insist he has recovered well enough to regain his constitutional responsibility as the elected governor of the state. At this point, the political stalemate has become obvious, even to the most naive political observer. The battle line was finally drawn as Taraba suddenly found itself in a deep political dilemma, not certain whose orders to obey or who should be regarded as the authentic Governor of the state: the elected governor, Suntai, whose health condition is still a matter of serious debate or his erstwhile deputy and ally, Umar, who became the Acting Governor since Suntai was away in far away United States of America, receiving treatment? THE CONFUSION Although the first signs came on Monday, 26, 2013, a day after Suntai's return, when he wrote the Taraba State House of Assembly, informing the House of his return and readiness to resume work as the state governor, the dilemma became manifest as soon as the disagreement of two principal officers of the House, Hon. Haruna Tsokwa and Hon. Joseph Albaso, over the political development, blew open. Tsokwa, the Speaker of the House, after taking a critical look at the governor, had resisted the demand to return power to him. According to Tsokwa, Umar should continue to act as Governor until the house deliberate on the letter and become convinced that the governor had recovered. But Albaso, the Majority Leader of the House, said the governor had fulfilled the constitutional requirement, which, according to him, was to notify the House of his return and readiness to resume work. Since then, the nation has been burdened with

The battle for

TARABA Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, locates the current power battle between Governor Danbaba Suntai and Acting Governor Garba Umar within the context of the explosive Taraba State politics, exploring possible options to douse the fire

the puzzle of who is right? The matter came to a controversial end on Friday, when National Assembly members from Taraba threw their weight behind the state Assembly, insisting that Suntai is not yet fit to govern the state and as such, he should go back to US to continue his treatment, while Umar should continue to serve as Acting Governor. But it seems this firm position of the lawmakers has not settled the dust. This is because some questions that have arisen from the political crisis remain unanswered. For example, observers, taking into consideration similar scenerio that played out at the federal level, when the late President Umar Musa Yar'Adua was critically ill, are worried that, as was the case then, the implications for the state and country's political future may be threatened, except the matter is handled wisely. There is still disagreement if the Taraba case has so far been handled wisely by the major officers concerned. For example, there is argument as to if the Governor has the right to go on vacation or sick leave for as long as it takes him to recover, or if there is a limited period of time he must not exceed? All that section 189 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) said is: (1) The Governor or Deputy Governor of a State shall cease to hold office if (a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the executive council of the State, it is declared that the Governor or Deputy Governor is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and (b) the declaration in paragraph (a) of this subsection is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to the Speaker of the House of Assembly." Today, legal luminaries are still airing defferent views on how the dilemma leaves Taraba in view of the constitutional provisions. Observers are also wondering if the Assembly has power to declare Suntai medically unfit when they are not doctors or the panel of medical

examiners required by the constitution? Former Minister of Justice and AttorneyGeneral of the Federation, Chief Richard Akinjide is one of the legal luminaries that commented on this aspect of the confusion during the week. According to him, "The constitution is clear on cases like this. - there should be expert report. They can't resolve the crisis without it. The onus falls on medical report." This implies that political considerations, which have so far guided most of the decisions so far taken by the actors may not suffice. It also suggests that the matter is yet to be over and may soon move to medical theatres. That political reasons have dominated the debates so far shows also that what is playing out in the north-east state of Taraba cannot be fully appreciated without a grasp of the political realities that informed the actions of the major actors THE POLITICS OF TARABA One of the major questions that has been asked since the political crisis in Taraba peaked is whether it was proper for Suntai to dissolve the executive at the time he did? There are issues also on the actions of the Acting Governor so far? Our investigation shows that these major actors are acting out scripts informed by the political history of the state and the camp they currently belong to. Taraba is a strictly polarised state, politically. When Suntai emerged as a Governor, it was with the full support and sponsorship of former Governor Jolly Nyame, a fellow Christian. But there was an allegation that the agreement between Nyame and Suntai was that Suntai would not seek re-election. When he eventually did, he, in collaboration with some powerful political forces, including Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan, had to edge out Nyame. Today, both Nyame and Alhassan, are no longer in the same camp with Suntai as Alhassan has reportedly become one of the major opponents of Suntai within Taraba PDP. Other powerful senators, like Abubakar

Umar Tutare, are also alleged to have been looking for a way of paying back Suntai, whom he once accused of trying to stop his senatorial ambition. So, politically, Suntai operated under a well divided political party. This was well demonstrated when Umar was to be sworn in as Acting Governor. Then, he was still seen as Suntai's ally and opponents allegedly hatched a plot to prevent his swearing in as Acting Governor when the governor got involved in the plane crash. Today, Umar is the major political opponent of Suntai. Besides this, the politics of Taraba State has been polluted by religious divide. With Christians forming the majority in the state, and the two civilian elected Governors, Nyame and Suntai, all Christians, Muslims are highly agitated and there have been claims of marginalisation. "When Suntai had the plane crash, some elements in the state, who obviously wanted to perpetuate hatred claimed it was Muslim fundamentalists that planned the accident. This will show you the extent people can go here to mix up religion and politics," said Jamui Hassan, a resident in Yola. Hassan told The Nation yesterday that Muslims see Umar as the opportunity of the Muslims to also produce governor of the state. Such circumstances had also led to the emergence a Christian governor in a northern state that has Muslim majority and have always had Muslim governors. According to Hassan, it is this sentiment that has garnered support for Umar. Besides religion and PDP intrigues, ethnicity seems to be also contributing to increasing sentiment against Suntai. In the state, which has nine big ethnic groups, only two, Mumuye and Chamba have produced elected governors, in the persons of Nyame, a Mumuye and Suntai, a Chamba. Allegations against Suntai, according to sources, is that he is planning to instal another Mumuye as his successor. OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR SETTLEMENT To resolve the political dilemma in the state, experts and observers have suggested several options. They include impeachment, state of emergency, doctrine of necessity, among others. Although there are allegations of each camp planning to initiate impeachment proceedings for either Suntai or Umar, it seems most experts say Suntai can only be stopped if a medical report confirms him unfit and he is subsequently impeached. If this option proved difficult because of the complications arising from the political intrigues, some observers are already suggesting a repeat of the implementation of the Doctrine of Necessity, which the National Assembly used to save the nation at the peak of the late Yar'Adua's sick saga. Aside these, peace lovers are already urging President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP to intervene and resolve the matter. At the weekend, Jonathan and the party reportedly agreed to step in. If their peace efforts fail, security experts, who spoke to The Nation yesterday, said state of emergency would be needed to save the state and the country, taking into consideration the current security crisis in the north-east zone. More stories on page 65 & 70


INSIGHT 65

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1. 2013

From Yar'Adua to Suntai Deputy Editor, Olayinka Oyegbile, writes on the link between the Taraba crisis and the late Yar’Adua’s sick drama, wondering why we must allow a repeat. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac - Henry Kissinger

H How Suntai can bounce back, by medical expert

T

HIS man is so severely, mentally incapacitated that he may just have become a child all over again. Learnt he was taciturn even before his accident. He is just lucky to be alive. He needs to have serious Nigerian Medical staff to manage his occupational therapy; Reason being that the brain is such a wonderful organ that can be manipulated to do what we want. The essence of having Nigerian staff is that they will re-orientate him to the environment he is familiar with. I bet if I was the one working with him, I would have been showing him all the pictures of those assembly members, such that he would have fooled them when he came home. I will talk to him and make him learn or rather practise being a governor again. It is a lot of hard work, but it's worth it. Watching those useless movies from Nollywood will not be a bad idea either. It will trigger his memory since we are manipulating nature to do what has been lost to the dead brain cells from the accident. It takes only 3-6 minutes for brain cells to die without adequate perfusion. He was at

By Mary Wilson the accident scene for a while, more than two hours before he was evacuated to Yola and then Abuja. He must have lost a lot of neural cells. Did you see the front of his head, cranium? You will see that laterally, he had a half moon incision. I am sure that was where they opened up his head for craniotomy to manage his swelling brain. Otherwise, since the cranium is some bony cage, if there is no outlet for a swelling brain, it will get to a point that the cranium will be too small for it and the patient will just expire. That is the essence of craniotomy. Craniotomy plus Mannitol will do the trick. His recovery will drag out if he continues to use Oyibo occupational therapists. The reason is that they do not know his environment, his culture and traditions. Therefore, they will manage him based on their own environment. I wish medical experts can talk to the wife, but they are going to be her enemy in her warped mind for telling the truth.

ISTORY, that veritable subject, which those who draw our school curriculum have decided to chuck out of our school system, is about to repeat itself, this time around in Taraba State. Why is it that Nigeria is a country in which those in power decide to cling to it no matter what assails them? The drama going on in Taraba is too soon for anyone not to have learnt any lesson. Was it not in this country a few years back that we had a president who was so sick that it would have been better for him to abdicate power and attend to his health than cling on to it to his own peril? It was clear that the late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua was no longer able to have any control over his health. However, those close to him and who profit from his ill health were determined not to allow their "pot of soup", if you excuse that term, to go. They knew that if he was not there they would never be able to feather their nests because a new person would come with his new friends, hangers on and favourites. At the end of the day, they ferried the man back home under the cover of darkness and were determined to hole him up there until God said it was all over. Now, because we failed to learn from history the same thing is playing itself out in Taraba State. Why are those surrounding Governor Danbaba Suntai bent on making him go through the stress of administering a state when it is crystal clear that he has no state of mind to do so? Is it not a case of them not wanting their "pot of soup" taken away from them because power is like a revolving door, you are either in or out. You can never be in-between. THE POWER BEHIND Women are known to be powers behind the throne and in this ugly and macabre dance in Taraba, what role is Hauwa, the wife of the governor playing? Is it not good for her to have sought guidance and knowledge from Mrs Turai Yar'Adua? Would the former First Lady not have been of good assistance to her to let her know that there is abundant life after power? I am sure she would have given her the benefit of her own

hindsight to let her know that those who are trying to wail more than her do not love her husband more than her. They are only interested in their own selfish gains. I am still trying to fathom what Mrs Suntai thinks she is going to gain by allowing herself to join the band of those fair weather friends who corralled her to agree to bring her frail husband home when in actual fact it is clear that he cannot, at least under his present state of health, withstand the rigours his office demands. Or is there anything the court jesters are trying to let us know? Is it that occupying an office in Nigeria does not in any way demand any stress or effort? Why are people always afraid to leave the corridors of power? Years ago in Cameroun, former President Ahmadu Ahidjo gave up power when he was advised by a team of doctors that he could no longer cope with the strain. The same thing happened a few years back when the fiery Fidel Castro of Cuba ceded power to his younger brother. Today, Castro is still alive and his brother is presiding over the affairs of the country. Ahidjo lived for several years before he died. So, why are the jesters surrounding Suntai trying to force a man who is clearly under lots of personal trauma cling unto power till he drops dead?

• Hauwa Suntai

Continued on page 70

WHAT 1999 CONSTITUTION SAYS Permanent incapacity of Governor or Deputy Governor SECTION 189: (1) The Governor of Deputy Governor of a State shall cease to hold office if – (a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the executive council of the State, it is declared that the Governor or Deputy Governor is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and (b)

the declaration in paragraph (a) of this

subsection is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to the Speaker of the House of Assembly. (2) Where the medical panel certifies in its report that in its opinion the Governor or Deputy Governor is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the State. (3) The Governor or Deputy Governor shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.

(4) The medical panel to which this section relates shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the State, and shall comprise five medical practitioners in Nigeria – (a) one of whom shall be the personal physician of the holder of the office concerned; and (b)

four other medical practitioners who have, in the opinion of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, attained a high degree of eminence in the field of medicine relative to the nature of the examination to be conducted in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section.

(5) In this section, the reference to “executive council of the State” is a

reference to the body of Commissioners of the Government of the State, howsoever called, established by the Governor and charged with such responsibilities for the functions of Government as the Governor may direct.

Acting Governor during temporarys absence of Governor SECTION 190: Whenever the Governor transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Deputy Governor as Acting Governor.


66

THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Etcetera

SUNNY SIDE

Cartoons

By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE

deewalebf@yahoo.com 08060343214 (SMS only)

A twenty-first century guide •Complementary edition

OH, LIFE!

THE GReggs

The boss sir, I’m from BYS. How can I get more of your Twenty-first century guide? +2348185574*** TO start with, pay attention to your mistakes and learn from them. Life is not about what happens to you; it’s about how you perceive what happens to you. Since your relationships reflect your fears and limits, you need to constantly be yourself and not someone else. To be truly loved, be more concerned with your character than your reputation because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think of you. Note that society reflects what you should see and not what you would like to see. But never allow yourself to be made a victim. Define yourself. To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you can mean the world. If you accept responsibility as the price of greatness, you need not revel in criticism for its sake. Anyone can condemn and complain, but it takes the truly perceptive to see through the self-righteousness. When you give up the truth to slight someone or please another, no one eventually wins. Overcome your weaknesses by the minute and you begin to accumulate precious nuggets of wisdom by the day. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything. Why should anyone give you what you won’t allow? Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person. Haven’t you noticed that one who understands much assumes a greater simplicity of character than another who understands little? Do, as they say, what you can with what you have wherever you find yourself. When you succeed, though, know that the biggest challenge is resisting the urge to show off afterwards. Acknowledge the contribution of others, and listen to them. You’ll learn much by listening carefully to what is being said around you. Beyond the sound produced, voices betray the emotions that attend statements. It is necessary, then, to look long at what provides pleasure, and longer still at what prompts pain. Great minds in history encountered immense opposition from the mediocre and you would be no different on the journey to self-development. Seek wisdom, for it clearly rhymes with nature. It may be easier to be wise for others than yourself, as you probably know, but greater wisdom lies in knowing what to admit and what to reject. And the more you know, the more you forgive. Still, the more you find out, the less you know. Prepare, for all that you cannot change or control. Ultimately, wisdom can be acquired by cultivating silence, learning to listen, sharpening the memory, practicing what you preach and sharing knowledge. Experience may teach best, but no man learns faster from personal experience nor is any made wiser by chance. As you learn from the mistakes of others and associate with the wise, the wiser you become. Truly rich in wisdom is he that appreciates the wealth in ordinary things around him – at home, work and play, and with neighbours, family and friends. And the truest wisdom of all is a loving heart – remedy for crime and other ailments of the mind.

Readers’ Response For sale: GEJ 2.0

CHEEK BY JOWL

Hello, Olubanwo. I’m not proficient in IT, but obviously ‘GEJ 2.0’ will be virusfilled like its previous model. It will be difficult to access, all the buttons are wrongly tagged, there is a deficiency on its random access memory leading to constant switching off of the CPU, thereby what you have is gabbage-in-gabbageout. Its floppy discs “okpe and and abti” constantly malfunction, same for its CD Rom “gulak”. It’s shocking why the manufacturer “peedeepee” refuses to acknowledge that this system is a failure. Suffice it to say that it is economically wise to try another manufacturer “apc” and discard a system that is now proven to be obsolete. Please plug in back your adaptor, let us check samples of the new manufacturer. Lag/edo/Ek/osun/oyo/ogun. Fola +2348029578*** Hello, Olubanwo. I just read your piece, ‘For sale: GEJ 2.0’ in The Nation now and thought to send you a commendation. Marvellous use of intellect. Do keep it up. Dotun, Lagos +2348034345*** Ole! Ole! Glad you have thrown your cap into the 2015 ring, with such glee and calculated abandon. Will follow your trail at the fantasy and vanity fair. And thank you for bringing the issue of mass literacy to the forefront again. Of course, I automatically switch to BEWARE mode when buying from you. Have a great week! Fola +2347056128***

Jokes Humour Sweet Nothing A COUPLE met online. After dating a long time, the woman introduced her man to her uncle, who was fascinated by the fact that they met over the Internet. He asked Terry, the man, what kind of line he had used to pick his niece up. Ever the geek, Terry said, “I just used a modem.” Water World A MAN was working at an amusement park when a couple stopped him. “Excuse me,” said the woman, pointing to a pond. “What is that water made out of?” Bemused, the worker replied, “Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.” “See?” the woman said to her boyfriend. “I told you it wasn’t real.” Band Members ON Samuel’s eighth birthday, his father took him to the parade. Midway through, an Army band played and Samuel studied them intently. “Why the interest in the band?” his father asked.

“I’m checking to see if Joe and Benjamin from our street are in it. They’re soldiers.” “But they’re fighting in Mali.” “If I were in an Army marching band, I’d say I was in Mali too.” For the Mrs. EVEN though a storm raged outside, Pombe made the half-kilometre walk to the bakery, where he asked the owner for six loaves. “Your wife must like fresh bread,” he said. “How do you know these are for my wife?” Pombe asked. “Because your mother wouldn’t send you out in weather like this.” Twitter Addiction A MAN tells his doctor, “Doc, help me. I’m addicted to Twitter!” Bemused, the doctor says, “Sorry, I don’t follow you …”

QUOTE

A hundred men together are the hundredth part of a man. —Antonio Porchia •Adapted from the Internet

S

TOPPING Writer ’s Fountain COMMON More examples: ERRORS: It’s best to avoid having “Hey, Matt, take that left and we can come unnecessary details that just clutter up your at them from the other side.” Greg’s hands prose. Don’t have body parts doing disembodied indicated an alleyway off to the left. Matt things. Don’t have renegade body parts acting turned the vehicle and took off down the alley. Instead: independently of the rest of the body. For “Hey, Matt, take that left and we can come instance, “His hand reached for the cup of at them from the other side.” Greg pointed to coffee.” That feels weird, like the hand detached an alleyway off to the left. Matt turned the itself from his body or just decided to act on vehicle and took off down the alley. And you don’t need to say that someone’s its own. Better: “He reached for the cup of coffee.” hand or finger pointed in a direction – what else do people normally point with? So, “She Historical turns: pointed at the car.” •Fourteen years before the Titanic sank, And don’t have eyes performing novelist Morgan Robertson published a impossible actions with oddly phrased novel called “Futility”. The story was about sentences to express how someone is looking an ocean liner that struck an iceberg on an at someone else. Examples: April night. The name of the ship in his “His eyes bounced back and forth between novel was The Titan. them.” •For every memorial statue with a person “Her eyes shot daggers at him.” on a horse, if the horse has both front legs “She dropped her eyes to the floor.” in the air, the person died in battle; if the “Her eyes clung to his.” horse has one front leg in the air, the person “He devoured her with his eyes.” died of battle wounds; if all four of the “Her eyes darted across the room.” horse’s legs are on the ground, the person “His eyes followed her across the room.” died of natural causes. “Her eyes fell to her lap.”


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013 CHANGE OF NAME ASABA I formerly known and addressed as Miss Oluwakemi Victoria Asaba, now wish to be known as Mrs. Oluwakemi Victoria Ben-Yoro. All former documents remain valid. AB Micro-Finance Bank Nigeria Limited and general public please take note.

FAWOYE I formerly known and addressed as Fawoye, Olusola Emmanuel, now wish to be known as Ayodele, Olusola Emmanuel. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

UGBAJA

67

CHANGE CHANGE OF OF NAME NAME

CHANGE OF NAME

CHANGE OF NAME

CHANGE OF NAME

OPEYEMI

UDENSI I formerly known and addressed as Obioma Udensi, now wish to be known as Obioma Prince Ibegbu . All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OGUNRINLU

ACHIONYE

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Opeyemi Toyin Oluwayomi, now wish to be known as Mrs. Omolewa Toyin Oluwayomi. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Broadcasting Service and general public please take note.

IGE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ige Bolanle Temitope, now wish to be known as Mrs. Oluboyede Bolanle Temitope. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OHAKA

I, formerly known and addressed as PAMELA CHIOMA UGBAJA, now wish to be known and addressed as PAMELA CHIOMA AKINBOBOYE. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public should please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Monica Chinyere Ohaka, now wish to be known as Mrs. Monica Chinyere Opute. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

EMUOBOME

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ofonime Samuel Adolf, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ofonime Moses Akpan. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Enoho Lilian Emuobome, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Imaku Enoho Lily. All former documents remain valid. Auchipoly, NYSC and general public should please take note.

APAOKUEZE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Blessing Ngozi Apaokueze, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Blessing Ngozi Jacob Ayemere. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

OLETU

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Oletu Eloho Edith, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Obada, Eloho Edith. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

DAVIES

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Davies, Muyibat Abolore, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Badmus Muyibat Abolore. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

OMEZERE

ADOLF

OGUNJOBI I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogunjobi, Taiwo Tunrayo, now wish to be known as Mrs. Onatolu, Taiwo Tunrayo. All former documents remain valid. UNILAG and general public please take note.

UMARU I formerly known and addressed as Miss Linda Umaru, now wish to be known as Miss Fatimah L Umaru. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OKPARA I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ijeoma Genevieve Okpara, now wish to be known as Mrs. Okorie-Chidi, Ijeoma Genevieve. All former documents remain valid. Abia State University, Uturu, NYSC and general public please take note.

ADEREMI

I, formerly known and addressed as Omezere Godian Odife, now wish to be known and addressed as Aliocus Godian Odife. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ekundayo Abosede Aderemi, now wish to be known as Mrs. Sawyerr Abiola Abosede Aderemi. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Faith Eghe Izedonmi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Faith Eghe Elebhose. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Raji, Habeebat Funmilayo, now wish to be known as Mrs. Adeleke, Habeebat Funmilayo. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

IZEDONMI

NDUKA

I, formerly known and addressed as Chikaodili Anna Nduka, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Chikaodili Anna Okah. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public should please take note.

OGBATA

I, formerly known and addressed as Ogbata Petronilla Ogbonne, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Petronilla Paul Ogbonne Okoroji. All former documents remain valid. FUTO Community APWEN, PIN, GTBank and general public should please take note.

OLUWADARE

RAJI

AJEWOLE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ajewole, Anike Victoria, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ogbuke, Anike Victoria. All former documents remain valid. Hospital Mangement Board, Ado-Ekiti, and general public please take note.

OLUTAYO I formerly known and addressed as Miss Olutayo Funmilola Motayo, now wish to be known as Mrs. Eyinade Funmilola Motayo. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

MADUAKOLAM

DASO I formerly known and addressed as Miss Christianah Adenike Daso, now wish to be known as Mrs. Christianah Adenike Akinbolaji. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

ISIJOLA

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Isijola Omowumi Oluwakemi, now wish to be known as Mrs. Olugbenga Omowumi Oluwakemi. All former documents remain valid. Local government Service Commission, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and general public please take note.

OSEWA I formerly known and addressed as Miss Osewa, Taye Rachael, now wish to be known as Mrs. Adewoye, Taye Rachael Funmilola. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

CLARK I formerly known and addressed as Grace Edewede Clark, now wish to be known as Grace Edewede Emmanuel Essien. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OJO I formerly known and addressed as Miss Caroline Olanike Ojo, now wish to be known as Mrs. Caroline Olanike Akinwale. All former documents remain valid. Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Lagos Branch and general public please take note.

SALAMI

NWAGBARA I formerly known and addressed as Miss Nwagbara Uchechi Edith, now wish to be known as Mrs. LukaSamson Uche Edith. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OLUWABAMIGBE

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogunrinde Bolanle Amudat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olumide-Oloye Bolanle Amudat. All former documents remain valid. Federal Medical Centre, Owo and general public should please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ibrahim Salamotu, now wish to be known as Mrs. Abdullahi I Salamotu. All former documents remain valid. Federal Polytechnic, Idah and general public please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adedeji Adenike Bose, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. AdedejiMuyibiyi Adenike Bose. All former documents remain valid. Government Hospitals, Nursing Institutions and general public should please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as County Uyakemiegbegha Edmund Biriomoni, now wish to be known as Joseph Uyakemiegbegha Edmund. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Nkiru Edith Amalu, now wish to be known as Mrs. Nkiru Edith Ezikeuke. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

AROJOJOYE

AKPAN

ADEDEJI

AKUBUO

I, formerly known and addressed as Akubuo Chibuzo Lynda, now wish to be known and addressed as Akubuo Chibuzo Harsha. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

DAWODU

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Kehinde Adeyemi Dawodu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kehinde Adeyemi Jinadu. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

OGUNTOYINBO

I, formerly known and addressed as Oguntoyinbo Adiat Omowunmi Grace, now wish to be known and addressed as Lasisi Grace Omowunmi. All former documents remain valid. Sacred Heart Hospital, Lantoro, Abeokuta, Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo Campus and general public should please take note.

UYAKEMIEGBEGHA

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Arojojoye Olamide Bilikisu, now wish to be known as Mrs. Adebogun Olamide Bilikisu. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

UWAEZUOKE I formerly known and addressed as Miss Uwaezuoke Juliet Chinenye, now wish to be known as Mrs. Juliet Chinenye Nekes. All former documents remain valid. Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri(UNDTH) and general public please take note.

OGUNTIMEHIN I formerly known and addressed as Miss Oguntimehin Florence Omowunmi, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ajala, Florence Omowunmi. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and general public please take note.

LAWAL

IBEKWE

I formerly known and addressed as Miss. BLESSING ALPHONSUS UDOH now wish to be known as Mrs. BLESSING VICTOR INEM. All former documents remain valid general public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as MISS AISHATU IYABO LAWAL, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS AISHA IYABO. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note.

EFADA

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS SANDRA EFADA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. SANDRA IYAH. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

OMOGBOR

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS RUTH ONORIODE OMOGBOR, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. RUTH ONORIODE AKINGBADE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

CHIDUME I, formerly known and addressed as MISS CHIDUME CHIDIMMA BEATRICE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ODINIKA CHIDIMMA BEATRICE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

ONYENU

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Salami Khadijah Bolanle, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ibuowo Khadijah Bolanle. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Oluwagbamigbe Eunice Moyosola, now wish to be known as Mrs. Abolarin Eunice Moyosola. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Community and social Development Agency and general public please take note.

JOHN I formerly known and addressed as John Anwulidiunor, now wish to be known as Anwulidiunor. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

AMALU

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Glory Francis Akpan, now wish to be known as Mrs. Glory Aleruchi Ikegwuru. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

TAIWO I formerly known and addressed as Miss Bankole Christianah Taiwo, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ogunbi Christianah Taiwo. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

UWAOMA I,formerly known as Deaconess Promise Uloma Uwaoma now wish to be known and addressed as Deaconess Chaplain Precious Uloma Uwaoma. All former documents remains valid. The Apostolic Church United Nigerian Chaplaincy Healing Cross Hospital & general public should please take note.

JOSEPH I formerly known and addressed as Miss. BLESSING JOSEPH now wish to be known as Mrs. BLESSING ABRAHAM AKENJI all former documents remain valid general public please take note.

ADEDEJI I formerly known and addressed as Yewande Adebola Adedeji, now wish to be known as Yewande Adebola Idowu. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

AYEDUN

CHIHOKA

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Chihoka Christencia Chineto, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Maduabuchukwu Christencia Chineto. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I , formerly known and addressed as MISS. AYEDUN VICTORIA AGATHA, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. ISIJOLA VICTORIA IBIRONKE. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Ogunjide Kamoli Ajani, now wish to be known as Abdul-Ahmeed Kamaldeen Ajani. All former documents remain valid. Federal Polytechnic, Ede and general public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Chigozie Maduakolam, now wish to be known as Mrs. Chigozie Gloria Ofordeme. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

IBRAHIM

OGUNRINLU

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. ACHIONYE PRISCA CHINWENDU, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. PRISCA MARTINS. All former documents remain valid. Guarantee trust bank and general public please take note.

I formerly known and addressed as MISS OGUNRINLU ENITAN TAIWO, now wish to be known and addressed as MISS SHOKOYA ENITAN TAIWO . All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note.

CONFIRMATION OF NAME This is to notify the general public that OSUAGWU ULUMMA GLORY and MRS IWUDIBIA ULUMMA GLORY is one and the same person now and wish to be known and addressed as MRS IWUCHUKWU ULUMMA GLORY. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

OGUNJIDE

I, formerly known and addressed as Oluwadare Kehinde Bolajoko Asabi, now wish to be known and addressed as Olojo Tanitoluwa Ibukunoluwa Victoria. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

OGUNRINDE

I formerly known and addressed as MISS OGUNRINLU ENIOLA KEHINDE, now wish to be known and addressed as MISS SHOKOYA ENIOLA KEHINDE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note.

CHANGE OF NAME

I formerly known and addressed as Onyenu Debora, now wish to be known as Onyena Debra N.. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OGUNJIDE I formerly known and addressed as Ogunjide Kamoli Ajani, now wish to be known as Abdul-Ahmeed Kamaldeen Ajani. All former documents remain valid. Federal Polytechnic, Ede and general public please take note.

MOHAMODU I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Mohamodu Attah Husseina now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Abdullahi Husseina all former documents remain valid. General Public please take note.

UDOEMA I, formerly known and addressed as UDOEMA Aniefon now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Aniefon Sunday Offia. all former documents remain valid. General Public please take note.

AKUNNA

I,formerly known and addressed as MISS AKUNNA ONUMARA now wish to be addressed as MRS. AKUNNA IKECHUKWU AGAM. All former documents remain valid. The general public please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS. IBEKWE VIVIAN NZUBECHUKWU, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. ANYACHUKWU VIVIAN NZUBECHUKWU. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, MADUKA-ANICHE, OLUCHI PRISCA, ANICHE, OLUCHI PRISCA and MADUKA, OLUCHI PRISCA refers to one and the same person, now wish to be known and addressed as MADUKA-ANICHE, OLUCHI PRISCA. All former documents remain valid. Imo State University and general public please take note.

ACHIONYE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Orunto Sekinat Idowu, now wish to be known and addressed as Akinbi Sekinat Adunni. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OYEBANJI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Oyebanji Efunwande Coker, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oyebanji Coker Turawa. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

NWAKUSOR I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Nwakusor Caroline Gikanwa, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Odogwu Caroline Gikanwa. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, Gregory Abiodun Akinboyewa is the same as Gregory Abiodun Akinboye. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

AROGUBDADE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Arogundade Ajoke Abiodun, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Odumosu Ajoke Abiodun. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

ONYEMACHI I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Onyemachi Caroline Uzoma A., now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Egbune Caroline Uzoma .A. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

ETENG I, formerly known and addressed as Eteng Tebe Dennis, now wish to be known and addressed as Eshiokwu Tebe. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

NWAKAEGO I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Nsidinanya Celestina Nwakaego, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nbamah Celestina Nwakaego. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Railway,ANAN and general public please take note.

NZEKWE

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS ELIZABETH .M. NZEKWE now wish to be addressed as MRS. ELIZABETH .M. ANABE. All former documents remain valid. The general public please take note.

OKORO I,formerly known as Miss Okoro Lovina Kalu now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. John Lovina Okeke, all former documents remains valid. General public should please take note.

EJIEKE I, formerly known as Miss Ejieke Nnenna now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Chukwuemeka Nnenna Precious, all former documents remains valid.LGSC, Umuahia & general public should please take note.

ADEKOYA I, formerly known and addressed as Olalekan Sunday Adekoya, now wish to be known and addressed as Nureni Alli. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

AJANAKU I, formerly known and addressed as Miaa Ajanaku Peace Bose, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Abifarin Peace Bose. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

ALAEZE I, formerly known and addressed as Alaeze Precious Comfort Uchenna, now wish to be known and addressed as Precious Akinnaya Chima-Emenyonu. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

DOSU I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Dosu Hannah Oluwafisayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oloruntoba Hannah Oluwafisayo. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

UDEH I, formerly known and addressed as MISS UDEH CHRISTIANA CHIZOBA now wish to be known and addressed as MRS AGBO CHRISTIANA CHIZOBA. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

ORJI I, formerly known and addressed as ORJI MMADUABUCHI OKORO now wish to be known and addressed as OKORO MMADUABUCHI GODWIN. All former documents remain valid. College of Medicine UNN and the general public take note.

UDOH

ODILI

I formerly known and addressed as Miss. ODILI JULIAN NDIDI now wish to be known as Mrs. UDOH JULIAN NDIDI IFEOMA. All former documents remain valid, general public please take note.

UWALAKA I formerly known and addressed as Miss. UWALAKA JOSEPINE KELECHI, now wish to be known as Mrs. NJOKU JOSEPHINE KELECHI. All former documents remain valid general public please take note.

ETTE I formerly known and addressed as Miss. ELIZABETH CHARLIE ETTE now wish to be known as Mrs. ELIZABETH SUNNY ESSIEN, all former documents remain valid general public please take note.

FIRBERESIMA I formerly known and addressed as Miss. TITY KPENUNKPO PENINAH FIBERESIMA, now wish to be known as Mrs. KPENUNKPO PENINAH TITY NWANKPA. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

NWAEKE I formerly known and addressed as Miss. ODINAKACHI NGOZI NWAEKE, now wish to be known as Mrs. NGOZI-CHI ODINAKACHI NWOSU, all former documents remain valid general public please take note.

KINGMATE I formerly known and addressed as Engr. Miss. EREFAA KINGMATE , now wish to be known as Engr. Mrs. EREFAA JOSHUA CLIFORD ALALIBO. All former documents remain valid. NDDC and general public please take note.

ADEDIRE I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adedire Simiat Abiodun, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Animasahun Simiat Abiodun. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

OROTUSIN I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Orotusin Oyebisi Labake, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olaore Oyebisi Labake. All former documents remain valid Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and general public take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, Omobiminu Ireti and Omobiminu Ireti Emmanuel is thesame person as Omobiminu Emmanuel Ireti. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. General public take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I,Adeyina Busayo is thesame person as Adeyina Oluwabusayo Dideolu all former documents remain valid. General public take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, Oriade Wasiu is thesame person as Oriade Wasiu Ademola. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

OKWEZIME I formerly known and addressed as Okwezime Uche Mary now wish to be known as Alabi Uche Mary all former documents remain valid. Babington Ashaye & Co. and general public please take note. ADVERT: Simply produce your marriage certificate or sworn affidavit for a change of name publication, with just N4,500. The payment can be made through FIRST BANK of Nigeria Plc. Account number - 2017220392 Account Name - VINTAGE PRESS LIMITED Scan the details of your advert and teller to gbengaodejide@yahoo.com or thenation.advert@hotmail.com. For enquiry please contact: Gbenga on 08052720421, 08161675390, Email- gbengaodejide@yahoo.com or our offices nationwide. Note this! Change of name is now published every Sundays, all materials should reach us two days before publication.


68

O

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

World/Commenatry

NCE extinguished, life becomes utterly irretrievable in the normal course of events. Thus, lethal warfare is a most somber matter; yet, too often, it is the province of the arrogant and foolish who from haughtiness or incapacity cannot properly gauge the attendant danger. War entices cowardly and diffident leaders into convincing themselves they must war to disguise the character flaws that trouble them. Into one or more of these categories fall the leaders of the three western nations - America, England and France - so bent on bombing Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons. This Western trio for years has itched to sign the death warrants of the Assad regime. They no longer have to tolerate that itch. With the weapons allegation, they now rush to scratch from existence this government they long have detested. Zealots of neo-conservative geopolitics in Western capitals have plotted to topple the houses of Hussein (Iraq), Gaddafi (Libya) and Assad (Syria). Toss in those unruly Iranian Shi'as as the ultimate objective. Already two targets have fallen to western intervention based on claims that later proved worse than false; they were fraudulent. Hussein's Iraq was engulfed by massive war to rid that nation of weapons that did not exist. Its people still feel the bite of war and pinch of scarcity that war produces. The nation stands one major incident away from fully-outfitted civil war. The West intervened in Libya, allegedly compelled by the humanitarian principle of a responsibility to protect innocent civilians from their despot. The claim rang hollow when made. In hindsight, it was purely counterfeit. Western assertions that Gaddafi threatened to massacre Benghazi were fabricated pretexts to kill his regime and the man himself. The man never made the murderous exclamation. The lie justifies the vigorous bombing campaign that ensued, establishing a rather curious foreign policy tenet. The West will eagerly bomb a people to protect them from the violence of their government. The outcome of this distorted logic is to heap more pain and suffering on those who already have sampled the sour chalice. Under Gaddafi, Libyans had little freedom. They did have a semblance of social order and economy activity. Today, they have not gained freedom but have forfeited social order and economic activity as well. Western intervention has been a sad bargain for them. Theirs is now a land where political violence and economic depression are the daily fare. The West has abandoned the nation to its fractious aspects. Curiously, the responsibility to protect civilians that so provoked Western nations to chase Gaddafi into is grave seems not to endure with a sufficiency to establish a peace worthy of its name. The West used this rationale to unseat the enemy. Once the enemy is vanquished, the West blinds itself to the people's suffering. In truth, the West cares little that civilians may perish. Its interest concerns in who kills them. If the killer is a foe, the West deems the action inhumane. If committed by an ally, the killing is considered the inescapable collateral damage of governance in a dangerous neighborhood. Why this curious and strange inconsistency? The answer is simple. The ability to kill means the actor has eminent dominion over the subject people and place. The West seeks not to end killing but to rob its enemies of their lethal dominion in hopes of bestowing this power in a particular nation to those who would do the West's bidding. Instead of being a new tool promoting justice and humanitarian mercy, the principle of a responsibility to protect civilians has become a caliginous device undermining the doctrine of noninterference in the domestic affairs of other nations. The powerful now use this new doctrine to encroach against nations that offend them. They speak in the tongue of angels but the motives behind their deeds are as sullen as the excesses of a bygone era. If Assad should drown in the swell of civil war, Western arch-conservatives

Senseless about Syria Blind to consequence, the aggressor thrusts into war, unaware that he approaches the gates of hell.

•Syrian leader, Bashir al -Assad

BRIAN BROWNE

will rejoice. They will be three-quarters of the way to their dream of a politically conservative, economically pliant Middle East. Oil stocks and global shipping lanes will be secure for the near future. Israel will be also rid of an enemy. With Assad gone, only Iran remains as an obstacle. Already the rationale to crumple Iran - the nuclear specter - has been established. This neo-conservative dream refuses to die although it is so and outdated that it disserves America's imperial interests. Still, this vision influences Western foreign policy. Thus, part of America's foreign policy establishment will ally with known terrorists such as al Qaeda and its cousin, al Nusra, although these groups have been more actively opposed to America than Gaddafi's Libya or Assad's Syria. Staunch neoconservatives are so fixated on their old designs that they don't truly understand how much the world has changed. In a bid to oust these established regimes, the hard-line neo-conservatives are willing give the more radical antiwestern groups a chance to seize power in these strategic nations. Not only are the neo-cons blood hungry, their incarnadine lust cripples their capacity to think logically, endangering their interests as they rush headlong toward war. Less rabid neo-conservatives realize the danger of abetting al-Qaeda and its franchisees. President Obama, that avowed fan of the President Bush, camps with this more straight-laced conservative group. He wants Assad subdued but is wary of handing the keys to the palace Syria to extremists as he has been done in Libya. The melding of staunch and cautious neo-conservative thought has produced a most cynical policy. America does not seek the quick departure of Assad, fearing that radical elements will most profit from the void created. Thus, a policy has been fashioned to keep Syria in perpetual war, where neither side is strong enough to win nor so weak as to fold. Aside from the gold star of replacing Assad with a compliant American lackey, this "plan B" best protects Washington's interests. Far from freeing the Syrian people from violence, American policy aims to make violence a way of life in Syria as it has

become in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and the Congo. Statements of western leaders have been illuminating. Try as they can to peal the bell of humanitarian concern, their words reveal the ugliness inside hidden. British Foreign Secretary Hague proclaimed self-righteously that the world act because this was the first instance of chemical weapons use in the 21st century. Hague must do better at reading the newspaper and spend less time mesmerized by his own harangue. This is not even the first chemical attack of the year. There was an earlier attack in which dozens were killed. At that time, the West hoisted their arms in protest until the UN inspector concluded the opposition had deployed lethal sarin gas. The West quickly discounted this outrage, pressing the international media not to report it. American and its sidekicks were not truly interested in deterring the use of chemical weapons. They were more interested in finding a pretext to delve further into Syria to shift the balance of power. If genuinely upset about chemical weapons, Western nations already would have bombed themselves for committing this transgression. When white phosphorus and depleted uranium are used in certain ways during military operations, they are classified as weapons. Such use is prohibited under most reasonable interpretations of international conventions. Yet, America used them and napalm in Iraq. Israel, the nation that purported provided America the communication intercepts implicating the Syrian government in the latest incident, resorted to white phosphorus against Palestinians during the 2008-09 Gaza uprising. None in the West clamored to sanction, much less bomb, Tel Aviv. The thought of America delivering a military blow to Israel for using illegal weapons so transcends the imagination as to be laughable. Statements of American officials have been reprobate in their lack of clarity. Explaining the rush to war, President Obama maundered, "In a nation with the largest stockpile of chemical weapons, where they have been allied to known terrorist organizations in the past, where over time their control of chemical weapons may erode‌ these chemical

weapons could be directed against us. We want to make sure this does not happen." This statement is a potpourri of tortured reasoning. It will be recorded as one of Obama's lesser, most naked moments when he bared the emptiness of his character. That he could make this statement only a day after his keynote address commemorating the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. King's "Dream Speech" shows that Obama either lacks a memory or is a man with a most elastic moral composition. For him, right is not what you seek to find; it is merely what you say it to be. According to Obama's logic, Assad needs to be bombed because he is losing control over chemical stockpiles. This loss of control may soon allow terrorists to acquire use the weapons against America. This generates a few questions. If Assad has lost control over the weapons, why is America so adamant Assad directed this particular strike? If terrorists can imminently acquire these weapons and use them against America, doesn't that mean they also have the ability to use them in Syria where the weapons are based? On one hand, America alleges the opposition did not have the ability to launch this attack. On the other hand, America alleges segments of the opposition have the ability to use these weapons against America. Both statements cannot be true. Bombing Assad, will secure the chemical stockpiles. Bombing will further loosen his hold, rendering the stockpiles more vulnerable to plunder by radicals. Bombing Assad enhances the possibility of al Qaeda acquiring the weapons. In other words, American action will turn these fears into a selffulfilling prophecy. This, in turn, will allow the American military corporate condominium to further frighten the American public by claiming terrorists now hold lethal chemical weapons. This will be used as a rationale to increase security and police state tactics in America. Just wanting to be kept safe, the public will cower, dropping its inchoate concerns about internal surveillance and eavesdropping. The military/security machinery will further invade and erode American democracy, stone by stone, civil liberty by civil liberty. The American public will be as much a victim, albeit indirectly, of the bombing as the Syrian people. While America rushes headlong into the bog, England temporarily rescued itself with a touch of sanity. PM Cameron wanted to join President Obama in this martial recreation. In a stark rebuke to the rashness of their leader, Parliament ruined Cameron's war designs. The rebellion in parliament against Cameron's warmongering shows that democracy still works on occasion. The true heroes were those parliamentarians of his Tory party who placed national interests above party loyalty. English people are tired of war. After Iraq, they are wary of being dragged into a fray based on dubious, hastily drawn conclusions. Hoping to go into war with his junior partner Cameron, like the fictional heroes Batman and Robin, Obama is left to go it solo like the mythical cowboy hero, the Lone Ranger. Sure, the French want into the fray but that is a puny consolation prize. The French have a big appetite but hold a rather small cup and saucer. They can collar and bully weak African nations but Paris is no longer a genuine world power. The Gallic bull is but an old, flabby cow. One feels some sympathy for Obama. Judging by his unintelligent stammering, his heart is not in this. But the weight of the military and political apparatus pushes him toward war. He is too weak to resist although the claim against Assad smells dubious. That Assad would launch attacks likely to invite a Western response when he was clearly winning the war makes little sense. Assad was eager to attend peace talks in Geneva where negotiations would memorialize his military gains. Why would he risk all on a tactical outburst of no military consequence?

That he would do this the very day weapons inspectors arrived on his invitation makes even less sense. Also, if America truly wanted to get to the truth of the matter, why did it apply high-level pressure to dissuade the UN from carrying out the inspection of the incident? While the international media has joined their financial sponsors in hastily concluding that Assad is the culprit, reasonable alternative theories must be investigated before a conclusion can be had on a matter freighted with such consequence. As President Obama implied, Assad may have lost control of portions of his stockpile in the miasma of war. Such weapons do not wonder the streets ownerless. Someone quickly assumes possession. Others may have gotten hold of them. Clearly losing the war, the opposition has much to gain by staging an attack then blaming Assad for the carnage. This would compel the West to increase their support and attack Assad, thus rescuing the opposition from impending defeat. Western clandestine agencies have been operating in the Syrian theatre for months. These agencies have the assets and guile to stage this operation while casting responsibility toward Assad. Moreover, these agencies also have motive to do this. Should their governments join the battle against Assad, the importance of these agencies will increase as will their funding. Assad is malign soul and he might well have commissioned this tragedy. However, his guilt is unlikely and thus far unproven. Even if he did this, American intervention will cause more harm than good. To engage in a policy that encourages perpetual war weakens America's already dwindling legitimacy. To do so in the face of broad global opposition is to make a mockery of the international legal system America purports to champion. In retrospect, President Obama must rue the moment he said that use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a "red line." Rarely has a leader placed himself, his nation and an entire region in such a predicament with the careless utterance of two words. I have no idea of the line's true color but Obama certainly straddles a line separating caution from rashness and the arrogance of dumb power. It is tragic that the mighty are rarely wise. Much grief could be eliminated. By uttering this dangerous flippancy, Obama assured the world that chemical weapons would be used. Now he feels he must strike Syria or his credibility is at stake. This is silly. Credibility is not at stake. Vanity is. Obama has killed bin Laden, bombed Libya, Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan into smithereens. No one questions his love of bombing real and imaginary foes. To argue that he must act because he said he would act is to impose an adolescent form of reasoning on the world's most elevated seat of national power. It is a request begging us to forgive the original folly (issuing the unwise threat) that we may also adopt the mad logic of fighting for the sole reason of not losing face. In any event, Obama should not worry of loss of face. His actions through all of this shows he has two faces. The man has, at least, one to spare. Better to lose face than lose the slim chance of peace. A minor tactical strike by America accomplished little. After the massive post-incident media and political buildup, a tactical incision would be worse than nothing. Arch conservatives would be biting at his heels and head to do more. He will comply as he always has. The logic of America's illogical position requires that it strike repeatedly and with such force as to alter the balance of power which now heavily favors Assad. The more America invests itself in this melee, the more it must defeat Assad. The more it must defeat him, the more America must invest itself in war. This Nobel Peace Prize winning president has just purchased a pivotal seat in someone else's war with the very words of his own mouth. Those who would rule the world should first control their tongues and the heady exuberance the muscle and might of high office often bring. 08060340825 (sms only)


THE NATION ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

69

WORLD NEWS

Obama will hold off on Syria strike until Congress has its say

P

RESIDENT Barack Obama yesterday backed away from an imminent military strike against Syria to seek the approval of the U.S Congress, in a decision that likely delays U.S. action for at least 10 days. Obama, in a stern statement from the White House Rose Garden, said he had authorised the use of military force to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack August 21 that U.S. officials say killed 1,429 people. Military assets to carry out a strike are in place and ready to move on his order, he said. But in an acknowledgement of protests from U.S. lawmakers and concerns from war-weary Americans, Obama added an important caveat: he wants Congress to approve. "We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual," he said. Congress is in recess and not scheduled to return to work until September 9. It is unclear which way any vote would go. "Today I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move as one nation," Obama said. Obama's decision was a high-stakes gamble that he can gain approval from Congress for a limited strike against Syria to safeguard an international ban on chemical weapons usage, defend U.S. national security interests and protect regional allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel. "I have long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government

of the people, by the people, and for the people," Obama said. His decision was also a significant shift away from what was perceived to be preparations for a speedy strike against Syrian targets. He had made clear he was prepared to act unilaterally after the British parliament refused to go along with American plans. Protracted and expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have left Americans reluctant to get involved in Middle Eastern conflicts. Most Americans do not want the United States to intervene in Syria. A Reuters/ Ipsos poll taken this week showed only 20 percent believe the United States should take action, but that was up from 9 percent last week. A debate has raged for days among members of the U.S. Congress over whether, or how quickly, Obama should take action. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, welcomed the move, which he said is a response to "serious, substantive questions" being raised about the ability of the president to launch a military move on his own. "In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9. This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people," he said. Obama, who only on Friday had said nobody was more warweary than he is, has nonetheless been appalled by searing video images of Syrians who fell under the chemical weapons onslaught. In his yesterday speech, he left no doubt that he feels action

must be taken and is confident that a strike would deter this kind of behavior and degrade Syria's ability to carry out similar attacks. But his decision may well lead to criticism that he conceivably is stepping away again from a "red line" he established against Syrian use of chemical weapons. "President Obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander in chief and undermining the authority of future presidents. The president does not need Congress to authorise a strike on Syria," said Republican Representative Peter King. Obama's decision was announced after he met his national security team at the White House. Top aides were to brief senators later in the day and members of the House of Representatives are to receive a classified briefing from administration officials today. The objective is to show the intelligence U.S. officials say is solid proof that the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad launched a large chemical weapons assault in Damascus suburbs that left among the dead 426 children. Obama has broad legal powers to take military action, and he insisted he felt he had the authority to launch a strike on his own. Now, he has to launch a major effort to convince Congress. "Here's my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community: What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?" he said.

Syrians escape to Lebanon

A

S UN inspectors crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon yesterday, they were followed out of the war-torn country by a continuous flow of families desperate to flee the threat of US strikes. Cars filled with wearylooking passengers, their open boots packed to the brim with

bags and suitcases crossed the Masnaa border post in a constant — though not massive — exodus as a US intervention over a suspected gas attack appeared increasingly imminent. For almost a year, the Qatari NGO Al Asmah, funded by rich families from the Arab state, has set up a centre in Masnaa to welcome Syrian refugees.

Flashing their Syrian identity cards, refugees are able to get cartons of food and other useful items. “Over the past few days, since the US threats, the number of families that we see has doubled,” said director Omar Mohammed Koeis. “We now provide for 60 to 70 families a day.”

•Protesters near Baghdad’s Firdus Square yesterday demonstrate against Iraqi lawmakers’ lavish benefits despite heavy security measures that kept many away AFP

Leader of Egypt’s Brotherhood suffers heart attack

M

OHAMED Badie, the top leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, suffered a heart attack while in jail but his condition has since stabilized, state run al-Ahram newspaper said yesterday. State-run news agency MENA denied a report by the private al-Nahar website, that

Badie, 70, had died. Badie, the Brotherhood’s general guide, and many other leaders have been arrested in recent weeks in the toughest crackdown the Islamist group has faced. Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said he had no information on Badie’s health when asked to respond to reports that he had died in

prison. A medical team was sent to Torah prison on the outskirts of Cairo to assess Badie’s medical condition earlier yesterday, a security source told al-Ahram. The source said his condition has stabilized and that the heart attack resulted from the “bad psychological state that he is going through”.


70

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

INSIGHT

Key players in Taraba's power game Senior Correspondent, FANEN IHYONGO, profiles the main characters and their roles in the ongoing political drama in Taraba State following the ‘return to work’ of Governor Danbaba Suntai. HARUNA TSOKWA

DANBABA DANFULANI SUNTAI Like a scene in a movie, Governor Danbaba Suntai is a key character; Taraba is the stage. After the crash, he is flown abroad for treatment where he will be for 10 months. Suntai rushed home on Sunday, August 25, 2013 to neutralise his Deputy, Garba Umar, who has been scheming to succeed him. His stature is that of a typical Fulani with a fair complexion. His combination of names Danbaba Danfulani Suntai also makes you think he is a Fulani Muslim. He is not. The governor is of the Chamba tribe and a Christian. Before rushing home, he celebrated his 52nd birthday on June 30 at the Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Centre and Home in New York, United States where he received the second leg of his treatment for injuries sustained in the air mishap. He became governor on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - appearing on the political radar when a young man named Danladi Baido was disqualified by the party in 2007. Jolly Tavuro Nyame, former governor of the state between 1991 to 1992 and 1999 to 2007, reached out to him outside the array of more popular contenders. He becomes governor, but will not see eye to eye with his erstwhile godfather. Suntai was once chairman of his local council -Bali, then Director General in the state Agriculture Ministry, chairman of the Board of Taraba State Investments and Properties Ltd, Commissioner for Health and Commissioner for Education, as well as Secretary to the State Government (SSG) before winning the governorship poll in 2007.

GARBA UMAR Alhaji Garba Umar is Deputy Governor of Taraba State. He is reclusive. Most of his life, he has been a business entrepreneur, trading outside the shores of the state for years. He was based in Jos, Plateau State, but the ethnic crisis there caused him to relocate. During the Jos crisis a fire gutted his residence - causing him to relocate to Gombe State from where Suntai picked him as deputy. Before his selection, the governor reportedly gave him money to rehabilitate himself. The 67-year old is of average height. His original home is Karim-Lamido Local Government Area of Taraba. But the Wurukun man was born and brought up in Makurdi - the Benue State capital. He had his early education in Benue and later attended a programme in the United Kingdom (UK). Working for about 40 years with the United Trading Company, he became its Executive Director of Operations - an achievement that earned him the sobriquet UTC. Umar was picked to replace an impeached deputy governor, Alhaji Sani Danladi. Barely 20 days after, he was empowered by the House of Assembly to act following the absence of his boss, Umar's political associates started campaigning vigorously for him to run as governor in 2015. But as a member of the PDP, his chances of clinching the ruling party's ticket depended significantly on Suntai's absence, which give him

He is a 1984 pharmacy graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. Even as governor, he had a passion for piloting aircraft. He attended the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) in Zaria, Kaduna State to obtain a Private Pilot's License (PPL) in 2010. In 2010, he successfully flew the Caravan Cessena plane. He was known to embark on solo flights for leisure. Unfortunately, he crashed on one of those trips last year. On his return, some his erstwhile associates have turned to foes plotting his downfall. His fragile health notwithstanding, he is still trying to assert himself by dissolving the cabinet. He has also appointed new a SSG and Chief of Staff - actions being resisted by his deputy and the Speaker. the chance to become substantive governor. Suntai had promised to relinquish power to the southern part of the state, with preference for a transition to another Christian when he bows out in 2015. But if Umar, who hails from northern part of the state -where former Governor Nyame who served for 10 years hails from, he will alter the calculation to his own advantage. He will likely get the ticket as the controller of state resources and government apparatus. His supporters, largely Muslims, believe Suntai's resumption of office will neutralise their game plan of having a Muslim governor in 2015. They (Muslims) no longer want to play second fiddle in the state created in 1991. He is interested in be the substantive governor, but feels guilty. So, he plays the ostrich. He treads softly to project an air of innocence. He feels his boss' loyalists will edge him out of power. During his boss' absence, Umar will instigate the removal of a former Speaker Istifanus Haruna Gbana -an ally of the governor. He will put in place Haruna Tsokwa who is now insisting he (Umar) should continue to act. He is accused of telling the public that his boss was well but going behind the scenes to push for his removal on health grounds. In his defence, he says he will never wish his boss dead, as he claims his action was to prevent a 'cabal' from hijacking power in the state. "The announcement of cabinet dissolution is a mere attempt by a cabal to hijack the machinery of governance in the state and not a directive given by the executive governor (Suntai)", he has said.

Haruna Tsokwa is the Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly representing Takum I Constituency. He is a very dark figure, with height and commensurate body and protruding eyeballs. He is also a church elder of the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria (CRCN). He is considered a neophyte in the House, having won the State Assembly election for the first time in 2011. But when former Speaker Istifanus Haruna Gbana was removed, at the prompting of the deputy governor, the leadership of the House fellon him. This is mostly because he was from Taraba South from where the former Speaker hailed. The existing power balance is (governor from central zone, deputy from north and Speaker from south. It is said he's been promised the deputy governorship if Umar becomes substantive governor; hence he (Tsokwa) stopped the ailing governor from resuming office. He doubts the authencity of the letter purportedly transmitted to the House by Suntai, alleging forgery. He has advised the governor, whom he claims is unfit, to go back to the United States hospital and complete his treatment. He wants Umar, who acted for the 10-month period Suntai was away, to continue in the ca-

pacity. Tsokwa also believes that the success of Suntai would give his rival and kinsman ,Mark Useni a political upper hand over him. He is hailed by Umar's supporters but the Suntai camp will continue to fault and attack him with constitutional weapons and accusations that he and the 15 others were bribed by Umar to the tune of N25million.

JOSEPH ALBASU Joseph Albasu represents Lau Constituency in the House of Assembly. He was elected member in 2011. He became House Majority Leader when the Gbana-led leadership was shoved aside. He became Majority Leader in succession to the member representing Karim-Lamido, Charles Maijankai. Thus, he will be a good partner of the Speaker in the Assembly matters. But when Suntai's 'return to work' sparked crisis and polarised the House and the entire state, he backed the governor to prevail in the battle. A dark complexioned man of average height, Albasu is consistently disagreeing with the Speaker insisting the latter erred by misinterpreting the law.

G. T. KATAPS G. T. Kataps' role in this feuding movie is perhaps the funniest. He is the Attorney General of the State and Commissioner of Justice who is also the disputed Secretary to the State Government (SSG). As soon as he took the oath of office as the new SSG, both his sack and appointments are rejected by the deputy governor. Kataps fought back. He was happy to be sacked, as he was happy to receive a new appointment by Suntai. His weapon is the law. As a lawyer, he is quick to use the provisions of the constitution to challenge his opponents. "Once a governor transmits a letter to the House of Assembly, simplicita every other status reverses back to status quo ante. "The governor of Taraba has resumed office as the executive governor. And with all respect, the Speaker is not taking this matter right; he has misinterpreted the provision of the constitution. Section 190(2) does not give the House of Assembly the discretion to add conditions to

the letter of the governor of Taraba State. "Misinterpreting the law, as the Taraba Speaker is doing is capable of causing discord to our people who may not have access to the Constitution and may not know the correct position of the law," he says.

HAUWA DANBABA SUNTAI She has a down-to-earth beauty, with a fair complexion. She is the wife of the ailing governor. As such, Suntai's health certainly matters to her. But she is also not happy to see her husband removed from office; she ceases to be the First Lady if Suntai is replaced with his deputy, Garba Umar. Her bitterness against Umar centers on the deputy governor's alleged schemes to take her husband's crown. Particularly, she believes Umar is responsible for leaking to the House that her husband was not sound enough to administer the state. She feels the deputy governor should exhibit some level of sympathy for Suntai, since one good turn deserves another. Thus, she refused to let Umar know the preparations for Suntai's return. She also tried to stop House members from visiting the governor. She prefers to partner with her husband's associates.


QUOTABLE “As far I’m concerned, the former President (Olusegun Obasanjo) should conduct himself as a father. He should desist from making statements that will bring tension in the country. He should be in a position where people will take advice for him; not for him going from one place to place giving the impression that all is not well with this country… there is a time available to offer service to your contr. There is time to retire with dignity and remain at home.”

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 8, NO. 2595

— Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, advising former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to retire from politics and desist from causing crisis in the People Democratic Party (PDP)

T

HERE is no indication Maurice Iwu, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will read this piece. He says that having learnt from former President Olusegun Obasanjo the resentful and vexatious habit of not reading Nigerian newspapers, he feels disinclined to read what people have said and still say about his management of the 2007 general elections. Given the way he vigorously put it, even if we could find someone to read this piece and freely redact its highlights for his spurned consideration, he would still be unresponsive to a habit that has stood many enlightened people well since newspapers became a staple of modern civilisation. “This is my first public function since I left office as INEC chairman,” he began with a disagreeable hint of self-importance. “I learned one thing from my former boss Olusegun Obasanjo never to read newspapers or watch news…That is the only way to focus on what I am supposed to do.” For a professor who is presumably an expert on something, and whose life and works are supposed to be devoted to blowing up the delusions of the ignorant majority, it is curious what lessons, and what examples, his bizarre tastes are inexorably drawn to. To him, newspapers represent a distraction rather than a resource tool. By his admission, since he needs to focus on his tasks, which he paints grandiosely in the nothingness of imprecision, it is strange that as a former public official he does not recognise that one of those tasks is to respond to public assessment of his stewardship. But if he says he loathes reading newspapers, we must allow him the liberty of stewing in the juice of his own ignorance. This, however, will not deter us from judging his time in office or commenting on his remarks whenever he indulges in sophism, as he did last week. Indeed, he made a few tendentious remarks last Tuesday in Abuja during the public presentation of Amanze Obi’s book, Delicate Distress. For a professor who wishes to be left alone to focus on his job, it is surprising that he was unable to interpret properly what his main task was in 2007 when he umpired the general elections of that year. Said he: “In 2007, Nigeria didn’t want elections. It wasn’t about giving Nigeria an election. It wasn’t about who won or how ballot boxes were snatched. The challenge I had was to ensure that Nigeria remained one indivisible country. We did that and many people thought it was easy.” I will return to his dubious conclusion that Nigerians didn’t want elections in 2007, a claim he offered absolutely no proof to substantiate. For now, let us instead consider his interpretation of his brief in 2007. There is nothing in the provisions of the electoral act relating to his office or his responsibilities that grants him the exalted task of safeguarding the unity of the country. Instead, he was simply expected to deliver a free and fair poll. It is apparent that that singular misinterpretation of his assignment was at the bottom of the multiple malfeasances associated with

Iwu’s troubled conscience

•Prof Humphrey Nwosu

•Prof Maurice Iwu

his regulation and moderation of the general elections of that year. The challenge of sustaining Nigerian unity, as he inelegantly and conceitedly put it, was one he assigned himself. No one, not the constitution, not his paymaster, nor yet the electoral act gave him the job he so gratuitously defined for himself. Professor Iwu specialises in pharmacognosy, a branch of science that has nothing to do with politics, except of course metaphorically. It is a rather direct science and a branch of pharmacology dealing with the study of natural drugs or active substances found in plants. If he needs to apply logic in his speciality, it is certainly not the kind of intricate logic familiar to social scientists who deal with subjective and often imprecise human behaviour. On the contrary, plants offer very precise and clearly distinguishable morphologies, irrespective of whether we are dealing with its anatomy or its external nature. It is, therefore, not surprising that Professor Iwu has had to rephrase his assignment in terms familiar to his expertise, and in ways that suited and excused his abject surrender to the whims of his employers. Dissatisfied with not letting bad enough alone – and he would have done well to emulate his other illustrious predecessor, Humphrey Nwosu, who waited for about 15 years to make peace with his equally troubled conscience – Professor Iwu wondered why instead of criticising his performance Nigerians did not celebrate his ‘achievement’ of keeping Nigeria one. How grossly mistaken can one

be! Not only did his criminal miscarriage of the 2007 polls gravely threaten the unity and stability of the country, it set the country back by many decades and still continues to dog its march to democratic nirvana. If Nigeria remained one after the 2007 electoral debacle, it was not because Professor Iwu advanced the cause of unity, or even knew how to, but because Nigerians were themselves either determined to stay together notwithstanding the multiple provocations from the Iwus and Nwosus of this world, or had surrendered to the insuperable and paralysing resignation Britain’s manipulations had brought upon them since independence. It is truly numbing how Professor Iwu excused his failings. He said the 2007 polls were not about who won or lost, or about how ballot boxes were snatched. If he had not recast his assignment in terms of the unexampled arrogance he was accustomed to throughout his five-year tenure, all the while pretending there was a nexus between his office and Nigerian unity irrespective of his failings, he would have understood perfectly that his job was to ensure Nigeria held a free and fair election; and that unity, often a by-product of a fair election, was not his to procure or guarantee. In his Abuja remarks, Professor Iwu reminded his audience it was not easy transiting from one elected government to another. He should be reminded that that transition took place without the help of his puny talents, twisted logic, and the recklessly flawed election he superintended.

Kidnappers and the demolition policy

I

T is not clear what logic is behind the thinking that demolishing kidnappers’ properties would be an effective deterrent to kidnapping. But whether it is a deterrent or not, a few states have unthinkingly enacted laws empowering their governments to demolish or confiscate kidnappers’ properties. Interestingly, some of these states don’t even wait for the courts to prove the guilt of kidnappers before their properties are brought down. Timidity and perhaps also ignorance have not allowed the victims to test the validity of the laws in the courts, or if not the validity, then at least the processes. For even if the laws were valid, and I doubt if they are in light of the constitution, there is no kidnapper’s property that has so far been demolished in accordance with due process. One of the kidnappers involved in the abduction of Professor Kamene Okonjo, mother of the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was demolished shortly after he was arrested. The courts had not yet heard nor judged the case when the government hastily brought the property down.

Chief Bonaventure Mokwe, the detained proprietor of the Upper Class Hotel in Onitsha is in court to prevent the Anambra State government from confiscating his property. It was brought down after some dry skulls were found in the hotel premises. He is yet to be found guilty of the crime, but the government has gone ahead anyway to demolish the hotel. In neighbouring Delta State, the Uncle P Guest House, estimated to be worth about N150 million, and owned by a retiree, Mr Pius Ogbeni, was also brought down, allegedly on the orders of the state government, for harbouring a kidnapper. The suspect had lodged in the hotel, like any other guest, for five days before checking out. His alleged victim was said to have been rescued in very controversial circumstances from the hotel. Today, no one is even sure where the victim was rescued from. But while the case was yet to be heard, let alone tried, the hotel was brought down. Kidnapping is of course a very serious crime that should not be condoned. But so,

too, are murder and armed robbery. If the last two do not cause an abridgment of due process, there is no reason not to subject kidnapping to the ambits of the law. Apart from the dubiousness of the kidnapping law itself, and the indefensible, if not immoral, haste with which the governments demolish properties, there is a clear lack of rigour in the anti-kidnapping law. Has the death penalty curbed or eradicated armed robbery? In light of the abduction of Mike Ozekhome, a prominent Nigerian lawyer, it will be hard to counsel restraint in tackling kidnapping. But counsel I must. Let the states, which have passed laws on kidnapping, take a second and more reasoned look at the laws. More importantly, let them follow due process and not jump ahead of the law in their populist desire to fight kidnapping. I suggest that victims of government’s arbitrary application of the law test the matter in court, and test it to its limits. I doubt they can lose if there are still enough judges who can call their souls their own, and who understand the deeper import of law and justice.

The most shocking remark he made last Tuesday was that in 2007, Nigeria didn’t want an election. We may never know why the professor told this awkward lie to himself. Would Nigerians have furiously fought and defeated Chief Obasanjo’s third term agenda if they didn’t want an election? Would they have turned out in their millions if they hated the ballot box as the professor suggested? If they didn’t want an election that year, but wanted Chief Obasanjo out of office, what replacement did they have in mind given the constitutional provision of term limit? It took 15 years after the June 12, 1993 presidential election for Professor Nwosu to summon the courage to admit the truth of the election he supervised. Perhaps eight years is still too early for Professor Iwu to admit the truth of the election he bungled, and his conscience not seared enough to push him into reconciling with the oath he took and into making peace with the country he betrayed. It speaks volumes, however, that last Tuesday the professor spoke fondly of Chief Obasanjo as the mentor from whom he learnt the execrable habit of living in denial and deprecating media accounts of contemporary events. Indeed, we hope that sometime in our lifetime, Professor Iwu will be prodded into remorse by the shrill wailing of the agitated scruples left in him, as Professor Nwosu was unable to stay silent in the face of the loud protestations of his conscience.

Sense and nonsense in Taraba

G

OVERNOR Danbaba Suntai was obviously in pains as he disembarked from the aircraft that brought him back to Nigeria last Sunday. He is doubtless still recuperating, perhaps agonisingly slowly, from the injuries he sustained when the small plane he piloted crashed near Yola, Adamawa State last October. But whether that recuperation is fast or substantial enough to enable him resume his duties as governor is now mired in acrimonious debate. Neither at the airport nor anywhere in his state has Mr Suntai directly addressed the public. Instead, he has offered a few minutes of unconvincing taped video message to his state and the public. While Tarabans were still trying to make up their minds on how to view their governor’s return, and while the acting governor, Speaker of the State House of Assembly and a majority of the state’s lawmakers were steeling their nerves to resist the governor’s obsession with power, the controversy became even more intense and convoluted. Sixteen lawmakers, together with the Speaker and the acting governor, insisted there was no way the governor would be allowed to resume duty. He still needed medical attention, they said. He manifested clear symptoms of brain injury that would take a long time to heal, some medical specialists averred. Some Tarabans even concluded that the governor and his minders’ manoeuvres reminded them of the chicaneries of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua who was also too unwell in his last months in office to function as president, but was exploited by a cabal to wreak havoc on the country. If the Taraba drama were limited to the caricature it has become, we would safely enjoy it from the comfort of our homes. But with the determination of the anti-Suntai forces to unhorse the governor growing into a bitter struggle for power, and the pro-Suntai forces clinging desperately to power, the struggle could plunge the state into a violent and embarrassing confusion. On account of what he has manifested since his return, I really doubt whether Mr Suntai can still function as governor. He needs more care than he and his minders care to admit. However, the constitution contains provisions for resolving such difficult matters. I find it appalling that the House of Assembly, which obviously musters a majority to back the Speaker’s anti-Suntai point of view, evades due process and seems to embrace strong-arm tactics. Instead of tomfoolery, let the legislature constitute a medical panel to examine the governor’s ability to continue in office. I doubt whether in such an open case the empanelled doctors would betray their oaths by telling open lies. Nor do I think their conclusion would be any less self-evident than the clear incapacity of the hapless governor to perform the most gentle and menial of tasks.

Published by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025, Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Marketing: 4520939, Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Telephone: 07028105302. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14, Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790.

Website: www.thenationonlineng.net

ISSN: 115-5302 E-mail: sunday@thenationonlineng.net Editor: FESTUS ERIYE

The Nation Sep 1, 2013  

news, sports, education, editorial, business, nigeria, nigeria news, nigerian newspaper

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you