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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Chime: I had nose cancer

11 governors reaffirm merger

Sambo linked to ANPP split

•‘I’m certified fit’

•APC picks coordinators

•VP ‘recruits’ ex-governor

NEWS Page 8

NEWS Page 8

NEWS Page 6

VOL. 8, NO. 2399 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2013



SUPER EAGLES ARRIVE IN ABUJA While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the AFCON 2013…especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation… I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job — Keshi withdrawing his resignation...yesterday

•President Jonathan with members of the team at the reception...last night


Honours for heroic Eagles Keshi gets CON, N10m Asst. coaches, Yobo get OON, N5m Others get MON, N5m Land for all team members in Abuja


N army of soccer fans struggling to touch the boys; excited school pupils waving the national flag and scores of sweating drummers and dancers – the Super Eagles arrived to a tumultuous welcome in Abuja yesterday. President Goodluck Jonathan last night hosted the team to a lavish reception at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. At the colourful ceremony were senior government officials, including Vice President Namadi Sambo,

By Our Repoters

members of the National Assembly, governors and other dignitaries. The President honoured members of the team with cash gifts, national honours and land in Abuja. The team’s coach, Stephen Keshi, got the Commander of the Order of Niger (CON) and N10million. The assistant coaches - Daniel Amokachi, Sylvanus Okpala and Ike Shorunmu - and the team’s captain, Joseph Yobo, got the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and N5m.

Other members of the team got Member of the Order of Niger (MON) and N5 million each. Members of the technical crew got N2m and MON. Every member of

•SEE ALSO PAGES 4, 5, 13, 14& 51 the team got a plot of land in Abuja, in addition. The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was jammed by fans. Airport workers stayed off their duty posts momentarily to catch a

glimpse of the boys, whose Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) victory in South Africa on Sunday threw the entire country into exhilaration. The Super Eagles beat the Stallions of Burkina Faso 1-0. The players and officials arrived in Abuja at 3.25pm and were decorated with Nigeria’s national colours as they came out of the plane. The ovation was loud —just like when the final whistle sounded on Sunday. In spite of the presence of a long row

of security personnel, the fans rushed to the 2013 AFCON champions to either have a handshake or a hug. Some Immigration and Customs officers abandoned their duty posts to embrace the players as they walked down to the arrival hall. The Nigerian Supporters Club sang victory songs and played musical instruments to the delight of all. At the reception organised for the Continued on page 8









Senators seek honours for ‘new kings of African football’ • Senate unite for champions


HE Senate yesterday stood still for victorious Super Eagles. This followed a motion on the superlative performance of the Super Eagles in the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), which ended in South Africa on Sunday. The motion: “Nigeria ’s glorious outing at the AFCON 2013" was sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and 107 others. None of the senators wanted to be left out of the success story of the Super Eagles as the players were singled out one after another for praise. The consideration of the motion was unique as the lawmakers threw politics overboard. In one accord, they showered encomiums on the nation’s football ambassadors. As if praises were not enough, the lawmakers gave a standing ovation to the Super Eagles, describing them as the ‘New Kings of African football.’ They unanimously adopted a resolution, urging Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi to rescind his reported resignation in the interest of sports’ development. Other resolutions are to: • commend and congratulate the Super Eagles for winning the trophy and making the nation proud; • congratulate coach Stephen Keshi and his technical team; • commend and congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan for this achievement and for motivating the team; • urge Mr. President and the Federal Government to reward the team handsomely materially and also by conferring befitting National Honours Awards on them; • call on the managers of sports to sit up and return to the grassroots to develop the abundant sports talents to sustain this new dawn in the nation’s football and sports in general; and • urge Keshi to rescind his resignation in the interest of sports. Leading the debate, Ekweremadu noted that the AFCON trophy had eluded Nigeria for 19 years as it was last won by the Nigerian side in 1994. He noted that until this year’s edition of the tournament, the performance of the Super Eagles had been grossly dissatisfactory to Nigerians, while football had nosedived abysmally. Ekweremadu urged the upper chamber to note with pleasure, “the splendid performance of the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Nigeria ‘s emergence as champion of Africa at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in South Africa.” The Senate, he said, should also note with “delight the tenacity of spirit, patriotic zeal, as well as unity and team spirit displayed by the players, their coach and the entire team management.” Ekweremadu said he observed with keen interest and satisfaction the contributions of the home-based players to the squad’s overall success. Senate President, David Mark, who summed up the senators’ contributions noted: “This is one motion that all the senators appended their signature to and it shows how important and how acceptable the

We need to have faith in ourselves. Obviously, that is the most important thing because if we don’t believe in ourselves, we cannot make progress. Stephen Keshi has rekindled this that we must have faith in ourselves both in our coaches and in our players

•Abuja residents at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport...yesterday

From: Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

motion is. “We have all addressed virtually all the points that we can in sports ranging from our desire to let sports in this country grow to a level where it used to be in those days; whether it is football or athletics; basketball or hockey; golf or table tennis; lawn tennis or squash. “We have also addressed the issue of grassroots training because I think that is really where the problem is. “Unless we train our boys and our girls at a very early age, there is no way in which we are going to reach the level we want to reach. “Training facilities of course have become so scientific now that it is no more what it used to be those days. “I think we also need to ensure that we have sporting facilities at the local level to be able to train our boys and our girls. “Funding is an important aspect and we have all addressed it adequately. “As long as you depend on government to fund sporting activities, we are never going to make progress. “We need to have faith in ourselves. Obviously, that is the most important thing because if we don’t believe in ourselves, we cannot make progress. “Stephen Keshi has rekindled this that we must have faith in ourselves both in our coaches and in our players. “It was very clear that if we didn’t win that match on Sunday, my fear was how Nigerians were going to get out of that stadium because of the large number of Nigerians in the stadium. “Having won the Nation’s cup is an indication that we can go places and I think it should spur us to win the Confederation Cup which is coming up in Brazil in June this year. But more importantly the World Cup.”

• Keshi on arrival at the airport. Standing behind him is Nwankwo Kanu and others...yesterday

Security officers battling to

Super Eagles Coach S

UPER Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi has withdrawn his resignation, ending hours of controversy over his future. Keshi, who led the Super Eagles to the Nations Cup victory in South Africa on Sunday, threw in the towel for what he described as “lack of unity in the football family”. Senate President David Mark unveiled the reasons for Keshi’s action on the floor of the Senate during the plenary session yesterday. Mark, who led the Federal Government delegation to watch

the final match in Johannesburg, reported his conversation with Keshi after he got wind of his resignation to senators’. He said: “I spoke to Stephen Keshi this morning and he confirmed to me that he actually resigned. “He (Keshi) said the reason is because there is too much interference. “Before the final match on Sunday, there was a lot of pressure on him that he must accept foreign technical advisers and he said he is opposed to it because he has got all that is needed in this country and that there are Nigerians who can

work with him and he doesn’t see the gain in bringing foreigners. “He (Keshi) said he was sorry he had to actually put in his resignation. “But I think he is amenable; he is prepared to rescind his decision, provided we don’t force a foreign technical partner on him. “I think once we allow him and give him the team to manage, we should give him the free hand to manage the team. “Whatever way he goes to get the result, that should not be our problem. We should not meddle in the way he is going to run and manage the team. I think this Senate must be unanimous in that.




•Foottball enthusiasts on the tarmac...yesterday.

•Pupils waving the national flag on Airport Road...yesterday.

g to control football fans at the airport...yesterday

• Mikel Obil...yesterday

•Pupils waving the national flag on Airport Road...yesterday. PHOTOS ABAYOMI FAYESE

Keshi withdraws resignation letter “I think part of the prayers should be for us to prevail on him not to resign and also that the Sports Ministry or the administrators must give him a free hand to bring us the result that we want. “I also think that the prayer warriors did their part. They were on their kneels in the various mosques and churches and prayer grounds and we must thank the prayer warriors. “For it shows that when we pray hard and if our prayer is genuine, that God will answer. “I think God decided that He must give us something to smile about this time around and this victory certainly is something that has put a smile on

our faces. “The disposition of other nations towards Nigeria while I was there in the State Box (of the stadium) was surprising. Almost all the countries were supporting Burkina Faso for some inexplicable reasons. “It shows that people believe that we have the potential, people believe that we are great and we must show this greatness not only in words but even in deed. “Because we are always going about saying we are the giant of Africa. We have to prove that we are truly giant of Africa in every sphere of life.” Keshi yesterday backed down on

his quit notice. In a letter dated February 12, he personally signed, the former Nigerian captain said: “My attention has been drawn to reports in the media that I have resigned my appointment as the head coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. “While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the Afcon 2013, which my team won by the grace of God, especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation, I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned.

“I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job. I want to thank the Honourable Minister of sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift and kind intervention.” Abdullahi yesterday confirmed that Keshi remains the Super Eagles coach. The confirmation ended the controversy over the purported resignation of Keshi. Abdullahi told reporters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, that “the coach never tendered a formal resignation letter as broadcast by Nigerians.

“We thank God almighty that we are part of this process. The issue of Keshi’s resignation was blown out of proportion. “Although there were issues, I think things were not properly managed as they should be managed but thank God I was on ground to manage the issues.’’ Keshi told reporters: “Well, there were issues to make things better in the team and all around our football sector in the country. “But yesterday, I spent about four to five hours with the minister to sort things out and how to move the team forward. But on resignation, I am here now.”



NEWS Oyedepo urges lawyers to fight corruption •Ex-NBA secretary Adesina opens law office By Joseph Jibueze


HE founder and Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide (aka Winners Chapel), Bishop David Oyedepo yesterday urged lawyers to help rid the country of corruption. Describing graft as Nigeria’s “greatest challenge”, he said the legal profession is better positioned to fight it. Bishop Oyedepo said the battle against official sleaze will never be won unless the people stand up against it. He spoke in Lagos after the opening of a law office owned by a deacon in his church, former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary Dele Adesina (SAN). At the event were former NBA President Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), activistlawyer Mr Femi Falana (SAN) and former Health Minister Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi. The bishop said: “Our greatest challenge is corruption. Please join in the war against it. Except people stand up to it, it will be there forever. “The legal profession is well-positioned to help the oppressed in safeguarding their rights. I pray that you will translate your faith into practice. “It is one thing to believe in God, it’s another thing to translate it to real life. If you don’t translate it to real life, then it’s so fake.” Bishop Oyedepo said only Nigerians can make their country a better place. He said: “We should all endeavour in whatever we do, to ensure we are adding value to the system. Nigeria is a great place, but we require great contributors to actually actualise its greatness, and so when we contribute, it becomes easy to move this nation forward. Nobody is coming to move this nation forward for us. “The world is tired now because they are dealing with their own problems. So, if we wait for anyone to come and rebuild Nigeria, we’ll wait forever. “I pray that each one of us will commit to adding value to the nation. Nobody is coming to do it. If you run away, you will still come back here. If you don’t come back here alive, when you die, they will still bring you back. So, there is nowhere to run to. “So, we’ll restore the glory of this nation. We’ll commit to it forever, and I pray that this institution will be one of the forerunners of ensuring speedy restoration, so that people can feel at home; if people want to do business in Nigeria, they can feel comfortable and not fear that they will be frustrated and robbed and people get away with it. “We should stand for the truth and demonstrate that we do. I came here this morning because I believe in your cause. I believe in what you’re doing, but let’s sustain it, let’s develop it, let’s grow it.” The bishop prayed that the law firm would contribute to the nation’s advancement.

Merger: Sambo implicated in plot to split ANPP


HE Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are plotting to undermine the merger of four parties by plotting to fund a splinter group in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), it was learnt yesterday. Vice-President Namadi Sambo has been implicated in the plot as the arrowhead of moves to scuttle the emergence of All Progressives Congress (APC). The Presidency and the PDP are said to be uncomfortable since the merger was consolidated with a new name last week. It was learnt that some strategists in the Presidency, including Sambo, whose Northern constituency has fully embraced the merger, have been weighing options on how to frustrate APC. As part of the grand plot to undermine the merger, a script had been hatched to cause disaffection in ANPP and split the party into factions, it was learnt. It was gathered that some PDP stalwarts and presidency officials have courted a former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff, to raise a splinter group in ANPP.

•Ex-Borno Governor Sheriff is arrowhead From Yusuf Alli, Yomi Odunuga, Abuja, and Emmanuel Oladesu,

Besides a recent meeting between Sheriff and PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, investigation confirmed that Sambo met with the former Borno governor a few days ago. A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “At a meeting held at the instance of the Presidency, Vice-President Namadi Sambo some days ago met with Sheriff, to strategise on how to truncate the membership and participation of ANPP in the new APC merger. “Sheriff, who is currently the chairman, board of trustees of the party, is the arrowhead of the sponsored dissent within the leadership of the ANPP “The plan agreed upon is to have Sheriff mobilise and convince ANPP chairmen at the state level to work with him on this dissent. “The goal is to have them disagree with the leadership of the party, some governors and some lawmakers about ANPP’s participation in the

merger and the new party, APC. “The chairmen, working with Sheriff, are to be handsomely rewarded financially for their role. “ Sheriff and these ANPP chairmen already assembling in Abuja will hold a news conference on Wednesday (today) or any day thereafter to reject the participation of ANPP in the merger thereby precipitating a leadership crisis in the party in a similar manner in which APGA is currently in. “The former governor is swimming against the tide in his party. He became jittery and disturbed, almost distressed politically after the present governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima convened a meeting of all stakeholders of ANPP in Borno. They unanimously gave the merger their support, endorsed it and gave the governor the go-ahead to participate fully. “The former governor of Borno is beholden to the Jonathan Presidency for obvious reasons. One of such is the round the clock security be-

ing provided to facilitate his movement, a fall-out of the Boko Haram insurgency that broke out when he was in power. “He has always enjoyed a robust relationship with the PDP and the presidency, a romance already widely reported by the media. He is thus the most suitable person for this current role.” Another source also gave insight into the moves by the PDP to frustrate the merger of the four parties. The source said: “The PDP is equally, without success pursuing the former governors of Zamfara, Senator Sani Yerima and former Kano governor, Ibrahim Shekarau to be part of the plot to discredit the merger. “Already, a desperate PDP is accusing the former Zamfara governor of failing to keep his promise to help frustrate the merger. He is reportedly yet to succumb to Sheriff’s plan and PDP overtures. “In similar vein, the PDP with the assistance of the Presidency has embarked on infiltrating and sponsoring

dissent groups within the other parties interested in the merger. “Already, a section of the leadership of the ANPP is set to do battle with Sheriff and his team over their plan to forestall or cast doubts over ANPP’s participation in the merger. “The likes of former Kano governor Ibrahim Shekarau, former governor of Zamfara State and other top notchers are set to do battle with Sheriff on the merger.” Speaking on a live television programme in Lagos yesterday, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, acknowledged that moles may be set against leaders of the merger. But he said their antics would be overcome by the collective wisdom and determination of the APC leadership. He said: “It will be naive not to anticipate moles, but the toughness of the leadership will enable APC to overcome the problem”.

Mark blames Western nations From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja


•Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other miscellaneous offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Ekpo Nta (left), Director of Education, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa and Vice Chancellor, Universiy of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Isaac Adewole at a lecture in Ibadan, Oyo State...yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ILESANMI

ENATE President David Mark yesterday blamed developed nations for the heating up of the planet. Mark, who spoke at the inaugural meeting of Globe Nigeria in Abuja, lamented that Africa countries are at the receiving end of the environmental pollution caused by the West. The Senate President who was represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, said the National Assembly is ready to partner global initiatives aimed at sustainable development. He noted that there was an incontrovertible evidence that 80 per cent of the world carbon emission levels which has precipitated the heating of the planet has been from the developed West. He said that Africa and the underdeveloped world

Boko Haram: Not only Christians are targets of bombings, says Sultan


T is misconception to believe that bombings in the North are targeted at Christians only, Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar said yesterday. He said both religions are affected in the attacks. Abubakar spoke at an interactive session with religious groups at the on-going meeting of the Nigeria Interreligious Council (NIREC) in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. The Sultan said it is through dialogue that religious bigotry between Christians and Muslims could be stopped. Abubakar, who is Head of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (SCIA), said since no religion preaches or teaches violence, there is no problem that dialogue cannot resolve. He urged Muslims and none Muslims to unite and fight the enemy of true religious practices, saying that, such is the only way to bring

•NIREC’s two-day conference opens in Akwa Ibom From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

about peace. His words: “It is not true that Christians are the target for killing and bombings in some parts of the North, even those who are targeting churches are said to be from other religious beliefs. “Criminals carried out their activities because they are criminally-minded and we must fish them out and deal with them in accordance with the laws of the land. And unless we all rise up to deal with them, we will not achieve what we want to achieve.” The Sultan went on: “The reason to move this meeting across the country was that Christians and Muslims will see us meeting together and believe what we say. Dialogue is the best option for any conflict situation. “Religious leaders must always speak the truth.

Speaking and not acting what you speak is totally unacceptable. Insecurity is everywhere and must be checked by all of us. No religion preaches violence and such cases should be treated as criminal.” The President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, praised Muslim leaders for their role in resolving the crisis that had engulfed some parts of the North, but urged them to do more. He said NIREC is a veritable organ that can build bridges across religions in the country. “NIREC is the best platform that can be used to foster unity and promote peace for this country. I believe the Supreme Councs with Christian Association of Nigeria, we will therefore continue to partner each other and Nigerians of

goodwill for the collective desire of our countrymen and women to enthrone a befitting and united country that we can all be proud of”, he noted. The CAN President said Christians would continue to partner their Muslims brothers so as to foster unity in the country. He said whatever happens, religious leaders would be held responsible, therefore, they should preach and teach what their religion believed in. Pastor Oritsejafor called on the Federal Government to ensure that the perpetrators of evil are brought to book, adding that, government should make the people have trust in it by judiciously managing the resources of the country for the benefit of all. “If we can genuinely foster the unity that we so much desire and talk about, we can together speak truth and de-

mand accountability for our appointed and elected officials in government. In this way, Nigeria will be better for it. “However, the government of the day must also strive to effectively manage the economic unit of our country and bring to book those found to be corrupt and polluting the transparent system already in place.” Governor Godswill Akpabio identified distrust among religious leaders as the bane of intolerance among their adherents, and a urged them to be sincere in doing what they preach. ‘’I am trying to mention that as leaders when we speak, we should practice it. We shouldn’t have double lips. In public, you preach tolerance, but in private, you encourage divisiveness. When you practice peace, your followers would follow suit. I pray God whom we worship will give us the grace to practice what we preach.



NEWS Pensioners protest in Rivers

Nine NDDC roads in Delta



HE Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has inaugurated nine roads in Delta State. They are two township roads in Ovwian, three rigid pavement roads in Uvwie, two roads in Warri South, a rigid pavement road in Orhuwhorun town and internal road in Ozoro Polytechnic, Isoko North. The Managing Director, Dr. Christian Oboh, represented by the state representative on the NDDC Board, Solomon Ogba, said the projects were designed to enhance growth in the region.

Funeral for Pa Omotoye


HE funeral arrangements for Pa Omoniyi Omotoye, who died on November 27, have been announced. There will be a wake on Friday at his home, 47, Adeyemi Jinadu Street, Spintex Junction Odogunyan, Ikorodu, Lagos, by 5pm. On the following day, there will be a church service at the same venue and interment will follow immediately. He was 76 and survived by wife, children and grandchildren.

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•Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio (right) presenting a plaque to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oristejafor, when the Nigeria Inter Religious Council visited the Government House in Uyo.

EMBERS of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Rivers State are protesting the non-payment of their entitlement arrears. In a statement in Port Harcourt yesterday by its Chairman, Edward-Festus Abibo, the group said the government had allowed their entitlements to accumulate, thus making the state consider it too much to pay. Abibo said even their entitled pension increment which is supposed to take effect since 2003 has also not been implemented. “It is mandatory that pensioners be paid their entitlements. “We must not beg for it

Suspect says police forced him to confess


KIDNAP suspect, Chidi Obika, yesterday accused the Delta Police Command of extracting a confessional statement from him under duress. But prosecuting witness Sgt Pedro Ijeoma said the accused was arrested for unlawful possession of firearms and kidnapping. He told a high court sitting in Asaba that during investigation, a victim, Engineer Erogini, in Owerri, Imo State, identified the suspect. Ijeoma said the victim paid N32 million. He said another victim, who was shot in the legs on June 8, 2011, also identified

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

Obika. He said the victim parted with N1.5 million to the suspect’s gang. But Obika’s counsel Bernard Ndigwe said his client was shot in the left thigh by policemen and made to write a confessional statement under duress. Ndigwe objected to the tendering of a statement purportedly written by the accused to the court. But the state’s counsel, Mrs. A Monye, made an oral application for the case to be stood down while she conferred with Ijeoma. The judge granted the application.

The case was adjourned till March 19. Justice G.B Brikins-Okolosi of an Asaba High Court yesterday adjourned till May 2 a case between Skye Bank and an Asaba businessman over alleged misplacement of a Deed of Conveyance. The businessman, Joseph Anene Okafor, was granted a N10 million loan in 2009, upon which he deposited the Deed of Conveyance of his property as collateral. But after repayment of the loan the bank has refused to return his deed. At the resumed hearing, Okafor’s counsel Victor Gwam asked the court to declare that the bank was

negligent in its handling and custody of the deed. During cross-examination, the bank’s Asaba branch manager, Mrs. Augustina Okeleke, said her firm granted a loan to Okafor in 2009 for which he deposited the Deed of Conveyance of his property. Gwam asked the defendant to: “Tell this court how many years Skye Bank intends to hold onto the claimant’s deed.” Mrs. Okeleke said: “In this case we (Skye Bank) have not returned the document because we are still searching for it. “We do not know how long it will take to find the document.”

Bayelsa PDP alleges moves to foment crisis


HE Bayelsa State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday raised the alarm over moves by some politicians to cause crisis in three local governments. The local governments are Ekeremor, Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma. The party’s Chairman, Sam Inokoba, in a statement in Abuja , alleged that the chairmen were collaborating with some “power seekers” to ensure a breach of peace in their domains. The statement said: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State notes with grave concern the activities of the chairmen of the three local governments of

Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

Ekeremor, Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma and their desperate attempt to undermine the peace. “It has come to our notice that the chairmen are doing so with the support and collaboration of some politicians and power seekers, who do not mean well for our dear state.” Inokoba said the chairmen were at loggerheads with their councillors on the need to respect the principle of separation of powers. The statement added: “Barely two months ago, PDP in Bayelsa State waded into the matter concerning the three local governments. “We took the decision because of several disturbing reports on the refusal of the


chairmen to work with the councillors. “As a responsible party, we decried the action of the chairmen. “The party advised the chairmen to work with their councillors and not see their reinstatement by the Supreme Court as a call to exact vengeance. “Sadly, rather than allow reason prevail, the chairmen have chosen to embrace the path of self-destruction, because they have dumped our party and embraced the little known Change Advocacy Party (CAP). “Having found themselves in councils dominated by PDP-elected councillors, these chairmen have since discovered that they cannot be sole administrators. “The point must be made clear that no sooner had the

chairmen been reinstated than they appointed their vice-chairmen without recourse to the councillors. “The three chairmen must be made to understand that democracy at all levels runs on the principle of separation of powers. They are not and cannot be imperial chairmen. “The councillors, as legislators, should be allowed to do their job. “No one can question the rights of the councillors to investigate or impeach the chairmen, if they so desire. They have such powers under the constitution. “The resort to blackmail is not only cheap, but belated. “As a party that believes in constitutionality, we insist that the right thing be done no matter whose ox is gored.”

From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

nor be insulted for demanding it. “The funds being spent on us should not be seen as a waste because we worked for it.”

PDP to monitor council polls From Osagie Otabor, Benin


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has said it would monitor the local government elections scheduled to hold on April 20. It said its candidates were poised to bring transformation to the grassroots. The party’s Secretary, Felix Utubor, said PDP would ensure that the results of the election are declared at the polling units and not at a ‘collation’ centre in Benin City. Utubor said the party believed that Governor Adams Oshiomhole would stand by the one-man-one-vote mantra. He said: “We are prepared for the elections. We have candidates in all the 192 wards and 18 chairmanship seats.” “We are going to tell the people to vote for transformation. “We want to bring the transformation agenda to them.”

NULGE protests in Edo From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


EMBERS of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Edo State took to the streets yesterday to protest the remand of three of its members in prison custody. Led by its Chairman, Patrick Okheranlen, the group threatened to close council offices across the 18 local governments, if the men were not released. Okheralen said his members were remanded on the orders of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Public Utilities, Lawrence Loye. But Loye accused council officials of flouting government orders, which bar them from collecting levies. “There’s going to be more protests; if there are no protests that mean I am already compromising. “Those protesting are not really NULGE members but bandits. “We have released a circular that they desist from illegal revenue collection.” The permanent secretary said the trio has been released.

Maku: Cross River a manufacturing hub

NFORMATION Minister Labaran Maku has said Cross River State is emerging a manufacturing hub given the level of investment inflows into the state. He spoke during the Good Governance Team tour of the Free Trade Zone in Calabar, where General Electric is to build a manufacturing and assembly facility. Maku said given the rate international companies are opening shop in Calabar, the

state may soon become the manufacturing hub in West Africa. He said in the Free Trade Zone alone, there are 69 companies, 43 of which are manufacturing companies. The minister attributed the inflow of investments into the state to the state’s focused and visionary leadership. His words: “I congratulate the Cross River State Government for winning the

General Electric project. “Cross River is not only known for tourism but is gradually becoming a manufacturing hub for the country and West Africa sub region. “We have Tinapa, International Convention Centre, Free Trade Zone and now General Electric. It means what Cross River has done for itself from Obudu to Calabar is clear indication of visionary leadership.

“For us these types of investments are an announcement that Nigeria is moving forward and good governance can be seen everywhere. We are not only winning in football, we are also winning clearly in the economic transformation.” Maku thanked President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister for Trade and Investment, Segun Aganga for bringing General Electric to Nigeria.




11 governors reaffirm merger •APC picks coordinators


HE Progressive Governors’ Alliance (PGA) yesterday announced its establishment of the Zonal Contact & Mobilisation Committees in the six geopolitical zones. According to Nassarawa State Governor Tanko Almakura, who spoke after a meeting attended by 11 governors in Abuja , Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Geidam is the head of the committee in the Northeast. Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari is the head of the committee in the Northwest. Tanko heads the North Central zone. Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha heads the Southeast zone, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole is in charge of the Southsouth zone mobilisation. The committee, said Al-

•Dr. Fayemi (third left) briefing reporters in Abuja…yesterday. With him (from left) are: Okorocha, Amosun, Shettima, Almakura, Fashola, Yari, Ajimobi, Oshiomhole PHOTO: NAN and Aregbesola From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

makura, “would mobilise support for the party across political, social, religious, ethnic and professional interest groups.” He urged Nigerians to see this initiative as a credible process to deepen democracy and national renewal. The governor said: “Given the desire of Nigerians for change, our party will undertake to facilitate radical social, economic and

political reformation of the country. Our programme priorities shall be agriculture development, job creation, free education, affordable healthcare, infrastructural development, adequate power supply, eradication of poverty and corruption and rapid technological advancement and industrialisation. “We shall pride ourselves as social democrats that are committed to organize our

society based on the values of justice for all and individual freedom where everyone needs are fulfilled.” Also at the meeting were Borno State Governor Kassim Shettima, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Ogun State Governor Ibinkunle Amosun, and Oyo State’s Abiola Ajimobi. Oshiomhole, whose ab-

Jonathan won’t sign budget yet, says Okonjo-Iweala P

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan won’t sign Budget 2013 as passed by the National Assembly yet, Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said yesterday. There are disagreements between the Presidency and the lawmakers over the budget. A statement by her spokesman, Paul Nwabuikwu, said she has “clarified that the talk of the President signing the budget this week is premature.” The statement noted that “discussions between the Executive and the National Assembly are ongoing in a cordial atmosphere, it is not yet clear when they will be concluded as much work remains to be done. “Against this background, reports stating that the President will sign the budget this week are therefore not realistic” the statement added. Senior lawyers yesterday added a fresh twist to the dispute between the Presidency and the National Assembly

over the Appropriation Bill, arguing that the President may have lost his power to assent the Bill. Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, Mr. Joseph Nwobike and Mr. Femi Falana (all Senior Advocates of Nigeria) argued that by the provision of Section 58 (4) and (5) of the Constitution, the President can no longer assent to any Bill passed by the National Assembly, 30 days after it had been transmitted to him. The lawyers argued that the lawful way out is for President Jonathan to return the Bill to the National Assembly for its “rework.” Sub-Section 4 reads: “Where a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall, within 30 days thereof, signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.”

Sub-Section 5 reads: “Where the president withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by twothird majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required. Fagbohungbe agreed that by virtue of the constitutional provision, the President cannot assent to a Bill after 30 days of its tranmission to him. “That is the position of the law. If the President goes ahead to sign the Bill, his belated assent will render such resulting Act a nullity. “I know the President will not act unconstitutionally. I believe if he notes that the prescribed 30 days has lapsed, he will return it to the National Assembly for the necessary actions,” he said. Fagbohungbe cautioned that “we should first ascertain when exactly the Bill was

form. So, I am fully convinced about the need for this merger and I have found out that for all of us who want to deepen democracy, we have to agree that when the opposition is factionalised , we are not about to bring the kind of platform that we need. “So, there is no question about my conviction and commitment and I believe that most Nigerians who acContinued on page 60

Honours for heroic Eagles Continued from page 1

•Falana, others: it’s too late

From Nduka Chiejina, Abuja and Eric Ikhilae

sence from the first meeting was misinterpreted as lack of interest in the merger, endorsed the proceedings of the meeting in Lagos and yesterday’s meeting . According to Oshiomhole, the merger represents a viable alternative which has been very expedient. “I am a believer in democracy, and I believe that for Nigeria to move forward and flourish, you need to have alternative, viable plat-

•Dr. Okonjo-Iweala

transmitted to the President before we can start counting.” Nwobike said: “Even if the constitutionally-prescribed 30 days have lapsed, since the National Assembly has not exercised its power of veto, by passing it with two-thirds majority, as required by that section of the Constitution, the President can proceed and assent to the Bill. “As it stands, it is still a Bill because neither the President nor the National Assembly has exercised the powers conferred on them by the Constitution in a situation like this. “The National Assembly can only override the President’s assent by exercising its powers Continued on page 60

champions at the National Stadium, Abuja, fans turned out in large numbers to be part of history. Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Malam Bala Muhammed, on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan, received the team. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) band entertained the crowd. Nigerians took the opportunity to showcase the cultural diversity of the country through their dances. Groups, such as the National Council for Women Societies, Abuja branch, People’s Democratic Party Women in the FCT and the Isuikwuato Development Union were represented. The Umuobiala group from Abia State carried placards that read: “We welcome our heroic son Sunday Mba”. Mba, a midfielder, is from Abia State. Some fans forced their way onto the tarmac. The team returned from South Africa, where they won the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday by beating Burkina Faso 1-0. It was their third victory at the continental tournament. As the FCT Minister and other

officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) made their way to the tarmac, the crowd surged, tore through the security wall and stormed the place. According to NAN’s report,the front door of the arrival hall of the international wing of the airport was broken. Some people were injured. Col. Oladipo James (rtd), the Head of the Aviation Security at the airport, had earlier warned the public against forcing their way into the tarmac. “The situation in the country has compelled us to prevent people from gaining entrance to the tarmac,” he said. Some fans,who refused to vacate the tarmac, were chased out with sniffer dogs by security agents.

CORRECTION In the story: Ojukwu’s firm sues Bianca, others over Lagos property, published in our Tuesday edition, it was stated that Mrs Bianca Ojukwu had been served with the court processes. She has not been served. The error is regretted. – Editor

I had nose cancer, says Enugu Governor Chime


NUGU State Governor Sullivan Chime spoke yesterday on the illness that kept him away from his job for over four months. He was treated for cancer of the nose, the governor said. He said he underwent surgery and post surgery treatment in Britain after which he got all-clear. “I have been completely cured and declared cancer free by the doctors,” he said. Chime spoke to reporters yesterday in Enugu, three days after his arrival in the state capital. He returned to Abuja from London last Thursday. Looking hale and hearty, Chime adorned a crystal blue shirt and a pair of cream trousers. He recounted his sojourn abroad and criticised

From Chris Oji, Enugu

the reporting of his ailment by a section of the media. Said the governor: “When I read in some newspapers how I died in India, we then turned Nigerian newspapers to entertainment forum. We read what they wrote about me and laughed. It became an amusement kind of thing.” Chime said he was never admitted in the hospital as an in-patient but, rather he was an out-patient, who went to the hospital from the house. He said the treatment took 12 weeks and the doctors advised that he should be out of work for at least six months to ensure full recovery. He said the doctors were amazed at his speedy recovery, adding that he was de-

clared cancer-free and completely cured on December 14, last year. “I left London a healthy man. I went on my own on and not in an emergency. I insisted that the lump I noticed be removed. Cancer is curable once you discover it early,” the governor said. He thanked Enugu people for their prayers, patience and for “rebuffing those from outside who came to deceive them and cause confusion while I was away”. Chime said: “I have fully resumed. There is no doubt about that. I’m back and I’m back. No regrets whatsoever for going for treatment while on vacation. If I have the opportunity again, I will do it.” He praised his deputy, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, who sat

by his side during the news conference, and other members of the state executive for holding fort while he was away. Explaining how he went abroad and returned, Chime said: “Let me say first and foremost that it is heartwarming to be in your midst today after exactly four and half months outside the country. I decided to call this meeting for us to have the opportunity to clarify a few issues because while I was away, I read so many embarrassing publications from the print media. Most of them conflicting, almost all of them false and it was so embarrassing, not to my person, personally, for those of you who know me, such things don’t embarrass me, I am not interested;

you can write anything, provided it doesn’t bother on defamation. “But I decided to call this (media briefing) may be to clear the air in the interest of our people because I noticed that that generated a lot of interest. So many people became interested. People who did not know of my existence, when I came back I got all sorts of text messages from strange people thanking God for my return. Because of the interest it generated, I felt there is need for us to come together in the hope that after today we will put to rest everything that bothers on rumour and falsehood regarding my leave. “I don’t know whether I should just tell a smooth stoContinued on page 60


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Alaafin seeks government’s support on palace maintenance T

HE Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, has urged federal, state and local governments to assist in “maintaining and preserving” his ancient palace. Oba Adeyemi spoke in his palace while hosting 10 Egba traditional rulers from Ogun State, led by the OsileOkeona of Egba, Oba Adedapo Karounwi III. He said besides the danger posed to antiquities by thefts smuggling, and poor handling, ignorance and apathy towards cultural objects by the people also pose their own threat. Oba Adeyemi said: “Most Nigerians, especially the Yoruba, are unaware of the value of these objects to their cultural heritage and those informed are often not sympathetic to the cause of preserving them. Most of the objects that abound in the country today are in various stages of deterioration due to neglect and poor handling. “Most ancient palaces, including mine, lack basic conservation equipment needed for the care of objects in their

•Egba traditional rulers visit monarch

ICT’ll facilitate accountability, says Fayemi


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has said effective application of Information Communications Technology (ICT) would build a more accountable system. The state has partnered information technology giant, International Business Machines (IBM), on e-school and e-governance. While receiving IBM experts in his office in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, on Monday, Fayemi said Ekiti could be a model for the Smart Planet planned by the company. He said his administration is determined to eradicate poverty and develop human capital. The governor said the merger of three universities into the Ekiti State University (EKSU) would make the institution a model for e-learning and a centre of excellence. He said the Social Welfare Scheme for the Elderly would soon go electronic to make it easier for senior citizens to access the money and block leakages. Fayemi urged IBM to come up with a smart card that could be useful for the scheme. IBM team leader Mrs. Remi Abere described Ekiti as a perfect destination for the company’s ICT project and hailed the administration’s efforts to drive development through technology. She said her team’s presence in Ekiti for the next one month would impact positively on the state’s technological drive.

Activists remember Beko •Renew call for SNC


CTIVISTS across the country gathered at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, at the weekend to remember the late Dr. Bekololari Ransome-Kuti. The Seventh Beko Ransome-Kuti Memorial lecture, entitled: ‘Constitutional Gridlock: The Way Out’, was organised by the Coalition of Civil Society Groups. The activists called for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to discuss and proffer solutions to the nation’s problems. Speakers at the event include Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Prof. Akin Oyebode, Prof. Itse Sagay, Dr. Dipo Fashina and Dr. Fredrick Fasheun, among others. The speakers said although, Beko was dead, his spirit lingers on. They said his ideals, which include the restructuring of the polity through the convocation of a SNC, are still being pursued. Fayemi described the late activist as a courageous citizen and consistent advocate

From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

collections. Where the equipment are available, the requisite manpower may be absent. In Nigeria today, there is a dearth of trained manpower in the field of palace conservation and preservation and there are very few conservation laboratories and workshops.” He said a book, entitled: ‘YORUBA PALACES’, written by Prof. Afolabi Ojo, who lectured at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), and the University of Lagos (UNILAG), explains the classification of palaces in Yorubaland. Alaafin said: “The palaces are classified into two - the eastern and western types. The eastern types, which include the palaces of the Olowo of Owo, Ewi of AdoEkiti, and the Deji of Akure, have large expanse of land,

for democracy and good governance. He said the late Beko would have been fighting corruption, amendment of our flawed constitution through SNC and devolution of powers, if he was alive. Fayemi affirmed that the 1999 Constitution is unworkable and should be reviewed, urging Nigerians to insist on the convocation of a SNC. Sagay urged leaders of the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC) to work with civil society groups in the struggle for change, genuine democracy, social justice, good governance and a corrupt-free society. In a telephone chat, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Chairman Ayodele Adewale described the late Beko as an icon of democracy. He backed the call for a SNC, saying it would unite the country’s diverse nationalities. Adewale said the present constitution is not peopleoriented and should be reviewed at the SNC.

The cost of maintaining this large ancient edifice is enormous and requires the collective contribution of both the custodian, who is the Alaafin, governments and well-meaning Yoruba leaders.

most of which have background forests. The western types, which include the palaces of the Ooni of Ife, Alake of Egbaland, Awujale of Ijebu Ode and mine, have no background forests but many built-ups.

“What makes this palace more distinct than others are its largest built-ups, which comprise 24 big compounds. Outside the palace, there are also surrounding buildings, which house the Alaafin’s functionaries, the ancient

Akesan market and other structures that make it difficult for any invasion or attack on the palace. “The buildings serve as a defence against external aggression. This is coupled with the large number of people working in the palace for the purpose of preservation. “The cost of maintaining this large ancient edifice is enormous and requires the collective contribution of both the custodian, who is the Alaafin, governments and well-meaning Yoruba leaders.” Oba Adeyemi urged traditional rulers to be united. Oba Karounwi described the Alaafin as “the acknowledged and respected leader among Yoruba monarchs” and presented a cheque to

•Oba Adeyemi

him on behalf of the Egba Traditional Rulers’ Council. A delegation of Southwest Muslim Ummah, led by its Secretary, Prof. D. Noibi, also visited the Alaafin.



NEWS Refund money seized from Ladoja, Oyo urges EFCC •Seeks speedy trial of Alao-Akala


HE Oyo State Government has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release money and property confiscated from former Governor Rashidi Ladoja to it, saying they belong to the state. It also urged the anti-graft agency to expedite the trial of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala. In a statement yesterday, Commissioner for Information Taiwo Otegbeye said the decisions were reached at the State Executive Council meeting. He said: “The State Executive Council has passed a resolution urging EFCC to expedite the trial of the former governors and their co-accused for alleged misappropriation of state funds and resources.” The state government hailed EFCC’s efforts to curb corruption, but complained that the trial of the former governors is yet to begin. It urged the commission to release money, vehicles and property seized from Ladoja to the state government, “since they were allegedly bought with Oyo’s funds. The government said the return of the items, which are worth over N700 million, would enable it execute more capital projects. “The council pledges the support and cooperation of the state government to EFCC in its task of ridding the country of corruption,” the statement said.

LASU convocation Feb. 20, 21 By Medinat Kanabe


HE convocation of the Lagos State University (LASU) will hold on February 20 and 21 at the institution’s auditorium. First degrees and diplomas would be awarded on February 20 and higher degrees on February 21. The convocation lecture, entitled: ‘Quality assurance and the challenges of mandate deliver in Nigerian universities’, will be delivered by the Secretary of the National Universities’ Council (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, at the new auditorium by 10am on February 20.

•Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola (middle); his deputy, Mrs. Titi-Laoye Tomori (second left); Director of Geo-Political and National Affairs, National Defence Academy, Abuja, Ambassador Ayo Adeniran (second right); Principal Staff Officer, Coordination, Brig. Gen. Yushau Abubakar (left); Faculty member, Prof. Okey Ihedume (right) and others during a visit of officials of the National Defence Academy to the governor in his office in Osogbo...on Monday.

Osun CAN chair: no ban on CRS


SUN State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman Superior Evang. Abraham Aladeseye has denied yesterday’s report in The Nigerian Tribune that he said the state government has banned the teaching of Christian Religious Studies (CRS) in Muslim schools. Speaking with reporters yesterday, he described the story as “a figment of the writer’s imagination”. Aladeseye said neither he nor CAN issued such a statement. He urged security agencies to investigate the matter, saying the report was aimed at causing religious disharmony in the state. The report claimed that Osun CAN said it would ban Islamic Religious Studies (IRS) in Christian schools, if CRS is cancelled in Islamic schools. Aladeseye said the report might have been referring to a statement by CAN on May 31, last year, in which certain issues were raised and communicated to the government. He said issues raised in the statement had been resolved

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

amicably by Muslims and Christians. Aladeseye said: “I do not know anything about the media report, neither do CAN executives. I do not know where the newspaper got its information from. “I implore security agencies to investigate the matter because I do not want anything to tarnish my image. I am prepared to sue the newspaper because I did not talk to their correspondents. “It was around last year April that we wrote a letter to the state government on the issue of pupils wearing Hijab, the revival ground in Ilesha (Open Heaven Arena) and the proposed school uniform, and we have trashed out those issues. “That letter is different from what I read in the paper yesterday. CAN has not is-

sued any statement this year. In fact, we are to meet today (yesterday), so how could we have issued a statement before the meeting? We do not know anything about the story. “About two weeks ago, we had an emergency meeting with the deputy governor under the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NAIREC), where somebody raised the issue of cancellation of CRS in Muslim schools. The deputy governor said such insinuation is far from the truth and that we should inform the government if we hear anything of such. “I have not received any complaint from Muslim and Christian schools that they have stopped teaching CRS or IRS. CAN is satisfied with the leadership style of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, which has opened its door for discussion on religious matters. “We are Christians and are taught to ensure peace al-

ways. We do not need to create problem or embarrass anybody or any government. Osun CAN is satisfied with how the government is handling religious matters. If we have any problem, we would discuss it with the governor and he would explain his side of the matter. That has been the practice. “When you see something wrong, you say it out the way it is. When we had problem over hijab last year, we went to the governor and he told us to go and solve the problem ourselves. CAN and Muslim leaders met and the matter was resolved.” Aladeseye debunked the claim in the report that CAN dissociated itself from the multipurpose Open Heaven Arena the state government is building in Ilesha for the Christians, saying nothing could be far from the truth. The cleric warned people against dragging religious groups into politics.

ACN chair slams Omisore for comments


HE Acting Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun State, Elder Adebiyi Adelowo, has condemned claims by the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Otunba Iyiola Omisore, that Governor Rauf Aregbesola has not achieved anything since he assumed office two years ago. He said Omisore “can only deceive himself but not the people of Osun State”. Adebiyi spoke in Iwo during his ongoing tour of the councils. He said Omisore

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

was only trying to confuse the people, but would not succeed. Adebiyi said Omisore is the only one that cannot see what everybody can see clearly. He said: “The statements credited to Omisore in the newspaper interview depict the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant as a political desperado. I urge Osun people to beware of him. “The seven-year rot PDP in-


flicted on the state is enough pain and the majority of citizens do not want it to happen again. They know the difference between ACN and PDP.”

Man arraigned for ‘murder’


MIDDLE-AGED man, Muideen Adedokun, was yesterday arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court sitting in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, for allegedly killing a woman, Grace Alabi. Adedokun allegedly hit the late Alabi with a vehicle marked XA 498 AKD (LAGOS). The accident occurred around 8:40am on January 1 in Ido Osun Egbedore Local Government. The police prosecution said Adedokun drove dangerously without regard for other road us-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

ers. Adedokun pleaded not guilty to the twocount charge. Defence counsel Olalekan Sanusi urged the court to grant his client bail. The Senior Magistrate, Lasisi Adebayo, granted Adedokun N100,000 bail with two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must own a house within the magisterial district.

Ogun to inaugurate N500m tools •Lifts ban on trucks From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta


GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun will today inaugurate bulldozers, tractors and other farming implements worth N500 million. The ceremony will hold at the Arcade Ground in Abeokuta, the state capital. Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Lanre Bisiriyu said the implements were bought to enhance agricultural production and industrialisation. The government has lifted the ban of articulated vehicles weighing 20 tons and above on major roads in Abeokuta. The trucks are now to move between 9am and 1pm, as well as between 8pm and 6am daily. Secretary to the State Government Taiwo Adeoluwa announced this at a meeting with associations of granite suppliers, truck owners and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). He said the decision was in response to their complaint that the ban was affecting their businesses negatively. Adeoluwa said: “The governor has approved a fourhour window for you from 9am to 1pm. As a listening government, we cannot ignore your pleas. Please take advantage of that indulgence responsibly and ensure strict compliance by your members.” He urged truck drivers to always cover their goods while in transit, adding that the government would sanction any driver that contravenes its laws. President of the Association of Granite Suppliers and Haulers Olalekan Adegun hailed the Amosun administration for its people-oriented programmes and urged the governor to check the excesses of some local government councils on multiple taxation.




Oil marketer forged documents to commit subsidy fraud, says witness


N oil subsidy theft suspect, Mr Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, forged some documents with which he defrauded the government, a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, heard yesterday. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged him, Habila Theck and their firm, Fargo Energy Limited, with six counts of conspiracy, forgery, and obtaining money by false pretence. The agency alleged they failed to import about 10,000 metric tons (13 million litres) of petrol in 2011 after allegedly receiving N976 million as subsidy payment from the government. The prosecution tendered some documents yesterday which it said showed how the

By Joseph Jibueze

defendants perpetrated the fraud involving about N976.6m. It included a purported Certificate of Quality and Marine Insurance Certificate. .EFCC also tendered a letter by rights activist Mr Femi Falana (SAN), dated January 5, 2012, in which he urged the agency to investigate the subsidy regime. An EFCC investigator, Abdulrasheed Bawa, said the Marine Insurance Certificate was counterfeit. Also admitted in evidence were copies of transaction documents submitted by the defendant to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the Corporate Affair Commission and the Nigerian Custom Services. Ogunbambo was in court

yesterday. There was confusion on Monday as to where he was remanded as ordered by the court. EFCC’s lawyer Mr. Francis Usani had alleged that he was in Ikoyi prison when he ought to be at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison as ordered. This prompted Justice Onigbanjo to direct that a production warrant for Ogunbambo to be issued on Ikoyi Prisons authorities. He adjourned further trial till May 30 and June 10. Meanwhile, Ogunbambo is facing another criminal charge before Justice Olabisi Akinlade in which he was accused of defrauding a bank of N430million. Hearing in the case comes up today.

Consecration for bishop

•Bishop Okorafor


HE Bishop-elect of the Anglican Diocese of Egbu, Geoffrey Enyinnaya Okorafor, will be consecrated on February 24 by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Niger-

ia, Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh. The ceremony will take place at the Cathedral Church of St Jude, Ebute Metta, Diocese of Lagos Mainland. Also to be consecrated are J O.Odedeji, Dean of the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, for the Diocese of Lagos West and Rev Simeon O. Borokim, Provost of the Cathedral Church of St David’s Ijomu Street, for the Diocese of Akure. Okorafor’s enthronement has been fixed for May 1 at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Egbu, Imo State. The Bishop-elect thanked

the pioneer Bishop of the Diocese, Rev Emmanuel Uchechukwu Iheagwam, “for deeming it necessary that a priest from within the Diocese should succeed him. Okorafor was born on February 2 ,1959, in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State. He holds a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Port Harcourt. The bishop also attended the Trinity Theological College, Umuahia. He was ordained deacon on July 6, 1997 and became priest on December 6, 1998. Okorafor is married with a daughter.

Girl found with genitals missing


HE body of a missing girl has been found– without her eyes and genitals. The Ufomba family and the people of Ohanze community in Obingwa Local Government of Abia State are saddened by the fate that befell Miss Chigozie Ufomba, whose body was found in a bush behind Community Secondary School, Ohanze. The victim was said to have been abducted with her

From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba

younger brother, Chidozie, by a woman on Friday. They were on their way to school. It was gathered that the suspect, who is in police custody with four others, was arrested at the weekend. This followed a revelation by a pupil, who allegedly saw her with the children. A source said the suspect allegedly confessed that

Chidozie was sold at Ndiakata Community, seven kilometres from Ohanze where they were said to have been kidnapped. “Chidozie was rescued alive but his sister was found behind a school with her genitals and eyes removed.” Five persons, including the suspect’s husband and a native doctor, are in police custody. Police spokesman Amaechi Jonathan said he was yet to be briefed on the incident.

Surveyors donate N2.3m to flood committee


HE Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has donated N2.385 million to flood victims. It called for proper investigation into the causes of the disaster to avert a recurrence. A statement by Emeka Eleh (President) and Victor Ayeye (National Publicity Secretary), said what it gave “represents donations from our institution and members towards the provision of relief materials and rehabilitation of the victims and communities.” The NIESV urged the Federal Government to investigate the cause of the flood, some of which include “alleged opening of gates of a dam in Cameroon”. It said: “The impact of human activities and development on the environment was also responsible for the flood.

The NIESV added that “the neglect of the authorities and agencies on environmental issues and failure of the citizens in imbibing the culture of environmental friendly practices are some of the remote causes of the disaster.”

It lamented that losses sustained in the disaster are beyond the life and property washed away by the flood. “ It also include the psychological trauma that will be suffered for a long time by victims.

CITN Registrar Jayeoba dies


R Emmanuel Abayomi Jayeoba, the Registrar/Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, is dead. He died on February 8 after a brief

illness. A product of Wesley College, Ibadan and a graduate of Accounting from Yaba College of Technology, the late Jayeoba obtained an MBA degree in Finance from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State. He was a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an Associate member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered). Before joining CITN in 2009, he worked in both private and public sectors for over 22 years. He was at various times the Director of Administration and Finance at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Chief Accountant of Omatek Computers Limited, Executive Director of Finance and Administration with Glanvill Enthoven & Co. Nig. Limited, a subsidiary of Jardine LIoyd Insurance Brokers U.K. and the Chief Finance Officer with Chase Executive Business Service Limited.

‘No bail for Arepo pipeline suspects’


FEDERAL High Court in Lagos yesterday refused bail to six men charged with the vandalisation of oil pipeline in Arepo, Ogun State and the murder of three engineers sent by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fix the vandalised pipeline. Justice Mohammed Idris held that some portions of the affidavit supporting their bail application, was defective, in that, it contravened Section 115 of the Evidence Act. He held that the defective portion, when struck out, will render the affidavit bare. “And when the affidavit is bare, it renders the application bare and liable to be struck out and is hereby struck out.” The accused, Joel Inerepamu (25), Reuben Oluwole (60), John Isaiah (28), Ineye Okposa (40), Timi Gunugunu (22), and Olisa Saheed (25) are being tried on a sevencount charge of pipeline vandalisation and murder. Prosecution lawyer, Toyin Ibadin thad opposed the bailed application on the ground that the first son of one of the accused was killed as a result of the explosion that resulted from the alleged act of those being triad. He alleged that the deceased

By Eric Ikhilae

and his mother, were equally involved in the vandalisation of oil pipelines. Ibadin reminded the court that vandalisation and murder were offences carrying capital punishments, and should not be treated lightly. He also told the court that the accused persons had no traceable residence since they resided in the creeks and so it would be difficult to trace them where they jump bail. The prosecutor had told the court that the accused, had

conspired on September 5, 2012 at about 6p.m., at Arepo, Ogun state, to vandalise an NNPC oil pipeline located in the vicinity. He alleged that the accused had vandalised the pipeline and scooped out large quantities of petroleum products for illegal sale. Ibadin also informed the court that on sighting engineers assigned to the area from the NNPC, to maintain the pipelines, the accused, who were armed with guns, opened fire. Hearing has been fixed for March 14

Fed Govt earns N2.4tr in Q3 By Collins Nweze


HE Federal Government earned N2.4 trillion in the fourth quarter of last year, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Economic report released yesterday has said. The report, published on the CBN website, the revenue, represents a decline of 0.4 when compared with earnings in preceding quarter. However, the figure shows an increase of 101.1 per cent above the receipts in the corresponding period of 2011. At N1.82 trillion, oil receipts, which constituted 75.6 per cent of the total revenue, exceeded the budget estimate and receipts in the corresponding period of 2011 by 9.91 and 151.2 per cent, respectively. But the oil earnings declined by 5.8 per cent below the receipts in the preceding quarter.




CBN, banks to review charges HE Bankers’ Committee, comprising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), all the Deposit Money Banks, Micro Finance Banks and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is reviewing guidelines on new bank charges. The Director, Banking Supervision of the CBN, Mrs Agnes Tokunbo Martins while addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, said no final decision has been taken on the guideline for new bank charges. Managing Director of Access Bank, AigImokhuede, said bank charges cannot stop particularly when lenders are providing value. He however, said the charges will come down this year from N5/mill to N3/mil. He said Commission on Turnover (COT) will continue to reduce to allow bank charges to decline. He said that the Committee also decided, “no bank customer should pay Automated Teller Machine (ATM) charges, adding that bank customers who use ATM cards on machines other than their bank’s ATM machines, are not expected to pay any charges because, “that is the banks contribution to alleviate some of the problems that


•Customer ID coming to boost credit From Nduka Chiejina Asst Editor, Abuja

bank customers face. Besides, he said that the Committee directed that customers should take up such issue with any bank that charges them for using their ATM. The Managing Director of Zenith Bank PLC, Godwin Emefiele, said the Committee also reviewed the success of the cashless policy in Lagos and hopes that in due course; it will be replicated in other parts of the country. “But for now, we are concentrating on cluster locations where cash is used predominantly to see how the people can be convinced to go cashless. A date for the movement of cashless policy from Lagos to other parts of the country will be announced later,” he said. He stated that the Committee also discussed customer identity management to boost consumer credit to borrowers, saying the weakness in extending consumer credit to bank customers, “is that there is no data bank of information on customers.” Consequently, he said the Committee is setting up the customer identity manage-

ment team that would help to build a data base. To this end, a bio-metric project where customers are assigned unique identification numbers and thumb prints taken, will soon commence, he said. He added, “once these information is taken, all banks will have access to that information irrespective of where the initial account is domiciled. Because of the unique identification number, it will now be easy for banks to lend money to customers with good repayment records, or clean slate and those who fail in repaying their loans, will also be easily identified and refused further credit by the banks.” As part of the cashless project, Emefiele stated it was clarified at the meeting that the N150,000 third party cheque payments is nationwide. He said here will not be any cash payments on third party cheques for sums more than N150,000, and it is not restricted to Lagos. Aig-Imokhuede added that the banking industry is serious about capturing those outside the banking system through financial inclusion strategies. Con-

sequently, he said the Committee has decided to use Borno as the pilot for financial inclusion, adding that if it works in Borno it will work anywhere in Nigeria. “We will concentrate efforts on Borno state, which was chosen because it is in the North East of the country with its social demographics in terms of poverty, “ added. Another reason for choosing Borno he noted is because women, youths and those in the rural areas do not have access to financial services, hence the decision of the committee to concentrate efforts in these areas. The financial inclusion strategy for Borno he said is near finalization. He said with a population of 5 million in 2010, only 280,000 had access to payments, with savings accounting for only 14 per cent of the population. He noted that less than two per cent had access to credit; pensions 2.9 per cent and less than 1 per cent had access to insurance. The Bankers’ Committee he said, did not adopt the national averages for financial inclusion for Borno, becuase “the idea is to get the number of ATMs up from 95 today to 770 in 2020, branch networks from 72 bank branches to 120 in 2020 and Point of Sales (PoS) from less than 300 to just under 10,000 by 2020.”

Fashola sets October date for 10.4MW Power project


AGOS State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has said the 10.4 Mega Watts Alausa Independent Power Project, (IPP) that will provide power for the entire Alausa Secretariat would be ready for commissioning by October, this year. Fashola stated this yesterday at the opening of the Lagos State Science and Technology, (LASTECH), Week, themed, ‘Promoting the Development of Science and Technology through Entrepreneurship Education,’ held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Secretariat. Fashola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat explained that “the different between developed countries and developing ones is science and technology and the rule of law. “In order to close this gap and achieve the development that we crave for, the state government embarked on the construction of Independent Power Projects, (IPP), to power the public infrastructure in the state. This was because the cost of providing power supply for public infrastructure through generating set is high. “Among the IPP already constructed by the state, is the Akute Power Project to provide power supply for the Akute Water Works and others. But it hasn’t stopped there. You can notice that in front of the state House of Assembly, we have dug that area to lay some cables. What we are trying to do is that

By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

by October this year, God willing, the whole of Alausa, will be off Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). “We are building our own source of power supply. What that gives us is the ability to determine our life’s and serve the residents of the state better.” “We know that power supply is the bases for development and that was why we started with the Power Projects. By the time we complete the power projects, it will aid the state’s broadband,” he added. Fashola also said the state government is almost completing the design of a broadband infrastructure for Lagos state, saying, the state is already working with two companies on the project. He said the essence of the broadband is to reduce the cost of broadband and to allow everyone to have easy internet, adding that every school in Lagos, hospitals, every infrastructure in the state will have effective access to internet. “The broadband is already on, but what is available in the country right now was provided by overseas companies. We need to get it to peoples’ homes and offices. The penetration in the country is still below-20 per cent. With the policy being introduced by the state government and with the infrastructure the state government is currently providing, there will be 100 per cent penetration and this will aid the knowledge based economy we are aiming at.

Prosecute loan defaulters, minister urges HE Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Musa Sada, has urged the prosecution of loan defaulters to serve as deterence to others. Sada, who spoke yesterday at the inauguration of the board of the Solid Minerals Development Fund, also urged the board to publish the names of future loan defaulters in national newspapers, and pursue defaulters through judicial action to recover unpaid loans. He asked the board to ensure that the right procedures are followed when disbursing loans to miners, assuring that the fund would be domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN ) to ensure that monies are not diverted. The establishment of the fund is a call on operators to ensure that the sector becomes bigger than the oil and gas sector in terms of revenue generation and employments creation, he said. The Minister who declined to disclose the amount domiciled in the fund, said the resources for the fund are expected from sums “appropri-


From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

ated for solid minerals development under the Revenue Act, any sum appropriated for solid minerals development under the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS); any funds received as grant, donations, foreign loans, bonds and long term swaps and any sums appropriated to it by the Federal Government’s budgetary allocations”. He tasked the board to provide funding for “the development of both human and physical capacity in the sector; funding for geo-scientific data gathering, storage and retrieval to meet the needs of private sector led mining industry; equipping the mining institutions to enable them perform their statutory functions; funding for the extension services to small and artisanal mining operators; and provisions of infrastructure in mines land”. Meanwhile, the chairman of the board, Linus Adie thanked the government for establishing the fund to ensure the growth of the sector

and for giving them the opportunity to serve the nation. Adie, who was the Project Coordinator of the World Bank funded $120million Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP) pointed at the recent Audit of the by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative who disclosed that the sector contributed N54billion to the federation account as an indicator that the sector is rebounding. While acknowledging that the development of the sector is still a challenge, he assured that the fund would be utilized to grow the sector. He thanked the government for establishing the fund to ensure the growth of the sector and for giving them the opportunity to serve the nation. Other members of the board are Loreta Aniagulu, Sani Shehu Mohammed, Caleb Dare, Mahe Shehu Ahmed (Secretary), a representative each from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bankers’ Committee and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

NAMA begins area radar control


IGERIAN Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has put in place the necessary logistics to commence area radar control in the country to further boost air navigation services and safety. Area radar control, is an air traffic control service, provided for airplanes flying within the Flight Information Region

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

(FIR). NAMA’s Managing Director, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, said a good number of air traffic controllers have been trained to handle this operation at both the Kano and Lagos area control centres. Addressing airline pilots in Lagos, Udoh disclosed that Friday, February 22, has been slated for the test run with

the operating airlines, while April 12, 2013, is slated for its inauguration. While asking for the co operation of the pilots, the NAMA boss said the regulatory agency-Nigerian Civil Aviation Agency (NCAA) is being carried along to give approval for the immediate implementation of this air traffic service to airlines .

Sunday Mba Critics sealed seeks Europe our victory dream — Shorunmu

Pg. 14

Pg. 14

Eagles disappointed me—Bance Pg. 51

Sport Wednesday, February 13, 2013



brought back Champions League memories —Mikel M

IKEL OBI has revealed that winning the AFCON trophy brought back sweet memories of the historic Champions League he won with Chelsea in May. Chelsea were given very little chance against home team Bayern Munich, but they fought

back from a goal down to win a first-ever Champions League trophy Mikel, who shone at his fourth Nations Cup in South Africa as Nigeria went all the way to a third triumph, said he was on top of the world because he longed for the trophy. “It was a great moment for me when

the referee blew the final whistle. The feeling was like when we won Champions League last season. I was excited and relieved,” Mikel told “It was an amazing feeling. I have been longing for it and I am glad I finally

got it now. I am sure there are more trophies to come for this team.” Mikel was named in the tournament XI along with four other Eagles’ stars – Vincent Enyeama, Efe Ambrose, Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike. He was also the Man of the Match for the final on Sunday.

Two Nigerian journalists brutalised by South African policemen

Pg. 14







Imoke hails Eagles


ROSS RIVER state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has hailed the Super Eagles for delivering on their promise of winning the AFCON trophy. Nigeria defeated Burkina Faso 1-0 on Sunday in South Africa to claim her third AFCON trophy and Gov Imoke is thrilled the team has done him, the government and people of Cross River state who supported the team all through the qualifying games for the championship and indeed 160 million people proud. “I am delighted that the Super Eagles have delivered on the promise they made to me during their last qualifying game against Liberia in Calabar that they will win the AFCON trophy and bring it to Calabar to present to me”, revealed Gov Imoke who spoke through his Sports and Youth Development Commissioner, Honourable Patrick Ugbe. Imoke is particularly happy that his government played a huge part in ensuring the Super

Eagles had a conducive atmosphere and very accommodating people, urging them on as they ensured the heartache Nigerians suffered when the team failed to qualify for the 28th edition of the championships last year in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea was not repeated. "My government and the good people of Cross River state are delighted we provided the platform for the Super Eagles to restore their joy and Nigeria`s pride as well as paste smiles on the faces of Nigerians who have waited 19 long years for the team to be crowned African champions. "I congratulate coach Stephen Keshi and the boys as well as the Nigeria Football Federation on this historic feat. We are delighted to be a part of the success story and wish to assure the team of our continued support”, said the governor who, according to Ugbe is eagerly waiting to host the team in Calabar.


and Prince Afejukwu.He also remembers Akeem Alade and Demola Adekogbe," Kalu continued. And now Keshi's patriotism."In 1993,Coach Gilbert Gress of Stasbourg France,took the Captain's band from the Nigerian for playing in a World Cup qualifier against South Africa.In 1994,Keshi was sacked by Belgian club RWD Molenbeek,again, for choosing country over club.He was also attacked by armed robbers at Oshodi losing his Benz car and almost losing a brother in the process.Do not forget he was sanctioned by the NFA in 1985 and sacked in 2002 after assisting to qualify Nigeria for the World Cup,"Kalu said. Yet Keshi stood by his country.In Kalu's words,"As far back as 1992,South African journalist Mark Gleeson had tipped Keshi to coach Nigeria,describing him as world class.You saw how Keshi screamed when Gleeson asked him questions after the Ivorian feat.It took Nigeria 20 years to hire Keshi as Manager.And for the very first time,Eagles beat a team they could not defeat in the group phase, in the grand-finale.Manfred Hoener could not do it against Cameroun in 1988,nor Clemens Westerhof against Algeria in 1990.Homeboy Keshi achieved it.”

Nigeria v Kenya fixture changed

Europe dream F


IGERIA's unlikely hero in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Sunday Mba, has said he hopes he has done enough to earn a dream move to Europe. On Sunday in Johannesburg, the 24-year-old Warri Wolves forward scored the goal that ended Nigeria's 19-year wait for a continental glory as they won their third Nations Cup trophy at the expense of Burkina Faso. In the 1994 final in Tunisia, Emmanuel Amuneke came off the bench to fire two goals past Zambia and give the Super Eagles their second Nations Cup triumph after they first won the tournament on home soil in 1980. Amuneke, who was then playing for top Egyptian side Zamalek, would subsequently move to Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon and eventually Barcelona. "I hope I can also get a deal in Europe after what I achieved at the Nations Cup," said the

Kalu crowns Keshi ‘Igwe’ ORMER Abia state governor Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu thinks Stephen Okechukwu Keshi,First Nigerian to win the Nations Cup as player and coach, deseves to be crowned the Igwe[King ] of our soccer. Extolling Keshi's profile, Kalu said, "The first Nigerian to qualify another nation, Togo, for the the World Cup, first to take three countries-Togo, Mali, Nigeria to the Nations Cup, first to play in four continents-Africa, Europe, Asia, America, first Nigerian to win AFCON gold,silver and bronze both as player and coach, and many more." The ex-governor described Keshi as a true Nigerian who cherishes friendship more than gold and a great patriot ready to die in defence of fatherland. "Born in Zaria to Igbo parents from the South-south,bred in Lagos and married to an Ishan,Edo lady,Keshi's friends are legion.At St.Paul's school Ebute-Meta,his pals were Paul Okoku and Segun Olukanmi.When he joined New Nigeria Bank, Benin in 1979,it was because of Henry Nwosu and Edema Benson,snubbing Aloy Atuegbu's better deal from Rangers.Keshi met his wife Kate through Franklin Howard's friend Lizzy.And one of his Assistants in the Eagles team Sylvanus Okpala was a pioneer Flying Eagle like Humphrey Edobor,Sam Igwenagu


Two Nigerian journalists brutalised by South African policemen


WO Nigerian journalists escaped being shot by South African police in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon after they were harassed, brutalized and almost detained for no offence. Mr. Debo Oshudun, Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, for Central and Southern Africa and John Joshua Akanji a Deputy Editor of the Sun Newspapers were onboard a taxi on their way to cover the departure of the Super Eagles when shortly after they both alighted , they were surrounded by no less than 20 armed South African Police officers who threatened to shoot them if they insist they are Journalists. The two Journalists narrated their ordeal to NationSport and thanked God for sparing their lives. “I thank God we are still alive because we could have been shot knowing the type of judicial killing in South Africa. I have never been in that situation in my life. I was dragged on the floor kicked and brutalized. I and John Joshua-Akanji were disposessed of our phones, my keys and we couldn’t contact anybody. We were detained for two hours and I was really traumatized for the time the police dealt with us and still imagining it up till now. “The police claimed that they stopped our car because the taxi we were in has a plate number with two different characters. Immediately they stopped us they removed the plate number. They lied that they had been trailing us,”, Oshundun told NationSport in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon. Joshua-Akanji had to miss his South Africa Air flight due to this torture he received from the South Africa Police.

From Segun Ogunjimi, Johannesburg The Sun Newspaper Deputy Editor also narrated his ordeal to NationSport in Johannesburg yesterday. “I was in a trance. I thought I was acting out a movie. I never thought it was for real. I have never seen a thing like this all my life. But I am happy to be alive to tell the story”, the visibly shaken journalist disclosed. 20 policemen who had already cocked their guns pointed to my head and my colleague, Oshundun’s, were shouting I will shoot you, I will shoot you. Who are you? Do you think you are special. I will blast your brains off”, Joshua-Akanji revealed. Lieutenant Colonel M F Tshabalala station commander, Sandringham Command South Africa Police service, SAPS, later apologised for the treatment meted out on the Nigerian Journalists. It took the intervention of the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg to secure the release of both men. There are no indication yet, if the Journalists will press for charges against the South African Police. The two journalists, however, commended the taxi driver named Hope for daring the South Africa Police by defending them and shouting that “these men are responsible journalists that have come here to cover the Afcon. They are like brothers to me. I ate and dinned with them. They have been wonderful to me as a South African. Why are you treating them this way? It’s not fair, it’s not fair”, Joshua-Akanji claimed Hope cried out while the policemen were brutalizing them.


•Bolaji Abdullahi

PORTS MINISTER, Bolaji Abdullahi has called for reorganisation of sports administration in the country after which he believes the results would follow. While reviewing the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations won by the Super Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday, Abdullahi said that Nigerian sports administrators should use the victory as a spring board to learn how to administer sports well in the country. “The reason we have failed in football is not because there are no talents but because we have had difficulties in the way we have organised ourselves; the way the federation is organised and

From Segun Ogunjimi, Johannesburg

operated”, Abdullahi disclosed. “We can use this victory as a turning point in the development of sports generally and football in particular for Nigeria. We all know the place of football in our environment. No matter what you do in other sport if you don’t get football right you have not done a n y t h i n g . B u t t h a t notwithstanding, I am not a football minister, so I will look at the general implication of what victory means for sports in Nigeria. “If you will recall, we came out of the London 2012 without winning

Runsewe hosts Nigerian leaders in South Africa


•Otunba Olusegun Runsewe in a group photograph with the Nigeria Community leaders in South Africa at Jummy Kitchen, Johannesburg

•Hails their support to Eagles From Segun Ogunjimi, Johannesburg Hon. Mathias Afolabi Sagbo. Others included the President Ohaneze South Africa, Okogiri Smart, General Secretary National Association of Nigerian Students South Africa, Ozoemena Nnamdi and representative of Afenifere and Hausa Community in South Africa. Runsewe used the opportunity of the lunch to thank the major community leaders in South Africa and urged them to continue to project the good image of Nigeria in the country. “We thought it wise and necessary to see

"He will need good advisers to make a decision about this. And whatever he chooses would surely shape his career for the next two, three years." What would a European club be getting if they sign Mba? He is a skillful, hard working player who could play deep in midfield, as a second striker or even as the top striker. He shot to national prominence early last year when he scored twice for the Eagles in an international friendly in Liberia. He took his chance in South Africa when the highly-rated Nosa Igiebor from La Liga outfit Real Betis struggled. The former Enyimba star would go on to play a very deep role in the middle, using his big engine to graft for Chelsea star Mikel Obi and also having enough strength to move forward to score his two tournament-defining goals. But the only drawback for Mba is that at 24, he is a little too long in the tooth for a big breakthrough in Europe.

Clarke: Osaze still important to West Brom

Minister calls for reorganisation of sports administration T

AFCON VICTORY FALLOUTS IRECTOR General of Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe hosted some Nigerian community leaders in Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday to thank them for the huge support they gave to the Super Eagles during the team’s campaign for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations glory in the country for the past 25 days. The amiable former journalist treated the leaders to a sumptuous meal on Monday afternoon at Jummy Kitchen, Johannesburg and at the lunch were President of Nigeria Union in South Africa, Ikechukwu Anyene, General Secretary of the Union, President National Association of Nigerian Students in South Africa, Smart Nwobi, General Secretary Nigeria Union Gauteng Province,

former Nigeria Under-17 star, who was also the match winner against star-studded Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals of the competition. His exploits have already sparked off interest from top German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. In 2008, he was close to teaming up with Spanish lower league side Elche, but the deal collapsed after his local club, Enugu Rangers, demanded too much money. "A transfer abroad is the next step for his career after his decisive goals capped a very decent tournament for him," said Nigerian football agent Vincent Alumona, who was behind the player's move to Spain five years ago. "However, this could be tricky. The window in western Europe is shut, but there are still opportunities in places like Ukraine and Russia. And that is where the dilemma for Mba lies. To move now or wait till the next window in Germany, Spain or France opens in July?

OOTBALL Kenya Federation (FKF) has confirmed that the 2014 World Cup qualifier pitting African champions Nigeria against Kenya has been changed. The development comes after Nigeria were crowned champions of the African Cup of Nations and will represent the continent in Brazil during Confederations Cup. “The World Football Governing Body FIFA has communicated to Football Kenya Federation on the possibility of changing the dates for the Kenya, Nigeria Brazil World Cup qualifier.” “This has arisen due to Nigeria's qualification to represent Africa in the FIFA confederations Cup to be played in Brazil from 15th to 23rd June 2013. The world cup organising committee has therefore requested Kenya to reschedule the return leg at least two days before the 10th of June that means the match be played between 6th or 7th of June,” the statement read. FIFA is expected to hold an executive meeting on March 19th to decide on the exact dates. FKF have also revealed that they will hire a new coach before they face Super Eagles but were keen to state that he will not be high profile like the predecessor as the team is expected to pitch camp in two week’s time. “We are not going for a high profile coach this time round and the three have a good track record for working with African teams.”

you and also thank our community leaders in South Africa for the love and huge support you have accorded the Super Eagles and the team officials here in South Africa. I took permission from the Senate President who represented our sports loving President Goodluck Jonathan in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations that was won by the Eagles to come and thank you for the support you gave to the team and he happily obliged me and that is the reason I am here today (Monday). “I am particularly happy that when I came to give out souvenirs to our people here before the Sunday’s Afcon final in Pretoria on

the eve of the final I was expecting to see just 30 people but over 700 people gathered at the field that day and I was really happy and overwhelmed by the large turn-out that day. “Mr. President (Goodluck Jonathan) who sent me to you is very happy with your good conduct in this country and urged you to keep Nigeria flag flying here in South Africa. I am particularly happy with the fact that there was no single report from the South Africa Police of nay violence or criminal activities from Nigerians in South Africa before, during and after the match. That shows that Nigerians are well organized. “So I make bold to say from today (Monday) Friends of Nigeria has been launched in South Africa.” Runsewe summed up.

any medal, and there were a lot of uproar. But what I think we need was that instead of complaining that we did not win any medal, we should ask ourselves how it happened that for the first time in many years Nigeria went to the Olympics and did not win a medal. The Olympic failure was actually consistent with previous failures in other sporting competitions, the World Cup 2010, the Flacons failures and other in the last two or three years, the Olympics failure was just the highpoint of it all. “I came in shortly before the Olympics, but what is clear to me then was that what we experienced was the highpoint of the collapse of

so many years. My conclusion is that the basic building blocks for winning are not even there. The poets sector operates largely through the federations, especially the elite sports. But if you look at most of the federations, they are largely weak. “Many of them don’t even have the template that shows a connection between any process and the outcome that they desire. If you have that kind of environment, you are not going to win anything. In the absence of these basic building blocks, we have to start from the beginning to start rebuilding”, the Minister disclosed in Johannesburg on Monday.

Eagles disappointed me—Bance


URKINA FASO hitman Aristide Bance told, a day after they lost the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final to Nigeria, that the Super Eagles did not exhibit the standard he expected during the clash at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. The FC Augsburg striker said he was expecting a merciless showdown from the Vincent Enyeama-led squad but met a relatively assailable side that struggled against them despite the avalanche of supporters and favourable previews. “Although we lost, I don’t feel personally vanquished. I have to congratulate the Super Eagles for

their victory but I can say Burkina Faso didn’t lose,” the 28year-old said. “Nigeria were lucky to have scored first, otherwise it would have been difficult for them to equalise and carry the day. The encounter was quite balanced. For a team reaching the AFCON final for the first time and holding a two-time champion to a narrow one-goal win I can say it’s a victory for us and great inspiration for the future of the team,” he said. Asked if Alain Traore’s presence would have made some difference in their favour, Bance cancelled out that possibility with the absence also of Nigeria’s rocket forward

Emmanuel Emenike. “If you say we would have probably had an edge if Alain Traore had played then you can as well say Nigeria could have done much better had Emenike played.”


HE reintegration of West Brom's Peter Odemwingie is continuing, with Steve Clarke insisting the striker will have a part to play this season. Having travelled with the squad to Anfield on Monday night, the Nigerian sat in the stand to watch the Baggies' surprise 2-0 win over Liverpool, their first victory since Boxing Day. Clarke said the 31-year-old, who was disciplined by the club after trying to force a deadline-day move to QPR by driving to Loftus Road, was involved with the team in the pre-match build-up and hopes he can soon return in a playing capacity. Clarke had suggested prior to the Liverpool match that Odemwingie might be involved for the first time since January 19, but insisted there was nothing sinister in his eventual decision to leave him out. "It wasn't an additional punishment and he was involved, that is why he was there," he said. "He was in the dressing room, he was delighted for his team-mates and was there to support them and help them. "It is all part of what being part of a squad about. "Peter makes his contribution and will make a contribution in the season going forward." West Brom spent most of the match pursuing and pressing their hosts and they were successful enough to still be in the game with 10 minutes to go after goalkeeper Ben Foster had saved Steven Gerrard's penalty. Defender Gareth McAuley's header and Romelu Lukaku's 90thminute strike snatched victory but Clarke felt the platform had been established by his midfield. "It is the first time in a number of weeks I've had the luxury of being able to pick Mulumbu, Claudio Yacob and James Morrison in the same midfield," he said.









ur attention has been drawn to a sponsored advertorial by so-called concerned indigenes of Erin-Ile containing lies, half-truths, misinformation, distortions ,

unjustified insults/abuse and a deliberate attempt to set the rest of the country against the peace-loving, industrious and highly revered Offa community and its illustrious indigenes. We state unequivocally that Offa community has no reason whatsoever to embrace propaganda in the current crisis as facts are sacred and comments are free. We also believe that documents and pictures do not tell lies. Do they? At the appropriate time and in the course of proceedings of the Judicial panel of enquiry set up by the Kwara State government on the crisis, Offa community will make available to the whole world evidence of massive mayhem, killings and destruction unleashed on Offa community by the Erinile community without provocation whatsoever. However, the following should be noted by the public: 1. That Offa community is peace-loving hardly requires any proof, given the fact that, for decades, people from all works of life have had interactions with the community through diverse avenues including- Offa Grammar School (adjudged to be the first community grammar school in the whole of the Northern region) - Owode Market - Federal Polytechnic Offa - Adesoye International Schools all providing services and outlets to people of diverse extractions and tendencies within and outside the country – an indication of the hospitable nature for which Offa community is so well known 2. That contrary to the insinuations in the offensive publication, Offa community has a long standing cordial relationship with all the adjoining communities with whom they constantly interact through marriages, trade and other levels of cooperation. None of these communities is on record to have clashed with Offa community over any issue except our brothers and sisters in Erin-ile who seem to have been engulfed with hatred, envy and jealousy of the uncommon achievements of Offa people and its growing profile both locally and internationally. 3. That Offa community has always extended a hand of fellowship to our brothers and sisters in Erin-ile with whom they share common ancestral heritage and similarities in culture and traditions but these efforts are always rebuffed with violence and hatred mainly because they just do not like the faces of Offa people 4. That the current crisis as available facts and recorded evidence of destruction of lives and property will show is an invasion of the Offa community by the Erin-ile community in furtherance of a devious agenda to needlessly provoke Offa people into an unjustified war that can serve no useful purpose to any of the combatants 5. That the Offa community merely reacted in defence of themselves in reaction to massive destruction of property by Erin-ile indigenes in the destruction of useful Offa infrastructure as well as the killing of innocent Offa indigenes. 6. That we believe that lives and property on both sides are sacred and that incessant rivalry over landed property over the past years will not serve any useful purpose as all of us are passengers on transit on this earth and will ultimately leave these landed properties behind after exit. If so, why waste lives and property over such mundane matters? 7. Allusions to movement of headquarters from Erin-ile and creation of Offa local government are constitutional matters and one does not see how Offa community can be blamed for such process which is outside the purview of Offa community. 8. Attempts to portray Offa people as expansionists are totally uncharitable as we believe that there is enough space for everyone to navigate within defined boundaries in the developmental process. Offa people are generally peace-loving and are not obsessed with the theory of unbridled acquisition of landed property as erroneously portrayed. 9. That Offa community is on record to have constantly been calling on the National Boundary Commission to delineate the specific areas of jurisdiction in respect of Offa Local Government and Oyun Local Government respectively. We restate that call in this rejoinder and are willing to abide and comply with the outcome of such exercise. 10. We do not see how legitimate aspirations of Offa people to make a mark and contribute to nation building can constitute a crime as the Erin-ile community sought to portray in the offensive advertorial. We view the assertions to the contrary in the advertorial as evidence of petty jealousies and hatred by the Erin-ile community for the giant strides of Offa indigenes in national affairs which is really unfortunate in the 21st century modern Nigeria. We encourage Erin-ile indigenes to also embrace developmental initiatives and assure of the support and cooperation of Offa community in partnering with them in the realization of worthy objectives. 11. It is also note-worthy that despite Offa people’s love for peace and collective progress, the age-long crisis between the two communities would only be resolved when ErinIle indigenes desist from being unnecessarily and overzealously envious of the achievements of Offa as a community and instead focus on the development of their community 12. That attempts by Erin-ile indigenes to engage the sympathy of the public by playing the victims are baseless since there is substantial evidence showing the extent of damage and harm they have caused to Offa and its indigenes over the years, particularly in the current crisis. 13. We note the futile attempts to misrepresent the purport of the Supreme Court Judgment on the impasse and challenge the Erin-ile community to publish text of the judgment for the whole world to see. We have read the judgment and make bold to say that it did not reflect the facts erroneously published in the offensive advertorial. 14. As peace-loving people, Offa indigenes stand nothing to gain from the incessant furore and brouhaha and hope it ends soon in the collective interest of all. 15. We will like to remind our brothers and sisters in Erin-ile that we have been bounded together by circumstances of geography and destiny and the best we could do is for both sides to learn to live together in peace and unity as incessant bloodshed such as are constantly instigated by Erin-Ile community on the Offa community without provocation would serve no useful purpose to mutual peaceful coexistence. 16. In all of these frequent Offa/Erin-Ile crisis, one thing worries Offa community – the incessant bloodshed springing from the envy and needless jealousies unleashed against them by the Erin-Ile community who are supposed to be our brothers and sisters. Now and then, like a suppressed volcano, that threat of blood shed breaks forth to the surface, and when the smoke clears, Offa people are left to pick up the dead bodies of their kinsmen unnecessarily paying with their blood the price of Ibolo unity. 17. We call on those who fear God to stop these incessant instigated bloodshed, leaving dead bodies on both sides. 18. Finally, we extend the olive branch for peace to the Erin-Ile community and urge them in the name of God and humanity to embrace it as every life on both sides is sacred. BY: THE OFFA MOVEMENT FOR PEACE, UNITY & PROGRESS.







Benedict XVI leaves the papacy much as he found it

Fiscal anomie • The allocation of N4 billion for the president’s wife’s NGO is a new low in fiscal recklessness


PPROPRIATION bills in Nigeria these days seem to defy rhyme, reason or even sensitivity. And as for economic principles; perish the thought, for jungle instincts seem to hold sway. This is the overwhelming perception since early February when news broke that a handsome N4 billion is to be set aside in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 2013 Appropriation Bill for a ‘pet’ project. The Senate, reviewing the FCT’s proposed budget, had frowned at a number of seeming outlandish allocations, chief among which is N4 billion for the construction of the headquarters of the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM), a project which is the pet dream of the wife of the president, Mrs. Patience Jonathan. The list of what seems like booty sharing in the FCT spending plan is long. There is N2.4 billion for securing the capital city which boasts of no police, army or security agency of its own; N5 billion for some social malaise in the city, including the rehabilitation of prostitutes and the destitute, and N150 million for the renovation of the vice-president’s guest house. We acknowledge that the document before the Senate is just a proposal, a plan which is subject to changes and reviews, but we cannot come to terms with N4 billion being proposed for what is at best, a non-governmental organisation owned by the wife of the president. How could this have happened; and who is respon-

sible? The ‘Office of the First Lady’, as we have come to know it is the whimsical creation of the wives of successive presidents and governors which has no place in the law or Constitution of the Federal Republic. The Office of the First Lady is an aberration that has lingered for so long in the polity that many are beginning to forget that it is a mere charitable, if not ceremonial, set- up. Today, offices of first ladies are burgeoning across the country, from the local council areas through the 36 states and at the presidency level. There are massive office buildings being erected inside the precincts of government houses for her ladyships; a retinue of staff employed and deployed and recently, entire ministries and agencies are farmed out for the exclusive control of the “First Lady.” All of these, we hasten to state, are illegalities; they are unconstitutional and represent acts of impunity and abuse of office by successive governors and presidents. However, the current proposal in the FCT Appropriation Bill must be a new low and indeed, a new frightening dimension in the annals of first ladyship in Nigeria. It is only symptomatic of a reckless era when fiscal prudence and responsibility has been jettisoned. Budgets in Nigeria in recent times have been like garbage bins where all manner of things are dumped. There seems to be not a modicum of thinking, not to mention rigour, applied in budgeting these days. We are

still nonplussed by the N14 billion proposed for the completion of a new residence for the vice-president; N6.5 billion for pushing a petroleum bill and multibillion allocations for presidential repast, among such other figures that simply jar the senses in their sheer illogicality. We urge the Senate to expunge from the FCT Appropriation Bill without further ado, the proposed N4 billion for the AFLPM headquarters. The Appropriation Bill is too important to the polity to be treated with levity. The National Assembly should, as a matter of urgency, restore sanity to Nigeria’s budgeting process and rescue the nation from the current fiscal anomie.

‘We therefore urge the Senate to expunge from the FCT Appropriation Bill without further ado, the proposed N4 billion for the AFLPM headquarters. The Appropriation Bill is too important to the polity to be treated with levity. The National Assembly should, as a matter of urgency, restore sanity to Nigeria’s budgeting process and rescue the nation from the current fiscal anomie’

Bailout for shippers •In view of our experience, this is not the way to salvage the situation HE Federal Government’s decision to bail out indigenous ship owners to avail them with capacity to undertake international operations must be treated with circumspection. The nation had witnessed bailouts in the aviation, textile and the banking sectors, yet, the performances in these areas are everything but satisfactory. This informed our worry when President Goodluck Jonathan, through Olugbenga Oyewole, his Senior Special Assistant on Maritime Services, sounded the public out on the policy move. The president puts it succinctly: “I cannot think of any country that has the kind of cargo that we have and yet, our national vessels are not carrying it. Every other


‘We want Nigerians to own very good ships that meet up with international specifications, not the current ones that litter the nation’s coastal waters. But this should not be at the expense of the tax payers, in view of recent unpalatable experience in that regard. Previous bailouts by governments, whether in shipping or outside it, have not come with inspiring results. More importantly, we believe the situation would be better handled by the private sector’

country in the world keeps to their cargo. They carry it by themselves and they are coming to scramble for the ones we have here also…We may not have the capacity but the capacity may not come without government support. What we are trying to do as a government is to create the enabling environment so that they will be able to acquire good vessels. These vessels will fly Nigeria’s flag and will be used as training platforms for our people.” It is pertinent to ask: who is again proposing this same initiative that did not yield good dividends in the past? Could it be that the government just realised that ship owners in the country do not have the capacity to undertake international operations, thereby denying them the opportunity to compete globally? Despite the huge ingress and egress of foreign vessels on the nation’s coastal waters, it is sad that indigenous shippers cannot partake in high volume international shipping business. Even the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), the marketing arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is reportedly not patronising local shipping companies in moving its petroleum products within the country’s coastal waters. This is against the Coastal Shipping Act, otherwise known as the Cabotage Act. Furthermore, the economic implication of millions of barrels of crude oil and other exportable products being daily ferried out of the country in mainly foreign vessels is unfathomable. A study conducted

by Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, (ISAN) put the country’s annual loss to this ugly trend of foreign ship patronage at about N2.1trillion. Sadly, for as long as this trend continues, Nigeria would be developing the insurance, legal, engineering and maritime sectors of foreign countries to the detriment of hers. For a country like Nigeria with high rate of unemployment, this is quite serious. We want Nigerians to own very good ships that meet up with international specifications. But this should not be at the expense of the tax payers, in view of recent unpalatable experience in that regard. Previous bailouts by governments, whether in shipping or outside it, have not come with inspiring results. More importantly, we believe the situation would be better handled by the private sector. Why should the government be involved in such private-commercial ventures by making available to ship owners trillions of naira of tax payers’ money, which when doled out is capable of distorting the economy? In our view, loan initiatives with soft conditionality to willing and serious indigenous ship owners that are genuinely interested in broadening, to meet international standards, is by far a better option. So, the indigenous ship owners should approach the banks for loans. Government bailout is out of it; since they could see it as their own share of the national cake.


N EIGHT years as pope, Benedict XVI’s boldest act may have been his last one. His planned abdication at the end of this month, which took the world and most of the Catholic Church by surprise, would be the first by a pope in nearly 600 years. Though the Vatican said he was not suffering from any life-threatening ailment, the 85-yearold pontiff concluded that he lacked the “strength of mind and body” to carry out his ministry in a world “subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.” The hallmark of Pope Benedict’s tenure, for better or for worse, was fierce resistance to those changes. He rejected calls by Catholic progressives for reconsideration of doctrines such as celibacy and the ban on women in the priesthood; at a time when acceptance of the rights of gays and lesbians is rapidly spreading across the world, he was outspoken in condemning homosexuality as “unnatural” and unacceptable. With sectarian tension growing in Europe as well as the Middle East, he eschewed dialogue with Muslims and infuriated many by quoting a condemnation of Islamic theology as “evil and inhuman.” The pope presided over a faith whose demographic center of gravity has shifted to Latin America, Africa and Asia, yet he chose to focus his ministry on an attempt to revive Catholicism in Europe, including its most conservative elements. By some important measures, he failed. Church membership continued to decline even in Germany, his native country and the site of his best-received tour. In the developing world, oncegrowing Catholic churches lost ground to other faiths. Pope Benedict’s response to the greatest challenge he faced — the explosion of sexual-abuse scandals in Catholic dioceses around the world — was inadequate. During his visit to the United States in 2008, he met with victims of predatory priests; he later apologized for the crimes and oversaw modest Vatican measures to extend the statute of limitation for cases and prevent further abuse. But the pope never acted against bishops who covered up crimes, and he never admitted or apologized for his own failures during the years when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he headed up the Vatican body charged with disciplining priests. Some of Pope Benedict’s most important achievements came in response to the backlash triggered by his reactionary acts. Pilloried for having suggested before a tour of AIDS-stricken Africa that the use of condoms “increases the problem,” he later suggested that the use of a condom by an HIV-infected person to avoid infecting a partner could be a positive step. After angering Jews by rehabilitating a bishop known as a Holocaust denier, the pope prayed at Auschwitz and published a book exonerating the Jewish people for the death of Jesus. Pope Benedict will leave behind a church facing the same debilitating problems that loomed after the death of Pope John Paul II — above all, how to remain relevant to an increasingly secular world and to its own changing membership. This pope’s response was to insist that only uncompromising adherence to past doctrine could preserve the faith. Catholics who seek a different answer will have to hope that a college of cardinals dominated by the pope’s appointees will choose a more progressive successor. – Washington Post

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IR: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is creating political chaos in Nigeria. Note that the principle of rotational presidency was not contested until Dr. Goodluck Jonathan decided to take undue advantage of the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. All the major opposition political parties chose their presidential candidates from the North-west in 2011, to indicate they found rotational presidency reasonable and just. Surprisingly, confusionists keep saying rotational presidency is undemocratic, as if democracy implies lack of political order. They also argue that it will lead to choosing mediocres as President; they have not indicated which zones harbour only mediocres, so that we can exclude such zones from the rotation roster. Then, they have not told concerned Nigerians how else the nation can engender political equity, peace, and progress. They should explain also why the Jonathan-led administration has refused to allow an electoral commission whose principal officers are not chosen by the PDP. The PDP and its beneficiaries should explain the foregoing, and outline their proposal for equity, peace, and progress in Nigeria. I propose that the President should come from (Yar’Adua’s) North-west zone in 2015 to serve a single term of four years, and afterwards the baton should pass to the South-east,



PDP is causing chaos since Jonathan (from South-south) has spent many years in the presidency. Thereafter, the presidency should rotate from zone to zone, on north-south basis. The most recent act of intolerance and desperation betrayed by the PDP was the seizing of Offa Local Government from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), using


inter-communal clash as an excuse. Offa is the only local government won in Kwara state by the opposition political party (the ACN). The long-standing bad blood between Offa and Erin-Ile (in another local government) which resurfaced recently provided an opportunity the PDP had been looking-for to seize Offa local

government. The state Governor, AbdulFatah Ahmed, also sacked the other chairman to convey appearance of even-handedness, and replaced both with caretakers. I enjoin the Offa people to endure the humiliation, hold their peace, but never succumb to intimidation and deceptive “gifts”. Nigeria must

• Pius Oyeniran Abioje, Ph. D, University of Ilorin.

Attention IGP, Police Affairs minister

IR: The uproar generated by the recent judgment of Justice Mohammed Talba on the pilfering of the Nigeria Police Pension funds will continue to form part of our discourse for as long as we will continue to witness the suffering of police pensioners. This was recently brought to the fore by the admission of the Minister of Police Affairs, Capt Caleb Olubolade that more than 4000 retirees are still waiting to be verified for the payment of what ordinarily is their entitlement. This statement is an indictment

on a government that is pursuing transformation agenda. I wish to highlight the story of a gentleman who had served this country diligently but is still waiting for his gratuity and pension from the Nigerian Police force since retirement in 2006 after putting into service the mandatory 35 years in service. On a recent trip to Abuja, I met this man Richard Atanda Ogundare,ASP (rtd) who related his ordeal in the quest to get his entitlement. He said he was enlisted into the Nigeria Army in 1969 during the

Nigeria Civil war and later in 1976 demobilized into the Nigeria Police Force. In 2006 that he retired, all the demobilised soldiers were asked to write voluntarily retirement application. The most shocking and embarrassing news according to him was when he was told by the Salary Department of the Nigeria Police that three years salaries would be deducted from his long-awaited and yet to be paid money. Despite writing through his D.P.O. at Owutu Police station in 2002 to the A.I.G Zone 2 informing

NASS, Presidency and 2013 budget delay

IR: When on October 10, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan presented the 2013 budget proposal to the joint session of both chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), Nigerians had thought that we have moved from the era, where the passage and signing of annual budgets were being delayed due to late presentation by the Presidency. In fact, the President received accolades from the entire people of Nigeria, as it was believed to be a good development that will greatly aid the budget implementation process. They (Nigerians) had expected the federal lawmakers to follow suit in ensuring quick passage, without prejudice to

sack the PDP after many years of chaos, disorientation, and retrogression. I appeal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to solidify rotational presidency, and work for the establishment of a truly independent electoral commission whose principal officers will not be chosen by the partisan President. I enjoin support for General Muhammadu Buhari to be the presidential candidate; he is a highly trustworthy person from the North-west. At worse, there should be primary election, rather than begging the General to drop his ambition.

their constitutional powers to carry out proper scrutiny of the content of the budget proposal and make amends where necessary. Interestingly, the legislators did not disappoint Nigerians as they worked round the clock to ensure that the 2013 appropriation bill was passed on December 20, 2012, with an addition of about N63 billion to the N4.924 trillion originally proposed by the Presidency. However, almost two months after the passage of the 2013 budget by the parliamentarians, it is still awaiting the assent of the President. This delay in the signing of the 2013 appropriation bill into law, according

to reports, may be due to disagreements between the Presidency and NASS on the oil benchmark, constituency projects and zero allocation for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Another reason that may have been holding back the President from signing the budget is said to be the additional N63 billion added to it by NASS. The President appears not to be comfortable with the increase made by the lawmakers. What is truly important at this point is for the two parties to come to terms as fast as possible. Continuous delay in the signing of the 2013 budget will not augur well for us. The Presidency must not allow this to get to a level

where lawmakers will have to take the option of overriding the President’s veto as some members are already threatening and looking towards that direction. Come to think of it, of what use would it be that despite commendable efforts made by the executive to present the 2013 budget early October, 2012 as against previous years where it was presented in December, the signing of the appropriation bill is delayed till March or April? This would mean that the essence of the early presentation would have been defeated. • Michael Jegede Abuja

the police management that he would be 35 years in service by 2004, his application was disapproved despite his willingness to leave then. He said since 2006 that he left the Nigeria Police to this moment, neither his gratuity nor pension has been paid even though all his documents have been submitted to the Police Pension office. I really do not know which side to be on in the present imbroglio between the Senate and Presidential Task Force on Pension for the resolution of the pension problem in this country. Must people that serve this country be made to suffer like this? We really don’t know how many Ogundares we have still struggling for what belongs to them, or those that had died or even those that may be facing some health challenges who may be confined to a location. I call on President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Police Affairs Capt Caleb Olubolade and Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar to look into the case of Richard Ogudare ASP (rtd) and others (the 4000 mentioned by the minister). Please lets remember that the society owe them this much. • Adedeji Badejo Lagos




‘Amalgamation anomalies’; Keshi GCON, players CFR; Wanted: a Youth Centre/ ward?


HE President could enter a promissory pact with Nigerians to hasten deliver on nasty ‘amalgamation anomalies’ plaguing Tony unity. These include functioning refineries, Marinho fuel exports not imports, true federalism, restricted corruption through well-funded proactive EFCC and ICPC and police in every Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, empowered judiciary with faster trials and stiffer penalties, 50-100,000Mws of power, an East-West Road, a second Niger Bridge, an improving N100:$1 naira exchange rate and reduced single digit borrowing rate, a youth centre in every ward and most importantly, a stop to corrupt party machinery and party members from thieving and taking 30100% of budgets and contract values ‘as of right’ for being in power. Time for some deserved honours. Huge gbossas and congrats to Head coach Stephen Keshi, fluent in English and French, GCON –Grand Commander of Nigeria, who commanded his men to African victory, or Grand Coach of Nigeria, of Africa and the Green Eagles, CFR, Commanders of Football of the Republic, for their amazing journey defying the odds, abuse and the abysmally evil Nigerian politics of football and sports in general. Keshi for Minister for Sport in future. Yes, Keshi, GCON, should resign. And come back immediately even in a week having renegotiated his next Brazilian World Cup contract bearing in mind that the Senate President is mentioned with a figure of N400m/annum as each Nigerian Senator has over N100m‘disposable’ not salary income, is it quarterly or annually for ‘constitutional projects and LGA wives get N50,000/month for their marriage certificate? Get your money man. At least you have done something honourable that we can see! Elsewhere coaches earn more than their presidents! Let us get real: sports and particularly football, not politics rule the world! But think of the odds against our success. Though we have no war, how many real quality footballs, N3000 each, or

other sports equipment have been bought by Governors for our 70,000 schools and 1000 tertiary institutions? Too few!! How many talent scouts do tours of ‘under the flyover’ and school games? Instead of reactionary too-little-too-late N130 million Dangote donations is there a Glo OR Dangote database for sports monitoring in any sport in Nigeria? No, just multimillion naira Coca Cola or Pepsi or MTN billboard and a plastic football at every junction overlooking every school football corner. You can dream but do not play, boy! Wanted: 70,000 logoed footballs signed by the 2012 Orange Africa Cup Of Nations Champion Green Eagles and a ‘Stephen Keshi School for Coaches’ funded by government land, and the private sector sponsors. No more billboard only football sports. Let us get it right from now on, please. Immediate Induction into the New Football Hall of Fame is not enough and wrong-headed. They had football hero ancestors. Let us do things in order. Sports teams and coaching support teams should be totally indigenous to really pit countries against each other even for the World Cup. The centenary celebration logo could have benefited from a central map of Nigeria inside the green layered circle. The N650 Abuja Youth Support Centre is welcomed with mixed feelings. Anything done for the ‘abandoned’ youth is overdue. However N650m could have built, rented or modified and then equipped hundreds of centres of N1-10m in 65 to 650 nationwide. As part of 2013/2014 Youth empowerment and anti-terrorism strategy at LGA, state and national levels, Nigerian politicians and visionary leaders in CSR must incorporate budgetary plans for Youth Inspiration Centres. As the political unit, the ward, should have ‘One Youth Centre/ Ward’ Policy, 15,400, within walking distance of all Nigeria’s youth. In such centres youth can interact, learn from each other and others, learn and practice computer and social skills and transition to being responsible citizens. The army of youth corp members, retired Nigerians, teachers, professionals, professional bodies and government agencies can assist in projects. There should be a link through the network of Youth Inspiration Centres to each other, ministries and NGOs with the education hungry youth for two-way interaction. DANGER: The Minister for FCT offered to name the Abuja

Youth Support Centre (YSC) after the President’s wife. Bad judgement. It a wise rule of thumb and a ‘Youth Law’ never to name a public youth centre after anything politics. Things named after serving politicians are abandoned by subsequent politicians even of the same party, especially if a wife is involved. The backlash is real as following the recent African First Ladies Peace Mission Vs Past First lady’s WATEF, Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation will see. That youth law is merely to guarantee continuity from one government to another without stigmatisation, discrimination, starvation of funds and failure to attract visits from rival party government officials. In addition deliberate destruction of the communal Youth Support Centre property during subsequent political upheaval by disaffected party members and faithful of other parties is possible. So a political name is counter-productive and renders the project stillborn. In short, how many will visit the centre if it is named after an ‘opposition’ politician or his wife. All these can easily be avoided with neutral names, like the site, historical event or individuals of blessed memory. Political neutrality is a watchword for youth centre activities. Youth issues must be beyond politics. But when did Nigeria’s population become 170m? Just because of politics? Politics and politicians conjuring figures do not increase populations –families do! Soon Nigeria will be ‘claiming’ ‘200m’, maybe at the Centenary Amalgamation? More fiction-like the power supply.

‘The N650 Abuja Youth Support Centre is welcomed with mixed feelings. Anything done for the ‘abandoned’ youth is overdue. However N650m could have built, rented or modified and then equipped hundreds of centres of N110m in 65 to 650 nationwide’

Yoruba self-marginalisation


T a press conference in Ibadan last Wednesday, Yoruba elders under the aegis of Yoruba Unity Forum, YUF, accused President Goodluck Jonathan of favouring other sections of the country to the detriment of the South-West geo-political zone in the appointment of top government officials. According to the group, the marginalisation of the zone in the current political equilibrium, particularly in the distribution of political positions, “is an attempt to excise the zone out of the federation”. The elders alleged that the President’s pattern of appointments, with no consideration for the Yoruba, suggested that Jonathan did not appreciate the contribution the Yoruba people made to his emergence as the president in the 2011 general election. Olu Falae, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who spoke on behalf of the group, said the Yoruba were sidetracked in the appointment and control of the apex political offices. He gave a rundown of such plum appointments as that of the President; Vice-President; Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives; Chief Justice of the Federation, Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives; acting President, Court of Appeal; Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Chief of Staff to the President; Office of the National Security Adviser; and Head of Service of the Federation. He noted that none of these offices was being occupied by a Yoruba person and that the absence of Yoruba in the current power equation, had adversely affected the zone. Falae went further to justify the need for the President to redress these

anomalies. He said, “In the days of the late President Umar Yar’Adua administration when he was incapacitated by illness and there was reluctance to make Jonathan acting President, it was predominantly Yoruba activists who led the march on the National Assembly to force our lawmakers to pronounce Jonathan acting President. When he chose to run for the presidency, he got the enthusiastic endorsement of many Yoruba progressives, especially the leadership of Yoruba Unity Forum…” While Falae was lamenting the marginalisation of the Yoruba in Ibadan, simultaneously on the same day, leaders of the South-West states converged on Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, at the opening ceremony of the regional Grassroots Business and Investments Forum christened EXPO 2013. There, the leaders called on all the governments and people to join hands in building a prosperous zone. Prince Bola Ajibola, a former Attorney General of the Federation, who was chairman at the ceremony, said political tendencies should be de-emphasized in plotting the road to the future. He said the achievements of governors in the zone in the recent time were good enough to attract investments to their states. The two governors in attendance Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo - toed the same lines. Of particular reference was the view canvassed by Ajimobi, that the issue at stake transcends party politics. According to him, “This is not about party politics. It is about governance. It is about the region. Each of the states has an area of strength. What we need is to

‘Aside from the fractionalization of the PDP in the South-west, which has affected the fortunes of the zone, the leaders and elders appear to be staunchly divided among themselves’

develop areas of comparative advantage for the overall interest of our people.” Ajimobi enumerated the benefits accruable from regional integration to include “consensus-based decision-making processes, elimination of conflict and unhealthy rivalry, holistic articulation and effective mobilisation of varieties of resources, and the utilisation of community resources to facilitate optimal delineation of development roles among the integrating units.” Looking at the current political dispensation in the country as it relates to the sharing of political offices, one cannot but agree with the views and fears expressed by Falae. It is apparent that the Yoruba has lost out in the political calculations of the current rulers in the country. But the reasons may not be far-fetched. In the first instance, the PDP, the ruling party at the centre, was overwhelmingly humiliated in the last general election held in 2011. The loss of the party, no doubt, was due to the desire for change by the people of the South-west who were obviously fed up with the misrule, brigandage and shenanigans of the leaders of the PDP in the zone between 1999 and 2011. That era witnessed a free-for-all ‘buffet’ on the common wealth of the zone by those in power without any appreciable thing to show for the depletion of the resources at their disposal. As it is always canvassed under democratic rule, the only legitimate weapon available for a traumatized people is to use their voting power to right whatever perceived wrong wrought on them. And this was exactly what happened at the 2011 election. That election saw the PDP losing its grips on such states in the South-west as Oyo and Ogun. Before then, Osun and Ekiti States had also slipped away from the dominant PDP. By the loss of almost all the states of the South-west to the opposition

Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, with the exception of Ondo State, currently under the control of the Labour Party, it was clear that the people had resoundingly rejected the PDP. Perhaps, in simple terms, this was a matter of choice of which party the zone wanted to entrust its destiny. Today, the price the zone has to pay for that decision is its obvious marginalisation by the party at the centre in the scheme of things. This situation is buoyed by the intractable internal wrangling that has pervaded and further decimated the ranks of the PDP leadership in the zone. Anywhere you turn; there are several factions and groups within the party contesting for the control of power. To put it succinctly, the party is at ‘war’ with itself in the zone. Of course, the other political zones have reaped bountifully from the burgeoning confusion in the zone with the attendant collateral damage. It is astonishing to note that the leaders of the PDP in the zone do not only quarrel among themselves, they also use the schism among them to run down their members when it comes to political patronage at the centre. Not only this. When it comes to the matter of appointments to choice political offices, the zone has never presented a common front. All manners of interplay of forces, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, are brought to the fore whenever the opportunity to present a qualified and capable individual for appointive office at the centre, comes up. The consequence of this and many others is the glaring marginalisation of the zone in the scheme of things. Aside from the fractionalization of the PDP in the South-west, which has affected the fortunes of the zone, the leaders and elders appear to be staunchly divided among themselves. For quite some time now, the zone has witnessed the formation of several groups with each group jostling for the control

Dele Agekameh of the zone. And there is no need to start mentioning names here. The effect is that this also has an overbearing implication on the fortunes of the zone. This stems from the fact that members of these pluralistic groups are, in many instances, fighting for individual spoils rather than regional or group interests, as the case may be. Therefore, the irony inherent in what took place simultaneously last week, in both Ibadan and Osogbo, which is less than one hour drive inbetween, is a sort of selfmanipulation of a people by the people themselves. Otherwise, how do you explain the staging of a strategic economic summit that is targeted at the development of a region in one part of it, and another gathering on the present and future of the same region on the same day and perhaps, the same time elsewhere within the zone? If not self- marginalisation, what else? At any rate, there is the need for the leaders and elders of the zone to go back to the drawing board and fashion out new strategies to realize the aspirations of the zone. A starting point is the bond of unity which must exist among them!

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COMMENTS ‘I least expected an intelligent man like Chukwuma Soludo to have been tricked by the powers-that-be into the then Anambra murky water of governorship contest. He should by now realise the Yoruba phrase that says ‘Keep dancing, we are behind you’

• Soludo

For Gbenga Omotoso Sir, just as you said concerning the Super Eagles, I am happy and I decree 2 - 1 in favour of Nigeria in Jesus name – Amen. Anonymous Dear Mr. Omotoso, I just read ‘A guide to legal battles’, as published in The Nation. It is a master piece though tragic. I think it is time our National Assembly passed the law against plea bargain. From Pastor Pat Chuka, Asaba Nigeria will surely win. The boys are determined, dedicated and focused. From Pastor Bren, Umuahia Super Eagles have the capability to rule Africa even for a longer period. Super Eagles will win. From Ogar, J. M. O. Umuahia, Abia State Re: A guide to legal battles. Your formular for escape from justice for stolen money is 100 per cent correct. The new approach is ‘the more you steal, the lesser your punishment’. This is the more reason corruption can never be prosecuted judiciously. All agencies are compromised hence the country is stagnant on all fronts. Only democratic revolution can change the mess in the country. From Pastor Odunmbaku May God Almighty deliver us from the hands of corrupt judges in this country. Our leaders are no longer worried on who will judge them if they want to steal because somebody is arround the corner waiting to be paid for the case. How on earth can a man steal the sum of N32b pension money and said the money is just only N30b, and was given N75,0000 bail? Are they promoting corruption or fighting it? Our judiciary is in a mess, our politiicians have become shameless, stealing is no longer anything to them; when they steal, they will be boasting because another thief that call him or herself judge will shield them. A man stole N100b some years ago and was sentenced to two years imprisoment and came back with rousing welcome. What do they teach their children? How do they expect their subject to behave? From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Dockyard Apapa Lagos I wish Super Eagles all the best but my advice is if we want Super Eagles to lift the cup, President Goodluck must not attend AFCON final as he promised or else.... Anonymous “A guide to legal battles”. What a funny way to laugh off our insincerity in Nigeria! You are too much sir. From Michael Afolayan Gratitude is a burden. Let all those failed national coaches that predicted failures for the miracle man of Steven Keshi bury their heads in shame. From Solokito Teachers teach students. Teaching is a profession and as such more strictly defined than a vocation, career and

occupation. Students learn from teachers and teachers facilitate learning by students. Learning and the facilitation of learning are common responsibilities. Professional teachers have the additional responsibility for efficent and effective utilisation of resources for teaching and learning. Teachers are the best professional managers of our national education. The American AFT is like Nigerian Medical Association and the Bar Association which are more of professionalism than unionism.Unions bargain against their employers and professions promote the status,contribution and acceptance of the service provided. The unions may consider transforming into professions in the national interest. This would be more persuasive as governments are seen less as the major employer of labour in education. I would not aggree with you that the governments have prerogative to promotes standard of education more than the private sector of the economy. Good education promote economy that would be dominated by the private sector,rather than by government. In the public-private partnership, the private should lead. Professions and professional teachers are private spirit driven and may only be so sustainable. They work for payment and gain. NUTwould remain unified against a virtual unification of the governments as their major employer.Hence standards of teachers, teaching and education suffer. From Engr. Adewumi, Ilorin AFCON 2013 has been interesting especially as The Super Eagles sent the highly rated Ivorians home. From Aly B., Kaduna. You are on point. The special grace of Satguru Maharaj Ji has touched Nigeria to lift the AFCON trophy this time come what may. Congrats in advance! Anonymous The Super Eagles need to tighten their belt against Burkina Faso. We are diamond and Super Eagles will win the match with 3-1. From Sylvanus, Edo State Please help contact coach Keshi that the Super Eagles should appear in blue jersey which always favours us and brings goodluck to Nigeria always. Thanks! From Dr. Nwosu, PortHarcout On Super Eagles’. . . .so super, you have said nothing but the whole truth. To add words to your complete but concise writeup, the atittude of the big boss is overwhemingly patrotic. Our players are wonderful. I simply say that God is a Nigerian. I can smell the trophy already. From Pastor Ugwa Pius.

For Olatunji Dare I will support Soludo for Governor anyday! And, yes, he has the qualities mentioned before your first sarcastic question about a second term at the CBN. Anonymous Your story on Soludo is revealing and shows you expensively researched to produce such a thorough job. You failed to mention his pending alleged huge bribery case. Regards. From Chuma Mbaise, Imo State Your piece, ‘Soludo: A quest renewed’, was incisive and educative. More inks to your pen and more strength to your hand. And to the cerebral cortex too. However, Peter Obi is of the APGA and not ANPP as stated by you in the said piece. Anonymous Sir, I believe the printer’s devil struck in

the last paragraph of your piece on Soludo (Feb. 5): ‘cannot’ or ‘can now’? From Jide Jimohm, LASU, Lagos I totally agree we need good and effective government under a disciplined and committed leadership, not endless political conferences that serve no purpose. From Wisdom Baiye One may do some time-serving but when one’s hour has come, one must not miss it. Professor Soludo should quickly retire his ambition to rule govern Anambra State under PDP because there is no knowing to what they may be led by circumstance. Relatedly, intellectual originality does not make for popularity in Nigerian politics. What the average voter likes is ordinary ideas supported by brains and character stronger than the ordinary. From Adegoke O. O., Ikhin, Edo State Soludo was denied a second term as CBN governor because he is good for the Igbo but not good enough for Nigeria! Anonymous I cherish your column always but you can digress a little, write about common people in the society, not always about big people. Common people offend you? Anonymous Re: Soludo: A quest renewed. I least expected an intelligent man like Chukwuma Soludo to have been tricked by the powers-that-be into the then Anambra murky water of governorship contest. He should by now realise the Yoruba phrase that says ‘Keep dancing, we are behind you’. Whereas the reality is ‘You are on your own!’ Today, you cannot toy with Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Anambra and Kano electioneering results anyhow. Let us learn to swim well, before jumping into a deep ocean. By now, Charles Soludo would know when and how to compete politically in Nigeria. From Lanre Oseni

For Segun Gbadegesin Sir,’Teacher quality and student outcome’ are two sides of a coin. NUT may be a professional body but it is purely a trade union, whose main object is to defend members compared to NBA or NMA which operates basically as a professional body that even expels erring members. NUT has never recommended any member for expulsion or serious disciplinary action. There is need for ASUU and NUT to come together to save the teaching profession. When lawyers are called barristers, doctors as doctors (prefix to name). Therefore, teachers should be educators. From Alhaji Hon. ADEYCorsim, Osodi, Lagos I read your today column in The Nation, very interesting. Please more of it, being an Oke Ogun indigene sir, please we need your likemind in liberating our people. We may contact you soon for advice on the way forward. From Sholagbade Adeshina, Lagos based Iganna indigene Dear Sir, compliments! Your piece “Family involvement in education” as published in The Nation newspaper of Friday February 8, is indeed, a well thought out and well written piece! May God bless you for advocating a complete return to our rich African values. As a young parent, I have learnt a lot from the column and promise to uphold the morals enumerated! From Barr. P. Akila Kasham, Jos


Gud day Prof., your thoughts on family involvement in education is both thorough and enlightening. The problem is that, you should have noted the real cause of today’s decay or dysfunctionality, just in passing. That is, the issue of ‘urban-centered individualism’. I can assure you that most of the villages in the Southwest, which I know, still cherish the communality of old in everything, including raising the child. The crisis is in the over-populated urban areas where even parents barely have enough time to sleep because of work. So, all they do is struggle to pay school fees and ‘the deal is done’. Until we have a government which cherishes education, we may be in for a long haul. Regards. From Olu You titled your article with family involvement and ended with the community responsibility for education. All be it that the village is needed for all the education. The world is becoming our globalised village. The difference is in the commercialisation of our values and virtues. It is unrealistic to expect that the family and community in this modernised village would contribute to education without monetary considerations, governments should allow the private interests to make contributions to education. The families are now private interests. Money governs the world now, and education is dictated by money, and not by old values. Let us talk on how to manage education for our personal, private and national economic interests. Education needs money and someone must pay for it. The families pay directly or indirectly. From Engr. A. I. Adewumi. Ilorin ‘A guide to legal battles’ is really refreshing. Sir, when are you going to practicalise this theory. Hope you are not waiting to be appointed into government before you do what your other colleaques have been doing. From ADEYCorsim, Oshodi, Lagos Dear Elder Gbadegesin, indeed, education is not only about classwork but equally about character building. Africans believe in good formal and informal education. Your voice is a voice of wisdom as an experienced elder. I wish every parent, leaders of communities, custodians of children, etc., will reason with your comment and come together again in order to build a better education framework for our children. From Dare Kayode, Abuja I do not agree that the education system and the family are different entities and not the products of the economic foundation of Nigeria. What about the foundation? It is neo-colonial capitalism that divided the country into haves and haves-not. It is hostile to peace and unity and love. It breeds self-seekers. Thanks. From Amos Ejimonye, Kaduna








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‘They said when they capture me they'll cut out my tongue’ – Page 26

Valentine time, love time – Page 27 •Unigwe

‘Publishing abroad isn’t easy’ Morountodun’s Morountodun’s day on stage – Page 37

Winner of 2012 NLNG Prize for Literature Mrs Chika Unigwe, who is based in Belgium, came home to receive her $100,000 prize. Her book, On Black Sister's Street, which highlights the plight of women who eke out a living in the red light district, won her the award. She shares her experience on living abroad, writing the book and more...

•SAVED ON MAC 62 & Mac 27 - LIFE Feb 13 FOLDER




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Mali's 'Nightingale of the North' is one of the muscicians fighting the fundamentalist tide that has swept the country - in song. Defence correspondent TOM COGHLAN reports from the battlefield

‘They said when they capture me they'll cut out my tongue’


HAIRA Arby says her voice was a gift from God. But it was in the name of the same God that hardline Islamist militants drove her from her home last year. "They've said that when they capture me they will cut out my tongue," says the grande dame of Malian music, a woman in her early 50s known in her own country as "the Nightingale of the North". Waging war on music might rank as the bravest or stupidest strategic decision ever made in a country where it is omnipresent. But that's what Mali's answer to the Taliban did last August. "We do not want Satan's music," announced a spokesman for the Ansar Din (the Followers of God), a group allied to al-Qa'ida. "In its place will be Koranic verses. Sharia demands this. What God commands must be done." And with that the musicians of one of the world's poorest nations but richest musical cultures became outlaws across a swath of northern Mali seized by extremists. "I had to flee," says Arby at her villa in the capital Bamako, 700km away in the government-held south of the country. "I don't know what these guys want," she adds with a contemptuous wave of her hand. Militants have imposed an intolerant, ultra-conservative Wahabi interpretation of Sharia in a country where a gentle tradition of mystical Sufi Islam had mingled with pre-Islamic animist traditions. Shrines and tombs in Timbuktu, the ancient Saharan seat of learning and a World Heritage site, were smashed with hammers and drills. Women failing to dress, as one local told me in exasperation, "like a ninja", were beaten with camel hair whips. Human Rights Watch reported that there were at least eight public amputations of hand or foot for theft. An unmarried couple were stoned to death in front of an audience of hundreds. Arby's own music studio in Timbuktu was raided by the local religious police. "They destroyed my instruments - guitars, mixing equipment, the production studio," she says, costing the loss at nearly $150,000. In the northern city of Gao, 300km from Timbuktu, the closure of the nightclubs provoked protests from local youths, but gradually silence descended across the north. Musicians now practise in secret. Not even the musical peals of mobile ringtones are allowed. The world-famous Festival of the Desert, held every year near Timbuktu, has featured the Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant in the past. This month it was relocated to neighbouring Burkina Faso and renamed the Caravan for Peace. Plant is one of several Western musicians to have travelled to Mali to pay homage to a musical heritage that was transported to America on slave ships and carries within it much of the original DNA of the blues. Damon Albarn, who recorded the album Mali Music in 2002, and Peter Gabriel, who founded the Womad festival, are both admirers. Bono performed with the Tuareg desert blues band Tinariwen, also from Timbuktu, who won a Best World Music Album Grammy last year. Now an attempted cultural fightback has begun. Last week the organisers of the Glastonbury Festival announced that they would invite a host of Malian performers to play at this year's festival. And this week, as French warplanes bombed targets in northern Mali and the eyes of the world were focused on the terrorist attack on the Algerian gas plant, more than 40 of Mali's leading musicians announced the release of a Band Aid-style song of unity and protest. The suergroup, Voices United For Mali, has released MaliKo ("Peace") featuring such renowned performers as Amadou & Mariam, Bassekou Kouyate and Vieux Farka

•Khaira Arby

•Farka Toure

ADVOCACY Toure, the son of the venerated Ali Farka Toure. Though the message of the song is one of national unity, individual singers level fierce criticism at their ideological opponents. "Never have I seen such catastrophe, such desolation," sings Soumaila Kanoute in French. "They want to

‘They want to impose Sharia on us. Tell the north that our Mali is one nation, indivisible... They have lost hope in politics. But music has always brought hope in Mali.’

impose Sharia on us. Tell the north that our Mali is one nation, indivisible." At a press conference the singer Fatoumata Diawara says she believes the population was looking to Mali's musicians for the moral strength that had been lacking in the country's often corrupt political elite. "They have lost hope in politics," she says. "But music has always brought hope in Mali." For many of the country's musicians the ban represents not only an attack on their livelihood but also on their own credibility as Muslims. Arby cites a passage from the Koran in which citizens of Mecca greet the Prophet Muhammad with a song as proof of Islam's acceptance of music. Like many of her peers she blames "outsiders"; she cannot believe native Malians would be capable of what has happened. In a slum near Bamako airport last Friday night hundreds of refugees from the north meet to dance and show solidarity at a concert by Baba Salaha, a Timbuktu-based guitarist. "We are people of the north and this is our night," sings Salaha, who mixes the loping, lopsided rythms of Malian tradition with recognisably Western rock and funk influences. He sees nothing but power politics in the assault on Mali's music. "This Satan stuff is a pretext," he says. "It is an excuse to impose themselves. Music is the tradition of the north - in marriages, birth, the ceremony of circumcision (of adolescent boys). To forbid it is a kind of crime against humanity." Meanwhile, I learn that Malian dancefloors are as culturally rich as Malian music. As Salaha plays his first, spiraling notes, the immaculately dressed women, often in long, traditional wrap dresses, take to the floor. Then men of all ages, some in suits, gradually present themselves. It is both flirtatious and polite, at least to start with; a dance called Takamba that is all about hand signals. "The man asks with his hands 'I come? We go?"' explains one of the dancers, Hasseye Baby. "The girl perhaps puts one hand on her heart and says with her hand 'You come', or maybe she says 'You go."' It is not a dance to please al-Qa'ida fundamentalists. And nor is the beer that accompanies it. Malians know how to enjoy themselves, given the chance. At two in the morning my dancing companions roll me into a cab. But downtown Bamako is a nervous place these days and, at the second police checkpoint, I am briefly arrested for being without the correct papers. There is no option, Baby explains, but to stay in a local hotel. He helps me to a dingy building. A man is handing out prophylactics from a large cardboard box by the door. The bare mattress is a minefield of unidentified damp spots. Mosquitoes dance above the bed. The next day I meet Salah. He's dressed in a smart pinstriped suit, preparing to play another concert. "Two natural influences shape the music of Mali," he says. "The desert, the Niger river. they are the source of inspiration." He pauses and adds, sadly: "This war is becoming an international war. I really hope things will change." Mali-ko is released by World Circuit Records.

•Culled from The Times of London



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Three non-Valentine gifts

Three Valentine gifts

Valentine time, love time Valentine's Day is celebrated worldwide every year. Another Valentine's Day comes up tomorrow. Before the day, everywhere is thick with expectations. It is a day for lovers and many are set to mark it with loved ones, EVELYN OSAGIE reports. CELEBRATION


HERE is something about red. Anytime you think of love, the colour that comes to mind that best typifies it is red. Perhaps it is because the colour is synonymous with the colour of the heart - red. Whatever it is, love is in the air. It's Valentine's Day again! From February 1, the countdown began for many. As the clock ticked on, so did their hearts. All the ticking is for a special day Valentine's Day. Now the day is 24 hours away. But like every other season, when it passes, it leaves behind the feeling - an unspoken question of sorts - in the hearts of many: Why all the noise about Valentine? The story of the Roman presbyter, Saint Valentine and his sacrifice is not new to many. Saint Valentine's Day, commonly known as Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine is observed on February 14 every year. It is celebrated in many countries across the world. According to Wikipedia, “The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). "And Valentine's Day symbols used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and

the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentine letters have given way to mass-produced greeting cards." Although the day sometimes falls on a working day, after New Year's Day, it has become the most celebrated holiday across the world. And it is no longer a "Christian thing", but a "love thing". With barely 24 hours to go, hundreds of years after, nothing has changed. Not even its falling on a ‘working day’ will stop the fun. As expected, the celebrations will surely extend to the weekend. There is a certain excitement that usually comes with the break of the season that you could feel in your spine. That thrill comes with the change evident on shopping malls, markets, hotels, eateries and more; offering consumers diverse options on what to give as gifts. And people are always on the go; racking their brains on what gift is most suitable for that special person. Some psychologists advise that it is best you ask the person what he/she/they want as gift for the season. Others say the element of surprise is what keeps the bond tighter. Some others are of the view that it is not just the gift that makes the day special but the heart that gives the gift that makes it a special day. As the countdown ticks, the question is "are you set?" What are you giving that special person or persons - since the clerics say the day is beyond "sensual love"? Although in spite of the preaching, the day still carries a sense of sensuality with it. Think or say Valentine and the thought that comes to mind is usually that of a typical romantic scene, involving two people. Many often write the script in their head over and over again as to how the day would turn out and end. What script have you drawn up in yours a weekend alone with yours, an all-round body massage, a boat cruise, a shopping spree, he/ she will not forget or movies? Whatever the scene you’ve imagined, be sure to make it special. For it is said that it is not just about what you give or don't give but the heart that is giving. If it's love, go ahead! You can start the day on a poetic note, drawing inspiration from the lines of poets, such as, Sir Thomas Wyatt, who belonged to the Shakespearean sonnet school that reads: "Forthwith I found the thing that I might like/And sought with love to warm her heart

alike …." Warm up the heart of that special someone or persons. Write and send love poems as text messages or go the traditional way of the old time classics and write a love letter (without typing), saying how special he/she/they mean to you. Hide it under the pillow, cushion, in between wineglasses or more. Be creative, it's Valentine! Also, you could put a smile on someone's face and heart with love lines that inspire. Go on and say the magic words: "Happy Valentine's Day; I love you!" You could also draw inspiration from the popular love poems of husband and wife poets, Karl and Joanna Fuchs, who specialise in writing greeting-card-type poems. Joanna, a professional writer, has been writing those types of poems since she was eight years old. Karl, a mechanical engineer, started out writing love poems for Joanna and branched out from there. These lines from Joanna collection, entitled: Valentine Smile, would suffice: "On Valentine's Day we think of those/Who make our lives worthwhile/Those gracious, friendly people who/We think of with a smile./I am fortunate to know you/That's why I want to say/ To a rare and special person:/Happy Valentine's Day!" Move to more physical gestures. Stay indoors all day, sing him/her a song, recite a poem, soak yourselves in bathtub with warm water and soothing leaves, watch a movie or pray together. And after all is said and done, plant a kiss like you've never done before. Leave that kind of kiss that would keep the person smiling months after when he/she is alone. Take that person out to that place they have always wanted to go, but never had the time to; or any nice place would do. Better still, you could go to a quiet but reserved spot where you and yours would be locked away from the world, 'alone'. Spoil him/her a little with a visit to spas spread across town. Or party all night at the club. So, what is an appropriate gift to give at Valentine, you'd say? No gift is more appropriate than another, as long it comes from the heart. But certainly, some gifts may send the wrong signals this season. For instance, giving a platonic 'single' friend of the opposite sex a diamond ring just for the fun of it, saying: "I just want to wish you a happy valentine", and ending the statement with "Baby, no strings attached". That could be misleading.

Also, sending a dinosaur to a loved one or a bear with fangs that has the magic words written on it: "Happy Valentine's Day!" could get you in trouble. Except you are using it to send a message on how annoying and terrifying the person has become, that way you may have to attach a note, saying "I still love you but you need to change this or that". Also, a shower cap to a loved one would be completely out of it. And are you thinking of giving cookies or cakes or gifts laced with lots of cholesterol? Think 'health-is-wealth' this season. Go for snack-gifts with little or no cholesterol at all but with vitamins and minerals that would keep that special person fit, alive and strong. Healthy snacks such as cinnamon sticks, food supplements or soothing baths are good for the heart and nerve. And there are several brands to choose from. Not many have forgotten 2012 Yuletide and the fireworks incident that claimed buildings and properties in Lagos. So, rule out fireworks as gifts and be careful while using them to light up the celebrations. The list on what you can or should not give is endless. Better still, you could reach out to the less-privileged this season. You could visit orphanages and motherless babies, old people's homes or any charity near you, with that special person and feel the warmth inside. Go beyond what you would normally do and put a smile on someone’s face - whether he/she is close to you or not. Oh, just be creative and make the day special in your way, leaving your signature moves on it . HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!



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ONGRATULATIONS Chika, when you went back to the UNN for the award, how did you feel? Oh, nostalgic, of course. I did feel nostalgic. It was almost like a homecoming for me. I was at Nsukka, a place that used to be my home. Oh, it was such a good feeling for me; it was too good to be true. I felt good all over again. While I was there for the award, I spent a lot of time walking around the campus to see and feel the environment once more. I went to my department and so many other places I was fond of in those days. I was really happy that I was in Nsukka and could walk on those familiar areas once more. It was very homely and humbling for me. And this time around, you went back as a heroine…? Oh, that's correct (laughs). It was a different Chika entirely; but it was still the same old Nsukka that I went back to. It was more of a fulfilling nostalgic feeling, having been there when the nurturing began. It was good indeed to be there now in that capacity. Can you do a comparison of writing before you left Nigeria and Europe? I got married in my undergraduate years and I left right after my final exams. I wasn't really a writer before I left. Do you think there is something Nigerian writers are doing wrong with their writing considering that those in the Diaspora, like you, tend to be winning the prizes that are available here in recent times? I think that because you are in Nigeria it's very easy to self-publish so when you selfpublish your work hasn't gone through the rigorous checks that people who publish abroad, especially with commercial publishers go through, this is the advantage that we have. Nigerians who live in Nigeria but publish abroad also have this advantage like Adaobi Nwaubani and Lola Shoneyin. Your book goes through so many rigorous checks because the reputation of the publisher, editor is at stake. But with a self-published book, nobody's reputation is at stake since all they owe you is to deliver the service. So, unless you have publishers who are committed to quality, which is what I think Cassava Republic, Farafina and Parrasia are doing. Parrasia, they do only two books a year because they want to be able to maintain the standards that they have set. Most of the people here try their luck the self-publishing way. Do you think that is one way to go? For some people self-publishing works but self-publishing is a lot of work. One, because you have to make sure that you invest in editing, as well. Then you have to self-distribute your work as well. And as one person there is only so much you can do with distribution. What will you do with the prize money… groom young writers? I have some projects in mind. I do that already online; I have some writers that I mentor online. But I spoke to the Governor of Anambra State and he has promised to partner with me to set up a writer's centre in Awka. So, we'll see how that goes. But, I am hoping that we can sustain the energy and still actualise this dream for Nigerian writers: and that at the end of the day we can set something up for all of us writers. Traditionally, people who win awards like you come back and hold workshops in writing like Helon Habila and Chimamanda Adichie. Is that somewhere in your future? If Fidelity Bank and Nigerian Breweries sponsor me, why not? Nigerian Breweries sponsors Chimamanda's workshop, while Fidelity sponsors Habila, they are not investing their own money in it. If anybody is willing to sponsor me, sure! What if you were offered the opportunity to draw a proposal for one, for instance…? Actually, I also think that we should support those already there, I've taught at Chimamanda's workshop and at a workshop in Abuja. I don't think it's important to duplicate what is already there. I think it's important to help those who have already started something. It's not a bad thing that they have started, it's not a bad thing that we encourage what they have started in any way that we can. The impression here in Nigeria is that as a black writer it's very difficult to get published in Europe. Is that true from your experience? Yeah, it's a very competitive market, especially if you are going through the commercial publishing route, it's difficult. First you have to find an agent and the agent has to sell your work. So, yes it's difficult.

•From left: Former Minister of Power and Steel Barth Nnaji; Anambra State Governor Peter Obi; Mrs Unigwe; Mrs Mina Longjohn, representing Chief Osobonye LongJohn, Chairman, NLNG Board of Directors; former NLNG Deputy Managing Director, Mr Faithful AbbiyeSuku and Managing Director/CEO, Babs Omotowa, at the former presentation in honour of Chika Unigwe at Nsukka.

Chika Unigwe, the Belgium-based author, who won the 2012 NLNG Prize for Literature was in the country to receive her award. EDOZIE UDEZE AND EVELYN OSAGIE spoke to her on her career, home and sundry issues.

‘Publishing abroad isn’t easy’ INTERVIEW A lot of the people out here would like to become writers, get the kind of success you have found. What would you suggest that they do? I think success in writing also depends on luck. You can't predict luck. And to young writers, I'd say: "Well keep writing"! Nigeria is huge and has a lot of budding talents particularly in writing but there are not many opportunities that they can latch onto. What do you think can be done? I don't know that there are no prizes or grants. I live in Belgium and we don't have that many prizes in Belgium. And I don't think that you write to win prizes. If you win, it's very good; it's a validation of your work. People who live in Nigeria are not excluded from the grants that are available out there. I have had friends who have applied for grants while living in Nigeria. Adamu Abubakar is in Columbia right now, he lives here. Jonathan John was going for the Caine Workshop in South Africa, he lives in Nigeria. It's just people putting in the effort. The information is out there and if people put in the effort, they'd find the information that they need. Igoni Barret was at the Bellagio Centre in Italy, he left from here. Uche Umezurike was at the Civitella Centre in Italy, and he was at Ohio, he does not live in a big city. He lives in Abia State, I think. I'm not knocking Abia State though. If you put in the effort you will find a lot of information on social media. I try to post as much information as I can find on calls for workshops and residencies. So if people use the social media wisely, they will find all the information that they need. Still, few of those opportunities are available here... It's not a bad thing for a Nigerian writer to

leave Abakiliki or Okigwe (Imo State) and be flown to Italy to meet with other professional writers. It will be good if the infrastructures were here, but they don't have to be here. But there is Ebedi for example in Iseyin (Oyo State). So, these things are coming but while they are not here let's make use of the ones that are out there. The people have put in money and have invested. There is one in Singapore for example for a year and they want international writers, you don't have to live in Singapore, you can come from Okija (Anambra State) and be flown there for the workshop. So we shouldn't fixate on it not being here, the ones that are out there, let's make use of them. But what are the opportunities abroad that Nigerian writers could subscribe to? There are online writing groups: there are agents who receive submissions online, there are magazines they can send their works to. Online literary magazines are scouting for literary agents. They should go there, if they see what they like, they go for it. They could also send their works to magazines abroad if they are looking for audience abroad. The ghost of the protagonist in On Black Sister's Street for which you won the NLNG prize hovers over Lagos after she meets a brutal death in Belgium. If you had to write the novel all over again, would you invoke the ghost? I guess at the point when my agent sold it we were both satisfied that it was ready. How was the experience like while researching On Black Sister's Street? Initially, it was a bit uncomfortable being there as a woman, knowing that you were being looked at as someone who was willing to sell themselves for money. So, it was a bit uncomfortable. But it was something I had to do, I wanted to feel how uncomfortable ‘Sissy’ or ‘Ama’ or any of my other char-

‘I did feel nostalgic. It was almost like a homecoming for me. I was at Nsukka, a place that used to be my home. Oh, it was such a good feeling for me; it was too good to be true. I felt good all over again...Yeah, publishing abroad is a very competitive market, especially if you are going through the commercial publishing route, it's difficult. First you have to find an agent and the agent has to sell your work. So, yes it's difficult’

acters felt being there for the first time. I had to forget about my own feelings of discomfort to get through it. It says fiction on the cover but the experience is so real reading On Black Sister's Street? Thank you. That is what a good book is supposed to do. It's supposed to make you believe it even if it's about a talking dog. Do those four women exist? No they don't, they are just composites of different people. I mean, I don't think I could write good non-fiction so I didn't set out to write non-fiction. Does that mean there is no memoir coming in the future? No, I'm a very private person. There is a church element in your book, The Phoenix. Is that you, are you a church person? I don't put myself in my books and I don't spend 24 hours in a church either. The only thing I have in common with the protagonist of The Phoenix is that she doesn't like mushrooms. I don't like mushrooms at all. But that's the only thing. How did you become a writer? I wasn't really a writer, it was my hobby, it wasn't really a career. Meaning you never sent your manuscript to a Macmillan or Nelson? I was an undergraduate and was just trying to get through with school and get a first class if I could. But I couldn't. What I had was a collection of poems published while I was an undergraduate. But it was self-published. What happened to that collection? It was something I did as a kid. It is something like having a very ugly boyfriend with a very famous last name and you just drop the name and hope people don't ever get to meet him. Would you do poetry again? The muse has left me. I did try to do poetry shortly after I moved but I just couldn't. How do you decide which of your stories will be a short story…? Oh, I think the story decides by itself. I just start writing and then I see where it leads me. But then, for me, short story writing is very difficult! (Laughs). Why? Because, you don't have such space to experiment… But in a novel you have plenty of space to say what you have to say, to be •Continued on page 40





Forecasts Niger Insurance Gross Premium - N2.73b Profit after tax - N212.95m Mutual Benefits Gross Premium - N2b Profit - N885.633m Regency Alliance Gross Premium – N812.596m Profit after tax – N256.437m Learn Africa Turnover - N1.06b Profit after tax - N58.336m Total Nigeria Turnover - N46.676 b Profit after tax - N942.1m MRS Oil Nigeria Turnover - N51.20b Profit after tax - N712 m Eterna Turnover - N27.64b Profit after tax - N563.834m Okomu Oil Palm Turnover - N2.667b Profit after tax - N1.044b Stanbic/IBTC Bank Net operating income N16.805b Profit after tax - N2.737b ASL Turnover - N1.084b Profit after tax - N101.355m GT Assurance Gross Premium - N3.892b Profit after tax - N710.62m Cornerstone Insurance Gross Premium - N1.223b Profit after tax - N80.01m Oasis Insurance Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax - N79.868m African Alliance INS Gross Premium - N1.215b Profit after tax - N107.213m Berger Paints Turnover - N976.303m Profit after tax - N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover - N835.0m Profit after tax - N18.200m Dangote Sugar Refinery Turnover - N38.251b Profit after tax - N3.49b Studio Press Nig. Turnover - N3.375b Profit after tax - N20.422m Julius Berger Nig. Turnover - N80.125b Profit after tax - N2.55b Intercontinental Wapic Ins Gross Premium - N1.41b Profit after tax - N250.450m Equity Assurance Gross Premium - N2.45b Profit after tax - N287.283m Standard Alliance Insurance Gross Premium - N2.142b Profit after tax - N475.964m Continental Reinsurance Gross Premium - N6.917b Profit after tax - N805m PRESCO Turnover - N2.60b Profit after tax - N800.9m RT Briscoe Turnover - N4.553b

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

Double-digit growth rate not T feasible, says LCCI

HE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said the double-digit growth rate predicted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for this year will not be possible. Speaking with The Nation, LCCI’s Director-General, Mr Muda Yusuf, said the forecast was not realistic even if some reforms in the economy were successful.

‘De- urbanisation will not take over Lagos’ By Okwy Ireogbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor


LECTURER in the Estate Management Department of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Modupe Omirin, has said the growth of cities in Ogun and other neigbouring states of Lagos will not de-urbanise it. She said Lagos contributes 30 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that with the ongoing development of Eko Atlantic City and Lekki Free Trade Zone as economic hubs, Lagos will continue to rank high as an economic destination for many. Omirin told The Nation at a workshop by surveyors on land administration in Lagos, that when people move out of Lagos into developing nearby towns in Ogun, such as Ota, Mowe and Ibafo, they suffer some basic infrastructure. The don said Lagos is not only the base of 65 per cent of the informal sector, but also accounts for 40 per cent of labour emoluments; hosts the largest stock exchange in Africa and has three airports. She, however, advised policy makers to provide about 250,000 jobs yearly to bridge the employment gap. Maintaining that Lagos still needs more infrastructure and enhanced economic management, Omirin said South Africa with a population of about 2.5 million people operate her economy at 400 times more than Lagos with 17.5 million population. Noting the place of property development and income generation from the sector, she called for a policy on environmental aesthetics to promote property value. A former Commissioner for Physical Development and Urban Development, Mr Francisco Abosede, advocated that communities in Lagos should manage the hitherto infrastructure development charge paid to the government. He argued that the money should not be collected by the government as it may not know the needs of an area.

50 big customers owe banks N2.39tr - P 30

By Toba Agboola

He said there are many challenges confronting the power and oil sectors, which are unlikely to be tackled in the year. Besides, LCCI boss said the manufacturing sector is also facing many problems. “There is the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and with January out of it, that forecast is not realistic. I am not too optimistic that this can happen this year. We have less than 11 months to go in 2013,” he said. Muda said even if the PIB was passed, the investment needed to accelerate growth was not easy to come by. “We are talking of billions

of dollar investment in the oil and gas sector and there is the problem of labour issues. The forecast may be possible in the near future when these issues are resolved, but not in 2013,” he said. Muda said the lack of competitiveness by domestic firms is a major concern in the manufacturing sector. “Without competitive domestic firms, it will be impossible for the Federal Government to diversify the economy.The truth is that competitiveness is still a big issue in our manufacturing sector,” he said. The LCCI chief said indigeneous manufacturers need protection from the

government against their foreign counterparts. He said: “Local manufacturers need protection from the Federal Government against imports from unfair competition from China and other countries for better utilisation of available natural resources, employment generation, economic growth and industrialisation. “Other developing countries, such as India and Brazil consolidated its domestic base before opening its economy to outsiders. Companies with rolling mills and extrusion plants should be allowed to import any shortfall arising from inadequate capacity vis-a-vis national demand

for a period of seven years. ”The truth is that competitiveness is still a big issue with our manufacturing sector. We acknowledge the efforts of the government in the power sector and the intervention funds. But the problem of high production cost still persists. “We have problems of high cost of fund, weak infrastructure, corruption, dumping, smuggling and other unethical practices, and quality of institutions. This is the reason many of the firms still cut jobs. It is impossible to diversify the economy if domestic firms are not competitive.” To solve these problems, the LCCI helmsman stressed that there is the need for the quality of institutions and infrastructure in the country to be improved.

•From left: Executive Director, South, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Lanre Adesanya; Managing Director/CEO, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Yemi Adeola; Managing Director (LAWMA), Mr Ola Oresanya and General Manager Administration/Special Duties (LAWMA), Mrs. Abimbola Jijoho-Ogun, during a courtesy visit to LAWMA Office in Ijora by Sterling Bank Management led by Mr Adeola in Lagos ... on Monday.

‘Equities still far from asset bubble’ HE continuing uptrend at the stock market is backed by good corporate fundamentals and the market is not under any immediate threat of asset bubble, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited, Mr Bismarck Rewane, has said. In his latest review of the economy, Rewane noted that the historic strong start that saw the stock market with average return of 13.44 per cent in January underlined appreciable fundamentals of quoted companies and preference of foreign investors


By Taofik Salako

for Nigerian and other emerging markets’ securities. According to him, although there were echoes of asset bubble, equities are still far from any such depression given the earnings’outlooks of companies. Rewane said the market might consolidate its impressive performance in January this month, though he called for caution, citing the little headroom to manoeuvre if United States’ debt ceiling is not avoided in

Dana Air crash: Only two families of victims are fully paid - P33

March and Eurozone crisis comes flooding back. He said there could be some few earnings that would fall below forecasts as the earnings season starts, adding that a largely disappointing earnings season may dampen the market run. However, he cautioned that traces of pumping and dumping are raising doubts about the true impact of market making, reiterating concerns that had been expressed by several stakeholders. “Market making activity must be closely watched to

ensure an asset bubble is not built up again,” Rewane said. He noted that with the economy still highly dependent on oil and gas, external and domestic balance is vulnerable to exogenous shocks as global commodity prices continue to determine the direction of the economy. The report lamented that corruption remained a cankerworm to the economy, noting that subsidies are still pervasive. “The monetary conditions and monetary policy need to diverge but are still in convergence,” Rewane said.

Lagos, Benin airports lead in abandoned planes -P 35




CBN: 50 big customers owe banks N2.39tr


O fewer than 50 top customers are owing banks N2.39 trillion, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. Their debt represents 30 per cent of the N7.87 trillion owed the banks, according to CBN Financial Stability Report for June, last year. The report put the banks’total credit at N7.2 trillion at the end of December 2011. The report signed by CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido and Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Kingsley Moghalu, said top 100 obligors accounted for 39.1 per cent of the gross credit, indicating a high loan concentration within the banking sector. The ratio of nonperforming loans (NPLs) to gross loans declined by 0.6 per cent from 4.9 per cent, but falls within the regulatory threshold of five per

• Lenders refund N5.76b By Collins Nweze

cent. The ratio decline, the report said, was partly attributable to the sale of N52.85 billion Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs) to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) by six banks. The NPL classified as substandard was N74.81 billion (22.3 per cent), doubtful, N123.44 billion (36 per cent) and lost loans, N141.63 billion (41.7 per cent). The NPL also declined by 5.6 per cent to N339.88 billion from N360.09 billion. A further deterioration of earlier classified loans resulted in an increase in loan loss provisions from N202.27 billion to N242.13 billion.

The CBN said it received 444 petitions, amounting to N1.41 billion from customers, relating to alleged excess charges and other unethical practices. Its intervention resulted in banks refunding N5.76 billion to customers. The report said banks are facing current or prospective risk arising from changes in the business environment and adverse decisions. Others are improper implementation of decisions or lack of responsiveness to changes in environment. The CBN noted that as the environment changes because of changes in economic and regulatory framework, it is critical that

financial institutions manage the risk from their business strategy. The report said a stress test conducted at the end of June last year, evaluated the solvency risks in banks’ balance sheets and imbalance in the financial system. The result of the exercise reaffirmed the increasing resilience of the industry to shocks. Comparatively, the results showed slight improvements over the December 2011 position in credit, foreign exchange and interest rate risks; liquidity risks increased marginally. The reforms in the sector, CBN said, would address liquidity and exchange rate volatility concerns in the near to medium term. It added that liquidity risks were adjudged significant as the impact of 10 per cent general run on the industry’s liquidity resulted in 815

•CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido

basis points reduction in liquidity ratio. The results, according to the report, showed that small and medium banks were less vulnerable to liquidity risks than big ones.

CBN won’t relax control of MfBs, mortgage firms, others


• From left: Vice President, MoneyGram, Mr Herve Chomel; Business Development, Nigeria Executive, Kemi Okusanya; Regional Director, Mr Francois Peyret Maghreb; and Operations Manager, West Africa, Mr Kunle Olamuyiwa, at the kick off of the MoneyGram ‘share passion and win big’ activation in Lagos.

AfDB blames National Assembly for non-release of $700m SMEs loans


HE African Development Bank (AfDB) has explained the rationale for delay in the release of the $700 million (N108 billion) loans for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). It blamed the delay on what it called technical hitches and the National Assembly. In 2011, AfDB approved $700 million for the development of SMEs in Nigeria. It also provided loans to the Bank of Industry (BoI) and NEXIM Bank two weeks ago following the signing of an agreement. The loans were given in two tranches of $500 million to BoI and $200 million to NEXIM for distribution to the qualified SMEs. AfDB’s representative in Nigeria Dr Ousmane Dore told The Nation that the loans arrived late because the National Assembly did not approve it in time. He said: “This is a sovereign-guaranteed (Federal Governmentbacked) credit lines. In this case, the credits must be approved by the parliament. So, it was one of the loans that had to wait for the approval of the National Assembly before it can be released. “We are trying to work out some conditions guiding the release of the loans.These are technical issues

By Akinola Ajibade

relating to the capacity of the beneficiaries to pay back the loans. Some negotiations need to be done to ascertain whether the banks have the capacity to undertake the risks of collecting the loans. This is important to ensure that confidence between the AfDB and Nigeria is intact.” Dore said the board of the AfDB has since approved the loans, adding that the technical issues must be sorted out before the cash is released to the would-be-beneficiaries. According to him, the bank is lifting its operational goals to employment generation to foster the growth of the continent. This, he said, is evident by the decision of the bank to approve and release the $700 million loans promised the operators of small and medium scale enterprises in the country. He said AfDB has set up loans for capacity building in some countries, including Nigeria, adding that the loans are sovereign guaranteed. The AfDB, he said, looks at the conditions attached to sovereignguaranteed loans, before it releases the loans to the beneficiar-

ies. He added that the loans are given to people at a considerable terms to ensure flexible mode of payments. He berated banks for not providing enough funding for the agricultural sector, adding that the sector plays a critical role in the economy. The agricultural sector, he said, is poorly funded, and as such cannot deliver expected results. “If you look at the overall credit in the economy, only two per cent goes to a sector like agriculture identified as one of the strongest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product(GDP). The Federal Government can work towards improving the scheme. I think the government has some schemes on that,” he added. He said the AfDB has dedicated loans for the growth of the power sector, stressing that infrastructural development is of major priority to the institution. The bank has medium-term projects in Nigeria, with a gestation period of four years.The projects spanning road construction, transportation, water, irrigation, among others, aimed at meeting the nation’s infrastructural challenges.

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will continue to monitor Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) for growth this year. In a report on activities of Other Financial Institution Department (OFID) on its website, it said the aim of monitoring CBN primary mortgage banks, finance houses, microfinance banks, among others, grouped under DFIs is to see whether they are in order. CBN said: “The aim of monitoring DFIs is to institutionalise strong corporate governance and risk management programmes in those firms. The exercise will enable the companies to effectively deliver on their mandates. The bank shall also continue to enforce the Uniform Prudential and Assessment Standards prescribed for DFIs in Africa, developed under the aegis of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI) for benchmarking operations of the DFIs. “All Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) are required to strictly comply with the prudential requirements specified in the existing guidelines/circulars, directives and provisions of BOFIA CAP B3 Laws of the Federation of

By Akinola Ajibade

Nigeria, 2004. Appropriate sanctions shall be imposed on any OFI found in contravention of the prudential guidelines, circulars, directives or provisions of the BOFIA, 2004.” The CBN also said it would sustain the implementation of the Microfinance Certification Programme for Microfinance Banks (MfBs). It added that it would continue to license microfinance banks in line with the prescribed new capital regime of N20 million, N100 million and N2 billion for unit, state and national microfinance banks. The apex bank said it is introducing specialised second-tier institutions that would provide short-term liquidity, long-term funding or guarantees to mortgage banks and housing finance providers. According to CBN, reforms of the primary mortgage banks shall, among other things, target the enhancement of access to mortgage/housing finance, introduction of sound risk management, strong corporate governance and the promotion of secondary mortgage market.

Why finance houses’ planned reform is delayed


HAT is delaying the planned reforms for finance houses? It is being delayed by bureaucracy, The Nation has learnt. An insider at the Finance Houses Association of Nigeria (FHAN) said despite securing stakeholders’approvals in critical areas, especially in the drive to raise capital base from N20 million to about N100 million, the other elements are not yet in place. The source said stakeholders expect the reforms to be unfolded by the CBN before the end of this quarter. It is also expected that the reforms will expand the funding structure of the subsector to allow new investors into it. Findings showed that the CBN Board of Governors will release new prudential guidelines for the subsector that also include raising the capital base. Other policy issues, such as the appointment of Managing Directors will form part of the ongoing reforms in the subsector. The source said CBN is also considering developing a regulatory framework that will govern finance lease practice, institution-

By Collins Nweze

alise a “funding pool” to stimulate lending in the sub-sector and structure programme to address the subsector’s challenges. Other pending issues, such as withdrawal of licences of 47 finance houses whose liquidity were called to question last May, and funding for the subsector are also being looked into. The source said progress is being made now, unlike before when nothing was happening in the subsector. In a statement, FHAN President Samuel Durojaye said the reforms would transform the sub-sector to enable it to play increasing role in the financing value chain. He urged FHAN members to support CBN’s efforts at strengthening the regulatory environment by regular and timely rendering of statutory returns and reports, and the renewal of their licences yearly. Unlike banks, finance companies are not allowed to accept deposits. This means they can only source funds from shareholders, private equity companies, development finance institutions and other institutional investors.




Mergers, acquisitions loom large in financial services sector T

HERE is high prospect for mergers and acquisitions in the financial services sector as erstwhile banking subsidiaries, insurance companies and microfinance banks strive to build competitive scales and meet business-specific regulatory requirements. Managing Director, Investment One Financial Services Limited, Mr Nicholas Nyamali, said financial services operators would seek to consolidate their activities by combining their businesses or acquiring existing or distressed assets to create more vibrant corporate edge

Stories by Taofik Salako

and hedge against competition. Nyamali told The Nation that in the months ahead, erstwhile banking subsidiaries striving to build competitive scales, insurance companies eager to build underwriting capacity, microfinance banks angling to meet regulatory requirements and sale of acquired debt-for-assets entities would sprout several deals in the business combination industry. He noted that while mergers and acquisitions were mainly driven in 2012 by regulatory requirements

such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s repeal of the universal banking, which forced several banks to sell or unbundle their subsidiaries and National Pension Commission’s (Pencom’s) increase of paid up share capital of pension fund administrators from N300 million to N1 billion, business combinations would be driven in the period ahead largely by market-induced competition. “New entities that were acquired during the banking sector reform will have to undergo some form of business combination. This will involve these small entities devel-

•From left: General Manager, Head, Listings Sales Retention, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mrs. Taba Peterside; Head, Institutionalisation & Advisory Services, Nextzon Business Services Ltd, Mope Abudu; MD, Avis Nigeria, Mr Kolawole Ogunbajo, at NSE’s institutional services workshop in Lagos.

oping a game plan towards expanding their market share of sectors hitherto controlled by the banks or bank affiliates. These entities will either come together voluntarily or be acquired by stronger players in the market. Also, a number of acquirers of the bank subsidiaries might be looking at spinning off some parts of the acquired business they consider surplus to requirement,” Nyamali said. His company recently adopted its name after Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc sold its asset management subsidiary- GTB Asset Management Limited (GTBAM) - under a management buy-out deal with Nyamali-led management.With the repeal of universal banking, GTB had opted to sell its non-commercial banking subsidiaries and focus on its core commercial banking against the alternative option of forming holding company structure to hold the subsidiaries. Nyamali added that there were strong feelers that the insurance sector would experience a strong wave of mergers and acquisitions due to the emerging big sectors of power and the revamped oil and gas sector as occasioned by the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which is awaiting the nod of the National Assembly. According to him, with the heavy local content elements contained in both the power sector reform act and the PIB, the energy sector would require Insurance companies with deep pockets to underwrite the risks inherent in the sector. Thus, the insurance industry would have to consolidate either voluntarily or by regulatory push with a view to growing its balance sheet size to embark on these high-yield high-risk under-

writing deals. He noted that the increase in the minimum capital requirements for various categories of microfinance banks would nudge many microfinance banks to consider business combination rather than face liquidation. Minimum capital base for microfinance banks has been increased variously from N1 billion to N2 billion for national licence, from N20 million to N100 million for state licence and from N10 million to N20 million for unit licence. “These microfinance banks have the options of raising new funds through the capital markets, business combination or liquidation. It is most likely that a number of them would opt for the business combination option with a view to meeting the deadline,” Nyamali said. He said the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) might up the ante in the mergers and acquisitions segment through sale of distressed and partially impaired assets acquired through the corporation’s bad debts acquisition deals. The recent economic recession had affected the financial positions of some companies, which undermined their abilities to service bank loans. AMCON subsequently acquired such bad loans, which brought many assets under the corporation. AMCON recently appointed advisers in the process of selling the indebted companies’assets either stripped or en-bloc, to interested investors. These assets included the three bridged banks- Enterprise Bank, Mainstreet Bank and Keystone Bank, among other high profile distressed companies.

Securities’ regulators roll out new rules to protect clients’assets


HE I n t e r n a t i o n a l Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has outlined eight principles aimed at guiding operators and regulators in the financial services industry on client’s asset protection. The process is expected to end by Monday, March, 25, 2013. IOSCO is the umbrella body for securities’regulators and it is recognised as the global standard setter for securities regulation.The organisation’s membership regulates more than 95 per cent of the world’s securities markets in 115 jurisdictions. Nigeria is a member of the board of IOSCO, which consists of 32 securities regulators, including securities regulatory authorities of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, and Morocco Also included are the Netherlands, Ontario, Pakistan, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago,Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Vice Commissioner for International Affairs at the Financial Services Agency of Japan (JFSA), Mr Masamichi Kono,chairs the board. Under first principle of the client’s asset protection regime, an intermediary is expected to maintain accurate and up-to-date records and accounts of client assets that readily establish the nature, amount, location and ownership status of client assets and the clients for whom the client assets are held. The records should also be maintained in such a way that they may be used as an audit trail. This requires that an intermediary should

establish systems and controls for maintaining accurate and up-todate records of client asset holdings including information specifying the amount, location, and ownership status of client assets. Also, in those jurisdictions where clients may waive, consent to the modification of, or otherwise opt out of any aspect of client asset protection, the intermediary should maintain sufficient records to clearly demonstrate, as applicable, the client’s explicit, written and informed consent to the waiver or modification of the protection of client assets or to opting out of the client asset protection regime. Besides, accounts held with a third party for the benefit of clients are required to be titled in such a way to clearly distinguish assets held for clients from assets held for the intermediary. The second principle holds that an intermediary should provide a statement to each client on a regular basis, as well as on request, detailing the client assets held for or on behalf of such client. Such statement to be provided by the intermediary should be a statement of account or other report to clients showing their asset holdings and money balances as of a reasonably recent date. The third principle stipulates that an intermediary should maintain appropriate arrangements to safeguard the clients’ rights in client assets and minimise the risk of loss and misuse by understanding the options, if any, for holding client assets and take into account the levels of client asset protection in both pre- and post-default in addition to any associated risks. Also, where an intermediary places client assets with a third

party, the intermediary should, to the extent necessary to achieve compliance with applicable domestic requirements, understand the material effects of the contractual provisions governing that arrangement on the clients’ rights in respect of such client assets, including how those contractual provisions would operate in the jurisdiction where such assets are held, including in the event of the resolution or insolvency of the intermediary, the third party or both. The fourth principle underlines that where an intermediary places or deposits client assets in a foreign jurisdiction, the intermediary should understand and take into account the foreign regime to the extent necessary to achieve compliance with applicable domestic requirements. Under the fifth principle, an intermediary is expected to ensure that there is clarity and transparency in the disclosure of the relevant client asset protection regimes and arrangements and the consequent risks involved. By this, an intermediary should ensure its agreements with clients contain adequate and appropriate information about the arrangements for client asset protection and the ways in which the intermediary holds or deposits different types of client assets and the attendant risks, consistent with the requirements of its home jurisdiction. These disclosures should be appropriate in light of the relationship between the client asset and the client’s rights in the asset and should take into account the fact that the ownership status of the client assets may affect the degree of protection. But where the intermediary has

determined there are material risks of placing client assets in a particular foreign jurisdiction and where those risks cannot be effectively mitigated by the intermediary, the intermediary should clearly and understandably disclose those risks in advance to the clients so that such clients can make informed decisions concerning their investments. The draft sixth principle sates that where the regulatory regime permits clients to waive or modify the degree of protection applicable to client assets or otherwise opt out of the application of client assets protection regime, such arrangements should be subject to clear and understandable disclosure of the implications of such consent to the client, obtaining of client’s explicit and written consent and clear criteria delineating those clients under such arrangements if such arrangements are based on certain categories of clients. Any waiver or modification of any aspect of the client asset protection regime or any opting out of the client asset protection regime should, in either event, be contained in a separate document and be clear and in writing, through whatever technical means, and affirmatively executed by the client. The seventh principle charges that regulators should oversee intermediaries’ compliance with the applicable domestic requirements to safeguard client assets through the institution and use of adequate tools to effectively monitor an intermediary’s compliance with the domestic client asset protection regime. The tools may include regulatory measures such as mandatory

reports to the regulator from an intermediary, whether sent on a periodic basis or upon the occurrence of specific events, as to the amount, location, value and ownership status of client assets held, the status of the intermediary’s compliance with the applicable requirements and any separate client asset protections that apply where client assets are invested; mandatory periodic or occurrence-related reports to the regulator from self-regulatory organisations as to the status of the intermediary’s compliance with the applicable requirements; mandatory reports sent to the regulator from independent external auditors, provided at least annually, as to the adequacy of the intermediary’s arrangements in safeguarding client assets; ad-hoc inspection visits to assess the adequacy of the intermediary’s arrangements in safeguarding client assets; and the establishment of whistle-blowing programmes to provide an additional mechanism for the monitoring of an intermediary’s compliance. The eighth principle stipulates that where an intermediary places or deposits client assets in a foreign jurisdiction, the regulator should, to the extent necessary to perform its supervisory responsibilities concerning applicable domestic requirements, consider information sources that may be available to it, including information provided to it by the intermediaries it regulates or assistance from local regulators in the foreign jurisdiction. Regulators are expected to use available information sources in performing their supervisory responsibilities with respect to intermediaries placing or depositing client assets in foreign jurisdictions.




UACN closes on acquisition of Livestock Feeds, Portland Paints U AC of Nigeria (UACN) Plc has gone far in its acquisition of controlling equity in two quoted companies Livestock Feeds Plc and Portland Paints and Products Plc. UACN had in July last year announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Livestock Feeds and Portland Paints to acquire substantial equity stake in the companies. Sources confirmed to The Nation that the parties to the deals had continued to work on the deals since the announcements and are now close to the conclusion stage. A source privy to discussions on the deals indicated the parties have gone far, although the source could not make public details of discussions due to regulatory and corporate rules. With several billions of Naira from asset sales, cash-loaded UACN has been pursuing strategic business acquisitions to further expand its conglomerate of businesses, especially in businesses that align with its operations. UACN, which holds the controlling equity stake in CAP Plc, the

Stories by Taofik Salako

largest quoted paints and chemical company, is seeking to leverage on potential synergies between CAP and Portland Paints, an equally profitable niche player with strong brands. The transaction will allow Portland Paints to leverage the relative strengths of UACN and yield considerable benefit to stakeholders in both companies. UACN has said its acquisitions were in furtherance of its strategy of building a portfolio of brands and businesses geared towards the growth segments of the economy, and partnerships that deliver longterm value to the company and its stakeholders. With their established presence in the Nigerian paint industry, both UACN and Portland Paints are positioned to partner on deepening their presence in the markets, achieve scope and scale economies in procurement, production and distribution.

Portland Paints’ products include marine and protective coatings for oil and gas sector, sanitary ware, instant road repair material for repairs in all weather for cracks and potholes in asphalt, concrete and landing runway areas in airports as well as its traditional decorative and industrial paints. UACN, which has substantial investment in agro-allied business, is also seeking to leverage its existing business with the acquisition of Livestock Feeds Plc- a feed milling

company. UACN said it envisaged that the business combination with Livestock Feeds would lead to significant development of the agro-allied business industry, a key pivot of Nigeria’s drive for enhanced agricultural sector contribution to the national economy. According to the conglomerate, the value propositions of the acquisition include the ability to create a new catalyst that would allow Livestock Feeds to penetrate new markets as well as deepen its presence in existing markets. With a large group of active companies spanning manufactur-

ing, services, logistics and real estate sectors of the economy, the addition of Livestock Feeds and Portland Paints would further enlarge UACN Group. The UACN Group includes two quoted subsidiaries - CAP Plc and UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc, UAC Foods Limited, GM Nigeria Limited - a joint venture with General Motors Corporation of United States, MDS Logistics Limited, Warm Spring Waters Nigeria Limited, Grand Cereals Limited, UAC Registrars and Unico CPFA Limited. UACN is owned by over 187,000 shareholders.

Asiodu, ExxonMobil boss, others for Aret Adams lecture


MINENT speakers including former Secretary for Petroleum & Minerals Resources, Chief Phillip Asiodu and Chairman /Managing Director of ExxonMobil, Mr Mark Ward, among others, would grace the 10th Annual Aret Adams Memorial lecture series slated for February 28, this year at The Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos. According to the Programme Coordinator of Aret Adams Foundation, Mr Akin Jokojeje, the theme for this year’s lecture is: World energy outlook and its potential impact on the Nigeria’s petroleum industry. He said the foundation was launched in honour of the late Aret Adams, the first Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from 1988 to 1990, adding that Aret Adams made outstanding contributions toward the growth of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry and the nation’s economy. The foundation, Mr Jokojeje said, is aimed at promoting and building educational capacity and policy formulations. He said the National Energy policy delivered to the Federal government in April 1980 was formulated by the late Aret

Adams and that it was him that re-energised negotiations that led to the successful execution of shareholders agreements for the execution of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) project in 1989. He said the foundation, with the support of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), has institutionalised the Aret Adams Professorial Chair at the University of Port Harcourt. In addition, yearly scholarship awards were also being given to best postgraduate students in geology of the University of Ibadan to assist them in their M.Sc programmes. On the forthcoming lecture, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Mr Egbert Imomoh, said: “Chief Aret Adams left behind a legacy of professionalism and humanitarianism as epitomised in many lives he touched, irrespective of tribe or religion affiliations. It was those virtues of his that motivated few colleagues and associates to establish the Foundation, to propagate and sustain the life-long dreams of the late Godwin Aret Adams.”

•From left: Acting Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Dr. Ghaji Bello and his Centre for Management Development (CMD) counterpart, Dr. Kabir Kabo Usman, during a visit by the management of CMD to the ICRC headquarters, Abuja to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the ICRC ... on Monday.

‘Penny, mid-cap stocks are best picks for high growth’ T HERE are still significant upside potential for several low-priced and mediumsized stocks as investment managers have started to reconsider the potential future gains on highly capitalised stocks. Investment analysts and pundits stated that several highly capitalised stocks appeared to be around their fair values, a stage that would require extraordinary fundamental performance or exclusive franchise to trigger further strong rally. Analysts at FDSH Merchant Bank, GTI Securities and Sterling

Vitafoam records N174m Q1 net profit


ITAFOAM Nigeria Plc recorded marginal growth in sales and profit in the first quarter of the business year, setting a familiar pattern for the foam manufacturing company. Interim report and accounts for the three-month period ended December 31, 2012 showed that total sales inched up by 4.71 per cent to N4.05 billion as against N3.87 billion recorded in comparable period of 2011. Profit after tax also increased marginally by 7.5 per cent from N162.28 million to N174.49 million. Vitafoam has been struggling with weak sales and high costs in recent periods. Audited report and accounts of the foam manufacturing company for the year ended September 30, 2012 showed that it remained under extreme pressures from its lopsided loan-dominated finance structure. With 52 per cent increase in interest expense to N542 million in 2012, net earnings distributable to shareholders had slipped to N557

million, forcing the company to retain its cash payout of 30 kobo per share for the third consecutive year. Vitafoam’s profit and loss items had tended largely towards the negative last year. While it mitigated weak sales by reducing related costs of sales, margins and returns were depressed by the stifling midline, directly related to huge increase in finance costs. Gross profit margin had improved from 30 per cent to 35.5 per cent. However, pre-tax profit margin slipped from 5.7 per cent to 5.6 per cent. Return on total assets declined from N8.9 per cent to 7.8 per cent while return on equity dropped from 20.2 per cent to 18.1 per cent. Total sales stood at N14.48 billion in 2012, a slight decrease from N14.52 billion recorded in 2011. Cost of sales meanwhile dropped by 8.2 per cent from N10.17 billion to N9.34 billion, lifting up gross profit by 18 per cent from N4.35 billion to N5.14 billion. Total operating expenses increased by 16 per

cent from N3.35 billion to N3.91 billion. Administrative expenses had risen from N2.51 billion to N2.96 billion while distributive costs increased from N840.1 million to N945.2 million. With 51.7 per cent in interest expenses from N357 million in 2011 to N542 million in 2012 and substantial decline in non-core business incomes, profit before tax dipped slightly by 1.2 per cent from N824 million to N813 million. After taxes, profit distributable to shareholders also slipped by 1.8 per cent from N567 million to N557 million. Earnings per share took cue from net profit after tax at 67.9 kobo in 2012 as against 69.1 kobo in 2011. Net assets per share meanwhile improved from N3.42 to N3.76, an increase of about 10 per cent. The company retained its cash dividend per share of 30 kobo for the third consecutive year, earmarking N246 million for distribution to shareholders.

Capital Markets said the strong rally witnessed so far this year has brought many highly capitalised stocks to their intrinsic values. They, however, noted that several low-priced stocks, which had been slow to respond to the upswing in 2012, still have considerable heard room for capital appreciation. In their recent reviews of the market, analysts advised investors to consider stocks with good fundamentals that can generate relatively high returns in the medium to long-term. The Nigerian stock market opened this week with average year-to-date gain of 18.64 per cent. The All Share Index (ASI), the main common value-based index at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), had added 2.78 per cent last week to bring the year-to-date return to 18.64 per cent. Other key sectoral indices showed several stocks with aboveaverage performances. The NSE

Insurance Sector index recorded a return of 35.38 per cent. The NSE 30 Index, which tracks the 30 most capitalised stocks, opened with year-to-date gain of 19.56 per cent. The NSE Consumer Goods posted 16.46 per cent. The NSE Banking Index recorded 21.73 per cent while the NSE Oil and Gas Index started this week with average return of 19.36 per cent. The performance of the market so far this year has exceeded many estimates by market pundits, who had expected a slight moderation and gradual price appreciation after the equities market posted a full year return of 35.4 per cent in 2012. Equities had added some N2.44 trillion in capital gains to investors in 2012 as the ASI closed 2012 at 28,078.81 points as against its opening index of 20,730.63 points for the year. Aggregate market capitalisation of all quoted equities also rose from its opening value of N6.533 trillion to close the year at N8.974 trillion, indicating capital gains of N2.441 trillion.

Halogen, EarthSearch for oil and gas exhibition


ALOGEN Security Company Limited, Nigeria’s leading integrated security solutions company, and its technical partner, United States-based EarthSearch Communications International, have announced plans to showcase their security technology solutions at the forthcoming Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) International Exhibition, Abuja. Managing Director, Halogen Security, Mr Wale Olaoye, said in the company’s two decades of opera-

tions, it has developed and mastered the provision of professional security solutions aimed at delivering on promise to its teeming clientele. “Our presence at the NOG 2013 exhibition is highlighted by the attendance of our United States based global partner, EarthSearch Communications, whose strength in offering a range of solutions from monitoring to effective response and asset tracking helps to deliver our secured peace of mind value proposition for our market,” Olaoye said.




Dana Air crash: ‘Only two families of victims are fully paid’ O NLY two families of the victims of the crashed Dana Air have been paid the balance of $70, 000, Controller, Claims of the airline’s local insurer, Prestige Assurance Plc, Mrs Josephine Gbuji, has said. The payments were made based on the advice of the lawyers, Clyde & Co, who are represented by Yomi Oshikoya & Co. She said aviation insurance requires foreign backing to accommodate the magnitude of the losses, adding that local insurers lack the capacity to do so. Mrs. Gbuji told The Nation that her firm had paid the initial $30, 000 each to 81 families of Dana Air crash victims as at January 31, 2013.

Stories by Uyoatta Eshiet

“We have paid every passenger’s family who has come forward and have been able to prove their title the initial amount of $30, 000. From my own record, we have paid 81 families out of the lot; two passenger’s families have been paid the balance of $70, 000. “This was after the two families got the letters of administration duly confirmed by the lawyers and they advised us on that,” she said. According to her, the lawyers

are in charge because there are many issues involved in confirming who the bereaved representatives of the passengers are. She said the process was more rigorous for the balance of $70, 000, adding that the insurance company did not determine who collects what. “The lawyers have to be thorough because if they do not do it well, there will be law suits later and they too would be held liable,” she said. Mrs. Gbuji said nine families of beneficiaries, who were confirmed to them by the lawyers, got

their cheques for $30, 000 on the 30th day after the crash happened, in conformity with international aviation laws, adding that the cheques were issued and sent to the lawyers who would disburse to the beneficiaries to ensure they got proper discharge. “We have our funds here. So, each time we have advice, we issue cheques to those cleared. The cheques are written exactly the way the lawyers instructed,” she said. However, an official of Yomi Oshikoya & Co, the representative law firm of Clyde & Co in Nigeria, said the lawyers were not disposed to discussing the issue with the press. According to her, the firm is dealing with the solicitors to the beneficiaries of the airline crash victims. She refused to talk on the fate of those affected on ground.

• Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah

This is because apart from the initial ‘hand outs’ to cushion the effect of their immediate losses, none of them has been paid any claim by the insurance firm.

Lagos pays N14.45b to retirees


HE Lagos State Government paid N14.486 billion to 2,604 retirees of the contributory pension scheme in two years, the Director-General Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), Rotimi Hussain, has said. Hussain, who made this known at the Third Pre-Retirement seminar for workers retiring from the state’s service between January and June, said the contributory pension scheme, has continued to record huge success, adding that the amount was paid between October 2010 and December 2012. He noted that the event was designed to help the would-be retirees prepare for their physical, emotional and financial well-being upon retirement.

He said with effective planning, retirees would be afforded the benefit of being in a better position and frame of mind to build a vibrant and rewarding life in retirement. He said: “I am pleased to state that the contributory pension scheme in Lagos State has continue to record huge success. As we speak, 2,604 retirees who retired from the State public service under the scheme have been paid N14.486 billion between October 2010 and December 2012. “This feat gives hope that with the contributory pension scheme, the future is absolutely bright for workers in the state.” Hussain said the state is poised to provide comfortable live for its workers during retirement.

Nigerians advised to use brokers


IGERIANS have been urged to patronise registered brokers when taking insurance

•From left: General Manager, Trade and Distribution, Multichoice Nigeria Ltd., Mr Akinola Salu; Archbishop of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Ijeshaland/winner of the DStv Mega promo, Most Rev. Charles Oderinde, showing the car key during DStv mega promo prize presentation, at DStv head office, Victoria Island, Lagos. With them is PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA the General Manager, DStv, Mr Mayo Okunola.

Group seeks premium financing model


HE Insurance Consumers Association of Nigeria (INSCAN) has called for the establishment of premium financing concept. The group said the concept is in line with what is obtained in other jurisdictions. Its said the concept would be used to solve the problem associated with premium payment.

Speaking with The Nation,the group’s President, Rear Admiral Isaac Areola, said the initiative would assist to boost the income of the industry through prompt payment of premium. He also said: “That an insured person need not pay the total annum premium debited at the inception of cover but the insurance company will be justified to pro-

rate its cover to the extent to which the deposit premium is able to carry the risk.” He noted that the effective date of the enforcement is January 1, 2013 and that the association expects fairness, equity and good business relationship to prevail on all covers. Rear Admiral Areola said the association is in support of all the reforms and initiatives in the industry.

Life policies outpace rest of industry


IFE insurance was the largest segment in the overall United States insurance industry in terms of gross written premium from 2007 through 2011 but the industry’s book of business shrank during that time, according to a new report from market research firm The report, “Life Insurance in the US, Key trends and opportunities to 2016” reviews both historical data and examines the industry’s prospects through 2016, according to a statement. The total written premium value of the life insurance segment decreased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.7 per cent during the review period. The report examines written premiums, incurred losses, loss ratio, commissions and expenses, and also analyses the various distribution channels for life insurance products,

according to the publisher’s statement. A separate financial analysis prepared by SNL Financial reported that while industry revenue grew by eight per cent between 2010 and 2011, it has been nearly flat over the five-year period. Revenues totaled just over $815 billion in 2007, grew to $844.7 billion the following year, then slipped during the financial crisis before rebounding to $835 billion in 2011. Net income declined 8.8 percent between 2010 and 2011, and at $14.4 billion in 2011 was slightly less than half of 2007’s $31.6 billion, according to SNL Financial. The decrease is attributed to high levels of unemployment, which depressed the demand for group life insurance products and the uncertain economic environment, which resulted in a decline in gross written premiums in the term life cat-

egory, researchers found. In addition, the low investment returns due to low interest rates represented losses to the earnings of life insurers. Other industry watchers have said life insurance companies face a broad array of headwinds, from the demographic to the financial. Accounting giant Ernst & Young’s 2013 industry outlook noted, “Insurers are competing in a market where average household expenditures on life insurance have declined 50 per cent over the past decade.” Deloitte, another large accounting firm, issued its own pessimistic US life insurance predictions for the year: “With millions still out of work or underemployed, and many more focused on repayingdebts, a lot of consumers have shorter-term financial priorities to worry about other than life or annuity protection.”

covers. General Manager (Technical), Relics Insurance Brokers Limited, Mr Festus Alikwe, said it is better and safer because the registered brokers are experts and will give good advice. He said: “For those seeking to take up insurance cover for their properties, businesses and even those seeking to take up life insurance covers, they should do so through qualified and registered insurance

brokers.” He said this is important because brokers understand the technicalities of the business more than the intending client, adding that this is for the good of the client. Alikwe told The Nation that the way brokers see insurance firms is not the same way the prospective clients who are not insurance experts, see them. He said if an intending client goes s to an insurance company, it is still the same amount of premium he will have to pay if he goes through the brokers.

STI adopts risk framework to drive operations


OVEREIGN Trust Insurance Plc is embracing enterprise risk management framework to drive its operations. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Wale Onaolapo, said the framework is designed to assist the Board and Management to align the company’s risks to its business strategy, enhance risk response decisions, reduce operational surprises and losses, identify and manage interdepartmental risks, allow for more informed risk decisions and improve capital management. He said the regulatory environment has evolved with regulators seeking assurance as to the robustness of the risk management capacity and the financial viability of financial institutions in a stressed environment. He addded that part of the company’s policy is to maintain a strong capital base to support the growth and the development of its business and to also be able to meet

regulatory capital requirements at all times through its corporate governance, processes and procedures. Its spokesperson, Segun Bankole, said the move became necessary to ensure that operations of the organisation are carried out on sound business principles to protect shareholders and other stakeholders’ interest. Head of Risk Management and Control of of the firm, Mr Sanni Oladimeji, said it has become imperative to apply sound risk management principles to ensure that organisations are safeguarded against unforeseen risks. He further said the company’s management is committed to the execution of the framework in the years ahead. He noted that the creation of a Risk Management and Control Department in the organisation has given a voice to staff. He said employees have been trained to make decisions on risks.




Helped by his business insight

NYSC gets land for training



HE journey of Frederick Nokeleme, the Managing Director, Daily Need Nigeria Limited, to entrepreneurship is an inspiration to budding entrepreneurs. He wished to pursue a career in electrical engineering but faced by economic uncertainty, he decided to set up his own business. Over the past few years there has been an increased interest in using herbs in the preparation of many products, and this new awareness has created business opportunities for entrepreneurs. He started picturing the possibilities of pursuing the massive business opportunity in herbal products business. There are business opportunities and a big market for such products. Nigerians, who understand these herbal products, have opportunities to make money from herbal products. Frederick is making money from manufacturing and selling herbal antiseptics, insecticides and pesticides. By using herbs, he wants to quarantee consumers that his company’s products are free from chemical residue, heavy metals or other contaminants. He found out that Nigerians were losing faith in fancy name-brand herbal antiseptics, products. He took advantage of this and started producing herbal products, which he claims were superior to the store-bought brands. Frederick started the business in

•Herbal preparation

Stories by Daniel Essiet

2005. He ventured into it through his quest to look for something to do to earn a living. He started with less than N30,000. Today, the business is worth N5million. He has a factory in Ikorodu. Frederick has worked to find ways to distill the healing ingredients from the plants and herbs and put them into products that are comfortable and practical for the “rub in and go” Western way of life. Today, his contributions to

the national herbal antiseptics business product line is significant. With him, and other small entrepreneurs, indigenous plants are now finding new uses given the renewed appreciation for natural products. Through his efforts, local processing has widen the variety of herb crops that may find markets. At the outset, he hawked the products in the market until he was able to make a breakthrough. Most of the company’s products

are sold through direct marketing. He does have a fan base of buyers and he is looking for ways to connect better with markets interested in promoting sustainable products. These are exciting days for Frederick as he continues to explore new avenues. There are some new product lines in development, and more markets are opening up. He needs financial help for investment in crop driers, storage facilities and other processing equipment.

Laundry starch production, ‘a money spinner’


AUNDRY starch production is a money spinner. Many Nigerians buy starch for laundry. Most consumers buy it from hawkers.Well-packaged starch in shops attract higher prices. Investing in the business is quite rewarding. Starch is produced from cassava. Several stages are involved in its production. These include peeling and washing of the cassava tubers; grating/pulping follows with the use of a rotary grater or a harmer mill. This procedure will reduce the tuber to a state whereby the starch from these tubers would be nearing extraction. To extract the starch from these tubers, water is added to the milled substance. Screening and sieving of the resulting suspension follows. This is allowed to settle for some time. Through the use of a mechanical or hydraulic press, dewatering and cake-breaking follows. The procedure is followed by drying through the pneu-

By Edwin Agbaike

matic/tunnel dryer to a moisture content of about seven per cent. The next step is the grinding/ milling of the starch to fine particle sizes after which it is allowed to cool before being weighed and parked for sale to consumers. Machines and equipment required for all the stated process include peeling machine, grater, slurry tank, sieving machine, hammer mill, weighing and packaging machines. All operations can to be automated. These machines and equipment are available locally. This project will capitalise on the increasing social awareness of Nigerians, particularly those in the medium and high income earning categories, our ever- increasing population figures and finally the increasing number of laundry and dry-cleaning outfits and hotels in the country. Prospective investors should note that in as much as the project is vi-

able, it is capital as well as labor intensive in nature. For this project, initial staff strength of seven will suffice. Staff strength will expand the moment the company consolidates itself in the market. In addition, the promoters should ensure that the finished products are packed in well designed and attractive labels to increase sales volumes. Cost of setting up this project on a small scale is estimated at N2.5 million. This amount can be scaled down or increased, depending on the financial strength of the promoters. The plant in mind is capable of producing two tonnes of finished products a day. Working for a minimum of 250 days in a year, the total production will be 500 tonnes, which is equivalent to 500,000 kilograms. It should be noted that finished products would be packed in grams sizes using the weighing machines. A unit, made of 250 grammes, is being considered in

this analysis. This will give a total of two million units. At a wholesale price of N25/ unit, annual sales will be N50 million. A conservative pre-tax profit of 35 per cent or N17.5 million is realised in the first year of operation. The viability of this project is not in doubt considering its high turnover and envisaged profit margin. This project stands a good chance of attracting finance from the banks, where individuals or corporate bodies are assisted with funds ranging from N500,000 to well over N50 million.A wellpackaged feasibility report is prerequisite to securing finance for the project. This can be provided on request. For details on how to implement this project or any other, contact Kris-Ed Brilliant Limited, 395, Borno Way, Harbert Macauly Road, Sabo-Yaba, Lagos State. Email:

SMEDAN, Oyo, Niger partner on indigenous products


HE Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) said it would partner with Oyo and Niger states to develop indigenous products. Head of Southwest Zone of SMEDAN, Mr Gbenga Ogundeji, said the partnership was based on the agency’s “One Local Government, One Product’’ initiative. He described that the initiative is a process whereby councils could be identified by the indigenous products they had comparative advantage to produce. According to him, the initiative is being supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

He said research on durable industrial products in Oyo and Niger states had begun. Ogundeji also said SMEDAN had discovered two local governments in states where the recruitment of entrepreneurs would begin. “SMEDAN is working hard to ensure the implementation of the initiative in all the states. “At present, we are working with Oyo and Niger states to get products in which they have great capacity to produce. “By the time the research on each state is completed, it would provide a branding and mass production of a product of their choice and capacity by each local government,’’ he said.

Ogundeji said: “With this, there would be more number of employed youths and business owners empowered by SMEDAN in the states.’’ He said the partnership with the states would boost the production, processing and packaging of the goods since they were mostly agricultural products like cassava. Ogundeji assured that the packaging of the products would be done to meet international standards for exports. Director-General, SMEDAN, Mr Muhammad Umar, said the programme would revitalise the economy through the establishment of businesses in the rural areas based on comparative advantages.

HE Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)in Oyo State, Mr Olanipekun Alao, said in Ibadan that more than 50 acres of land in Iseyin Local Government Area have been acquired by Corps members under the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme. Alao said the land was donated by the state government to boost efforts at empowering youths to be self-employed. The NYSC boss, who spoke at a fashion show, organised as part of the entrpreneurship programme, said corps members were involved in crop and fish farming. He said the programme was designed and approved by the Federal Government to educate young graduates on the need to empower themselves through acquisition of entrepreneurial skills. “ Oyo State NYSC took it upon itself to make the programme a reality by giving it a human face through rigorous post-orientation camp campaign by its skills acquisition facilitators. “ These facilitators also made the training fees for different trades affordable as they are lower than the normal training fees while students sometimes pay this fee on instalmental basis, “ he said. Alao commended the 12 corps members who graduated as fashion designers, saying they now had an alternative source of livelihood. The wife of the state governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, who was the special guest of honour at the occasion, urged corps members in the state to make the best use of the service year. Ajimobi, who was represented by Mrs Sandra Kolade, the wife of the state Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning, stressed the need for creativity and innovation among youths.

Tanzania to float youth bank


HE government of Tanzania is to mobilise Sh15 billion (•6.8 million) as start up capital to establish a youth development bank by June this year. The Minister for Information, Youths, Culture and Sports Dr Fenella Mukangara said plans have reached an advanced stage to establish the bank. The new institution would assist youths to secure loans and engage agriculturaland agroprocessing. The minister added that several stakeholders have already been contacted and that the government has decided where the headquarters of the bank would be, although he didn’t reveal the location.

Seminar on import business coming


• Umar

UDDING entrepreneur, Kakue Gbenegbara, and thefounder of will be hosting a small business seminar between March 1 and 8. According to a statement, import set up, wholesaling and dropshipping, incoterms, contracts, mail order, direct mail, mailing lists, advertising would be discussed at the event. According to the statement,the seminar is intended to show Nigerians how to make money from importing from the United States and China, in Port Harcourt and Lagos. He said the event would provide small businesses with an opportunity to learn more about planning, marketing, and financing miniimport business.



AVIATION Arik offers Valentine low fares

•From left: Head, Marketing & Sales, Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN), Mr Adeyemi Ogunlaja; Sales Director, Skyjet-Embraer, Capt. Bruce Fullerton and Regional Sales Director, Africa, Embraer, Mr Lynton Van Aswegen, at an exhibition organised by Embraer at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE

Lagos, Benin airports lead in abandoned planes, says FAAN


HE Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos and the Benin Airport have the highest number of abandoned planes, the Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), George Uriesi, has said. He said FAAN may increase the number of teams dismantling dead and abandoned aircraft at airports nationwide. There are over 60 abandoned aircraft at the airside of airports across the country. The FAAN boss said many planes could have been abandoned at the Lagos airport because it once served as the base of their owners. He linked the high number of abandoned aircraft in Benin to the fact that it served as the operational base of Okada Air, hitherto one of the nation’s major operators. Most of the abandoned and moribund airplanes at Benin airport are the banned BAC 1-11. Uriesi said the team dismantling airplanes has successfully done three, adding that FAAN may increase the team to make the job

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor Aviation Correspondent

faster. On the time frame for dismantling dead planes, Uriesi said there is no time frame, because some planes are bigger than others. He added that when FAAN issued ultimatums to owners of the dead airplanes to move them from the airport, many did not take the matter serious until the team started working on the aircraft. The United States (US) government, through a consular officer attached to its Embassy in Lagos, Mr Jerrod Hanssen, has hailed FAAN for remodelling of airports. Speaking when he led a delegation of economic officers to the corporate headquarters of FAAN in Lagos, Hanssen said it was necessitated by his government’s desire to extend a hand of fellowship to FAAN, which he said was making remarkable strides in repositioning airports. Welcoming the delegation, Uriesi said the upgrade of infrastructure at the airports was geared towards building a greater aviation future. Uriesi said FAAN is determined to

change passenger’s experience of service delivery at the airports, stressing that airport terminals of the past were for travelling only, but modern airports have turned to commercial centres. He explained that some airports around the world would have folded up if they had relied solely on aeronautical sources of revenue, whereas the trend, which FAAN has adopted, is offering more commercial opportunities that will encourage business, entertainment and leisure at airports.

aircraft service maintenance centre in Kaduna State for executive jets, its Regional Sales Director, Mr Lynton Van Aswegen, has said. The facility will be sited on Skyjet Airlines premises. The firm is expected to take over the facility from the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, which has more of its executive jets flying in the country. In an interview, Aswegen said the facility would offer a one-stopshop service to the growing fleet of executive private jets in the country. He explained that when the facility comes on stream, it would be the first in Africa, which will save operators of private jets in Nigeria, the huge costs of flying their aircraft to Europe, America and other far destinations to maintain their airplanes. He said: ”We are planning to set up a service centre in Nigeria, Kaduna precisely, at the premises of SkyJet Airlines facility. It will help operators run their aircraft more efficiently. “This will be important to own-

ers of private jets in Nigeria, because most aircraft manufacturers do not have such facility in the country. This will assist them to run the aircraft more efficiently, by saving them huge costs of maintenance, if they have to ferry the aircraft abroad. “This is how the SkyJet Airlines facility will be of tremendous help. It will save cost, as the operators will not need to take their planes outside Nigeria to be fixed. When Embraer appointed SkyJet Airlines, we considered its capacity to manage our aircraft type. This will take the burden of issues involving crew management, insurance and aircraft maintenance off our neck. It used to be a major headache. It will be a onestop-shop.” He said the executive jets business is consolidating in Nigeria, as most operators have brand new jets in their fleet, thereby raising the margin of safety as well as flexibility of operations. The Regional Sales director also explained that the latest executive jet, Lineage 1000, which was exhibited in Lagos and Abuja for

Chanchangi decries high cost of fuel CHANCHANGI airline has decried the high cost of aviation fuel in the country, describing it as a major setback for domestic airline operations in the country. The Lagos Station Manager of the airline, Mr Babadiyia Ahmed, made this known to aviation correspondents in an interview in Lagos. He said about 70 per cent of the operational cost of airlines in the country was for aviation fuel. According to Ahmed, a litre of aviation fuel JET A1 costs between N160 and N180 per litre, and that this has greatly affected operations in the country’s local route. He added that the government in the past tried to find solution but nothing came out of it. He urged the government to look into the challenges of aviation fuel and resolve it for the advantage of both the airlines and the travelling public. Ahmed noted that airline business was always dull in the first quarter of every year as low traffic were recorded during the period. He said Chanchangi airlines was overcoming its problems with arrangement concluded for the arrival of its own aircraft, adding that Owerri and Port Harcourt routes, which the airline has been operating before the problem will be added as soon as the aircraft arrived.

Etihad posts $42m profit


Aircraft manufacturer to build maintenance centre sales is good for the Nigerian IRCRAFT manufacturer, in Kaduna market, because it is fuel effiEmbraer, is to establish an


ARIK Air is extending love to its valued guests this Valentine season, with the introduction of new attractive fares for economy and business class travel across all its domestic, regional and international routes. According to a statement, passengers booking these flights will enjoy super savings over previously published fares on the applicable routes as part of the airline’s ‘With Love from Arik Air’ special fare campaign to celebrate the Valentine season. Customers can enjoy even greater savings when booking seven days or more in advance,through the airline’s website In addition, customers will enjoy a 30 per cent discount on the cost of the return leg fare of their journey when they book return domestic flights. The ‘With Love from Arik Air’ online fares follow on the back of the introduction of the ‘Book-on-Hold’ service last month, which allows passengers to book tickets online through the airline’s website and pay later.This is part of a raft of changes being rolled out over the coming months to enhance the customer experience. Arik Air’s Global Chief Executive Officer, Dr Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, said: “We have always been a value based airline, offering good value for money without compromising our safety and quality standards and ensuring a warm and exciting travel experience on board our aircraft. Our size, extensive network in Nigeria, combined with our superior product, gives us considerable leverage to offer such dynamic pricing. “This year we wanted to give something back to our customers and reward them for helping make us Nigeria’s leading airline. We believe this offer will give more of our guests greater flexibility of flights at very attractive prices across our entire network.”

cient, technology driven and spacious enough for the flight convenience of Nigerian political class and business executives, who travel with large retinue of aides. He said: “We have seen that Nigerians have desire for bigger airplanes. This is why this aircraft type is suited for the Nigerian environment. It is good for governors, business executives who fly around with a lot of people around them . It has capacity for 19 passengers. It is safer for the Nigerian airspace and fitted with the latest technology. “The executive jet business is booming in Nigeria, and it is still growing. This is why Nigeria has the highest number of private jets flying in Africa. And most of the executive jets are new airplanes with the latest technology.” He, however, advised Nigerian operators to stick to the use of Embraer aircraft, which he said apart from being cheaper to acquire, maintain and safer, is the best model for low cost carriers.

ETIHAD Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has reported a net profit of US$42 million for 2012. The profit, according to a statement, represents 200 per cent increase in what it reported in 2011, amounting to US$14 million in a year, which saw strong improvements in revenues, passengers numbers and cost control. Revenue increased 17 per cent to US$4.8 billion from US$4.1 billion. The passenger increased by 23 per cent to 10.3 million from 8.4 million. The passenger numbers were boosted significantly by Etihad Airways’ equity partnerships and codeshares, which delivered more than US$600 million in total revenue. President/Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, James Hogan, said: “This has been a game-changing year for Etihad Airways. We have delivered improved net profit. The second consecutive year we have been in the black, a remarkable achievement given the youth, ambitious growth and ongoing investment made by this airline in a challenging global economic environment. “We have taken great strides in building the industry’s first ‘equity alliance’, with our investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus, which are contributing significant value to our business. “And we have met our mandate of contributing to the economic development of Abu Dhabi, growing its aviation sector and building trade and tourism connections across the globe.” Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 24 per cent to US$170 million (US$137 million), while EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals) rose to US$753 million (US$648 million), a margin of 16 per cent on total revenue.

BA launches Valentine offer BRITISH Airways has announced another special discount offer for its Nigerian customers travelling on its World Traveller (Economy), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) and Club World (Business) class customers travelling to the United Kingdom, and select destinations in Europe, North America and Canada. Known as ‘The Valentine Special Offer’ in celebration of this year’s Valentine’s Day, a statement explained that it affords British Airways Nigerian customers the opportunity to make fantastic savings while travelling on these cabins to London and select, European, United States and Canadian cities. But the passengers must hurry as the amazing fares are only valid for booking until February 15, 2013. Explaining the offer, Country Manager, British Airways/Iberia in Nigeria, Mr Kola Olayinka, said the new offer, which is valid for flights from Lagos or Abuja means the airline’s customers can travel from Abuja to London and select European destinations from just US$255 in the airline’s World Traveller or US$949 in World Traveller Plus, and Club World from just US$2,199. The European destinations include France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg. For those travelling to select US and Canadian cities, the fare starts from US$609 for World Traveller, US$1,549 for World Traveller Plus, and US$2,959 for Club World.




Way out of ports’ traffic gridlock, More flay concession plan S by operators T

HE Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs agents (ANLCA) and other port users are blaming the Federal Government for traffic gridlock at the port. They also displeased with the congestion on the access road to the Tin-Can Island Port, Lagos. They urged the government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to introduce a call-up system so that trucks could take their turn to move in and out of the ports. From Mile 2 to the second gate of the Tin-can Island port, operators said it takes between four and five hours for vehicles to get to the port instead of about 20 minutes. They urged the government to find a lasting solution to the problem. ANLCA National President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, told The Nation last Saturday, that wholesale port concession with little or no arrangement for parking space for trucks has become a major problem to port users. Shittu said the use of call system would eradicate bottlenecks on the roads, as it would

Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda Maritime Correspondent

encourage trucks and their drivers to remain at designated parks, instead of parking indiscriminately on the road. With the call-up system, he said only trucks with business at the ports would ply the roads. Shittu also identified sharp practices by law enforcement agents and lack of space for trailers as major reasons why human and vehicular movement in and outside the port area have become perennially problematic. Lack of parking space for trucks, with poor traffic management system, he said, had resulted to traffic chaos on the ports access roads, and the critical stretch of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway. He said the concession programme has led to increased cargo throughput without expansion of the port facilities by the Federal Government.

Shittu said the road infrastructure could no longer cope with port traffic, adding that the use of dilapidated vehicles, which ought to have been put off the roads, and which cause obstructions, have not helped the traffic situation around the access roads. “The government must not allow traffic congestion or any unacceptable behaviour on the part of any stakeholder to grind the nation’s economy to a halt. Some business owners have moved out of Apapa, while others have closed shop due to the chaotic traffic situation on the port access roads, and the road that leads to the port. “The gridlock is affecting the business of our members while some people are benefiting from it because it takes time to move in and take our containers out of the port. On the two occasions, our members paid demurrage to terminal operators based on the problem that can be addressed

by the government,” Shittu said. To solve the problem, the Federal Government is constructing a trailer in front of the port. Shittu said the government should speed up the work. Addressing reporters in his office last week, Customs Area Controller, Tin Can Island command, Tunji Aremu, also attributed the gridlock to lack of co-operation among stakeholders, deplorable state of the port access roads and unruly behaviour of truck drivers. Also, failure truck drivers provide parking facilities for their businesses, have necessitated the turning of the port access roads into parks and centres for soliciting for business in the ports. But a maritime truck owner gave different reasons for the problem. A truck owner, Mr Yinka Babalola, attributed the problem to tank farms. He urged the government to relocate them from the area. Besides, he suggested that the space they are occupying should be converted to truck garages.

TAKEHOLDERS have joined the fray over the plan of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to concession Nigeria Ports Authority’s (NPA’s) marine service. The exercise, they said, would increase the cost of doing business. A master mariner, Captain Adewale Ishola, explained that the plan would lead to massive job losses as the private hands would want to minimise cost and maximise profit. The plan, he said, would render the agency ineffective because marine operation is the key function to the ports authority. He said NPA would lose absolute control of port operations, adding that the only operation left for it is to collect rents as landlords of the ports. “The NPA will lose the core marine job they are doing and a lot of things are involved because the maintenance of the channels is under the marine services of the NPA and pilotage, pilots welfare, training, disciplines, will be tampered with. “The hydrographic aspect will be affected and if we want to concession this aspect, are we really ripe for it now? We will also be looking into the area of towage

and conveying of pilots from one ship to another, then most especially the cost of doing business in Nigeria will be very expensive.” According to him, towage cost is at the barest minimal and the BPE’s decision to privatise the marine services of NPA will lead to high cost of business in the country. He added that the synergy between NPA and the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) would collapse. “We are already having challenges on our waters. We are having challenges when the government is still in charge and what will happen when you hand it over to private hands? Who will NIMASA work with? Because ,at the moment, it is easy for NIMASA to work with NPA. But if you privatise, who will NIMASA work with as regards port security? And I feel we are not ready for that,” he said. Chairman, Sunlight Shipping, Mr Felix Adegbite, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to look into the issue critically before approving it based on the crisis it can generate in the country.

Customs intensifies Seme patrol


• From right: Managing Director, APM Terminals, Apapa, Mr Dallas Hampton; CEO, Africa & Middle East Region, APM Terminals, Mr Peder Sondergaard; Andersen and Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Mr David Omonibeke, at the event. PHOTO: OLUWAKEMI DAUDA

Terminal to spend $135m on expansion


HE largest container terminal in the country, the APM Terminals, Apapa, Lagos, is to develop its facility to accommodate over 1.2 million cargoes per annum. Speaking at a ceremony for the redevelopment and expansion of the terminal in Lagos, Group Chief Executive Officer of AP Moller-Maersk Group Mr Nils Andersen said the project would cost $135 million. This will bring its total capital investment on the terminal since 2006 to $330 million. Andersen said the investment would “make the Apapa Terminal the largest and most modern terminal in West Africa with a capacity of 1.2 million TEU per year”. The project, he said, is the Phase three of the modernisation of new staff amenities and customer service building, acquisition of container handling equipment, implementation of new terminal operating systems and a new Customs con-

tainer inspection facility. Andersen also said the Phase 3 expansion project is to finalise the development and maximise the capacity of the Apapa container terminal. He stated that the project would include development of new container stacking areas, such as the old Sunshine Oil and Dangote Cement areas, which were part of the original Apapa concession,

but not been handed to APM Terminals until recently. Andersen said the investment had become necessary to ensure there is sufficient port capacity for container operations in Lagos until 2017. Andersen also spoke on the Badagry Megaport project, which APM Terminals is undertaking with its consortium partners. He described the Badagry port project as an important

project aimed at adding new capacity to cope with increase in volume. “The growth in volume is solid and new capacity will be needed in the medium term. Badagry is important because the ports in Lagos will be out of capacity by 2016,” he said. He said the group’s investments in both the Apapa container terminal and Badagry port project indicate “a vote of confidence in Nigeria’s economy.”

Speedy trial for ex-NIMASA boss, says court


USTICE Rita OfiliAjumogobia has promised to speed up the trial of former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Raymond Omatseye. The trial, which began in 2011, has been delayed partly by the prosecution and the court. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has amended the charge filed in 2010 three times. Proceedings began in the case early in 2011.

By Eric Ikhilae

The transfer of Justice Fatimat Nyako, who was initially handling the case, also contributed to the delay. Last Friday, Justice OfiliAjumogobia urged the defence and prosecution lawyers to ensure that the court’s intention to promptly dispense with the case was realised. Following an application for adjournment by defence lawyer, Olusina Sofola, the judge adjourned to February 28 for continuation of trial. Before the adjournment, prosecution lawyer,

Godwin Obla, tendered 16 exhibits and documents relating to contracts allegedly awarded by NIMASA between January and July 2010 under Omatseye. The items were tendered through the first prosecution witness, Ibrahim Ahmed, an Investigative Police Officer with the EFCC. He also gave evidence in relation to contracts awards by Omatseye, and whose cost purportedly overshot the approved threshold limits for NIMASA’s directorsgeneral.

HE Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Seme Border Command, has intensified its surveillance in the Badagry and Seme area. As a result of this, investigation by The Nation revealed that smuggling has reduced. For several hours last week, The Nation’s correspondent was on the road to monitor the Customs officers. Between Seme and Gbaji bridge, where Federal Operations Unit officers were stationed, vehicles drivers were afraid of carrying prohibited goods across, because 436 cartridges concealed in packs of confectionery were seized by officers of the Unit during a routine check on a commercial vehicle at Gbaji Checkpoint last Wednesday. But between Badagry and Agbara, some smugglers were seen using motor bicycles to carry one or two cartons of frozen chicken and turkey to avoid arrest by Customs. When contacted, the Area

Controller, Comptroller Abdu Saleh Othman, said they are tackling smuggling this year. Assuring importers and clearing agents in legitimate trans-border trade of Customs’ support in trade facilitation, Othman reiterated the Command’s drive to ensure that smuggling is prevented. He warned that perpetrators would not only be arrested,but also be prosecuted. The Command, he said, collected N7.99 billion as revenue last year as against N6.24 billion collected in 2011. It also made 480 seizures of various goods, including some dutiable goods for which duty payments were being evaded. The seized items, which included vegetable oil, narcotics, vehicles, rice, frozen poultry products, textile materials, used tyres, leather shoes and bags among others, had a duty paid value (DPV) of N227 million.

Jonathan advised on security


HE Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to allow the Navy take over the security of the nation’s coastline. ISAN also called for adequate funding of the Navy to enable it to perform its role. The General Secretary of the association,Niyi Labinjo, told The Nation that the Navy has the traditional responsibility of securing the waterways. He said it was the job of the Navy to go after the pirates and not the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). The ISSAN scribe urged NIMASA to concentrate on growth of commercial and international shipping and allow the Navy to police and protect the waters. “What we are talking about is presence. If armed robbers are operating in an area,

what happens if the police get there? Will they not disappear? If the police are present in an area, armed robbers will never operate there; it is the same thing with piracy; ditto illegal bunkering; and other maritime crimes. “If the Navy is given equipment to patrol regularly and the pirates know that the Navy is always patrolling the water, they will not do all those illegal things on our waters. How can the Navy do that? It is by giving them appropriate funding. NIMASA should stop taking over the job of the Navy. Running after pirates is the job of Navy. It is not the job of NIMASA. “So NIMASA should concentrate on growth and development of commercial and international shipping. It should leave the Navy to do that,” he stressed. He advised the President to pay more attention to the maritime industry as it had done to the aviation industry.



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Morountodun’s Morountodun ’s day on stage... stage... Characters in Femi Osofisan's Morountodun came alive when pupils of Olashore International School, Iloko-Ijesa, Osun State performed the play at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. The pupils displayed an abundance of theatrical talents. PAUL OLUWAKOYA, reports.


T a time insecurity remains a major challenge, playwright Prof Femi Osofisan’s work reechoes the need for a change in the polity. That work is the alltime classic, Morountodun. To achieve that change, the book calls for a a catalyst - a servant leader who will bring about national reawakening; one that is without any discrimination. Morountodun, which was published in 1983, is still relevant today. For this reason, the play was chosen by the management of Olashore International School, Iloko-Ijesa, Osun State, for performance by pupils. Its main character, Titubi, played her part well. The event was attended by Osofisan and his wife Prof. Adenike. Also in attendance were Executive Editor, The News and PM News, Mr Kunle Ajibade and ace actress Joke Sylva, among others. Morountodun centres on the ancient myth of Moremi of Ile-Ife, who during the civil war was said to have offered herself to be captured by the enemy so as to infiltrate their camp and ascertain their secret in battle to ensure her people (the Yoruba) win the war. Set in the Southwest, the play, also focuses on the Agbekoya uprising in which farmers, thought to be docile, rose to fight the government over what was described as “stiff taxes”. To end the oppression, Titubi, a young and rich woman, decides to infiltrate the camp of the rebels' farmers. She set off on the suicidal mission against her mother's wish. Titubi discovers the trials which the peasants face and also finds love in their leader along the way. She eventually becomes the catalyst that brings about the end of war. Morountodun, which means 'I have found a sweet thing', is the new name given to her by her lover. Impressed by the performance, Osofisan said it was unfortunate that the play he wrote many years ago is still speaking to us today as a nation. He said: "The pupils are wonderful. They did justice to the story idea with nice musical interlude. I also like their costumes and stage management, among others. I feel elated and believe there is a future for the country if our children are given the right platform to develop. The cowardice to fight for what is right in the land is one of the reasons the country is the way it is today. Nigerian women should be bold to be able to have their dream Nigeria." The pupils thrilled guests with melodious songs that gave life to the play behind the stage. The costumes also added spice to the event. The performance had comic scenes that brought out the playwright’s creativity. Prof. Osofisan was elated because the children gave life to the characters of the play. Echoing her husband, Adenike said: "The pupils proved they knew their onions. I see them as aspiring artists that would one day rule the stage." Sylva said it was the first time she would be watching Morountodun performed on stage by secondary school pupils, noting that she had hitherto believed only professional theatre artistes could do justice to the play. She praised the performance, calling it "brilliant”. She said women should learn from the triumphant tale of the female leaders, Tutubi and Moremi, who became agents of change. "Their performance was captivating , full of intrigues and betrayal of government and its functionaries such as the police, tax collectors and sanitary inspectors, who hold the people down in a 'terroristic' grip. But it also depicts the determination and the struggles of the peasants to combat the tyranny of the dictatorial government and the economic hardship faced. The women role in the change is awesome. I will score the pupils 85%." On why the play was chosen, its director, Funminiyi Olusola, said: "Theatre has a way of passing messages across. The play has a lot of messages and should be taken to the communities. He condemned the political class for thinking only about getting in power and not the people, whom they are supposed to serve. According to the school’s principal, Dr. Derek Smith, "The playwright is very vast


Eso, the General (For Kayode Eso) By O’Yemi Afolabi

Let your servant depart in peace You had beseeched your Creator And He granted you that peace As the dawn was breaking On that fateful November 16 Yé paripa, we whom you left Wailed and wailed and then We realised that our tears were Not only for the moment For we would remember you As the sun rises in the East Thoughts of you would stay With us as dusk falls Tthe General You did your research And discovered that Your forebears were generals In Ogedengbe's army An ??? never received a bullet On the back Bold you were like your ancestors In Ogedengbe's army You were almost perfect if not That you were direct to a fault

•’Titubi’ (in the middle) wearing a different outfit

You adopted me into your family You allowed me to sit at your table I drank your best wine I shared in your meals From that vintage position I was able to view you from another Angle You said 'Thank you' to B?la who Cooked your meals I never knew that Generals could Say that to their subordinates You appreciated any help offered to You be it great or small I bombarded you with questions And you took pains to answer them all We would remember you when We hear songs of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti For those were the songs you enjoyed You were ??? the Dandy The best-dressed of them all We look at the sky We see a star shining brightly That's Grandpa smiling down at us He granted you that you wished for You departed in peace O'Yemi Afolabi, a writer and poet, lives in London

Okediran tours US •Prof Osofisan exchanging pleasantries with Sylva

THEATRE and his play gave the femal pupils an opportunity to express their talents because of the many female characters in the play. I couldn't almost believe they were my pupils when I saw them on stage." The casts said it was an honour, performing the play before the playwrights and notable individuals. They described Osofisan as their role model. The pupil who acted 'Titubi' and 'Moremi, Osunsanya Yinmika, also in SS Two Science Class, said: "The playwright is a ‘gi-

‘The playwright is a ‘giant masquerader’ in literary and artistic performances...a Professor of Professors of Theatre Arts who has contributed his valuable quota in Africa's placement on the world's literary map. We have read and acted a lot of his plays and recited his poems. I think our drama director likes Osofisan's works more than any other playwrights’

ant masquerader’ in literary and artistic performances. He is not only a dexterous poet of Okimba Launko fame, he is also a prolific and hilarious storyteller, powerful essayist, an ingenious composer and a Professor of Professors of Theatre Arts who has contributed his valuable quota in Africa's placement on the world's literary map. We have read and acted a lot of his plays and recited his poems. I think our drama director likes Osofisan's works more than any other playwrights." Like Osunsanya, Onisobilimen Kolofah, SS One, who acted the 'Corporal', was quick declare what the playwright meant to him. " I will like to be like him. He is the most performed playwright in the country. Born on June 16, 1946, Babafemi Adeyemi Osofisan (a.k.a Okinba Launko) is a native of Erunwon, Ogun State, Nigeria. Osofisan became a Professor of Drama at the University in 1985. In addition to his work in the theatre, where he has played diverse roles as actor, director and composer, the don is also an outstanding poet, translator, theorist of literature and newspaper columnist," he said. Omozane Ihinosen, SS One, acted 'Alhaja Kuburat'. She said was elated by the praises the dignitaries showered on them. She spoke on the efforts that was put into the performance. "It was a tough challenge that I am glad we overcame today. To memorise the lines wasn't easy. As 'Alhaja Kuburat', it took me a lot of sleepless night to perfect my lines and make my actions real but I am glad that we were celebrated today. I saw the playwright clapping, and, at a point he was smiling, especially when I yelled at the 'Corporal'.”


UTHOR of award-winning book, Tenants of the House, Wale Okediran will be touring five cities in the United States (US). The event tagged: 5-City US Book Reading Tour, will be sponsored by Arik Air Nigeria. Beginning from yesterday, the tour will start with a reading at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and will also take the author to Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida today. Tomorrow, the University Of Florida in Gainsville will host the author; on Friday the tour will take the author; to Tallahassee, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday. The tour will end with a dinner/press conference on February 20 in Cincinnati, Ohio. During the trip, Okediran, a past National President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and former Member, House of Representatives, will be reading from his book Tenants of the House, a fictional account of his day as a lawmaker. The book, which is a co winner of the 2010 Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature, is on the reading list of about 10 Nigerian universities. Okediran, a medical doctor, is also expected to deliver a lecture on contemporary Tropical Medicine to Medical Students at the University of Florida. Tenants of the House was published by Nelson Publishers Nigeria in 2009; the US edition was released by AVM Publishers, New Jersey, US last year.



The Midweek Magazine



Foundation to name writers By Evelyn Osagie


•Orubo cutting the tape to commission the Odi-Trofani road

The music changes for Odi, Oloibiri In 1999, Odi was invaded by troops. Its indigenes fled after its destruction. Oloibiri, where oil was first discovered in the country in 1956 has nothing to show for that status. But today, both communities in Bayelsa State are rising from the ruins of their devastation, courtesy of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which is building infrastructure for them. EVELYN OSAGIE writes.


DI leapt into the people’s consciousness in November, 1999 when soldiers invaded the town in search of a militant group that allegedly killed nine policemen who were after a notorious gang. The then President Olusegun Obasanjo dispatched soldiers to the community and the rest, as they say, is history. Oloibiri, another historic landmark, gave the country its first oil well over 50 years ago and today, it seems to have been forgotten. The goose that laid the golden egg was literally sucked dry of its oil and left in squalor. The common thread running through these towns is their hunger for development. Odi fell into ruins after a military operation that left it deserted and more or less abandoned. Riding through the quiet streets of Odi today, one could hardly see the "scars of war" left by the invading soldiers. Slowly but steadily, development is blurring the dark marks of destruction visited on the town. The modest bungalow, which is the palace of the traditional ruler, Chief Shine Andrew Apre, did not betray the violence that the community witnessed over 13 years ago. Odi struggled to get back to its feet, with the support of some government agencies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. Acknowledging the important role played by NDDC in the Odi transformation, the Amananowei of Odi kingdom, Chief Shine Andrew Apre, said the commission gave his people two important keys to development. He said: "It is pleasing to note that NDDC has through its intervention projects touched the lives of people of Odi Kingdom in the areas of education, water, health and this time electricity and link road. These projects are visible and have direct impact on the lives of our people." Waxing poetic, the king said: "With road you have given us access. With light, you have given us life." The people are now enjoying steady power supply following the extension of electrification from Kaima to Odi from the Kolo Creek Gas turbine. The project entailed the installation of 33kv transmission line and the rehabilitation of existing dilapidated networks in Odi. Chief David Tombiri, a community leader said the power supply from the NDDC extension project gave the town a new vibrancy and

DEVELOPMENT confidence in the future. "Our local economy has been energised and our people are no longer idle," he said. This turn-around of Odi got a boost with the commissioning of the ground-breaking OdiTrofani road and bridges, which cut through a virgin forest. If Odi was given a gateway into the nation, Trofani was liberated from topographic isolation. It would forever remain grateful to the NDDC, because before the road was opened, it was a swamp-locked community on the banks of the River Nun. When the first set of vehicles entered Trofani last year, after the completion of the bridges, the community was thrown into ecstasy. The children ran out in large number shouting "moto, moto." Their excitement was understandable because majority were seeing cars for the first time. Commissioning the road on behalf of NNDC Managing Director, Dr. Christian Oboh, Bayelsa State’s representative on the commission’s board, Eddy Orubo, a lawyer, noted that since infrastructure was the driving force of development, the commission thought it was necessary to help Odi overcome its chronic infrastructure deficit. The 18-kilometre Odi-Trofani Road project traverses Odi in Kolokuma-Opokuma local government area, Aduku and Trofani in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Naturally, it has also opened up several other communities between Odi and Trofani. It has five bridges of various sizes and numerous culverts necessitated by the swampy terrain. It now provides veritable access for rural dwellers to bring their farm produce from the hinterland. The intervention in Odi is significant. The military face-off with Odi youth in 1999 left the ancient town in ruins. Its infrastructure were destroyed and the people fled. The commission played a historic role in the restoration of Odi. It has rehabilitated failed sections of its only road linking it to the EastWest Road, the major artery connecting all states in the Southsouth zone. The commission also constructed roads for hitherto inaccessible parts of the town and its environs. An elated Chief Asherifa Torru, who represented the Trofani traditional institution,

said: "Our hearts are filled with profound joy on the commissioning and handing over of the Odi-Trofani road." He said the Trofani community appreciated NDDC efforts in redeeming their town. Mr Hope Okuta, a welder on the OdiTrofani road, suspended his work to witness the commissioning. He said the benefits of the electricity and the road were immense. "We have never had it so good; we thought that we will not survive the 1999 invasion. But thank God for NDDC, better days have come for us,” Okuta said. Okuta, who is from Trofani, said his people could not easily forget that some years ago they could not drive home because there was no road. Then, he said, both the rich and the poor could only get vehicular access to Trofani through Patani in Delta State or through the River Nun."You can now imagine our joy to see a road from Odi to our town, which has also cut down drastically on the time and money we spend to travel to other communities." At Oloibiri in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, NDDC showed that it is conscious of the historical importance of the town where oil was first discovered in June, 1956. When NDDC commissioned concrete internal roads for the town, the people once again called attention to their plight. In an address signed by Chief Foster Inengeti Ikpesu, chairman of Oloibiri Council of Chiefs, they said: "The story of Oloibiri has been that of exploitation, rape of our natural wealth, destruction of aquatic life, environmental degradation, neglect and total abandonment. Our case is both peculiar and pathetic because exploration activities have ceased in Oloibiri for some years now, which prompted the oil companies and development agencies set up by the Federal Government to completely forget the first goose that laid the golden egg." Despite these lamentations, the chiefs did not fail to acknowledge NDDC’s contributions in changing their landscape. NDDC boss said the government would do its best to reinvent the communities in the Niger Delta. He said the sufferings of the people of the region would no longer be ignored, adding that NDDC would execute programmes that would impact on their lives.

OME February 21, Splendid Literature and Culture Foundation (SL&CF) will unveil writers under its series. The beneficiaries, expected to be selected from over 100 entries, will be named at SL&CF’s public presentation. The event will hold at Oranmiyan Hall of the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos by 10am. The Chairman of the event is Deputy Governor of Osun State, Otunba Titilayo Laoye Tomori. SL&CF was founded by former Women Writers' Association (WRITA) President, Mobolaji Adenubi and incorporated in January, last year. It aims at producing quality literature that will not only entertain and enlighten children readers, but also stimulate their imagination, Last July, the foundation called for submission of imaginative children's literature from young writers across the country for the SL&CF Series. Stories were received from states, including Enugu, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Imo; and were evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of Mr Toyin Akinoso, Ms Sola Alamutu and Mr Dagga Tolla. Some of the stories were chosen and considered publishable; the names of the lucky writers will be announced at the foundation's public presentation. Thenceforth, these stories will be edited, illustrated, published and distributed by the foundation; and the writers will be published under the SL&CF series. The writers will be taken on book tours to various states, and their annual royalties paid after the sale of their stories. As its sub-project, SL&CF will run writing workshops, to be handled by able retired English Language teachers, with materials developed by the foundation, for students in public schools during the long vacation, at centres designated by each state. Everywhere, the imagination ethos of the foundation will permeate. Imagination is everything; and is related to how one thinks, according to the organisers. Hence, at its workshops, children would be taught HOW to think, because schools mostly teach them WHAT to think.

Fellowship calls for entries


LORE Duffield Foundation has called for applications for the 2013 Fellowship programme to develop outstanding cultural leaders. The programme aims to shape aspiring leaders through in-depth learning, tailored as far as possible to the needs, aspirations and circumstances of about 25 individuals a year. The structure of the programme includes residential courses, an extended placement, individually-selected training, mentoring and coaching. Fellows have unparalleled access to senior cultural leaders, a diverse peer group and to extensive networks. The impact of the programme has been wide-ranging and Fellows have found many different contexts in which to be leaders. Some, for example, have gone on to take significant leadership roles within organisations, heading up museums, theatres, orchestras and library services; some have returned to their jobs with renewed confidence, more extensive networks and advanced skills. The fellowship includes the visual and performing arts, film, heritage, museums, libraries and archives, creative industries and cultural policy and administration. Eligibility and Criteria: •Fellows can be freelance or within organisations, of all types and sizes, in areas ranging from archives to theatre production, and including visual and performing arts, film and digital media, heritage, creative industries, museums, libraries and cultural policy. •Foundation offer Fellowships to exceptional individuals who have already worked within the cultural sector for at least five years, or outside it but who demonstrate knowledge, understanding and passion for culture and the potential to become leaders within the cultural sector. •Everyone is eligible to apply, provided they have at least five years' paid work experience, preferably in the cultural sector and meet the criteria and conditions of the Fellowship for which they are applying. The deadline is February 22. •Culled from



The Midweek Magazine Understanding the police


ITHOUT law and order, the tendency for society to break down increases. To stem this ugly development was what originated the whole idea of policing - to check and curtail the excesses of the general public. In Nigeria, since the establishment of the police, the institution has been viewed in varying lights. And the long years of military dictatorship too has not helped matters. In the dilemma being faced, while the police consider arduous its task of bringing sanity to the society, especially one growing with ills, the public sees a corrupt and inept force. But, according to the book, The Nigeria Police and its public: Issues and controversies of human right written by Richard Adeyo, the Nigeria police became worried about its image "and started looking for ways to let the public appreciate them (police personnel) and consider them as friends rather than enemies" so as to foster a 'good relationship'. In writing this book, Adeyo traced the evolvement of the police in Nigeria from the Consular Guard formed in 1861 to the present Nigeria Police Force established in 1963 when the country became a republic. Surely, Adeyo, who is a registered member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) is experienced in the public relations department of the police and he brings this to bear, especially in chapter three titled 'Historical foundation of the Nigeria Police public relations.' Therein, he goes ahead to write about the public relations mechanism in the Nigeria police. He enumerates the hierarchy in the police public relations department. Discussing how the police have deployed mass media, Adeyo commended the initiatives of the late Haz Iwendi (CP) by introducing live television and radio programmes. Some other channels he discusses are the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) and the Police Complaints Bureau. Obviously, because he is public relations professional, the author writes: "…more often than not, we hear people say public relations is all about propaganda and bribe-giving to journalists so that they can publish favourable stories about somebody or an organisation."


US backs Jos festival


By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

Title: The Nigeria Police and its public: Issues and controversies of human right Author:

Richard Adeyo


Joe Agbro Jr.


Chim-Chi Blessed Nigeria Ventures, Lagos



But it is brave that despite being written by a policeman in active service, the book criticised a past Inspector General of Police for contravening the proper channels of communication, when, following the 22 October, 2005 plane crash at Lisa Village, Ogun State, the then IGP "confirmed to the press that the black box had been recovered. The federal government representative and the aviation authority denied it". Of course, this developing was misleading to the public and they became suspicious. There was no one to refute what the IGP said except himself. Adeyo writes: "So this brought much blame to the police authority for not being competent to defend their stand because everybody felt that the IGP should not have made such a mistake." The book also informs the public on issues concerning rights. Talking about arrests, it educates on what qualifies as arrests. But many Nigerians are just too aware of many unlawful arrests perpetrated by some police personnel. It is hopeful, Adeyo's colleagues in the police, and also the general public foster more open communication as Adeyo preaches. While the book offers an insight that the police force is concerned about its image and wants to indeed earn the respect of the public, some policemen and women whom 'everyday' people relate with are questionable. But, a lot of better policing would begin to take place before the force's image would largely be redeemed. He writes about the police granting bails to suspects and reiterates, overriding popular opinion that 'police' bail is not free. However, the author also writes on certain conditions that should be fulfilled before bail is granted. In Chapter Five entitled: Human rights consideration in law enforcement, the author examines the rights and responsibilities of all concerned parties. He highlights the rea-


son for the creation of the National Human Rights Commission which was established by the National Human Rights Act of 1995. He goes ahead to note some perceived causes of human rights violation by the police to include societal influence, low level of education, corruption, and flagrant disregard for law and constituted authority. He also touches on how errant policemen are disciplined. With many copious examples, Adeyo succeeds in setting the record on police operations, attempting to make the Nigeria police smell like roses. Nevertheless, he also corroborates public opinion on activities of corrupt policemen. Like a reporter, he presents the different angles of police work as if affects the public and leaves the reader to be the judge. But in spite of complaints from both the police and the public, till the day the public never needs a police, which seems unforeseeable, the job of policing has to continue. And of course, mutual trust would bring about better policing. Hence, in this wise, Adeyo's book is expository, offering an insight, to both the public and the general public, on how this needed trust can be strengthened by deploying communication as a tool.

HE Jos Repertory Theatre is set for its yearly festival of plays tagged: Jos Festival of Theatre. This year's festival, which is in the seventh in the series, will be supported by the US Mission in the country. It would open on February 23 and run till March 1. It will feature five plays in the city of Jos. The plays for the festival, which are chosen by a panel, will examine issues ranging from greed, disappointment, cowardice, heroism, selflessness and duty to society. According to the Festival Co-ordinator, Mr Patrick Oteh, this year's theme, Challenge Perceptions, was chosen against the background of the series of conflicts that took place in the city in recent times, adding that it hoped that the theatre would provide a platform for discussing some of the issues that has plagued it. The five plays scheduled for the one week festival include Femi Osofisan's Midnight Hotel, Wale Ogunyemi's Queen Amina of Zazzau, which has completed a successful tour across the country; August Wilson's Jitney; Audience by Vaclav Havel and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof by Tennesse Williams'. The festival will also feature workshops in arts management, directing, make-up and salsa dances and other training. All the workshops, he said, will take place during the day while the performances will hold by 5pm. In addition, there will be post performance discussions between the audience and the cast after each performance. This will make it possible for guests to contribute to the on-going discourse on the city. This year, Jumoke Olatubosun will be the new director for the stage as she joins Osasogie Efe Guobadia, a graduate of the Nigerian Film Institute and Leonell Echa, a graduate of Theatre Arts, the University of Jos (UNIJOS). The festival is also supported by the Embassy of Czech Republic, Grand Cereals Limited, Jos Business School, the International Performers Aid Trust (IPAT); and the Alliance Francaise, Jos is providing logistic support. Oteh also added that the festival will be extended to the nation's capital, Abuja. This would be after that of Jos's festival. On March 8, that of Abuja will begin and run for three weekends. According to him, it would also feature a festival diverse plays.

Succour for widows, others


HE young, women, widows and others at Awka North and South constituency, Anambra State, would not forget this month in a hurry. They got a lift from the member of the House of Representatives representing them at the National Assembly, Hon. Chukwuemeke Nwogbo. Their joy knew no bounds as he touched the lives of many, leaving them with all kinds of freebies, such as tricycles known as Keke Napep, wheelchairs, walking sticks, sewing machines, grinding machines, bags of rice, wrappers and undisclosed amount of cash running into millions. He donated a newly built three-classroom block to the pupils of Capital City Secondary School, Awka. The recipients expressed joy over what they got; but none was as elated as the school's principal, Mrs Akujieze Esther. According to her, the gesture has lifted off a burden, adding that the structure would be put to good use. She also appreciated the state government, youths and the community for their contribution towards the development of the school, saying: "We thank the donor for constructing a three-classroom block with artfacilities. We also appreciate the efforts of the governor for providing the school bus, generator set, some computers and for equipping the science laboratory; Ayom na Okpala youths for fencing the school and the host community for plastering, flooring, fixing of doors and windows in the two storey building constructed by them some years ago". The Senior Prefect of the school, Nwamuo Nicholas Eze and Laboratory Prefect, Onwuohadike Perpetual, said they were elated that it came during their own regime as pre-

•The newly constructed building From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

PHILANTHROPY fects. They said: “We are overwhelmed by such honour as most of the structures in our school were dilapidated until the state gov-

ernment and Nwogbo put up the buildings." The classroom was inagurated by Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, who urged them to maximise the new projects they had received. For the donor, Nwogbo, the occasion

served as a point of interaction with the electorate from his constituency. He said: "This meeting is a feedback to my constituency, to tell them what I have done and what I intend to do in the future. All these are meant to touch the lives of our people."



The Midweek Magazine


PHOTO NEWS Nigerian saxophone maestro Prince Oyewole Eji entertaining guests at the send-forth party for Ghanaian Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Mr Patrick Hayford. On the dance floor are the diplomat and his wife at the UN Headquarters in New York, US.

‘Publishing abroad isn’t easy’

British Council holds festival


•Continued from page 28

that's why I said short story is very difficult for me to write. Your husband seems to be in the background? Well, at his work place I'm also at the background. It's because there is no reason for him to be at the forefront. He has his own job, his own life. You've got a family but have got quite a body of work out there, novels, and short stories. How do you do it? Kids have bedtimes and once they go to bed it's my time. So, you write mostly at night? Sometimes at night, sometimes early in the morning but I always try to make out time to write, it's a job and not my hobby. It's my career so I treat it like a nine-to-five. If you weren't writing, what would you be doing? Teaching. But seriously, how do you combine your career with your responsibility as a mother? My kids are there, four of them. I have time for them. For me everything is wellstructured. When they go to bed, I have my own time to write. When I am working on a novel, I set out to time myself properly. It is my career and job; so, I create enough time to do it. I treat it as a career and my home is also my home. Each has its time and space and I cope quite well. When you write, all you need do most of the time is develop hard skin and listen to yourself most times. Never allow distractions to weigh you down; deal with each as it comes. When you are through, please don't be in a hurry to publish. Allow the manuscript to speak to you, to talk to you in diverse forms and then be convinced you have a story. This is so because when you publish, no one will ask you anymore what happened; why did the story come out bad or in a prejudiced form and all that. Even if it takes six months or one year, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the final product is good; it appeals to the reader out there. There is no hurry about it at all. That's my advice to all writers.


You tinker with something you call the Igbo dictionary on facebook. What is that all about? We are updating the Igbo dictionary. It's a labour of love. There are five of us in the core group and over a thousand of us. What we do is extract words from the dictionary. For every word we try to find an Igbo one; where one does not exist already, we try to find an appropriate word for it. You must like languages? I do, I love languages. When did you learn the Dutch language? I did an extensive course when I moved to Belgium. What was the most important book for you in 2012 and are you looking out for any in 2013? Behind their beautiful yesterday, about slum dwellers in India which is non-fiction, 2013 two collections of short stories by Igoni Barret and Chioma Okparanta.

‘When I am working on a novel, I set out to time myself properly. It is my career and job; so, I create enough time to do it...When you write, all you need do most of the time is develop hard skin and listen to yourself most times. Never allow distractions to weigh you down; deal with each as it comes’

OME this weekend, Lagos will come alive with amazing performances across a number of unconventional spaces in the state. Tagged: Lagos Theatre Festival 2013, British Council Nigeria will be organising the festival of theatre, in conjunction with three of Nigeria's most exciting theatre companies - Renegade Theatre, Black Soul Performance Company, House of Tales and Fuel Theatre - and award-winning British Nigerian actor, Inua Ellams. The festival will feature diverse performances across Lagos at the Presidential Suite, Car Park, Petanque Area, Casa Chianti Restaurant and the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. It will feature Renegade Theatre's The Waiting Room, directed by Wole Oguntokun, Grip Am, directed by Deleke Gbolade, House of Tales led by Ifeanyi Dibia, The 14th Tale by Ellams. According to the Assistant Director of the British Council, Ojoma Ochai, "We're infusing cutting-edge techniques and tools to bring theatre, historically a rich part of Nigerian culture, to an even wider range of arts consumers. The idea is to create a platform for theatre away from conventional theatre spaces, which sadly are in short supply in these parts." The Waiting Room is a play highlighting a place where luck will save no one; where natural cunning and innate intelligence must be put to the ultimate test. In it, even the most street-wise will come face-to-face with frail mortality. In the Pidgin English comedy, Grip Am is an experimental reworking of Ola Rotimi's classic, revolving around

a scatter-brained trickster who uses his wits to con death into giving him and his ever-belligerent wife eternal reprieve. Black Soul Performance Company's production, strewn with brazenly loud eccentric action, has gripped audiences into frenzied laughter over a dozen times since 2012. The magic continues at the Lagos Theatre Festival where this rebellious production will be uniquely transformed, leaving only chuckles and smiles in its aftertaste. House of Tales makes an ambitious debut with Bode Asiyanbi's 2011 BBC African Performance winning play, Shattered. It is a deeply moving story which exposes in a powerful way the silence that often surrounds the issue of rape, when victims are often reluctant to come forward and disclose what has happened to them, especially when the perpetrator is someone very close. It sheds generous light and heart on what is, across and beyond Africa, a truly complex issue. To complete the line-up, will be the Nigeria premiere of The 14th Tale, by British-Nigerian playwright, poet and actor, Inua Ellams. Ellams, who was born in Nigeria and moved to the UK as a child, describes himself as being "from a long line of troublemakers, of ash-skinned Africans, born with clenched fists and a natural thirst for battle, only quenched by breast milk." The inaugural edition of the festival is produced on behalf of the British Council by Ben Evans for BeCreative in partnership with Eko Hotel & Suites, BEAT FM and Classic FM.

Black History Month


AST week, the US Consulate held a film screening to celebrate the Black History Month. The film on Rosa Parks was screened at ADRAO International School, Victoria Island, Lagos. The screening is meant to launch the 2013 Black History Month.









Ahead of the 2015 general elections, politicians have returned to the drawing board. Can the proposed All Progressives Congress (APC) dislodge the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State? BISI OLANIYI examines the intrigues and power-play by members of the ruling and opposition parties competing for the Government House, Port-Harcourt.

Rivers 2015: Who succeeds Amaechi? T

HE Brick House, Port-Harcourt, is an enviable seat of government. For 13 years, it has been occupied by the governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But the four political parties that have formed the All Progressives Party (APC) are now challenging the ruling party to a duel. Will power shift to the opposition in 2015? Following the birth of the new party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) have swung into action. They have been sensitising their members to the significance of the merger and its implications for the 2015 general elections in the state. However, governorship aspirants from the four parties will now the eyeing the number one seat under one party. Thus, the leadership of the new party may have to contend with a fairly large number of governorship aspirants. To the ACN, the merger would end misrule and disregard for the rule of law in Nigeria. The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Jerry Needam, noted that ahead of the 2015 general elections, said the new party has ended oneparty system in Nigeria. The politician also believed that APC will install a credible leadership and foster prudence and accountability in governance. “The merger will further bring about healthy political competition in Rivers State that will produce exceptional office holders and end PDP’s style of handpicking mediocres and political jobbers as government officials. “The merger family in Rivers State, which constitutes 75 per cent of the population of the state, shall swallow the inconsequential number of opportunists, who have been mismanaging the state’s economy,” he said. However, PDP chieftains disagreed with him. Its Publicity Secretary, Mr. George UkwuomaNwogba, said that the ruling party had nothing to fear, in view of the impressive performance of Governor Rotimi Amaechi. He went down memory lane, saying that mergers, alliances, and fusion of parties are not new. Ukwuoma-Nwogba said that efforts by the opposition to unseat the PDP have failed since the begining of this political dispensation. “PDP in Rivers State has nothing to fear because we are fully on the ground. Governor Amaechi has done very well and has given Rivers people the cause to be with the PDP. Jerry Needam should concern himself with and dispense his energy on the outcome of the merger, to know whether he will still survive as the publicity secretary of the APC or not, ” he added.

Can APC produce a consensus candidate? With the merger, the opposition politicians in Rivers State are restrategising ahead of 2015. Sources said that they may be compelled to present a formidable front, especially with the “civil war” in the PDP, over who succeeds Amaechi, whose term of office expires in two year’s time. In the spirit of the merger, it is expected that many opposition aspirants would have to work together. The main opposition aspirants in the state; Dr. Abiye Sekibo of the ACN and his APGA counterpar, Sir Celestine Omehia, were “defeated” by Amaechi during the April 26, 2011 governorship election. Before the merger, they planned to contest in 2015. With the latest development, either Sekibo or Omehia, who is Amaechi’s cousin, will step down. Party sources said this is necessary so that other aspirants can be mobilised to support a consensus candidate.

Saved on Politics Mac Local Disc


Amaechi’s deft moves Amaechi ‘s deft moves may also affect political calculations. Initially, the governor was said to be warming up for the senatorial contest in his native Rivers East Senatorial District. Sources said that Senator George Sekibo, who is representing the zone, is to be compensated with a key appointment, if he concedes the slot to him. The calculation may have now changed as the governor is said to be interested in becoming a running mate to a Northern presidential candidate. In fact, it is being speculated that if the Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, is running for President, Amaechi may emerge his running mate. This may ultimately pitch him against his Niger Delta kinsman, President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seeking re-election in 2015. But, like many politicians would do, the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has denied the ambition. Already, Jonathan’s men are turning the heat on the governor. He has been accused by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, of poor performance, misuse of state funds and neglect of the infrastructure battle. But he promptly replied the minister, saying that he is a failed Niger Delta Affairs minister. Besides, Amaechi listed some of his achievements in roads.

Can PDP retain power in Rivers? To many, PDP relies on Amaechi’s achievements to seek the renewal of the PDP’s tenancy in the State House. The party believes that he has briought honour to the state as its former House of Assembly Speaker, two-time governor and Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) chairman. Amaechi, observers believe, performed well during his first term, especially in education, health, agriculture and power sectors. But Rivers people now complain that he has relaxed. They said the governor has stopped his sur-



prise routine inspection of projects. Others said that he has been distracted by the NGF assignment and national politics. Most of the roads rehabilitated, reconstructed or dualised in Rivers State are now bad, after about six months, especially in Port Harcourt. Contracts are executed by politicians through incompetent contractors, residents college. Although he has not said he plans to run for any office, the popuplar thinking is that Amaechi is concentrating on his 2015 ambition because he wants to be relevant politically in post-2015. This posture contrasts sharply with his earlier intention to return to his alma mater, the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), to take up a teaching appointment. Amaechi recently told his Ikwerre kinsmen to forget about the governorship in 2015, stressing that it would amount to selfishness. He explained that the position should be filled by another ethnic group, in the spirit of fairness and equity.

Sekibo is also interested in succeeding Amaechi. But the governor is not supporting his ambition. This has led to a division in the party. Sekibo is said to be relying on his closeness to the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, who hails from Okrika, Rivers State, to get the PDP’s ticket. But the race will be tough for all aspirants. Another contender is the 42 year-old chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Dakuku Peterside. He is from Opobo, the headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area. He was Works Commissioner. Considering the upland/riverine dichotomy, which has often played a role in the emergence of the governorship candidate, he is said to be favoured by the party. Senator Magnus Abe, who represents Rivers Southeast Senatorial District, wants to make history as the first Ogoni man to rule the state, since it was created on May 27, 1967. Abe stood by Amaechi and remained loyal to him when things were tough for the former Speaker, before the Supreme Court ruled that he should be sworn in as the governor on October 25, 2007. Abe, who was a chieftain of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), was at that time the Information Commissioner in the Odili Administration. Between 1999 and 2003, he was the Minority Leader of the House of Assembly. Following his assumption of office, Amaechi appointed Abe as the Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG), the position he held before moving to the National Assembly. Observers say that if Abe, who hails from Bera, Ogoni, Gokana Local Government, emerges as the next governor, it may be a set back for the agitation for the creation of the Bori State by the people of Ogoni. Also in the race is the 2007 governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC), Prince Tonye Princewill, who defected to the PDP after losing the election. He is very close to Amaechi. Princewill is the son of the paramount ruler of Kalabari Kingdom, King Theophilus Princewill, who is the former chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers. Since the state was created, no Kalabari person has been governor of Rivers State. But the prince said that he will break the jinx. Amaechi’s deputy, Tele Ikuru, an engineer, who hails from Ikuru, has been quiet on his 2015 ambition, but he may not be ruled out of the governorship or senatorial race.

Contenders and pretenders When the governor canvassed for power shift to another ethnic group, it was believed that he was sending a warning signal to the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, an Ikwerre from Rumuepirikom community, who is eyeing either the governorship or the senatotrial slots. Wike, a lawyer, was the Chief of Staff in the Rivers Government House. During the electioneering, he was the Director-General of the Amaechi Campaign Organisation in 2011, before becoming the Minister of State for Education on July 14, 2011. Wike was elected twice as the chairman of Obio/Akpor council. He was also the President of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Local Governments Forum (CLGF). In 2012, his wife, Eberechi Suzzette, was appointed a judge.

‘Amaechi recently told his Ikwerre kinsmen to forget about the governorship in 2015, stressing that it would amount to selfishness. He explained that the position should be filled by another ethnic group, in the spirit of fairness and equity’




North ‘ll embrace APC


HE Nasarawa State chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr. Bashir Jabiru, has said that the North will prefer the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the next general elections. He said the new party will dislodge the PDP, urging members to gird their loins. Jabiru said the excitement that greeted the birth of the ACP showed that Nigerians were tired of the PDP administration. He said the PDP government has become the greatest corrupter of society, stressing that theft and graft have continued unabated. Jabiru praised the efforts of the leadership of the four major political parties, which formed APC, for their courage, selfless service and foresight, assuring that the party will liberate Nigeria. The politician, who spoke on phone with our correspondent, said APC would provide credible leadership worthy of pride. Jamiru said that the manifesto

Osun State Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Special Duties Mr. Stephen Kola-Balogun spoke with MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE on the rural development programmes of the Aregbesola Administration.

By Jeremiah Oke

of the party would soon be unveiled by the alliance leaders. He said the manifesto would reflect the progressive programmes for a rescue mission. Jabiru said APC would resolve unemployment, fight the infrastructure battle, improve education, defend the health sector and fight corruption. His words: “I want to commend the effort of the national leaders of the ACN, CPC, APGA and ANPP for seeing the need to set this nation free from the bondage of the PDP. It is now that we can now move forward and chase the PDP out of the Aso Villa in 2015. “PDP is using propaganda and they have nothing to offer this great nation and our coming together shows that people are no more comfortable with the present administration, which is full of corruption. “But, with the emergence of APC, our people should be assured that the party will take the nation to the destination by the

‘Aregbesola Administration on course’



time we assume office in 2015. “The good work our governor, Alhaji Al-makura, is doing here in Nasarawa State andwhat the governors of our party are doing in the Southwest and what Oshiomhole is doing in Edo, I am sure people have seen the progressiveness in the APC and they will be happy to give PDP a red card”.

•Justice Adeyinka (rtd) (right), addressing the press on Monday. With him are LASIEC members Mrs Felicia Oriola, Mr. Tokunbo Amele (middle) and Mr. Yinka Jegede. PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN

Turnout of voters declining, says LASIEC


AGOS State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has expressed worry over the decline in voter’s turn-out at council elections, saying that the trend is alarming. LASIEC Chairman Justice Fatai Adeyinka (rtd) urged political parties, civil societies, the media and other stakeholders to sensitise the people to the importance of grassroots elections in the state. Justice Adeyinka, who addressed a meeting of political party leaders in his office, said the commission would conduct a by-election at’ Ward A’ of the Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government Area on February 26. The councillorship seat became vacant, following the demise of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) councillor, Mr. Abayomi Akintokun, on September 3, last year. The chairman said the notice of the by-election had been published on February 7. The LASIEC boss lamented the low turn-out at previous council polls, urging the party leaders to mobilise Lagosians for subsequent elections. “I will like to draw your attention to the decline in voters

turn-out in local government elections in Lagos State and other states of the Federation. This decline has been attributed to apathy and general lack of interest on the part of the electorate. The political parties, LASIEC and other stakeholders

‘I will like to draw your attention to the decline in voters turn-out in local government elections in Lagos State and other states of the Federation. This decline has been attributed to apathy and general lack of interest on the part of the electorate. The political parties, LASIEC and other stakeholders should individually and jointly take steps to arrest the alarming decline’

should individually and jointly take steps to arrest the alarming decline”. Justice Adeyinka said the electoral commission had embarked on rigorous civic education to sensitise stakeholders to the import of the grassroots elections, including the parties, security personnel, civil society groups and other government officials. He urged the stakeholders to encourage eligible voters to perform their civic responsibilities during the bye-election taking place at Ward A, Alayabiagba, Ajeromi/Ifelodun local government area. “The voting procedure of “open-secret-open”, by which accreditation will take place between 9 am and 3 pm will be used. There are 39 polling units in Ward A. Votes will be counted at each polling unit. The results from the 39 polling units will be collated at the collation centre. The total results will be announced at the collation centre by the Returning Officer. Eligible voters should conduct themselves in an orderly manner and shun violence and other vices that mar elections”, he said.

HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the programmes of Osun State government as cosmetic. What is your reaction? It is really laughable. When the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in power for seven and half years, it could not make an impact on the lives of the people. Look at it critically; what has the People Democratic Party (PDP) got to show as its achievements in office in all the years it ruled Osun State? Of course, seven years is a very long time for one to make impact. The current administration has not spent more than two and half years and the people of Osun are seeing the projects embarked upon by the government. Government has already carved out a standard that is no longer as usual. Placing the records side by side, what did PDP do in term of employment? What did they do in term of providing social benefit for the aged? What about the physically challenged? I can conveniently say that the Aregbesola Administration is in touch with these people. He shares in their pains, loves them and has evolved packages for them to meet their challenges. This is not a propaganda. It is what is on the ground and they are verifiable. These are facts that can be proved and both administrations could be compared in terms of performance. Osun is making progress and on a steady march; not even million of forces lined up by the PDP elements will distract the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). It is unfortunate that people are really trying to find out the achievement of the past government because it puts Osun in reverse for over seven and half years. There should be no basis to compare, as far as I am concerned. Having said that, I put the question to you, what has the past administration achieved in State of Osun? Political motives have been read into the Osun anthem, which is recited after the National Anthem. Why should government allow this? What the government is just trying to do is to create awareness and raise the consciousness of the people to arise and join in the building of the state. It is making State of Osun part and parcel of the developmental efforts. The government wants the people to believe in themselves and have a sense of belonging in their state and I think that is very important. I am not going to be hypocritical. When I came in as the commissioner in the state, it took a while to know the anthem and now it is part of me. I understand where the governor is coming from. Usually, when we have events, we start with the National Anthem and immediately we have it, we now recite the state anthem. I must say that every time we say the National Anthem, they actually respect it and stand still as it runs its course, but very few people recite the words. In other word, the National Anthem is there, but they don’t really understand the message. But immediately the Omoluabi Anthem comes up, you could see the difference; both educated and illit-

erates who sell pepper and palm wine in the market join in reciting it. They are filled with pride that they are part of Osun and love the clarion call to build the state. What the people have shown is that they identified withthe culture and in other words, it raises their enthusiasm and kindred spirits. Again, the governor has not said the anthem is competing with the National Anthem. The National Anthem always comes first, but what I have noticed is that very few people recite the words. How far has the administration gone in the implementation of its rural development programmes? What is government? It is for the people by the people and for the people and my governor is fully aware of that. He is happy when they surround him. He believes that power belongs to the people and he is quite aware that when you have the people, you don’t have problem. He wants them to be part of the progressive march and would do all that is necessary to assuage their problems. The governor wants to know what they are doing, what they want and what they want to achieve. And that is what the Aregbesola Administration is all about. He has set the goals and wants to know at every point in time whether the people are being carried along. He wants to ensure that no constraints hinder them from getting what they are supposed to have. Can ACN government sustain its tempo of achievements in the State of Osun in the coming years? We already have a template for that. Look at Lagos State. ACN has been in control of Lagos State since 1999 and now we are in 2013 and it is waxing stronger. The people in Lagos and Osun states have been good governance and they are very happy. In Osun, government is caring for all segments of society; the youth, elderly, culture, sports, health. Government believes in the infrastructural development and what ever political action that is needed to back them up would not be infringed upon. We are trying to bring government back to the people; we are trying to answer the yearnings of the people. In Osun, we are giving the people the things that would add value to their lives; we are bringing succour to families that have been denied opportunities to good life. And I can assure you that another mandate will be given to us in the State of Osun. The people love the governor.





‘States should copy Osun employment model’

Commissioner enlivens riverside communities

Al-Makura helps military with 16 vans








Page 45


Ogun boosts jobs with 481 health workers


•Senator Amosun

HE plan to boost jobs has taken off in earnest in Ogun State, with no fewer than 782 workers recruited by the state Hospitals Management Board. The first batch of the successful candidates has been given employment letters. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, who broek the news in Abeokuta, added that the exercise is in fulfilment of the electioneering campaign promises of Governor Ibikunle Amosun towards providing job

opportunities. He noted that it was also a major step forward in delivering the affordable healthcare component of the five cardinal programmes of the state government. The Commissioner lauded Governor Amosun for approving the recruitment to fill vacant posts, saying that patients and healthcare workers would feel the impact of the employment greatly. He disclosed that the exercise covers all health care jobs which

include consultants, medical officers, nursing sisters, physiotherapists and other non-medical workers like nutritionists, caterers, security men, gardeners, among others. Lauding the government for the gesture, the Chief Executive Officer of the state Hospital, Ijaiye, Dr. Nafiu Aigoro described it as a welcome development, saying that it would reduce pressure of work on the existing staff and also improve service delivery to patients.

Also speaking, the Director of Physiotherapy Department of the hospital, Mr. Suraj Abdul noted that with the employment of new hands, there would be job enhancement and reduction in the demands of work particularly in his department. One of the new employees, a nurse, Mrs. Ademola Babatunde expressed gratitude to the state government for offering her employment, saying she was “highly elated for being among the successful ones”.


HE agony of poor roads is easing in rural areas of Plateau State, and the people have Governor Jonah Jang to thank for that. Access roads have enhanced inter-community transportation, and farmers are witnessing a boost in their business. Jang started with six-km township roads in all the local government headquarters in the state. Next, he assessed the communities grappling with road challenges, discovering that some of them had no roads, while some roads were virtually impassable in other places. Some, too, only needed bridges for the people to use them. The governor went to work. The result: those remote communities are now opened up, enhancing communication, business and agriculture. About 70 per cent of Plateau people reside in rural areas, with only 30 per cent living in Jos, the state capital. But being the capital, the state government has always concentrated infrastructural development on Jos while majority in the rural areas suffered severe neglect. That has been the pattern of development in the state since its creation about 38 years ago. This also necessitated the resolve of the Jang administration to make rural transformation a priority from the beginning in 2007. If you ask the rural dwellers in Plateau State what they lack most and what has been their consistent demand from their government, they will tell you access road. The state is made up of so many isolated settlements needing to be linked together with roads. As Baba Danladi Meigeri, a farmer in Dokan Kasuwa, community puts it, “You know in the village we are all farmers, our women are traders, road is more useful to us than anything else; only God know how we suffer to get our farm produce to the market. We as villagers have been separated from other villages for lack of roads; it has been tough for us, it has been long we didn’t have roads. But today Jang has solved our problem, we are

•One of the new community roads

Jang opens up rural communities From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

so appreciative of Governor Jang because he has made us feel we have a government in Plateau state.” the state Commissioner for Information and Communication Yiljap Abraham and his Ministry of Works counterpart Chris Hassan who were on tour of some ongoing road projects were almost mobbed by jubilant crowds who were so appreciative of the government’s efforts. They rejoiced

Residents, farmers hail govt over the construction of the Jibam bridge, as well as the extension of the project for the construction of the 13 kilometer road linking Dokan Kasuwa, Kwang, Kwa, Miket, Doemak, Ba,ab communities and the link road to Lafia in Nasarawa State. Communities like Longvel, Bapkwai, Gunji-Shiwer, Lankan, Gindiri and several others are villages whose long standing craving for access roads has now been real-

ised. The major significance of this very road project, according to the Commissioner for Works Chris Hassan, is that several villages along these roads are already enjoying smoother and easier transportation of their farm produce to markets within Plateau and also in Nasarawa states. The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yiljap •Continued on Page 46

•Governor Jang



Jang opens up rural communities •Continued from Page 45 Abraham said: “Every government has neglected these communities until Governor Jang came in. As a matter of fact, this road has been on the budget of the state government since 1981 when I started practicing journalism in this state. So for the past 30 years or more, the people of these communities have been crying to government for attention, and the project has been in every year budget proposal since the first civilian administration but they never see the road done for them. But today, the road is not only been done, they people are already using the road.” In Mangu North constituency, Gindiri, another road awarded and abandoned by past administrations has also enjoyed the attention of the present administration. Yiljap Abraham said: “I want you to note that this road was awarded before this present administration took over, but it was abandoned until this government re-awarded it and it is nearing completion. This government had to revive this road, do the variation and expand the scope of the road. The expanded scope took the road project as far as the boundary between Plateau

and Bauchi in Lere. It also contains the dualised road to the College of Education Gindiri and also extended to Chanso” Yiljap also said: “Constant supervision by government of these projects is to make sure no project we started is abandoned, and to avoid that we don’t owe contractors. This is to allow steady progress of work and we have told all the contractors handling any road projects for this government to complete their work by April this year before the rains set in. Government is giving such deadline because we hope to award another road projects soon, but we want to ensure the ongoing ones are completed before awarding new ones. In a nutshell, government has listed 12 more roads to be awarded this year. “What this government is doing is to establish the fact that democracy is working in Plateau state. As far as the redemption government is concern we are on track and we are delivering dividend of democracy to people of Plateau state. “Governor Jang through road project is connecting communities, connecting local governments, connecting one senatorial zone to the other; he is connecting Plateau state to other states. In terms of

•Another new community road capital investment on roads, the government has so far spent N30 billion on roads, there are about N25 billion worth road projects

going on. On the 21st of December 2012, the state executive council awarded more projects worth N33 billion. So if you put all these to-

gether, it is massive investment by this government, touching everybody’s life. And for sure, he is so focused and he will deliver.”


HE Lagos State Commissioner for Rural Development, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi, has lifted the spirits of some riverside communities. Ojelabi was in Oriade Local Government Area to re-affirm the government’s commitment to the well-being of its residents. He reassured the people of the government’s interest in their welfare. This raised the residents’rale. The communities he visited had been in darkness for six years. About 10 of these riverside communities are said to have been without light for this long due to damage of the old electricity facility that supply light to the communities. The state government has embarked on a new electricity project in the area. A woman was said to have stalled the project on the grounds that it encroached on her land. In a chat with Newsextra, the commissioner said that his team was in the riverside areas to inspect the extent of work done on the project and why it was stopped, with a view to proffering a solution to the problem. He said: “Our visit is aimed at affording us the opportunity of assessing what the situation really looks like. And from what we have seen, I don’t think it’s a problem that cannot be solved. It’s just a matter of involving the Ministry of Works, Ministry of Water Front and the woman concerned who, allegedly, is not really co-operating with the government. “We decided to come together and see how best we can solve this problem. You can imagine the number of communities that have been in darkness for close to six years. The interest of members of the communities is paramount to government. “This is so because it is government’s responsibility to cater for the people; and if that is the business of government, I think we have to sit down and seek ways of solving the problem as soon as possible. “We need to discuss with the woman and know what her grievances are. I believe that the most important thing is to find solution to the problem of the affected communities being with-

•Hon. Sanusi (right) with Hon. Ojelabi (second left), Hon Akinola-Hassan Ramotalai of the Lagos State House of Assembly (second right) and members of the council at the event

Commissioner enlivens riverside communities By Chinaka Okoro

out light for about six years; by restoring electricity supply to them. That should be our priority for now. “The communities should be hopeful that very soon, the era of being in darkness would be over. I am confident on this judged from the type of government they have. It is a government that is people-oriented. We will put everything at our disposal to make sure that the people are happy.” The chairman of the council, Hon. Ibrahim Babatunde Sanusi told Newsextra that he was happy that the Commissioner for Rural Development came to see things for himself. He further said that “we have explained to him why there was stoppage in the execution of the electricity project. We are worried that 10 riverside

communities have been in darkness for six years,” even as he praised them for their patience. He stated that the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is a party that does not renege on its promises to the electorate. “Our great party the (ACN) promised to provide amenities for the people’s well-being of which the provision of electricity was part of. That could be why Governor Fashola sent the commissioner to see things for himself. His visit has afforded him the opportunity to assess the problem; and I believe that as he has seen things for himself, action would be taken and the contractor handling the project would return to site. I believe that soon light would be restored to the affected communities. We are anxious that this project is completed as soon as possible,” he

said. The Head, Electricity Committee of the 10 affected communities Hon. Tajudeen Akunyanmi said the woman allegedly prevented the contractor handling the project from completing the work because the project was sited on her land. He also said that she was invited to meet with

the Commissioner for Rural Development for discussion on the possibility of resolving the matter which she allegedly declined. The communities that have been in darkness for six years are Ikare; Irede; Iyagbe; Ibasa; Ibeshe; Ilashe; Imore; Igboishi; Igboeseyore and Igbologun.


OUTH unemployment is not getting better in Nigeria. But in the tiny corner of the State of Osun, something significant is shaping out that could well be the model other states should copy to arrest the evil effect on society of youth unemployment. Two years ago, when Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, governor of the State of Osun, started this programme, myopic critics and mischievous political opponents not only derided it, they thought it was a joke that wouldn’t get anywhere near addressing the problem of youth unemployment. But those in the international community, (and locally), with a clear vision of how to proceed in addressing the problem commended the programme and even recommended it to the developing and under-developed world as a model. A few states in the so-called Southwest have initiated similar projects, while elements within the OYES scheme are being programmed into efforts by some other states to empower youths and keep them off the streets. However, the depth of the O’YES scheme being operated by Ogbeni Aregbesola is what sells it as a model. That project has at the core of its objective a re-orientation of our young people to imbibe the culture of dignity of labour, and become less dependent on white collar jobs which have practically dried up. The O’YES scheme, which is a two yearly revolving programme, started with 20,000 young people. They were called ‘cadets’ and were given, at inception, a para-military training in discipline, which should assist them in appreciating the critical need for a change in attitude, and development of a new work culture that places emphasis on developing skills that could set them up individually as well as get them to contribute effectively in the upliftment of their communities. And on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, the first set of O’YES cadets graduated. The significance of the graduation should not be lost on observers and critics alike. The Osun project also has the attractive feature of being a ‘working school’ in which the jobless youths are as-




HE Oyo Chapter of the National Association of Saki Elite has called on indigenous people of the community, as well as the government to help develop the town. President of the association, Alhaji Taiwo Olawoyin, made the call at its annual meeting in Oyo. Olawoyin said that the development of the town, which is located in the northern part of Oyo State, is a

•The OYES cadets

‘States should copy Osun employment model’ By Kunle Oyatomi

sisted to acquire skills, doing jobs they would otherwise have considered beneath them, but which have the possibility of providing them with a livelihood. In addition, there is an arm of this scheme called O’YESTECH (a technical training centre, if you like) that trains O’YES cadets on mobile phone and computer assembly. Of the 20,000 first batch cadets that graduated last month, 18,000 are already absorbed into permanent jobs. Hundreds of other cadets, (600 of them to be exact) have been set up by the state government in brick-works; 500 have graduated from O’dua Farmers Academy,

trained in modern farming techniques; more are being trained under the rural enterprise and agricultural project etc. The crux of the Osun project is that not only are these youths being trained, they are sorted and clumped into cooperatives and then funded to start enterprises of their own, which have clientele within the economic structures on ground, owned by government and other private sector institutions. Only blind critics will fail to appreciate the knock-on effect this kind of scheme would have on growth and job creation. Already, there are other economic benefits to the State of Osun, which should be mentioned here. N200 million is spent monthly on allowances for the N20,000 cadets.

This means that in the last two years, as much as about N5bn has been made to circulate within the State economy. Even if the skeptics won’t believe it, significant change is occuring in Osun and no skepticism can alter that. Now, let us look at the bottomline of this O’YES model. If the 36 states of the Federation had adopted the O’YES scheme, 720,000 youths would have been taken off the streets in the last two years. Let us assume that the Federal Government bought into the scheme and took half that number of youths off the streets, over a million (1000,000) youths would have been off the streets in the last two years in Nigeria. The pity however is that Nigeria is too disorganised to think in that direction.

I leave the rest to your judgement and imagination what difference this would have made to the economy, on crime and morality in the society. Bear in mind however that it is one thing to adopt the scheme nationwide, but it is yet another to implement it with the clinical thoroughness and passion that Ogbeni Aregbesola is going about business in the State of Osun. A surgical process of change is taking place in Osun. The blind senses it, the deaf feels it, and ‘regular people’ are excited by it. But if you doubt it, Osun invites you to come see things yourself. You will marvel at what is unfolding. •Oyatomi is the ACN Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, in the State of Osun

Elite club urges community development From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

collective responsibility of the government and all indigenous people. He also called for the upgrade of the Saki satellite campus of The Polytechnic, Ibadan to a fully-fledged polytechnic in accordance with the

report of the visitation panel on establishment of the proposed Oyo State Technical University. Olawoyin and Dr. Folake Samuel of the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Ibadan who delivered a lecture on the occasion, stressed the need for rural and ur-

ban communities to serve as the nucleus of human development. Dr Samuel spoke on the topic: “Pathways to Optimal Nutrition.” According to them, this generation needs to return to the core African culture neighbours serve as their brother’s keepers. Alhaji Olawoyin thanked God for helping members of the association in various ways in 2012 and lauded

members’ commitment to the association. Also speaking on the occasion, former National President, Association of Saki Parapo, an umbrella body of all indigenes and affiliated associations at home and abroad, Alhaji Raimi Akande, acknowledged contributions of Saki elite towards the development of the town.

The development of the town, which is located in the northern part of Oyo State, is a collective responsibility of the government and all indigenous people

•Mr Ayo Sogbuyi, Publisher of Celebrity Magazine (left) receiving an award from Hon Ademorin Kuye, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs at a grassroots awards ceremony



The problem the state is facing today is a challenge that requires deliberate efforts... as a people to live in peace with one another by being our brother’s keeper

Al-Makura donates 16 vans to military


ASARAWA State Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has donated 16 Hilux vans to the military to boost the battle against crime. The event took place in Lafia, the state capital. While handing over the vehicles to the military, the governor said the gesture was aimed at helping the military to contain the rising cases of communal and militia crises in the state. The governor, who presented the vans at the Government House along Shendam Road, also said that his administration would do everything within its powers to bring lasting peace to every part of the state, adding that lawlessness will not be tolerated. “The problem the state is experiencing today is a challenge that requires collective decisions in our minds as a people to live in peace with one another by being our brother’s keeper,” he said. Warning citizens of the state to


EMALE genital mutilation is in decline, according to new data from the United Nations, released on the International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. Fewer girls are subjected to the life-threatening practice of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), the global body said. The data shows that FGM/C is becoming less prevalent overall and the younger generation is less vulnerable to the practice. In the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the practice of FGM/C is concentrated, on average, 36 per cent of girls aged 15-19 have been cut compared to an estimated 53 per cent of women aged 45-49. The decline is particularly sharp in some countries: in Kenya, for example, women aged 45-49 are three times more likely to have been cut than girls aged 15-19. “This progress shows it is possible to end FGM/C” said UNICEF

From Johnny Danjuma, Nasarawa

avoid actions capable of disturbing the peace of the state, Governor Al-Makura said whoever is caught in such acts will face the consequences of their actions. He also called on leaders in the state to ensure that they give peace top priority in the scheme of things, adding that youths should not endulge in acts that may disturb the peace. This, he said, is because it is capable of affecting their future. Appreciating the efforts of the military in combating crises, AlMakura thanked them for their efforts and sacrifices to maintain peace in the state. Encouraging them to maintain professionalism in dealing with the people, Al-Makura explained that such actions will help the majority of the people. “The majority of the people in the state who want peace will get some relief,” he added.

•Governor Al-Makura (right) hands over the vans

Female genital mutilation declines Executive Director Anthony Lake. “FGM/C is not only deeply wrong, we can and must end it to help millions of girls and women lead healthier lives.” These recent estimates produced by UNICEF show that at least 120 million girls and women have experienced FGM/C in these 29 countries. Given present trends, as many as 30 million girls under the age of 15 may still be at risk. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/C is currently making progress in preventing these girls and future generations from being exposed to FGM/C. The new estimates follow the unanimous adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution in December 2012 calling on member states to intensify efforts toward the com-

plete elimination of FGM/C. Since 2008, when the UNFPAUNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/ C was established, nearly 10,000 communities in 15 countries, representing about 8 million people, have renounced the practice. Last year a total of 1,775 communities across Africa publicly declared their commitment to end FGM/C. Even in high prevalence countries, attitudes toward the practice are changing. In Egypt, for example, where around 90 per cent of girls and women have been cut, the percentage of those aged 15-49 who have been married, and who think that FGM/C should stop, doubled from 13 per cent to 28 per cent between 1995 and 2008. “Empowered women and girls are key to breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and for the pro-

•Factory operations commence at the revamped Bayelsa Palm Company in Yenagoa


motion and protection of human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA. “Working with governments and civil societies, UNFPA and UNICEF have successfully implemented a human rights-based and culturally sensitive approach to ending FGM/C.” The UNFPA and UNICEF Executive Directors noted that if the political will expressed in the General Assembly resolution is translated

into concrete investments, FGM/C – a serious violation of the rights of girls and women – could become a vestige of the past. They echoed the resolution’s call for a coordinated approach that promotes positive social change at community, national, regional and international levels. A comprehensive compilation and analysis of nationally representative data on FGM/C will be published by UNICEF in mid-2013. It will provide a global assessment of levels and trends, as well as statistics at the national and regional levels.

Osun hunters want Yoruba as state language


UNTERS under the aegis of Ifesowapo Youth Hunters Association of Nigeria, Osogbo branch in Osun State have advocated the use of Yoruba language in all official programmes and engagements of government in the state. The hunters in their hundreds at their fifth anniversary and N4 million fund-raising in Halleluyah Estate, Osogbo, Osun State capital, said it is important for government at all levels to appreciate the role of indigenous languages in preserving people’s cultural heritage and in sustaining their identities. They also advised the state House of Assembly to consider use of Yoruba for one or two days in the conduct of its affairs. Speaking on the occasion, the Oluode of Osogbo, Chief Olasunkanmi Arogundade, said it was regrettable that “we as a people are not using all available means to project our culture.” He urged both local and state governments to invite the hunters to their official programmes, saying that as a group they have a vital role to play in supporting constituted authorities. The guest lecturer at the event, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Francis Ipirinmonti,

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

represented by an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr. Oyeniran Oyelade, enjoined the hunters to collaborate with other security agencies, saying the hunters’ closeness to the grassroots is an advantage for them. He said: “The hunters are very useful to police to give information about their environment during their hunting expedition. But what the police want is for you (hunters) to have an association like you do now to help us (the police) to deal with bad elements among you. “Also, it is important that you meet regularly to know one another very well and to be able to know the true and fake hunters. The police expect that your guns are duly registered and renewed when necessary.” Dignitaries at the programme, include, a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria in the state, Alhaji Fatai Diekola, who was the chairman of the occasion, a frontline construction engineer, Remi Alo, Alhaji Bayo Oyekanmi, Mr. Solomon Olasupo and Alhaji Sule Aderemi.





SLIDING TACKLE "Both coaches know each other well and the teams are very evenly matched. I think it will be decided by a moment of genius from van Persie or Ronaldo. I want Manchester United to win, but, for the first time, I really don't know what's going to happen. I'd like a 4-3, with Cristiano scoring three goals,"

Igesund proud of Bafana


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Manchester United legend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, showering praise on Sir Alex Ferguson as the team faces Real Madrid in a Champions League fixture.

Klopp promises 'Dortmund fire' against Shakhtar •RVP •Ronaldo

‘Ronaldo, RVP will decide Bernabeu clash’


ANCHESTER United will visit the Bernabeu to take on Real Madrid in the first leg of the muchawaited Champions League last 16 fixture tonight, and Red Devils legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the tie will be decided by a moment of genius from either Cristiano Ronaldo or Robin van Persie . Ronaldo has been as impressive as ever for the Spanish champions, scoring 38 goals from 39 appearances in all competitions so far. The Portugal captain also scored a hat-trick in Madrid's 4-1 win over Sevilla at the weekend. van Persie, on the other hand, is enjoying a terrific first season at Old Trafford and has 23 goals and seven assists to his name, from 31 matches. "Both coaches know each other well and the teams are very evenly matched. I think it will

be decided by a moment of genius from van Persie or Ronaldo. I want Manchester United to win, but, for the first time, I really don't know what's going to happen. I'd like a 4-3, with Cristiano scoring three goals," Solskjaer told The Norwegian had scored the winner for United in their Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich in 1999. The 39-year-old showered praise on Sir Alex Ferguson and insisted the Scot's experience would help the Red Devils massively, when they face Madrid. "Almost everything I know, I've learned from Sir Alex. We both believe in ourselves, we always want to win, we invest in young people and work hard. The bigger the challenge, the more Ferguson gets out of it," the former United striker added.


ORUSSIA Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp wants a better display from his side after a poor weekend. Donetsk, Ukraine: Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp has insisted his side will bounce back at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday in their Champions League Last 16 first leg clash following a heavy home defeat by Hamburg. Dortmund went down 4-1 at home on Saturday as they conceded four goals without reply at the hands of Hamburg and now face a tough trip to Ukraine. The German champion’s pressing game deserted them as Hamburg found plenty of space to attack down the wing with South Korea’s Son Heung-min and Latvia’s Artjoms Rudnevs both scoring twice. “We weren’t good against Hamburg and deserved to lose, we’ll be better on Wednesday,” said Klopp with his side looking to reach the last eight for the first time since 1998, when as defending champions they lost in the semi-finals against Real Madrid. Having finished unbeaten on top of Group D with eyecatching wins over Real Madrid, Manchester City

and Ajax at home, Klopp’s side must prove they can again forge a result away from home in the first-leg clash at the Donbass Arena. Shakhtar are looking for a third win in four home matches in this season’s competition after beating both Danish champions Nordsjaelland and holders Chelsea before a 1-0 home defeat to Juventus in October, cost them first place in Group E.



Wilshere, Koscielny boost Gunners


ACK Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny have given Arsenal a Champions League boost after being given the all-clear to train fully this week, understands. Wilshere hobbled off during the second half of Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Sunderland last Saturday with a heavily bandaged thigh after colliding with Alfred N’Diaye. But any fears that the damage could be longterm have been eased as tests have showed that the midfielder was suffering only from a ‘dead leg’. He will take part in training this week and be available to play in Saturday’s fifth-round FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers at Emirates Stadium. Koscielny pulled out of the Arsenal team that started at Sunderland after suffering a twinge during the warm-up. But the Frenchman has now recovered from what is believed to have only been a minor calf injury and he is also expected to be available for the weekend. It is a double boost for Arsene Wenger as he begins planning for next Tuesday’s mouthwatering Champions League first-leg clash against Bayern Munich. The manager is considering resting Wilshere from the team that starts against Blackburn, which he also did in the last round against another Championship opponent, Brighton and Hove Albion. Arsenal’s biggest fitness worry is skipper Thomas Vermaelen, who had been earmarked to deputise at left-back against Bayern in the absence of cup-tied Nacho Monreal and the injured Kieran Gibbs. As revealed by, Vermaelen had two separate injections in his injured ankle last week and faces a race against time to be fit for the home leg.


Wrestling dropped from 2020 Olympic Games IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic schedule. The IOC executive board decided on Tuesday to retain modern pentathlon - the event considered most at risk - and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. The board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Eliminating one sport allows the International Olympic Committee to add a new sport to the program later this year. •Wrestlers in action

Wrestling, which combines freestyle and GrecoRoman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896. Wrestling featured 344 athletes competing in 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in GrecoRoman at last year’s London Olympics. Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. They will be vying for a single opening in 2020. The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The last sports removed from the Olympics were baseball and softball, voted out by the IOC in 2005 and off the program since the 2008 Beijing Games. Golf and rugby will be joining the program at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. The IOC program commission report analyzed more than three dozen criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.



NEWS Dankwambo pledges to support aspirants From Vincent Ohonbamu, Gombe

GOVERNOR Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State has pledged to support those aspiring for their ancestral traditional stools at the appropriate time. He spoke when he received the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, at the Government House. He was heading for Dukku to pay a congratulatory visit to the recently-turbaned Emir of Dukku, Alhaji Haruna Rasheed. “I also pray for whoever is aspiring for the throne of his ancestors. I will support the move at the appropriate time. “I am not praying it should happen soon, but at the appropriate time, I hope we will rally round our colleagues and support them for their desired positions,” Governor Dankwambo said, canvassing support for the new Emir. He urged him to face the challenges being a developmental leader, who would serve as a unifying factor to enjoy the kind of support his father and predecessor enjoyed during his 49-year reign.

Aondoakaa’s, Jonathan’s posters flood Abuja

•Governor Dankwambo (left) with the CBN Governor Sanusi and other directors of the bank.

Reps, Okonjo-Iweala clash over SURE-P


EMBERS of the House of Representatives and the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday traded words over the operations and application of funds of the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SUREP). The minister, annoyed by the accusations made by the Special Joint Committee on the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P), replied in an angry tone. Speaking during the public hearing by the Dakuku Peterside-headed Special Joint Com-


From: Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

mittee on SURE-P at the National Assembly, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala told the lawmakers that they were disrespectful to the office of President Goodluck Jonathan by their allegations, insinuations and outright distrust of the information provided on SURE-P. She said the lawmakers were narrow-minded and that they needed to have a change of attitude and become objective in their approach to the SURE-P issue. Among other things, the lawmakers accused the execu-

tive of using the SURE-P programme as a re-election machinery for President Jonathan, saying some people have been going around the states telling people it’s a PDP programme. They also accused the Presidency of lack of information on the programme, duplication of projects and profligacy on the part of the SURE-P committee members for spending N500 million on themselves within a year. According to the lawmakers, “all sorts of things are going on under the SURE-P programme.” A member asked: “Is this true that the programme is de-

signed as a mechanism for young men and women to work for the re-election of President Jonathan in 2015? And that the SURE- P state coordinators are members of Jonathan’s team for 2015?” But the Minister of Finance replied: “I think you have to give respect and dignity to the Federal Government. We need to look at this objectively. The programme is not a programme of any individual, it is the programme of the Federal government led by Mr. President, who is very clear and want to show Nigerians the dividends of the SURE-P programme.

Six killed in military-Boko Haram crossfire

IX persons were yesterday killed in a crossfire between a military force and suspected Boko Haram members. The incident occurred at Mayo Lope in Lau Local Government Area of Taraba State. Sources said the military men, on arriving the previous night, were peaceful until they were confronted by

From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

the suspected Boko Haram members yesterday morning. The eye witnesses said the soldiers opened fire and the Boko Haram members replied. The gun duel lasted for hours. In the end, three suspected Boko Haram members were gunned down. Three of the indigenes, who were caught in

the gun battle, are also feared dead. Many villagers were injured. Some of the Boko Haram members were reportedly arrested by the soldiers. The suspects are said to have invaded Taraba from Yobe State. The incident has created a tense atmosphere at Mayo Lope, with residents mourning.

The Executive Chairman of Lau Local Government, Anthony Danburam, said he sent a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) to the scene. Said he: “Until he (DPO) returns, I cannot make any comment.” Police spokesman Amos Olaoye said he would brief reporters as soon as the matter was brought to his desk.

Tukur plots against Oyinlola’s return From Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja



ENSION is mounting between the National Chairman of the Peoples D emocratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur and former Osun Governor, Olagunsoye

Oyinlola. Tukur is plotting against the recall of Oyinlola as the National Secretary of the party. The two openly canvassed different positions on the matter yesterday. This came to the fore at the hearing of an application by Oyinlola seeking to stay the January 11 judgment by Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja that sacked him. The PDP National Secretariat yesterday asked the court to reject Oyinlola’s bid to stay the judgment that sacked him as the party’s scribe.

Justice Kafarati had voided the nomination of Oyinlola as the candidate of the Southwest zonal chapter of the PDP and his consequent election to the office of the National Secretary at the National Convention in March 2012. Relying on the order and two separate judgments of the Federal High Court, Lagos that nullified the Southwest zonal congress that produced Oyinlola as candidate, Justice Kafarati held that his nomination and subsequent election were invalid, null and void. Justice Kafarati adjourned the matter till March 21. The new position of the ruling party on Oyinlola is differ-

ent from the earlier position canvassed by the National Legal Adviser, Kwon Victory. In what appears a stab in the back, the party, which had joined Oyinlola in filing a stay of execution of the court’s judgment, backed out and teamed up with the Ogun State Executive Committee (SEC) in an effort to keep him out of office permanently. Victory had filed a motion on notice seeking an order staying the execution of the judgment, which was brought pursuant to Order 32, Rules 1,2&4(1), Order 56 Rule 1 of the Court (Civil Procedure) and Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Killing of doctors, vaccinators outrageous, says UN


NTERNATIONAL concern on last week’s killing of health workers and foreign doctors by suspected terrorists in the North is deepening. The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, is worried that such attacks, which he described as outrageous, limit the vulnerability to having essential health service. The UN leader condemned the killings in a New York

statement issued late on Monday afternoon, just as western newswires and US television stations have started reporting the arrest of three Nigerian journalists in connection to the terrorists killing in Kano of the nine health workers said to be women. Polio vaccination was controversial in some northern states years ago, necessitating the deployment of the then UN Special Envoy, Prof Ibrahim

Gambari, to visit traditional and political leaders in those states to reassure them that the vaccination is in the best interest of the people and not a means of sterilising women. Since Monday evening up till yesterday morning, Reuters Newswire, Fox and ABC television networks have been reporting that the three journalists arrested had spoken on WAZOBIA FM days before the Kano attack, and their speech

is being considered as an incitement that provoked the killings. The journalists reportedly spoke against the vaccination, saying it was a western ploy to sterilise northern women. In his statement, the UN Secretary-General “strongly condemns the killings of three doctors from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in north-eastern Nigeria, and of the health workers days earlier.”


From Uja Emmanuel,Makurdi

ORMER Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) has dissociated himself from his 2015 governorship campaign posters, which flooded the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja yesterday. The joint colourful posters of the former Minister of Justice and those of President Goodluck Jonathan were seen pasted in strategic places in Abuja. In the posters, President Jonathan’s photograph is on the left and Aondokaa’s picture is on the right with the inscription: ‘Reconciled 2015 Goodluck for President and Aondoakaa for Governor of Benue State’. Speaking to reporters in his Makurdi home yesterday, Aondoakaa described the posters as mischievous, adding that he did not need anybody to intimidate him to support the President. He said: “As a Nigerian, my loyalty has always been with the President and Commander in-Chief-, including President Jonathan. Printing my poster and that of Mr. President is a clear act of mischief calculated to achieve a selfish agenda.” said Aondokaa.

Ita-Giwa okays APC


HE ex-Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly Matters and the political leader of the Bakassi people, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, has welcomed the merging of political parties ahead of the 2015 general elections. She described the move as an ingredient that would sustain the nation’s democratic principles. Rather than seeing the merger as a threat to the ruling party, Senator Ita-Giwa asserted that it would be myopic to see it from that perspective, adding that a strong opposition would strengthen democratic institutions. In a statement made available yesterday, she said the merger of four parties was in the interest of the nation, adding that it was not strange since parties had always merged to position themselves against ruling parties. The statement reads: “The furore and controversies raised by the merger of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is unnecessary. This development is a welcome one. My take is that it will strengthen our political system. “Globally, opposition parties consolidate democratic ideals. It enables the ruling party to deliver more on its electoral promises to the people. “It allows for a healthy competition between the opposition and the ruling party and the benefits cannot be overemphasised. I am keen at all efforts aimed at sustaining our democracy and ensuring that the masses benefit accordingly.”




SEC to appoint more securities lending agents


•Equities’ value drop


ECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) is poised to appoint more securities lending agents (SLAs) as the Nigerian capital market expands with innovative securities and absorptive capacity. Security lending or stock lending simply refers to the lending of securities by a holder of the securities to another market participant for a specified period, usually a short period of time. An SLA acts as agent to security lenders by facilitating the extension of securities as loans to a borrowing retail or institutional investor thereby encouraging fluidness in the trading process on a stock exchange. The borrowing investor will only be required to make collateral available in securities, letter of credit or even cash to benefit from securities lending. In a statement made available yesterday, SEC stated that it would consider more applications for appointments as securities lending agents given the depth and the dynamics of the market. “There is still room for the appointment of more SLAs as market dynamics dictate and more firms with the appropriate credentials apply for the role as there is as yet no upper ceiling for the number of firms, which may be appointed SLAs in the Nigerian capital market,” SEC stated. The apex capital market regulator indicated that it al-

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

ready has an application from a reputable bank for consideration as an SLA. SEC usually considers a bank’s information and communication technology, branch network, corporate standing and fundamentals among other parameters before granting approval for a bank to perform as an SLA In a related development, SEC has also approved the appointment of First Bank of Nigeria Plc as an SLA for transactions in bonds, equities and other securities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The approval of First Bank as an SLA brings to three the number of SLAs in the Nigerian capital market. SEC had initially approved United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc as SLAs. Meanwhile, the bullish rally at the NSE faltered yesterday as a 2.08 per cent decline in market valuation of Dangote Cement Plc coloured the market position, pushing the main index down by 0.07 per cent. Dangote Cement, which controls about a quarter of total equity market capitalisation, led the handful of losers with a drop of N3 to close at N141. The loss by Dangote Cement adversely affected the market position in spite of the fact that

there were about five gainers for every loser. Aggregate market value of all equities dropped from N10.722 trillion to N10.714 trillion while the main index at the NSE, the All Share Index (ASI), slipped from 33,511.63 points to 33,487.82 points. Other top losers included Lafarge Wapco Cement Nigeria, which dropped N1.50 to close at N70.50; PZ Cussons Nigeria, which shed N1.38 to close at N43.10; Ashaka Cement, which lost 73 kobo to close at N25.30 and Presco, which dropped by 60 kobo to close at N27.30. Total turnover stood at 891.41 million shares worth N4.69 billion in 8,337 deals. Insurance subsector was the most active with a turnover of 301.13 million shares worth N222.84 million in 915 deals. Banking subsector recorded a turnover of 298.74 million shares valued at N1.76 billion in 3,315 deals. Investors continued to show preference for low-priced stocks with International Energy Insurance leading activity chart with a turnover of 139.37 million shares valued at N70.37 million in 52 deals. Unity Bank remained on high demand with a turnover of 98.02 million shares valued at N106.64 million in 400 deals. On the upside, Okomu Oil Palm Plc led the gainers with a gain of N1.91 to close at N55.91. Julius Berger Nigeria followed with addition of N1 to close at N67. Flour Mills of Nigeria added 99 kobo to close at N77. Ecobank Transnational Incorporated chalked up 96 kobo to close at N14.76. Forte Oil rose by 79 kobo to close at N16.63 per share while Cement Company of Northern Nigeria gathered 50 kobo to close at N12 per share.





AMCON accuses Babalakin of selling same property to different people T HE Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) yesterday alleged that lawyerbusinessman, Wale Babalakin has at various times sold house 43A, Afribank Street, Victoria Island, Lagos to six persons, who have used it to access credits from banks. The corporation, which described the practice as "financial bearing," said it was unwilling to allow Babalakin time to continue to delay the payment of his purported loans estimated at N60 billion. AMCON's lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba, who said this at a press conference yesterday, accused Babalakin of "using the court system and its manifest inefficiency to refuse to pay the loan. “That is what my client will not accept," Agbakoba stressed. But Babalakin denied AMCON's allegation, accusing the corporation of "deliberately misinforming the public about the facts of the issues" between them.

•Corporation misrepresenting facts, says businessman By Eric Ikhilae

Agbakoba had insisted that Babalakin was indebted to it by virtue of loans granted his companies by First Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), which loans now remain unpaid. He urged Babalakin to discontinue his legal option and return to AMCON for negotiation. Agbakoba, who presented documents to support his claim that companies owned by Babalakin were still indebted to AMCON, argued that the most convenient way out of the dispute was for Babalakin to approach AMCON and seek the structuring of his debt. He faulted Babalakin's decision to repossess the property on 43A,

Afribank Street, Victoria Island, sealed last Friday by court bailiffs upon an ex-parte order made on February 5 by Justice Chukwujeckwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos. "He (Babalakin) got loans from First Bank and GTBank. He has not been able to service the loans. He is fighting a battle that he cannot win. He should come to AMCON for settlement. I challenge him today, if he comes to AMCON, we will sit down with him and have a robust discussion. In fact, that is the best way forward, He will be very surprised that he will get terms that will shock him If he comes today. AMCON is interested in companies performing, not failing. Agbakoba exhibited a debt restruc-

turing proposal dated June 01, 2011 written by West Africa Research Limited (WARL) on behalf of Bi-Courtney Limited (a company owned by Babalakin) and a letter dated May 19, 2011 written by Bi-Courtney, introducing WARL as its agent. He wondered why Babalakin abandoned his earlier moves to ensure debt restructuring and opted for litigation. He said, at the moment, Babalakin has about 30 cases in various courts in respect of the issue. He alleged that Babalakin's resort to litigation was intended to frustrate AMCON's effort to recover what he owes. He insisted that Bablakin cannot refuse to pay his debt by arguing that the Federal Government impeded his execution of the projects for which the loans were acquired. Agbakoba argued that the judgment Babalakin got against the Federal Government has nothing to do with the banks. He suggested that Babalakin should pay the debt he owed the banks and then pursue his claims with the Federal Government. On Babalakin’s repossession of the V.I. property Agbakoba said he has spoken with the Inspector General of Police to clerify Babalakin's claim that he reentered the property with the assistance of the IGP. He said it is "an unprecedented act of brigandage for a private citizen to mobilize a group of hired thugs to do what he did." Agbakoba said he was disappointed that such an act involved a senior lawyer of Babalakin's status. He said he has filed a fresh application urging the court to restore

FirstBank, GTBank, Zenith ranked Nigeria's best brands F IRST Bank of Nigeria Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith have been respectively ranked as the first, second and third best banking brands in Nigeria. They were ranked in the Top 500 World Banking Brands by The Banker and Brand Finance in the United Kingdom. In a statement issued by FirstBank, the lender said it also emerged number one banking brand in Nigeria last year among the four banks that made the 2012 ranking. The Country Representative, Nigeria of The Banker, Mr. Kunle Ogedengbe said FirstBank came top amongst the Nigerian banks as number 414 in the world followed

by Guaranty Trust Bank number 415 whereas Zenith Bank is ranked 454. The magazine’s Editor, Brian Caplen said the ranking has five steps. These are getting the brandspecific financial and revenue data before segmenting the revenue into retail banking, commercial banking, wholesale/investment banking, insurance, asset management and credit cards streams; model the market to identify market demand and the position of individual banks in the context of all other market competitors; establish the royalty

rate for each bank; calculate the discount rate specific to each bank, taking account of its size, geographical presence, reputation, gearing and brand rating; and discount future royalty stream to a net present value which brings about the brand value. First Bank leads the pack in Nigeria with a brand value of $201 million while the totality of the value of the three Nigerian banks that made the Top 500 World Banking Brands is $574 million and they collectively do the country proud as the country is among the World’s Top 50 by Total Brand Value.


Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

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



Price Loss 2754.67 447.80


INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012



O/PRICE 1.00 1.61 1.02 1.13 1.78 1.79 13.80 2.20 1.34 2.00

C/PRICE 1.10 1.77 1.12 1.24 1.95 1.96 14.76 2.35 1.42 2.10

CHANGE 0.10 0.16 0.10 0.11 0.17 0.17 0.96 0.15 0.08 0.10



0.61 1.33 2.56 44.48 26.03 27.90 144.00 72.00 5.09 24.00

C/PRICE 0.58 1.27 2.46 43.10 25.30 27.30 141.00 70.50 5.01 23.75

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

Current Before

2-7-12 27-6-12




C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51













Feb. ’11

July ’11





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

July ’12



7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%



Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 136.93 143.99 0.80 1.13 1.02 100.00 1,000.00 1,786.50 14.58 1.39 1.87 10,686.77

9.08 1.00 136.52 143.77 0.78 1.13 1.00 100.00 1,000.00 1,785.11 13.87 1.33 1.80 10,376.82






0.03 0.06 0.10 1.38 0.73 0.60 3.00 1.50 0.08 0.25

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8


LOSERS AS AT 13-2-13



Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

his client to possession of the property until the substantive case was determined. Meanwhile, Babalakin's spokesman, Dipo Kehinde contended, in a statement that instead of addressing the issues Babalakin raised at the press conference he held in Lagos on Monday, AMCON chose to engage in “cheap blackmail and character assassination by bringing up issues that are not relevant to the one at hand.” He said Babalakin was compelled to make "certain clarifications, following the erroneous and provocative claims made by AMCON, at a press conference addressed by its counsel, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, in Lagos, yesterday". He said they were not ready to join issues with AMCON and, or, any of its legal representatives as to the circumstances of, or the actual volume of Babalakin's indebtedness to the corporation, but only demanded the corporation's compliance with the order of Justice G.K. Olotu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on April 5, 2012, in the suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/50/09.



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


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



Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833







Offa/Erin-Ile crisis: Afenifere decries suspension of council chairmen


HE Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has condemned the suspension of the chairmen of Offa and Oyun local governments in Kwara State, Prince Saheed Popoola and Ibrahim Omoniyi. Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed ordered their suspension, following the communal clashes in the two neighbouring communities about a fortnight ago. ARG said the dissolution of the councils’ executives and appointment of sole administrators was not only unconstitutional, but an insult on the intelligence of Kwarans. The Chairman and Secretary of the Kwara State chapter of ARG, Chief Joe Olarogun and Lateef

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

Bamidele, in a statement, urged the government to “immediately reverse the obnoxious decision as it is reckless.” The statement reads: “The step taken by the Ahmed administration is nothing short of buck-passing, seeking to divert people’s attention from its incompetence and insincerity in handling the crisis. “The government claims that it exercised the power to dissolve democratically- elected local governments under the Kwara State Local Government (Amendment) Law No. 4 of 2006. If we may be permitted to ask, was this law not in force when there was a similar clash between Share and Tsaragi

communities? Were Ifelodun and Edu local governments dissolved then? “For the days that this crisis lasted, where was our governor, who swore to an oath to protect the lives and belongings of those who elected him. Till now our governor has not considered it fit to visit the affected communities. The accusation that the councils ‘fail to protect public order and protect the welfare of the people’ is not only flimsy but ridiculous.” ARG said the governor, not the council chairmen, should be held liable for the breakdown of peace in the communities as “the state government knows the history of the crisis.” It said government’s action

was a ploy to conquer Offa community politically. ARG asked: “Why should local governments be dissolved before the conclusion of the judicial commission of enquiry set up by the government? The two chairmen are already pronounced guilty by the government before the hearing by the fact-finding commission. “This speaks volumes of the disposition of the government on the issue of the rule of law and validates our claim that the dissolution is a partisan weapon against the only ‘intruder’, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), in a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-dominated councils of Kwara State.”

Calm returns to Lafia, Kwandere •Almakura to convene peace conference From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia


EACE has returned to Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, after the crisis in Kwandere. Suspected youths last Thursday stormed Kwandere and killed three persons. Police spokesman Cornelius Ocholi, who told The Nation that peace had returned to the area, said six people were arrested and are being interrogated at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Lafia. Residents of Lafia and Kwandere are now going about their businesses unmolested. During the crisis, shops and schools were shut. People fled the village. The Deputy Governor Damishi Luka, addressed the indigenes on a radio station appealing for calm. Luka urged the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to improve its intelligence gathering to tackle insecurity in the state. Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura yesterday visited a troubled area, Barkin Abdullahi, in Lafia North near the capital, promising to convene a peace conference. The governor, who was in company of the former Minister of Works, Hassan Lawal and other Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) members, said the insecurity should be addressed. He said the peace conference would be attended by former governors, traditional rulers, past and present commissioners, their permanent secretaries, political leaders, representatives of various ethnic groups and other stakeholders.

Police inaugurate Code of Conduct


•Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State (left) congratulating the new judge of the Customary Court of Appeal, Mr. Patrick SatiDapit, during his swearing in at the Government House in Jos... yesterday.

Niger Command dismisses three policemen for crime


HE Niger State Police Command has tried and dismissed three of its men for the role they played in criminal conspiracy, vandalism and receipt of stolen property. Those involved include two Sergeants and a Corporal. One of the Sergeants is at large. Explaining why the policemen were dismissed, Police Commissioner Desire Diseye Nsirim said they were part of a nine-man gang, which specialised in vandalising NITEL and PHCN cables

From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

and selling them to manufacturers of jewellery. She said a team of policemen on patrol on Bosso Road in Minna arrested Sgt. Musa Isah and Aminu Abdullahi, a civilian, when they were vandalising NITEL cables. Nsirim said others fled when the police swooped on them. The confession of the arrested members of the syndicate led to the arrest of others. The suspects confessed that vandalised

products are usually taken to Kano State where they are sold to customers who turn them to jewellery. The police boss said: “This drastic step was taken by the command because the police will not let anyone spoil the good name of the force.” She said the force would not shield the few bad eggs in the police, who wanted to bring the police into disrepute. According to her, over six vehicles were recovered after the command smashed a four-man syndicate that specialised in dispossessing people of their vehicles.

Unknown gunmen kill woman in Okene


NKNOWN gunmen, allegedly dressed in an army camouflage, last Friday killed a 30-yearold woman, Grace Abata, a Master’s degree holder in Sociology from the Bayero University (BUK), Kano. A source said the woman was killed when the armed men invaded the home of Hajiya Juwa at Agasa GRA, Okene and attacked the occupants. A stray bullet reportedly entered Grace’s room through the window and hit her. She slumped and died on the spot. The source said the deceased, who went into cloth business after her studies, came to Okene to participate in the coronation of Alhaji Mohammed Ataba SanniOmolori as the Ciroma of Ebiraland.

From Muhammad Bashir Lokoja

She was said to be in her room, preparing for prayers, when the stray bullet hit her. The gunmen, who were reportedly dressed in army uniform and wore masks, fled after the attack. The Commander of the Special Task Force (STF) in Okene, Lt.-Col. Gabriel Olorunyomi, in a telephone chat with The Nation, confirmed the incident. He denied that the attack was carried out by miscreants in army uniform. While stressing that investigation is on to arrest the culprits, Lt.-Col. Olorunyomi said he had urged the people to inform the STF of any strange movement. He said: “During my meeting with some Ebira leaders

•The late Grace Abata

•Mrs Abata

in Lokoja, I made it clear that we are in Okene to maintain peace. That we are not here to kill innocent people. “We heard a rumour that some people wanted to use the army uniform as a cover to kill the former Okene Local Government Chairman, Alhaji Yahaya Karaku. STF had nothing to do with that. We only looked for Karaku to make some explanations.

We had no intention to kill him.” The deceased’s mother, Hajiya Ozohura Abata, in tears, told our reporter that her daughter was the family’s bread winner and her wedding was slated for April. Said she: “I don’t know what wrong I did to them. I don’t know what offence I committed that warranted their killing my daughter. “

HE Nasarawa State Police Command has inaugurated a new Code of Conduct for its officers and men. Inaugurating the Code of Conduct yesterday in Lafia, Police Commissioner Abayomi Akeremale said the code, which is an improved version of the police regulation, would serve as a guide for as well as operation. According to him, the aim of the exercise is to ensure public trust in the police. He said the rights of the people were spelt out. “This new Code of Conduct is more or less the holy

From Johnny Danjuma, Lafia

book of the force. Our men are expected to have copies and abide by the inherent values,” Akeremale added. He urged the Area Commanders (ACs) and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to replicate the exercise in their divisions to ensure that officers and men of the force were carried along. According to him, copies of the Code of Conduct are meant for the police officers and the public. He said the aim was to make Nigeria secure to promote economic development.




CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Driver of killer truck arrested By Ebele Boniface

•Some passengers on top of a moving train at Ikeja...recently

Hang on trains and face the law T

OUGH times await passengers who hang or sit on moving trains in Lagos State. The state House of Assembly yesterday frowned at the development, urging the Police and other security agents to, henceforth, arrest and detain such persons. The unlawful practice had been going on for long, compelling the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to take some measures to stop it. Many have died from the practice as they revel in the act, especially at peak hours between 8 am and 5 pm daily. A Sango-Ota-based passenger, Mukaila Aderoju told The Nation at Ikeja yesterday: "Some people talk about how risky hanging could be, but I am used to it because whenever I hang or sit on the train, I don't pay. However, beyond that, it may take me some time to get another train." The issue was raised at the plenary yesterday, following a motion jointly moved by six members - Bisi Yusuf, Olumuyiwa Jimoh, Bashir Oloto, Yinka Ogundimu, Lanre Ogunyemi and Kabir Lawal, who condemned what they called "the unwholesome practices of some train passengers." The House wondered "why some passengers would continue to damn the risks involved in the dangerous

•Lagos Assembly asks police to arrest offenders By Dada Aladelokun and Oziegbe Okoeki

practices of jumping on moving trains or even hanging on such trains." Ogunyemi said it was a serious matter because many passengers have died from “this careless attitude”. Ogundimu, who represents Agege II Constituency, urged his colleagues to witness the situation first-hand to understand his concern. The crowding of trains, he said, was more serious at peak periods, pleading with his colleagues to support the motion. He said because of the state’s thick population, transportation demand has surpassed supply, urging the people not to endanger their lives because of this. "Road transportation alone cannot solve the problem of Lagos commuters. There must be alternative means of transportation in Lagos State," he said. Suru Avoseh said he was shocked the first day he saw passengers on top of a moving train. "I don't know why people would willingly want to kill themselves.

Somebody should not be told the danger of standing on a moving train. It is just an excuse that they want to beat traffic and get to work early," he said, urging the House to ensure that the law is enforced. Jimoh said he conducted a survey on the passengers’ adding that some told him that they derive pleasure from such ride. Others, according to him, said they did not have transpost fare and thus, resorted to taking the short-cut. "The law enforcement agents are not also helping matters. Some of them are guilty of this. Even in the time of colonialism, this did not occur. So, we must do something urgently to curb this menace," he said. Rotimi Olowo recalled that last year, a passenger fell from one of the coaches, while the train was in motion, and died, spurring the police to arrest offenders. He regretted that the police intervention was not sustained. "We need to also call the police to order. It is agreed that there is a problem with transportation but the NRC should be able to give information on the departure and arrival time of trains.

"The NRC should be able to carry out a research on the number of passengers, the demands and the requirements to meet the supply," he said, asking officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to complement police efforts in curbing the menace. Gbolahan Yishawu said: "There's nowhere you don't have train accidents, but if you look at the frequency in Nigeria, it is high. Most of the accidents here are caused by human error. We are always in a hurry and it is the duty of government to stop the people." He said barriers along the rail-lines should be monitored and blocked by at least 10 minutes before trains arrive. He urged the Federal Government to speed up the signalling system of the trains. Mudashiru Obasa and Ipoola Omisore urged the government to amend every law that does not allow for development and collaborate with the states for efficient transportation. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, Lola Akande, Deputy Speaker Taiwo Kolawole and House Leader, Ajibayo Adeyeye, described the practice as criminal. They asked law enforcement agents to go after the perpetrators.

The fleeing driver of a trailer that killed six persons on February 5 due to a brake failure has been arrested by the police. The state police spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi confirmed this to The Nation yesterday The incident, in which one person also got injured, reportedly occurred at Moshalashi bus stop, opposite Mupin Central Mosque, Ota Road near IyanaIyesi, Ogun State. The female victim who was crushed with her daughter was a Ghanaian roadside provisions seller identified as Iya Kataya. Other dead victims were said to include two commercial motorcycle riders and their passengers. About three persons, The Nation learnt, sustained various degrees of injuries, including a Suya Meat seller at the bus stop. Policemen attached to Onipan Police Station arrived on time to assist the injured persons to a general hospital and took the remains of the dead victims to mortuary. An eye witness said the trailer which was carrying a container of corn load from a company's warehouse and was heading to Agbara before its brake failed and the driver lost control. Angered by the incident, miscreants in the neighbourhood were said to have mounted road blocks and smashed windscreens of other passing trailers . Others took advantage of the situation to rob motorists of their valuables.

8000 pupils get free school uniform EJIGBO Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos has distributed free school uniform to 8000 pupils in the ten public primary schools under the council's administration. According to a statement issued by Hassan Rabiu, the council's Head of Information Unit, the event took place last weekend at the Low Cost Housing Estate Primary School. The council chairman, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said the distribution of the uniform is the third phase of the scheme which his administration started in 2008 when 4200 pupils got free school uniforms. In 2011, 7200 pupils were beneficiaries of the scheme. "This free uniform project and many others that have been executed by our administration are indication of our commitment to the welfare of our people, we care for the children, we care for parents, that is the position of our party, that is the position of our government", Bamigbetan said. The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ademorin Kuye, who was a special guest at the ceremony, said parent have no excuse to deny their children the much-improved primary education.

NGO donates to prison inmates


•Shuaibu (right) and other members of her group presenting the items to the inmates

REAT United Sisters, a nonprofitable organisation, has donated some items to the Medium Security Prison, Kirikiri, Lagos State. Its founder, Gloria Shuaibu, said people should show concern about the welfare of inmates if they must be reformed. She urged the inmates to be of good conduct, adding that their change of attitude would change their life for the better. Shuaibu said: "The society believes that one must not lock people up, throw away the key and forget about them." She advocated a holistic re-structuring of the prison system so that inmates can acquire different skills while in jail. The Officer-in-Charge, Saliu Akeem, a Chief Superintendent of Prison (CSP), who received the donation on behalf of Deputy Controller of Prison Tunde Ladipo said the items would be judiciously used. He said many issues needed attention in the prisons, adding: "There are over 2000 inmates here in Kirikiri. Perhaps, the most impor-

By Paul Oluwakoya

tant need to be identified apart from poor healthcare facilities, and lack of clean water, is the vocational training centre for the inmates which are littered with obsolete and inadequate equipment. "The vocational centres were created for the inmates to become productive and self-sufficient when they leave prisons, but they are not in use because they need to be upgraded. The computers are not functional because they are old. We need power-generating set at the centres. We need sewing machines, clipper and money to fund inmates’ education at The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). They need to buy books; some of them need to sit for their Ordinary Level Examination (OL) such as the Senior Secondary School Examinations (SSCE)." The United Kingdom coordinator of the NGO, Patience Kola-Ayannowo, who flew into the country for the event, said serving prison terms does not mean the end of the world. "People leave the prisons and become worthy citizen," she added.



CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Police step up moves against bad eggs


AGOS State is being rid of corrupt policemen who indulge in extortion, bribery and escorting vehicles snatched by armed robbers as the X-Squad, a formation of the Lagos State Police Command, has redoubled efforts to tackle such acts of indiscipline among law-enforcement agents. The development, The Nation learnt yesterday, followed a recent directive by the state Police Commissioner Umar Manko, which mandated the Squad to end the menace. Across the state now, sanity appears to have been largely restored in the operations of the police as the Squad has remained on its toes to monitor their daily operations. Last week, the Squad prevented a clash between some commercial bike riders and the police on Agbe Road by Sanni Balogun Junction, Abule Egba, an outskirt of the state, while on its routine patrol of the area. The bike riders had almost lynched a policeman for allegedly trying to extort N5,000 bribe from one of them on the pretext that bike riding was banned in the area. The riders who contended that their area is not among those where bike riding is outlawed by the state government had reportedly

• Manko By Ebele Boniface

lodged their complaint to the officer in charge of the X-Squad, Kola Okunola, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), over illegal police operations in their domain. As confirmed by residents, all the policemen who, hitherto, had unhealthy confrontations with them in area have since gone underground Also, following series of direc-

tives from the state Commissioner of Police Umar Manko to Okunola on the need to stamp out corruption in the police, the Squad, on Monday, raided some areas in Lagos and made arrests. Speaking yesterday, Okunola said that the drive had recorded breakthroughs, noting that three policemen were recently arrested at Oyingbo for extorting money from lorry drivers and commercial bus drivers. Three persons, he said, were caught at Gbagada extorting money from commercial motorcycle riders, adding that two of them were spy policemen while one was an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASMA). He said they were dressed in police uniforms with badges, crown, belt, boat and fake police identity cards among others. He also revealed that last December, 17 policemen were nabbed. Manko has also warned policemen who allegedly engage the services of touts to extort money for them at bus stops to desist, saying that anybody caught by X-Squad would face the full wrath of the law.

Commissioner ordered to pay backlog of doctors' arrears By Oziegbe Okoeki



HE Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday ordered the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Mrs Florence Oguntuase, to pay forthwith, the 2003-2010 arrears of veterinary doctors. The Assembly gave the order when Mrs Oguntuase came to explain the delay in complying with the Assembly's resolution to pay the arrears. It passed a

resolution last year that Mrs Oguntuase should expedite action on the matter. The commissioner said the procedure for payment was beyond the purview of her office, adding that she needed to investigate the doctors' claims before approving payment. She said: "The claims started from 2003 till date and I am in the process of investigating why the matter has not been resolved. We need to verify the claim of the doctors and that is why we have not come out to present it to the executive and that is why the arrears have not been paid". The lawmakers were not impressed with Oguntuase's explanation. Deputy Chief Whip, Rotimi Abiru said he was not comfortable with the commissioner's explanation, adding that it was in her capacity to hasten the investigative process. Chairman, House Committee

on Transportation, Bisi Yusuf said he could not reconcile the commissioner's explanation with what she told the ad-hoc committee which probed the matter. He demanded from Mrs Oguntuase when the investigation would be completed, but she could not give a time frame. The speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji told the commissioner that the lawmakers were not satisfied with her explanation. He ordered her "to go and do the necessary things to ensure the payment of the arrears without any delay." "I want you to know that the House is not very pleased with your submission because it is in your purview to make presentation on the arrears to the executive and ensure necessary steps are taken that the doctors get their pay on time. I want to urge you to go and do the necessary things so that the arrears are paid within a short time without any delay", Ikuforiji added.

C ITYBEATS Man jailed for assaulting ministry officials T

HE Lagos State Special Offences Tribunal has sentenced 35-year-old Tunde Mukaila to jail without an option of fine for assaulting three officials of the Ministry of Transport. Magistrate J.O.E Adeyemi sentenced the convict to 90-day imprisonment on each of the four counts against him. The officials, Wale Babajide, Wasiu Azeez and Rahman Adeyemi were assaulted while removing abandoned vehicles on Capitol Road, Agege, a Lagos suburb. The convict was also charged with inflicting injury on the officials and destroying a vehicle belonging to the ministry. Adeyemi found Mukaila guilty of offences contrary to and

By Tajudeen Adebanjo

punishable under Sections 170, 171, 161(1) d and 166 (2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011. Commissioner for Transport Kayode Opeifa hailed the judgment, saying it would deter others fond of assaulting government officials. He urged the public to notify the ministry on noticing any abandoned vehicle, promising that his men would not be deterred by the frequent attacks on them. He said the ministry could be notified through the following GSM Numbers - 08032226544, 08094490867, 08174616936 or an e-mail to

Lawyer calls for review of Lagos-Ibadan road contract


HAIRMAN of Lagos chapter of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Jide Ologun has called on the Federal Government to review the contract for the rehabilitation Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to include the construction of feeder roads at the Lagos end. He also arged Lagos and Ogun states to liaise with the government to stress the importance of the feeder roads. Ologun said: "When the expressway was constructed more than 30 years ago, it was never envisaged that development

would make residential and commercial estates spring up along the express. "But today, we have companies, churches and hundreds of thousands of residents along that corridor. "Therefore, each time there is a problem on the express, especially at the Ogun/Lagos end; it is always a horrible experience because the feeder roads, which could have helped absorbed the traffic, are in bad state. Several man hours are lost, which could have been put to productive use."

Christian Ministers to meet in Lagos


BOKO, Benue Statebased Bible teacher Mr. Gbile Akanni is hosting an interactive session with Christian ministers and leaders as part of a three-day crusade holding in Lagos between tomorrow and Saturday. The crusade, with the theme: "It's time to seek the Lord," will hold at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos at 5pm daily.

The meeting with Christian leaders will hold on the second and third days of the crusade, from 9.a.m to 1 p.m. The crusade is organised by Peace House, the discipleship and evangelistic platform of Akanni's ministry. The leader of the Peace House team in Lagos, Moses Ogianyo, said the meetings are aimed at checking activities of the kingdom of darkness

Council to complete new secretariat


HE chairman of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State, Apostle Oloruntoba Oke has promised to complete the council’s new secretariat before leaving office. At a ceremony to mark his first year anniversary, Oke said the project would be among those to be commissioned during the administration's 750-days-inoffice celebration. He also defended some appointments made by him, saying that they were meant to involve stakeholders in governance and increase government's revenue generation capacity. He listed his achievements to include construction and rehabilitation of 13 roads, construction of drainage, customary court, public library and an Information

Communication and Technology (ICT) centre. Others are completion of a block of six classrooms at Fred Williams Primary School, Fagba, furnished with modern facilities, and distribution of three transformers to communities within the council area. On youth development and empowerment, Oke said he had organised training for over 700 youths on various vocations including carpentry, event decoration, photography, confectionery, beads and computer engineering. He added that the beneficiaries would soon be empowered to become selfreliant. The council boss added that a welfare package was in the offing for senior citizens in the council area.

Church holds Ankara Nite

G •From left: President, St. Gregory's College Old Boys Association, Dr. John Abebe; Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Lagos State, Comrade Ayodele Adewale and AIG Mr. Tunji Alapini (retd) at the 85th Founder's Day Anniversary and Back to School celebration at the college recently

LORYLAND Christian Dome has held another remarkable Ankara Nite Special at its main auditorium on Apapa Oshodi Express Way, Ijeshatedo, Lagos. It was an evening of music, comedy and dance as Gloryland groomed acts meets with other known acts to guests. The artistes were dressed in Ankara. Some of the acts included comedian Holy Face, who made the andience to laugh with his hilarious jokes.

Anchored by delectable Comedian Ebiyan she was awesome on stage and added colour to the event. Gloryland Dance group gave a spectacular choreography which got the audience screaming for more. Acho, a main stream act raised the bar as he performed one of his popular songs. Other acts included Immortal and Lisa C. Pastor Ben Chiadika, the resident pastor,prayed for the youth.



NEWS I had nose cancer, says Chime Continued from page 8

ry of how I proceeded on leave before the barrage of publications started coming or I should go ahead and attempt to address some of the issues that I felt should be addressed in the sense that some bothered on constitutionality others bothered on morality and so many things. I think I will go for the first one; let me tell the story of what actually happened. I hope your tapes are on. “Well, in August or thereabout, late August or early September, I am not sure again of the dates, but it is about that time. I was privileged to be one of those nominated by the Nigeria Governors Forum to go to Germany to understudy their federal system. A governor was picked from each of the six geo-political zones. I represented the Southeast and, of course, we were led by our Chairman, Rotimi Amaechi. “On our way to Germany, I decided to go a little bit earlier, passing through London to do my medicals because of what I will call lack of time. We do not have time here. So, I decided to take that opportunity, got to London and did my medicals and was certified

fit. I was given a clean bill of health. But I had a little growth here (pointing at the right side of his neck) that was not visible to anybody. I am a very observant person. I noticed it, showed it to my doctor and he touched it and said he didn’t feel it is anything serious, that I should just try and forget it. “So, I thought they would have seen anything if there was anything wrong when they were doing the general scanning and screening, but nothing was found. So, I just singled it and said, ‘please, this particular thing, I will like it to be investigated. I was referred to a GB who, after examining me and asking me questions, because I told him, no symptoms, no pains, no discomfort from anywhere. He said as far as he was concerned, there was nothing wrong but as a professional advised me to investigate it further because I was almost running out of time, short of time. “I made arrangements with them to help me set up appointments for closer examination of the growth. So, the next day I left for Germany to join my colleagues. On that trip was my Commissioner for Commerce and In-

dustry, Dr. Jude Akubuilo, and my SSA Investment. They were already in Germany, waiting for me. And so, I joined them. At the end of the day, about a week after they had set up the arrangement, I left Germany. I left my colleagues. I told them where I was going, went back to London and did the proper screening of that particular growth. They did biopsies and all that. So, in the process, it was discovered that it was cancerous. The growth was cancerous. “Further investigation revealed that the main tumour, because this actually turned out to be the lymph node, but the main tumour was behind my nose. It actually turned out to be what they call cancer of the nose. At that stage when you hear cancer, you will declare yourself dead before any further examination. Then I asked them what should be done, they told me straight away that they will subject me to further screening to know if it had spread. So, luckily, it hadn’t spread, it is just only in those two places. They said the good news is that it was curable and not manageable. It was curable; that was when I became interested.”

11 governors reaffirm merger Continued from page 8

cept that there is no alternative to democracy will agree that we do need to create a viable alternative platform, which this represents.” Asked why the members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) are divided over the merger, Okorocha noted that the authentic APGA was the one represented at the merger while the PDP aligned APGA was absent. He expressed concern that if ANPP, ACN and CPC are all in the merger, APGA has no reason to isolate itself from it since it has become a collective responsibility to establish a party that would stand the test of time in 2015. The Imo State governor said: “Let me state emphatically that APGA is in the merger. And APGA is in the merger talk. And we have our little challenges and we are just trying to sort out who are the APGA- APGA and APGA-PDP. The APGA-APGA is already in the merger talk. “And I also want to say emphatically that if CPC, which ought to have been a regional batch , ANPP and ACN have agreed to come together for a bigger mega party,

APGA cannot be an exception. So, you must see this as the collective responsibility of all parties - to form a formidable party that can face the test of time , come 2015. So, at the end of merger meetings, you will see that APGA is fully in the merger.” Asked when the party will unveil its logo, Dr. Fayemi said it would follow the procedure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has put in place in all its proceedings. He noted that the party leaders, whose duty is to announce the date of convention and other details, were already working on them. According to Fayemi, once the arrangements are concluded, the leaders will make them public. He said: “Just as Governor Oshiomhole mentioned, our parties have a merger committee that is working on all those details. We are, of course, not outside of that process. We are very much in it. We are suggesting our own ideas to them and we are fully in the picture. Members are there who represent the collective interests of the governors at the party. “And the duty of announcing when to have the nation-

al convention and the identity of the new party, the logo, the symbol, flag, the manifesto, office and the constitution depends on our party. Once the merger committee finishes the arrangement, they will be the ones to announce. “ It will be wrong on our part as governors to be the news to announce that to you. This does not mean that we are not aware of the process. We are fully involved in it but we are not the ones saddled with the responsibility to make that announcement.” Speaking on the details being requested of a new party, Fashola noted that the party has made some advancement from the merger to mobilisation plans. He said “I just think that the most important thing to take away from here was what we told you that shows clearly the commitment to do this. In the history of our country, this is the first time. “ Last week we were talking about the possibility but it is now a done deal. So the merger has taken place. What you are asking for: proof, evidence, formalities, documents, is like a certificate of marriage . But we are already married.”

‘Jonathan won’t sign Budget 2013 yet’ Continued from page 8

of veto before the President assents to the Bill,” Nwobike said. He noted that the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act came into effect by virtue of the National Assembly overriding the President’s assent. Falana argued that “having not assented to the Appropriation within 30 days of the receipt of the receipt of the Bill,

the President is mandatorily required to present the Bill to the joint sitting of the National Assembly which may decide to pass it by two-thirds majority. “However, in order to resolve this lingering constitutional crisis, President Jonathan should request the Supreme Court to determine the extent of the powers of the National Assembly to rewrite the budget,” he said.

•Dr. Jonathan





Verratti open to home return


ARCO Veratti has admitted that his time with Paris Saint-Germain might be drawing to a close, amid fresh reports linking him with a move to Juventus. The 20-year-old only made the switch to France in the offseason, with PSG reportedly paying Pescara £10.5million for his services. Verratti has said he is happy at the Ligue 1 leaders, but did nothing to quash exit rumours by not committing himself to Les Parisiens further than June. "I'm all right in France. And until June I am staying at PSG, he told La Stampa. "One day I will return to play in Serie A, a very competitive championship." When quizzed about Juve's apparent desire to bring him back to Italy, after they missed out on signing him in the off-


season, the Italy international admitted he was proud to be on the Serie A champions' radar. "That pleases me, because it is a great club and it means I am doing well," he declared.

Diakite had Russian option •El Shaarawy

El Shaarawy: Balotelli partnership will work A

C Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy has stressed he needs time to forge a successful partnership with team-mate Mario Balotelli. Sections of the Italian media have claimed that the pair was too similar in style to

operate effectively together, but the Italy international has refuted that suggestion and insists the two need time to gel together. "The criticism we are getting seems a bit too much," El Shaarawy told Milan Channel.

"We've only played two games together and we need time to settle. I know that we need to improve in some areas of our game, but it is not true that we can't work together." The former Genoa forward also addressed the knee in-

jury which has kept him out of action intermittently in recent years. "I have had problems with my knees for two or three seasons now," he added. "I can handle the problem, but every now and then it causes me annoyance."

Iniesta: Guardiola will be great for Bayern


ARCELONA midfielder Andres Iniesta is confident that Pep Guardiola will become an instant hit at Bayern Munich, and feels the successful coach is the right choice for the Bavarians. The 42-year-old recently signed a three-year deal with the Allianz Arena side and will replace Jupp Heynckes at the helm at the end of the 2012-13 campaign. "I am happy for Pep. It's important for football and for himself that a coach like him is training a club. He will try to get his new players used to his playing style. Bayern have some great players," Iniesta was quoted as saying by Bild. "I believe Pep will hold on to his own style. Bayern's playing style is quit similar to Barcelo-

na's style. Possession is quite important, plus they have a number of players of the highest level. "Pep always gives 100 per cent in what he does. He is very close to his players, both on and off

the pitch. It will be something great for the Bayern players. The fans can also look forward to him, something wonderful will happen. "I don't expect any difficulties. He will take charge of a great

club and try to win the people's respect. I have no doubt that he will succeed." Guardiola is currently enjoying a one-year sabbatical away from the game after leaving Barcelona last summer.

Saha happy to provide cover


RENCH striker Louis Saha insists he is happy to provide support for the injured Miroslav Klose at Lazio after joining the Serie A club. Saha completed his short-term move to the Biancocelesti after spending 13 years in the Premier League with a number of clubs including Fulham, Manchester United, Everton, Tottenham and most recently Sunderland. The 34-year-old is delighted to

have the chance to play first-team football again after being used sparingly by Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill this season, and accepts that Lazio only approached him after seeing Klose suffer a knee injury. The Germany international is expected to be out for two months, and Saha is more than happy to deputise for the veteran frontman. "I am happy to be here, Lazio is a great club and Italy is a great

country," he told Sky Sports. "I want to give my best. I am here to offer support after the injury to Klose, and I will do that willingly. "This is a great group and it will be a pleasure to work with them." Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic added: "I am very happy with this gift from the club. The arrival of Saha allows us to be more competitive and he will also be useful once Klose returns."


HE agent of Napolibound Modibo Diakite has revealed that the player has rejected a lucrative offer from Russia. The defender is on his way out of Lazio given that his contract with the capital club will expire at the end of the season. “Diakite has turned down an important bid from Russia,” Ulisse Savini told Tuttosport. “The technical project takes precedence over the economic aspect.” The stopper is of interest to a number of clubs across Europe, but it seems that the Azzurri are in pole position for him. “We’ll be very happy if talks with Napoli end positively,” the representative continued. “There has been a phone call with Napoli and we’ll talk about it next week. “The interest is there, but we can’t say that it is done until pen has been put to paper.” Reports suggest that the 25-

year-old will sign a four-year deal worth •900,000 a season at the Stadio San Paolo.


Alvarez wants Inter stay


NTER playmaker Ricky Alvarez has insisted he wants to stay at Inter, despite rumours of an interest from River Plate. The 24-year-old has been plagued with injuries since his arrival at the Nerazzurri from Velez Sarsfield in 2011. But the Argentina international has claimed that he is desperate to stay and make a name for himself in Europe.

“It is my desire to stay here,” he told ESPN. “I want to make a career in Europe. “When I started at Inter I knew it would not be easy, but this experience is strengthening me as a player and as a person. “My greatest desire is to remain at Inter. River Plate are a great team, perhaps the best in Argentina. “But I am happy here.”

Uchida injury blow for Schalke


CHALKE coach Jens Keller is set to be without the services of Atsuto Achida for several weeks after the Japan international picked up a thigh injury. The right-back has already missed his side's 4-0 Bundesliga loss against Bayern Munich due to physical problems, and underwent an MRI scan on Monday to determine the extent of the knock. And Schalke have now announced that Achida has torn a muscle in his thigh and will

be out of action for a number of weeks. "Schalke 04 will be without Atsuto Uchida in the coming weeks. An MRI scan on Monday (11 February) revealed the Japan international has torn a muscle in his thigh," a statement on the club's official website reads. Achida, 24, will consequently miss the first leg of Schalke's Champions League round of 16 match against Galatasaray, as well as the Bundesliga games versus Mainz and Fortuna Dusseldorf.





UCL: Celtic go down 3-0 to Juventus


FE AMBROSE’s defensive blunders saw Celtic suffer a 3-0 defeat to Juventus on Wednesday February 12, 2013 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16. The Nigerian only returned to the club on Tuesday morning after a three week assignment with the Super Eagles in South Africa, where they won the Africa Cup of

Nations. Celtic got off to a promising start when shots from just outside the penalty box by Efe Ambrose and Victor Wanyama missed the target in the early minute of the game. But Juventus drew the first blood when Alessandro Matri scores a goal from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the net to give the

Italian the lead in the 3rd minute. After the break, the home side returned with more attacks and still Celtic pushing but with a little lack of incision when they try to play their way through the middle of Juventus. Izaguirre looks very good down the left and Wanyama, who was much more than just a powerhouse, is having a great game.

•Celtic's Efe Ambrose on the turf during Champions League match against Juventus

Ambrose tried to make up for his error, but his header on the hour mark was well saved by Juventus goalkeeper. In 77th minute, it was Marchisio, skips inside Brown and finishes very nicely from ten yards out. That was a real moment of incision after all Celtic's pressure and frankly, this tie was close to all but over now. And with seven minutes remaining, Juventus made things worse, and it was Vucinic this time. Ambrose was caught dallying on the ball by the excellent Marchisio, who took it off him and puts in a lovely little pass for a neat finish, and to ensure Celtic pay for every little error that has been made.

PSG defeats Valencia 2-1

P Resignation: Keshi shocked me —Ideye


UPER EAGLES’ striker Brown Ideye has described the purported resignation of Coach Stephen Keshi as a very big shock to the team while in South Africa. The Ukraine based striker said: “We were caught unawares by the decision, because we were all celebrating the victory in South Africa, before the bombshell came. But I thank God that the situation has

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja been normalised, and we are back together as one big family. Though the Head Coach is a man of his own, he knows why he took that decision, and I admire his courage.” The former Ocean Boys of Brass striker went on: “My happiness is that we will now return to camp as one big family, because, Coach

Stephen Keshi is someone any player would want to work with. He knows his job, and patrotic to a fault. “The task now is hurculean, because as African champions, every country would want to beat us, but since we have a good team, we will have nothing to fear”. Ideye praised Nigerians for their support, and “like Oliver Twist, would want to ask for more.”

FG CALLED TO URGENTLY ESTABLISH HIV/AIDS SPECIALIST CENTRES. - DR. TEMPLE R. ILUMA (DG BYSACA). Millions of Nigerians are either living with HIV or dying with AIDS. Thousands of new HIV infections occur in different parts of our society on every passing day and Nigeria looses scores of her citizens to the cold hands of death. With a population of over One hundred and fifty Million and a 4.1% National HIV Prevalence, the number of people infected and living with the virus could better be imagined. “The HIV/AIDS situation in Nigeria is like a time-bomb waiting to explode. The nation is indeed faced with a plethora of numbers HIV/ AIDS related health challenges which poses an imperative threat to development. As the youths who are to form the bulk of the productive work force of today and the future are the most vulnerable and affected; real danger lurks around. Nigeria is at the verge of drifting into a sick state”. The Director-General, Bayelsa State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (BYSACA) Dr. Temple Iluma made these assertions while exchanging views with media executives based in the South-South zone who visited him in his office as part of a routine quarterly collaborative initiative geared towards stepping up public knowledge on the HIV/AIDS scourge through intensive public education programs on radio and Television. According to the DG, whereas stemming the tide of new HIV infections is fundamental as it enables Government to concentrate on Prevention, treatment, care and support of those who are already infected, lack of expertise for effective management of advanced and complex cases of HIV/AIDS has remained a bane and creates gross lapses within the HIV/AIDS service delivery networks of the country. Dr. Iluma explained that, for Nigeria to thrive in this life-threatening HIV/AIDS debacle; the establishment of Specialist Centers for the provision of HIV/AIDS Advance Therapy is crucial. Whereas Nigeria is blessed and can boast of great medical minds; the homeland practitioners are faced with monumental challenges in the management of advanced and complex stages of HIV/AIDS. It is a challenge faced by most African and third-World countries. This is a fundamental impediment to the nation's drive for a quick HIV/AIDS decline. It is evident, that our conventional hospitals are ill-equipped and do not have trained personnel to manage HIV/AIDS issues. The management of HIV/AIDS cases requires special training. What is mostly done in our hospitals and clinics is cutting corners which negates standards and undermines efficiency. A chronology of states with very high HIV Prevalence shows that* Benue - 12.7% * Akwa-Ibom - 10.9% * Bayelsa - 9.1% * FCT - 8.6% * Anambra - 8.7% * Plateau - 7.7% * Nasarawa - 7.5% In spite of these high HIV Prevalence rates; none of these states can boast of a HIV/AIDS Specialist Center to effectively and professionally handle the complex challenges posed by the epidemic. Consequently, these states record heavy casualties occasioned by poor management of HIV/AIDS and its associated hiccups. Essentially, the 36 six State Governors can take responsibility by creating HIV/AIDS Specialist Centers to cater for the multiple health related challenges posed by HIV/AIDS to their subjects who are mostly helpless and prone to the lethal nature of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The HIV Prevalence rate of women in Nigeria stands at 4.1%. These are the producers of the future generation of this country. The nation stands the risk of creating a generation of HIV infected people if urgent measures are not put in place to revert this looming danger. As a requisite response to the complex nature of HIV/AIDS and the attendant effects on society; most nations are developing comprehensive models capable of addressing the monstrous and intricate challenges posed by HIV/AIDS. Critical amongst them is the establishment of Specialist Centers for HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Opportunistic Infections and other Communicable diseases. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, South Africa, Botswana, and Uganda have provided such centers for effective service delivery and are recording giant strides. Accordingly, the Federal Government in collaboration with state Governors should as a matter of national emergency establish HIV/AIDS Specialist Centers in the six geo-Political Zones of the country to adequately check the ominous national tragedy. The advantages of such centers includesProvide effective and sustainable treatment for all HIV/AIDS related cases. Building capacity and bringing expertise to bear for our medical doctors, Public and Health advisors, Health and laboratory scientists, Nurses and other health service providers for the effective management of whatever stage of HIV/AIDS. Providing training and retraining for HIV/AIDS facility workers across the country for effective service delivery in line with best practice and international standards. Provide requisite support services for all HIV/AIDS service delivery networks. Conduct research studies to advance the course of medicine. Serve as key referral centers for all HIV/AIDS cases and other related illnesses. Provide a dependable data bank for HIV/AIDS patients in the country which will further strengthen monitoring and evaluation. Will cure the twin evils of discrimination and spread of the virus owing to patients' ill treatment by facility workers as a result of lack of proper training in HIV/AIDS patients' management. Provide effective and sustainable management programs for the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of the Virus. Provide support structures for medical students and lecturers alike. Essentially, Nigeria will thrive in her fight against HIV/AIDS only if such Specialist Centers are established to proficiently, scientifically and effectively tackle the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS on virtually all fronts of our socio-political and economic endeavors. Importantly, such Centers must have a substantial level of independence and financial autonomy to engender research and other improvements devoid of the every-day meddlesomeness and beauruecracy of the Ministry of health. In fact, such centers should be under the supervision of Mr. President due to its significance to the health of the nation. Government should go the extra mile of bringing home some of our best medical professionals abroad in collaboration with nations of incomparable expertise in HIV/AIDS management like the US Centre for Disease Control (US-CDC), the globally acclaimed Atlanta Clinic which is adjudged the most efficient center for HIV/AIDS Management. Emphatically, Government must take responsibility of its citizens and show the needed leadership to advance the course of wining the fight against HIV/AIDS. Governments at all levels should adequately fund the HIV/AIDS Project and emphasize less dependence on foreign donors. We must not let our circumstances to define us as a nation. We should be defined by our zeal, dexterity and values for human dignity. Government must care for her people before hoping on support from donors. To avoid our great nation slipping into a chaotic health situation Government should act fast as time is running out.

ARIS ST GERMAIN netted two away goals as they saw off Valencia 2-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 encounter, but late drama at the Mestalla means the tie is far from over. Despite the hosts controlling possession, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore netted in the first half to put Carlo Ancelotti's side in complete control and seemingly heading for the quarter-finals. Adil Rami grabbed a lastminute lifeline for Valencia, though, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw red in the dying seconds to leave PSG facing up a return leg without the services of their talismanic frontman.


Garba: We will emulate Eagles


OLDEN EAGLETS’ head coach, Garba Manu has said the Super Eagles have defined the path his wards will follow at the forthcoming African Under-17 Championship in Morocco. This follows the team’s victorious outing at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The Eagles claimed a third AFCON title after a 1-0 win in the final against the Stallions of Burkina Faso courtesy of Sunday Mba’s lone strike at the National Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg on Sunday. Manu said the victory is a foretaste of a brilliant year for Nigeria and a morale booster as he prepares his wards for the 10th African Under-17 Championship. “We’re happy for the success of the Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON, the victory will surely boost our confidence going into our own campaign in Morocco. We prayed for them and we’re happy that they made Nigerians proud in the end. “Of course, we have to salute the courage of Keshi for taking some home-based players to the tournament. “The rest of the national teams will have to emulate the Eagles and bring more trophies to Nigeria this year,” noted Garba who assisted late Yemi Tella to win the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Eaglets’ assistant coach, Nduka Ugbade said the Eagles have once again demonstrated the innate

Nigerian spirit in the face of tough challenges. “I told some people that the Eagles will win the tournament by beating Burkina Faso,” said the former Nigerian player. Eaglets will start their Group B campaign against the Ghanaian opponents, the Black Starlets in Marrakech before facing the other two group foes, Cote d’Ivoire and Congo. The championship runs from April 13 to 27.





Pope Benedict’s resignation an exemplary courage, wisdom, says Jonathan • Bishops: it’s a lesson for Nigerian leaders


Y voluntarily opting to relinquish the Papacy because of old age and failing health, Pope Benedict XVI has demonstrated exemplary wisdom and courage, President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday. Reacting through his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President applauded the rare courage displayed by the 85-year-old Pope to voluntarily relinquish the Papacy because of his advanced age and growing inability to keep up with the physical and mental demands of the Office. In a statement, Abati said: “On behalf of himself, the Federal Government and people of Nigeria, President Jonathan wishes the Pope a very peaceful and restful retirement at the end of this month. “The President trusts that even in retirement, Pope Benedict XVI will continue to contribute to the spiritual well-being of the world in every possible way and that he will continue to offer prayers to God Almighty for global justice, equity, peace and progress. He prays that as they prepare to assemble in the Vatican to elect a new Pope, God Almighty will grant members of the College of Cardinals the wisdom and divine insight they will require to bring forth a worthy successor to Pope Benedict XVI who will build on the outgoing Pontiff’s commendable achievements as head of the Worldwide Catholic Church.” Two Catholic bishopsHillary Paul Odili Okeke of Nnewi Diocese and Felix Femi Ajakaye of Ekiti dio-

Pope’s brother says Benedict won’t return home


OPE Benedict is planning to stay out of the public eye after his retirement on February 28 and he will probably not write any further books during his lifetime, his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, said yesterday. Besides, the 85-year-old Pope is not planning to return to his German homeland, the 89-year-old brother told reporters in the Southern German city of Regensburg, after talking with the pontiff. Monsignor Ratzinger, who was ordained on the same day as the pope in 1951, said it makes more sense for Benedict to stay in the Vatican. “You don’t transplant an old tree,” the 89-year-old said. The duo of Benedict and Georg are very close, however, and Monsgnor spoke of plans to visit the pope later in the year. Pope Benedict shocked the world on Monday by announcing that he planned to step down from the papacy at the end of the month. For his elder brother, however, the decision was no surprise. “He has been thinking about it for several months. He concluded that his powers are falling victim to age.” Mosignor Ratzinger talked with the pope by telephone on Monday evening after the announcement and said his brother was now hoping to live a quiet life in the Vatican. Though he was a prolific writer before and during his papacy, Ratzinger said that was now likely to end. “I don’t think he will write any new works,” Ratzinger said. Rudolf Voderholzer, the bishop of Regensburg, who is also in charge of the pope’s theological institute that publishes his work, said that even if Benedict does write, no new works would be published during his lifetime. “Anything he published could be conceived as interference in the work of the next pope,” he said.

•Monsignor Ratzinger From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti and Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

cese, yesterday urged Nigerian leaders to take a cue from Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned on grounds of ill-health and old age. They described the pope's decision as a wake-up call for leaders who hold to offices despite noticeable inadequacies. Okeke described the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on grounds of age and ill-health as electrifying. The resignation, he said,

came to him as a thunderbolt. Okeke said: "The news came like a thunderbolt. The effect was electrifying. It is not unthinkable for a Pope to resign but it is not usual. "However, it may be that the Holy Spirit is leading the church to see through this experience and may open our eyes to new ways of governance for the church. A diocesan Bishop who has attained 75 years is required to offer his resignation from office to the supreme Pontiff, who, taking all circumstances into account, will

make provisions accordingly. (Canon 401 $ 1). "According to paragraph 2 of the same Canon, a diocesan Bishop who because of illness or some other grave reason has become unsuited for the fulfillment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer to resign on account of age, illness or any other grave reason, the Pope has shown us that a Pope can decide to follow these norms of law mutatis mutaandis. "I salute the courage and personal witness of our Holy Father in coming to this decision and announc-

ing it. May God continue to guide him and guide the church. In Ado Ekiti, Rev. Ajakaye, urged leaders to learn from the decision of Pope Benedict. Ajakaye said many political leaders in the country today have stuck to their posts despite lacking the requisite strength. According to him, some notable have to be equally spiritually upright to accommodate specific timeless virtues as exhibited by the pope. Pope Benedict XVl, who

would be 86 in April, announced on Monday that he will bow out of the office by February 28 after eight years as the head of the Roman Catholic. The Pope had in a letter dated February 11 informed the College of Cardinals about his plans to resign by 8pm (Roman time) on February 28, 2013, on "health and age grounds." Ajakaye noted the pope's action agreed with Section 332, Paragraph 2 of the Cannon Law, which is the supreme law of the church.

‘Pope resigned to avoid predecessor’s ‘show of suffering’’


HE closest of confidants, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger watched from the front row as the late Pope John Paul II, once a strapping athlete, steadily deteriorated in his later years. John Paul, burdened by Parkinson’s disease and crippling hip ailments, could no longer walk or talk at the time of his death in 2005 at 84 — a picture of suffering that moved the

faithful while presenting a disturbing vision of papal frailty. The physical ordeal also left the late pope distracted from the challenges the church was facing, including the global priest sex abuse scandal. Ratzinger, elected as Pope Benedict XVI, was at 78 the oldest pope in 300 years. With his resignation, it is clear that he has sought to spare the church another

agonizing end — and, in the process, perhaps help the church keep pace with the realities of modern-day medicine. In his announcement, Benedict said his strength in recent months “has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” In the church, bishops are forced to resign at the age of

Don urges Fed Govt to fund medical school


HE Federal Government has been urged to fund medical education adequately. Vice Chancellor, Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH), Okitipupa, Prof Tolu Odugbemi, said no College of Medicine could attain a world class status without being well-funded. Odugbemi was the Guest Lecturer at the inaugural Founder’s Day Lecture of the Lagos State College of Medicine (LASUCOM). He spoke on the topic: ‘Building a world-class medical college’. He said it is the duty of any good government to ensure that the health care needs of the people are adequately catered for

By Wale Adepoju

through the provision of qualified manpower services and research activities, that would lead to solving peculiar problems. He said funding has been the bane of medical education, saying manpower was not lacking. “Nigerian universities are yet to engage in applied research that can significantly transform the country,” he said. Odugbemi lamented that few university research output have been put to practical use, saying they rarely get beyond the university campus and learned publications. He said: “Many excellent applied research outputs are not developed for practical applica-

tion.” The former VC of the University of Lagos said despite the availability of technological know-how, many universities lack the resources and business skills to develop and market their intellectual property. Odugbemi said medical education, health care and medical research should be organised to promote the values of quality, equity, relevance and cost effectiveness. “The main purpose of medical education is to prepare future generations of health professionals to effectively address the health needs of the people”, he added. Odugbemi recommended that good structures should be provided to ensure students learn in a conducive environment.

75, and cardinals over 80 are barred from voting in a conclave to elect a new pope. Only popes are expected to rule for life. Now, the first papal resignation in 600 years could help set a modern precedent ensuring that popes, like other leaders with crushing responsibilities, have the mental and physical vigor to carry out the job. Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois said Benedict “broke a taboo. He broke

away from several centuries of practice and expressed the view that it wasn’t just legitimate but probably useful for a pope to renounce and withdraw from his duties. “In any event, it’s a liberating act for the future ... For the century to come I think that none of Benedict XVI’s successors will feel morally obliged to remain until their death,” the French prelate said. Milan Cardinal Angelo

Scola, considered a top candidate to succeed Benedict, endorsed that view. He said: “It is, as he said, for the good of the church,” said Scola — although at age 71, he, too, would be an elderly pontiff if elected. An examination of Benedict’s thinking makes the decision less of a surprise. Back in 2004, then Cardinal Ratzinger said he would not rule out term limits in the future.

Polio: Court arraigns three Kano reporters


WO electronic media broadcasters and another arrested over a programme aired by a private radio station against Polio immunisation were yesterday arraigned before a Kano Chief Magistrate’s Court on six- count charge. The prosecutor, Sergeant Sadiq Na”Abba, said the charges include, criminal conspiracy, abetment, inciting disturbances, intentional insult and obstruction of public servant in the discharge of public function. Others are, defamation of character and injurious falsehood, contrary to sections 97,85,114,399,148,392 and 393 (1) of the penal code law. They were said to have conspired and aired a programme, discrediting the polio immunisation programme, defamed the

From Kolade Adeyemi,Kano

character, reputation, personality and insulted the district head of Tarauni. According to the first information report of the case, it is intended to instigate the public against the immunisation programme, which resulted in the attack and killing of nine immunisation personnel of Filin Cashew and Hayen Hotoro. In his submission, counsel to the accused, Musa Adamu Aliyu, applied for bail for the accused, but was rejected by the prosecutor. Chief Magistrate Ibrahim Bello ordered that the three accused be remanded in police custody until February 14 when he would rule on their bail application. The presiding magistrate also ordered the police to allow the accused unconditional access to their families and lawyers.


TODAY IN THE NATION ‘The N650m Abuja Youth Support Centre is welcomed with mixed feelings. Anything done for the ‘abandoned’ youth is overdue. However N650m could have built, rented or modified and then equipped hundreds of centres of N1-10m in 65 to 650 nationwide’ VOL.8 NO.2,394



N my overview two weeks ago of Media Trust Limited’s 10 years of annual dialogue which started in 2004, I said the four most exciting – and should have added most interesting - for me were the third on the scourge of corruption in Nigeria, the seventh on African women in politics, the ninth on politics and the media and this year’s on nation building. The other six were, of course, exciting and interesting enough. The first, as the regular participants would know, was on the same theme of nation building as this year’s. The second, though on the dismal science, was made interesting by the panel of three of Nigeria’s leading economists, Professors Sam Aluko, now late, and Mike Kwanashie of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the prolific and ever controversial Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Central Bank Governor, but at that time the risk manager of United Bank for Africa. In their subject matter alone, the fourth (2007) on how to conduct free and fair elections in the country, the fifth (2008) on the challenges of democracy on the continent and the sixth (2009) on how to restore public faith in the country’s politics, were also exciting. But their various panellists - Professor Maurice Iwu, probably the most discredited chairman of the country’s election commission, Alhaji Ahmadu Kurfi, its longest serving executive secretary and Chief Segun Osoba, one of the five Action Congress governors in the South-West President Olusegun Obasanjo knocked out for six in the 2003 governorship elections through sheer cunning (2007), Ghana’s President Jerry Rawlings (2008) and the trio of Anambra’s Governor Peter Obi, former House Speaker Bello Masari and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, then still legally contesting his defeat at the Edo governorship elections in the 2007 elections (2009) – ensured there were no dull moments during those three dialogues. The eighth dialogue in 2011 on the challenges of good governance in Africa was also a natural crowd puller if only because of the prevalence of bad governance on the continent. It was the more interesting because one of the three billed to lead the dialogue, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, the telecommunication billionaire, had instituted a well-endowed prize for good governance on the continent which is Africa’s closest answer to the Nobel Peace prize, in the sense that much of the widespread conflict on the continent can be traced directly to bad governance by its leaders. As things turned out, the audience did not get the benefit of Mo Ibrahim’s rationale for instituting his prize, among other things the audience would have loved to hear from him, even though he turned up for the event. He could not speak because he fell ill on the night before the event. It was then left to the pair of Mr. Fola Adeola, a highly successful banker and reformer of the country’s

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA

Ten years of Trust’s dialogues (II)

•Obasanjo pension scheme, and Ms Arunma Oteh, the boss of Nigeria’s Security Exchange Commission, to lead the dialogue. For me the most memorable remark to come out of that year’s dialogue was Adeola’s profound statement that Nigerians seem to have outsourced their problems to God, instead of taking responsibility for what they say or do, good or bad. Since then God, it seems, has remained the patient refuge of every scoundrel, probably even more so today. All of which brings me back to the four dialogues I said were the most exciting and interesting for me, i.e. those of 2006, 2010, 2012 and this year’s. The first of this lot was the subject of this column two weeks ago. The problem of this country, I said, was not corruption as such but the brazenness with which it is practiced and the fact that, far from punishing corruption, we indeed celebrate it from the top to the bottom of society. It is this attitude towards corruption which has made it all so easy for many of our lead-

ers to “chop and clean mouth,” to use the peculiar Nigerian expression for the complete lack of shame among our leaders about their sordid past, even the immediate past. This, more than the topic of the 2010 dialogue about the African women in politics and the formidable panel of Winnie Mandela, Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Naja’atu Mohammed and Ms Samira Nkrumah, was what I found interesting about the year’s dialogue. It was truly amazing, at least for me, how President Obasanjo, as the chairman of the occasion, could look Nigerians straight in the eyes and tell them he did not know Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, then governor of Katsina State, was a sick person when he imposed him on his party as its presidential candidate and went on to impose him on Nigerians as their president in 2007. But then Obasanjo knew his Nigeria like the back of his hand, as they say. So he proceeded to wash his hands off his handiwork and ask Yar’Adua, who he knew was at that point not in charge of his faculties, to “take the path of honour” and resign as president. A few voices were raised against the immorality of his pretence but the overwhelming majority, as he must have reckoned, focused on the message rather than on the messenger. In any case, the following day, the message virtually drowned out the subject of that year’s dialogue. As a veteran journalist and political pundit, it is not surprising that I found the subject of the 2012 dialogue among the most exciting and interesting. Image, as America’s Abraham Lincoln once reportedly said, is everything, or almost. This explains, at least partly, why journalists and politicians have been in a love-hate incestuous relationship of use and dump for as long as anyone can remember. This was clearly demonstrated by the way Governor Adams Oshiomhole, as much a man of media image as he is of his actions, condemned the media during the dialogue as all too often a purveyor of fiction, not, I must say, with-



OME 37 years ago Gen Murtala Ramat Muhammed was assassinated in a coup d’etat led by Col Bukar Sukar Dimka. He was barely 38 when he died. Right from the time his participation in the countercoup of July 1966 brought him to the fore of Nigeria’s often cataclysmic struggle for power at the age of 28, the intensely ambitious military officer never left the thick of military politics and leadership until assassins’ bullets stopped him on February 13, 1976, a little over six months after he seized power. He was a man in a hurry who died in a hurry, in the prime of his life. Imagine what he could have done with power had he lived for a little longer, say, until he handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1979? Could the transition to civilian rule have proceeded the way his sanctimonious successor, General Olusegun Obasanjo, managed it? Indeed, in spite of his glaring weaknesses, particularly his riling and famous impetuousness, would he have handed over power to Alhaji Shehu Shagari, especially considering his highly publicised antipathy


out justification. Two telling examples lend support to Oshiomhole’s charges, one ancient, and the other recent. The ancient was reported by the late Alhaji Babatunde Jose, the doyen of Nigeria’s press, in his 1987 autobiography, Walking a Tight Rope: Power Play at Daily Times. This was in his account of the 1953 socalled Hausa/Igbo riots in Kano. At that time he was a senior reporter with the newspaper and was on a familiarisation tour of the North. “I,” he said in the book, “had quite correctly reported it in my copy as a riot between Hausas and Yorubas. Somehow it appeared in Daily Times as a riot between Hausas and Ibos, a very different matter and potentially a very dangerous error.” The edition was seized and pulped by the colonial authorities and another with the correct version printed for circulation but not, unfortunately, before the damage had been done. “We,” he said, “never found out how the mistake occurred. Was it an accident or was it a deliberate attempt to foment trouble?” Whatever the motive, the acorn of distrust that story planted in the geo-politics of this country has since grown into an oak tree, perhaps bigger. The recent example of the press malice comes from a 1996 book, NIGERIA: Guerrilla Journalism by Michele Maringuez, by no means an enemy of the Nigerian press. On the contrary she had a lot of positive things to say about the country’s press in her book. Even so she lamented that it was “often astonishingly negligent about checking and confirming its sources or even statistics. Errors and glitches abound and are seldom corrected in the next edition.” She gave an example of how AFP, the French news agency, and The Guardian, the self-styled flagship of the Nigerian press, published different statistics from an IMF press conference in Lagos about Nigeria’s economy. When the worried AFP correspondent cross-checked with the IMF it turned out the flagship was wrong. Maringuez’s second example was even more egregious. In December 1993, she pointed out, three of the country’s leading news magazines carried a sensational story that former self-styled military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was on the run from the General Abacha regime. The News’ banner headline on its cover read “Babangida’s dramatic escape.” African Concord’s was “A dictator on the run.” Tell’s was even more dramatic. “Why IBB is on the run,” it said, with his picture along with his late wife, Maryam, getting off a plane. It turned out that, far from being on the run, the man and his wife had only gone for lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia and for holiday abroad only to return a few weeks later. None of the magazines ever mentioned his return. •For comments, send SMS to 08023211188

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Murtala Ramat Muhammed (November 1938-February 1976) towards the gentle style of Gen Yakubu Gowon, his predecessor? These are indeed interesting areas of discourse historians and political scientists should engage themselves in. But for our purpose today, let us simply remember the young officer who at 28 had the chutzpah to want to rule Nigeria consequent upon the success of the countercoup. In the event, and to his eternal dismay, the opportunity of ruling Nigeria went to another northern officer, the then Col Yakubu Gowon, perhaps because the scheming American and British advisers read him (Murtala) correctly and knew he was too hotheaded and opinionated to be amenable to their dictations. He proved the meddlesome duo right in 1976 when he took power and began the most intense domestic policy and external relations transformation the country had ever witnessed. Indeed he was at once

so activist and populist that the undiscriminating intelligentsia of the day idolised him and the less finicky rabble to whom he had seemed to throw caviar were ecstatic. The love affair between the country and Murtala was so instant and so passionate that few paused to ask questions about the appropriateness or long-term impact of his radical policies. The nationalisation of the so-called commanding heights of the economy, the takeover of the very large newspapers of the day, the Daily Times and New Nigerian, and the appropriation of private and state schools unleashed such social devastation and developmental dislocations that the consequences are still being felt even today. And who can forget the tsunami he unleashed against the civil service, a catastrophe that the hitherto professionally-run institution has not recovered from?

Yet, it was clear that after many years of the Gowon government, and especially the casual manner he reneged on the original 1976 handover date, the country had sunk into such stultifying staleness that only a horse dose of adrenalin could have brought the country back to life. Murtala rode on that resuscitated crest for about six dizzying, unbelievable months. Would to God he had ridden more carefully, and dealt with antagonistic foreign powers more circumspectly. But there is no denying he is still regarded as one of Nigeria’s true heroes. He was detribalised, he was authentic, he was eager, he was extraordinarily bold, and he was a patriot who truly loved his country, even if many of his policies were misconceived and misplaced. Could anyone say the same of his successors, particularly the pretentious Obasanjo and the considerably insular and divisive President Goodluck Jonathan?

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The Nation February 13, 2013  
The Nation February 13, 2013  

The Nation February 13, 2013